Showing posts from December, 2009

Mercy Lounge, Nashville TN

Yacht Rock played the Mercy Lounge last night in Nashville, Tennessee. Nick and Mark Bencuya picked me up at my house and we ran up there and knocked it out. The Best Western was pretty old, and the lounge was called "Pick's." It looked like a pretty unhappening place, and we mocked it relentlessly.
Mark Dannells was in LA and Mark Cobb was in NYC, so we had Michael Wilkes and Ganesh Giri Jaya subbing on guitar and drums.
We loaded in and soundchecked, and the soundmen could not have looked less impressed or enthusiastic. I'm guessing they've probably seen everything in Nashville, and a cover band full of freaks was just another night.
Six of us (Pete went out with his family) piled into the Pleaserock van and headed out in search of food. The first place (Mexican) had an hour wait (an hour wait on a Tuesday night?). We went across the street to Ru San's, but after waiting for a waitress at our table for over ten minutes (while I enjoyed some awesome techno musi…


Maybe I was too harsh on the Diana Ross medley. Today I'm thinking that I'd rather deal with that crap than a crew of disinterested students. At least I can get up and walk away from the Diana Ross thing when I get sick of it. And I don't feel bad about checking my email in the middle of it.

Last night I played my regular church gig at the CTK. It was me, the pianist, and two vocalists. I spent a good chunk of the gig fiddling with the EQ of each channel. It seems that along the way I'd taken on the idea that if a little is good, a little more is a little better. Now it's gotten a bit extreme. Last night I went back to flat and started listening to it again. The cuts on the EQ are now much more subtle.

Tomorrow night Yacht Rock is playing the Mercy Lounge in Nashville. Road gig!

Diana Ross Medley

Platnumb is playing a New Year's Eve gig where they are backing a vocalist (not of the band) in a Diana Ross medley. I am transcribing what a keyboard player played with his "brass patch." It is very painful. Doing this sort of thing and listening to this medley really pisses me off. If I get to the point where this is my career, I quit. You'd think if the Diana Ross impersonator was really a pro, she'd have charts for this sixteen minute mash up. I hope Platnumb makes a lot of money doing this.Diana Ross should sue them for playing this. I should sue Diana Ross for allowing this to happen.

Christmastime is Here

It's been slow going since the Yacht Rock Holiday Special last Friday. I taught lessons Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Tonight I did two church gigs. One at my old gig, the Catholic Church of St. Ann (music department headed by Kevin Wyglad), and the other at the Cathedral of Christ the King. Both were fun. The gig with Wyglad is always fun because I know many people in the congregation (Jack is in preschool at St. Ann's), and Kevin does a good job of putting his own spin on the usual Christmas stuff. He's got this killer arrangement of The First Noel. Yeah, good stuff. The gig at Christ the King is a little strange because year in and year out we get stuck with the overflow mass (the people that would not fit in the cathedral). It's a drag because the room is very dead (and the cathedral is very reverb-y), so it always feels really dry and yucky. To top it off, it seems like we always end up absorbing people from other musical groups, and this year was no excepti…

Yacht Rock Holiday Special

Yacht Rock played two gigs back to back this week.
The first was our regular 10 High gig on Thursday night. I did not play well. I probably got 70 percent of it right, but there 30 percent really bugged me--it was lots of just not concentrating through the whole song. It was kind of like I kept forgetting what I was doing. The big song I needed to nail, Moonlight Feels Right, came off pretty well. I did fine on the keyboard part. The only problem was I forgot I had to play the marimba solo (on EWI), so halfway through the song, I had to stop playing the keyboard part to set up the EWI. The whole night was like that.
Friday we met up at Dave FM to play on Mara Davis' lunchtime radio show. It went really well. She really dug it, and we played well. The live radio things are always very strange because we play so quietly--there are no headphones, so we're balancing to unamplified vocals. It sounds radically different. Combine that with the fact that I really didn't …

new/old music

After my last blog detailing the looming keyboard work on Starbuck's Moonlight Feels Right, it turned out to a pretty easy task. I had it under control in about an hour. Impressive, considering the performer! We'll see if I'm still saying that come Friday morning--about half of Starbuck is sitting in with Yacht Rock Thursday night to perform that song. The pressure's on!I added some new music to my website on the page titled "Custom Woodwind Tracks." I have decided to involve myself in a newer trend in recording; people email a song back and forth, and individuals record their parts in their own studios. At the very least, I want to have the capacity to do this. I recorded an album, titled Loop City, in 2007. The concept was to write and perform songs based on loops. You can check it out here. I've posted it it to this page as an example of my writing, recording, and performing capabilities.


I made it through the big gig week of December with a Platnumb gig Saturday night. It was a debutante/charity ball in Gainesville. I can't say whether it was for the debutantes or charity. What struck me most was how the mothers of the debutantes took such great pains to try and hang with the teens. It was very uncomfortable from my perspective--moms trying to be one of their daughter's friends and rock out to the band and get crazy. Very forced. I was kind of embarrassed for them.The heir to the saxophone spot in Platnumb has been named. It's a very strange situation--I have been asked to sub the gig to the same guy (as much as possible) so that when I leave the band, it's a smooth transition. I didn't know I was leaving the band.
Sunday night was my usual church gig. Nothing to report from that. My big mission this week is to get my synth stuff ready for the Starbuck hit Moonlight Feels Right. We're playing it this Friday at the Variety Playhouse show …

Rosanna Knoblauch

Two nights of Yacht Rock, and two times I have screwed up the Rosanna synth solo (my handwritten chart is pictured). I figured it out (too late) after the gig last night. We have also been playing our version of Christmas Vacation (done in the style of Rosanna), and I play a similar decending line for the synth solo, and now I can't get it out of my head when I'm trying to play the original solo. I've developed Chuck Knoblauch syndrome over it.Thursday evening I also did a trio gig with David Ellington (piano), and Delbert Felix (bass) in Neiman Marcus at Lenox Square Mall. It went pretty well. I guess it was some sort of high end shopping spree. We didn't see much foot traffic, but the three of us had fun. Here are the mp3s for your listening pleasure: Thursday night's Yacht Rock gig at the 10 High was sparsely attended. My old friend Mike Andriola showed up with a crew of people. There was also a girl right in the front who was super duper drunk, and I th…

Delbert Frickin' Felix!

Last night I played a quartet gig with Louis Heriveaux (piano), Delbert Felix (bass), and Marlon Patton (drums). It was one of the best jazz gigs I've played in a while. The band was so good!Louis is awesome, and I'd never played a gig with Marlon--he was everything I'd heard about. The big story was Delbert Felix, of whom I've known for years. Delbert was in Branford Marsalis' band for a several years in the late 80s/early 90s. I pretty much wore out the two Branford records he's on: Random Abstract and Trio Jeepy (which I had on cassette, and could probably sing the whole record!). I'd met up with him a few years ago at a jam session where he said he liked my playing alot. We played Triste that night. It was a highlight of my professional life. It's a great thrill to call Delbert for a gig and have him accept. I mean, IT'S DELBERT FRICKIN' FELIX! Here are the mp3s:

Backun Bell

You may recall that about a month ago I uprgraded my clarinet with the addition of a Backun barrel. It is wonderful; it makes me love playing clarinet. Of course, Backun is also known for his bells. Often times you will see pictures of clarinetists with the Backun bell and barrel. So, I had to know: would a better bell make a difference? I mean, I can see that the barrel is next in line behind the mouthpiece, and that its location would have an effect on the tone, resistance, and tuning. The bell, however is way down there at end. Really? It'll matter?The answer is yes. It's effect is more pronounced on longer notes (notes in the right hand), but overall the clarinet is much freer feeling without being strident. I'm very impressed! If you have the opportunity (and funding), these are definitely worth checking out!

Catching Up

Whoops. It's been a little while since I added to my blog.So... Friday was a Yacht Rock gig at the Westin in Dunwoody/Sandy Springs. It was a holiday party for an insurance company. Methinks they were a little stiff. Not very much into the party, and evidently very slow eaters. When our scheduled time ended, they suddenly wanted us to keep playing. Peter negotiated a price, but when he asked for the money up front, they balked. Instead they ended up renting our PA for another hour (while we tore down our instruments). Not bad. Drunk rich women still do nothing for me. Saturday was a Yacht Rock party in a tent in Druid Hills (kind of near Fernbank). This one was a holiday party at a guy's killer house. Unfortunately, we were out in a tent in the backyard. The load in was up a treacherous flight of stairs, and the tent was fairly cold. In fact, it got so cold that my EWI froze up! It would only play one super high note. I brought it home and hooked it all together t…


So...just in case you were wondering, I'm still alive.
Not much to report since last week. Due to Thanksgiving, I was laying low (also I was gigless). Yacht Rock was back on last night. It was a pretty decent show. We've had some where the first set is solid, but the second set is sloppy. I thought yesterday's excursion was pretty even by comparison. We started working on our Christmas songs last night. If you've heard our commercial, you know what I'm talking about. We tried both tunes (Mele Kalikimaka and Christmas Vacation), and it turns out the harmonies in Mele are gonna be tough to sing live! The other was rough in soundcheck, but pretty solid on the gig. We also played Human Nature, and I covered Bielenberg's parts. I was pretty pleased with myself for figuring that tune out. Not that it's super difficult, but I don't have a very good ear, and I don't have much confidence in what I'm hearing. To top it off, I was playing keyboard…