In 2003, after nearly 40 years of performing,
I "retired" my little trailer with all of my
equipment in it and focused on
songwriting and recording.
I did, however, close the 2003
page with these words:
"And it's not over..."
What I didn't realize, is just how "not over"
2004 would become...
My life has been anything but routine since I decided not to perform for the
general public anymore. My day gig is going well and since it is only 30 - 32 hours a week in the office, I still have time to work on other projects.
Those "other projects" include performing on keyboards, bass or drums with the gospel choir at our church; Being asked to be on the 9 person Ministerial Search Team which was a 9 month - 26 meeting project that resulted in bringing a wonderful new minister to our congregation; And, performing in a BAND again! (More on that later.)
I still continue to be in charge of the Audio-Visual Department at my church, handling everything from two Sunday Services each week to weddings and memorial services.
I've also been writing and recording new original material. My latest is a song called "The Little Things," which is going to be a part of a vocal CD I intend to call, "The Voice Inside." Some previous material may also be reworked for this project. One that I really want to add is "We Need To Be Friends." Some of you may recall the tune from a series of 4 that I wrote and recorded for a movie project that never happened. It was still a very positive experience because it shows me that I can "write on demand" if the situation ever presents itself in the future.
Now, on to the musical news for me in 2004.
In January, I was asked to play bass for our gospel choir and one of the co-directors had found a drummer for this particular Sunday. His name is Willie Carr. It worked out well and that Sunday, the gospel choir "rocked" the congregation into a standing ovation...IN CHURCH! February and March saw me performing a lot on drums, and whenever Willie could play, I would go to bass.
In April, my wife, Lonna, and I, were having dinner with another couple. Geoff Pomeroy is an aerospace engineer who plays guitar and sings. He also designed and runs the audio system at the Grace Brethren Church - the church that has the HUGE, nationally known Christmas show each year that draws over 30,000 people in twelve shows from several states around Ohio. His wife, Marcia, is a piano teacher with about 70 students each week. Needless to say, the conversation got around to music and Geoff mentioned to me that he sits in with a band from time to time and they had a gig coming up where they wanted to know if he knew of a keyboard player that could sit in. Geoff presents it to me and I said, somewhat reluctantly, that I would. My reluctance existed only because I wasn't sure that I would know enough of their material to benefit their sound. As it turned out, Geoff was the only musician on the stage that could really play well. I decided that it would be my first and last gig with this particular band. That was May 1st.
A few days later, Geoff mentioned to me that he was asked to join a group that was just forming that was looking for a keyboardist and a drummer, both with good vocal abilities. He again asked if I would be interested and he did state that this project would be far more professional than the one night I spent with the band that made my ears bleed.
On May 9th, Geoff introduced me to another guitarist who was the person forming this band. There was no name selected. This guitarist had invested a lot of money in a sound system and owned many, many guitars. He even purchased a $3000 keyboard so that when he found a keyboardist, he or she would not have to spend big bucks on a good keyboard. I sang and played a couple of tunes for him and he seemed to be happy with what he heard. He then asked if either Geoff or I knew of a drummer with plenty of experience and who was a strong vocalist that could bring a good selection of songs to the band that he already knew. Geoff didn't know of anyone, but I mentioned Willie, the occasional drummer from the gospel choir gigs. I had never heard him sing, but I knew, judging from his talent on drums, that if he said he was a good blues/rock vocalist, I could take him at his word. His was a vocal style that was very different than mine and would add another dimension to the band. He said he was interested.
On May 29th, Willie Carr joined the group and we were now officially a band. I also met the bassist, Buddy Campbell, that day. He was a long time friend of the other guitarist - the one with all the equipment.
After tossing around a bunch of names like TOFB (The Old Farts Band), etc., we finally landed on FOG. (Five Old Guys) A few days later, I came up with a logo. I also purchased the domain and started working on a website. We also had a large stage banner made with the new logo.
Our next rehearsal was on June 5th and after that, we rehearsed approximately 20 times. Our first gig was on October 30th. The response was excellent. But trouble was brewing. We played 3 more gigs as "Five Old Guys" and then the guitarist that put the band together decided he did not want to continue with the group. Long story short, we all agreed it was for the best and FOG became "Four Old Guys."
I then purchased the domain and made adjustments to the logo. We had a new stage banner made and it was official, we were now a four piece group and things really began to gell. We kept all but 6 songs from the original list and we are currently (January of 2005) in rehearsals. The gigs are starting up in a few weeks.
If you would have told me this time last year that I would be back in a top-notch band, I would have said that, in this day and age, finding people who can really sing and play AND whose personalities really compliment each other, is nearly impossible.
I would have been wrong.
This is a great group of guys that really enjoy what they are doing and I am blessed to be a part of it. To visit the FOG historical website, click here.