Three Evanston Township High School grads are making music and news this month as half of the band Burnside & Hooker. The group’s second album, “All the Way to the Devil,” will be released on May 19 with a headlining show at Chicago’s Double Door on May 22.
Cellist Ted Graham (ETHS 2003), violist Diana Mayne (2007) and bassist Ken Fuller (2007), along with singer Rachel Bonacquisti, guitarist Michael Vogus and drummer Vuck create foot-stomping rhythms and sounds that draw from blues, rock, pop, country, and jazz.
The Evanstonians trained in Haven Middle School, King Lab and ETHS orchestras. Ms. Mayne’s mother was the orchestra conductor when Mr. Graham was at King Lab and remains, he says, “a loyal Burnside & Hooker fan.” Mr. Fuller played jazz; Ms. Mayne sang. Both played in the pit for ETHS musicals, “absolute favorite” experiences for Ms. Mayne that she says helped her decide to be a professional musician.
Mr. Graham and Mr. Vogus were already playing together when Ms. Mayne joined them for an “acoustic folk project,” she says. She “hit me up” Mr. Fuller says, when they were looking for a bass player. He listened to some songs, he says, and “was hooked.”
The group became Burnside & Hooker, a name with “double references,” says the band, “to jazz musicians and Civil War generals.” Ms. Mayne writes the band’s music with the singer and guitarist; the others write the instrumental parts she says “make the songs come to life.”
They are geographically scattered for day jobs; their musical interests are all over the map. Ms. Mayne freelances with traditional music, loves playing hard rock and metal. Mr. Graham says he “enjoys the balance” of band and classical chamber and orchestral music.
It all comes together onstage. “Playing with the band,” Mr. Graham says, “is similar to classical chamber music in that it requires a lot of communication on stage, but it is a much more relaxed environment.”