A-Bones, August 2009, Tokyo
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York|
|Genres||Garage rock, garage punk, rockabilly|
|Members||Miriam Linna, Billy Miller, Bruce Bennett, Marcus "The Carcass" Natale, Ira Kaplan|
|Mike Mariconda, Mike Lewis, Lars Espensen|
The A-Bones is a garage rock band from Brooklyn, New York. Their name was derived from a song by The Trashmen. The band was formed in 1984 by vocalist Billy Miller and his wife, drummer and co-vocalist Miriam Linna, in the wake of a prior band collaboration, The Zantees. The couple were at the time editors of the rock and roll culture fanzine Kicks and on the threshold of launching Norton Records. Guitarist Bruce Bennett replaced original guitarist Mike Mariconda shortly after the band was formed. Marcus "The Carcass" Natale replaced founding bass player Mike Lewis (a one time member of both the Lyres and Yo La Tengo), prior to recording the A-Bones second E.P. Free Beer For Life in 1988 and as well contributed original songs with other members . Tenor sax player Lars Espensen further filled out the group from 1990 until 2010.
The New York Times described the band solely in terms of its label, calling the group "dedicated rock revivalists", and noting "The A-Bones include Miriam Linna and Billy Miller, proprietors of Norton Records, which worships rockabilly, 1960s garage and anything having to do with that most cartoonish rock archetype: the juvenile delinquent in a leather jacket." In its overview of the band the Trouser Press' online music guide praised the A-Bones' "new levels of sloppy enthusiasm" and stated that the band's "joyously cruddy sound is built on Linna's simple but effective pounding, Miller's manly grunt, and Bruce Bennett's unexpectedly inventive guitar work." The Village Voice declared that a 2009 A-Bones recording "may be the missing link between Andre Williams and Jay Reatard, if Jay had any groove in his grit." According to a series of postings on the WFMU Ichiban blog and WFMU's own Beware of The Blog blogsite, the band's choice of cover material has ranged from songs by no-hit obscurities like Mike Waggoner and the Bops, to covers of The Troggs, Larry Williams, The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, the MC5 and many others.
Aside from recording five albums, two EPs and roughly a dozen 45s on various labels, the A-Bones have also served as a backup band for acts such as Hasil Adkins, Ronnie Dawson, Cordell Jackson, Andre Williams, Ray Sharpe, The Flamin' Groovies' Roy Loney and Cyril Jordan and many others. Though the band broke up in 1994, the A-Bones reunited in 2004 and continue to perform gigs in North America, Europe, and Japan with their core line-up of Linna, Miller, Bennett and Natale. The group is occasionally augmented live by Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan who contributed keyboards and guitar to their 2009 album Not Now!, their 2014 LP Ears Wide Shut, and other recent recordings.