Little Bit Funky/Little Bit Rock and Roll

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Tonight I’m playing a gig with a really good and fun band called Arena out in Wayne NJ at a spot called Grasshopper Too. I’ve played a few gigs with them in the past and have had lots of fun each time we’ve worked together. Each gig we’ve done has been me subbing for their regular drummer who can’t make it for some reason, and I have to play without a rehearsal. So far, no train wrecks. It really is just plain old fun at a NJ bar with down to earth people ready and willing to go out on a Saturday night and have a good time. Sometimes I feel it is better than playing certain gigs in NYC where people sit back and  judge every move you make, often while not even paying attention.

Most of these songs are ones that I grew up listening to as a kid. I’ve even played some of them in bands in high school. It is funny how the drum parts all seem to come back as soon as we get started playing the songs. Other ones, I have to do some homework before I get there.

It’s one thing to know a song from listening to it on the radio for 30 years and another to actually play the drum parts…the right way. I like trying to play the actual parts the drummer did on the record. It is a challenge. Plus, it makes things easier for the band and more fun for me.

In my opinion, to this day, Tom Sawyer is by far, the hardest song I have ever tried to play. Even harder than those songs in the Broadway show Evita. (Rush/Evita…yeah I infused broadway into this post – It is where I make my money folks!) I loved playing Rush songs back in 1981 and I love their songs to this day.

I must say this…..I love rock. LOVE it. I love playing even harder stuff like Tool, Black Sabbath. Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Bad Brains…that kind of stuff. I even played in my own metal band back in the late 80’s called EvilTwins. We had the chance to open up for Creed back in January of 1998. It was the first time I played in a band where we actually created a mosh pit. Yessir! After the third song, our lead singer asked, “So how are we doing?” The crowd replied with the biggest roar I’ve ever heard while on stage. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Even though I love my rock and metal, I love me some soul and funk. If I had things my way, in my perfect utopian world, I would have an original band that was a combination of Earth Wind And Fire, Led Zeppelin and Bad Brains…with a little Cameo sprinkled in…oh, and with a black female singer. Yes!!!!

One day I’d like to do a show with a big ass band. 3 background singers, 3 guitarists (yeah, I need three), bass player, 2 keyboardists, 3 horns,  male and female lead vocalists and a percussionist. And just about everyone should be able to sing. We’d have a set that had songs like this:

Fencewalk – Mandrill

777-9311/Cool/ The Stick – The Time

Baby I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More – Barry White

Red Hot Mama/Knee Deep – Funkadelic

I just want to be/Shake Your Pants/Sparkle/Keep It Hot- Cameo

Evil/All About Love/Runnin’ and about 15 other non-hits – Earth Wind and Fire

Sexy Dancer/She’s Always In My Hair and 10 other B-sides Prince

More Bounce To The Ounce – Zapp

Fancy Dancer – Commodores

Skin Tight  – Ohio Players

Your Wish Is My Command/Fantastic Voyage/Something About That Woman – Lakeside

Just A Touch Of Love/Slide/Watching You – Slave

Footsteps in The Dark and their classic non-hit ballads- Isley Brothers

Dusic/Dazz/Push – Brick

If I’m in Luck, I just might get picked up – Betty Davis

Do you love what you feel/Stay./Clouds/What Cha’ gonna do for me/We Got Each Other – Rufus/Chaka

Chocolate Buttermilk/This Is You, This Is Me and the cool stuff before Ladies Night  – Kool And The Gang

 

You know, stuff like that. I would have a funk show for those who know how to funk-and-soul, but are a little tired of hearing wedding band funk.

Until then, I’m gonna rock out tonight!

Somebody help me put this band together will ya?

 

 

 

Passion

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I realize that I am blessed. I am a musician. What I do makes you feel good, sad, elated, angry or any one of a number of emotions. What I do moves your toes, feet, back or entire body. It evokes memories of past events and creates new ones daily. What I do puts smiles on your face. You hear it every day even though you don’t realize it. You may be on the subway, in your car, at just about any store, watching tv or just walking down the street. What I do affects your daily life.

I’m blessed to be a part of unique people that absolutely love what they so and sometimes do it without expecting to get paid. It’s just who we are.

What musicians do is not easy. It takes decades to learn how to effectively learn our craft. It takes years of serious practice. Some of us, like jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins still practice even in our 9th decade of life. Music is a lifelong passion and I’m glad I found it around the age of 6.

Seeing my cousin’s shiny sparkle kit in his basement was a life changing experience. I asked my parents to get it for me and they did. I haven’t stopped playing drums ever since then.

Sailing

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Oh Lord!! I’m about to play a wedding tonight on a boat for 4 hours tonight. I like gigs in NYC because I don’t have to leave the island, but I tend to get a little seasick when I play these events. I’m gonna need my man Isaac to give me a secret potion or some wonderful concoction to keep my mind off of the fact that this boat is rocking back and forth.

By the way, did you know Ted Lange was Junior on That’s My Mana before The Love Boat? He was also in the documentary film Wattstsax (a must see).

Check this out:
http://youtu.be/blT5VwfzIbc