D.C.-Bal­ti­more mu­si­cian was known for rootsy Hawai­ian tunes and shirts

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - BY EMMA BROWN browne@wash­post.com

Dave Giegerich was a mu­si­cian known in the Bal­ti­more­area for his hy­brid of Hawai­ian tunes, western swing and rock­a­billy. The lo­cal roots mu­sic com­mu­nity rec­og­nized him as a mas­ter of the steel gui­tar and the do­bro, an acous­tic gui­tar with a metal res­onator to am­plify its sound.

As a side­man, he ac­com­pa­nied a num­ber of singer-song­writ­ers and blue­grass groups, in­clud­ing Bill Har­rell and the Vir­gini­ans. He con­trib­uted to dozens of record­ings by groups such as Wayne Tay­lor and Ap­paloosa as well as Smooth Ken­tucky.

Mr. Giegerich, who recorded a solo al­bum, “Slide-Tracked,” and per­formed at the White House, the Kennedy Cen­ter and the Birch­mere in Alexan­dria, died Dec. 29 at the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Bal­ti­more of com­pli­ca­tions from aplas­tic ane­mia, a blood dis­or­der. He was 57.

In 1988, he was in­spired to co-found his own group, the Hula Mon­sters, while play­ing a gig on a din­ner-cruise ship in Bal­ti­more. He had been hired by the house­boat’s reg­u­lar band to evoke Hawaii be­tween sets, and a rootsy, is­land-tinged sound was born.

“We didn’t re­ally have a back­ground in play­ing with a Hawai­ian feel,” Mr. Giegerich once said. “We did have Hawai­ian shirts, though!”

The band evolved into a quar­tet that played at lo­cal venues and had a reg­u­lar date ev­ery other Tues­day at the Cat’s Eye Pub in Bal­ti­more. The group per­formed some orig­i­nal com­po­si­tions byMr. Giegerich but mostly cov­ered crowd-pleas­ing stan­dards, such as the jazz-blues song “St. James In­fir­mary” and the Hawai­ian-themed “Hill­billy Hula Girl.”

The Hula Mon­sters were well re­garded if not gen­er­ously paid. They sup­ple­mented their in­come by sell­ing Hawai­ian shirts they’d col­lected from thrift stores and garage sales.

“ The other night, I made twice as much from sell­ing shirts as I did for play­ing,” Mr. Giegerich told the Bal­ti­more Sun in 1997.

In a 1996 ar­ti­cle about Bal­ti­more night life, Eric Brace, a mu­si­cian and for­mer writer for TheWash­ing­ton Post, praised the Mon­sters as “one of the best bands in the world.”

David Giegerich was born in Chicago on March 15, 1953, and grew up in South Haven, Mich. He started play­ing gui­tar as a young man and, af­ter study­ing for sev­eral years at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­sity, dropped out of school to pur­sue mu­sic full time.

For the past dozen years, he had worked as an au­dio­vi­sual spe­cial­ist at the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land School of So­cial Work in Bal­ti­more. In 1988, he grad­u­ated from the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Bal­ti­more County.

Sur­vivors in­clude his wife of 25 years, Pamela McLeod of El­li­cott City; two sons, Axel Giegerich of El­li­cott City and Carter Giegerich, who is study­ing blue­grass at East Ten­nessee State Uni­ver­sity; his fa­ther, Ray­mond Giegerich of South Haven; two broth­ers; and a sis­ter.

Mr. Giegerich won more than 10 “Wam­mies,” awards given an­nu­ally by the Washington Area Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion. He had re­cently formed a blue­grass group, East of Mon­roe, and was record­ing an al­bum when he be­came ill.

FAM­ILY PHOTO

Dave Giegerich’sHu­laMon­sters were well re­garded if not gen­er­ously paid. The band sup­ple­mented its in­come by sell­ingHawai­ian shirts.

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