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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Year End Key West Gratitude

A great afternoon with the Offending Culprits at Captain Tony's indeed!!!! As it is the end of the year, it's time to take inventory and say Thank You to all those who contributed to the progress of music in my life this last year.

First off, I must extend a very much heart felt thanks to Bobby DeVito, who, although is the founding charter member of The Offending Culprits, is also a very much respected solo performer(and a whole mess more too!!!) in his own right. It is Bobby's solo gig at Captain Tony's that he has donated to the cause of The Offending Culprits every Sunday afternoon since October. Bobby's become a very cherished friend indeed in 2009, along with his wonderful bride, Susie! Big, Big Thanks to Bobby & Susie DeVito!!!

Also, a very big thank you to Anita Glenn Pierce, of Captain Tony's who thought up the whole idea of having Sunday Afternoon Blues at Captain Tony's in the first place! Thanks Anita! If anyone is at Captain Tony's, be sure to stop by the clothing and apparel counter and say hello to Anita!

Also, every Sunday we have Partick McCarney, who is The Judge, holding court behind the bar. Partick's always as professional as you could ever ask of a bartender! Always a greeting by name, shakes your hand, and remembers what you're drinking. It's high time I get Patrick a drink! Thank you Partick!!!

How can I forget Al The Bouncer? Al doubles as our camera man. Al claims he doesn't know what he's doing on camera, however, he's really done a veteran's job, overflowing with creativity left and right completely capturing, not only the song, but more importantly, the feel, atmosphere, and the humor of the gig and Captain Tony's Saloon itself.

Bruce Turkel. Wow! I've been playing with Bruce since, I think 1997... Back then we played acoustic, as we do here, plus we also co-founded The Rabble Rousers, a seven piece electric Blues Band up in Miami in 2001. Bruce has made it down to two shows so far with The Offending Culprits and each has been special indeed! After the first gig Bobby kept saying "We've GOT to get Bruce down again!" It's always a treat when Mr. Turkel is in town indeed!

Lastly, I must extend my gratitude to Gary Ek. Gary doesn't make it to all that many gigs of ours, however, when I was heading back to Miami from Georgia and got him on the phone to let him know and he said "Miami? Well why don't you come back to Key West, it's right on the way?"Gary also put me up for almost three weeks and frankly, without his overly generous hospitality, I may not have made it back to my island home at all. Gary may be a madman, but he does have a heart of gold!

2010 will be here at the end of the week and I'm very excited about what lies in store for me musically. The Offending Culprits have hit the road running fast, I'm hoping to also finish my solo album, tentatively titled "Shanghai'd And Marooned In Key West" over at Dan Simpson's Private Ear Studio. New songs are underway as well, plus, the groundwork has already been laid to do some co-writing with a wonderful songwriter out of Nashville, Monica Perry. We have come up with a revolutionary method for co-writing music so far apart as well, which should be both quite fun and interesting.

Additional chapters of my book, Bar Stories will no doubt be added, plus hopefully I'll get things rolling on the screenplay to "The Hemingway Heist", a movie idea dreamed up by my friend George Cornejo and myself over a year and a half ago. Got to get that baby off the ground too!

How can I forget my two Whippets, Cajun and Tooloulou? Cajun and Tooloulou, sixteen months, happily tear my house to shreds while I'm not home. They also secretly chew my sneakers when I'm not looking and make me drop what I'm doing in order to take them out. It was in a telephone conversation with Bobby D. with me harping on how they destroyed something, that I said "The offending culprits are now cowering in the bedroom!" when Bobby said "That's It!!!". I didn't get it right away. "That's what?" I inquired, to which Bobby explained "That's the name we'll go by, The Offending Culprits!!! We're named after the Whippets HA HA HA!" and so it was. Cajun and Tooloulou also keep me laughing, day in, day out. What more could I ask?

2010? Bring it on, I'm ready!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Who's The Boss, Anyway?

Back in the mid-nighties I played in a duo with my friend Rob Hardwicke called "Partners In Crime". Partners In Crime played in both Key Largo and in the Kendall section of Miami. We were a small bar type set up. In Key Largo we played Friday nights at a place which was then named "Kenny's". We'd play and pack the place solid with a crowd that was laughing and backslapping their night away. This was a local crowd. Salt of the earth people who meant what they said and said what they mean... well, most of the time. Never saw a fight or anything like that, but folks would start to enter there after work... about 4pm and we'd start at 6 and go to 11. It was a great place to play and the owners, Del and Domingo, a father and son combo, were just superb guys all around.

We also played at a place in Kendall, just off of Sunset and 107th named "Kelly's", I guess we had something for bars that started with the letter "K" HA HA!

Anyway, Kelly's was a small bar as well and usually had between 4 and 10 women in there on a Saturday night. This was a bar which classified itself as a "Gay Friendly" bar. There was always a few men with their wives or girlfriends there as well. The woman who owned it was great! She was a riot when she was there, which wasn't too often regretfully. I had a friend, Brenda, who was one of the regulars there and she ended up getting us the gig there.

We came in with our friend Bruce Turkel playing harmonica and we stuffed the place to the gills. Instead of 4 to 10 people in there on a Saturday evening, we had about 60. Standing room only and two deep at the bar. Everyone was ordering food as well. They added additional folks to help out it was so busy.

This went on for about three months and one day a friend overheard the bartender say "I'm getting tired of hearing these guys music every Saturday. I wish it could be like before, when it was not so damn busy." The following week we were told that they didn't want music anymore. I felt like Claude Raines in Casablanca when the Nazi General told him to close Rick's Cafe "But everyone is having such a good time!" the words bubbled out of my lips.

I waited three weeks before stopping back to touch base. It was a Saturday night about 9 and there were three people there. The bartender was there and when I enquired about if they wanted music back, she only said "No, I don't think so".

Later I bumped into the owner. "You know? We did so well when you guys played there!" So I asked her about coming back and she hearkened back to the bartender, saying she was tired of our music and the crowd.

At which point, I said to her "Hey, she's not the boss, she's the bartender. I'm not the boss, I'm the entertainment. You know what else? Not even you are the boss, and you're the owner!"

She looked a bit bewildered at me, as I pretty much mentioned all of the people involved in the place.

I smiled and said to her "Flo, not you, me, or your bartender is the boss. The boss in your bar, or any bar, is the cash register and the more it's singing it's song, the happier it, and everyone else will be! When the cash register is chinging, it doesn't matter what any employee's personal taste in music is, or if they're tired of hearing the same group, week after week or day after day. Micro-management doesn't work here, especially if it's guided by an employee's personal taste. What only matters is the song the cash register is singing"

Always remember: The cash register is the boss of every bar.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bike Rides In Key West

One of the best ways to enjoy Key West, is via bicycle.

Lots of people come to Key West and do the Duval Crawl. However, Key West, both on and off Duval St. is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The backstreets through out Old Town is second to none.

Music to listen to while riding in Key West!