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5 questions with Allan Sizemore of The Wild Rumpus

WANT TO GO?

Carnaval New Orleans

A fundraiser for the Clay Center

WHERE: The Clay Center

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

TICKETS: Advance $175, at the door $200

INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.org

Note: Black tie optional event. Masks and costumes encouraged.CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Wild Rumpus has been one of those bands to watch for some time. Founded by songwriter Andrew Adkins, who's joined by Allan Sizemore and Clint Lewis, the band has become a regular on the regional festival circuit and occasionally plays in Charleston.

On Saturday night, the band performs at the Clay Center's Carnaval New Orleans fundraiser, along with the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band and Davell Crawford, which is a pretty good gig for a three-piece outfit from Fayetteville.

The Gazz spoke with guitarist Allan Sizemore about the origins of the band, how it's not a bluegrass band and why it has developed a following outside the state but still has trouble finding places to play in West Virginia.

Q: How was The Wild Rumpus founded?

A: "We came together late 2006/early 2007. We were all in other bands. Andrew brought this project to me. Actually, it was going to be a solo project for him.

"He kind of had this blues band called The Wild Rumpus Together, but it wasn't very serious -- and before we even really got started, half of those guys dropped out. But the new band took on a life of its own. We all left our other bands and have been at it ever since."

Q: What do you call the kind of music you play?

A: "We call it Appalachian Stomp Grass. That's a phrase I coined for my other band, but The Wild Rumpus personifies that.

"People want to call us bluegrass, but we're not. We have some of the same instrumentation and play some bluegrass, but we're more of a rock n' roll band that throws all kinds of things together, including bluegrass and swing."

Q: How much do you play in West Virginia?

A: "We play about 80 percent out of West Virginia. We do a lot of big music festivals. We have one of the main stage performances this year at MerleFest [in Wilkesboro, N.C.], and we've played there before. We've also played the Bristol Rhythm and Root Festival and the Americana Music Association [Festival and Conference] in Nashville.

"We're from here, but we don't really call ourselves a local band because we just don't play locally that much."

Q: Is that because you're more of an outdoors, festival kind of band?

A: "I wouldn't say that. We play the Boulevard Tavern in Charleston, and we love that because it gets a little crazy. You can kind of get that audience participation going. On the big stage, you're so removed from the audience. It takes a little getting used to, to be honest.

"There just aren't a lot of places for us to play in West Virginia, I guess."

Q: What's ahead for The Wild Rumpus?

A: "We had a hard year with the [June] storm and all. It kind of knocked us all about. We're also a three-piece now. I used to play banjo for the band, but now I'm on guitar, which is fine. I know how to play both.

"We kind of took a couple of months off and hope things are better for us in 2013. We've got a new album coming out called 'Shake Yer Rumpus.' That will be out before MerleFest, maybe around the first of April."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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