Baby Gramps is not so much a man, but a one-man circus act. With a voice like Popeye on helium, Gramps has been known to do tightrope walking in addition to performing his unique brand of bizarre honky-skronk on a beat-up old guitar. Also a big fan of palindromes and other linguaphile absurdities and curiosities, Baby Gramps was the inspiration for the Flecktones’ album UFO Tofu, which contains a few musical palindromes.
He is often associated with Leftover Salmon, and indeed they helped distribute his first CD, Same Old Timeously. Gramps opened extensively for Salmon on their 1998 tours, almost always making an appearance on-stage with them for tunes like “Fairies,” “Washington at Valley Forge,” and “Ask the Fish.” Gramps himself also tours occasionally, either solo or with singing saw and homemade-bass player Curtis Chamberlain. He can be seen most frequently on the West Coast, and plays regular gigs around the Portland and Seattle areas, specializing in fairs and festivals.
Gramps has made three appearances at Phish shows during Summer 1993 when Phish hit his Northwestern U.S. stomping grounds. Gramps opened for Phish at shows in Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland. It was at this third show that Baby Gramps actually shared the stage with Phish, performing the enigmatic “Tea Tray Song” with Fishman on vacuum during the second set. In subsequent solo appearances, he has been known to reference this Portland show (8/26/93), stating that those Phish guys are nice, and they were almost able to keep up with his playing!
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