Brother, can you spare a razor? Brothers Comatose wrap up Mustaches Across America Tour

Alex and Ben Morrison started the Brothers Comatose. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Alex and Ben Morrison started the Brothers Comatose. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

The Mustaches Across America Tour 2014 is winding down for the Brothers Comatose, which has been on the road most of the year.
When the boys make it home to San Francisco, they will get a chance for some time off and to hit the studio to work on their third album. And perhaps catch a shave.

“We’re going to start from scratch,” Ben Morrison quipped into his cellphone from the band’s westbound Chevy G20 Conversion Van.

Next stop: Lake Tahoe.

“We started at the lake at Whiskey Dick’s, a total rock and roll and old punk rock bar, then we did a couple of after-parties in the (Crystal Bay Casino) Red Room where you go on at like 11:30 and play until 2:30 in the morning.”

But since that time, the Brothers Comatose had monthlong tours which included MontBleu opening for the Devil Makes Three in February and the Yonder Mountain String Band in April. On Friday, Sept. 26, the band plays in the Crystal Bay Casino’s larger venue, the Crown Room.

Hardly “comatose,” this band is on the move, playing recently at the High Sierra Music Festival, SXSW, Outside Lands and Hardly Strickly Bluegrass. It played before new music lovers at those festivals and the Mustaches tour returned to towns where it played with the Devil Makes Three and Yonder Mountain String Band.

The band members didn’t intend to start a band that more than anything is considered bluegrass. Brothers Ben and Alex Morrison’s parents were musicians who hosted regular sessions. Somebody left a banjo after one of the get-togethers. Alex picked it up, and Ben strummed along with his guitar.

“We just learned to play the songs we loved, stuff like the Rolling Stones and the Kinks,” Ben Morrison said. “From there we delved into the older stuff. We kind of went at it backward.”
Joined by bassist Gio Benedetti, fiddle player Philip Brezina and mandolin player Ryan Avellone, the Brothers Comatose, named for its trance-induced countenance during house jams, then began to play clubs. The group became known for encouraging audience participation. It handed out chopsticks so the crowd could drum along.

Now that it is playing major festivals, the Brothers Comatose have adjusted.

“We can’t toss chopsticks out there to everybody but at Hardly Strictly we bought 500 mini tambourines and had them play along to certain songs,” Morrison said. “Then at Outside Lands after we finished our set, we went to the opposite end of the field and played acoustic from on top of a hay bale. We still try to do what we can to integrate the crowd.”



The Brothers Comatose
When: 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
Cover: free


Steve Adams keeps a close eye on Ben Morrison during a jam at the High Sierra Music Festival. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Steve Adams of AOL inspects the mustache on Ben Morrison during a jam at the High Sierra Music Festival. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage



About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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