The Startenders

This text will be replaced

With over 40 years on the accordion, John's big claim to fame is that his music stand is "usually" twice the age of most of his bandmates. He was always "hearing things" in his head as a child. It was with much relief that he discovered it was actually music. All the local love started when he saw his first Boston rock show, "Gun Club." Couple that with several trips to Bayou country and the bastard love child of Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Frank Yankovic and Dewey Balfa was hatched. Since then, John "Juan Diablo," has never looked back. Contrary to popular local legend, Juan never really studied Jazz at Berklee. He did however buy Jax at the Berklee snack shop; they were of cheese variety.Juan has been squeezing locally for the past 20 years with the likes of Trona, Lisa Karp, Los Diablos, Grubstake, Reverand Bob and the Darkness, Ballou, and The Splendid Nobodies.


Some years ago, a ten year old Cris Driscoll (with a blonde, perfectly executed bowl-cut) was plucked from throngs of pleading children at The Big Apple Circus to perform in the center of it all, in a clown competition. In that moment, he knew all he wanted from life was to be part of the circus in some capacity. He soon accepted that he lacked the physical prowess necessary for circussing and the colorful sense of humor that clowning required. He turned to music and hoped that one day it might reunite him with his true love. After puberty, Cris moved from New York to Boston, forming a rock band named Mappari enjoying successes both locally and country-wide before their violent and explosive demise. He then served as backup vocalist/rhythm guitarist for Universal Recording Artist, Will Dailey, touring the country for years, until the birth of his second and third sons (yes, twins) left him questioning the lifestyle of a traveling man. As if scripted, it was at this moment of uncertainty in Cris' life, that future Solstice Circus leader, Christine Newsham, asked for his involvement in her 'idea'. Cris leapt at the opportunity for his 2 passions to at last meld. 7 solstices later, the dream of that toe-headed boy, standing on that sawdust Manhattan floor, has been fully realized.


Sarah plays a couple of notes on the trumpet during the circus shows. She also begs for random circus jobs from Christine. She enjoys bassett hounds & red headed men, specifically her husband, Dave Livingston.


Dave is the guitar player in the Startenders, Though he is neither a star or tender. He enjoys dogs and circii. He is happily married to Sarah Grant, trumpeter extraordinaire.


Matt Murphy has been playing and drinking in bars across the world for the past twenty years with the likes of Frank Morey, Melvern Taylor and his fabulous meltones, raging teens, rosco gordon and the kings of nothing. When not playing music, he's thinking about music.


With amazingly great parents who encouraged Scott and his brothers with an open door policy of a constant parade of crazy friends and musicians in their house, it's as Scott if grew up living in a circus. An original member of The Startenders, Scott started an enormous collection of drums and odd percussion at an early age, eventually pouring them into his first band, Duck Duck: an 11 person band whose DNA was so 'circusy', they even had a Ringling Bros. clown in the group. Everything in his life seemed to point towards running away with the circus, from learning to juggle, running a theater group, majoring in xylophone in college, and even doing foley work with real clowns... He was in the right place at the right time, playing a five year residency at The Plough & Stars with Frank Morey And The True Stories, when the solstice/equinox circus was born. The star(tender)s aligned and the cowbells rang... Circus certain serendipity. But all this means nothing compared to Scott's ultimate happiness of finally have a gig to play with his flute playing wife, Liz.