The Non-musical Side

Wishing you all a fine, fine September. But y’know it’d be more fun to wish you well in person – maybe pop on out for the dates below.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St, Milwaukee

(but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)


Saturday Sept 15

9pm – 1am

I’ve introduced you to Bugsy’s on many occasion – what is there left to be said other than wooo-hooooooo.

Caroline’s Jazz Club

401 S 2nd Street


Thursday Sept 20

8:30pm – 11:30pm

All of the staff and regulars make Caroline’s a Milwaukee gem. I would be remiss if I did not personally and heartily encourage you to join us.

Music is so fun. But never would I have guessed that there is also so much non-musical fun to be had. The below is a romp through the many non musical items on my checklist in any given week.

Moving that gear. Keyboards – big ones. And drums – lots of ’em. And stairs. It’s excellent resistance training – with cardio. I save on gym membership; you’d think I’d be in better shape after all that hauling, and I’da thought toting a keyboard down the sidewalk would raise my coolness quotient. Not the case. I’m uncool for, um… other reasons. Many… many other reasons. It’s even changed the way I enjoy watching other live bands. I watch folks play and mentally tally up the gross tonnage of gear on stage – then smile knowing I don’t have to load it out once the set wraps. heeeee he.

Parking. Well legal parking anyway. My car is almost small enough that with a handle bolted to the side I could pick it up and carry it – but then that’s more gear to haul. A real catch 22 right there. That said my parallel parking skills are if not legendary at least above average. Big ole van? No problem, ole Ryan can sling that bad boy into the just-barely-large-enough space between the pricey Mercedes S class and the disappear-below-my-mirrors Miata – all while angry traffic waits for me to get it right on the first try. Actually, that should be a show – I’d pay to watch drivers parallel park really well. I don’t get out much…

Sound systems. They are complicated. Sound engineers make it look easy wrangling countless cords while keeping (most) of the electrons pointed in the right direction. And when it goes wrong, it goes ear-crushingly wrong. We shared the stage a few years back with a Mariachi band (hey, we opened for an AC/DC tribute band once too). These guys had it right – no amps, no cords, no fuss, no muss (I dunno what muss is, but there was none of it). They ended their set, turned on a heel and played as they walked out. Awesome. Now how would I look in the Marichi costume? No need to let me know in the comments.

Requests: I respect mightily bands and piano-men that can take requests and play them well. We’re getting better in that department. The following are much beloved and oft requested. And as a musician, I love each of these songs. I mean I truly cherish and celebrate their ubiquity.

  • Piano Man (Billy Joel)
  • Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
  • … wait for it…. Freebird!!!

Musicians. The musicians themselves. They (and me included) are an absolutely interesting bunch of cats. Yup. Interesting, that’s the adjective we’re going with. Sharing music is a great way to learn the real ins and outs of the people who play it. I’m blessed to share music with some fantastic people, and to have grown to know them so well is one of life’s best treasures.

The People We Meet – people that if not for sharing jokes, music and fun we might never have met. They are unique, each with a story to tell and given the opportunity to chat so many have become good friends. Good friends on this very mailing list. Love you all.