Tom MacDonald and Mikail Graham are both previous winners of the Nevada City Chamber Of Commerce "Live Music" award and have been performing together in some form or another since the mid 1970's starting with the Nevada County seminal group "HERE", and later, the 80's musical powerhouse "Matinee Forever", which among other members featured local folk luminaries Paul Kamm and Eleanor MacDonald, also previous winners of this prestigious Nevada City award.
After a final incarnation of that group disbanded in 1986, MacDonald, Kamm and Graham began performing together under such eccentric lounge like pseudonyms as the "Over The Edge Trio", as well as the “Jell-O Farmers” performing at various clubs and festivals between Davis and Reno Nevada.
In the summer of 1987 they were asked to put a band together for a July 4th party at a local Nevada County residents home. They called upon various musicians from previous incarnations of the earlier mentioned bands to round things out. Of particular note, for bass and vocals they called upon Billy Smart whom Graham has known since they were teenagers and who has been playing in local Nevada City bands since the mid 1960’s including The Carnaby Hangup, Dr. Strange, Absalom, The Tom & Dink Revue, the bi-costal southern rock band Carrie Nation, Chuck Wagon & The Wheels, and back again since 2004 with Dakota Sid & The Badland Serenaders. After the first performance the group decided that perhaps it might be fun to continue this new collaboration on a more regular basis and hence was born Buck Love and the Humperheads. The group has been cited as "the best party band around ", by local fans and other musicians ever since.
Of special note, during the 1990’s guitarist Paul Kamm and former keyboardist Dave Smith splintered off to form a side band called The Deadbeats that has been hailed by both fans and press as one of the best Grateful Dead style jam bands on the west coast.
Over the years many members of their audiences have asked about the origination of the band’s seemingly risqué name, which indeed has a very clear, albeit hazy history.
Apparently during a night of extended playing and partying at the Passage, a former music club/bar in Truckee California, the members of the Over The Edge Trio were asked what the type of music they played was called. Tom MacDonald was heard to reply, "music of the humperheads" in reference to the various ongoing avant-garde diatribes that MacDonald is internationally known for. The three musicians had a good laugh, filed away the name and promptly forgot about it until the time came to name this new ensemble. At this point they quickly added the moniker "Buck Love", which had also come from the same late night session. Apparently a rather poor attempt at describing a certain Greek pastry more commonly known as "baklava" (i.e. Buck Love = baklava), and so was born the infamous band name "Buck Love and the Humperheads".
The goal of the band, unlike many of the day, was and is not to be the next big thing, rather they came together to have fun at all costs and share their musical diversity with their fans whenever and wherever possible. The band has been a mainstay on the Nevada County and Northern California music scene for the better part of 20 years.
In 2004, in cooperation with local producer/engineer Ken Schumacher they released their first CD a collection of original songs which was followed in the summer of 2006 by their second and third releases "Cover Tunes VOL 2 & 3" all recorded LIVE at Cooper’s in downtown Nevada City.
Locally the band has played at many music clubs that no longer exist as well as many that do, including: Big Al’s; The Mad Dogs & Englishmen Pub; York Street Blues; Wiley’s; Kirby’s; The Old Brewery; Bellavista; The Miner’s Foundry; The Nevada Theater; The Crazy Horse; Cooper’s; The Washington Hotel; Nevada City Summer Nights; as well as numerous benefits and private party’s around the area and even in Grass Valley on rare occasion.
In September of 2006 their original keyboardist Dave Smith relocated to Austin Texas. Dave then recommended a new keyboardist Lenny La Rue, who joined the band soon thereafter to rave reviews. Alas ,due to health complications Lenny had to withdraw in mid 2010 and the band has now returned to it's original five piece lineup along with the occasional member variation, plus assorted guest musicians joining the band on different occasions.
Their music is a melting pot of R&B, Soul, Funk, Southern Rock & Reggae, Folk, Jazz, World Beat & jam band style party music. Their powerful vocal harmonies, coupled with showcase guitar work and driving percussive beats, make their performances a memorable time for their audiences wherever and whenever they perform. They are considered to be one of the best Jam Bands around and are planning on performing more often at festivals, paries and clubs during 2006.
They write their own songs and mix these with timeless classics from the past thirty years or more. With a strong accent on everyone having a good time, listening and dancing to the music of the Humperheads is like taking in a big breath of fresh air.
Mikail Graham - vocals and guitars
Paul Kamm - vocals and guitars
Tom MacDonald - vocals, guitar and percussion
Billy Smart - electric bass and vocals
Mark Yedinak - drums and electronic percussion
Always an event to remember, the Humperheads strive to make sure everyone leaves their shows with a big smile on their face and having won the 2005 Nevada City Live Music award and being awarded a cool certificate by CA Senator Barbara Boxer, it appears they have succeeded.