Showing posts from August, 2015


Yacht Rock had a nice, random Wednesday night gig in Austin, Texas yesterday, performing at a summer concert series.  
After flying in and dropping our bags at the hotel, we caught a ride to Curra's Grill for some dynamite Mexican food, described by Greg as "gastric nirvana."

A bottle of juice and a bottle of jews?

I had shrimp and pineapple enchiladas.  Outstanding.

Load in was pretty miserably hot--too much of direct sunlight.  By the end of soundcheck, my horns were hot to the touch and my laptop was almost too hot to pick up.  That's not good!  I took pretty much all of the gear that I flew with (2 saxes, EWI, flute, piccolo, computer) into the green room.  The local crew taped my keyboards with a thermal blanket--the aluminum foil looking ones.

As usual on these fly dates, we rented keyboards, stands, pedals, and cables.  Our old sound guy Hans would be pleased with this cable wrapping job.  Greg Lee would not.

Dream big.

After the sun set, the evening turned o…

2015 Revival

The 2015 Yacht Rock Revival was a massive success, starring Walter Egan (Magnet and Steel), Elliot Lurie (Brandy), Ron Moss and Peter Beckett of Player (Baby Come Back), Jeff Carlisi of .38 Special (Hold On Loosely), Matthew Wilder (Break My Stride), Steve Augeri of Journey (Don't Stop Believin'), plus special guests Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow's band), and Brian Ray (Paul McCartney's band!!!!).  Damn...

We sold out (3,500) before we'd even finished setting up for soundcheck.  I think everybody had a great time (ourselves included), with only a minimum of complaints about the Park Tavern's bar stations.

Ready to roll...

For the most part I fared well, except for a few diarrhea saxophone solos.  The end of Taking it to the Streets didn't go well, with me misreading the band and missing the last note.  I had a solo in Matthew Wilder's Kid's American that went ok (nothing special).  My other big sax moment was in Robbie Dupree's I'm No Stranger,…

Funk Box

In spite of the fact that the Michael Brecker/Brecker Brothers envelope filter sound is loved by horn players the world over, there is very little information about what settings (and what envelope filter) will get you there.  Believe me--I've scoured the internet.  It's not out there.

The most well known guy using the effect currently is Jeff Coffin, he of the Dave Matthews Band.  He uses an older Q-Tron, and there's a picture of his pedal on his website so you can snag his settings.  However, he seems to prefer it set so that the filter doesn't open all the way, which isn't really like the Brecker Brothers sound.  I bought a newer Q-Tron and set mine up like his, but it wasn't until I messed around with it for an hour or so did I finally find was I was looking for.  Here are my settings, in case you want a better starting place.

MODE=HP (high pass)  SWEEP=UP RANGE=LO PEAK=3 o'clock GAIN=8 o'clock BOOST=on
It sounds like this:


Sunday was a big day--three church services plus a wedding reception.  It made for a long day, made longer by the fact that I'd spent the night on the bathroom floor, destroyed by Saturday night margaritas (happy birthday Mark Cobb).  Ouch.

The services were the same kind of thing I generally do on my church gigs, playing soprano sax in a generally improvisational setting.  Pretty easy.  The first two services had pretty big ensembles, but the third was just piano, one vocal, and me.  With a little more room to play, that one was definitely the most fun.  I got lots of compliments from all three;  success all the way around.  It looks like I'll be doing this gig (three services at the same church) once a month.  Nice.  I only have to wake up early every few weeks.

After a quick trip home to exchange gear, I was off to a Yacht Rock wedding reception for some friends of the band.  Not my best gig, let's just say.  I was certainly tired and mentally fried (and my corner of t…

Eatin' Beats

Yacht Rock had a repeat gig Thursday night--Eats and Beats, a benefit at the Buckhead  Theatre that we've played two or three times now.  A few chef bands (surprisingly good!) and then us.

I hit rain on the way down I-75 and had to stop at an underpass to get my gear from the bed of my truck into the cab (big fun).  It was still pouring when I got to the theatre.  With no sign of it letting up, I hustled all of my gear onto the dock as I got soaked.  Most of the other guys did the same.  It made me wish forever more for one of those cool bed covers that would keep my stuff dry and safe.  Someday, if we play enough gigs...Anyway, all my gear stayed dry, so no big deal.

We've had some really limp Buckhead Theatre gigs, but this one was surprisingly entertaining.  Maybe it was getting back on in ears?  I'm not sure.  We laughed through this one.  Easy gig.

My only mess (other than sound checking Arthur's Theme, which was a "what chord do we start on?" kind of …


Yacht Rock played in Decatur, IL at the Decatur Celebration last Sunday, opening for Kool and the Gang.  Since it was a one-off show, we flew there and used backlined gear.  I guess it's equidistant from most major airports, so we ended up flying from Atlanta to St. Louis, and then two shuttle vans drove us to Decatur.

The ride from St. Louis...more corn than you would believe, and the straightest stretches of interstate I've ever been on.

We soundchecked in the early afternoon.  A few interesting characters lined up early for good seats.  It's forever disappointing to see that the residents of small town America are not the quiet, simple people that they are in the movies.  The girl (an adult) in green pictured below alternated between a pacifier and cigarettes during our time on stage.

Agh!  I ended up with my gear in the sun.  Boo.  Passing clouds made it bearable.  By the time we began our set, things were pretty comfortable, though, with temperatures in the mid 80s.

Red Red Wine

The Yacht Rock Revue headed up to Nashville and Indiana last weekend for a couple of dates at a couple of wineries.  I'm not sure if this was a conscious pairing or coincidence.

Friday:  We left for Tennessee a little earlier than usual because of an earlier start time at City Winery ( a new venue for us).  The air conditioner in the van has problems (the vents shut down at higher RPMs), an issue that we had neglected in between this trip and the previous one.  Oops.  The mountains and the heavy trailer on the back made for a warm trip.

The City Winery in Nashville is a nice room, though it's not really set up for louder bands--more of a singer/songwriter situation.  A huge glass wall across the back (so you can see the wine casks) made it acoustically unfriendly.  Still, it's a cool place--easier than dragging all of our stuff up a flight of stairs, and the staff was cool.

Never is it a good feeling when your keyboard powers up and does this--a great big error message.

I w…