The Moody Coyotes are made up of multi-instrumentalist Mike Siegel, bassist Dave Johnson, drummer Rick Bengelink, and mandolin and guitar player Robin Nott. Nott says they each have had different musical influences and those influences affect their song choices.
“It’s personal favorites, everybody brings to the band what they like from music and we all try things out together. And, we end up with an eclectic collection of music from our pasts. It’s acoustic American roots, Americana, with European influences, but it’s basically roots music, ah, done acoustically” Nott says.
The Moody Coyotes first formed in 1993. Mike Siegel plays a variety of instruments, including harmonica, mandolin, accordion, guitar and banjo. He is also a luthier who has made many stringed instruments. As an original member of the band, Siegel says he’s always been attracted to the coyote as an artistic muse. In fact, the names of just about every band he’s been in over the past four decades have referred to the animal.
“It just sort of evolved into the Moody Coyotes,” he says, “because you know, it’s a bunch of middle-aged moody guys. And, the coyote is kind of a trickster, magical kind of beast. And, so that name kind of stuck.”
Dave Johnson is the Moody Coyotes’ bass player. He also shares vocal duties with Seigel and Nott. Johnson recalls his big dreams when he started playing music as a very young man back in 1967.
“So when you start out, you know, you have visions of glory.” He says with a laugh. “And then, as the years go by it gets more personal and you just do it for the enjoyment.”
But, making music, even simply for the sheer joy of it, requires dedication and, as Siegel says, lots of hard work.
“Well, if there’s one thing I can say about us as a band, we do work at it," says Siegel. "We practice, we learn new material. We try to play three or four hours a week, every week. We are continually trying to hone our craft and hopefully that pays off, so we can perform and not sound like a bunch of hacks up there.”
The Moody Coyotes perform in concert Friday, January 11, at 7 p.m. in the Stryker Theatre at the downtown Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Tickets will be available at the door.