Sunday, August 31, 2008


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Nine years and counting...

I seem to recall that David Schweizer had booked me for his Living Room Jam open mic at The House Of Blues as a solo act, summer of 1999. After a couple of years banging around the Orlando scene as Bing's Not Dead (billed as "21st century psychotic lounge opera"), David felt I was ready to ply my trade at Orlando's newest and hottest music venue.

It was during the run-up to the show that the idea for Mohave was born somewhere in the middle of the Arizona desert. Upon returning to Orlando, I called David and asked if I could bring along a couple of friends to which he replied, "sure."

On August 30th, 1999 - Mike Burney, McGyver and me took the stage at the House Of Blues at Walt Disney World and played a fiery twenty-minute set that took the audience completely by surprise. I remember David walking up to us after we left the stage saying, "that was fan-fucking-tastic!"

Nine years later, Mohave is still performing, albeit with a different line-up. Hell, as long as I'm in the band, it's still Mohave.

David Schweizer is performing at the House of Blues tonight with his own trio and we're going down to see him before heading over to the Adventurer's Club on Pleasure Island and saying goodbye to the old place (it's being moved - but it won't be the same.)

Thinking back on that first HOB show, the sky was the limit. There were no big dreams of cash and Cadillacs, catered backstage revelry (although we'd play the House of Blues a number of times after that first night, and the backstage spread was actually pretty damn swank) and big deal making. It was all about the music and, for the most part, it still is, even though we're older and more aware of big picture things like mortgages and gas prices. True, the model for Mohave, and also for my solo music, has adapted in a way that requires clear thinking about cost-effectiveness versus pie-in-the-sky dreaming. Only the independently wealthy (or perpetual poor and proud) can afford to make music simply for music's sake and perhaps pay for doing so. Face it, this music environment in central Florida is sort of like the national economic picture - there are the top one-percenters and the rest of us are scrabbling for action.

Either you're already well-connected and pulling in the bucks as an entertainer or you may be one of those performers who are happy to play for a measly share of the door or a discount on the beer tab; neither of which is ever enough to even pay for a portion of a tank of gas, let alone bills or other expenses.

But that's changing ever so slowly - more venues are actually looking to find better entertainment in order to keep their customers happy, which means that they're paying better as well. Between that and the ever-changing nature of music distribution, you come right round again to the idea of music as a blue-collar pastime. You'll never get rich, like in the army, but you can get by if you work hard enough.

With Mohave still gigging and the solo career having made the leap into the national scene, I just feel very blessed to continue doing what I love. It takes determination and assurance that you're on the right track - but it also takes the support and encouragement of folks like David Schweizer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A little tail-wind, hmmm, maybe?

Hurricane alerts and real time hurricane tracking at
As of 8 a.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Fay was located at 23.2 N, 81.2 W or just northwest of Varadero, Cuba, and 100 miles south-southeast of Key West, Fla.

Maximum wind speeds remain near 60 mph and additional strengthening is forecast over the next 24 hours. It could become a hurricane as it moves over the Florida Keys later tonight and will likely be one as it approaches the Florida Peninsula.

Wednesday morning's flight to Colorado should be interesting. As of the moment, it's not been canceled so they're holding out the same brand of optimism that I'm endorsing. At the worst, maybe I pull into Manitou Springs later in the evening - but it sure would be nice to have the day and unwind slowly as we creep up on this weekend's Mountain Music Festival.

The Manitou album, "In The Garden of the Gods", goes to the printer this morning and we'll have the first copies on-hand for sale at the festival. Just short of a year since we free-form recorded the album in the GOTG, the reunion will be short one member (Quintin Stephens, on vacation with family at another colossal red rock structure, the Grand Canyon) but will have on-hand another formidable dulcimer player in Joellen Lapidus, who is flying in to partake of the festivities.

I'm looking forward to funky old Manitou Springs. I'm not looking forward to flying with unsociable winds at my back, but we'll see how that goes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's a small world after all...

Earlier this year, in the cold midwinter of Memphis, Jae and I found a new band that we liked called The Noveaux Honkies; part blues, part Americana, part swing, with lots of sass.

To The Not So Wayback Machine!

As it turns out, the band from South Florida was playing a gig tonight not more than a couple of miles from our house, so we went to check them out along with opening act The Smokin' Torpedoes, who were also up in Memphis for that International Blues Challenge.

Jae and I got to McWell's early to eat and watched the first band set up. As members of the second band arrived, I noticed a familiar looking guy carrying an instrument. Turns out it was Mike Burney, Mohave's first bassist!

Mike caught a glimpse of me as I got closer to where he was sitting with the rest of the band and we embraced, retreated back to the bar and proceeded to catch up with one another. Man - how many years ago has it been? At least six years since he moved to California and then back again. We had a good time sharing some Cali horror stories and thinking back on those early days with McGyver behind the drum set.

Life's a trip, i'n't?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mohave Gigs

Summer's almost over, but we're just getting warmed up!

First off - the long dormant website is back, no thanks to the bureaucrats who controlled our old domain. So, a new domain, was created. Same stuff on the site, music, pictures, show schedule, orgins, videos, etc., but it's just not run by people bound up in red tape.

Secondly, we've got a couple of gigs in October that we'd like to point out early, so you can hopefully make the plans to come out and get tribal with us! First one is October 4th at the Winter Garden Music Festival. It's a three-day festival and we're on the main stage on the second day, 5:15 p.m. Watch this space for any potential schedule change. This is a fun, family-friendly festival and tons of great acts will be there.

Then, we've got Muddy Gras coming up in St. Cloud, October 18th. This is going to be a fun and ROWDY event, so all of you redliners show up and get your groove on.

There are more dates to follow as we enter the busy season for the band. I'm still traveling solo, but festival season is starting to wind down ever so slightly - enough to where Mohave is looking at recording a brand new album. That's right! It's been three years since "Clear Blue Trickling" came out and it's about time we got in gear and did something new in-studio. We'll have snippets as they take place.

For now though, enjoy the rest of the summer and we hope to see you at a show real soon!