Hazmat Modine

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Wade Schuman of Hazmat Modine performing at Stockholm JazzFest09
Hazmat Modine performing in Stuttgart, 2013

Hazmat Modine is a blues/folk/world /jazz musical group from New York. "Hazmat" is a portmanteau of "hazardous material", and "Modine" is the name of a company that manufactures commercial heaters but may be used to refer to the heater itself. The band features harmonica, tuba trumpet, saxophone, drums and two guitars, as well as solo and harmony vocals.


Founded in the late 1990s by songwriter Wade Schuman (vocals and harmonica, occasional guitar and other instruments), the band in their formative years also featured mainstays Joe Daley (tuba, sousaphone) and Randy Weinstein (harmonica). Other personnel varied considerably, including not only performers on guitar, drums and sax but also exotic oddities like cimbalom and bass marimba.

Their debut album was recorded over a five-year span and earned positive critical notice. Hazmat Modine was featured on the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered" on October 25, 2006,[1] and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation program "The Daily Planet" on May 29, 2006.[2]

Their second Hazmat Modine album featured a more stable lineup, though Weinstein has parted ways with the band.

In 2013 Wade Schuman enlisted his friend songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Erik Della Penna to join the band. Schuman wanted the band to evolve into one that had more vocal harmonies, also, he was becoming more interested in the long tradition of American songwriting: Irving Berlin, Fats Waller, Doc Pomus, Hays & Porter. A live album followed in 2014, and a studio album in 2015.

Hazmat Modine performing in Koblenz, 2014

Critical reception[edit]

The band's first album, titled Bahamut and released on the Geckophonic label, peaked at #12 on Billboard's "Top Blues Albums" chart.[3]

Reviewing the album for Allmusic, Jeff Tamarkin gave it four stars out of a possible five, and termed it a "stunning debut".[4] Tamarkin praised the band for successfully fusing styles as disparate as blues, jazz, calypso, and ska into "music that sounds at once ageless and primeval, authentically indigenous and inexplicably otherworldly, familiar and unlike anything else."[4] He also praised the group for making "listener-friendly music" that doesn't "require a degree in ethnomusicology to enjoy".[4]

Pitchfork Media reviewer Joe Tangari gave the album's track "Everybody Loves You," a collaboration with Tuvan throat singers Huun-Huur-Tu, a four-star review.[5] Characterizing it as "generalized roots music that takes from pretty much any roots it sees fit," he praised it as "true world music, weird and wonderful to the last note."[5]


  • Wade Schuman: lead vocals and harmonica
  • Joseph Daley: tuba, Sousaphone
  • Pamela Fleming: trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Steve Elson: saxophone, duduk
  • Erik DellaPenna: guitar, banjo, vocals
  • Michael Gomez: guitar
  • William Bauch: drums
  • Rachelle Garniez: accordion, claviola, vocals

Past members[edit]

  • Bill Barrett:- harmonica
  • Scott Veenstra:- drums


Title Date of release Record label
Bahamut August 2006 Barbès Records (JARO in Europe)
Cicada May 2011 Barbès Records (JARO in Europe)
Hazmat Modine Live May 2014 JARO in Europe
Extra-Deluxe-Supreme May 2015 JARO in Europe


  1. ^ Eyre, Banning. ""Alien and Familiar: The Music of Hazmat Modine"," National Public Radio, published October 25, 2006, accessed February 15, 2008.
  2. ^ "Hazmat Modine", ABC.net.au, published May 29, 2006, accessed February 15, 2008.
  3. ^ "Hazmat Modine - Charts & Awards", Allmusic, accessed February 15, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Tamarkin, Jeff. "Bahamut - Overview", Allmusic, accessed February 15, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Tangari, Joe. ""Everybody Loves You" Track Review," Pitchfork Media, published January 3, 2007, accessed February 15, 2008.

External links[edit]