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Finally found a good band


The Real MC
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I just joined an 80s Rock band that wanted a keyboard player. Thankfully this is not a band where I am the wallpaper, we are playing songs where keyboards are featured (especially synths). Although the guitar player has his high gain tones, he uses them sparingly and welcomes my keyboard work. No egos at all. They have a well known female singer with a great set of pipes, and the drummer & guitar player like prog rock.

 

This is a local band that is a lot closer. A mutual friend gave them my name. They wanted to audition with Tom Sawyer, Runaway, Hold The Line, Don't Stop Believing, Separate Ways. Well I can play those songs in my sleep. I dragged along my OBX for the Tom Sawyer opening rezz and that made a big impression. This is not a big town and they admitted that keyboard players are hard to come by (by his own admission, the guitar player said his type are a dime a dozen). I didn't even know about the band. I won the audition that night.

 

Quite a big variety in their set list: everything from Blondie to GoGos to AC/DC to Styx to Rush (yes, even "Jump"). Obviously they're aiming for a broad audience. Hey I'm not too proud to play the goofy stuff as long as there are good songs to play. With me added, we have three good singers for harmonies.

 

I have some challenges. They are playing "Fantasy" by Aldo Nova and "Final Countdown" so I have some busy intros to put together. In addition the MIDIBoard, Hammond XK3, OBX, and Andromeda, I have to use a MIDI bass pedal controller to play parts with my feet. Lots of MIDI control (the OBX has an Encore MIDI retrofit). Taking along a couple of rackmount things like Voyager RME and Minitaur for Taurus pedal sounds.

 

I had mentioned my work with the theater group performing the orchestral parts on Pink Floyd "The Wall". The singer always wanted to do ELO stuff like "Turn To Stone" where I could play the orchestral stuff. I haven't bragged about the gear I own... They made some passing joke about pumping Taurus pedals through the PA - I said don't laugh I have a set of those and the singer said "I know - I WANT TO HEAR THEM". Bass player had asked about the Jazz basses I own. Yup, they've been googling my name. Nice to work with a band that welcomes those synth sounds!

 

Since I am playing bass pedals, that means I have to bring a subwoofer with my keyboard monitors. Instead of an "L" layout I'm going for the visual effect and stacking two boards to my right and the other two to my left. I want people to see my hands moving. No I'm not wearing a sequin laden cape. I hadn't used that layout before so I'm doing some practicing, it's going to take some endurance to play with the arms spread eagle. Haven't decided yet if I'm going to play 2nd guitar. This will be the largest keyboard setup I have used in clubs, and I have some serious MIDI programming to do on the MIDIboard as those big keyboard intros require a pile of sounds. They're pretty open about other songs that feature synths, and even Hammond. These guys are competent enough that we could add Kansas and Foreplay/Long Time.

 

It is so refreshing to work with a band that appreciates good keyboard players. They share many of the same musical interests that I do. Level headed, zany sense of humor, desire for a light schedule (about once a month). This band is going to be a good fit - I never thought I would find such a band in this small town.

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Congratulations! It sounds like you have attained Valhalla. Finding band members who respect you from the start instead of you having to earn it is fantastic (and really the way it should be). May your tenure with the band continue to be as good a fit as it is now for a very, very long time. I wish you the best.

Don

 

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

 

Alesis DG8, ARP(Korg)Odyssey Mk.1, Roland JU-06 & Keystation61. Stratocaster if I get tired of sitting.

 

 

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I'm pretty much window dressing in my band, but I don't mind so much...I'm so busy with "life stuff" that I actually had to quit--they asked me to stay on and do the "5 man" shows, while they book more as a 4-piece with no keys. End result is the overall set list features little with keys, but that's at least partially on me. Even before that though it's very guitar-driven and we tend to do the songs our guitarist/singer already knows. I do get to stretch out on vocals and they definitely like my harmonies :)

 

All that said, there's so many other factors that make me stay. Good PA, quick setup/teardown, everyone gets along, everyone learns tunes, our singer actually gets out and gets gigs etc. Yes I'd like a bit different tune selection but boy after my previous 5 band attempts it sure is hard to find people that are actually responsible...literally I wasn't able to find 4-5 people that could hang together long enough to learn a night's worth of material, and in most cases even if we had, there were no gigs or not much PA to play them through...

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I know the area. I used to play in Binghamton and Ithaca quite a bit. Ithaca is pretty isolated but a lot of interesting things going on there.
C3/122, M102A, Vox V301H, Farfisa Compact, Gibson G101, GEM P, RMI 300A, Piano Bass, Pianet , Prophet 5 rev. 2, Pro-One, Matrix 12, OB8, Korg MS20, Jupiter 6, Juno 60, PX-5S, Nord Stage 3 Compact
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I know the area. I used to play in Binghamton and Ithaca quite a bit. Ithaca is pretty isolated but a lot of interesting things going on there.

 

I played the Binghamton area from 1984 to 2004 when I lived near that area. It's nowhere near the live music mecca it used to be. As more manufacturing has left Binghamton, the blue collar folks who used to patronize live music left town. A lot of venues no longer exist. There are the old establishments like Thirsty's but they are a joke. If you want to hear good live music today, you drive to Ransom Steele in Apalachin.

 

Ithaca is an hour drive from me. I had played with a southern rock band out of Ithaca and left because I was playing too much guitar and not enough keyboards. They played many other places besides Ithaca. The Dock (formerly Capt Joe's) is closing soon which leaves only The Haunt as a decent venue for live music. The tiny places are too small, even if you have a duo or trio format the $$$ will never be good. The college students refuse to patronize popular music, they want the eclectic stuff and jam bands. Interesting but not for me.

 

I was surprised to learn of this band in Corning (Star 69). There's not much of a music scene in the twin tiers area, you can't fit anything bigger than a trio in any of the small places on Market St. The live music places are Brickhouse Brewery (formerly The OP), Sit-N-Bull (Painted Post), Ramada Inn (Gang Mills), Jr's Lodge (Campbell). There is very little between Corning and Apalachin.

 

There are two other bands who are big draws (Rust, Shylock Fox) so there's still hope for live music. One of the guys in Rust referred me, he knew me from my Binghamton days.

 

I was tempted to do something in Rochester but the 90 mile drive is too far and there is no good drive in the winter without going over the mountains.

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The dock is closing wow. I tried to get us booked there. Itaca is also very clicky too Mike. All the dead, grateful dead reggae, and pseudo jam bands all know each other. The haunt had national acts at one time.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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The dock is closing wow. I tried to get us booked there. Itaca is also very clicky too Mike. All the dead, grateful dead reggae, and pseudo jam bands all know each other. The haunt had national acts at one time.

 

The live music scene is moving to the wineries and breweries along the lakes. I've seen a few of them and they're well patronized.

 

If you're playing mainstream tunes in downtown Ithaca, the Haunt is the only choice. Happy hour is the best time slot. That's when the older crowd goes to hear live music, because they have kids now and they can enjoy a night out without keeping the babysitter too late.

 

The trend I am seeing is that fewer and fewer people stay out past midnight anymore. Hence happy hour and the winery/brewery gigs. Also the summer festivals.

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Congrats, and here's hoping you have tons of fun with your new gig.

Reading some of these posts reminded me of playing in Binghamton a couple times. I believe it was called Ike's Warehouse. This was a long, long time ago - I can't imagine them still being in business.

Good luck - I'm jealous.

Formerly âChiefDanGâ - nobody calls me chief anymore.
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