Showing posts from May, 2010


Yacht Rock conquered Spinnaker last night in Panama City Beach.  The gig could not have gone better.  Kenny, the sound guy, was terrific, the crowd was good, the weather was nice, the load in/out was easy.  I dug it.  We played from 11 PM til 3 AM.  It sounds worse than it was.  I sweated more than I'd ever sweated on a gig.  By the end of the night, the leather pad on my neckstrap was spongy squishy wet.

Other than the bridge to Baby Come Back and a hiccup in Stayin' Alive, things went well for me personally.  The sound guy bumped me up so loud on a couple of sax solos, I'm sure I was heard in Tampa!  I dug it.  I sat in the dark (no light on my part of the stage), but I'd trade that any day for a sound guy that was paying attention.

Still Going!

So...let's see.  It's been a few days since my last post.

Wednesday:  we (Yacht Rock) had a big rehearsal in preparation for our upcoming two night stand at the Variety Playhouse.  One night is regular Yacht Rock stuff, but the other night is the Reagan Rock Prom, so we're spending our time learning lots of wretched early eighties stuff.  Yuck...stuff like Break my Stride and True.  We tackled eight tunes in about two hours.

Wednesday night I played a Rolling Stones tribute rehearsal.  That was pretty easy--a couple of solos and I was done.  It was deafeningly loud, though.  I bought a little Mackie SRM150 as a baby monitor (if you recall from my previous blog post).  It worked really well at throwing some sound back towards me.  Up against 2 guitars, bass, drums, and a keyboardist (plus vocals in monitors), I needed some help.

Thursday:  Yacht Rock night.  Evidently, it was fight night at the 10 High!  Some guy stepped on stage at the end of the night and Mark Cobb flipped …

Kevin Smith's finest hour (and a half)

I played a short trio gig at the Loews Hotel in midtown this evening.  The group consisted of myself, Tyrone Jackson on keyboard, and Kevin Smith on bass.  I can't remember off the top of my head who the client was--I suppose it doesn't really matter.

We had a wonderful time, and though we all played well, I think Kevin has probably never played better on one of my gigs.  He was super groovy, had a great sound, and played logical solos.  Tyrone had an exceptionally good night too--we've played together for so long that he knows exactly the right thing to play.  He never fails to amaze me.  This was one of those gigs where I loved every second.  My dream would be for this to happen every time I played a gig.

The first twenty minutes of the gig were played to an empty room--I guess the guests were still in meetings.    Good for us!  We could hear each other, and the result was a really relaxed performance.

After our set of an hour and a half, we ate off the buffet, which en…


Last night (Friday), I did a wedding with Yacht Rock at King Plow.  I arrived determined to avenge myself for Thursday night's fiasco, and I must say that things were much better.  Neither song got me, though Stayin' Alive is still very confusing at the end.  I knew where I was (I was reading my chart), but I could have easily been pulled off course.  You Should be Dancing was fine--back to normal for that one.
I got in a couple of good sax solos last night.  Both horns felt good and I was directly in front of my monitor, so I was really comfortable.  We began the gig with Reminiscing, and right before we went on Bencuya dared me to quote Hava Nagila in my solo, which I did-twice! but he never acknowledged it.
After the gig Greg Lee gave me some unnecessary B.S. comments--something to the effect of me being exceptionally slow at packing up.  Hopefully Greg can figure out a way to scale down my setup so I can finish sooner.  Another option would be for him to shut the hell up.

(Not) Staying Alive

Last night at the 10 High was Yacht Rock at full strength.  For the past few months, I think at least one person in the band has been out on any given Thursday.  We're back!

We were sailing along quite well until the end of the first set, when two Bee Gees songs leapt up and bit me in the butt.  The first was Stayin' Alive, which appears to be a simple song--I don't think it's much more than F minor, Bb7, and Eb.  The form is really weird, though, particularly later on in the song.  There's a tag after the second chorus, and then after the third chorus it does a similar (but different) series of tags, every other one being longer.  To further complicate my problems, I'm playing the brass part on EWI and the string part on keyboard, and during those tags it jumps back and forth.
All of this is a bullshit excuse, anyway.  I failed miserably regardless of the reason.

Immediately following my own little disco Hindenburg, we went into You Should Be Dancing, which s…

Don't Stop Believin'

I'm back from Las Vegas.

The first night we were there, we stayed up really late drinking.  Somewhere around 3 AM local time (6 AM to me), I was convinced to go get my horn and crash the dueling pianos bar in our hotel (New York, New York).  Here's video:

The Night Belongs to Andrew Gold

Dear Andrew Gold,

Today I played two gigs.  The first was a Please Pleaserock Me/Yacht Rock Revue at the Dunwoody Beer Festival.  Just like last year, we had to deal with some on again/off again rain, but the crowd dug our stuff and we dug the crowd.  It was super hot and muggy.  I did my best to stay hydrated.  About the only problem I can think of is that I couldn't see if some of the lights were lit up on the side of the EWI.  Outdoor gigs are like that.
Here's the pile of gear I took with me:

After that, I boogied up to Suwanee to play with the Yacht Rock Schooner at the Wild Wing Cafe.  It was there that I performed your hit song Lonely Boy (I played the piano part) to the best of my ability, and if I do say so myself, I nailed it.  I am sure you would have dug my playing on that tune--Bencuya, G Lee, and Kevin Spencer noted my skills.
The performance was one of my greatest musical accomplishments;  I felt like I should have taken a victory lap around the bar draped in a…


Thursday was a big gig day.  Here's all my gear that I needed to get through the day (minus clothes):

Gig #1:  I played saxophone at the Omni hotel downtown for people getting off buses.  Here's the drill:  bus pulls up, I play saxophone, they walk into the Omni, I stop.  Repeat as necessary!

Gig #2:  I played a House Live gig with Jeff and Steven.  This gig was a tough one--we (Steven and I) need to "fit" into the tracks that Jeff is playing.  Unfortunately on this gig, the client asked us to keep the volume super low.  I couldn't really hear much of the track (neither could Steven), so I it was more or less the two of us playing for each other and trying to make sure we were in time with the track.

Gig #3:  Yacht Rock!  Yeah...awesome!  The crowd was terrific, and the band played like we were actually pretty into it.  Kudos to Mark Dannells, who really ripped it up last night.  He said that he's finally getting back on some sort of regular practice schedule, …

Trio mp3s

Last night I played a quartet gig with Tyrone Jackson (keyboards), Joseph Patrick Moore (fretless bass), and Marlon Patton (drums).  An awesome musical experience and a very easy gig!  I couldn't have asked for more from those guys.  Unfortunately, my recording device ran out of batteries about four minutes into the gig, so there is no record of how terrific the band was, save for about three minutes of the first song.

The only damper on the gig was that someone walked through the parking garage breaking into cars last night, including Joe's jeep.  They grabbed a bag containing charts he needed for upcoming gigs with Earl Klugh and Bob James (AGH!!!!), but the security guys found his bag in another part of the garage.  Evidently charts are of no value to burglars.  
I finally cut up the audio from last Wednesday's trio with Louis Heriveaux (keyboard) and Kevin Smith (bass).  The mp3s sound like this:

Another Whirlwind Weekend

Saturday morning, Peter, Bencuya, and I met at Mark Cobb's house (at the insane hour of 6:30 AM) to gather our equipment and ride to Amelia Island for a wedding reception.  We scooped up Nick at the Jacksonville airport.  Good thing we had some down time before the gig--we napped HARD.
The wedding reception was very easy.  We were playing under the name Constantly Awesome, with myself added on as an extra player.  I more or less functioned as lead guitar, which meant that by the end of the night I'd taken saxophone solos over songs like I Love Rock and Roll, Talking in Your Sleep, and Highway to Hell!  Here are some pictures from outside the venue.
Sunday morning we piled into the van and drove the six hours back to Atlanta so we could play the Sandy Springs Festival.  It was awesome!  Probably three thousand people showed up to a really nice outdoor venue and soaked up every note.  The weather was perfect, and the sound was right on the money.  You can see a cool set of picture…

A Long Time Coming

It's been a week since my last post, faithful reader(s?), so please accept my apologies.  I have been super busy.

Here are the highlights:

Monday, April 26, I did a four hour trio gig with Louis Heriveaux (keyboard) and Kevin Smith (bass).  We were on the patio outside of Opera (DJ was inside).  Unfortunately for us, that meant that we played the smoking section of the gig under and open-sided tent!  Yuck.  It was also a cool spring evening in Atlanta, so I had some pitch problems and Louis' hands got cold.  Here's the audio evidence:

Forty-five minutes from the end of the gig, the client came by and extended us another hour.  Ouch!  We were on fumes by then.  Listening back, there's some good playing, though.  Other than pitch, the other problem we had was that the crowd liked to talk to us, sometimes during songs.  We were appreciative of the fact that they were listening (and loved what they heard), but come on!

Tuesday, April 27, Yacht Rock played a Roller Disco Part…