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Tag Archive: band


[Read Part One] There was another time that I saw someone who became a celebrity at the Cellar. I could have seen others, but I was more focused on the girls at the time.

I woke up with rocks being thrown at my second floor bedroom window. My friends wanted me to sneak out and go with them. I don’t think they had anything in mind – just hanging out. I jumped out of the window. Then they decided they wanted to go to the Cellar – having never been there before. But, for reasons I don’t remember, I was not wearing any shoes. I didn’t know they were planning to go anywhere.

So we’re going into the Cellar and – surprise, surprise – I can’t get in barefooted. My friends were kind of pissed because they really wanted to go. But they couldn’t take it out on me, because they didn’t tell me we were going anywhere. We go back to the car, where we find some plastic wrap, a sack, and some other materials. I’m not exactly sure what all – I’ve slept since then. But my feet were wrapped in something resembling shoes. Undaunted, we walked back to the club.

It wouldn’t work today. Not only were they not shoes, we were underage. But the doorman just laughed with his buddy, shook his head, and waved us on in. We went and sat on the mats in front of the stage. The band came out and started to play. As I said in the previous post on the subject, the girls would come out and dance in front of the band on a stage that was actually four risers stuck together end to end. Like the ones you stood on in grade school to stand behind the tall kids in the class picture.

Then the red light would flash and the girls would scamper off stage as if the police had arrived and they needed to get dressed in a hurry. Which couldn’t have been hard – they didn’t take a lot off. The whole act would have been a lot more convincing if there hadn’t been an officer hanging out in the back talking to the bouncer.

I was drinking a Tom Collins – yea, yea, I know. I can’t stand either ingredient now. But I was underaged and it was a common drink at the time. I was watching the band. There was a kid about my age playing guitar. I was jealous that he was playing with a band. I wondered what it was like to play in strip club underage. Then after a while we left and went home.

But I would hear the guitar player again. It was Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

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Jason Gibson and Mark Purnell

Now that Christmas is over and I’m finally starting to get over the cold I got for Christmas, it’s time to start catching up.

Jason Gibson and Mark Burnaugh opened the show at Love and War on December 19th that Shaun Outen and I hosted. They swapped songs as well as accompanying each other. Their set included Don’t Take My Whiskey and One Night Taco Stand.

Cold Multiple & Domestic

Cold Multiple & Domestic took the stage after Gibson and Purnell. The band consists of Craig Fasken, rhythm guitar and vocals, Craig Smith, lead guitar, Michael Levy on bass, and Matt O’Dea on drums. They play rock and roll and blues. And they do it well.

Dan Roark

The band played songs by Old 97s, Bob Seger, and others. Their set also included originals like the one about Pancho Villa. Fasken said that the first two songs they wrote together were blues songs. Then they played Fifteen Years, one of the two songs.

I followed the band and played a few songs, including Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress, and I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville from my upcoming cd, Hello Out There. Terry Strange followed me and closed out the evening with a set that included his songs, Angel Song,

Terry Strange

and How About the Truth.

It was a great show. Come on out this Tuesday and join Shaun and myself. Come listen or plan to play a few of your songs on TexasSelectRadio.com. Good music, good food, friendly staff. Come join us!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

foreign-figuresThe featured artist at the Poor David’s Pub open mic, hosted by Mr. Troll, on Monday, October 24 was a band from Utah called Foreign Figures. Separately the band is Eric Michels – Vocals, Steve Michels – Drums, Seth Dunshee- Bass, and Johnny Tanner – Guitar. Collectively, they are one kickass ball of sound. For a band that has only been together for two years, the four young men seem naturally tight.

The energy of the members of Foreign Figures seems to be boundless. One of the unique things about the band is that they all play percussion at different times. They have a tom-tom, a floor tom, and a snare drum outside of Steve’s trap set. There were times when Seth Dunshee and Johnny Tanner would play their respective drums. Eric as well.

On one particular song, Steve left his drum set, set the beat on the tom-tom, then Dunshee took over the beat. Steve moved the snare drum, set the beat, then his brother, Eric, took over. Next was the floor tom before Tanner took over the beat, then back to the trap set. What followed was a percussive explosion with a back beat. They took us just short of overwhelming and brought it back around to an explosive conclusion. I’ve always loved a good drum solo and this was a drum solo on steroids.

But it wasn’t all about percussion. Tanner played the guitar like the old familiar friend I’m sure it has been. Dunshee placed the bass notes foreign-figures-2between percussion, guitar, and piano seamlessly, emphasizing notes when necessary. Eric Michels sang and danced or moved around with seemingly reckless abandon that was actually very good timing and planning.

It was the band’s first gig in Texas. We showed them they were welcome. If you get the chance to see Foreign Figures, don’t pass it up. As I said earlier, for a band only together for two years, these young men are tight. And as Troll said when he posted a picture of himself and Samantha Saunders (Bar Manager) with the band – “these guys rocked it.”

Peace be with you.

VBS BandI played in the Vacation Bible School (VBS) band week before last, and we wrapped it up at the 11 a.m. service on Sunday. Christ UMC in Farmers Branch is like most churches. We get packaged VBS kits, with scripts, ideas for decorations, crafts, and games, cds and corresponding music charts. Then we decorate the church ourselves and add our own unique touches. I don’t know about other churches, but we usually decorate most of the church – immersing the congregation in the concept.

This year it was Cave Quest VBS. The church became one big cave. My son, Cameron, built a cave in the sanctuary, replacing the pulpit, made of pvc pipe and other materials. VBS began on Sunday and ended on Thursday – with the wrap up on Sunday. It is a grueling VBS Caveweek for the volunteers, who have to show up early. It’s the same with the band, except that they might have a little more down time. Although practicing for half an hour before VBS (an hour and a half on the first Sunday), starting off at full tilt for an hour, then down time for an hour and a half before cranking it up again for half an hour can take it’s own toll.

I picked up the cd and charts a week early to run through the songs ahead of time. Just to avoid surprises when practice starts. There were not many surprises. VBS songs usually follow a pattern, which includes no slow songs. Oddly enough, there were two slower songs this year.

But my point is that the band plays these songs day after day for five days – six if you include the Sunday VBS Service. The theme song is played at least six times each night. Other key songs or catchier songs get played at least three times each night. The band shows up the Wednesday evening before to run through the songs we’ll play first – and the most in some cases. Then we arrive early on Sunday and each consecutive night to learn new songs.

Some of the songs are fun to play, so the repetition is not all that tough. But some of them get on your nerves night after night. Jokes and camaraderie help to keep it fun. Then some songs you just don’t like playing.

Regardless, I find that I develop an attachment to the songs. Less so the ones that got on my nerves, but an attachment nonetheless. After all, I spent two weeks with them. And when you play in a band, and the sound is  right, you hate for it to end. It’s like when you spent two weeks in camp when you were a teenager and you met friends that were very special during the camp, but then you never really saw them again (the songs, not the band members).

It needs to be mentioned that despite the grueling schedule, the repetition of the songs, and any problems that arose, there were fun times along the way. All the volunteers simply adjusted to sudden changes and did what needed to be done to carry on with VBS. Sunday school classes and Bible study groups brought light food for the volunteers each night. But above all, seeing the children happy and pumped, having fun and learning valuable life lessons, made the problems seem rather trivial.

Peace be with you.

 

 

West Texas Mammoths

West Texas Mammoths

Open Mic Tales will be a regular feature since the stories keep turning up. If I run out of stories – which is highly unlikely – there are open mic hosts and performers that could fill in the gaps. There is a lot of good music being played at open mics in the Dallas area. With many interesting stories of those who were passing through and showed up at an open mic. It is my intent to feature some of the better singer/songwriters as well as to share some of those interesting stories.

The first featured act is the West Texas Mammoths. To be truthful, only two of the band members were playing at Poor David’s Pub open mic with Mr. Troll: David Kapsner, and Michael Jekot. David is the lead singer and guitarist and Michael is the lead guitar player. I’m looking forward to seeing the entire band play live. The other members are Tyler Rush, on bass, and Joseph Noga on drums. They say their music is a unique flavor of blues inspired rock and roll with a southern twist. And that’s pretty much “on the money,” as it were.

With just David and Michael playing, it was simply good acoustic music. Mike was playing lead (and playing it well) on a dobro. They reminded me of myself and Joel Nichols in Southern Plains before Joel passed away in 1999. When I played my set, I asked Mike to come up and play lead. As it happened, I had decided to bring my dobro that night, so it was dueling dobros on my song, Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters. It took me back to when I was playing with Joel.

So check out the West Texas Mammoths when you have a chance. They are playing at Three Links in Deep Ellum on December 19. Or you can check them out on their website or on Reverbnation, Facebook, or Twitter. Tell Mike and David, Dan said hi.

Peace be with you.

Conner and Dan in the Studio I was at the Patrick McGuire Recording Studio last Friday, working on songs for my new CD. Randy Talbert, Steve Smith, and John Tepper of the praise band at church played on three songs. My oldest son, Conner, who also plays with the praise band when his schedule allows, played guitar on several songs. Cameron, the middle son, helped with taking pictures, videos, and assisting the engineer. He also plays with the praise band and helps with sound. The session went well and I’ll discuss it later, perhaps, but I want to back up a bit.

While I was getting ready to go into the studio, I naturally thought about Joel Nichols, my musical partner of twenty-five years until he died in 1999. We recorded our last CD in 1996. My wife, Cyndy, introduced me to Bruce Gibson, and later to Joel when he came home from college at Scarritt in Nashville. When the three of us began to gel as a band, I moved out to Nashville while Joel was attending his last year at school. We lived with two other people in the top half of a house that had been around for fifty years, had been home to a hippie commune, and no longer exists.

Joel and I were driving around Nashville in his car one morning. After stopping for John Tepper in Studio coffee, we continued on our journey, going over several bumps and through several turns. Throughout the drive, I managed to keep from spilling my coffee by acting as a human gyroscope. Then I made a mistake. After we we went through the next dip, I turned to Joel and opened my mouth.

“I haven’t spilled a drop. I’m pretty good.”

A short while later, Joel grinned and slammed on the breaks. Coffee soaked the front of my last clean shirt. And going to the laundry mat had not been in my immediate plans. I objected, but the more I objected, the more he laughed. Seemingly in an increasing vindictive manner.

I was somewhat used to taking crap for my stuttering. But a prank like that from someone I considered my closest friend was painful. It illustrated that even the best of friends have a few, even if small, irreconcilable differences. The darker side of their personality that you hope you seldom see and avoid if you see it coming. Joel’s vindictive prankster side was one of those sides of his personality that switched my defensive tendencies into high gear.

photo When I continued to object, Joel realized how much it bothered me, and he apologized. Despite the times when our personalities conflicted, there were more good times than bad times in our twenty+ years of making music together. Going into the studio reminded me of the good music we made together. When I play the old songs, I can still hear him playing his part. I am playing both parts in the studio and I hope I do him justice.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark and Sons 3 For the past couple of years, I have been getting music together in preparation for recording a new CD. I didn’t play much when the boys were growing up, what with Little League baseball, church activities, and disc golf tournaments. Now Conner and Cameron are 20 and 19, respectively, J.D. is a senior, and it’s time to get back to playing music. We all play in the praise band at church occasionally.

I started with my old standards and added the new songs I’ve written over the past few years. As I was practicing and getting ready to go into the studio, I kept thinking of other songs I’ve written that I hadn’t thought of in a while. But when I looked in my notebooks, I could not find some of the songs I was looking for. And some of the songs I found didn’t have the chords written down.

I remembered the songs in my head, of course – for the most part. And I have a large number of tapes. My musical partner, Joel Nichols, and I were fanatics about recording practices and shows (sadly, Joel died in 1999). Yet not all of the tapes are labeled as to what songs are on them. Unfortunately, there are no clues such as – “this is the recording of that song that you remember was particularly excellent.” So I get to spend a lot of time listening to tapes. Which means a lot of recordings of the same songs.

Which is my cross to bear. Here’s my point – keep track of everything. Back everything up and date it. Having everything on computer is useless if you don’t know where to find it. But you’re a couple of steps ahead of me. I still have boxes to go through and copyrights to renew.

Joel and I thought we could hit the big time at any moment. We would spend our lives playing the same songs, along with new ones we were writing. It never occurred to us we might not sing them long enough for them to settle in the backs of our minds with other old memories. Fortunately for me, I played most of my songs enough that, even if I didn’t play them again, I probably will never forget them. Once I started playing the newly found old songs, they usually came back to me fairly easily. Yet there were others that didn’t come back as quickly or easily.

So trust me, don’t rely completely on your memory. You’re already having to write songs, record, give interviews, make appearances, and plan tours (among other things). Don’t leave anything to chance. It can come back to haunt you.

Peace be with you.

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