First/Last – Charlie Hustle & the Grifters

January 20, 2016

“Charlie Hustle & the Grifters brings together four Pittsburgh musicians under the banner of heady musical synergy. Its members include guitarist Peter Flynn and upright bassist Trish Imbrogno of The Grifters, drummer Dave Varasse from one of Pittsburgh’s premier funk bands, the Old E Allstars, and guitarist Patrick Varine. The quartet comes together and forms like Voltron! … if Voltron consisted of two guitars, upright bass, drums and a fond desire to blend rock, folk and the blues into a gritty, tasty stew.”

Charlie Hustle & the Grifters are a jam/blues band from Pittsburgh who are part of a cool event coming up on Saturday (1/23). at The Oaks Theater in Oakmont. Get on your dancin’ shoes and find out all the info here. I want to thank Patrick Varine (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

  • The first album you ever bought?
  • For me, this goes all the way back to cassette tapes, and I’m honestly not sure. I remember the first compact disc I bought with my own money: the edited version of Cypress Hill’s 1993 Black Sunday album, which was not only missing “A to the K,” but changed the title of “When the Sh*t Goes Down” to “When the Ship Goes Down”!
  • Your last album bought?
  • Run the Jewels 2, by Run the Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike).
  • Favorite album of all time?
  • Probably a three-way tie between the Grateful Dead’s Europe ’72, The Allman Brothers’ Live at the Fillmore East and Redman’s Dare iz a Darkside.
  • Least favorite/most disappointing album?
  • After loving the first Moby Grape LP and reading about their leader singer Skip Spence, I bought his solo album, Oar… not good.
  • First concert attended?
  • I’m loathe to even admit this, but my parents dragged me to a Brooks & Dunn concert at Star Lake Amphitheatre when I was in middle school. And thus began my lifelong hatred of all post-1981 country music.
  • Last concert?
  • Kyle Lawson Band, Jan. 2015 at Thunderbird Cafe (now that I have a 3-year-old, the wife and I don’t get to nearly as many shows as we’d like!)
  • Favorite concert ever?
  • Phil Lesh & Friends, April 2001, at the Palumbo Center. That version of P&F (Lesh, Rob Baracco, Warren Haynes, Jimmy Herring and John Molo) was the most ass-kicking band I’ve ever seen. They could do anything.
  • Least favorite concert?
  • Brooks & Dunn (see “first concert”).
  • Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
  • Most of my favorite Pittsburgh experiences involve the arts and culture scene: running from one exhibit to the next at the museums as a kid; wandering around the Three Rivers Arts Festival taking in all the sights, sounds and smells; going to plays and musicals with my parents at Pittsburgh Public Theater… the depth of creativity in this city never fails to impress me.
  • Thanks, Patrick. Saturday sounds real fun, man. I can’t imagine anyone sitting at their table for too long!