Dukes of Hillsborough have some wild schemes cooked up …

Here is a slightly longer version of the Dukes of Hillsborough profile that ran in tbt* Friday, Feb. 6.


Meet Dukes of Hillsborough by Julie Garisto


   Duke boys: Jeff Brawer, vocals and guitar; Travis Malloy, bass; and Phil Stanwick, drums. 


   Punk rock royalty: Formed in Tampa in 2001, the Dukes have a no-nonsense and sensible reputation that precedes them, known for their laid-back friendliness off stage and professionalism at gigs. Mention the Dukes to just about any Tampa musician and you get this gaze of idolatry, like you’re name-dropping saints or pre-Steroid baseball heroes. Plus they have a goofy sense of humor.


   Their sound: The trio’s high-octane blend of rock, blues and metal is so distilled and deftly combined, it’s impossible to discern what comes from where.


   Pastimes: Making up wild hoaxes and titles with twisted puns. They also like eating lunch at Rick’s on the River, where Brawer and Malloy answered questions for tbt* during Super Bowl weekend. Here are some tidbits discussed amid the hubbub of Steelers fans:


   They have a long-distance bromance: Drummer Phil Stanwick moved to Atlanta a year and a half ago to be with his girlfriend. He comes down to play gigs, but more sporadically and less often than the once-a-week grind of previous days.

  Says Malloy, half jokingly: “It’s a good thing that Phil was the one to move. Phil’s stubborn. If he says we’ll keep playing, we’ll keep playing. If it were either of us (pointing to himself and Brawer), we would have called it off!”


   Brawer’s got a side project: The newish Tampa band Regular Size People Fight.


   Malloy’s side project: His 2-year-old son, Hank.


   New CD due end of February: Tinnitus Starter Kit


   Brawer’s idea for album art: “We were going to put Hank between two giant speakers and crank it to 10,” he explains, “but I don’t think Jamie (Malloy’s wife) will go along with that.”


   Scheme No. 1: “We took out a life insurance policy on Phil,” Brawer says.


   Stanwick: (By phone) “They keep telling me that we’re going to have a picnic with food and beer. All I have to do is dig a hole, they say.”


   Malloy’s retail scheme: University of Florida football shirts that read “Gator Done.” He claims that he already printed 200 and tried to sell them at a UF home game but got a cease and desist order because he didn’t have a license.


   New song title: The Gator Done Fiasco.


   Older song title: Axes of Evil


   Daytime jobs: Stanwick works at a warehouse, Brawer is a warehouse manager and Malloy is an engineer.


   Not all fun and games: Brawer, who writes all the lyrics, says he brings aspects of his personal life into his songs, but he shies away from going into detail. “The lyrics on most of the new songs fall somewhat in line with what they have been in the past. There is some personal stuff in there,” Brawer says, “but they are mostly about living
the way we do through all the ups and downs, not asking for much and trying to be content with our lives. There are a couple of songs that veer off that path.”


   What else is different? “We’re trying to sound a little more melodic, believe it or not,” Brawer says with a laugh.


   What does Phil miss about Tampa? “I miss my friends, the music scene. The scene here is tough to get into.  … I miss living around the corner from good food; I miss the Taco Bus. You can’t get a good burrito here.”


   Hear them: Friday 10 p.m. with VaginaSore Jr. and Porch Fire at the Emerald Bar in downtown St. Petersburg ($3) and Saturday at 7 p.m. with Safety, Moose Masseuse and Steady State at the Transitions Art Gallery, Skatepark of Tampa ($7, all ages welcome).


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