So this has come up more often than not when I've been out playing shows/meeting people and talking music/etc. I appreciate your interest and I'm very glad that you guys seem to enjoy the music that me and my old band "Ando and the Jolly Barrels" used to make together! I'll tell the story as best as I can. I think it's a good story, and it still ends with tons of Death Polka so I sincerely hope that you enjoy it.


I have a long history in various punk bands. When my all-time favorite punk project that I was a part of, the Cocksmokers (yes that is juvenile and offensive, I know. Screw you, we were young and we had a lot of fun in that band!), broke up somewhere in 2008 or 2009 I started working harder on playing my accordion. I had been playing for a few years before that, but my artistic outlet at that point was primarily being the drunk front-man for my punk band. Once again, it was great, we had a ton of fun and wrote what I would like to think was some really good music together. Do any of you like that song that I do called "Whiskey Dick"? That's a Cocksmokers song. It's an autobiography too, but it was originally performed by the Cocksmokers.


Cocksmokers at Joe Won't Go 2


So when we broke up I started writing what was pretty much the same punk songs on my accordion. I felt that they translated pretty well and tried to build a band to play together for the project. From 2008-somewhere in 2010 several people joined and hung out for awhile in the group. Every line-up (which ultimately amounts to ten different people or so over the years) brought a fun and unique element to the music. Times were good and I couldn't have had more fun jamming with the guys that were willing to play with me.


We were offered a lot of great opportunities in the Milwaukee music scene, opening up for the late .357 String Band, Highlonesome, Danny Price and the Loose Change, the Flips, Truthdealer, etc. We had a blast playing shows and getting goofy and drunk with people, but the time to tour was coming close and I'd say that's where we all started going our separate ways.


None of what I'm about to say is something to relay a bunch of stupid drama or anything like that. You know why? Honestly there really isn't any drama. It just didn't work out between people having work commitments/families/other creative projects/etc.


When the last lineup of the Jolly Barrels ended up not being able to tour I was stuck asking myself if I wanted to start touring or try to get another band together again. Every time we got a new band member it would take a couple months of teaching songs/getting familiar with each others' schedules/basic band dynamic things like that and it was making me restless. I am someone who really enjoys being on the road. I was too stir-crazy and I couldn't wait anymore. I packed the bag and slammed the gas pedal. I can't say that I haven't looked back, a few of the guys that I worked with shared an awesome creative chemistry with me. I miss it, but I think if we were still all working on training new band members and organizing schedules to play shows and such there may not have been the opportunity to hit the road like I have over the past few years.


That's pretty much it, gang. It wasn't anything heart-breaking or anything like that, it just didn't work out when it came time to start traveling and warbling around playing shows. It was fun as all get-out when it lasted, but here we are! Sad to not have a few of those guys still here jamming and making jokes, but also happy that I've gotten to travel and play shows and get all of these awesome opportunities to play for and meet tons of new people.


Ando and the Jolly Barrels


This is a non-comprehensive list of some of the bands that former Jolly Barrels were in or are currently in. Check them out! We're all just a bunch of old punks now. Playing heavy music with acoustic instruments...


Cry Coyote (Richie Murry and Ben Stattman)


The Black Saints (Henry Berger and Dave Steinbock)


Armada ("Sensitive Jon" Cello Gorski)


SS WEB (Henry Berger and Kyle Davis)


Have a listen!

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