Members of local band among the deceased in Cafe Racer shooting

“Cafe Racer equals love.” The Stranger

The above statement appears on the Cafe Racer website under the “Press” tab. Unfortunately that was not the case for a local band today as it is being reported that some of the members of God’s Favorite Beefcake were are among the deceased in today’s shooting at the popular U District hangout. The band is the unofficial house band for the Alt-Rock Hub known as Cafe Racer. The two slain members of the band were Drew “Shmootzi The Clod” Keriakedes and Joseph “Mashuguna Joe” Albanese. They could be seen regularly hanging out at the cafe when they weren’t playing.

God’s Favorite Beefcake just played the Fun House during the Folklife festival on Saturday.

Americana roots sound was mixed with a gypsy punk stage presence as Keriakedes often wore clown make-up and top hats in performances with Albanese often found sporting a tobacco pipe in his mouth while playing.

God's Favorite Beefcake FEATURED
God's Favorite Beefcake

We are staying on top of the story and when we get some information about band members we will report them.

God’s Favorite Beefcake on Bandcamp

Shmootzi the Clod –
David George Gordon – Stunt Harmonica
Meshuguna Joe – Bull Goose Fiddle
Creepy Uncle Milly – Fiddle
Dumbelina, the Queen of the Bimbos – Spoons, Vocals
Katie Mae Glutz – Banjo, Saw, Vocals
Snuffaluffagus – Squeezebox, Mandolin
Olie Eshleman – Pedal Steel
Danah Olivetree – Cello

More from the Seattle Times on the two best friends and band members:


On stage, Drew Keriakedes often played a foul-mouthed, singing clown. Underneath the facade, he was a bighearted, romantic songwriter, according to friends and band mates.

“Drew could be crass. He liked telling terrible, sometimes dirty jokes, then singing a really gorgeous song. He always gave the persona of clown or oaf, then took his songwriting seriously,” said Terry Podgorski, who was production and stage manager of Circus Contraption, a vaudeville-burlesque group that Keriakedes performed with for years.

The group called itself a nonprofit collective and was made up of more than a dozen performers rooted in circus arts. It played in New York, San Francisco, even Portugal. In performances, Keriakedes was front and center, singing as Shmootzi the Clod.

Sari Breznau, a singer with the group, played at the wedding of Keriakedes and his wife, Zoe, in New York City several years ago. “I never met anyone with as much talent as Drew,” Breznau said. “He was the one of the most profound, simple and loving songwriters you ever heard.”

Keriakedes, 45, grew up in Florida, Breznau said, and joked that he was from the “sticks.” His parents, Logan and Judith Keriakedes, live in Cape Coral, Fla.

Gus Clark, who played with Keriakedes’ last band, God’s Favorite Beefcake, said he met Keriakedes busking at Pike Place Market about eight years ago with bass player Joe Albanese, his best friend.

The two were almost inseparable, according to friends. Albanese lived with Keriakedes and his wife. “I didn’t see them apart in the last seven years,” said Breznau.

Friends were stunned to hear Keriakedes and Albanese were killed at Cafe Racer, a favorite hangout where they helped foster a creative community.

Cafe Racer was a “home to us, almost a haven for all different types, young and old, strait-laced and weirdos, and we’re all full of shock,” Clark said.

He said Keriakedes and Albanese were like older brothers to him. “We’re all just crying and drinking,” he said Wednesday night.

Chris Assaf, who lived near the cafe, knew Keriakedes. “He took a liking to my kids and would read them books when he came by to visit,” Assaf said, tearing up outside the police lines Wednesday. “He would sing a song and you wouldn’t know what it was, but by the end of the song you would end up singing with him. You would know all the words.”

— By Bob Young with Javier Panzar


Joe “Vito” Albanese played the bass by ear” taking an unconventional approach to music as he did to life.

His band mates in punk bands and vaudeville acts over the years became accustomed to playing new songs a few times for him until he picked it up.

Albanese, 52, did not live to impress anyone, say those who knew him. He loved to play music and be with his friends, especially his band mate, roommate and best friend, Drew Keriakedes, who was with him at Cafe Racer Espresso when he died.

“He was just your old typical musician,” said Tony Cunningham, Albanese’s boss at Johnny’s Ballard Shoe Services. “He’d rather play a gig and drink and have some food and call it a good night. And if he made money, that’s good. And if he didn’t, that’s fine, too.”

Albanese was a bassist for God’s Favorite Beefcake, which played most recently at Seattle’s Folklife Festival on Saturday morning. Before that, he played for more than a decade with Circus Contraption, a vaudeville-burlesque act for which Keriakedes was the frontman and songwriter.

He grew up in Hillsdale, N.J., the youngest of five children in a Catholic Italian family. They moved to Arizona when Albanese was 10 or 11.

His sister, Vaune Albanese, said her brother was a rebel even as a child, refusing to wear new clothes. As a teenager, he joined two punk-rock bands, the God Wads and the Mighty Sphincter.

“He loved his music and he made himself a life that worked for him, and he brought music and entertainment to thousands and thousands of people who went crazy for their music,” Vaune Albanese said.

God’s Favorite Beefcake had plans to play the 85th birthday party of Albanese’s mom next month.

Albanese was a meticulous leather-worker and “a jokester,” his sister said. He especially loved the Marx Brothers and could quote lines at length from old comic films.

Albanese is survived by his mother, Rosalee Jones, of Sun City West, Ariz.; sisters Vaune Albanese, of Portland, Corinne DeLange, of Issaquah, and Linda Paterik, of Buckley, Pierce County; and brother, Thomas Albanese, of Downers Grove, Ill.

He struggled, at times, with drug addiction, his sisters and friends said. He lived in the rented basement of a Ravenna-area home with Drew and Zoe Keriakedes, frequently taking in other musicians who needed a place to stay. “They were very caring, giving people, who wanted to share their gift of music,” said Mylinda Sneed, a friend and neighbor. “They were amazing people and are going to be dearly, dearly missed.”

– Emily Heffter

Seattle Times article:

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