Elf Lettuce

by Andrew Frey
March 2009

Madison's Elf Lettuce (well, at least we got the logo)

Madison's Elf Lettuce (well, at least we got the logo)

Some bands find their strength in Satan/Jesus and others in sexual escapades. However, for the Madison quartet Elf Lettuce they draw off another, more untraditional source of power and unmitigated majesty.

“We have a mascot - a lawn gnome named Ricardo Perfecto,” begins guitarist and vocalist Alex White in a recent e-mail exchange. “He’s actually the second mascot we’ve had, because our first mascot, Eugene, was tragically decapitated after an audience member ‘accidentally’ knocked him off the rather tall stage at The Frequency in Madison in September.”

The stalwart band, rounded out by Jacob Lison (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Joe Murray (drum kit) and Eli Reichenberger (bass, vocals), took their loss in stride and managed to recover nicely after finding a replacement.

“The gnomes all come from Duluth, MN - our favorite stomping ground in the North Country,” White continues. “So we were fortunate enough to acquire Ricardo after our last run to Duluth in February.”

Fortunate indeed! Who knows what kind of untold damage would have occurred if Elf Lettuce was permanently without their friendly gnome friend to support and protect them in their worldly travels.

But how about that name? Just what is Elf Lettuce and where did it come from? Thankfully, White enlightens us. “The name Elf Lettuce, like much of improvised music, was born randomly, in the moment. Before a basement show one night, Jacob suggested the band be called “Afflatus,” a Greek word meaning “divine inspiration or imparting of knowledge.”  To which musical cohort Mike Tyler replied, “Not Afflatus - you should just call it Elf Lettuce.”  So the band was thus named for the night, with the theory that every show the band played, they would have a new name.  “We’ll have a different name every party we play, but just for tonight, we’re ‘Elf Lettuce.’”  When the time came for the next show, no-one had any new suggestions, and people were already calling the group Elf Lettuce, so Elf Lettuce it was.”

As their live action goes, White expounds on their performance prowess. “Expect songs to evolve every time from show to show. Our performances are dance-able, improv-friendly and open to tonal exploration.  Expect to experience musical liberation - an escape from the daily grind. Roots Rock and Roll explorations based on traditions of blues, country, and more.”

Alex adds with and air of satisfaction, “We play the styles of music we love to listen to. Our sound is a reflection of the melting pot of the variety of genres we love.”

With a new live album set for release in May (recorded summer/fall 2008) the future is budding with promise for Elf Lettuce. With a goal of ‘Liberation through musical exploration and beyond’ coupled with a hard work ethic beckons the band to the open road ahead. In the next year White sees the band, “expanding their touring radius west to CO, south to TX, east to MI and OH, and north to Canada.” While in the next 5 years, “touring nationally; regularly recording and helping people to remember the extent of their consciousness and freedom, doing good things through music.”

Perhaps then, one dares to dream. Courageously thinking forward to the time of a concert. A dream concert. White has a grand utopian vision of such a dream concert underscored by a certain unmistakable faraway misty look in his eyes. “We would be playing a rockin’ festival set to an audience of Lawn Gnomes in the Emerson Co-op Gymnasium, Duluth, MN!”

And on that note, to the Maximum Ink universe in general, Alex offers a heart felt send off. “Thank you for openly, honestly, wholesomely, professionally, and objectively supporting the Regional Music Scene!”

Get prepared for some serious gnome worship when Elf Lettuce takes their troupe on tour to the unsuspecting festival-nauts. They will be playing at Bella Madre Festival May 22, 23, 24; Campout Roots Festival June 4-7; Steel Bridge SongFest June 11-12; Big Wu Family Reunion July 9-12; 3G’s Festival 7/30-8/1 and the Feel Good Festival August 8-9

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