Bands On The Run

Perfect afternoon, sunny and hot. Music blaring from the speakers on the deck overlooking the rolling hills. Banquet tables overloaded with the most delicious food and delectable desserts, and coolers full of ice and drinks underneath.

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And here is a pic of me, who was smiling this hard the whole day!! Bands On The Run, a concept that came to fruition on July 17 of last year, was the icing on a cake we had started to bake months before. One night while we were sitting around lamenting the lack of gigs for our bands, a thought surfaced.  What if we created a gig?  A venue where our favorite bands and then others connected to them could play and be heard and appreciated! We quickly searched for a facility that could contain all of this fabulousness and found Skyline Lodge at Highland Forest. The Band Wives jumped in planning food and fun, two of our favorite things.  The guys practiced and curated their playlists for their respective bands and then songs to be performed as a supergroup, including the iconic Wings tune Bands On The Run. And we promoted the hell out of it! If you build it, they will come. And come they did!  So many friends and family, people I didn’t know and friends I hadn’t met yet, all who showed for the same reason we did, to enjoy music, food, and fun.

13723963_10154372519992888_5305538572074492440_oStarting us off that day were two of the guys from the band Drink The Punch.  Recent college grads Brad Bargelski and Andrew Nicholson had some unique covers and gave us the edge that only the young and hip can bring. One of the great thing about budding musicians today is that there are thousands of songs from over the past 60 years that can be covered and reimagined and mashed up and these two performed them like a boss!

Day Ja Voo took the stage next.  Known for their great harmonies and the many America tunes they cover, they put together a perfect playlist for a sunny afternoon. We all know those yacht rock songs from the 70’s and these guys can evoke nostalgia just by playing the first few notes of each beloved tune. Whether CSN (and sometimes Y), The Eagles, or the Traveling Wilburys, the harmonies are spot on.  Audience members are constantly singing along and they always have an extra tambourine handy.

Mobius Jones Band also worked hard to bring their best to the crowd that afternoon at Highland Forest. From All Right Now by Free to Message In A Bottle by The Police to No Matter What by Badfinger, these guys rock it out. When they played Rock This Town by The Stray Cats, there was a full scale zumba inspired dance by several Band Wives and their zumba friends. led by their instructor Jesus. Several audience members joined in and it was bigger than Michael Jackson’s Thriller!

Then it was time for the Band Wives to shine. Joanne (wife of the drummer and MJB lead vocal singer Eric) and the other Band Wives performed the classic 80’s We’ve Got The Beat, accompanied by her husband’s band).  Getting the guys to back us up took a lot of cajoling, since the guys were leery when any of us are looking to perform with the band, anyone even suggesting it earns the nickname Y0ko. This performance was about as much of the spotlight as of the women could handle, singing back up and doing some basic choreography; we are better suited for sitting in the audience playing percussion instruments and yelling, “You guys rock!”

Open mic was the last act on the bill, with some blending of the three bands (more than just the blending that happens because Bryan is in both MJB and DJV), and then special guests, like yours truly! I made my guitar debut playing Traffic’s Dear Mr. Fantasy, thanks to my guitar teachers Jeff (from DJV) and John (MJB) and Brad, who also played with me on the song. Tonia got up there and sang some Creedence, and Beverly got up there with her ukelele.

As the day came to an end, there were songs not played and food not consumed (the Band Wives are notoriously famous for cooking too much!) We gathered enough money to pay for the venue and donate any extra to the local food bank (along with the food we had collected for that purpose.)

This year Bands On The Run 2 will be at the Onondaga Yacht Club on August 19. Mobius Jones and Day Ja Voo will be back, along with other musicians looking for a fun time. Admission is free, just bring whatever you want to drink and a dish to pass. This year we will be collecting funds as well as new and gently used items that can be used to set up new households for two local charities that help the chronically homeless A Tiny Home For Good http://www.atinyhomeforgood.org/  and In My Father’s Kitchen http://inmyfatherskitchen.org/.

If I have made this sound irresistible and you would like to join us for BOTR2, message me and I will get you the deets. Rock on!

 

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right

We all have those friends…ones that thrive on jokes and pranks and can at times be pretty clever.  My life is filled with people like that which makes for some pretty funny stories. How did Winnie The Pooh end up drunk on my bed? Once upon a time, a  few of the band guys and wives gathered at my house for dinner. It was going to be an outdoor work party, but with the rainy weather it turned into dinner. I had plans to see a play later in the evening, so when it was time for me to go, I told the gang I would clean up later, and that they could stay as long as they wanted and lock up when they were done. I should’ve paid more attention when I heard the first few notes of Old Time Rock and Roll being played on the guitar. As I drove away I hoped there would be no hookers and booze like when Tom Cruise was left alone.

On my way home after the play I texted Tonia and asked her how long they had stayed. She said they had left about a half hour before. As we approached, the curtains were wide open and every light was on. I said to Linda, “Who do they think is playing the light bill, Vanderbilt?” We had a good laugh and as I got out of the car to go in, my housemate arrived home. I went into the house first and as she rushed upstairs to go to the bathroom as I yelled after her, “OMG, come back down! I have no idea what happened here!”

The hallway looked emptier than usual. And why was the coffee table so tiny? It was made out of solid wood, and I knew it didn’t fold, so how was it so low to the ground? There were  books and knickknack on the surface, and when I lifted up the tablecloth underneath them, I finally realized it was actually the bookshelf from the hallway, laying flat on its side. The couches had been switched and the pillows moved back, so they were on the opposite couches. On to the dining room where all chairs were mysteriously missing, and the pictures on the wall had been switched and in some cases turned around backwards.

 

Everything on a surface of the dining room had switched shelves or furniture, and all the napkins were hanging from the curtains.  As we moved into the kitchen, every cupboard door was open and things were clean, just very out of place. Upstairs in the bathroom, things had changed places and more pictures were askew and backwards. Michelle and I kept laughing and laughing as we moved from space to space noticing everything. We put a few things back into place, then I decided it was time for bed; I had to work very early the next morning.

 

They left me an empty wineglass and a half empty bottle of wine, next to my Winnie The Pooh. I posed him for a drunken teddy bear picture to text out. I saw that the duvet had been moved and thus found their last trick, short sheeting my bed. It took me a while to get to sleep that night. I would like to say it was because I was busy plotting revenge, but my mind just doesn’t work that way. It’s just not in the cards for me. I still keep one picture in my bedroom purposely turned around just to make me laugh about the people in my life who keep me smiling every single day! And last weekend when I had some friends over working at the house, you can bet it wasn’t one of those hooligans I left in charge!

Day Ja Voo

Day Ja Voo. I have been following them for years, from fundraisers to dive bars to summer outdoor venues to my own living room. Watching them play and hearing the first few notes of a favorite song leads me to break into a smile and sing along. The love I have for the music and the guys (and their wives) is unparalleled. Let’s go back to the beginning of this journey to fandom.

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The first time I went to see this talented trio was when they were playing for a fundraising walk at Longbranch Park, raising money for children with cancer. I said a quick hello to Vinnie then found a tree to lean on, away from the action, to wait for them to perform.  The teams of walkers started to stream into the picnic area, groups of people wearing tshirts and carrying signs with pictures of kids who had some form of cancer.  As the groups continued to flood in, I realized that some of the kids were no longer living and for some reason, I was so overcome with emotion that I could barely make it to my car without sobbing.  I did not see the guys play that day.

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And You Can Call Me Queen Pee

20 years working at Barnes & Noble and there are so many stories I could tell: people I have met, books I have recommended, celebrity sightings, crazy questions, one of a kind events, and lots of other things I could talk about. And yet the one thing that stands out is the honor bestowed on me by my coworkers: Queen Pee. A lot of work has gone into the making of Queen Pee. Not only have there been numerous instances of cleaning up the bathroom, I have also been been cursed out by other managers because I was not on duty on days when a bathroom incident had occurred. And yet with this glamorous life I lead, my band wives want me to give it all up.

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I have a long and proud (?) history of cleaning restrooms at Barnes & Noble. When I first started working there, I cleaned the bathrooms just about every night (before my manager found out that we didn’t need to vacuum and empty garbage and clean the bathrooms every night because we actually had a maintenance line in the budget!) My first workman’s comp case involved me getting new contacts because I had splashed toilet bowl cleaner in my eye.

 

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It’s Been One Week (My vacation framed by the Barenaked Ladies song)

It’s been 3 weeks since I have been away from the blogosphere.  Now there is a lot of pressure staring at this blank post.  How do I return with a big enough splash to warrant the empty pages left by my busy life? Even today, with all the time in the world to write, I am at a loss for something spectacular to discuss with my followers, so I will just sit here with my adult beverage and talk about what I have been up to on my vacation.

It’s been 5 days since I attended Greekfest with my favorite Greek family, the Plessas’.

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We braved long lines for food (but no lines for drinks!) and enjoyed Greek food, Greek beer, Greek music, and traditional Greek dancing.  My friend Nik danced with two of the groups and did an amazing job (go Nik!!).  We ended up running into 4 of John’s siblings and had a really fun family  celebration. The Greek coffee kept me awake much of the night, so I had a lot of time to reflect on how much fun it was!  Pictured above: Bridgette, myself, John, and his sister Therese.

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Cybershot Heard Around the World

Fireball.  It’s not just a Pitbull song.  It is also the official drink of the Band Sisters.  Well, not all the Band Sisters.  And some of them may never drink it again, to hear them tell it.

It all started at my birthday party.  I had tried Fireball and thought it was delicious.  It tastes just like the candy and doesn’t even have an aftertaste.  It is a Horan family staple at all the pomp and circumstance ceremonies, like graduations and weddings.  It doesn’t really taste like whiskey, which is what eventually became part of the problem.  I had some left in a bottle, and brought it to the party.

A couple of hours into the party, the son of the host, a SUNY Oswego college student, found the bottle and thought some shots were in order.  He found some proud SUNY Oswego alumni among the partygoers to participate and we found some shotglasses,  We raised a glass to Oswego and to graduating and after a while, any excuse would do.

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Let me get something straight.  The band wives are all 50 something women who do not party.  We are responsible adults who lead full, productive lives without partying like rock stars.  But no one would have known it that night.  There was one point in the night when one of the band members looked out at the crowd and realized that the wives were drunk.  It was a friendly gathering and all the principal parties had designated drivers, so there was not immediate danger.  And then there was the incident.

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Meeting Scott from the Goo Goo Dolls

 

A couple of weeks ago, I was at Dublin’s to see Day Ja Voo.  I went to get  a couple of drinks for the band and started a conversation with the guys sitting there at the bar.  Wanting a ‘man on the street’ perspective, I asked them what they thought about the band. Scott and his friend said they were really enjoying the music, and then Scott went on to talk about how he loved 80’s music. We both graduated from college the same year (he went to UB, I went to SUNY Oswego) and we discussed our favorite music from that era.   Eventually Mike returned with my beers and I delivered them to the stage.

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