The Benevento/russo Duo team up with Phish legends and cover their groceries

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:: The Benevento/Russo Duo :: Fox Theatre :: October 13 ::
:: Bluebird Theatre :: October 14 :: 

 

 By Karen Schneider

 Sometimes accidents are the best way to get things started. In this case, it was just the break they never knew they needed.

The Benevento/Russo Duo began in 2002 when Joe Russo was offered a permanent Thursday night gig at The Knitting Factory in New York City. It was a way to pay for groceries, and at $100 a night splitting the proceeds by two sounded like a good idea. Russo teamed up with Marco Benevento, a childhood friend he had been playing music with for 15 years. 

“Since our inception, we’d never planned on any of this happening.  We never planned on touring or being a band, we’d planned on seeing each other every Thursday for a couple of months,” Joe Russo told The Marquee in a recent interview. “We just kind of let it happen to us and move with it as we can.”

And move with it they did. After self-releasing two albums, the Duo teamed up with Ropeadope Records and released Best Reason To Buy The Sun in 2005. The album spawned rave reviews, and the pair toured relentlessly through everything from sweaty dive bars to Bonnaroo and SXSW. Now, the two are at it again with their newest inception Play, Pause, Stop. 

Earlier this year The Duo teamed up with Phish legends Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon to form the brain child GRAB (Gordon, Russo, Anastasio, and Benevento.) The band co-headlined with Phil Lesh and Friends’ summer tour, with The Duo opening each night. 

“As a musician, you always want to go out and play with different people and get into different situations …we’ve been playing with Mike for a while and then Trey came in we ended up having this really great opportunity to do something that a lot of people don’t get a chance to do.” Russo said. “We definitely couldn’t pass it up.” 

This year’s festival season has taken the band everywhere from Fuji Rock to Lollapalooza.  Wrapping up Austin City Limits will mark the beginning of a few short weeks of time off before the band begins the second leg of their fall tour.   

Although Russo favors the drums, he has been known to play the guitar and some electronica from time to time. On the new album, Benevento offers the keys, Mellotron, circuit-benders and a Wurlitzer. The pair will also trade instruments, a “collective consciousness” reached after many hours on the road. 

“It’s a challenge; I think that’s what makes it so much fun,” Russo said. “Covering so much ground and really trying to get as many voices as possible happening with the four limbs and two voices that we have.”   

Russo had to admit that the songwriting process is a lot easier with just one other person. “We pretty much just write a song that we would want to hear performed by anyone and then figure out how it do it,” Russo said. “We can write for a six-piece band and figure out how to do it with the two of us.”

The band is constantly developing. What began as a jam band has grown into more instrumental rock hook songs. “Who’s to say if we’ll ever get into lyrical stuff. We never really think it out too much,” Russo said. “I think it’s set us apart and brought us to where we are now.”

And now that groceries are covered, where does the band plan to go from here? The guys don’t really worry about it. “We never look too far down the road,” Russo said. “We like to see it keep growing.”

 

:: The Benevento/Russo Duo ::

:: Fox Theatre :: October 13 ::

:: Bluebird Theatre :: October 14 ::

 

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