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Play That Funky Music, White Boys

Courtesy Billy Morrison
Courtesy Billy Morrison


Updated Aug. 27 | It appears that Tampa, Fla., and by extension everyone who hightailed it down here to the Republican National Convention, will be spared the worst of Tropical Storm (soon to be Hurricane?) Isaac.

Pouring rain or not, conventioneers should consider making the extra effort to catch some very special shows happening around town — including a pack of political insiders who moonlight as rock stars, and a sometime-super group with a penchant for dragging along extra special guests.

Locals Rule

They may call the bars and clubs around D.C. home. But every four years, Blame It On Jane takes their show on the road.

The band, which is composed of Johnson & Johnson lobbyist Jane Adams, Podesta Group principal Steve Northrup, Scott Galupo, an alumni of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) press shop, plus three musician pals, has played every convention dating back to 2000, as well as every corresponding Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball.

In recent years they’ve provided the soundtrack for events ranging from the annual Boehner Beach Party and a party House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) staged at Nationals Park, to a shindig organized by Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.).

The group sticks to what they know, mixing original tunes in with covers from their favorite artists (Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Bonnie Raitt). “Rock ‘n’ roll with some country and blues and funk thrown in for good measure,” was how one admirer described their sound.

BIOJ are slated to do their thing aboard a yacht Sunday night for guests of Republican Main Street Partnership.

Bringing Out the Big Guns

To hear Camp Freddy co-founder Billy Morrison tell it, corralling fellow superstars to step on stage with his decade-long side project is occasionally frustrating but ultimately very fulfilling.

“This band was formed to have fun,” he said of the group he established with Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction), Donovan Leitch (son of folk singer Donovan), Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Matt Sorum (Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver) in 2001.

It’s not an official Camp Freddy show unless three of the original members take the stage together. But the free-form nature of the group allows — nay, encourages — friends and fans to sit in with the band and make some musical magic of their own.

That open-door policy has helped usher a who’s who of rock royalty — Steven Tyler, Ozzy Osbourne, Perry Farrell, Slash, to name a few — into the spotlight with them.

According to Morrison, each show is a once-in-a-lifetime event, because they never play with exactly the same lineup and always switch up the song selection. The set list apparently runs the gamut, ranging from Adam Ant to Spacehog. But Morrison believes the real magic comes from inviting performers they know to reinterpret iconic punk and hard rock anthems. “It’s more about trying to create a bit of a spectacle,” he said of the method to their sonic madness.

Morrison plans to trot out a half-dozen surprise acts when the group attempts to blow the doors off 1 Oak Live (600 N. Ashley Drive) on Monday night. Expect to see some new faces behind the mic when they roll into Charlotte.

“Camp Freddy is apolitical. We want to rock for everyone,” Morrison told Roll Call.

Updated Aug. 27

Due to Tropical Storm Isaac, the Camp Freddy show at 1 Oak Live has been postponed until Tuesday.

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