Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum, who will be giving their third-ever live show next Tuesday at Trans-Pecos, has such little online presence, it almost feels like they’re trying to keep their existence a secret. But for a pretty new band you’ve probably never heard of, their members might surprise you: they’re Matt Katz-Bohen, who since 2008 has toured with Blondie; Peter Yanowitz, of The Wallflowers and Morningwood; and Michael C. Hall, who you might remember from your nightmares, in the years Dexter was on.
The three met in 2015 at Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, where Yanowitz was playing drums, Katz-Bohen was serving as assistant music director, and Hall was strutting onstage. They formed Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum early last year, a little bit by accident: “Peter and I were just jamming in the studio,” Katz-Bohen, who plays keyboard and synth, recalled. “I would, like, play a Bach prelude, and he would just start playing drums, and we realized how fun it would be if we added a really kickass singer on top of it.”
That’s where Hall would come in. For Katz-Bohen, the prospect of working with someone so well-known wouldn’t have been intimidating; in addition to Blondie, he has worked before with Cyndi Lauper, Tony Bennett, and lots of other recognizable names. Of working with Hall, Katz-Bohen said: “Michael is just Michael, you know what I mean?”
Their debut show was in September, at Berlin on Avenue A. Now they’re descending on Trans-Pecos, a multipurpose venue on the Bushwick-Ridgewood border with an experimental bent of its own. Todd Patrick (of Market Hotel) aimed for a space with a funky, DIY vibe and a neighborhood focus. They act as a community center during the day, partnering with organizations like AHRC and the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council to offer everything from suggested-donation yoga classes to rehearsal space for nearby schools (they’re also, in true Brooklyn fashion, a coffee shop). At night, they give local artists a stage and some real visibility; on the 26th, Brooklyn-based Tiers and Ridgewood resident Ian M. Colletti will also be in the lineup.
Over email, a spokesperson for the venue described Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum as “a perfect fit for the ethos of Trans-Pecos,” since they’re “folks both internationally-renowned as well as local friends.” Katz-Bohen is a local friend indeed: his wife sometimes gives yoga classes at Trans-Pecos, and he grabs his coffee there every morning. “It’s right near my house and it’s my go-to spot,” he said. “It kind of reminds me of the way the Lower East Side used to feel in the ‘90s—that underground feel.”
It’s hard to find clips of Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum online, and kaleidoscopic sound weather is the phrase they use to describe their own music. Katz-Bohen doesn’t like to place the band’s work into any particular genre. “We didn’t want to start naming bands or styles of things that we sound like,” he said, of their founding. For a better sense of their sound, your best bet is to head to Ridgewood on Tuesday, order a beer in a funky pro-community space, and hear for yourself.