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It's true, we are all certifiably insane.  Have to be to play music this long!

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It’s that little old wine maker Pete with a couple of more serious thoughts.


     Show me an Englishman with loose dentures, and I'll show you London bridges falling down!  - Soupy Sales

    The Starfish Story: A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean. “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks. “Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.” “But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.” The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

Some call me the Bird Man.  It has to be because my wife and I have 5 birds and they rule the roost, more or less.  Ask me almost anything about exotic birds and I most likely will have the answer.  Since time and space are in short supply, what I will say is this: these birds should not be considered pets for primarily 3 reasons - 1) they are wild animals; 2) if you want to go anywhere for more than a day, there's really no place they can be boarded, not to mention the problems you would encounter when you came back; 3) they will potentially outlive you.  Some of these birds can live to be 80 to 90 years old.

I can tell you of many good and not so good experiences with our birds, but there's just not enough time.  If you have questions, ask me at one our gigs and I'd be more than happy to provide you with the answer(s) you seek.

 

It's a Drummer's Life

I remember seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. I was not yet 12. At the time I may have already been in the school music program, preparatory for the school bands, but there was some impact of music in my life.

When given two choices for instruments I picked saxophone first, drums as second. Somehow it was determined I had aptitude for drums. Once I began taking lessons I was more interested in drums, and I guess I liked the rhythm, the beat, the significance of the drummer. And somehow a drum was way cooler than say, a trumpet or saxophone.

Around 1964-66 I was getting into the popular music of The Young Rascals, Eddie Floyd, The Beatles, Sam and Dave, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, The Doors, The Beatles, and practically any band with a hit because there was only the radio for the most part. My first two record albums were Moody Blues, "Days of Future Passed" and Procol Harum, "Shine On Brightly." I became enamored in this music, and sought more. Through 9th grade into senior high school, it was a short trip to Grand Funk Railroad, the first Chicago Transit Authority album, more Procol Harum, Uriah Heep, Yes, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Cream, The James Gang. Into the '70's I expanded my album collection constantly: ZZ Top, nearly all the Chicago albums, Jethro Tull, Aerosmith, and broadened my horizons with Thelma Houston and Pressure Cooker, Lee Ritenour, Al Di Meola, Foreigner, Styx, Steely Dan, The Ohio Players, Average White Band, Foghat, and a host of lesser-known bands.

To some extent I can say I was influenced by the drummers of these bands that I listened to. I remember seeing Ginger Baker on TV. Other drummers that I listened to including some solo work on the various LP's: John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Don Brewer (Grand Funk), Danny Seraphine (Chicago), Jeff Porcaro (Steely Dan, Toto), Ian Paice (Deep Purple), B. J Wilson (Procol Harum), Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix). Though for me I generally was drawn to the music by style and sound first, then to the drummer as a secondary interest.

In the summer of 1966, before the start of my ninth grade year, I attended Lutheran Church Camp at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove. I had my first drum set at the time, a three-piece Ludwig, no hi-hat even. One cymbal. It was bare bones. While at church camp, one evening a trio came to perform; jazz I guess. I remember a guitar, stand-up bass, and a drummer. After they had played about a half hour, the guitarist and bassist left the stage. The drummer took over and played BY HIMSELF for almost a half hour. I had never seen anything like that.

I could not wait for church camp to end so I could "try this at home." I remember after that, many times, just sitting at my drums and playing and playing and playing.

In bands I was in, early-on, of course I played the drum solos to "Wipeout," and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," and later "Chicago's version of "I'm A Man" and Zeppelin's "Moby Dick".  I have always liked the challenge of different drum licks and fills, and unusual rhythms. Like the first time I heard the hi-hat used only on the off-beat, Average White Band's "Cut the Cake."

I quit the rock band I was in at the time, Reunion, with Bert Smeal, in 1979, and did not play much at all in the intervening 34 years. Now I kind of wonder why I ever stopped. It is interesting that Bert is part of the Pepper Street Team, as sound man, and fill-in drummer. Sort of like living a second childhood through a renewed interest in music performance and just having a great time!

It's different this time around, with age comes maturity. I was probably guilty of over-playing drum parts back in the day. Now I like to keep a groove going in a good solid pocket, without adding too much "fluff." That makes the rest of the band sound better.

 

From TBP (the bass player)

Hey you know you look like Jerry Garcia?

I just got my hair cut and noticed that the gray/silver has now gone to about 90% over the black.  Highlights I keep telling myself, but the proof is on the floor.  Should I walk harmlessly into the "Greecian Formula for Men" aisle at Wal-Mart or just accept the inevidible that I have managed to be the youngest Yoas in history to be totally gray at 53.  I actually did color my hair once, back in the 90s.  Rhythm Face, was working on a CD and it just didn't look right to have a gray haired bass player.  So I did it.  Never felt more silly or vain about anything in my life.  So I will deal with the Jerry Garcia comments and smile, but inside I feel like Paul McCartney!