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Moose / Lucy’s / Hammys / New Songs

3 gigs for the band this weekend plus a Saturday practice. It was really busy for Cyndi, who played solo at the Red Zone on Thursday. We started at the Moose on Friday and had a good turnout. Last weekend at Countryview, we had a request for “Country Roads”. Gary knew the words and we pulled it off. We played it again at the Moose, so I guess we learned a new song!

We practiced Saturday afternoon and brought back “Your Love” by the Outfield and “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Steeler’s Wheel. Cyndi sings both of the songs, and they went over well both Saturday and Sunday. On the jokester side: Bob has said in the past that he would never play in a band with “clamp on” floodlights. I happen to own two and set them up to shine on his drums at practice. He didn’t notice them until I turned them on – the facial expression was priceless. We played at Lucy’s that night and had a good crowd. Bob had another incident when the band banner tape let go and the band sign fell on Bob’s head. You can see a picture on Facebook, and I guess we need stronger tape! Lucas Brookins was celebrating a birthday and sat-in for a few.

We finished off at Hammys on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and had a great crowd. I’ve been told it got a little loud which we feel bad about. It is a small room and we played some high-energy songs which are going to be louder. Gary always takes a listen out front when he’s not singing, and we ask people on break, especially musicians, if everything is balanced. It’s something we care about and don’t mind being told if it’s getting out of hand. But again, all said, it was a great crowd and a fun afternoon. Thanks to all who stopped out this weekend.

The band is off again this weekend, although the Gary McAdams Band is at Boxcars on Sunday afternoon with Tim Pogorelski on drums. This is the “reschedule” for the Sunday that was cancelled recently.

Bob has birthday coming up on March 2nd. Maybe we’ll get him some tape, floodlights, or a helmet!

Stop out Sunday at Boxcars for the GMB and we’ll see you there.

Birthday / Jazz Gig / Hammys w/Shawna

Well the big 6-0 is here – first member of the band in the next generation. No gig on birthday Friday so Holly and I went out that night to our favorite pizza place. I had lunch with my coworkers earlier so it was a good day for food!

I played a real jazz gig at a private residence on Saturday that was a lot of fun – challenging, but fun. There were four other players and I met three of them at the gig! It was a night of reading charts and jazz soloing which brought back all my conservatory training.

My step-son, Chris, gave me 4 scratch offs on Friday and 3 of them were winners! I had been looking at a guitar amp and took the winnings as a sign that it was meant to be. I picked it up Saturday afternoon and used it both that night and Sunday.

Cyndi played a duo with Craig Curtis (from Nashville) at Off the Hook so I was not the only one moonlighting this weekend.

Matt is still not feeling well so Shawna Moore Schultz played with us at Hammys on Sunday afternoon. It was advertised as Rainbow Bridge but it looked like the Gary McAdams Band with Bob! We played as many RB songs as possible and had a great afternoon. Thanks to all that stopped out and for the birthday wishes too!

We’re off again this weekend, although the Gary McAdams Band is playing Sunday afternoon at Boundaries from 3 – 7.
I’ll be co-hosting the Lucky Chance jam in West Allis next Monday night.

Again, thanks for all the birthday wishes and we hope Matt is back next time.

New Year’s Eve / Moose Club / Drunken Monkey

New Year’s Eve at the Moose Club was a good night. We usually play 7 – 10 on Fridays, so playing till 12:30 seemed a little late for us. I remember many a New Year’s playing 9 – 2 as the bars can stay open later. Not much to say other than it was a cold night, but we had a good crowd. I’ve been told they’ve already booked us for next year. Thanks to all who stopped out and brought in 2017 with us.

Since Rainbow Bridge was playing back at the Moose the next Friday, we left most of our equipment there. I had a jam-hosting gig in Milwaukee on Monday so I packed up and headed back after we were finished.

It was another cold night on Friday and we had just played New Year’s, so we weren’t expecting much of a crowd back at the Moose on Friday, but I was wrong! We had a great night and made an effort to play some different songs to try to keep things fresh.

Our first Drunken Monkey gig of the year on Saturday also went well. We thought the cold and being right after the holiday would keep people in, but again we were wrong. We had one of the better nights we’ve had in a long time. Dawn Richter posted a couple of videos on Facebook. Speaking of Dawn – she cut a couple of fingers in a knife-blade kitchen accident and required stitches. You can see pictures on her Facebook page.

We were scheduled to play Hammys on Sunday but the Packer wild-card game bumped us out. Tommy Larson was scheduled at Hammys next Sunday and asked Matt, Bob, and I to play but those darn Packers won and bumped out another gig!

According to the website, the Gary McAdams Band is playing this Friday at Hammys from 8 – 12 and Rainbow Bridge is back at the Countryview on Saturday also 8 -12.

Gary informed us that drummer and owner of Sound Garden Studios, Kenny Koeppler, had a heart attack recently. Gary recorded his CD there and I’ve jammed with Kenny a number of times. We hope he has a full recovery.

Stop out this weekend and say hello!

Hammys on Sunday / Off until New Year’s Eve

No Friday gig and the Drunken Monkey cancelled Saturday night, which left us with Hammys on Sunday. It was a cold afternoon but we had a pretty good crowd. A lot of people were there to watch the Packer game. We started after it was over, of course! While getting ready at home, I was thinking about what guitar to play and I thought about Paul’s guitar, but decided on my Les Paul. I turned around in the basement and hit my head on a low spot on the ceiling (which I’ve done before) and took it as a sign – to play Paul’s guitar, which I did. Yes, sometimes I need a hit in the head to understand things. Dawn put a couple videos on Facebook. It felt good to play again and we had a responsive crowd but it was a long drive home!

Holly had a birthday on Friday and we decided to go for a birthday lunch due to the snow that was coming that night. Holly, Erin, Erin’s mom, and I had a good time and I headed back to work afterwards.

The band is off now until New Year’s at the Moose Club.

I have a gig with the “Mary Jane Gang” in Sturgeon Bay on the 23rd. I might have passed this up if I had looked at a map first! The bass player and I are riding together so it might not be so bad. I also be hosting the Lucky Chance jam in West Allis the first Monday of the month. The 1st one was good, but we’ll see how this pans out.

We hope everyone has a good Christmas and New Year. We’ll see you in 2017!

Paul Chitwood

Paul Chitwood passed away recently in Yuma, AZ. I never took guitar lessons from Paul, but he taught me more about musicians, bands, playing and attitude than anyone I ever knew. Paul, and his then wife, Barb, were “on the road” musicians for 5 years. I was a teenager studying jazz at the Conservatory in Milwaukee when I heard his band was coming off the road and playing in Janesville – at the old Daily Double. I watched and listened and at first was not all that impressed – after seeing jazz musicians go up and down the guitar neck in a blink of an eye. Later, after talking with Paul I realized that when he played, everything sounded good: his playing of the song, his tone, playing fluid and smooth, and a command of many styles of music and guitar playing. After a rethinking of what it meant to be a “band guitarist”, it hit me that Paul was a fantastic player and doing exactly what needed to be done on every song. His approach to band playing became my model and it turned my head around. Paul also taught me “common sense” issues about bands that Rainbow Bridge has been modeled after. We use to go to their bar, the Raintree, every chance we could to see the band. I always sat right in front and studied everything he did. His fake pedal steel, mandolin style tremolo picking, and quite a few of his licks are things I use to this day. Getting to know him and seeing him play changed my musical life.

Paul also did guitar repair at the Bandwagon, which was owned by Voight Music. The pickup routing and the toggle switches on my red Les Paul are his handy work. I use to hang around after giving lessons on Saturdays just to listen to Paul and other players talk shop.

In my twenties, I wanted a motorcycle and Paul let me borrow Barb’s Honda 350 to practice. “Ride it around the yard, and when you’re comfortable enough, take it out in the street”. Barb, who had just passed the test, took me down to the DMV and ran me through the motorcycle road test. I practiced as much as I could and passed on the first try. Another debt I owe to both Paul and Barb.

Paul developed the reverb units that were used in first Peavey amps. He and an investor started O.C. electronics, just outside of Milton, to make the reverb units and ship them to Mississippi. Both Cyndi and her mom, Linda, worked there for a while. The early Peavey amps had a sticker in the back that said, “Built by the beautiful girls in Milton, Wis.” This is one of the main reasons I have stayed loyal to Peavey amps and play one to this day.

Paul went back to school later in life and became fluent in Spanish. He moved to AZ, where the band had played for years, and became a school teacher until his retirement. Before leaving for AZ, he gave me a guitar that he and friend, Fran Shackelford (RIP), had built. Fran told me to be sure to “take it out for ride once in a while.” I lost touch with Paul over the years but always called him on his birthday in January and we’d chat for a while.

I remember being a youngster taking lessons at the Gould School of music. One night, Paul and another local guitar legend, Lance Massey were in the building, along with local country legend, Jerry Dabson. I remember Jerry leaning over to me and pointing at Lance and Paul. He said, “If you ever get to where you can play like those two, you’ll be all right.”

Jerry was right and I’m still trying.

GMB Combo / Susie’s Bday / Countryview / GMB @ Boundaries / Holly’s Bday

Busy weekend that started on Friday night at Merrill & Houston’s in Beloit with the Gary McAdams Combo. This included Gary, Pete Olig, Tim Pogorelski, and myself. We had to fit in a tight corner and play soft, but it sounded good and was a great time. I really enjoyed the musical challenge of being the only solo instrument. Cyndi and Bryan stopped out and there’s a video of Cyndi singing “The Christmas Song” on Facebook. The strange part of the night was Gary, Pete and I all wore red shirts, which actually looked quite professional!

We played Susie’s 60th birthday on Saturday afternoon at the Moose Club. This was in a different room but was very nice. She had a good turnout and it was a great time. Happy birthday and thanks for having us.

The snow was starting for our evening gig at the new Countryview, formerly the Countryside. I think a lot of people stayed home not knowing how bad the snow was going to be later. Actually, I’m surprised we weren’t cancelled. The remodel job was really nice and we had a fun night. The place is really worth checking out and we have more dates booked there.

Still snowing and an afternoon Packer game, but Boundaries went ahead with the Gary McAdams Band on Sunday afternoon. This time it was Gary, Cyndi, Pete Olig, Pat Betts and myself. The band sounded really good and it was a great time. Pete and Pat are amazing players and it was grooving all afternoon! The crowd was a little thin and we wrapped things up a little early. I didn’t mind as it gave me a head start back to Milwaukee.

I was supposed to host a Monday night jam in Dundee, Wis that somehow got double-booked. Given the busy weekend, I didn’t mind, but I was really looking forward to playing with (a different) Pete on bass, as we really clicked at the Lucky Chance jam.

Holly’s birthday is Friday, the 16th and we just happen to be off, so we’ll be able to celebrate that night. Musicians are used to celebrating events on odd nights due to gigs, but this time it worked out.

I haven’t written my tribute to Paul Chitwood yet but will get to it soon!

The band is at the Drunken Monkey on Saturday night and then back at Hammys on Sunday afternoon. Stop out and say hello!

Fab Four @ Hammys / Drunken Monkey / Full Band @ Hammys on Sunday

A little miss-information on my part and Matthew too. We both thought Gary was going to be back for our Wednesday gig at Hammys. I was surprised when I saw that Bob had set the mixer up in Gary’s spot and then Cyndi putting her piano almost center stage. “Didn’t you know that Gary was staying in Texas for Thanksgiving?” was the answer to my question. Considering our time off, I spent some time reviewing songs – mostly Gary’s, which is not a bad thing. We got through the night just fine to a packed house. Shawn Sharp was in the house and did a few Elvis tunes; Lucas Brookins also sat-in on drums. A special thanks to band mates Cyndi, Matt and Bob for stepping it up to play 4-piece.

I stayed over and we had the Arnold Thanksgiving at Dad’s at noon. Then it was drive to Milwaukee to eat again at Pat’s (Holly’s oldest) place. Friday night was off and I spent the night at home with Holly.

We were a little surprised on Saturday when we got the text that Gary was not going to be back in time for the Drunken Monkey gig. We pulled out all our danceable-rockers and got through the night again as a 4-piece. It was a decent crowd and plenty of dancers. It was fun to pull a few oldies out of the hat at both Hammys and the Drunken Monkey. We thank all who stopped out and hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving.

We were back at Hammys on Sunday and this time it was the full band. It felt good to do more of our regular songs again and we had a good afternoon.

We’re back at the Moose Club on Friday and then a private party on Saturday. Can’t believe it’s almost December!

Lucky Chance Jam / Boundaries w / Jerry Dabson

No RB gigs but I had a few things come along. I co-hosted the Lucky Chance jam in West Allis this past Friday. I found out at the last minute that the other guitar player was sick. Luckily I live close and ran home to get a 2nd guitar amp. We started as a trio, which I actually enjoy, but had plenty of jammers once things got going. I really appreciate Craig Omick having me as the hosting guitar player. I’ll miss the next one as RB is playing.

Sunday was a Boundaries gig as the Gary McAdams Band without Gary! Gary was in Texas for his dad’s 80th birthday.  Cyndi was still on vacation in Arizona. Jerry Dabson ran the show and Steve Peck was the other guitarist. I thought there might be some “bumping heads” as Steve and I are both lead players, but the combination worked well. It was good to have Shawna on bass. Her husband, Mark, sat-in for a couple. I had a nice time and the band sounded good. Thanks to all who stopped out.

Rainbow Bridge is back in full force starting Wednesday at Hammys starting at 8:00.
We’re at the Drunken Monkey on Saturday at 9:30 and then right back at Hammy’s on Sunday afternoon from 3 – 7.

I had an adventure with a flat tire that I thought was fixed, and took Holly’s truck on Sunday. I had to transfer my equipment over, not the same gas mileage, but had a comfortable ride!
Gary, Cyndi and Matt are all safe and back in town and we’re looking forward to playing again. Stop out this weekend and say hello!

Lucky Chance Jam / Hammys with Sully on Drums

Interesting weekend with Gary and Bob out of town. Once again I co-hosted the Lucky Chance jam in West Allis on Friday. This is an every-other Friday jam. It was a good turnout with quite a few jammers. Knowing the “dog eat dog” world of the Milwaukee jam scene, I’m wondering just how long it’ll be before some other jam host tries to steal the gig! RB is off on the Fridays in November so I’ll be co-hosting next month too.

No gig on Saturday so I headed to the Washington Pub afternoon jam in West Bend. Turns out it was a one-year party and the place was full. Luckily, I was asked up to play fairly soon. I hung around afterwards to see some other players and then headed home.

We played as Rainbow Bridge with Sully on drums at Hammys on Sunday afternoon. We like to thank Jr. Moore for the use of his PA mixer! We put Cyndi center-stage and had a good turnout. Thanks to all who stopped out. There are a photos of this and the Friday jam on Facebook. I also see Dawn has put up videos of Gary’s gig in Texas.

Rainbow Bridge is back in full swing next Friday at the Moose Club and that’s it for the weekend. We always take vacation the start of November.

On a side note, my phone completely died and I lost all my contact #s. Please private message me your number to be put back in!

GMB @ Hammys / RB in Whitewater

The Gary McAdams Band played Friday night at Hammys and it was good to have Shawna back. It was a fun night and you can see videos from Laura Farnsworth on Facebook. Gary borrowed Jr. Moore’s mixer to do the gig, which turned out to be a good thing as we have permission to use it next Sunday at Hammys when both Gary and Bob will be gone.

Rainbow Bridge played an MD benefit in Whitewater on Saturday. We played this last year and they had us back. On a side note: Gary is heading back to do a gig in Texas next weekend and Bob and Dawn are going to run sound. Gary transferred the equipment over to another vehicle but forgot to load the mixer. Fortunately, Gary always arrives early and had enough time to run back and get it without any change to our starting time. We had a decent mixed crowd and played quite a variety of music. I heard talk of having us back again next year. On another note, Matt won 2 drawings that night: one was a party wagon that included a TV, booze, snacks, and the wagon itself! He also won an autographed picture of John Travolta. Again, we appreciate being asked back and are happy to support a worthy cause.

I’m playing the Lucky Chance jam in West Allis again this Friday. It was fun last time and we’re hoping for a good turnout.
The band is off on Saturday.
With Gary and Bob in Texas – Cyndi, Matt, myself and Sully (on drums) will be playing Hammys on
Sunday from 3 – 7. It should be a lot of fun doing something different.

On a personal note: my knee and ankle are both still swollen from my fall last Saturday, but it’s getting better. I had my knee x-rayed and nothing was broken.

Stop out Sunday at Hammys and say hello. Safe travels to Gary, Bob and Dawn!

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