GMB @ Hammys / RB @ Countryview / Big B-Day Coming UP

Friday night at Hammys with the Gary McAdams Band was a good night. It was back to the regular lineup with Shawna Moore Schultz and Steve Dougherty. Laura Farnsworth was out and recorded a handful of videos that you can see on Facebook. Because this band is unrehearsed and most of my playing is improvised, I’m a little worried about something musically embarrassing getting posted, but everything has been ok – so far!

Matt was not feeling well this weekend so we had Denny Wayne fill in on bass at the Countryview. Denny did a great job, as usual, and we had a great night. There was still a crowd dancing to the jukebox after we were packed up! The new owners have done some great things to this place and we’re happy to be playing there. Denny’s other band, Two Left Feet, was playing down the hill at Lakeview. Denny told me, while on one of our breaks, that he ran down and played a song with them on drums. It’s funny because that’s something Matt would do! Lucas Brookins was out and also sat-in on drums for a few.

We’re off for a while now, although Cyndi is playing solo at Off the Hook on Thursday, the 19th.
Rainbow Bridge doesn’t play again until Hammys on Sunday, January 29th.

And, Friday the 27th is my 60th birthday so the next time we play, I’ll be in a new decade – yay…
I’ll probably try to get to a few more jams in our off time.

Stop out on the 29th at Hammys and wish the old guy a good one!

Go Pack!!

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!

Moose / Janesville Country Club / Sad News / Busy Weekend

I decided to wait a day as I had a jam here in West Allis on Monday. RB played Friday night at the Moose Club and had a good night. Gary brought Jerry Dabson along and Jerry sat-in for a few. Jerry sounded great with the band at such a nice volume.
Bob had some major trouble at work and planned on going in once we were done at the Moose. He informed us at Saturday’s setup that they had it under control, although one of his cats passed away Friday night and he didn’t get a lot of sleep.

We had a company Christmas party at the Janesville Country Club on Saturday so we made two trips and set up early. It’s a bit of a hassle but the people appreciate not opening the doors and letting the cold in while they’re eating! We had nothing but good remarks but the place cleared out early and they let us stop. This was helpful for me as I was driving back afterward. We had a good time and a good response. No gig on Sunday.

The Lucky Chance in West Allis, moved the jam to an every other Monday night schedule and last night was first one. I was surprised at the good crowd but have to wonder if it’ll hold its own. The bar is going to rotate hosts and we should be back the 1st Monday of the month. It made for a long Tuesday but it was a good time.

A busy week for me coming up: Friday – Merrill & Houston’s with the Gary McAdams Combo.
Saturday afternoon at the Moose – a birthday party for our friend Susie, who is turning 60. That night we’re at the Countryview (formerly the Countryside).
On Sunday afternoon, the Gary McAdams Band, with Gary, Pat Betts, Pete Olig, Cyndi and me, returns to Boundaries.
On a sad note, Dave “Wichita” Wilson passed away today. Dave played bass with Jerry Dabson for many years. I had the chance to do a few gigs with him and it was a real treat. Dave was one of the nicest, friendliest people you could ever meet. I feel so sad for Jerry, and Dave will sure be missed.

I also found out this week that Paul Chitwood passed away in Yuma, AZ. Paul was one of my local guitar idols and mentor when it came to bands and being a musician.
Nothing has been said on Facebook, but I plan on writing a post here soon dedicated to Paul. Losing Dave and Paul in the same week is heartbreaking.

I guess the show goes on.

Again, busy weekend coming up so 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 / Star Rock / Vacations / Bob’s Mom Passing

A Saturday night in Delavan for the band at a new club – the Star Rock Bar in downtown. Actually, we placed this place as the Delavana Lounge many years ago. Nothing about it was the same except for the location! With Matt being on vacation, former member, Denny Wayne, filled in on bass and did a great job. Gary works in the area and had a lot of his friends show up which made for a fun night. We had a few of Gary’s friends join in on vocals for a few; not something we normally do, but the occasion made it okay. Lucas Brookins was also out and sat-in on drums for a couple. It was nice place and we hope it turns out to be a regular gig for us.

As mentioned earlier, I played a jam on Monday night and also co-hosted the Lucky Chance jam in West Allis on Friday. There’s a short blues tune video on Facebook. It was a good night and a chance to play with some of my Milwaukee friends. I’ll be back at the jam on the 18th.

Rainbow Bridge is officially on vacation with Matt and Cyndi out of town. The Gary McAdams Band is playing this Friday night at Hammys from 8 – 12. Not sure who’s all playing, but it’s always a good time.

As you may have heard, Bob’s mom passed away last week. Bob had been keeping quite busy with work, the band, and taking care of mom. We were all sad to hear of his loss and thoughts and prayers go out to Bob and family.

On a happier note, Cyndi and Bryan are celebrating their anniversary and we send congrats out to them.

Stop out to Hammys this Friday and say hello!

Moose Club w/ Fab 4 / Monday Night Jam in Dundee

Just a Friday night at the Moose this weekend but it was a last minute surprise when Gary called and was tied up at work. I scrambled a few extra charts together just in case and we got though it just fine as a 4-piece. It was the usual good crowd with a lot of dancers. The real is key is the volume and the right danceable material and we had both. Thanks to all who stopped out.

I co-hosted a jam Monday night in Dundee with Craig Omick and Ronn Gilbert. It was different but felt good to play. My co-worker, Jim Schustedt and wife, Kay, drove down from Fond Du Lac. I’ll be co-hosting again in West Allis on Friday at the Lucky Chance jam with Craig.

Rainbow Bridge is playing in Delavan at the Star Rock Bar and Grill from 9 -1. With Matt out of town, Denny Wayne will be playing bass with us.
Should be a lot of fun. Stop out if you’re in the area!