You know, when you start up these band things there's always a giant list of things to do and think about and who's who stuff etc.; We've (Coos Rhythm and Blues Quintet) all been doing that since we were children, literally.
Here's the drill... Elvis comes on TV and BOOM, The Beatles are on Ed Sullivan and KAPOW, The Everly Brothers play at the fair or someone plays you their favorite record. Soon enough you're killing yourself figuratively in order to figure out how to play that guitar you got for your birthday. The only problem is the strings appear to be at least an inch from the neck. Or, the saxophone needs reeds all-of-the-time, because you're a complete hack at it.
If you're a drummer, (big mistake folks) sticks, heads and a lot of stuff to carry around.
Nowadays, the same applies to all of us. I play keyboards and my New Year's Resolution — the harmonica. One little bag and there ya go, you can play in the band.
So, here we are now nearly 2 years in, the Coos Rhythm and Blues Quintet (CRBQ) a big idea that actually worked. It started as a quartet and morphed itself right into a quintet. I can't wait for it to become a sextet if for no other reason than the puns and bad jokes that would follow.
Who are we anyway? Well, on guitar and vocals, Michael Wesley Hughes; bass guitar and vocals, Gary Robertson; drums, vocals, and comedy, "The Garse" Michael Carrillo; percussion, Tom Beckstrom (The CRBQ Peacock, you'll see); and keyboards and vocals, Alec Berfield. With 200 plus combined years of experience playing in one form or another, each of us has different and valuable talents to offer. For example: Gary has turned out to be an absolute walking genius at website management and design. The real beauty here is that we all get to play with the guys that are on our list of favorite musicians, and sometimes we get paid for it.
Our first date was New Year's Eve at The Coos Bay Church of Great Music - 7 Devils Brewing Co. Then a blizzard of gigs followed. All year-long in 2018 that included every local festival and voila — we have a reputation. We don't really know what it is, but it stands to reason that it has something to do with quirky tunes, bad jokes, awful comedy, some great music; all that with four lead vocalists, soon to be five.
The beginning of '19 wasn't easy, but don't expect me to tell you all the greasy details. I will say this much, so and so has gout, one of the wives had a baby (rough stuff for people who are nearing 70 years old), just kidding y'all but you get the picture—life got hold of us. Truth be told, we lost Bruce Sorensen who's headed to Portland. We gathered up our wits and partnered up with Gary Robertson, an old friend of "The Garse". A fitting replacement for Bruce occurred. The vocal dynamics have changed, in fact they're pretty dang good.
In '18 we needed drummer to fill in for The Garse. We found a kid named David Walters, possibly one of the most engaging, talented young Coos Banians. He brought along his pal Ben Cardoza just to brighten up rehearsals. It turned out to be a real treat to have these young-bloods hanging with us.
Jim Ring booked CRBQ to close out the 2018 Music On The Bay Series. On Sept. 13 so we got to treat the community to performances with some local talent joining us onstage: Jeff Torrance, Shaymus Hanlin, Vinnie Cavarra, David Ford and David Walters.
This year we're the same way. We've added roughly 20 more gigs than 2018 putting the count near 50. Not bad considering the limited number of venues. As we go along, we just keep making more friends. On we go. What's in the future?
Coming in July is the production of our new Electronic Press Kit. It will be a video product, general advertisement to be filmed at The Wind Tunnel adjacent to OrCoast Music. Yes indeed, a live event. We'll be inviting folks to come be a part of that film/recording project.
We've added play dates at Gold Beach Brewfest, TJ's in Port Orford, The Rust'd Star in Reedsport, Front Street Provisioners which surely will brighten our horizons and give us opportunities for more RnB frivolity and to head to Portland and other outlying locales. And then playing New Years Eve No. 3 at 7 Devils to ring in 2020.
Now, keep in mind that we work hard at the humor quotient of our presentation, maybe more than the music. Last year we introduced the bullhorn, preacher-style testify segment. This year we'll be introducing a Chainsaw Solo, featuring a new tune.