Saturday, July 30, 2005

Welcome to TBUBlog - The official blog of The BackUp Band

Welcome to TBUBlog!

Well, I'm new to this blog thing and screwed everything up. I was trying to upload a graphics file and deleted all previous text, so I'm starting over from scratch. Those who logged in after 6:00 PM eastern time tonight saw only my photo. The intention is to get you up to the minute news, comments on recent shows, and backstage dirt on The BackUp Band. Here now, is the new official first posting to TBUBlog:

Last night we played our usual haunt, The Greenville Inn located in Chagrin Falls, Ohio (actually, its located in Bainbridge, but Chagrin sounds better for marketing purposes). The band sounded good in a slightly stripped down format. I missed the sound of guitarist, Neon Don Buchanan, who was overseas on business, but on the other hand, it gave our other guitarist, Tommy Shaper a little more room to experiment.

Bassist Craig Clasen has been on vacation for the last three gigs. James Gatewood, of the Cruisemasters has been doing a great job while subbing for Craig. There are always some issues with fill-in musicians winging their way through the set list, but James has a quick ear and added some fine energy to the show, as anyone who was there at The Ville can attest. I'm looking forward to Craig's eventual return, but in the meantime, its great to have someone who can step in and play so admirably.

Sax player, Norm Tischler did a great job as he always does when he joins us for shows. With the great singing and inspiring presence of lead singer, Lawrence J. Polewchak, the fiery guitar work of Tommy Shaper, and the solid rhythm section of drummer Joe Alessandro, James Gatewood on bass and myself on keys, it was a great night (not to mention that The Greenville now carries my favorite vodka, Grey Goose!)

There was a good size crowd and their response and participation was inspiring. While not the greatest singers in the world (how difficult is it to go "hoo, hoo"?), no one seemed to mind all the beautiful ladies that jumped on stage to sing along on "Sympathy For The Devil" by The Stones. For some reason, they all hang out near the guitar player; never the keyboardist. So what am I; chopped liver? There was one guy playing "air keyboards" in front of me on "Dixie Chicken" by Little Feat, but its not quite the same. I start guitar lessons next week.

Last Tuesday, we played The Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood. The show was a benefit for Cleveland mayoral candidate, Judge Bob Triozzi, who is close friends with our guitarist, Tommy Shaper. The band sounded great on a full sized concert stage with professional front of house sound. Special thanks to soundman, Mike, form Eighth Day Sound, who did a great job for us in spite of the fact that he had just arrived from the funeral of a close friend. We felt bad for Mike, but the gig seemed to lift his spirits. Best of luck, Mike and I hope we have the opportunity to work with you again.

While at the Triozzi benefit at The Beachland, I was introduced to Cleveland attorney and Donnie Iris and the Cruisers keyboardist, Mark Avsec who is also friends with Judge Triozzi. Mark was a key member and songwriter in the Cruisers ("Ah Leah") and also played with Wild Cherry ("Play That Funky Music White Boy"). More recently he has been handling the keyboard chores with Joe Walsh and The James Gang ("Funk 49") at their reunion shows. Guitar hero, Joe Walsh as you probably know, is also a member of The Eagles ("Hotel California", "Peaceful Easy Feeling", "The Long Run", Take It To The Limit", "Witchy Woman", "Desperado") OK... I'm being an asshole. Sorry!

Anyway; Mark was kind enough to send me his personal copy of the Dr. John New Orleans Style Piano instructional video. How generous (I thought), but then I wondered if he sent it because he thought I needed an instructional video. (You were just being nice, right?? My playing isn't that bad, is it?) Either way, thanks Mark!

Moving on; in August we play at a private, fully catered pool/cocktail party at a fancy house in Solon. Unfortunately, if you didn't get an invitation, your not on the list. You could always try driving around Solon, listening for loud live music, and try to crash the party (Just kidding, Bill and Jan!!) Anyway, fear not, as we return to The Greenville, where its always a party atmosphere, on Friday August 26. I hope to see you all then!

(re-created from memory)

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Lowly Keyboardist and Assistant to the Assistant Marketing Director
(c) 2005 The BackUp Band of Cleveland, Ohio LLC.