Donk Floyd

by Mack Dreyfuss
December 2008

El Donk with Motor Primitives' organist Jeff Muendel as Donk Floyd

El Donk with Motor Primitives' organist Jeff Muendel as Donk Floyd

If you’re a Pink Floyd fan, Maximum Ink and some of Madison’s finest musicians are collaborating to give you a gift this holiday season. El Donk and Jeff Muendel, organist of the Motor Primitives, are teaming up to pay tribute to Pink Floyd organist Richard Wright, who passed away in September of this year. The Cardinal Bar on Dec. 20 is the venue of the Maximum Ink Holiday Party where The Falcon of El Donk states that they will play two sets consisting of 12 to 15 Pink Floyd songs in honor of one of the finest musicians of our time.

Muendel states that he “jumped at the chance to work with El Donk” on this project. He states that his own style “is a synthesis of two great rock organists: Jon Lord of Deep Purple and Richard Wright. Sometimes younger musicians will come to me and ask about how to approach playing keyboards in a rock band. I always tell them, as a starting point, to put on Pink Floyd’s Umma Gumma album and figure out what Richard Wright is doing in that live setting. He’s just coloring things, often very simply, but with enormous musical affect.” Muendel describes Wright as “the ace in the hole of the group. He is always there, but sometimes you don’t even notice him.”

El Donk is a band that has been described as “demented rock.” The Falcon calls it “a cross between Talking Heads and Camper Van Beethoven.” They have been in existence since 1996 and consist of a cast of characters named The Falcon, The Baron, Woobie 3000, and Fastlane. Gain an inside look into their world at [].

The Falcon’s first recollection of hearing Pink Floyd was when an older brother got an album for Christmas. He lists two qualities that stand out in his mind when listening to Pink Floyd’s music: “quality musicianship and sheer creativity.” He says, “To be honest, I feel honored just to be playing a tribute to them.”

Elaborating on their tribute plans, Falcon says: “For the consummate Pink Floyd fan, this is going to be a treat. Don’t expect the mainstream songs. We’re playing virtually nothing from the Dark Side of the Moon or Animals. We’re going to play a lot of the early pieces that highlight Richard Wright’s organ work, where keyboards are prominent. For those who don’t know much about Pink Floyd, this is going to be an excellent show to attend because you’re going to get a cross section of their early catalog. A lot of people have no idea that they made six albums before Dark Side of the Moon. We’re also going to improvise a bit as early Floyd was jammy.”

El Donk has played the Cardinal before and states that its lay-out provides “somewhat of a sound challenge. It includes a long narrow hall and archway. It sounds a bit strange on stage, but the last time we played there it went very well. We look forward to playing there again.”

So if you’re free Saturday, Dec. 20, and in the mood to hear some of Madison’s best musicians pay tribute to one of rock n roll’s best, check out the Cardinal Bar and Maximum Ink’s Holiday Party. You’ll gain a glimpse inside one of the most talented and contentious bands in all of rock history. To lean inside the prism of Pink Floyd’s organist, Richard “Rick” Wright, tour the words of his legendary bandmates upon the news of his passing.

Floyd bandmate David Gilmour stated of Wright: “His input was frequently forgotten. He was gentle, unassuming, and private but his soulful voice and playing were vital, magical components of our most recognized Pink Floyd sound.” He continued: “In my view, all the greatest Pink Floyd moments are the ones where he is in full flow.” Bandmate Roger Waters stated: “Rick’s ear for harmonic progression was our bedrock.” Bandmate Nick Mason: “The sound of Pink Floyd is more than the guitar, bass, and drum thing. Rick was the sound that knitted it all together.” With eulogies like these, it just might be incentive enough to get your holiday shopping done early.

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