The Shanty Hounds is a very, very, very fortunate band! We have the absolute BEST folks who follow us! Some are local Keys residents and others are from all over North America, plus a few from Europe as well, not forgetting those from Australia too!
Our local friends all seem to make it out to see us play anywhere between a couple of times a week to once every six weeks. It's always great to see everyone and we appreciate your support!!!
For the friends that are not from the Keys, some are down once a year, others two, three, four, or more times a year. We always hook up with everyone when they come, not just at gigs, but also on our off playing time.
It's important to get to know people outside of the stage, and I mean both people in the audience, as well as fellow musicians. If it's only on stage, it's “Hi! How are you? Thanks for coming! See you later” This is not getting to know someone!
That brings to mind a funny story. Last year there was a guy who sat in with us and played harmonica quite well. I invited him over to a BBQ we were having and when he arrived he asked “When is everybody going to start playing?” to which I answered “Playing? Oh, we're just hanging out doing a BBQ.” “No playing?” “No, just enjoying everyone's company. This way everyone gets to know each other” At this point, he got on his bicycle and rode off and I've never seen him again! While I admired his passion for playing music, I felt not wanting to get to know the people he played with was quite shallow. From experience, I realized he just wanted a band he could play at. Not play with, mind you, but play at. That's not my cup of tea, so it's just as well it turned out the way it did.
Often we invite out of town musicians and radio people visiting from out of town to our house, mostly, but not always, for BBQs. We hang out and have a blast! It doesn't happen all the time. Many times we don't hear back from visiting musicians, or sometimes they may call with other commitments and can't make it. It's a shame when they can't make it because, as author, Rusty Hodgson stated: “I've met the most fascinating people I've met at your BBQ since I've moved to Key West!”
It doesn't always work. A funny note. There was a popular group in town and I've played with one whom I had a good rapport with. When I invited them to a BBQ the one I had played with promptly un-friended me on Facebook.... well, like the saying goes, the cream rises to the top.
We also invite our friends over who are in visiting from out of town! These folks we met here at The Cork and Stogie, or a gig and they've become great friends over the years! Hanging out with the folks who show up at our gigs is a fabulous way to make new, strong friendships with fabulous people. Something that would never happen if all we did was have a thirty-second chat from the stage.
We have some friends from around the country who look forward to our live little pre-Rick's gig intro vignettes that I'll do on Facebook. They're only a few minutes long and I air them on my Facebook page every Tuesday, preparations permitting, just before noon, EST. What a nice surprise it was to hear people tell me they look forward to seeing these every week!
Understand, music is subjective and we won't appeal to everyone. That's a given. While I don't actually see people that don't care for us, as they are someplace else. most likely.
There is one patron who makes us laugh, however! As soon as we start setting up, or start playing, they leave the establishment! This happens every time unless they are working an event we're playing! We laugh every time!
Our motto/creed is a saying I made up from something my old friend, Rick Asci said when he had to throw someone out of the business we worked at thirty years ago. Rick was always extremely well spoken and polite. The guy was totally out of hand and Rick calmly said to him “I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave the facility”. That stuck with me over the years and being the jovial guy that I have adapted it to the band! You may have heard me say it at gigs, now and then?
“If anyone is not having fun, I'm afraid we're going to have to ask you to leave”.
Call us what you will, but no one will ever say The Shanty Hounds are not fun! HA HA HA!
In closing, just a salute and a “Thank You!!!” to all who enjoy what we do and give us all of their support!
I can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate you, not just as fans of our music, but much more importantly, being our friends!!!!! We're your fans!!!
Christopher R. Rehm a.k.a. "Key West Chris"
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