Thursday, December 31, 2015


It's a rare treat these days when I get a call for a non-Yacht Rock related gig.  I'm not sure if I've fallen off everybody's radar, or there just aren't as many random gigs to go around, but as another year closes, it feels that I am even more separated from the local music scene.  Then again, maybe I'm pining for a scene that's been dying off for the last ten years--those gigs just aren't there anymore.

So...whatever.  I played with Scott Glazer's Mojo Dojo last night at Blind Willie's.

Before that...washing machine repair!  I noticed that our washing machine was leaking a significant amount of water--maybe a quart?  After troubleshooting it, I discovered that the water pump was the culprit.  With the help of the internet, I was able to fix it myself.  Woohoo!  It cost me about $65 for a new pump.

The finished project.

Back to Scott's thing:  it's a six piece band reading his arrangements from his massive library of charts.  The band for the evening was Justin Powell (trumpet), Scott Glazer (bass/vocals), David Ellington (keyboard), Nick Johnson (guitar), Kermit Walker (drums), and me (sax).  Some adventures were better than others!  Most of the reading was pretty good, though we collectively had some rough landings.  The energy (and volume) remained high, though.  Lots of blues.  I think I played pretty well under the deafening circumstances.

Surprisingly (based on it being a rainy Wednesday night at the end of the year), the room was pretty full, and everybody seemed to enjoy our playing.  Scott did a great job of managing the crowd's requests.  We finally finished around 12:30 AM, when the bartender started kicking everybody out (us included).

In between sets, I took a walk down the street (mostly to escape the cigarette smoke at Blind Willie's).  There was live band karaoke at the 10 High tonight, according to the doorman.  I didn't bother to explain that I'd spent plenty of time down there with Yacht Rock and didn't plan to ever return.

Come to think of it, I played a jazz gig down there (with Scott on bass!) back when it was just the basement of the Dark Horse, late 90s...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Last Week's Gigs

Friday:  the second Yacht Rock Revue Holiday Show at Venkman's also coincided with the release of the next Star Wars movie, so we wore Stormtrooper costumes for the first set.

Kip wore the Darth Vader outfit.

This turned out to be a really good gig with a very enthusiastic audience!  There was also plenty of weirdness going on--especially the skinny girl who was fawning over Pete for the entire show, to the point where he couldn't look down for fear of making eye contact.  All the puppy dog eyes and hair flipping...weird shit, people.  Knock it off, especially when your husband is standing behind you.

Actually, keep it up.  It's entertainment for me.  I enjoyed the performance.

Saturday:  most of my week was spent doing prep for a Greg Lee gig.  The line up was everybody except Nick and Pete from Yacht Rock, plus Ben Holst on bass.  Occasionally, Greg would swap his guitar for Ben's bass.

This gig was at least as much fun as the previous evening's gig.  I played mostly keyboard on this one--I even took two organ solos!  Bencuya suggested that I play "that white Booker T. shit"...

An easy night.  Kip ran sound for us on this gig, so we even used the Yacht Rock in ear monitor system.  No amps, better hearing, and one keyboard + two saxophones = easy load out.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Working Weekend

Another gigging weekend!  Check out the short version:

Friday:  the Yacht Rock Holiday Show #1 at Venkman's.  Not too bad!  I never quite conquer the holiday songs, but I'm getting closer every year.  I only needed a chart for one song, so that's progress.

The only other thing of interest was a new tune--Boogie on Reggae Woman from Stevie Wonder's Fulfillingess' First Finale.  Is it Yacht Rock?  No, but...I don't know.  I guess it doesn't matter anymore.

We also brought back Never Been Any Reason for an encore, but I don't do anything on that.

Saturday:  we played a corporate holiday party at the Delta Flight Museum.  I've been looking forward to this one for a while--I was desperate to check out the 757 that is the centerpiece of the museum.  Super cool.  It's difficult to judge the size of a jet airliner from proximity of the gate.  Walking around underneath (and inside) was really awesome.  It makes you reconsider the miracle of flight.

This party, like most corporate events, was a bit sterile.  The first set was kind of painful.  The second set was much better in terms of participation.  Nothing interesting to speak of.

However, on break in between sets...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

In the Round

Yacht Rock played a random, weird gig Wednesday morning.  We were set up in the middle of the room at an exhibit hall to play two songs for some kind of sales conference.  Probably as close as I'll ever come to being on VH1 Storytellers.

Pre-show, Bencuya spilled his coffee and ruined everything.

So...we walked in, sat down, played Power of Love, played Don't Stop Believin', and then scrambled all of our gear out under cover of darkness (during a video) in less than three minutes.  All in a day's work.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Last Trip of the Year

Yacht Rock played a show in Indianapolis Friday night.  It was unusual in that it wasn't connected to any other midwestern dates--we flew up for the single gig at The Vogue in Broad Ripple, and then got up the next morning and flew home.  

Friday:  This trip felt like a series of naps.  I basically napped for a few hours the night before we left;  I slept on the plane;  we set up and played;  we crashed in our hotel rooms for a few hours;  I slept on the plane.  I even fell asleep in between sets at the gig.

A small bus picked us up at the Indy airport and drove us to The Vogue.  Almost enough room!

One major disadvantage to not having all of our own gear was that we did not use in ear monitors.  Instead, we had monitor wedges for everybody.  It was LOUD.  I'd forgotten how much more difficult it is to hear everybody on stage.  We also played on rented equipment, which for the most part, was pretty good.  Both keyboards were in good condition.  The keyboard stands (both mine and Bencuya's) were ROUGH.

We had Kip, though, so sound-wise, it was as good as it could be.  He provided Nick with an in ear pack so that he wouldn't blow out his voice.

This gig was unusual in that we played a private party for the first set, and then the doors were opened to the sold out crowd for two public sets.  Sold out!  Indy is good to us.  It's easy--mention that five us are Indiana University graduates, and the place goes nuts.

Our rooms at the Broad Ripple Inn, a house a few blocks away from The Vogue converted into a bed and breakfast.  We left too early for breakfast, but the beds were nice.

The Vogue still has one of the tiniest, shittiest dressing rooms in the universe.

Nice gig!  This one went by pretty quickly, even though it was three sets.  I guess the first set was a bit subdued because it was a company party, but the thousand people who turned up for public sets were...very excited!  Considering how different the stage sound was compared to that which we've grown accustomed, I think we gave them a great show.

My bed (and the matching twin bed) had a vintage blanket--army hospital blankets?  Nice touch.

Saturday:  up too early again for the flight home.

This is the last I saw of Kip before I fell asleep.

The early flight back to Atlanta left us just enough time to go home, eat lunch, grab our equipment, and head out the door for our next gig.

We played a holiday festival at a private school north of Atlanta.  Wow!  It looked like an expensive junior college.  The gym was an arena.  It must cost big bucks to go to school here.

Unfortunately, the party was stale.  We were on stage in this enormous room with a couple of hundred people who mostly sat at their tables far away from the stage in the darkness and watched us.  After the frenzy of a thousand person show the night before, this was very underwhelming.  We were very happy to end at 9 PM.