Six Deadly Venoms
If Bluegrass music had a child, and that child was Six Deadly Venoms from Brooklyn, NY, you could expect a few difficult meetings with the high school guidance counselor. Though they’ve learned to embrace Bluegrass, the devil’s music of their rebel years has left an indelible mark on their musical sensibilities. While occasionally exposing their sensitive under-belly with their heartfelt, original songs, they maintain the attitude of a Bluegrass band, with the soulful vocals of a 60’s R&B group, and the hyper-adventurous spirit of a well-tuned Mingus outfit. The result is a Brooklyn, Bluegrass, Balsamic reduction.
Six Deadly Venoms is comprised of highly prominent players in the NYC Bluegrass scene, and the band and its members are quickly gaining national attention. The groups’ sound features the complete set of Bluegrass approved instruments with Elio Schiavo on Mandolin/Vocals, Rick Snell on Guitar/Vocals, Bennett James Sullivan on Banjo, Jared Engel on Bass, Todd Patrick Livingston on Dobro, and Nick Reeb on Fiddle.
Since the bands’ inception in 2007 they’ve released 1 album (with another one in the works), toured the country from coast to coast, performed on the main-stage at Telluride, and co-billed with artists like; Matt Flinner Trio, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Punch Brothers, The Infamous String Dusters, and Bearfoot. Six Deadly Venoms also enjoys staying up to date on the latest MTA service advisories, and waging a war on the word “the”. They will be releasing their new record in the summer of 2012, just in time before the Mayan Calendar ends.
As a young boy growing up in the heart of Philadelphia, Elio Schiavo loved to sing. He was surrounded by all the sounds of the 1960′s, 70′s and 80′s. He claimed his mothers vinyl collection as his own and immersed in all things from rock to classical to jazz. His earliest attraction to bluegrass happened in the late 80′s when, by way of his affinity for The Grateful Dead, Elio heard David Grisman for the first time. This was how he learned of Bill Monroe, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, etc… and the list goes on…. In 1989 Elio moved to Santa Cruz California where he began his personal musical education, learning music theory at Cabrillo College. He opend and ran a successful recording studio where he recorded his first album, Child of Orbit. Jump even further now to 1999. “I was dreamin when I wrote this”….. Elio, after a decade on the west coast making a name for himself as a soulful singer/songwriter and hip hop producer, transplanted himself to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he got in good with the natives. He got his record picked up by Louisian Red Hot Records. He played Guitar and produced for Cyril Neville. He played The New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Festival. Tipitina’s with The Neville Brothers and Dr.John. All the cool local spots. Elio started his own band playing blue eyed soul and funk. He toured the east and west coast for two years. Then….another move. In 2002 it was the big apple or bust. Luckily it is not bust…..so far(fingers crossed, knock on wood). The first couple years found Elio producing Hip Hop in a studio he ran with some friends in the city as well as scoring a few commercials for TV. This is actually the point in time where Elio got involved in Bluegrass. Needing a mandolin part for a commercial score, he picked up a mandolin. For him, it was like hearing music for the first time all over again. Falling in love with music all over again. Elio never looked back. Never did another hip hop track or played another electric guitar or keyboard overdub or samples anything since. He obsessed with all things hillbilly, religiously attending all local jam sessions in NY and BK and finding a whole new world of cool people and inspiring music. In 2006 Elio met Rick Snell and they, together, brought together Six Deadly Venoms, a band that has since risen to the top of the New York Bluegrass scene and are building a solid national reputation.
Elio is writing some of the freshest, most exciting original acoustic music around and along with his band of killers, aims to deliver his music with outstanding goodness.
Rick Snell (Guitar/Voice) -
Rick Snell has toured the states and Europe many times over with Only Son and the genre bending psychrock phenom Dufus, with whom he has released over ten albums. He regularly hits the road with other friends as well. He is a founding member of Six Deadly Venoms, a highly acclaimed bluegrass ensemble based in NYC with whom he made the final round of the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest in 2009 and tours the US regularly. He’s been active for a few years in various misical communities based in New York City and can be seen on a nightly basis playing and singing everything from jazz to soul to country, antifolk and avante garde. Rick has many credits as a studio musician, most recently releasing two albums with The 45′s, under the artful production of Brice Goggin (The Ramones, Phish, Antony and the Johnsons). His work with the McCabes and the David Munnelly Band has brought him acclaim as a picker well-versed in traditional Irish music, and has brought him before most of the major Irish festivals throughout the U.S. including the Kansas Irish Festival, the East Durham Irish Festival and the Newport Kentucky Irish Festival. Rick is also involved with musical theatre, most notably in his role as first chair shred guitar for “Steel Pterodactyl” at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
Jared Engel has spent the last 7 years of his life deep in the musical trenches of the great borough of Brooklyn, performing on multiple instruments in countless genres and collaborating with world-class musicians. Though primarily an upright bassist, he has become increasingly sought after for some of his other talents, which include producing records, playing the plectrum banjo, and playing clawhammer banjo. His professional career started as the bass player in The Stephane Wrembel Trio, a gypsy-jazz group that he played with for 6 years. The group would eventually record and tour with mandolin great David Grisman and be featured in the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. Upon leaving the group in 2007, Jared became enchanted by the sounds of early New-Orleans-Style-Jazz and co-founded the Baby Soda Jazz Band, which has now recorded 3 albums and has performed at The Village Vanguard. In 2010, Jared began playing bass and touring with Country/Bluegrass music star Abigail Washburn. This experience led to getting the opportunity to play with musicians such as Bela Fleck and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. Engel continues to be a staple of the NYC roots music scene.
Todd Livingston (Dobro/Voice) -
Originaly from Saginaw, MI, Todd Patrick Livingston now lives and plays music professionally in New York City. He has specialized in Bluegrass dobro since 1998. After winning the 2001 Rockygrass Dobro Championship, Todd was an assistant instructor at the 2002 and 2003 Rockygrass Academy. Tod co-founded the Colorado based Bluegrass band, Hit And Run, winners of the 2002 Rockygrass, 2003 Telluride and 2005 SPGMA band competitions. Todd had the honor of headlining with his own band at the 2007 Dobrofest in Trnava, Slovakia. Todd has worked with Earl Scruggs, Missy Raines, Jim Lauderdale, Cowboy Troy(Big and Rich), Emmy nominated Gangstagrass and many others. Todd plays Beard Resophonic Guitars.
Bennett Sullivan (Banjo/Voice) -
Bennett is a professional banjo player and guitarist performing, teaching, and writing music in Brooklyn, NY. He hails from the rolling hills of North Carolina, where he studied with banjo master Jens Kruger. Besides playing with SDV, he has performed and recorded as a sideman with numerous artists in the New York area, including PartyFolk, Honky Tonk band Hans Holzen and the Dive Bar Dukes, and virtuosic guitarist and vocalist Allan Harris.