Showing posts from December, 2011

A Wedding? On a Thursday?

Yacht Rock played a wedding Thursday night.  Weird, huh?  I guess they were cashing in on every discount you could find.  Fine with me, though…instead of coming home at 2:30 AM smelling of smoke (and possibly having to wipe spilled beer off my flute),  I was home at midnight.  Plus, we made more money.  So ha!  A win all around.

The gig was pretty fun.  I mean, especially for a wedding, it was a relaxed, nobody's bugging us kind of thing.  We hadn't played together in ten days--it felt pretty good compared to the previous wedding where we were all committed to getting out of there ASAP.  Mark Cobb seemed pretty refreshed, like he was enjoying himself.  Bencuya slipped Rockit into his I Want to Be Your Lover solo again.  Good stuff.

We played Give a Little Bit again.  I screwed up the sax solo the last time we played it.  And then I heard it in the grocery store a few days before Christmas, and as soon as it started I knew I would be standing there listening to the spot where I…

Duo Dave

I played a GREAT duo gig last night with the one and only David Ellington.

Driving up Main Street in Woodstock, I thought "Man, it's dark here!"  My directions told me I was in the right place, but all the shops and restaurants looked closed.  I pulled into the parking lot, met up with Ellington, and we investigated on foot.  It turned out that a car had plowed into a transformer and knocked everything out!  I sent Ellington home and agreed to play the gig solo.

Right before I was to begin, the power kicked back on, so I called Dave and told him to turn around and come back.  In the mean time, I went ahead and played solo sax for about twenty minutes.  Once he was set up, we played a couple of normal length sets.

Part of it was that I was having a great night--I felt good and I had a good reed and I could hear myself--but Ellington really made me play better.  We hadn't played a gig together in over a year, and it felt like we picked right back up.  He played reall…

Christmas Eve Gigs

I ended up with three Christmas Eve gigs last night…two at church gig number 2, and one at church gig number 1.

The first two were in the parish hall, and turned out to be pretty easy.  I think the most challenging thing about being in there is mixing, as we plug into the wall and use the speakers in the ceiling.  From our spot in the corner, it's impossible to hear what we sound like--I had to walk out a half dozen times and check it out, usually right down the center aisle because of the Christmas Eve overcrowding.

I did help myself right from the start by unplugging all the XLRs from the mixer and zeroing out the board.  No point dealing with all the crap.  I did figure out how to use the onboard effects, so the second service got to hear us with reverb.  Yippee!

Playing-wise, things were ok.  I felt ok on flute, and my soprano felt really good (Lopes just finished putting it back together about a week ago).  Christmas carols are pretty straight forward.

I raced out of Buckhead…

Frampton Proclaims my Brilliance!

I played my final Thursday Yacht Rock show at the 10 High for the year.  Due to the holidays, it was mostly Schooner guys (just Greg and me from the Revue), with the mighty Eric Frampton on the other keyboard.  That means different keyboard parts for me on a few things (Peg, Reminiscing, Hey 19, Lonely Boy, Somebody's Baby, Silly Love Songs, Takin' it to the Streets, Lido Shuffle, Doctor My Eyes, and Thunder Island).  It's fun, but I kind of flinch because I'm used to playing the other part.  Anyway, Frampton said afterwards that I was brilliant!  Quite an endorsement, though I really did play really well if I do say so myself.  I'd played all of those except for Thunder Island before, and once I got through the opening octave thing where the piano enters, it was easy.  I did have one small disaster--in Lido, I was banging out the piano part, thinking about how great I was doing, and then I drove off the cliff at the synth build up.  First synth thing was fine, bu…

We Made It!

Yacht Rock finished off a tough stretch of gigs by playing a wedding Sunday night at Puritan Mill.  I'd never played a wedding gig there with a stage--always on the concrete floor.  I wonder if it's permanent?

I think it was probably the best gig of the weekend.  The crowd was into it (and really good looking), the load in was easy, the stage was big, we had someone else running sound for us, we only played two sets…piece of cake!  And the band played pretty well.

Not much to report, other than that.  Pete's wife Alyssa was the wedding coordinator (from Sashay Events with Mark Cobb's wife Katy) and she sat in with us on five songs, some of which we hadn't played in a year.  In particular, we hit You're So Vain again, and I finally got through it without choking (like last time).  Yay for me!

Bencuya slipped Rockit into I Wanna Be Your Lover.  Very cool, though it got no reaction from the band.  Not listening?  I tucked three Christmas carols into my Reminiscin…

Tacky Christmas Party

Yacht Rock spent Saturday night at the Buckhead Theatre for the Tacky Christmas Party--a benefit for Toys for Tots.

This event was not well attended.  I believe the ticket prices were pretty steep (I heard $75), and we were advertised as Please Pleaserock Me instead of Yacht Rock.  I wonder if we'd been booked as the latter if they crowd would have been stronger.  I think there were only a couple of hundred people there.  It looked pretty empty.

No problems, though.  We played right through it.  There were some great moments (Cobb's drum fill in With a Little Help from my Friends) and some keyboard issues (I switched keyboard patches while playing the drum pads on my Fantom, and the first keyboard note I hit sounded like a police siren!  Holy shit!).

I played a really good solo onDick in a Box.  I hope somebody got video of it!  I don't know why--just a combination of luck and being able to hear myself well.  I could have kept going--everything I was playing worked grea…

Rave Against the (YRR) Machine

Yacht Rock played a marathon of a gig last night--4 sets!

The party was at Ventanas…never a good place for a band this size.  Loading in is difficult (to say the least) and the room is acoustically difficult--all glass and concrete.

The most difficult part of this gig, however, was the music in between the sets.  The client played their iPods during the breaks, and it was all euro disco kinda stuff.  I don't even know the genre.  It was what I imagine a rave sounds like, except this was a corporate holiday party.  They loved that stuff, too, which made me wonder why we were there.  I guess they liked us too, but it was really tough to come back from spin-class music and do our thing.

I had a good night playing--better than last night.  My hands felt quick.  Dannells and I did really well on Still the One (me playing the second guitar).  I'm still reading my chart (the concert pitch to alto thing kills me).

We finished at 1 AM.  In bed at 3!

Sax Heavy

Thursday means Yacht Rock at the 10 High!  This gig was pretty good.  We played pretty well and the crowd was more responsive than they've been in the past few weeks.

The set list was pretty sax heavy, especially compared to what we did all fall.  On some of those gigs, I probably picked up a horn once or twice a set, and the rest was keyboards.  Last night, seven of the thirteen songs in the first set had saxophone (only two of ten in the second set).  It was fun, though I I was back to playing some dumb stuff on a couple of songs, and I tried to play Your Momma Don't Dance a fourth away again (like I was playing bari…opposite problem from last week when I WAS playing bari!).

Towards the end of the night, my brain gave out or something.  I played like I was drunk, but I hadn't been drinking.  Some boneheaded mistakes…

We've got a busy couple of days…the last big gig weekend of the year!


I had a fun little salsa gig with Salpicon last night at Kat's Cafe in midtown.  I hadn't done a Latin gig in years;  it was fun to try and keep up with it again.

The circumstances of the gig were a bit insane.  I got called for the gig just before noon Monday.  I went and hung out at a rehearsal Monday night--didn't play hardly anything because there weren't any charts.  I went home, and in the next twenty-four hours charted out ten tunes.  (Along with sleeping and doing a Yacht Rock rehearsal).  Then, boom!  There we are on the gig.  I think it went pretty well.  I played flute as well as saxophone.

In other news, here are two clips from last week's Yacht Rock Holiday Special.

And you can hear me in the mix!  Yay!

Church Stuff

I made it to both my church gigs yesterday…

Church gig number one had a different drummer again.  I'm not sure if the usual guy has not been available, or if the church is shopping for a new guy.  This week's guy was pretty good.

We had Tommy Dodd, steel guitarist extraordinaire, once again.  It didn't appear to be a special occasion…I'm guessing they'll bring him in whenever they feel like it.  Evidently the budget can handle it.

Other than that, it was pretty ho-hum.  We had a piece with a children's choir and a couple of pieces with an adult choir.  Not much for me to do.

Last week was the big holiday show.  I was not invited to participate.  The rest of the band wanted to know where I was.  I said, "At home."  They said, "Your name was in the program."

Church gig number two was ok.  I was informed that the ushers complained of multiple instances during the past few weeks of distortion when the band was playing.  Maybe that was happening…

House Live

I would have thought that this Saturday (December 10) would be a big date on the calendar--one of those Saturdays when everybody in the world would be working and I would get a couple of calls.  Maybe I'm so up to my eyebrows with Yacht Rock stuff that people assume I'm unavailable;  I don't know…maybe there just aren't that many gigs to go around right now.  Anyway, I had this prime date on my calendar wide open, and I was fortunate to pick up a House Live gig (sax/flute, percussionist, DJ playing house music).

It was a long gig--5 hours--but the money was good, and it was coming at a good time.  Not only did I want to work, but these sort of gigs are a good chance for me to play a lot of sax and flute.  I get to practice, more or less the whole night, because the gig is so open--I can take an idea or a pattern or an interval and play it over and over;  put in on different parts of the beat;  flip it around.

Last night was a good exercise for the first three hours…t…

The Holiday Show

We did it!  The Third Annual Yacht Rock Holiday Special was a huge success!

This year we did it at the Buckhead Theatre.  It's really nice!  Much better than the Roxy was.  I liked the stage size, and the sound seemed good to me (at least where I was, though Greg mentioned that the slap off the wall was really bugging him).  All my stuff went well--no problems.  The different alto mouthpiece worked much better, and my sax solos in general were better than usual.  I think my biggest problem (other than showing up an hour late for load in) was that I kept trying to play Your Momma Don't Dance in F instead of C…played it too many times on tenor and not enough on bari!

Yay for us and congratulations to Pleaserock (Nick, Pete, Esther, and Kristen) for once again organizing an awesome event!

Christmas Show Dress Rehearsal

Yacht Rock played our 10 High gig last night--it happened to be the big dress rehearsal for the Big Christmas Show We're Not Quite Ready to Play.  Traditionally, we've kind of sucked real bad at the 10 High the night before a big show, and then we play the big show and nail it.  Last night was kind of…fine?  No disasters…I for one am just not comfortable with the everything yet.  I kind of know my stuff, but it feels like I need another week or two to digest it--my brain's not there yet.  Like, I can't spot anything on the set list that scares me (except for hearing my voice on We Are the World--I can't wait for that to be over), but I don't feel like I know what I'm doing.  The past month has been such a blur that this show feels like something else to get through.

So…my alto was wildly out of tune.  I don't know if it's a good idea or not, but I'm going back to an older mouthpiece (a Chinese copy of a Guardala).  It's more comfortable.  I …

Too Much Too Early

I think it's a sign of how busy things are that I have to look at my blog to see the last time I checked in.

Thursday night, I got home around 2:30 AM.  I got up at 8 to play a Yacht Rock rehearsal for the upcoming show (this coming Friday at the Buckhead Theatre).  It was a little rough.  Nick had (I think) fifteen songs that we were learning or reviewing.  I had charts for stuff, but I hadn't played any of it (except for the review tunes, which I hadn't played in six months--since Christmas in July).  We hacked through stuff until we ran out of time.  It wasn't terrible, but I didn't feel adequately prepared.

Friday afternoon was spent catching up on things at home--laundry, cleaning, bills, computer stuff.  I got in a little practice on the YR stuff.

Saturday morning, Yacht Rock was up early to drive to Greensboro, NC to play a corporate party.  That took all day.  It was a relatively painless gig, though the crowd obviously didn't quite get what we were doi…

Thursday 5 and 7

Yacht Rock played a weird, pieced together gig last night at the 10 High.  Nick, Pete, and Cobb were off somewhere else playing a non-Yacht Rock gig, so we had Ganesh and Kevin Spencer up front and Daniel Morrison in the back.  Ganesh and Kevin were off somewhere else playing a non-Yacht Rock gig until 10:30, so the other five of us (Bencuya, Greg, Daniel, Dannells, and myself) played about half of the first set without them.  No big deal, but it was strange, mostly I think because there wasn't the usual volume coming out of the center and right monitors.

Once we got going…it never really got going.  The crowd was indifferent and we were indifferent.  Dannells played his ass off, though, and I enjoyed playing a few tunes (Kiss You All Over and Lonely Boy) we never touch with Nick and Pete  up front.

More Recording

Yacht Rock spent two days in Athens at David Barbe's studio, recording two of our original songs.  I'd never done any kind of recording where I sat through the creation of all the parts before. For me, it involved a couple of days of sitting in the control room and about thirty minutes of playing.  Normally when I get hired to play on a session, I walk in and the song is waiting on me.

I played flute on one song and sax on the other.  Neither solo was really worth a damn.  As much as I wanted to summon something really awesome--something spellbinding and hip, I just couldn't do it.  We ended up with some pretty safe/average stuff.  I don't know if it was because I'd just been sitting there too long or what, but I had no magic.  The rest of the song sounds good, though!

I got home Wednesday night/Thursday morning at 1 AM.   I was up at 8, headed across town to a studio in Snellville for a 10 AM session.  This one was more of the usual thing--the guy asked me to add …