This Pair of Local Architects Become a Rock 'n' Roll Cover Band Every Halloween
Starting six years ago, John Malone and Doug McClure do double-duty as a different band come October.
When not designing buildings, Irvington architects John Malone and Doug McClure are the frontmen for an annual Halloween bash. Their unnamed cover band paid tribute to Talking Heads last year (above).
When two Irvington-based architects first proposed playing in a band on Halloween six years ago, they didn’t anticipate that it would take off as it has. John Malone (below, left), AIA, principal of Ferguson Malone Architecture, and Doug McClure (below, right), principal of McC Architecture, alongside other Rivertowns professionals, collaborate every year to create a legit rock ’n’ roll revue that has expanded to a multi-street bonanza in Irvington. This past Halloween, four different bands played across three dead-end streets.
“We’ve always had a fairly big Halloween on our street,” explains McClure. “And one year, John said, ‘Hey, why don’t we dress up as the Ramones and learn some songs and put on a show?’ So that’s what we did. It’s a ton of fun and a different kind of creative outlet that gives us more inspiration to keep going with the day-to-day stuff.”
“The band is made up of all the people around us,” says Malone of the still-unnamed group, which also includes pianist Michael Roth, guitarists Miyuki Furtado and Patrick Harmon, and bassist Eric Kaye. “As the band has progressed, year after year, it’s gotten a little bit better. We have actual musicians at this point, all local.”
Each year, the band undergoes several weeks of practice to create a near-perfect iteration of a famous rock band — complete with lighting rigs and sound engineering. First, it was the Ramones, then the Cars, Devo, Bowie, and, last year, Talking Heads. “We were trying to sound exactly like Talking Heads,” says Malone. “We’re not ‘jamming.’ This is a precise thing going on.”
“It’s a ton of fun and a different kind of creative outlet that gives us more inspiration to keep going with the day-to-day stuff.”
To prepare for the 2017 Halloween tribute, McClure says he began listening to Talking Heads tunes early on, “because I knew it was difficult stuff. I watched the videos to try and get a couple of key moves in, so people would say, “Oh that really is [David Byrne] up there.”
These businessman bandmates have a background in music. McClure played cello as a child and bass in the early years of the band, before switching to the frontman role. Malone, meanwhile, is the drummer and had played in a band called the Dirt
Merchants, alongside his brother, while in graduate school in Boston.
Though they emerge annually for Halloween, the band has performed together elsewhere, too. “We’ve been asked to play at a couple different gigs,” shares McClure. “We did Spring Fest a couple of years ago,” trotting out a medley of songs from the playlists of the bands they cover.
“It was a greatest-hits tour!” jokes Malone.