Archive for April, 2010

if you take your kids to a show

April 17, 2010

Last Saturday afternoon, my band had a rare daytime show at a local music store.  For those of you who are only aware of mp3 files and iTunes, back in the early days, there were these things called CDs and LPs.  People would listen to an entire collection of songs from one artist.  Often the songs were crafted and ordered in a way that would allow them to flow one into the other.  You could almost tell a story through songs.  Well, this store sells those things.  It also hosts bands on a nice stage and they invited us to play.

Since it was a Saturday, I needed to bring my kids.  I had been looking forward to bringing them to a show since they know the other band members and have been listening to our music for as long as it has been recorded.  I think my daughter knows the lyrics to some of the songs better than we do.  They were looking forward to it too, there was only one obstacle.  We had to hit a birthday party in the morning at Kango.  Kango is sort of a cross between Chuck E. Cheese’s and those climbing rooms at the YMCA.  We had been there before and I knew what to expect.  I’ll just say that morning parties there are much better.  Saturdays it takes people a little longer to get out of the house so the place doesn’t really fill up until the afternoon.  We were in and out before the tables filled.

Back to the show though, I had two really good helpers who were happy to be on stage putting the drums together.  The rest of the band was setting up too and somehow the kids managed to know where to stand or not stand.  The guy running, or at least setting up sound, showed my daughter how to run the lights which meant for the fifteen minutes before the show she asked “are you ready to start yet? I want to turn on the lights” every thirty seconds.  My son was prepared with his LP shakers and G harmonica (Hohner of course, I don’t go in for the cheap plastic stuff).  It was time to start, the kids were off the stage and we were ready.

I had vastly underestimated what a distraction it would be to have the kids there.  Oh, they were perfectly fine.  They stood near the stage as we started.  My son played his harmonica and shakers along with our tunes and my daughter put her hands in her pockets and looked like she was getting ready to sit in the dentist chair.  I found myself watching them more than paying attention to the music.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I played poorly or didn’t do my parts, I did.  When I drove away after the show, I couldn’t really recall much of our performance, just what the kids were doing during it.  After we played a few songs, I asked someone to open a few folding chairs so they could sit down.  About half way through the set, I noticed my son starting to doze off in the chair.  Hey, the kid had a busy morning, it was afternoon and he was relaxing.  As we ended a song, I jumped off the stage, picked him up and brought him to a softer chair to the left of the stage.  He curled up on that and slept through a few songs.

My daughter kept her best poker face going.  I was kicking myself for not remembering to pack a pad and paper for her to draw or write stories.  I did notice she was watching intently, not looking around the store and certainly not running up and down the aisles.  So, I guess I shouldn’t complain too loudly.  One of our tunes starts with a drum solo, as I started playing, I heard the sound of shakers off to my left.  My son had woken up slightly and was playing his shakers with one hand while still lying on his side on the chair. 

Our show continued, we had a small but responsive audience and played a solid set lasting an hour and a half.  Then a funny thing happened.  We finished and suddenly both kids were on the stage and ready to help me pack up.  They were excited to be helpful once again and I took them up on their offer.  Soon they were handing me folded stands, cymbals and drums and I was packing those away.  I asked my daughter if she liked the show, “daddy, it was loud, but I’m glad we were here.”

So what did I learn?  First, bring paper and a pen for the writer/artist in the family.  Second, shakers and a harmonice are a good idea for the musician, and a pillow in case he gets sleepy.  Third, earplugs might not be a bad idea.  We’re certainly not a metal act, but we’re not just a violin playing either.  Fourth, letting the kids on stage isn’t a bad thing as long as it’s a day time show in a place that doesn’t serve adult beverages.

Finally, if you take your kids to a show, be ready for the question as you drive away, “when can we go to another one, daddy.”

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Smashmouth to open for Sinzibukwud

April 1, 2010

Rochester, NY – In what was called a very strange move, the Rochester Jazz Festival organizers decided to have Smashmouth (national recording/touring act best known for songs such as Walkin’ on the Sun and All Star) open for local group the Sinzibukwud band June 19, 2010 on one of the free stages.  “Look, here’s what happened,” explained festival producer/artist director John Nugent (no relation to Ted as far as you know), “we knew we already had a great band with Sinzibucklehouse, the trick was finding a group that would mesh well with them.  When I heard their new song about parking and karma and stuff, I thought, you know who could compliment that, those boys who sang “I’m a believer” on Shrek.”

“We’re totally stoked about this gig!  You think this tattoo on my arm is random?”  Paul DeLisle from Smashmouth commented in a recent phone interview, “It’s the cover art from Thomas Devon Chamberlain’s CD he did before Sinzibukwud got rolling.  I just hope they still play stuff off that platter.”  Paul explained he’s been following Tom’s career since his early days in Prongwater.  “I liked the name of that band for some reason.  Pass me that lighter?”

The members of Sinzibukwud were happy to hear a choice was made for an opener.  “Yeah, I remember those guys,” said drummer, Aaron Hunt.  “They used to play their song on the radio at the health club I used back in what, 2000 or 1999 or something.  I’m glad they’re still around.”  Rumors circulated as late as last week that the opener was Mazzy Star or the Jesus and Mary Chain.  “Look, I’m glad they made a decision and that John (Nugent) is giving an up and coming band that was a national act years and years ago with two hits a chance to play for our city,” continued Aaron.  “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find my Sugar Ray CD.”

Closing night of the jazzfest should be a real rocker thanks to these two bands.  With names like Sinzibukwud and Smashmouth, perhaps we should call it JaSSfest.

Happy first day of April.