Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Folding Chair

Last night of the big revival…

I heard a few giggles about me and a chair from the night before.  The soloist for the revival used tracks Monday night for part of the performance.  When the first track began, I thought to walk off stage, but nobody else in the band moved, so I just stood there, clarinet in hand, staring at my shoes.  I thought, "One song and then I can go."  That song ended and I started to walk, and then a second tune began.  Agh!  Stuck for two songs of shoe gazing!  Halfway through the second song, someone came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder:  the pastor brought me a folding chair.  The second song ended and I looked for a sign that we'd all be leaving, but a third song began.  At least I had a place to sit for that one.

So…evidently I looked kind of uncomfortable.  It even came up in the sermon that the chair offered to me was an act of compassion.  Jeez.

Our last night was similar to Sunday night:  choir, full band, horn section.  Actually, we played with no trombone--I'm not sure what happened there--so it was just Paul Poovey and me.  That was fun--we play well together.  Some of the other things were very "seat of the pants"--songs that were called out after they'd already begun--but we played along just fine, I thought, doing our best to keep up with the music director and soloists.

Onward to Easter!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Revival Day 2

Day 2 of the AM church gig's revival was a different combination--no horn section and no choir, but a mandolinist and banjoist were added in.  Things kind of leaned more in a country direction and I had no idea what instrument to choose;  I ended up playing lots of clarinet.  Hopefully Matt turned my microphone off.

We only played a couple of songs.  The guest soloist sang three songs with tracks, so everyone was spared more of my bullshit.

One more night!  The horns are back, so I'll be playing saxophone, much to everyone's relief.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Double Duty

I had no Saturday night gig, which was a bummer.

Sunday morning I was back at the ol' AM church gig.  Nothing too exciting…just filling in the holes around the vocals.

Instead of heading to my PM church gig in the evening, I instead went back to the AM church gig for the first night of their revival.  Sunday night was a big production:  choir, usual band (church organ, piano, drums, bass, acoustic guitar, me), horn section (Paul Garret on trumpet and Gil Estes on trombone), B3 organ, and two vocal soloists.  Loudness!  Lots of organ was available at my spot on stage.  Wow.  Good thing our ace sound engineer Matt Sheren put a very nice AKG 414 in front of me.    I want one.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Party Time

Yacht Rock played a crazy country club party last night.  It's the inter-club mixer between several high dollar Atlanta clubs.  Uber-expensive cougars and the men who pay for them.

The usual stuff for us, which was good because we were all brain dead from Thursday's all-nighter (more about that later).  While we were eating, a party organizer came in with a contract saying he thought we would be playing 8:30-12:30 (instead of 9-12), and Nick gave him the "these are not the droids you are looking for."  We played 9-12.

Adam J filled in for Pete.  I wish I could think of more to say, but nothing's coming to me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Helen and the Devil

Yacht Rock managed to scoop up a last minute gig in Helen, Georgia, so we never even took our gear out of the trailer when we got back to Atlanta Monday night.  Tuesday afternoon we off again.

I'd never been to Helen.  It looks like a little Octoberfest German town, which matches the only reason most Atlantans ever go up there.

The room was small, but the crowd was smaller--around twenty people!  Our smallest crowd ever.

Bencuya couldn't make it, so Eric Frampton subbed for him.  It was quite a beating/lesson for me.  I had to play a couple of Bencuya parts, and I did OK, but I'm still miles and miles and miles from providing the kind of playing that the rest of the band is used to hearing.  Ugh.  I played some wrong chords in Reminiscing.  Hey Nineteen went pretty well (I think I only played one bad chord), but I have no chops for soloing.  I began Doctor, My Eyes wrong, but once we got going, I did fine.  Somebody's Baby was alright, but the organ part is pretty similar to the piano part.

Frampton, on the other hand, tore it up.  I feel very small.  Present David Freeman needs to go back in time and tell Past David Freeman that piano lessons will be necessary!

This is post 666.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Road Trip!

Yacht Rock spent the past six days doing a run of shows up the eastern seaboard.  Not exactly a life on the road, but that's ok because I had limited underwear.

Wednesday:  travel day.  We drove from Atlanta to Washington DC and spent the night.  I can't think of anything significant other than a really good pizza I ate that night somewhere in Virginia.

Thursday:  we made the rest of the trip to Asbury Park, NJ, for our first date--Wonder Bar!  Asbury Park is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  You can't even make it onto the boardwalk.

The Wonder Bar is cool because it's pretty legendary even though it's kind of a small room with a small stage.  We had a decent crowd--maybe a couple of hundred people?  It was sort of 10 High-ish.  I think we had a pretty good show, and it was good to warm up for the bigger stages later on.  There were some problems with the up front monitors, but the back line guys were generally satisfied.

The promoter for the show made all sorts of promises about the numbers…no such luck.  Everybody had a good time (especially the promoter, who got a little wild and was escorted out by security).  I was hoping for Marisa Tomei, but she failed to show.  Again.

New Jersey was cold and windy that day.  Still winter!

We were all well on our way to sleep when Greg discovered the Eagles documentary on Showtime, so the whole band stayed up until 4 AM watching.

Friday:  thankfully, we were not up too early--1 PM lobby call.  Unfortunately, Bencuya and I woke up at 1 PM.  Oops.  It was OK, though, because we ended up staying in NJ at a bar to watch the IU game.

Our next stop was the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia.  We've never played Philly.  Nice!

The word was that this show was destined to be cancelled because of poor ticket sales, but we had a good burst at the end (TLA also gave away some tickets to fill the room).  The final numbers were around three hundred--really good for our first showing!

TLA is cool.  I own a great Michael Brecker bootleg from the Tales of the Hudson band--Naked Soul--recorded at TLA, so everything was a "Michael Brecker was here" moment--Michael Brecker maybe changed clothes here, Michael Brecker maybe sat on this toilet.  Probably.

We had great pizza at a hipster pizza joint.  Afterwards, Mark Cobb and I walked the length of South Street.  Lots and lots of shoe stores we did find.

Our show was terrific.  Bigger stage, bigger crowd, bigger performance.

Saturday:  on to New York!  We got into Manhattan and drove around for about an hour trying to find street parking for our van and trailer--no easy task.  After that, it was lunch and then a bar to watch the IU game.

We loaded into the Gramercy Theatre that afternoon through the front door.  As we were opening the trailer, some guy walked up next to us and threw up some kind of red clay right into the street.  Welcome to the city!

This was THE major show of the tour.  We had a good soundcheck and got everything just right (due to space limitations, the monitor guy was in a perch overlooking the stage).  The only blemish was that the monitor guy knocked my EWI onto the floor and broke the antennae on the MIDI transmitter (just like the guy did at the Park Tavern a few weeks ago).  Thanks for that.

Before the show, we walked across the street to a restaurant called Stix.  Awesome Greek/Mediterranean food, and the owner had already sent the band a Facebook message welcoming us to the neighborhood, so when we showed up, he toasted us with two bottles of champagne!  The food was fantastic.

So, the Gramercy Show…HOLY SHIT!  The room was right about at capacity (600 people), and when we jumped on stage to begin, the atmosphere was electric.  It stayed that way for the whole night, and the band responded with one of our best shows ever.  Wow.  We were legitimate rock stars for the night.

A couple was thrown out of the show for having sex in the seated section.  That's inspiring!

Afterwards, we had to hurry up and pack up and get out--the stage crew cut the stage power, possibly damaging our electronic stuff (four keyboards, two keyboard amps, guitar amp, bass amp, recorder).  Someone on the crew knocked my EWI over AGAIN and left it on the stage.  I can't imagine them being so casual about knocking over one of our guitars or my horns.  Not cool!

We crashed for a few hours in our SoHo hotel before heading out again.

Sunday:  Washington DC!  Our last gig for this trip was at The Hamilton right in the heart of DC.  This is one of our favorite places to play--underground parking;  the crew helps load in and load out;  the stage is a good size and sounds good;  the lights look great and they put our logo on the back wall;  the room is super hip.  It's so easy to play a good show there.

I wondered how we'd do after the euphoric NYC show, but everything was fantastic.  The crowd was good (sold out) and the band was hitting on all cylinders.  Great show.

Those guys are so cool that they even shot two camera video of us and gave it to us, plus the twenty-four track recording files from the entire show.  Wow!  New promo!

After we'd/they'd loaded out our gear, they took us up on the roof for a look around.  Amazing.  We were a few hundred yards from the White House.  The guy said, "you can kind of see the snipers on the roof looking at us."  Geez.  Too cool.  Still rock stars!

Monday:  a long van ride back to Atlanta.  No more rock stars.  At least we missed most of the bad weather.  Great trip!

Monday, March 11, 2013


I've been too lazy/asleep to catch up on my blog.

Thursday, several of us from Yacht Rock met up at Turner Field to check out some possibly quicker ways to get live music happening after the game.  The proposed solution was that we would jump on the dugout roof and go in four minutes or less.  It was Mark Cobb on electronic drum pad, Nick on acoustic guitar, Pete on bongos, and me on saxophone (everybody else was unavailable).  I'm not sure if we proved it was possible or not--that configuration is not exactly our usual set up.

Anyway, I hope that they go back to the plan of pulling a preset stage out from the tunnel, plugging it in, and turning us loose.  Much better for us.  I think the compromise there would be monitors on the stage, but we would plug into the stadium PA--the other times that we've done the on field concert, they've had the main speakers out there with us, too.  Sounds good to me.

Nick asked what I wanted to sound check, so I suggested Young Americans.  Unfortunately, he played as much as he could remember before I could get my horn out.  So close!  Damnit!  I played all my David Sanborn stuff anyway.

Hanging out at the stadium is cool.  Actually, it was pretty cold and windy--I had no jacket and my horn was super flat.  It didn't sound that great coming out of the stadium PA.  Oops.

Saturday, we played a birthday party in Gainesville, GA at the Chattahoochee Country Club, scene of several Platinum band gigs.  I know it was a suburban country club, but the place was excited to see us, the load in was easy, and the party people were all dressed up and ready to go.  Not too bad!  We had Kevin Spencer subbing for Nick, who was performing a solo show at Eddie's Attic.  Since we had Kevin up front, we were able to vary the set list a little bit, so we hit on a few tunes the normal seven of us have avoided.  It was kinda sax heavy.  One was Takin' it to the Streets.

The very weird trend of wanting to take a picture with my mustache continues.  It started on the boat--"Can I get a picture with your mustache?"  The rest of me is a bonus.  I guess it's better that a Gorbachev birthmark.  Tonight, I took a picture with a guy to prove to his buddy that mine (not his buddy's) was the best mustache he'd ever seen.

The toughest part of this gig was the very end--the show finished at midnight, and by the time we loaded out, drove back to Atlanta, unloaded, and went our separate ways, it was super late.  Not a great night for day light savings time!  I got home and put all my gear away and finally crawled into bed at (new time) 5 AM.  Ouch.

Sunday began two hours later at 7 AM.  Ouch.  I played my morning church gig, and I really didn't feel bad while I was there--I was pretty coherent and not very grumpy.  I got home and went back to bed.  Late in the afternoon, I got up, showered, and went and played my other church gig.  Nothing to report there.

Yacht Rock is on the road this week, with stops in New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington DC.  Come see us!

March 2, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
March 14, Wonder Bar (Asbury Park, NJ)
March 15, Theatre of the Living Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
March 16, Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
March 17, The Hamilton (Washington, DC)
April 19, Summerour (Atlanta, GA)
April 20, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
April 26, (Atlanta, GA)
May 3, Georgia Theatre (Athens, GA)
May 4, (Nashville, TN)
May 24, Radio Radio (Indianapolis, IN)
June 8, (Woodstock, GA)
June 28, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
July 8, Cape May Convention Center (Cape May, NJ)
July 11, Mohegan Sun (Montville, CT)
July 12, (Baltimore, MD)
July 13, (Philadelphia, PA)
July 20 (Atlanta, GA)
August 23, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
September 27, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
October 19 (Atlanta, GA)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fall Back to Earth!

Yacht Rock was back in action yesterday at the Park Tavern as part of the Shamrock Fest.

It was a long, cold day.  We loaded in at 2, and played 6:30-9:30.  In between, we hid out at the midtown Mellow Mushroom.

Our part of the show was the U2 set and then a set of Yacht Rock.  I'm not even sure if the U2 thing ever even happened.  Due to the run of show, we jumped on stage after the opener (Moontower), lined checked, and went for it.  Unfortunately, we were dealing with a substitute sound guy at Park Tavern, and about 1,000 people in the room with us.  The line check took an eternally long time while he chased a bunch of gremlins (a board that even frustrates the great Kip Conner).

U2 finally started, but I couldn't tell you anything about how we played.  I remember Monkey turning around and saying "THIS IS TERRIBLE!" but I don't know why.  I have no reading on how we did or how the crowd liked it.

After a costume change, we were back for a set of Yacht Rock.  The usual stuff--same set list we've been playing a lot lately.

While we were upstairs applying the polyester, some dipshit knocked my EWI off my rack, breaking the antennae on my wireless MIDI unit, and they just left the thing lying on the stage.  Thanks.  Perhaps you should pay more attention to what you're backing your fat ass into.

We played L.A. Linsday without any sax in the PA--we never got around to line checking the saxophone earlier, and once the tune got going, he couldn't locate it on his end (for the entire song).  Before we began Silly Love Songs, we had to bring the gig to a halt and find the saxophone.

I had the same kind of feeling about the second set as the first--I think we did fine and I think the crowd accepted it, but there wasn't much of a vibe.  We toughed it out until the set was over and then ran like hell (at least I did).

Sunday started early for me.  My AM church gig was OK;  I lucked out of playing on one tune that had handbells and the choir that had major issues with the time.  The other big song we did had little soprano sax interludes--a written part that went so low it ended in bass clef.  Up an octave sounded better.

Luckily for me, we played two services.  Double money!

My PM church gig was a snoozer.  I didn't play much--not much room in the music, and I didn't really feel like playing much anyway.  The piano pickup died, and I spent considerable time brainstorming about a better solution--how about a PZM taped to the inside of the lid?  I'm thinking about it.

Here are a couple of videos from the Rock Boat

Slow week ahead.  In the mean time, I'm on a big Sanborn kick--Bencuya gave me a copy of David Live, from the David Bowie 1974 tour.

Here are a few great 70s Sanborn features.  These make me very happy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lucky XIII

Yacht Rock is back in Atlanta tonight after a week spent on the high seas, trolling the Bahamas aboard the Rock Boat XIII.  I dare say we are getting good at this!

Sunday:  I met up (after my AM church gig) with the rest of the band at the airport, and we flew straight to Miami.  By the time we made it to the port, just about everybody else was already on board, so we walked on with no delays.  We'd even timed it so we missed the muster station b.s.  Aha!

I was slated to room with Mark Dannells.  One nice bonus of this cruise was rooms with balconies!  Cool!

Our first show of the trip was in the main theatre.  Very cool!  This is the room where the headliner plays--we've never had a slot on the big stage before.  It was pretty neat.  The sound was good.  I think I played pretty well.

Peter Beckett from Player and Elliot Lurie from Looking Glass were our special guests, so we featured them each on a couple of their songs (Baby Come Back, Brandy, and others).  No problems--we'd rehearsed their "B sides" earlier in the month.  I think they're getting used to us.

Afterwards, I tried to eat all the fruit on the boat.

Monday:  Monkey and I woke up late (our first sleep-off was a tie!).  The rest of the boat was on Great Stirrup Cay, so we wandered the boat.  We hung out on the balcony with Greg Lee and Pete.

A shark appeared.

In the evening, we all got dressed and participated in a meet and greet.  We signed lots of posters, guitars (where in the hell did those come from?), scraps of paper.  I'm not sure why anyone would want my autograph.  It might be pity.

That's about it for that day!  We saw Ponderosa play in the big theatre.  They sounded great.  Didn't understand a single word, though.  Methinks skinny jeans make them sing funny.

I didn't question how it worked out, but we were able to spread out to individual cabins.  Sweet!

Tuesday:  Monkey and I went to Great Stirrup Cay, which is Norwegian Cruise Lines' private island in the Bahamas.  Waaaaaaay nicer than the last time we came through.

Peter Beckett and I peed in the ocean together while listening to Sister Hazel.

Tuesday night, we played our U2 set on the Pool stage.  It went over very well--lots of favorable comparisons to the real thing.  The wind made reading charts impossible.  I shook a lot of tambourine.  Everybody else on stage was awesome.

The new Yacht Rock Revue CD came out Tuesday, containing our originals and a cover of Africa.  Get it!

Wednesday:  faithful readers may recall that we ate at the Japanese steakhouse on the Kiss Kruise II.  We ate there again.  The food was great.  We were somewhat loud and obnoxious.  We caught food in our mouths.

Wednesday night, we participated in the Woodstock recreation.  Each band did one or two songs.  We were given Sly and the Family Stone.  It went OK.  No big disasters.  The form on I Want to Take You Higher is kind of random.

Thursday:  we hosted the flip cup tournament bright and early at 2 PM, dressed in really unfortunate tank tops.  Our outfits inspired us to lose horribly.  Like, we lost because the whole opposing team finished flipping their cups before we could get one.  Ouch.  At least I didn't have to drink any of their shitty beer.

Thursday night was our final set, this time in the atrium.  One of our boat friends stole a plate of fruit for me.  I ate most of it on stage.  Fantastic!

The band flew through this set.  Peter and Elliot joined us again.  Very good!  The crowd was really enthusiastic.

That was it!  Home on Friday!

Thanks to Sixthman for inviting us and hosting this really cool week.  Special thanks to the crews at each stage we played--great sound and professionalism.  I was a rock star all week!  I wish we had a crew like that to take care of us at every gig.  Amazing!

We're at Park Tavern tomorrow (Saturday), playing U2 and Yacht Rock.  Come see us!

Upcoming dates:

March 2, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
March 14, Wonder Bar (Asbury Park, NJ)
March 15, Theatre of the Living Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
March 16, Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
March 17, The Hamilton (Washington, DC)
April 19, Summerour (Atlanta, GA)
April 20, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
April 26, (Atlanta, GA)
May 3, Georgia Theatre (Athens, GA)
May 4, (Nashville, TN)
May 24, Radio Radio (Indianapolis, IN)
June 8, (Woodstock, GA)
June 28, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
July 8, Cape May Convention Center (Cape May, NJ)
July 11, Mohegan Sun (Montville, CT)
July 12, (Baltimore, MD)
July 13, (Philadelphia, PA)
July 20 (Atlanta, GA)
August 23, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
September 27, Park Tavern (Atlanta, GA)
October 19 (Atlanta, GA)