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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pirates and Parties

It’s a funny thing. Here I am in Key West, a musician and a songwriter and my new favorite band is a troop of singing, amateur pirates. This is kind of amazing as there is so much professional music talent that lives here, not to mention the talent that is transient through here week after week. I can’t say any one is the leader of this ensemble, as they are all captains in “Captains of The Devil’s Triangle”. They hail largely from Key West, although “Caribbean Pearl” travels all the way from Key Largo, about 95 miles each way, to join in their activities. Their number last Sunday, when they performed at El Alamo, was seven. I’m assuming that Barnacle Beau is the musical director, as he’s currently the only member that plays an instrument, which is guitar. I’ve known Barnacle Beau for a couple of years and he has a fascinating history, having played professionally on the west coast of the U.S., in traveling carnivals. Beau’s a great entertainer and musician in his own right. Many tourists know him as he is also one of Key West’s street pirates. My friend Scarlet Jai, one of the members, has just purchased an Irish bodhran, which is a hand held drum and in addition, she has informed me that another member recently picked up a concertina, which they’ll add to their band. On a few songs Scarlet Jai also plays swords as a percussive instrument. It works great too!
The music they’re playing are a mix of traditional sea shanties, traditional drinking songs from Great Britain and Ireland, plus a couple of originals, in the same vain. Just the type of thing you’d expect from a band of pirates, naturally. The thing that I really love about them is that they truly have a sincere passion for what they’re doing and also, have such a great time doing it. Laughing and joking is always going on creating an atmosphere loaded in mirth. They are also very good. In the entire performances on both Thursday and Sunday, I only heard one note sung off key. Bear in mind these are amateur singers and there’s always a bunch of laughing going on as well. I’ve heard a lot more off notes by both local and visiting pros.
The crowd is always into it as well. It’s not another rock band grinding out standards, or a solo performer playing songs they grew up with. Not a country band playing another Kenny Chesney or Garth Brooks song. Not another band playing Jimmy Buffett songs, upon request. This is something different. Songs many haven’t ever heard prior, but everyone laughs their way through the gig, both the ensemble and the crowd. Seriously, how can’t you laugh your ass off with a group of pirates singing sea shanties and drinking songs in a bar? Hello. Members include Captain Barnacle Beau, Captain Scarlet Jai, Captain Wasabi, Captain Mamasabi, Captain Caribbean Pearl, Captain Sawbones Sarah, and Captain Blackheart Charlie. As I said earlier, apparently none are the leader, as they are all captains.
These guys remind the rest of us that we all should be having a great time while we play. That’s what music should be all about.

Down here in Key West we’re on a three week, non-stop party marathon The first week of all this liver exorcise was the biggest event of the year, for Key West, Fantasy Fest. 60,000 were here by Saturday’s parade. I was fortunate to be aboard the Bad George Sound Band float. Not only did we end up winning Best Band of the parade, but we also had the Wedding of Sherrie Rustay-Waltz with Gary W. Ek right in the parade in front of La Concha hotel on Duval St. Mayor Gonzo Mays presided over the event while I was best man. A lot of hooting, hollering, laughing, and profane language was the case throughout the ceremony while pandemonium reigned. You’re typical wedding down here. The event was covered by Reuters International, out of Vienna, Austria, and also Associate Press. Yahoo Canada ran the Reuters piece, while the Miami Herald ran the AP story. The Key West Citizen ran nothing. Hello.

The following week we had the Parrotheads in town. About 4000 all come and converge, meeting here annually for their event. There’s lots of music in town, all over the place, during this event. Every year they have contest and the winner is determined by who’s group donates the most to charity. For the past five years, Scott Sperber out of Southern California has been runner up. The eternal bridesmaid. This year however, Scott turned the tables and won the event! Big congrats to Scott!
This week we are seeing the Powerboat races in town. We’re talking big money at this event. So much so, that the town’s businesses consider this one of the high points of the year. Local businesses usually thrive this week. Everyone’s happy!

Meanwhile, on my front, Bobby D is in town to help me with his vast experience in the studio and also guitar. We put four of his tracks down yesterday and the day before, with another hopefully today.
That’s what I’m off to now! See ya and THANKS for reading!

All The Best From Key West!

Chris Rehm

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