(seen here with Nantucket's Tommy Redd!)
Living 35 minutes from downtown Raleigh, it really takes a lot to get me outta the house after cocktail hour. I’m hell bent on not getting a DUI in this lifetime so I usually wanna just hang at the house and open a bottle of wine and relax my tired old bones after 6pm or so. Last night was different though. There were THREE events calling my name. Our friend Colin Gawel was in town from Columbus, OH, our other friend Kenny Soule was in town from Queens, NY and OakTeam keyboard whiz, Greg Rice was performing Steve Miller songs with his band, Spring Collection. Luckily, the time slots co-operated somewhat. Colin was going on at 8pm, Greg was (supposed to be) 11:15pm and Kenny’s show was a late-nighter at Slim’s. I got to Colin’s show a bit late, either that or he started early (which is my version of what happened). He’s another one of the few people I know that can do a solo show and keep it interesting. I saw maybe 5 songs and screamed along with the other 20 plus people for more. We hung out at Sadlack’s for another beer before heading downtown. Greg’s thing was at King’s, which has moved from its old location and for the better. The new place has a much better vibe and sound. “The Great Cover Up” is a yearly benefit (for juvenile diabetes) event they have that features local bands performing as other bands. Greg’s band, as I said earlier was doing STEVE MILLER. This was a “must see”, so I was even willing to endure three other “acts” before they went on. First up was BECK; the band doing these songs was capable enough but I for one, care less for the music. I mean, it’s alright, it just don’t really move me. Next was much worse. Three guys got up there pretending to be KILLDOZER (whoever in the taste that is!). It was in a word, horrible, brutal and painful (OK! THREE words!). The guitar player kept tuning even though he wasn’t playing real chords or notes. The “singer”/ fuzz bass player kept telling us that he got the lyrics from the actual “songwriter”, even though you couldn’t hear a DAMN thing he was singing. And the drummer only played floor tom and ride/crash. I couldn’t decide if I hated the music more or the band on stage for making me aware of this noise. Jack’s friend said it was what Cheech and Chong’s rock band would sound like. The REAL low-light of the evening though was just ahead. The next “band” (I thought you had to be musicians to have a band!), were performing as RADIOHEAD. It was more like RadioSHIT! The singer looked like he was watching TV and would have rather been anywhere else but there.
There was supposed to be a quick change-over of bands but for some reason these clowns couldn’t get it together. I guess they were up there trying to figger out where to plug in the guitar cord. Forty minutes of prep time and out they come…complete SHIT! The word “SUCKED” would be a compliment. That would imply that they could carry a tune in a 5 gallon bucket…nope! I, being one of the World's worst guitar players, am at this writing better than all three of the ones that were in that band last night…put together! They took too long to come on, they double-super-sucked and then on top of that they overstayed their welcome by at least 2 songs. I wanted to kill them. But Greg was up next and I thought “Well, I’ve made it though these shitty pretenders this long, why cause a disturbance and get hauled off by the Police just when the fun is about to begin?”
The first beats of “Swingtown” began as the curtain was being pulled back. There they were, The Steve Miller Band!...with Greg in a wig on keys, Sam (looking EXACTLY like Keith Christopher) in a wig on guitar and singing and Mark and Terry on bass and drums. It was loud and it was rockin’, everything I’d hoped for. And the packed house was letting out a great big “Ahhh…” as real musicians were actually giving them what they came to hear. The song ended in a swirl of keyboards as Sam started up “Fly Like an Eagle”…”time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future…” They nailed it and the crowd raised their fists in approval. A recognizable beat followed…”woo -woo!” they sang. It was “Take the Money and Run”. Everyone knew these songs and it was great to hear them played so well and so loud. Folks was all dancin’ and shit. But given the allotted amount of time that THEY respected, there was only room for one more. Sam cranked up that impeccable clean guitar sound of Steve’s on “Big ‘ol Jet Airliner”. Everyone in the room sang along. It was well worth the wait and at that time worth putting up with some of the worst shit I’d heard all year. Greg and Spring Collection were no doubt the hit of this year’s Great Cover Up. It was on to Slim’s from there to up the musicianship ante with My Three Sons. Kenny Soule is bottom line, the best drummer I know. And to tell you the truth, there’s not even anyone I DON’T know that I’d rather have as a drummer. He’s unbelievable and has been for as long as I’ve known him (since the early 80’s). Playing with him was old pal and stupid-crazy-good guitarist, Pete Petty and the beloved, stupid-crazy-good- bass player, Bobby Patterson. Bobby was the bass player in the band my wife was also in, No Vacancy. He’s a sweetheart and like I say, one of the best bass players you’ll ever find. Hell, when Grace was travelling with him years ago, he used to SLEEP with his bass! He has a hottie young wife now that I will assume is much warmer. They played jazz/funk instrumentals that were waaay beyond my musical comprehension or pay scale but I still enjoyed it. Trying to avoid the aforementioned DUI, I figgered it was time to leave before somebody bought me another beer as they are sometimes of want to do. I was satisfied that I’d had enough and came to see what I wanted to see. Well…minus that bullshit in the middle, of course. KILLDOZER?! Pppsh! Gimme a break!