Your Week in Live and Local… Philly Style

http://oneunifiedproject.com/archives-2/backstage-pass/
Brodi Valos, Steal Your Face, Chowder

http://oneunifiedproject.com/archives-2/backstage-pass/backstage-pass-kevin-kirk-of-kirko/
Kirko

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/06/28/sunday-spotlight-hotlanta/
Hotlanta

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/09/06/sunday-spotlight-stems-and-seeds/
Stems and Seeds

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/01/31/sunday-spotlight-great-scott-band/
The Great Scott Band

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/03/20/music-and-unity-1-thief-0/
Paul Keen

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/03/27/sunday-spotlight-spinning-straw/
Mike Brill of Spinning Straw

https://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/04/20/wednesday-spotlight-no-thats-not-a-typo/
AM Radio

https://oneunifiedproject.com/?p=6108
The Mix

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Thursday 12/15/16

Friday 12/16/16

Steal Your Face: 10pm-1am, Triumph Brewing Company, 400 Union Square, New Hope, PA

Chowder: Reales, Frankford Ave., Phila., Pa, 7-11pm

The Great Scott Band: 10pm-2am, Whiskey Tango, Bustleton Ave., NE Philly

Saturday 12/17/16

Steal Your Face: 9:30pm-1:30, Nick’s Roast Beef Northeast, Cottman Ave., Phila. PA

Hotlanta: 8:00pm, Steel City Coffee House, Pheonixville, Pa

Stems and Seeds: 9:00PM, Pub36, NE Phila, 5th annual Christmas party and fundraiser for the Mama Bear Effect, 50/50’s, ugly sweater contest, and Bad Santa will be making an appearance.

The Great Scott Band: 9pm-1am, Curran’s Bensalem, PA, Bristol Pike

Paul Keen: Liberty Union Bar & Grille, 8:00PM, Chester Springs, PA

The Mix: Fireside Lounge inside Brunswick Zone XL, 100 E. Street Rd. (At Bustleton PIKE), Feasterville, Pa

Sunday 12/18/16

AM Radio: the Water Tower in Arnold’s Family Fun Center, Pheonixville, PA, 5-9pm, Rockin’ Dinner & Dance Christmas Party with Jerry Blavat and special guest vocalist Larry DiSalvi, Doors open at 4pm for a line dance lesson.

Monday 12/19/16

Brodi and Shon (of Dirt Road Anthem): Monday’s at Maggie’s on the Waterfront, 9pm-1am, #HonoringHeroes, 1/2 Price Everything w/Police, Fire, EMS & Military active/retired

Tuesday 12/20/16

Paul Keen: Rogues Gallery Bar in Philly 8pm-12am

Here it is…Your Band Calendar!

Philly (One) Unified loves our local bands. You will too! Go see one, and read more about them on the links below. (Calendar follows that)

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http://oneunifiedproject.com/archives-2/backstage-pass/
Brodi Valos, Steal Your Face

http://oneunifiedproject.com/archives-2/backstage-pass/backstage-pass-kevin-kirk-of-kirko/
Kirko

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/06/28/sunday-spotlight-hotlanta/
Hotlanta

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/08/16/sunday-spotlight-pure-jerry/
Pure Jerry

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/09/06/sunday-spotlight-stems-and-seeds/
Stems and Seeds

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/10/18/sunday-spotlight-music-man-saver/
Saver

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/01/10/spotlight-sunday-is-back-the-dead-leeves/
The Dead Leeves

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/03/13/sunday-spotlight-aj-slick-band/
AJ Slick

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/03/20/music-and-unity-1-thief-0/
Paul Keen

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/03/27/sunday-spotlight-spinning-straw/
Mike Brill of Spinning Straw

Thursday 9/15/16:
Kirko: solo, Fireside Smokehouse, Elmwood Ave., Feasterville, PA, 8-11PM
AJ Slick: Lumpy Magee’s, ‪2417 Welsh Rd.,‬ Bluegrass Plaza, ‪7-11PM‬
Saver: ‬The Barbary (POP PUNK COVER NIGHT) – Phila., PA, 7:00 PM, $10 cover

Friday 9/16/16:
Steal Your Face: 9pm-1am, Sweeney’s Saloon, Philmont Ave. & Bustleton, Phila.
Pure Jerry: Loud Love Reunion, Lake Ontario, NY
Stems and Seeds: 5:00PM, Parx Casino, Bensalem, PA
AJ Slick: Dagwood Pub, 7-11PM, 4625 Linden Ave., Phila., PA
Mike Brill solo: Tir Na Nog, Trenton, NJ, 9pm-1am

Saturday 9/17/16:
Dirt Road Anthem: 9-1, Annual Boots At The Beach, Flip Flopz, North Wildwood, NJ
Paul Baroli Jr: solo acoustic , Hippies 6th Annual, HippiesAnnual.com
Kirko: duet, The Churchville Inn, Churchville, Pa, 8pm-12am
Hotlanta: 8:00, Filomena’s, 13 Cross Keys Rd., West Berlin, NJ
Stems and Seeds: 9:00PM, The Five Four, Levittown, PA
The Dead Leeves: Sweeney’s, 10-10:45PM, (opening for SIN)
AJ Slick: Deb’s Place, Street Rd., Southampton, PA, 8:30PM-12:30AM
Spinning Straw: Peddlers Village Scarecrow Festival, 10am to noon
Mike Brill solo: O’Mares Irish Pub, NE Phila., 8pm to 12am

Sunday 9/18/16:
AJ Slick: Ralphie’s Bar, Rt 232, Newtown, PA, ‪2-6PM‬
AJ Slick: ‬Solo Acoustic, The Post Office Bar, Bridge St., Bridesburg, PA 8PM-12AM
Mike Brill solo: Slopeside Pub, Blue Mt., 2pm to 5pm

Monday 9/19/16:
Brodi and Shon: Maggie’s on the Waterfront, 9pm-1am, #HonoringHeroes, 1/2 Price Everything for Police, Fire, EMS & Military active/retired

Tuesday 9/20/16:
Paul Keen: solo at Rogues Gallery Bar in Philly 8pm-12am

Wednesday 9/21/16:
Steal Your Face: 7-10pm, Open Jam, Curly’s at the Nest, Knights of Columbus, Woodbourne Rd, Levittown
AJ Slick: Open Mic, Rhawnhurst Cafe, Rhawn St. & Castor Ave., 8PM-12AM

A Holiday Weekend Event Calendar…

Before heading out to see one of our featured bands, check out a little behind the scenes interviews. It’s not mandatory, but is recommended.

http://oneunifiedproject.com/archives-2/backstage-pass/
Brodi Valos, Steal Your Face,  Red Letter Life

http://oneunifiedproject.com/archives-2/backstage-pass/backstage-pass-kevin-kirk-of-kirko/
Kirko

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/06/28/sunday-spotlight-hotlanta/
Hotlanta

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/09/06/sunday-spotlight-stems-and-seeds/
Stems and Seeds

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/11/29/sunday-spotlight-think-pink-floyd/
Think Pink Floyd 

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/03/13/sunday-spotlight-aj-slick-band/
AJ Slick

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/03/20/music-and-unity-1-thief-0/
Paul Keen

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This Weeks Live and Local…

Want to learn more about some of the local band So? Check out past interviews with them below:

http://oneunifiedproject.com/archives-2/backstage-pass/
Brodi Valos, Steal Your Face, Jah People

http://oneunifiedproject.com/archives-2/backstage-pass/backstage-pass-kevin-kirk-of-kirko/
Kirko

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/06/28/sunday-spotlight-hotlanta/
Hotlanta

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/08/16/sunday-spotlight-pure-jerry/
Pure Jerry

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2015/09/06/sunday-spotlight-stems-and-seeds/
Stems and Seeds

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/01/10/spotlight-sunday-is-back-the-dead-leeves/
The Dead Leeves

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/03/13/sunday-spotlight-aj-slick-band/
AJ Slick

http://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/03/20/music-and-unity-1-thief-0/
Paul Keen

https://oneunifiedproject.com/2016/04/20/wednesday-spotlight-no-thats-not-a-typo/
AM Radio

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Inside the World of Local Music…

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My weekend often includes live music. It’s my happy place, my sanctuary, my release to a week of responsibilities and demands. But when our work week ends, the local musicians and bands are just beginning. Often, our favorite bands have jobs too and after work on any given day, they rush home only to pack up their gear and set up at a local venue to entertain us. Now, I’m not pitying them. They get paid to do what they do (sometimes they even get paid well), they have the adoration of their fans, they get to play and create music, to be a part of something pretty special. However, I understand that it’s not all glitz and glamour. There are things that go on behind the scenes that many of us are not privy to: hours of scouting venues, fighting for fair pay, and sometimes adversity with some of the musical community. I was curious about what happens behind the scenes.  I reached out to some of Philadelphia’s local talent (that have been featured on One Unified in the past) to get a behind the scenes look into the world of local music. Thank you to Krista Doran of Stems and Seeds, Bill Luber of Chowder, Dean Rubenstein of Jah People, Larry Bishov of Hotlanta, Paul Baroli of Steal Your Face and Brodi Valos of Dirt Road Anthem for sharing your insight with me and our readers. Your contribution here and musically is greatly appreciated.

How long have you been in a band?

Brodi: I’ve been with Dirt Road Anthem for just about two years now. First band I was ever in, I played a trumpet and I was 10 years old.

Bill: My current band, almost 9 years. On and off with other bands since 93-94 maybe.

Krista: Since 2007, so 9 years now. Wow – I didn’t even realize that.

Larry: Since 1969 (in different bands)

Paul: Pretty much my whole life. I was in the elementary school band and was in my first rock band at 15. I’ve been in Steal Your Face for the last 10 years.

Dean: I have been in Jah People for 3 1/2 years.

How would you describe the culture in the local music scene?

Brodi: If I had to describe the local scene in a word, I’d say it’s “intimate”. Everyone pretty much knows one another to some degree.

Bill: I personally find the music scene somewhat healthy. I say somewhat because I don’t like the constant battle between bar owners and bands that deserve respect, when it comes to pay. If a band has a good following and puts butts in the seats and the cash register is ringing all night, why give us a hard time about our pay. We’re not asking for ridiculous money. Just want what’s fair. We spend time at practice a couple times a week, we do homework and learn songs, we buy expensive equipment, and lug all that heavy equipment and load in and load out. That’s a ton of work. Most of the owners don’t even promote. I’ve actually had one bar owner say “not sure why you guys even get paid, all ya do is sing songs.”. That’s clearly not the case. It’s a business for us too. If we bring a hundred people and the average person spends 50 bucks, that’s 5,000 dollars. And it could have been more if they promoted the show as much as we did. So if we do all the work and bring all the people and load all the equipment, why complain about our tiny paycheck. But as far as culture amongst other bands, I don’t really have any issues. I like and respect every band.

Krista: For the most part, there is a feeling of camaraderie and unity. Many of us have become good friends and will support each other by going to shows or doing shows together, give advice, share contacts, support causes together, etc.

Paul: Little of this. Little of that.

Dean: Unfortunately, I’ve found that the vibe in Philly has been mostly “every band for itself”. There have been some crossover and cooperation in the past, but lately there has been less and less collaboration, both musically and business wise.

Have you ever encountered a “situation” with another band that left a bad taste in your mouth?

Brodi: No, not that I can think of. I don’t always get along with everyone, but who does?

Bill:  I have had some situations that have left bad taste in my mouth but the good thing about that is I dont have to be in their band. So for me, if I don’t like something another band did, I am old enough to know not to deal with them anymore and just move on. No big deal.

Krista: Absolutely. I mean, we have always been very supportive of our friends and other musicians that we know. On the flip side of that, yes, there have been some that have decided to try to discredit us. We work hard at what we do and it shows. For anyone to try and influence others to not support us, or anyone else for that matter, is pretty ridiculous. It doesn’t hurt us because our fans and friends are very faithful. It does however, hurt the music scene as a whole, and I don’t think these particular musicians even care about that.

Larry: Not in my experience.

Paul: Plenty.

Dean: Certain guys from bands feel the need to carelessly bash other bands and musicians on social media. This type of behavior often contradicts the righteous ideals that they claim to be practicing.

Why do you think some bands find the need to bash/criticize other bands?

Brodi: You’d have to ask them for their reasons. I’ll criticize weird, pretentious, rock star, super hype stuff. It just seems so crazy to claim that they’re going to rock someone’s face off in a place that has a 12 foot ceiling. Or the guys my age claiming that they’re getting or giving out record deals. Come on, dude… no one gets those anymore.

Bill: Musicians are notoriously stereotyped as egomaniacs and look at music as a battle for who’s best. I personally, in my years, have only encountered that a couple times. When I first got into bands, I was kind of expecting to hear so much shit from jerkoff so-called superstars but that never really happened. I have heard a couple people say “Chowder sucks” or “how come you guys hire Chowder and not us, they ain’t as good as us?” Ya know what I say? Fuck them guys. I could care less. It’s like an actor reading a review of a movie he or she was in. The movie does great in the box office but there’s that one critic that didn’t like it and slams the movie. But in the end, the theaters are packed so what do ya say? Fuck em. So as long as you’re working hard and the music connects with people and everyone is happy, so am I. That’s all that matters.

Krista: There are two reasons in my opinion: Jealousy and wrong assumptions. Bashing is never acceptable. In pretty much all situations, the one bashing is really the one that ends up looking bad. It also shows how unprofessional they are and makes it hard for them to get gigs at certain places.

Larry: Insecurities. Their ET (ego to talent) ratio is way out of line.

Paul: You’d have to ask them.
If you’re asking me about some of the things I say and post, well I know a lot of my friends, family, fans and even band mates wish I would keep my mouth shut sometimes. That’s not who I am. If I have something I feel needs to be said I’m going to say it.
I have a great respect for the fans. Music lovers. People who spend their hard earned money and valuable time to see a band. I appreciate that more than I could ever say. I think those people deserve certain things – like authenticity. If someone is asking me a question or reading on social media what “is on my mind” – I take that seriously, and I’m going to respect them by being real.

There’s a couple of guys and bands out there I’m pretty vocal about. I should also say I like to think I give plenty of kudos when they are due and that there’s plenty of bands I have lots of “criticisms” or things I could “bash” but I truly never want to bash anyone or be negative and don’t. There are some people out there and some things happening that I have some responsibility in. Maybe it’s regret on my part. I gave people a platform because they manipulated, misled and used me and my band, fans and family and I don’t feel good about them misleading anybody else. Sometimes I speak up and ruffle some feathers. Through the course of my musical career, as I think anyone in any career would, I’ve come across some not so good people. I’m not the kind of guy to stand by and keep quiet, it’s part of what makes me who I am.

Dean: It’s mostly jealousy and ego driven.

Has the environment changed since you started performing?

Brodi: From elementary school recitals at J.H. Brown to a Bud Light sponsored act. Yep, I’d say things have changed for me. But in all seriousness, things have changed a bit in the live music scene. There used to be so many more original acts and listeners who wanted to hear their music. There are still original groups but the local scene is more cover oriented.

Bill: The environment has changed a little. When I started, rock music was more relevant. More people were rockers and rock music was king. Now ya got industry pushing kiddy pop music like Justin Bieber and stuff like that. It sells to kids. This is what’s wrong with music today. Christ, there ain’t even music on MTV anymore. Doesn’t MTV stand for music television? But recently I have seen a couple young bands that have been playing. One I like especially is The Dead Leeves. These kids are teens. One of ’em ain’t even a teen yet and they play as well or better than some of the older guys. What’s really great is they are playing “real” rock and roll. It’s really great to see. Another band I have seen recently is Angus Road. Another group of young guys. Very good band. Just awesome to see a 15 year old play the Beatles. Hopefully those bands can keep this going.

Krista: I think it has. The scene is definitely changing, and for many reasons. The economy, of course, has played a big part in things. People don’t go out as much or spend money like they used to. There’s also a lot more places choosing to bring in acoustic acts or DJs who charge much less than a full band, leaving less places to play. It used to be that on a Friday or Saturday night, the question wasn’t IF you were going out to see a live band, it was WHERE. Now, a band is lucky to get more than 30 or 40 people out. There are many others, but those are two of the main reasons.

Larry: It’s very hard to find places to play and the pay has hardly changed in the last 20 years or so.

Paul: It’s constantly evolving. Mostly – people and bands come and go. Lineups change, venues come and go.
I’ve been fortunate enough to stick around for a little bit and learn from some guys who have been able to do this for a long time. You have to ride the waves.
I do think for me the environment that has changed has been in the amount of people who support us. There’s a hunger for Grateful Dead music like I’ve never experienced. I think part of it was their 50th anniversary in 2015 and also that there’s a lot of bands playing this music at a high level right now, each with their own unique flavors and interpretations, on a local and national scale. Around here, on any given weekend night Steal Your Face, Splintered Sunlight and Box of Rain can all have successful shows within a 30 mile radius playing the music of The Grateful Dead. That’s a pretty incredible thing for me to try and grasp.

Dean: The local scene, at least in the Northeast region, had been much more inclusive and unified, but unfortunately, there’s been quite a bit of segregation.

How would you change things in the world of local music?

Brodi: Everyone would get a pony and an ice cream cone. We’ll pay for it with the money that bars claim they never make. That’s what ya call “drunk accounting”, folks.

Bill: This is a tough question. I think to change things in local and all music is to get the kids back into rock n roll and show them what it’s like to have musicians play their own instruments and join with other guys (or girls) that play and then form a team. A team that has three, four or whatever amount of people that bring their talents together and become one that can combine sounds and form songs that can make people feel emotion. I hope it can happen. I hope it’s not too late to get the kids back. If it does happen, rock n roll will never die.

Krista: The only way is to set an example by being professional, gracious and staying humble. Always, always be at your best. This not only affects other musicians, but also the bars/club owners and the people who come out to see us. Set realistic expectations because when you promise the world and don’t deliver, it makes the scene look bad as a whole.

Paul: It’s all going the way Jah wants it so who am I to say?
I think a lot of us who play music would love to be able to get together more. Socially and to play together. It’s just hard to make it happen. One of our friends has to get mugged or something.

Dean: I’d like to have more multiple band events to give fans a chance to hear bands that they typically may not see perform.

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What advice do you have for young and/or new musicians coming up in the music scene?

Brodi: Cliché as this may sound – Just do it! And find a good lawyer. If all goes well, you’ll most likely need one. Possibly more…

Bill: My advice for the young kids would be to play with your heart. Do it for the right reasons. Do it because ya like it. Not because it can get ya laid or because everyone will think you’re cool. Do it cause music grabs your soul and ya want to to grab it back. Stay humble and work hard. Practice every day. Love what you do!

Krista: Do your homework and learn your craft. Don’t just get a few people together and start a band. Practice! Practice! Practice! Don’t go out half-assed. Make the investment in a decent sound system. Learn how to market yourself. Ask seasoned bands or musicians you know what works for them. Align yourself with professional people and do what they do. Take pride in what you do and appreciate it! Don’t act like you are a “Rock Star,” because you’re not. If you were, you wouldn’t be playing in a cover band at local bars. Be realistic and remember there is always someone out there better than you. Price yourself in line with other bands – don’t “undercut” just to get a gig. This lessens your worth! Most of all don’t be a dick to people. Make people feel good about you and the music you play.

Larry: Keep playing even if you suck because after a while, you won’t suck.

Paul: If you believe in yourself enough to want to attempt to do this, believe in yourself enough to be yourself. Stay true to yourself, don’t compromise yourself or your art. And remember that what you’re doing is important. It’s an ancient art form and it brings people joy. Always do it for the right reasons.

Dean: Play to have fun, utilize social media, it’s a great tool to gain fans.. Try to open or co-bill with popular bands who’s fans are your target audience. Stay humble.

Sunday Spotlight…Hotlanta

Today we’re talking to two original members of the band Hotlanta, Tad Isch (founder and drummer) and Larry Bishov (drummer). Hotlanta is a fabulous Allman Brothers tribute band you should definitely take the time to go see.

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How did Hotlanta get started and what inspired you to start it?
Tad: “My original mission with this band was to put together a bunch of musicians to play the Allman Brothers music because of my love of the music. And that was fine and if we got to play some places that’s great, if not that’s cool. I pulled out an old recording from when I was a kid, when I was about 18-20 years old, I still have the original recordings of those songs. I actually bought a reel to reel just so I could play them and it inspired me. I was at a party with some old friends and I walked outside and said to my buddy, “You wanna start an Allman Brothers tribute band?” I didn’t say anything more. The next day I posted on Craigslist, “Does anyone want to play Allman Brothers music?” And I found someone and it multiplied from there. Larry was one of the first people to join the band. He’s the only one to be with me since the beginning. He’s loyal, a good friend, dedicated, I can’t say enough about his commitment to the band. Over the years, we’ve turned over personnel quite a bit, for various reasons; addictions, divorces, all kinds of reasons. So, I learned to try to find people that were pretty wholesome and didn’t appear to have any major issues, had a car and a life, and have found unbelievably talented musicians. As the band grew and got better, we found even better musicians. People would leave due to personal reasons or whatever. For the most part, it’s been a pretty harmonious relationship and our band has been pretty happy and friendly and that’s been one of the best virtues of the band.”
Larry: “No back biting, no political dramas. Usually when you get a group of people, that tends to happen, and it really hasn’t happened much at all.”

That’s a tough thing to find when you have a group working as one.
Tad: “We kind of let things flow. We have such good players in the band. Everybody’s a really good player. There’s no one real single stand out. If you like guitar, you’re gonna like one of our guitar players. You like drums, you’re gonna like one of the drummers. And so on. The band is just so talented.”

What year was the band formed?
Larry: “2008”
Tad: “That’s it. Larry’s the brain of the band.” (Laughter)

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How many members are in the band? What kind of history and experience is there?
Tad: “8 members. Larry, why don’t you tell her the configuration.”
Larry: “Tad and I are the drummers. The third one is our percussionist (hand percussions). Then we have 2 lead guitar players. A keyboard player. And a lead singer…”
Tad: “And our bass player was a Suzuki trained violinist turned bass [player]. One of our guitar players has a pretty starry past. He played with members of Jimi Hendrix’s band after Hendrix had died, in a special project. He was in the Soul Survivors for 11 years. He’s got a pretty good past. He’s a tremendous guitar player and brings a lot of repeat people out to the shows cause he’s just so good.

Three years ago I was invited to attend an Allman Brothers music theory camp up in the Catskills. It was kind of strange how it all went down, but regardless, to make a long story short; I was able to attend on a scholarship, which was kind of amazing because they only gave one. I went to the Catskills and there were most of the Allman Brothers, members of Mississippi Allstars, a couple of people from Government Mule, one guy from Tedeschi Trucks band. All these people are there and I’m like, “You’re kidding me!” And all we did all week was take classes from them and play with them. All week, until 3:00 in the morning we’d be jamming. It was crazy. So for 3 years now, I’ve trained with the lead drummer (Butch Trucks: one of the founders and lead drummer of the Allman Brothers) of the Allman Brothers. It’s been pretty cool cause I’ve learned a lot of his stuff and been able to bring it back and bring it to Larry as well. Plus I’ve been doing some touring with him now that the Allman Brothers have retired. I’ve gotten sorta friendly with the guy. I have a place in Florida and he’s down south as well. So we’ve done a couple shows down there. We did one in NYC, blues clubs where he’s played with various musicians. I’ve played with so many musicians of note because of attending these (camps). I’m going back in August. It’ll be my fourth time going up there. Supposedly, the whole Allman Brothers band is gonna be there. I doubt Greg Allman will be there, but according to Butch, he said the whole band was coming. So, we’ll see. I can’t tell you what it’s been like to get on stage and play with those guys. To be able to sit next to Butch and play is insane. Usually I’m looking over and looking at Larry. To see Butch Trucks sitting there is pretty shocking. It’s really been fun.”

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Was there a reaction when you told him you were in an Allman Brothers tribute band?
Tad: “When I told Butch originally, when I met him 4 years ago, that I was in an Allman Brothers tribute band and that I played his part, he kind of looked at me with ‘these eyes’. He wasn’t real receptive at first. Then I talked to Oteil, who’s the bass player in the band, and he was pretty cool about it. Greg Allman commented and said that imitation was the highest form of flattery. That was kind of nice.”

Were people receptive to seeing an Allman Brothers tribute band out of the gate?
Larry: “They were. The first one was in the summer of 2008 at a barn gig.”

A “barn” gig?
Tad: “Yeah. A friend of mine has a huge estate with a barn out back. Has monster parties and said “Why don’t you bring your band out?” He gave us our first opportunity. We played and the people freaked. We freaked because the people freaked. We were like “Wow! I guess we’re better than we think we are”. We had some pretty good musicians there saying “Holy crap! You guys are good!” That’s kind of how things started. We went back to the garage and kept playing and practicing. We only had about 15-18 songs. I said to Larry “We need about 45 songs. We don’t have enough”. One thing that Larry and I experienced over the years, is that  some of our members wanted to do other stuff…Skynard, 38 Special, this and that…and I always had to really resist. I told Larry in the beginning that we can’t let go, we have to remain pure. At least till we’ve got our complete songbook mastered. Then we can throw some other stuff in. Larry can tell you, I never wavered on that.”
Larry: “We’d have people come in like “yeah, yeah, yeah” (to playing all Allman Brothers) and then when they get in the band they’d go “I don’t wanna do all Allman Brothers”. But that’s what it was and they knew that coming in.”
Tad: “My original thing was playing the old tunes. The old way. Now I’ve come to realize, especially after going to the Beacon, that there’s a whole new fan base out there (20’s, 30’s, 40’s), that only know the Beacon band, the current band. They don’t know the original band, Duane Allman… and most of them don’t even know who Berry Oakley is. They have no idea. I realized that the value to the fan right now is recreating the Beacon music. Current Allman Brothers band. We now take them through more decades of Allman Brothers music.

The reason for our mission was that I didn’t want to play bars and stuff like that. I did that as a kid. I wanted to try to jump over the bars to the higher end clubs, blues clubs, festivals and theaters. That was our objective and I didn’t wanna play 8 shows a month. I wanted to play 1 or 2 premium shows a month. Larry’s spent plenty of years in the clubs, we all have. And the nice thing about Larry; he’s worked with me, molded himself to be what we need to make it sound right. It’s hard because he’s always been a lead drummer. Now we’re working together. Larry has to tactfully configure himself in between the cracks. He’s the backbone and I get to elaborate and do the crazy stuff. It all goes together. We’ve both learned not to overplay.”
Larry: “Otherwise it’ll sound like a bunch of drums falling down the steps.”

I saw you guys play at Pennypack twice and was so bummed you aren’t there this year!
Tad: “This year, for whatever reason, they said we were up between two other bands. It’s funny because last year they said we were probably one of the best bands they’d ever had.”

Absolutely! I’d say Hotlanta and the Pink Floyd tribute were two of the best!!!
Tad: “The Pink Floyd band is REALLY good. I was flattered that they put us in class of that band.”

I’m disappointed you’re not on the schedule.
Tad: “I was bummed. We love that venue. We love those big outdoor shows. So you were there when Brandon (Niederauer) was there [Brandon is a child musical prodigy that played with Hotlanta at Pennypack]. Do you know what’s going on with Brandon?”

I don’t.
Tad: “He was just named the lead in a broadway play!”
Larry: “School of Rock.”

Wow! That kid deserves it. He’s incredible.
Tad: “He’s already played with everybody. He’s played with all the major acts.”
Larry: “I can say I shared a box of Good n’ Plenty’s with him” (laughter)
Tad: “It’s pretty cool. I’ll see him next month. He’ll be up there. I saw him in New York a couple of months ago with Butch. He’ll be at the camp this year. He’s one of the better guitar players, even out of the adults. ”

So, getting back to Hotlanta, how did the band proceed from that first barn gig?
Larry: “We just rehearsed once a week at least. Got the songs down. Then made cold calls to clubs. We got in a couple of places without even having to demo!”
Tad: “At one point, we didn’t even have a lead singer secured. We booked the show (their first at Pennypack) for July and it was February or March and I was like “I’ve gotta find a lead singer….quick.”

When you have a situation like that, having a void in the band, how do you fill that spot?
Larry: “We have two keyboard players on the bench. A couple of bass players on the bench, for fill ins. We have a back up singer that we’ve used occasionally.”
Tad: “We’ve been really blessed with quality talent, replacements. We’ve been really lucky. Vocalists is one of the hardest things. My philosophy is that anytime I’ve had to replace a player, I always try to improve the position if possible. We’ve just been so lucky. People come to us and it’s been almost magical.”

What’s been your favorite moment(s) so far as a band?
Larry: “There’s a couple of them. When we played the Phoenixville Blues Festival. We headlined that like three times in its inception.”
Tad: “Pennypack Park.”
Larry: “Yeah, Pennypack Park. Those are the biggies.”
Tad: “Phoenixville was really fun because people were right up at the stage, just jam-packed for as far as the eye can see. And the people are up at the stage screaming, smiling, we just love that. They’re having a good time, dancing. There’s nothing better. There’s just nothing better as a musician, to see people looking at you and smiling and loving what you’re doing. Probably one of the most rewarding things for me, when we go to these festivals, is to watch the other bands watching us and dancing and shaking. It’s really a blast.”
Larry: “It’s not about the money.”
Tad: “Yeah, it’s not about the money. We’re a mature bunch of guys that have had some musical credits over the years. We’re adults, we’ve raised families and now we’re just doing what we want to do.”

Have you ever gone to Peachfest (a music festival started by the Allman Brothers Band in 2012)?
Tad: “Yes. I go every year. I’m going this year. I got backstage passes and everything! Since my drum teacher is Butch Trucks, I can get into a lot of this stuff. I go to Peach Festival, then I go to camp and then the next day Butch is doing a show in Long Island with Berry Oakley Jr., which is Berry Oakley’s, the original bass prayer from the Allman Brothers, son. I may go to that unless I’m too tired to go. We’ll see.”

What’s your dream venue, if you could play anywhere?
Tad: “I would like to play Red Rocks. I’m into the outdoors. (Outdoor) theaters are really cool. They’re just wonderful and intimate.”
Larry: “I’d say that’s a choice spot.”

To learn more about Hotlanta, visit some of their social media sites:
Facebook: Hotlanta band live
YouTube: Hotlanta band live
Website: http://www.hotlantabandlive.com

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