Showing posts from December, 2010

Mark Cobb!

Wooo!  The final Yacht Rock performance at the 10 High was fueled by Mark Cobb last night.  What a ride!  From the first note, he was pushing the band along with the kind of musical aggression I love.  I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed playing last night.  It was superb.  I think the entire band responds to the drummer, and after several gigs of mellow, we really came out and attacked.

The room was as full as last week (which is to say, really crowded!  I couldn't get across the room on break).  I suppose all these people just started partying a day early.  They were well behaved, and seemed to be paying attention to what we were doing (which is nice);  not a lot of shouting out songs not on the set list.  The women directly in front of me slowly progressed from having fun to black out drunk, but they made it all the way to the end (and didn't steal my pea coat, which I'd left on the speaker between us all night--oops!).

I think I played pretty well.  Becaus…


I played my two church gigs yesterday.

The first one was pretty much just another shot at the stuff we did Christmas Eve, so that was fairly easy, though we did add God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (with a sax solo) in kind of a rockabilly style.  It's always funny to me when somebody says "we'll do it 'big band' style"--I know right then that it will be NOTHING like a big band.  I think they're trying to describe that the eighths will not be even, but it will not be a shuffle, and it will not swing.  If a guitar player says it, he's probably referring to the "big bands" like the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

This time it was doubly funny because the drummer had no idea what to do with either style (big band or rockabilly).  Nice enough guy, but the drumming part is not happening.  Also, kind of annoying how he demonstrated his commitment to the drums by carrying a drum pad and sticks with him on break so he could mindlessly bang on it.  We needed some g…

Christmas Gigs

What a weekend!  I did a bunch of church gigs over the Christmas holidays.

The first couple of gigs were mainly flute (and a little soprano) at a church I used to play at.  They brought me in to help cover some of the extra services they were having.  It was super easy, and a lot of fun.  Most of the songs were Christmas carols, and most of the people I played with old friends (other than the douchebag pianist who mistakenly thought it really funny to mimic my flute warm ups).  So yeah, it was cool.  We laughed a lot.

The third Christmas Eve gig was at my usual first gig on Sundays.  That one was fun, too, though a little annoying that they had us show up an hour and fifteen minutes early, and then we mostly stood around until the service began.  At one point, they turned out all the lights and everybody held candles--I was thinking, "This would be a great picture for my blog!" but I didn't take it.  It was pretty cool, though.

I was super amused by one spot where the le…

Twas the Thursday Before Christmas...

Weird.  I thought nobody would turn up at the 10 High.  I thought it'd be really dead and we'd play one set and go home, or we'd all trade instruments or something, but instead it was more packed than it has been in months!  I guess the "nobody has to go to work tomorrow" argument won.

It was kind of a strange gig.  Nick, Pete, and Cobb were out, so we had Ganesh on drums, Greg on lead vocals, Vanessa on Pete's vocals, and Danni on bass.  The ol' switcheroo.  That left me, my man Mark Dannells, and the Great Bencuya to hold it down.

It's an entirely different thing when Greg fronts the band.  With a different line up (say Kevin Spencer and Ganesh), there's an effort to kind of stay in the same zone as the regular guys.  Greg kind of takes it and says "I'm driving!", and away we go.  It's fun because he puts his own stamp on it.

The set list had about a million songs on it.  We burn through tunes a lot quicker with subs because th…

Creston Sonata

Not much going on…it's vacation!

Here's a video I made earlier in the week.  It's the first two pages of the Creston Sonata (Op. 19) for Eb Alto Saxophone and Piano.  I played this sucker in high school, but it still kicks my butt.

Triple Double

It's been a while since I've blogged.  My apologies--vacation has (kind of) started!


Thursday:  I played two gigs.

The first gig was a little trio gig at Dolce in Atlantic Station with Louis Heriveaux (keyboard) and Kevin Smith (bass).  It was a nice little gig--they had us separated from the crowd, up on an elevated floor behind the bar, which meant that we wouldn't be competing with them to hear ourselves.  I'll admit, it also makes for a better recording!  There was a clear half-wall in front of us, which helped as well.

The crowd was bussed in.  They were expecting four or five hundred people (according to the contract I had), but maybe one hundred fifty turned up on a cold, rainy night.  Most of them sat down, ate, and left!  There must have been a club or something upstairs.  Anyway, two hours into a three hour gig, the bar started shutting down.  Two and a half hours into the gig I was on the phone trying to tell the party coordinator that the room was t…


Yacht Rock played a holiday party for Turner Sports yesterday in Centennial Olympic Park, next to the ice skating rink.  I was really worried about the weather--yesterday was one of the coldest days in Atlanta (I think we tied the record low for December 14).  Not only does my equipment not fare well in the cold, but my hands and feet hurt when it gets like this.

We were in a tent (with sides) and heaters, so it wasn't too bad, though if they'd closed a few more of the flaps it would have been more comfortable.  The sound guys had the flap on their side open--why?--but it happened to be on Bencuya's side, so that was ok with me!

We got dressed in the shed where they keep lawnmowers and stuff…

The gig itself was super easy.  Because of the cold, nobody showed up!  They were expecting five hundred people, but Nick estimated only about one hundred fifty turned up.  We started a little late (waiting for the tent to fill up), and ended a little early.  Two sets.  When party pla…

Loose Ends

Monday night was the company party for Pleaserock at Park Tavern.  A good time was had by all, and Jack started ice skating.

Here are a few YouTube videos from last week's appearance on the Regular Guys.

Almost Back to Normal

Yesterday was the first day in a week that my hands weren't sore when I woke up.  I guess it's from pounding on a keyboard more than usual, but I could hardly stir my coffee in the mornings.  After an hour or so, the strength would return to my hands.

A recap of the past few days!

Friday:  The big Yacht Rock Holiday Special at Park Tavern.  Two shows, both sold out.  Maximum awesomeness.  The venue was cool…we were upstairs in that acoustical nightmare;  Schooner was downstairs in front of the fireplace;  ice skating outside on the patio.  I think all our fans had a wonderful time.

Nick had a new white three piece suit.  I'm so jealous.  It's got me shopping.

That room…ughhhhhh…we were set up in front of all that glass, which always makes for a horrible musical experience, and Friday was no different.  It looks great with the lights and the city in the background, but it felt like somebody had a screwdriver jammed in each of my ears!  I had two choices on stage--turn do…

Thursday Night Tune Up

Last night was supposed to be the final tune up for the Second Annual Yacht Rock Holiday Special, but Nick felt himself getting sick and decided to take the night off (turns out Cobb had diarrhea and projectile vomit happening last night, too), so it ended up being just another night at the 10 High.  K Spence in on lead vocals and Ganesh on drums.

Is there such a thing?  This one was really good, especially in the first set.  We were really going for it.  I was having a great time, playing well.  Everybody was playing well.  All my stuff sounded good and felt good.  I got through Lonely Boy with no issues (mental or otherwise).   Even Dannells seemed satisfied with himself.

Dannells is awesome.

Just like last week, the cold arctic air coming down the stairwell made my horns unhappy.  Both instruments had potato chipped reeds when I picked them up, and I had to quickly rehydrate them to return them to normal.  Why is it that I only have to do that once, and then they're ok?  The po…


I've spent the past few days preparing for the Second Annual Yacht Rock Holiday Special coming up this Friday at the Park Tavern (tickets still available for the early show, but the late show is sold out!).  We learned some holiday songs and some new Yacht Rock songs.  It's gonna be good.

We did a rehearsal Tuesday night.  What a difference a year makes!  Last year, I was struggling in my attempts to do anything useful on the keyboard--very much gritting my teeth and holding on for dear life.  This time, I am a much more comfortable.

I practiced the new stuff a ton--I pretty much had it all memorized going into the Tuesday rehearsal, so I had no problems.  Things went so well, in fact, that I impressed Bencuya with one of my synth parts!  I was showing Cobb two missing measures, and I ripped off the bridge for him, and Bencuya said something like, "Holy shit!  That sounded REALLY good!"  How 'bout that!  I feel like I never have to play it perfectly again since h…

So Schoon Me

I played another Yacht Rock Schooner gig last night--a holiday party at a country club.  Hans on sound!  Not much I can say about it.  This one was three sets of music, so the sax stuff was really spread out.  I think I only played two tunes in the last set.  It was super duper easy.  In a way it was kind of boring, but it was nice to take it easy.

I had lots of people asking me why I wasn't playing.  "Putting out the vibe."

Earlier in the day I played my morning church gig, which seems to have kind of calmed down from the chaos of a few weeks ago.  We were spread out along one edge of the stage due to an orchestra concert that night, so I was very far from the piano.  It was me and drums, as far as I could tell.  At least I finally found a place to sit down!

Saturday Schooning

I played a gig last night with the Yacht Rock Schooner--just saxes and flute--for a holiday party at the Cobb Energy Center.  It was really sweet being that close to home.  20 miles round trip!

It was pretty easy, but as always, it's really weird to not play the other parts of the song the way I'm used to doing in the Revue.  I spent about half the gig sitting off to the side of the stage, playing games on my phone.

The band sounded pretty good, though the mix could have been better.  You'd think (if you were a sound guy) that a band with two keyboards must have a significan amount of keyboard stuff going on in the music, and maybe you'd want to hear that in the mix?  The times that I was out front (when not playing games on my phone), it was all drums and bass.

Other than my lack of faith in the sound production, it was good.  I played pretty well, and I was home before midnight.

I took my attire inspiration from this video of David Sanborn playing with Paul Simon.



Usual Thursday...I redeemed myself on Lonely Boy.  I experimented with the difference between vibrato  and leslie on my organ stuff.  Not too much else happened--my awe inspiring setlist (complete with clip art) was about all I had.  It was a weird night where it seemed like I couldn't get my levels set quite right--too much of this, too little of that.  I'm trying not to set my stuff up wide open, but when I stand up (to play saxophone, for instance), and I don't get the feeling that I've got any kind of volume happening.  Even Nick asked me if my sax mic was on.  Hmm.

I will say reeds are old and soft, and I played Baker Street sooooo flat.  I would've needed a hacksaw to get up to pitch.  Soft reed, and then all the cold air blowing down the stairs hit my horns.  Boo.  Time to start breaking in a new batch!

So much for that.  In the mean time, check this out (with fellow IU alum Sara Caswell on violin):

Beatles vs. Stones

We played a AWESOME gig last night.  The Main Street Exiles were rockin'--best gig I've ever played with that band.  Please Pleaserock Me then took the stage, and played the best gig we've played in a long time!  Great stuff, great set list.  Even the crowd was great.  I had a wonderful time.

Protec's Secret Glue: Vomit

I had a rehearsal yesterday for the upcoming Yacht Rock Holiday Special (Friday, December 10).  We also went over the Beatles stuff for the Please Pleaserock Me show (tonight at Smith's).

I used my bari sax at rehearsal...I opened the case for the first time in probably six weeks, put the thing together, and got ready to wail.  As I drew my breath for the first note, I was nearly killed by the smell of...puke?  I don't know.  My horn smelled like somebody/something had thrown up in it, and then baked it.  I nearly died.

When I got home, I washed the mouthpiece, the neck, the mouthpiece cap, my hands.  Total sterilization.  I squirted some mouthpiece disinfectant into the neck and left it there.  But where was the smell coming from?  It turns out my new Pro Tec baritione saxophone case is glued together with barf.  I Febrezed it and dumped an entire box of baking soda in it, and it's currently outside sunning itself.  Here's hoping the odor is eliminated, or there may …