How music taught the musicians of Bull Frog Moon life lessons and more
Updated: Jan 12, 2019
Photo credit: Dani Nicole Photography
Bullfrog Moon is a Charlotte area based jam band with vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys, sax and harmonica. The band spreads good vibes around Charlotte by delivering tightly executed free flowing jams. They are self proclaimed Deadheads and play Grateful Dead covers, as well as Phish, Widespread Panic, Talking Heads, The Allman Brothers, Tom Petty, Warren Zevon, The Meters, Pink Floyd and many others. Bullfrog Moon can often be found jamming at local breweries and tap rooms.
People of CLT, meet the members of Bull Frog Moon!
Barnaby Keller: Saxophone, Harmonica and Vocals
Where are you originally from?
I’m from just outside of Buffalo, NY.
How did you find music or did music find you?
I started off playing the baritone in my elementary school band because it was the only instrument left. I resisted signing up, but my parents forced me to be in band. I then switched to sax in 8th grade. Eventually, I quit high school band and started playing with some friends at bars. In college, I played in a couple of jam bands.
Musicians are often inspired by different genres of music. What style of music inspired you? And how have you most surprised yourself?
I’ve always loved music of all types, especially improvisational music like jazz and jam rock. I'm a huge old school punk rock fan; playing music in this format with some excellent musicians, who I really like personally, is a lot of fun. We take some risks and the improvisation can lead to some really incredible musical moments. It’s all about the interplay between us and creating something new and spontaneous in the moment. I have never sung vocals in a band until Bullfrog Moon—I'm still a little terrified, but really enjoy learning how to sing on the fly.
Creative people continually learn while pursuing their endeavors. What have you learned from music?
I’ve learned a lot from music: like trusting your gut and intuition. I have also learned that sometimes space or silence is as important as saying something (verbally or musically). Also, being in bands has shown me that it’s more rewarding being a part of something bigger than yourself: the sum is greater than the individual. I feel very lucky and grateful to be playing with this great group of people and musicians.
Luke Ruggieri: Drums
Where are you from?
Although I was born in NYC (Staten Island), I consider myself from Long Island, NY, specifically, Port Jefferson in Suffolk County.
How did you get into music?
I have always been interested in music for as long as I can remember. I saw Beatlemania on Broadway when I was about 9 or 10 and that had a profound effect on me. I remember watching those musicians and being mesmerized by their ability to make music. I wanted to do that too.
Any nonmusical goals?
My goals in life are to be happy and to raise my three boys to the best of my ability. I am very content with how it is going so far!
Music has been a career for you. What were those times like?
I have played covers to originals with bands since I was about 13 or 14. For five years in the early 90s, I played professionally while living solely off a musician’s income. I traveled around the New England area, playing approximately 40-60 shows a year. I have had the chance to play with—and meet—some fairly famous and eccentric people and musicians in those years. That time was special; I love those memories.
Where does your musical drive come from?
Music gives me an outlet to continue with a passion that I have had since I was a kid. This is my "bowling league" so to speak.
What lessons have you learned from being in a band?
I have learned so many lessons being in bands. It is hard to coordinate five very busy lives. Managing that is a task, requiring teamwork and dedication. We have a great mix in BFM and we all get along really well. As I get older, I am learning to pull back when I need to, giving my two cents when necessary. All in all, if there is respect for one another and the creative process, it works itself out.
Do you have a musical mentor?
I do not have mentor so to speak. I appreciate many musicians, adapting my style to meet the demands and creativity of the song.
Please mention any other information that would be interesting about yourself as it relates to music
BFM is a great group of guys who play the music that I would want to hear if I was out for the night and throwing a few back. I often critique our shows by asking myself, "Would I have had a good time watching the band, were they tight, was the music selection solid, etc." Fortunately, I can say we have met that standard more often than not. Good music and creative jams are what I love. This band has both.
Who are the other member of your band? What instruments do they play?
Scott Dennis: keyboards
Ben Sisco: guitar and vocals
Clint Dowell: bass
What are some of the venues where you have taken the stage?
Old Town Public House
The Cornelius Draft House
Rhino Market and Deli
Crown Station Pub
Puckett's Tractor Supply
The Rabbit Hole
26 Acres brewing
Headlined Cornelius Drafthouse/Harvey’s Cornelius Summer Beer Fest 2017
We also play private events and parties.
Lastly, how can People of CLT follow and listen to your music?
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