Artists on Trial: Tony Ladesich

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
This week we’ll be featuring some of the artists playing at Murder Ballad Ball, this Saturday, December 8, at Davey’s Uptown. This will be the fourth annual Murder Ballad Ball, and benefits Midwest Music Foundation.
If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about writing a good murder ballad, it’s Tony Ladesich. He’s penned songs and has written films about them. This year’s ball will feature his short film Two Sisters before his performance with The Secret Liquor Cure. We talk a bit with the filmmaker and former frontman of Pendergast and Sandoval about music and what’s coming up.
The Deli: Gun to your head, 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Tony Ladesich: Sad.
The Deli: What does “supporting local music” mean to you?

TL: For me, supporting live music is trying to collaborate with bands and people that I love to create compelling videos and films with, using their music and/or about them. As I get older I personally don't get to go out as much as I used to, but I think it’s important to continue to foster a love for the live environment. Also, it means using Jaykco straps and Scarlett amps and JHS pedals—supporting the people that are making their living with musical products. And it’s easy, because those three companies are amazing. 
Also, if you want to know what it really means to support local music, ask Sondra Freeman, Rhonda Lyne, Chris Haghirian, Michael Byars, and Sherman Breneman. The list could go on. All these people could teach a master’s class in it and honestly put most of us to shame. Me especially. 
The Deli: Who are your favorite “local” musicians right now?
TL:  Mark Smeltzer, Betse Ellis, Kasey Rausch, Mikal Shapiro, Beau Bledsoe, Victor & Penny, Dollar Fox, Kyle Dahlquist, Ben Ruth. Still love In The Pines... and I think that Tiny Horse has come into their own in a way that blows my mind. Abby (Henderson) is singing with a delicate delivery that suits her voice so well, and Chris Meck is flat out as good as anyone anywhere. Also love The Silver Maggies. They have become a really, really cool band.
The Deli: Who are you looking forward to the most at Murder Ballad Ball this year?
The Deli: Tell us a bit about what songs you’re playing for the occasion.
TL: We are doing five tunes that I wrote, all murder ballads obviously, from different time periods in my songwriting. Also, we are doing “Nebraska” by Bruce Springsteen.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

TL: The Low Anthem is my favorite band hands down right now and have been for a couple years. Also love The Hold Steady!, and Craig Finn put out an amazing solo record. Mavis Staples... Buddy Miller ALWAYS. 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

TL: I’m not worthy in any way to be on my dream bill, so here it goes. Triple bill: Sticky Fingers-era Stones, Tonight’s The Night-era Neil Young with The Band (Brown Album era) and early Faces. I would happily sweep up the floor of the arena after the gig and/or tune guitars and pour drinks for the bands.
The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?
TL: Behind a camera and on stage.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?

TL: Neil Young (1973), Bob Dylan (1965), Levon Helm, Louis Armstrong. All reasons should be totally obvious.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?

The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

TL: (in British accent) Have a good time... all the time.
Ladesich will be performing with a cast of fine local musicians as The Secret Liquor Cure:
Kyle Dahlquist – accordion, pedal steel
Sam Platt – drums
Ben Ruth – bass

Ladesich’s film (which includes several Kansas City musicians) Two Sisters is slated to begin at 10:00 pm on Saturday, followed by The Secret Liquor Cure’s performance. The event kicks off at 7:00 pm at Davey’s. There will be stages on the bar side and on the venue side; Ladesich and friends will be performing on the venue side. Facebook event here. See the official trailer for the film below.

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor of The Deli Magazine - Kansas City and plays drums in Deco Auto, Drew Black & Dirty Electric, and drums/bass in Dolls on Fire. She needs someone to tell her not to join anymore bands.

Share this story on Facebook