Archive for the ‘History’ Category


Happy Birthday

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Don't forget the cherry

As always, on this day, I raise a toast to my grandfather.  He would have been 92 today.

He was one tough guy (WWII bomber pilot, shot down and survived), but he had enough of a soft spot to help me get started with some of my first usable music and recording equipment. I can look around my place and be reminded of he and my grandmother in every room.

So here’s to you Pappy. Thanks for helping me on my path.

69: BJ

Monday, February 7th, 2011

It stands for "Beacon-Journal"

Captured this one a long time ago, but had to resurrect it. I was playing a gig in Akron, adjacent to the Akron Beacon-Journal building. As you can see, on top of the building is a rotating tower with the temperature on two sides and “BJ” on two sides. Who thought that was a good idea?

Anyway, it was a cool evening, and I happened to notice that the temperature hit 69 degrees. Good thing I had my camera.

A blast from the past: Mike Farley Band

Monday, July 26th, 2010

I can’t believe it’s been ten years since the Mike Farley Band released their album Halfaworldaway.

Around that time I was playing keys in the Tony Lang Band, playing guitar and producing music with Tom Smith, and writing and performing with the nascent version of drunkdude69.  The TLB split a number of shows with the Mike Farley Band, and I was friends with Jeff Beam who played bass in both projects, so I was frequently in attendance when they played to great crowds at the Odeon concert club and elsewhere.

It seems like yesterday that I watched their CD release performance at the Odeon.  I remember wanting to smash my hands with a hammer as I watched Jeff Nagel play guitar like a rock star.  Mike’s songs were amazing, and Jeff Beam and Joe Rohan held down a pounding rhythm on bass and drums.

So on Sunday night it was like stepping into a Cleveland music time machine.

The show was excellent – lots of fun and energy, a room full of people who were psyched to enjoy some original music, and a great venue in Brothers Lounge on Cleveland’s west side.

It was fantastic to see some folks I hadn’t caught up with in a long time, and to meet some new friends as well.  I got goosebumps while listening to the band play their set, which included a guest appearance on bass and vocals by Brian Dossa, who replaced Jeff Beam on bass after Jeff headed to Nashville.

It made me remember the excitement of playing original music for an appreciative crowd.  There was some talk about the band putting some new material together despite the guys living in different areas of the country.  I think the tools exist for that collaboration, and I hope they do it (um, I’ll throw down some Hammond tracks if anybody’s interested).

Whatever they come up with I’ll be in line to get a copy (along with lots of other folks).

Happy Birthday

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Today would have been my grandfather’s 90th birthday.  Every July 10th I tip back a few manhattans in his honor.

When I was in my early teens I desperately wanted a pro synthesizer.  I had my Casio, of course, but I wanted to get into the realm of real gear.

There was no way, of course, that I could afford the eight or nine hundred dollars required to buy a serious keyboard. I campaigned tirelessly for that ultimate holiday gift, but it never materialized.

One summer while I was staying with my grandparents, they took me out to a few music stores so I could check out keyboards. I fell in love with a KORG DW-8000, and the music store sales guy even offered to throw in a few extra banks of sounds (saved on a cassette tape, nice).

My grandfather was very unsentimental, a career air force pilot and general hardass.  But he dropped the coin to get me my first pro music gear that day.  I think about him every time I play, and I never forget his birthday.

Happy birthday Pappy, wherever you are.

Happy drinking holiday

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

I read somewhere that Cinco De Mayo is actually only celebrated in one state in Mexico (Puebla, the state in which the Mexican army bested French forces on the 5th of May in 1862).  Thanks goodness tequila companies have appropriated the holiday and sanctioned it for celebration by drunk dudes and drunk dudettes everywhere.

Have a fun time celebrating, but don’t do anything dangerous.  At least not while naked.