This is Woodpile, my favorite band I was ever involved with mostly because of the collaboration with my fellow band-mate Gene and a large collection of friends. It had a beginning and an eventual end, but it remains my most satisfying musical endeavor. Like most good things, it didn't start out expecting to become what it did. Gene and I sat in a room making up music on the spot once or twice a week (to lyrics he or I brought to the table) with a single mic to record our musings. The theme was not to overthink it, make shit up, and embrace the mistakes of creation (that sounds more deep than intended). Once we had around 80 wonderfully imperfect songs on "tape" we decided we had to start a band.
We put out two albums of which both I'm immensely proud of: Woodpile and Happy Pills. The second album was a whopper double CD that showed the flurry of writing we were riding during that time. I give most of the credit to Gene for being the most prolific writer, but we worked really well together.
Two other guys I must mention was T-bone and Matt Myers. Both incredibly talented and both brought a lot to the table themselves.
Here's the bio from our original web site written by Gene:
Woodpile was founded by Boston based songwriters Holt Hopkins and Gene McAuliffe. Both have been band leaders in their own domains, and now they share the stage, along with a talented group of musicians, to form Woodpile.
If you are like us, first of all God help you, secondly you can tell in about sixteenth note if someone else shares the same inspirations that you do, and thirdly you have the ability to turn a blind eye to the world and stubbornly pursue those elusive rare rewarding moments that only show themselves when no one is looking.
Holt Hopkins was born on the streets of Baltimore, and like many of Barry Levinson’s characters, he grew up questioning the realism of Bonanza and dreaming of being an aluminum siding salesman. In his mind, the world was a place that laughed when it should have been crying, that smiled when it should have been sighing. He set out on his journey with nothing but a Sears Silver tone guitar, a pocketknife, and a couple of embarrassingly overdue library books he didn’t have the nerve to return. He knew one day he would return them, but only after he got a chance to read them.
Gene McAuliffe, the upper middle child in a second-generation Irish family of six, spent his formative years getting bad haircuts, recklessly riding bikes in rainstorms, being rescued from neighborhood bullies by a whiffle-ball bat wielding older brother, and going to 99 cent movies at the Plaza in Windsor, CT. He was permanently scarred by running a 600yd dash in a 7th grade 8:00 gym class, on a hearty breakfast of two jelly donuts and a glass of milk. During his high school years, he spent the first half hour of every day, lying in bed listening to his mother yell at him to "get up". After that "dashed hopes" followed him through a parade of lost card games,crumpled Schlitz tall boys, and misguided social commitments.
Too many years were extinguished by displacing energy trying to nurse an infirmary of damaged music back to health. As luck would have it, a mixture of irresponsible restaurant management, and common regard for traditional American music, would play a large part in the formation of Woodpile. There is a moment or destination, when arrived at, it cannot be denied. Or when you try to deny it, you don’t feel right, you feel like you’re passing up something you shouldn’t. This music had it’s own gravitational pull; there is a strength and a sense of purpose. As soon as Holt and Gene realized that resistance was futile, they began to record. This self-titled debut release is the joyous result.
Tim Powers ("TBone", "100% lean", "TiPo")
He mysteriously appeared one day carrying six pounds of genius in a five-pound bag. I don’t know where he came from, but it’s safe to assume it was a toll road. He was probably hauling volatile cargo; He developed his own psychological version of "Map Quest", been off-roading with an eighteen-wheeler.
The first thing he did was to figuratively grab Holt and myself by the necks and force us to focus on percussion tracks. At first we resisted, T issued an open challenge. He defied us to point out a quality recording that did not have a percussion track. Of course he was right. Now when I listen that’s all I can hear.
The amazing thing to me is the timing involved. Holt and T had played a few gigs together, but then T was on the road for a couple years. He pulls back into town, pretty much the same moment we realized we needed a keyboard player. He opens up his trunk, pulls out his KBD and bag of percs, plugs in, and just started to play. Occasionally he would request a beer or maybe a Kit-Kat bar. Pretty much we would just sit there and nod when he finished a take.
MM (Matt Myers)
The creator of, and a creative force in the Buck Dewey legacy, he has truly been touched by the midget gods. Being an accomplished songwriter in his own right, we got Matt to show up at HH’s apartment a few times to help out when we were writing this group of songs. Early on in the writing process, Matt would plunk out a keyboard part or beat on a suitcase, or submit a tortured vocal part that alternately proved to be either brilliant or hilarious.
Matt truly understands the relationship between traditional folk music, the blues and American songwriting. We dragged him up north, to be part of the recording process. He methodically laid down one beautiful take after another. Few words had to be spoken. He would just head down the road, driving a truck overloaded with feel. Thank God we never passed a weigh station.
the Woodpile band was:
Holt Hopkins – Vocals, Guitars
Gene McAuliffe – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Tim Powers – Piano, Organ, Vocals, Percussion
Don Morrison – Drums
Justin Kolack - Bass
additional musicians who performed on the CD:
Matt Myers - Drums
Meredith Cooper - Violin
all songs written by Holt Hopkins & Gene McAuliffe