Undead Rises Again!

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.

All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Newly classic alt-alternative bonanza UNDEAD MUSIC FESTIVAL rises in New York again next week. Appearing on three outta four festival nights will be JH himself, each time in a different and rare configuration. To wit:


(Curated by Melissa Caruso Scott & John Scott)

Disbanded bands reconvene for a night to commemorate a venue still remembered fondly for its fearlessness and dedication to the freeform ethos. John will be appearing alongside his erstwhile bandmates from the golden 90’s, Ted Reichman & Reuben Radding. Together, they are: The Refuseniks!

For a list of others slated to appear and to buy your tickets, cliquez ICI


(Hosted by Search and Restore, it’s a night celebrating artist run – DIY spaces around the country)

Appearing at 11 pm: The Drum Major Instinct


John Hollenbeck – Drums / Composition

Brian Drye – Trombone

Curtis Hasselbring – Trombone

Jacob Garchik – Trombone

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — Vocals

$10 suggested donation. To read more about the evening’s festivities at IBEAM and elsewhere, click HERE



17 artists enter, arranged in a random order. Artist #1 improvises for 5 minutes solo on stage, and is then joined by #2. After 5 more minutes, #3 enters, and #1 leaves—AND SO ON!

What can happen? What will happen, that’s what.

Slated to appear:

Mark Helias (bass), Brandon Seabrook (banjo / guitar), Hilmar Jensson (guitar), Allison Miller (drums), Amir Ziv (drums), Mike Pride (drums), Bob Stewart (tuba), Cooper Moore (piano), Miles Okazaki (guitar), Marika Hughes (cello), John Hollenbeck (drums), Matthew Mottel (keys), Fabian Almazan (piano)…and more to be announced!

A festival pass gains you free entry to this event. Tickets and clues available HERE

Want to get even excited-er about UNDEAD and its musical legionnaires? Check out the premiere episode of Search & Restore’s Spontaneous Construction podcast.

In it, Search & Restore founder Adam Schatz talks with drummers John Hollenbeck (Claudia Quintet) and Greg Fox (Guardian Alien, GDFX) about improvisation, creation and world domination. They converse convivially and even play together! Not 2b missed.

The Refuseniks and me (A Hollenbeck Origin Story)


Did we just pull a fast one with this crazed torrent of dates and players? No so fast, say you, our astute reader. WHO, you no doubt would like us to stop and tell you, are the Refusenik’s?

In the words of John:

1995-1996 was an important period for me, in retrospect, I feel like I arrived at a place that felt like “home” musically-speaking. I finally found the beginnings of a personal voice on the drums and in composition. One of the main reasons I arrived at this place was my association with the Refuseniks, a collective trio with Ted Reichman and Reuben Radding. We played every Monday night at alt.coffee, a grungy internet cafe on Avenue A. Playing with those guys helped me realize who I was, who I wanted to be, as a player. Both Ted and Reuben were totally open and willing to play music that did not fit any one genre. We quickly developed a very eclectic repertoire….Charlie Haden, folk music from Norway, Turkey, Sun Ra, plus originals…. I was trying hard to compose, so it was great that these guys were open to playing my originals, including pieces with “catchy” titles like Abstinence and Diane Hull.

I also met a lot of great musicians through the gig and through Ted and Reuben, who were both more in the “Knitting Factory” scene. Important musicians such as Anthony Coleman, Greg Cohen, David Krakauer, Frank London.

When Reuben abruptly quit music in the summer of 1996 and moved to Montana, I formed The Claudia Quintet with Ted as the anchor member.

Ted by the way, is a talented  writer, you can read his version of this story here.

Doris Duke Calling

Frequent listeners of public radio and others well-versed in American higher culture will be instantly familiar with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The DDCF is the ongoing legacy of Doris Duke, relentless philanthropist and lifelong nonconformist, who was an early adopter of surfing, modern dance, and free jazz, and who started her first charitable foundation at age 21. This year DDCF has named its first class of Doris Duke Artists, 21 American performers given unrestricted cash grants so that they may continue to create art freely—and guess who made the inaugural cut?

That’s right, it’s been officially announced and now it can be told: John Hollenbeck, along with colleagues & friends Vijay Iyer & Meredith Monk, will now be among those calling DD their posthumous sugar mama.

And not a second too soon! For as it happens John & his fellow DDA recipient Bill Frisell were just in the midst of heated soul-for-cash negotiations with Guzzler Corp., a multinational powerhouse specializing in the export of crude oil effluent to low-income playgrounds around the world. Thanks to the DDCF and the late Doris Duke, John and artists like him needn’t mortgage their eternal spirit to make ends meet.

Bravo John! Bravo Bill! Bravo all!

You can read a lot more about the DDA program, including a list of its other outstanding recipients here


Starting with 2001’s No Images, John basically hasn’t stopped getting super-acclaimed graphic design dudes Karlssonwilker to make his albums look cool. Since then he’s employed mssrs Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker no fewer than nine times, most recently on CQ’s unapologetically awesome cover for What is the Beautiful?, which features the art of Kenneth Patchen reconfigured in a manner you should really just go look at, trust me.

How JH & KW have not grown coldly distant over the course of what in album design years basically constitutes lifelong marriage, none of us know. Whatever the secret of their longevity as a couple, the union is strong, and now with Karlssonwilker’s brand new website, their work’s whole flow can be viewed left-to-right, now-to-then, all on one screen—including the ill Kenneth Patchen 3D painting thing, which I defy you to describe in words better than it looks, it’s so cool.

Check out all the awesome work Karlssonwilker has done for John on this page.