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Two keyboard player is maybe better than just one! (Turkey Eve Video Footage)

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  • Two keyboard player is maybe better than just one! (Turkey Eve Video Footage)

    Many of you have known me to post here for a long time. My participation weaves in and out depending on my work/gig/personal schedule. Lately I've been on here alot however the month of October I was down for the count a few weeks. What I didn't share with anyone here (but I don't mind sharing now) is that I had a pretty serious health emergency in October that affected my immediate future with my band, my job and well... everything. I won't go into gross details of what happened but I'll give an overview: After several months of not digesting anything well I had a colonoscopy on Oct 5th. Immediately after the proceedure I was diagnosed with stage IIIC Colon cancer. Surgery immediately followed and I spent 7 days in the hospital recovering from colon resection surgery and the last 6 weeks on bed rest... but I still made it out to two gigs. Although my recovery from the surgery is fine I've already started chemo, and will have 12 treatments over the next six months.

    So why am I sharing all of this with you? A bunch of semi-complete strangers? Well this story does have some relevance... because it's forced me to decide the future I have with my band and to create a plan for me to return without pressuring myself or my bandmates. If I even choose to return I have a wonderful plan.

    I'm sure the first obvious question is... what happened to the band after I dropped out suddenly? We have a pretty heavy gig and travel schedule. Over the last 6 weeks we've had 9 shows. When I recieved news... played my two last gigs before surgery, and missed every gig from Oct 17th and onward. I've been lucky, fortunate (and smart) that I've had a reliable sub. It's been neccesary for me to have a sub to compensate for dates that conflict with my day job. Of 80 gigs a year I miss 5-10. A sub is a tricky thing with my band an a HUGE committment. Because a majority of our setlist is keyboard dependent and most of the songs are encapsulated in long, never ending medley's, it's not as simple as me just handing a player a list of songs. I have to provide live recordings of rehearsals and shows for them to rehearse to. So for three years now I've been regularly recording shows and practices... archiving them, and uploading to a master rehearsal web page... so any sub, be it drums, guitar... you name it, can get their bearings before showing up to band rehearsal. Most times I can tell my sub far in advance of the shows he needs to recover and give him links to new and old material to review. In this case I was very fortunate that he had just filled in for me less than one month before. We hadn't changed or added any new material. I literally called him right after I had a CAT Scan and the call went like this:

    "Hey Richie... remember when I said I may have a few more shows for you to cover this fall... how would you feel about filling in the rest of the year? The first show is in 10 days!"

    Of course... in my head I was hoping I'd make it back to regular gigging by December. I asked my surgeon whether gigging was possible and he looked at me like I was crazy. But he didn't say 'no or yes'. He said 'use your best judgement.' NEVER tell a musician that! The surgery itself was brutal, yet my recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. So remarkable they moved my first chemo treatment from late December to just two weeks ago. The chemo was everything I expected... immediately unpleasant, and it really told me what I refused to think... I'm an idiot if I think I could recover and keep up with an active gig schedule. My sub Richie is a great player and likeable guy (like myself) and although I COULD worry about him doing such a good job that my seat will be permanently taken, I'm choosing to think of things a little differently for 2010.

    The truth is, as much as I LOVE this band, I really can't keep up with the busy schedule, still work my day job recover from cancer and find plenty of balance in life. I believe that everything happens for a reason and this is a good opportunity for me to leave the band and focus on my health. That's the way my thought process was headed... until my first unofficial appearance last Wednesday night. I told my bandmates and Richie I wanted to 'sit-in' for a few songs on Thanksgiving Eve and of course they welcomed it with open arms. However when I started talking to Richie about songs we could split we came up with a grand idea. I would bring a smaller rig out and we would share/split and shadow parts together... after all we both know the material like the back of our hands. So that's exactly what we did... setup two keyboard rigs side by side, and quarterbacked songs, split parts all night. Not only did it feel great... it sounded f**king phenomenal. Like a national touring act. On many songs I just let him cover the parts as I layered pedal tones, doubled parts and played subtle phrasings.


    (Setup for the Halloween Show... one week out of surgery-bandmates setup and took down my gear)


    (Setup for last Wednesday. )


    So over the weekend I spoke with my bandmates and with Richie on a wonderful plan for 2010. We're going to split and share gigs for 2010... at least the first half and consider having two keyboard/rhythm guitar players and keeping the arrangement going forward if everyone agrees. He may cover half of the month and I may cover the other half. We'll see how I feel on the chemo and take things month to month. On big shows where we have the space for the setup we'll both setup rigs and split and share material. Richie of course wouldn't be receiving full pay for shows, and I would volunteer to take a hit on shows we both play together. I can't ask my bandmates to take a hit on pay while I'm in recovery... but if everyone likes and supports this setup after my full 'return' then we'll make arrangements across the board to up Richie's pay. This arrangement gives me a few freedom's that I can enjoy without worrying about my position or ability to gig again.

    #1- I don't have to 'kill' myself trying to gig in Albany, NY on Friday night, gig in Hartford, CT on Saturday night, and be fresh and ready for work come 9am on Monday morning.

    #2- I don't have to work so hard arranging keyboard parts... I have someone like minded to collaborate with. (programming is a bitch)

    #3- I can spend my off time marketing the band... something I LOVE to do... but rarely have the time.

    #4-.. I can in 'shared' gigs bring a downsized rig, laugh, play and enjoy the show... instead of sweating every note as a two armed octopus.

    #5- I can still contribute as I always have, onstage and behind the scenes as a full share member...even though I'll be playing half of the shows.

    In other words I can keep the band.... make my wife happy (she hates the schedule), manage my life better, and most of all still enjoy what I do and still make decent money doing it.

    The only reason this is even possible is because Richie and I get along so well. He respects my seniority and I welcome his collaboration. We might just end up getting a room together. Just kidding. Seriously... I've had players in the past that were plain dick's to be around. This guy is a pro (he's done studio engineering work on Naz's last album) and a great guy to work with. My bandmates are already counting the days until my return, but also value Richie's recent contributions on newer material. I'm sure we're not the first band to do this but we'll be the first in our area to have two keyboard players and I couldn't be more thrilled. I've always been about 'the show' and having four hands provide back end production to the shows will put us in a category no other band in our market could even reach.

    I have some clips from the show below, and not all of it is keyboard related. Still (despite the terrible audio) you can hear how 'full' the band sounds and how we're matching almost original artist production on some songs by having keys parts with background layers. Primarily the first two songs. I suppose we could achieve the same thing with some sequencing or using backing tracks... but that wouldn't be nearly as fun to work with. Remember less to play means we can focus more on the audience... and of course if one gets sick... the other can always cover.

    Thanksgiving Eve Video
    so over this signature BS!!!

  • #2
    GREAT VIDEO. Love those crowds man!!!! BTW-check your PM
    www.ostrichhat.com

    Comment


    • #3
      First off, let me congratulate you for your courage in sharing something so personal with all of us. It's a bit shocking, but you sound like you are handling it quite well.

      Next, I think your idea is great! A win-win for all involved. Your friend gets some extra fun time with a popular band, you get to still play with the group (but with more breathing room) and when you combine forces, the sound is fuller and easier on both of you.

      The closest I've ever come to anything like that was when I played "Imagine" with my cousin back in 2001. I sang and played the piano parts, he played the synth-stringy violin parts. It sounded very close to the original track and we got many compliments every time we did it. One time, we even got a 10% tip on top of our regular pay, just for playing it! I kind of regret not utilizing that situation for more songs back then. I think there are definitely moments where two keyboards can be a good thing, just as much as two guitars can make a band sound more professional and "like the record."

      Good luck with all of this.
      (This is my Non-Signature.)

      Comment


      • #4
        First off, let me congratulate you for your courage in sharing something so personal with all of us. It's a bit shocking, but you sound like you are handling it quite well.

        Next, I think your idea is great! A win-win for all involved. Your friend gets some extra fun time with a popular band, you get to still play with the group (but with more breathing room) and when you combine forces, the sound is fuller and easier on both of you.

        The closest I've ever come to anything like that was when I played "Imagine" with my cousin back in 2001. I sang and played the piano parts, he played the synth-stringy violin parts. It sounded very close to the original track and we got many compliments every time we did it. One time, we even got a 10% tip on top of our regular pay, just for playing it! I kind of regret not utilizing that situation for more songs back then. I think there are definitely moments where two keyboards can be a good thing, just as much as two guitars can make a band sound more professional and "like the record."

        Good luck with all of this.


        Thanks man... I made a decision shortly after surgery to get the news out there and made a posting on my Facebook. I recieved hundreds of comments of support but the main purpose was acheived. I didn't have to re-explain anything to anybody. I covered it in one detailed email (and subsequent updates). It's better to get it out there. I know I'll come out on the right side of this. My body feels it and my mind is telling me so. A few weeks after surgery I started slipping a little into 'blue' territory. My routine was broken, I was sick from the surgery and I feeling like my days of gigging were over with. Not the worst feeling in the world but I think we can all agree that we would all like to make that decision on our own... to leave gracefully, not be forced out for health or personal reasons. Since I handle a majority of the band marketing I dove into it right from the hospital... didn't skip a beat. It kept an even head on my shoulders.

        Shortly after the surgery I made an appearance at our Halloween gig (The first time we tried the dual keyboard setup) played half a set and left early because I was wiped out. Last Wed was my first appearance since then and my first real gig since Oct 10th. My next planned appearance is Jan 3rd and we'll do the dual setup at the same club in the video. Then we'll see how I feel. Maybe do a show or two on my own. Feburary a little more and so on. My last C-treatment is May 10th and I already have Richie scheduled for some dates in the summer that conflict with my job. Even if we decide to split shares with hime we should still come away with a minimum $200 per member (split 7 ways) for nightclub gigs and more for other events. So it makes sense to give him more dates rather than take them away. Of all my bandmates my career is the most demanding. I work from home but lot's of hours. I travel all over the country for business (once a month) so splitting up this responsibility just makes sense to me. At first I was worried my bandmates would look at anything less than a full stage committment as not really an option to continue. Luckily they see the benefit of having two excellent players, willing to keep up with the material and take the band to a whole new level.

        New songs we're thinking of adding:

        California Love-Tupac/Dr. Dre- We tried this a few years ago... a rock verision and it fell flat. Monotonous and no dynamics. This time around Richie can handle the keys parts and I can vocode the Roger Troutman parts.

        Stronger-Kayne West
        -I've seen bands butcher this song. We can actually play the full tune with the vocoder parts and all the dreamy pads in the background.

        The Final Countdown-Europe- I've always wanted to tackle this song as a joke. It would have required a sequeced or taped intro... with two keyboard player we can easily handle this tune!

        Both Richie and I play rythm guitar. To simply things we'll use my guitar rig (Vetta) and I'll A/B our guitars so we don't need and extra channel. Who knows... with three guitars (four with our singer) we could add some Thin Lizzy or The Outlaws. LOL... seriously the goal is to take this opportunity and add songs that no other bands would or could attempt. We'll still keep 'Blister in the Sun' and 'Santeria' like 1000 other bands. But we want some real head snappers that other bands would never think of adding.
        so over this signature BS!!!

        Comment


        • #5

          California Love-Tupac/Dr. Dre- We tried this a few years ago... a rock verision and it fell flat. Monotonous and no dynamics. This time around Richie can handle the keys parts and I can vocode the Roger Troutman parts.

          Stronger-Kayne West
          -I've seen bands butcher this song. We can actually play the full tune with the vocoder parts and all the dreamy pads in the background.

          The Final Countdown-Europe- I've always wanted to tackle this song as a joke. It would have required a sequeced or taped intro... with two keyboard player we can easily handle this tune!



          these are all big wins especially cuz you can make 'em sound like a million bucks with the extra player!

          The final Countdown (when placed right) is so super-cheezy it works wonders!!!

          Good luck and like I said to you in a PM I think it's great that you are continuing with the band through this. Doing something you love through your treatments helps alot.
          www.ostrichhat.com

          Comment


          • #6
            You can TRY doing "The Final Countdown" but perfection can not be improved upon:

            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Full-Steam/179028619290

            Comment


            • #7


              I love that video! Makes me want to learn that note for note.
              so over this signature BS!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                A true classic masterfully covered.
                https://www.facebook.com/pages/Full-Steam/179028619290

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wheresgrant3-just want to let you know how much I enjoy your contributions to this board and want to wish you a speedy recovery!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wheresgrant - I just starting coming on here and immediately you stood out as one of the real knowledgable and good people on the board. Let me just first say that I wish you a speedy recovery as well.

                    Sounds like you came up with a great solution with your band and you also have the potential to bring in some kick ass new stuff that will definitely turn heads. I mean, the final countdown? that would be ****************in' awesome!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Y'all need to rock out an "Art Of Noise" interlude into one of the medley's you do. That would be badass.

                      Get well!
                      ****************

                      Jason
                      My band: http://www.facebook.com/thetrickydickies

                      "Do or do not. There is no try" - Yoda

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wheresgrant3-just want to let you know how much I enjoy your contributions to this board and want to wish you a speedy recovery!


                        +1 (I'm signing Martin C's get well card)

                        I typically hang-out in the live sound forum. I started poking around BWTB and immediately took note of your insightful posts and enviable crowd pics/video's. All the best on a full recovery! Keep us posted!
                        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Full-Steam/179028619290

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          +1 (I'm signing Martin C's get well card)

                          I typically hang-out in the live sound forum. I started poking around BWTB and immediately took note of your insightful posts and enviable crowd pics/video's. All the best on a full recovery! Keep us posted!



                          Martin C. and Flanc... ditto on the regards. Martin for some reason I picture you gigging in the Bay Area at Harry Denton's Starlight room (I'm in San Fran semi frequently for business). Cigar's, Martini's, Martin C.

                          Flanc I always keep tabs on your band. We have some similar gear in our sound rigs. I've learned some great, realistic things about sound from reading your posts. It's always been a dream of mine to play the Purple Moose. Well, maybe Seacrets... but the Moose would be a cool room to swing by on the way down and back!
                          so over this signature BS!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey Grant,

                            I just want to start off by wishing you all the best in your recovery. I've known you(in cyberspace) from the KSS forum, which makes it nearly 5 yrs and(forgive me if I come across as dorky) it feels like I've gigged with you with for a long time. You have always been a true bud on this forum(send in the strings, now). Your posts are always filled with wisdom, knowledge and common sense... and just plain fun to read.

                            The 2 keyboard player idea is in IMO brilliant, with those new songlist additions. This will certainly make an already kick ass band even more dangerous

                            Best wishes,

                            Jon
                            http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page...m?bandID=73567
                            Soul On Tap
                            The Coupe De Villes
                            Chris Beard Band

                            current gear list:
                            Yamaha MOX8, Korg Triton, Korg CX3, Korg X2, QSC K12, Rhodes Stage '73(needs new tines), Ventilator, Reason 3

                            "Leave the ego, play the music, love the people.." - Luther Allison

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Martin C. and Flanc... ditto on the regards. Martin for some reason I picture you gigging in the Bay Area at Harry Denton's Starlight room (I'm in San Fran semi frequently for business). Cigar's, Martini's, Martin C.



                              HAHA-Really close to the mark -I actually met Harry while doing my day gig, and while I've never played that room, I played the Top of the Mark for a year-very similiar room. Those kind of joints pay well but are not as cool as the gigs you do with all those fans going crazy ......

                              Comment



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