Thursday, March 3, 2016

Surprise Mini-Reunion of Liquid (03.02.16)

As most of you readers of this blog know, I've been a musician for a long time. Like, over 90% of my life. Granted, I wasn't too hot from age three to about nine, but since then, I've played a lot of music, in a lot of different styles, in a lot of different environments. To me, music is never something that can be limited; if you're a musician, you owe it to yourself to explore as many different ways of making music as you possibly can.

That's a preamble to say that those of you who know me exclusively as an acoustic guitar-playing singer guy who does online solo shows might not be aware that like so many of my fellow musicians, I've been in plenty of bands, going back to when I first got good enough to jam with other people back in middle school circa 1982. Almost all of these have been rock bands. No, scratch that. Every single one of them have been rock bands, with the definition of rock music being as varied as it is. One of those bands -- my most recent band that played out live on a regular basis -- was called Liquid. Liquid was the very typical bar band, playing covers of both classic and modern rock tunes in Irish pubs, sports bars, neighborhood clubs, street parties, and the like. Along with singer Randy Harmon and bassist Phil Gilbreth, Liquid included drummer Dante J. Silva, a guy who is a lifelong friend of mine with whom I've been jamming in multiple bands since we were teenagers.

Liquid never broke up; we just faded away. Between 2004-2007, we played a lot. Hardly a week went by that we didn't have a show at a bar somewhere around the South Bay area of Los Angeles. But then, I got tremendously busy with my business and being a parent, and it wasn't fair to the other guys with me not being available for rehearsals or most shows. As many of you know, I started performing as a solo artist, and recorded my own album which came out in 2009. Phil -- one of the best bass players with whom I've ever had the pleasure of working, who had some local notoriety many years ago in the Twisters -- was constantly in demand, and continues to play with a variety of different bands including country/Americana act Abby Hankins & The Lionheads. Randy has continued seeking out any opportunity to showcase his mighty vocal skills, sitting in with his many musical friends on various occasions. And Dante has never slowed down at all. He's in a successful local Led Zeppelin tribute band called Like Zeppelin, and they play out multiple times per week.

Checking out the Like Zeppelin set while getting ready to rock. Photo and top photo by Kat.

But Dante also has another kind of gig that I find fascinating. There's a club at the Redondo Beach Pier called Starboard Attitude that been there... well, pretty much forever, it would seem. I remember hearing about that place when I was just a kid growing up here. It is the typical beach bar, somewhat grungy but with plenty of vibe, overlooking the ocean in our beautiful city of Redondo Beach. Anyway, each Wednesday night, Dante is the host of an event called "Dante's Inferno", which is an open jam where musicians can get on stage and jam tunes with whomever happens to be around. I love that kind of thing, but frankly never have time to participate; see above in regard to owning a business and being a dad.

The guys in Liquid have remained close friends, but we've only managed to reunite a couple of times over the past six years or so, the last time being in 2012. About a month ago, Randy messaged Phil and I via Facebook, and asked if we had any interest in joining Dante for one of these events at Starboard Attitude. The catch: we had no intention of telling Dante about this beforehand. Last night at about 8:00, I met with Phil and Randy on the pier downstairs from the bar, and then had the pleasure of walking in to completely surprise Dante. The look on his face as the realization of what was happening dawned on him was, in a word, priceless.

Ladies and gentlemen... Liquid! Photo by Kat.

Phil (bass), Randy (vocals), Dante (drums) and me (guitar and backing vocals), doing what we do. Photo by Kat.

Dante's Zeppelin band rocked through some tunes -- I was totally digging their version of "The Wanton Song" -- and then Liquid took over the stage. Keep in mind, we'd had no rehearsal, and none of us had been performing these songs in years. I say that not as an excuse, but as a matter of pride, since the set went much better than you'd expect for a band that hadn't played together regularly in as long as it had been for us. Was it perfect? Oh, hell no. But we had a ton of fun, and the crowd at the bar truly seemed to enjoy what we did. Speaking of which, we'd discussed a few songs as possibilities to play, but of course once we started, Dante had his own ideas of what material we could do, and we all obliged.

Liquid at Starboard Attitude set list...
Surrender (Cheap Trick)
Man In The Box (Alice In Chains)
Tie Your Mother Down (Queen)
Vasoline (Stone Temple Pilots)
You Got Another Thing Coming (Judas Priest)
Panama (Van Halen)
Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
You Really Got Me (The Kinks)

The whole event was incredibly fun. As you all know, I'm a) in the midst of creating an album with my current band They Stole My Crayon, and b) continuing to play live as a solo artist rather regularly. My musical plate remains pretty full. That having been said, I can definitely see us doing another "Liquid Night at Starboard Attitude" in the near future. Jamming out some rock covers with a capable band is exciting and fun for pretty much any musician, and my musical brothers in Liquid are great people to be with on stage. We'll do it again soon.

Here's to good times, good friends, and hard rock cover tunes. Photo by Kat.

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