The Subdudes (stylized as The subdudes) are an American roots rock group from New Orleans. Their music is a blending of American folk, swamp pop, New Orleans rhythm and blues, Louisiana blues, country, cajun/zydeco, funk, soul and gospel with harmonic vocals. Their sound is notable for the band's substitution of a tambourine player for a drummer.
The Subdudes often credit their songwriting to the group as a whole, although the primary songwriters are Tommy Malone (brother of The Radiators guitarist Dave Malone) and John Magnie. Current members of The Subdudes are Malone, vocals, acoustic, electric and slide guitars; Magnie, vocals, accordion, keyboards; Steve Amedée, tambourine, drums, other percussions, and vocals; Tim Cook, percussion, bass and vocals; and Jimmy Messa, bass and guitar. They are an Americana band with a rock-based sound that also shows soul, gospel, blues, cajun/zydeco, country, and other American roots music influences. Their former bass player was Johnny Ray Allen, who has not been with the band since the band's 1996 farewell tour (documented the next year on the Live at Last CD). Willie Williams also contributed to three albums: Annunciation, Primitive Streak and Live at Last as a second guitarist.
After regrouping in 2002 (first as The Dudes but then re-adopting the name 'subdudes' in March 2003), Bob Dylan's guitarist Freddy Koella helped produce Miracle Mule. The album Behind the Levee (2006) was produced by bluesman Keb' Mo' and yielded a minor hit, "Papa Dukie and the Mud People" (better known by its refrain, "Love is a Beautiful Thing"). Released in late 2007, the album Street Symphony was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at Blackbird Studios during March 2007 and was produced by George Massenberg, who has worked with Little Feat. Released in late 2008, Live at the Ram's Head is available on CD or as a two DVD set, with one disc being the live show from "The Ram's Head" in Annapolis, Maryland, and the second DVD being Unplugged at Pleasant Plains, with interviews and live studio footage from the recording of Street Symphony in Nashville.
Most recently (2009), the band's self-produced Flower Petals was recorded in Magnie's basement studio then mixed in Miami, Florida by The Albert Brothers and Steve Alaimo. The album was a departure for the band, much more country-oriented than previous releases. The cover art was by William Matthews, a Denver, Colorado artist well known for his Old West-style paintings. Flower Petals was originally slated to be recorded as the follow-up to Miracle Mule in 2004 but was nixed by the band's record company at the time, Back Porch Records. Five years later, the band members financed the recording themselves then shopped around the completed tapes.
The Subdudes' stature as New Orleans musicians has recently been reflected by their inclusion individually and as a group in the HBO series Treme.
After the band being on hiatus since 2011, the original line up of the subdudes (never capitalized) with Johnny Ray Allen on bass is reuniting for at least 2 shows in March 2014 in Colorado with more shows possible.