Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Eve

Yacht Rock played our annual Turkey Eve gig this year at the Egyptian Ballroom.  Good gig!  Over 700 people showed up to see our old stuff and new stuff (You're No Good, Southern Cross, Forever in Blue Jeans, You Can Do Magic, and Only the Good Die Young).   Added bonus:  Peter Stroud came and played guitar on Hotel California, Carry on Wayward Son, and Ride Like the Wind.  A cool evening.

Video from last week from the Greg Lee Show at Eddie's Attic--no puking!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Going Back to Tally

Yacht Rock played a pep rally for FSU in Tallahassee Friday night.  I hadn't been to Tallahassee in twenty-five years, and was surprised to find it not as dirty and crappy as I remembered.  This seemed like it was going to be a horrible random gig with lots of driving, but it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable night.

FSU pep band

I limped home from the previous night's I-wanna-die experience in Decatur, arriving in my garage at 1 AM.  At that point, I had to resort my gear (putting the Yacht Rock gear back in its pile and separating it from the stuff specific to the Eddie's show) and pack my truck with gear and clothes for the trip.  I finally fell asleep around 3 AM.

Up at 6 AM.  First thing of the morning--rocket propelled diarrhea!  I took that it to be a good sign that whatever was upsetting my stomach was no longer fighting to go back up, and instead headed out the other exit.  I still felt horrible enough that I slept on the bathroom floor for around twenty minutes.  This is the only trip on which I can remember packing barf bags in my backpack.

I met the van and trailer at 7:30, loaded my gear, and crashed in the back seat, finally waking up around thirty minutes outside of Tallahassee.  At that point, I had a few bottles of water, a few bananas, and a few Papa John's breadsticks, and I felt pretty good when we loaded in at 2 PM.

Load in, no problem.  Soundcheck, no problem.  I sort of participated (if you count standing in the shot) in an interview with the local news about the evening's gig.  After dinner, I took a nap.

It was chilly, but the gig was a great success!  Numerous people told us that we were the best show they'd seen this year at one of these pep rally things.  Here's a great quote posted on the Yacht Rock Facebook page:

We had a really good time.  Good crowd--maybe 1,500-2,000 people.

Saturday was a pretty easy ride home.  Today (Sunday) after a few more episodes of blowout diarrhea, my stomach and my butt have returned to normal.

This week--Turkey Eve at the Egyptian Ballroom!  New tunes!  Big fun!

The Greg Lee Show

The Greg Lee Show!  Mostly the Yacht Rock guys backing Greg on his originals (and a few choice covers) at Eddie's Attic, just as we'd done earlier in the year with both Greg and Nick.  This one had Ben Holst playing bass most of the night--Peter was out of town.  I like the material a lot, and I also like that the fact that there we can focus on performing and not think about the rock show posturing.  Frankly, the stage is so small at Eddie's that there's no room for any kind of movement at all.

We loaded in and sound checked late in the afternoon, and then hung out for several hours while an entire early show checked and played (two full bands on an earlier time slot), and then our opener (Lexi Street) played.  I'm suspecting that I ate something that didn't agree with my stomach, and the hours of waiting gave it plenty of time to reach a boil.  By the time we hit the stage (around 10 PM), I was BARELY holding back an avalanche of vomit.  It was horrible, and the only way I kept from barfing everywhere was getting on stage and concentrating on something for three or four minutes at a time.  I was miserable;  probably played like I was miserable, too.  I'm really glad I didn't puke on stage.  I was one good stomach contraction away from hurling all over the table in front of me.

photo cred--Jim Ramsdell

So...that being usual, I was better at rehearsal.  Cartoon Butterfly had a couple of disasters on the piano part, but a good flute solo.  Southern Nights, pretty good clarinet stuff.  Born and Raised was fine.  Nick and Tim Smith did a couple of Indianapolis Jones songs, to which I contributed a bit of flute.  Right before my first entrance on Loss is the Law of the World, I decided that my part would be better up and octave, so I laid into it, played a string of wrong notes (couldn't read my chart), and then realized that going up an octave was...a really bad idea.  I could see Nick flinch out of the corner of my eye as I ruined his song.  The second time the line came around I was much better, but I'd already blown it by that point. Not Ghosts Yet was better.  Back on Greg's tunes: Get What You Want and Good Thing were pretty good, as was Three Time Loser, all of which were excuses for me to pretend to be David Sanborn.  One Kind of Love was all right;  I'd kind of done all my nifty saxophone playing by that point.  Cruel to be Kind was just a tambourine part.  I don't even remember if we played the planned encore, Sailing Shoes.  In the end, I was hoping to die.  Somehow, I loaded out and drove home without throwing up in my lap.

Kinda wish we'd had a chance to do this one again...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yacht Rock Two-fer

Yacht Rock squeezed two gigs into Saturday--a wedding reception and then a corporate event.  Double money?  Weeeeee.  It wasn't nearly as arduous as it looked on the day's itinerary.

Gig #1:  wedding reception for our buddy Brandon, talent coordinator for the Braves, in Peachtree City (30 minutes south of Atlanta).  We played on set (less than an hour) at the beginning of his reception.  We were crammed onto a corner stage of insufficient depth.  Mark Cobb had to play with his elbows against the wall in order to stay on the drum riser.

At 6:30, we dove off the stage.  All gear that was going to the next gig (guitar rig, both keyboard rigs) came off the stage and packed in fifteen minutes--a personal record, though in order to make it work, I didn't clean my horns, and all my cables and pedals were picked up in a pile and dropped in my case.  Kip ran sound on this gig, and we had Zach running set up and ready to run sound at the second event.

From there, we drove back to Atlanta to the Botanical Gardens for the next gig.

We made it!  All set up with 10 minutes to soundcheck--pretty much all we need at this point, once everything's been mic'ed.

Gig #2:  some kind of lawyer party.  They weren't that into it.  We played fine anyway.  That room (the cafeteria) doesn't sound nearly as bad I remember it.

Big thanks to Kip, Zach, and Hans for helping us make it through the day.

Big news today was that we will be switching to in ear monitors next year.  I'm really looking forward to it.  The better sound quality, consistent sound when I move out front for sax solos, lower volume, and one less big box for me to carry--all of these will benefit me greatly.  I can't wait!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Friday Night Duo Gig

David Ellington and I (the Dave and Dave Duo) played our monthly Friday night at Sun in my Belly in Decatur.  The restaurant is doing very well, with every table full during our set.

We had a good time playing, as we always do at this gig.  The staff is wonderful, the food is delicious, and the people are willing to listen.  Dave and I added Horace Silver's Gregory is Here as a new tune in our set (the original has the Brecker Brothers as the front line).  A little brisk for a first attempt, but nonetheless a groovy tune over which to blow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dave and Dave Duo at Churchill Grounds

our audience at the appointed start time of 9 PM

Dave Ellington and I played Churchill Grounds last night.  The audience was thin, as expected, and we were saved by a group of seven guys who came in, watched three tunes from the back of the room, and then got up and left.  The other guys--the conga player from a salsa gig I did years ago who randomly stopped by;  the dark haired guy;  the guy who asked if we'd be back next week;  and the cellist who thought that tonight was a blues jam (what?) and brought his cello.

We played well, though.  You can check out the mp3s below.

If these sounds tickle your ear, you can catch us at Sun in my Belly in Decatur this Friday, 7-9 PM.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monday Trio

Week night corporate events are pretty sweet--good money on an off night.  This particular gig was a trio gig at the Aquarium with David Ellington and Moffett Morris.

Most of the excitement happened before the guests ever arrived.  The parking lot boss decided at 4:55 that everybody who needed to be there for the event were already there, so he closed the gate, locking out one third of my trio, a few servers, and THE CLIENT for the evening.  Nice work.  It took some begging to get the gate back open long enough for Ellington to pull his van into the parking deck.

Other than that...another gig.  They fed us, but it was a highly refrigerated box meal--even the potato chips were cold.

I didn't play particularly well.  Part of it, no doubt, was my decision to try and get through the entire gig on a dead reed.  At first, it wasn't too bad, but by the end, it was really dead, and so was my mouth.  It also seems like it took most of the gig before we agreed on where the beat was.  Everything  in the first hour rolled downhill.

Here's the audio if you'd like to take a listen:

Bahamas and Bacon

Here it is...the blog about our trip from Miami to the Bahamas aboard the Grammy Women Who Rock cruise.  It makes perfect sense that you would hire a band of seven dudes to take part.


Got up super-damn early to fly to Miami to get on the boat.  This picture is before the door had closed.  I, for one, was asleep before we pushed back from the gate, and slept almost until touchdown in Miami.

I was awake, obviously, to take this cliched picture of the airplane wing somewhere over south Florida.  Behold the wonder of flight.  Check out all of that lower air pressure over the top of the wing, generating lift and keeping us from death.

We got on the boat with little hassle.  I saw the Indigo Girls in line front of us.  Amy had a baby strapped to her chest.  Emily was looking a bit harried in sweatpants.  That was it as far as contact with the stars.  I can't even say for sure that they were actually on the boat.

First order of business was lunch.  The seven of us really do eat with our phones out.  Usually it's happening in a shitty shopping center Mexican restaurant, though.

I ate that.

You can't see it, but Pete's on his phone.

I ate that.

The view from the port of Miami.  LeBron's house is somewhere out there, still for sale, I believe.

My cabin.

Nap time?

The Great Bencuya posing for the sail away.

Leaving Miami.  You can't see it, but there's probably quite a bit of porn being filmed in the buildings in this picture. we go with show #1.  Our first stage was in the Atrium (the lobby of this floating hotel).  An excellent slot to have because of all the foot traffic on the first night--it helps spread the word about us.

Not so great was the Nord Electro 2.  Far inferior to the Nord Electro 3 I use at home (and usually get on the road).  Boo.

Good first show!  We had a really good crowd of people walking by who stopped to listen.  I would even say that the room sound was not as harsh as it has been in the past.

The only hairy moment in this first set was the Love Boat Theme.  I had my chart, so it was pretty easy, though I play quite a bit of one-hand-EWI, one-hand-keyboard, which requires a review for coordination.


I slept as long as I could.  Woke up and got some coffee inside me.

We were in Freeport, Grand Bahama for the day.  As soon as I realized where we were, I knew there was no point in getting off the boat.  The last time we were here, I had no cash for a cab, so I tried to walk to civilization/free wifi.  After an hour of walking to nowhere, I turned around and went back to the boat (another hour in the sun).  This  I had a single dollar in my wallet.  Not happening.

This Bahamas Celebration boat was in the slot next to us.  It must have hit something, as it was listing to port.  Wikipedia says they hit something coming out of this very harbor on Halloween.  The hole has been patched, but she still leans.

A panoramic view of the port.

My cabin.

Our second scheduled performance was Wednesday night in the big theatre.  Before us was Heart.  They sounded great.  Super bad ass.

Following them was Emmylou Harris.  Also incredible.

Then us!  Another great slot.  We didn't have a huge crowd at the outset, but it was decent by the end.

Nothing unusual about this setlist.  I wish we hadn't played I Wish, as I was tethered to my laptop on a MIDI cable with the EWI.  Pete was playing my keyboard and I was right up against him.  I'd guess it looks a little weird (like me playing EWI on the front line doesn't?).

I like the sound in here.  One of my favorite things is that when I step up to the front of the stage to play a sax solo, I can hear my horn in the PA, so I don't overblow.

Back in my room, the towel animals had arrived.


We woke up in Nassau.  I sent my son a picture of Atlantis, right off the back of the ship, since he sees the commercials for it at least twice an hour on TV.  It's right there!  This is as close as you're ever going to get, kid.

Panorama of Nassau.

Like Freeport, I've seen all I want to see of Nassau.  Just to double check, I got off the boat.  The area around the port is super touristy;  Hard Rock Cafe, cheap diamond store, SeƱor Frog restaurant, straw hat retailer, shady taxi cab drivers, drug dealers.  Check.

Later in the afternoon, the band got dressed in our finest polyester for a beach photo shoot with Will Byington (who does all the awesome shots on the boat).  Stay tuned for those pictures, which looked pretty fantastic when he scrolled through them for us on his camera.  We got all the way up to our chins for a couple of shots.

Thursday was our night off from playing, so we went to the Teppanyaki place for dinner--a boat tradition for Yacht Rock.  More rice for Dave, please.

Another towel animal in my cabin that night.

Emmylou Harris played again, this time in the smaller room.  It might have been the same set she'd played the previous night.  Still sounded great.  Her sound engineer deserves a raise.

I checked out Mindi Abair, smooth jazz saxophonist and vocalist on the cruise.

Some time after midnight, a few of the guys got up at the jam session to play We're an American Band.  Greg Lee on vocals.  I've never seen Nick with a Les Paul before.  Monkey was having some anxiety and exited the stage as soon as this was over.


More relaxing, hanging out with The Great Bencuya, and later on Mark Cobb.  The girl in the picture has a great butt.

I saw Emmylou Harris one more time.  Why do older women wear long, silk robe kinds of tops?

Set #3 on the boat.  Rough start for Dave.

No excuses.  First tune, Greatest American Hero, I laid into the verse while the rest of the band was playing the intro.  I thought, "Why does this sound so weird?"  When it dawned on me that I WAS THE ONE SCREWING UP, I had no way to get into the introduction.  Instead I looked down at my hands like they belonged to someone else.

Of course, after the first chorus when it goes back to the intro again, I played the verse over it again, perfectly duplicating my first big mistake.  Nice going.  I nailed the synth solo in the bridge, though.  

Arthur's Theme and Lotta Love got cut, as did Doctor My Eyes, Listen to the Music and Two Tickets to Paradise.

The drummer and bassist for Heart sat in with us on Rosanna.  It was bad (I don't mean the good bad, either).  Not one you can fake your way through.

Thus our cruise ended.

didn't use either one!

We had to get off the boat painfully early--a 7:45 AM call.  My phone kept saying that we were three hours behind, so I had to set multiple alarms (one of which woke me at 4:15 AM) so as not to oversleep.

The reason we had to boogie back to Atlanta so early?  More gigs to do!  It was time for the bacon gig in Druid Hills!

The ultimate show of self control--I only ate four pieces.  Pete had five.  Pete wins?  I had lots of garlic bread and salami instead.

This gig got a little 10 High-ish, with a breakdown and band intros during Brandy and a spontaneous performance of Steve Miller's Swingtown.  The crowd at this gig (our fifth time doing it) was really cool, so it was a good way to cap off the week.

It's almost mandatory that guests wear costumes.  Charlie's Angels were here, as were Ponch and John from CHiPs, Annie and Daddy Warbucks, and Scooby Doo.

No cops this time.  See y'all next year!