Live Music

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In recent times, I've done some live gigs mostly for fun ... and to keep my chops up. Here are some of the acts I've played with (most pics are links ... click them!):

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Jessica Caterina

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Misha'el

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MSP

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Lee & The G*Spots

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Longboard / Adam Drasin

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Daniela Torchia

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The Sin Twins

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Dreamboat Annie




Below you'll find a lot more about my live performance history.


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Yes ... that's me ... playing keyboards at a sound check for The Captain & Tennille in 1978 !!
I had a Yamaha electric grand and a couple of Arp synths on the left, a mini-acoustic tack piano on the right. The telephone was to call the mixer with monitor requests. Gotta love that.


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The Captain & Tennille

Without a doubt, my greatest live performance experience to date was my tour with The Captain & Tennille (1978-79).

You must certainly know about them, but click on their picture if you'd like to visit their website.

I'll never forget the morning my wife Dee woke me up, saying: 'You'll never believe who's on the phone ... The Captain from the Captain & Tennille!' Daryl Dragon had gone to see one of his favorite singers, Etta James, play at the Roxy. Etta was being managed by Kessler-Grass, also my mangers at the time. I had left the band Serenade and was playing with several other KG artists ... including a singer named Darcus Speed. We opened for Johnny Guitar Watson (another KG act) at a concert in Detroit (my first really big one!), and for Etta at the Roxy. Daryl actually called KG to ask about Etta's keyboardist, who was not available. KG said "What about the other keyboard player?" ... I auditioned ... got the gig ... what a great experience! Daryl and Tony (and everyone in the band) were great people! First class treatment in every way ... truly a class act!


Going back to the beginning ....

My cousin Mickey sitting on my organ. Hey! Sheesh!
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The 2 guys in the middle play with The Rip Cords.


My first 'public' performance was on barbells (a little xylophone) in about first grade. We played 'Til There Was You.' It remains one of my favorite songs.

In my early teens, I was invited into a local rock band. I began jamming with other N.E. Philadelphia musicians, and played a few parties, even a few weddings and bar mitzvahs.


I recently met and befriended Jim Hilton
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who produced and engineered 'Inna Gada Da Vida'

I love this story:

My band, The Heat of Formation (see pics below), was selected to be one of two bands playing at a high school jazz concert ... the bands played between the jazz bands, down in the 'pit,' while they switched the musicians around on stage.

We were told to play for five minutes, but I begged the director to let us play our 20-some minute version of 'Inna Gadda Da Vida.' I wore him down, and he said: 'OK, but if it's getting boring I'm pulling the power!'

With strobe lights and colorwheels casting giant shadows on the curtains behind us, the audience cheered through the entire performance. The plug wasn't pulled ... and we received the first standing ovation of my career!

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The Heat Of Formation 1970
George Washington HS, Philadelphia
Night of my first standing ovation!
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The Heat Of Formation 1970
George Washington HS, Philadelphia
A closer look at my organ (hey!)

Later, with my band Sunrise, I played in many nightclubs (I've seen some amazing bar fights, a club on fire, a bunch of fascinating drunks and cheap floozies). We did a concert in Hartford, played at Playboy Clubs in Chicago and Miami for a month at a shot (those were the days!).

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Entertaining the troops 1974/75
near Ft. Lejeune N. Carolina
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Sunrise @ The Velvet Lounge 1974
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Concert, Hartford Connecticut
1973
Dig the hair and the Mellotron!


We swung out to California, played some dives, signed to managers Danny Kessler and Clancy Grass and recorded a single for Fantasy Records as 'The N.E. Philly Band.' To survive, we traveled the country as backup band for another Kessler-Grass managed singer. This freaked out our bass player, who shaved his head and joined the Krishnas in Toronto. One of our lead singers took that opportunity to leave the band also.

Adding a new bass player, we returned to California to record an album for RCA as 'Serenade.' We played several times at the Starwood, a Los Angeles hot spot which has since evaporated.

The magic somewhat fading, I soon left Serenade. I played with several KG acts in various cool venues ... The Starwood with Jay Arthur, the above mentioned concerts with Darcus Speed in Detroit and at the Roxy. I also played at the famous Whiskey on the Strip with Cherie Currie (of the Runaways). I subbed for a three week tour with Papa John Creech (again, a KG act) and (believe it or not) a week of concerts in Anchorage as a member of Steppenwolf! I didn't tell them I was Born To Be Mild :)

Papa John Creech
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Performing with Jefferson Airplane 1976

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Cherie Currie

Then came the Captain & Tennille tour. A year of major venues and first-class accomodations. So cool! After twice setting records at the MGM Grand in Vegas (selling out every show for weeks at a time), Daryl and Toni concluded that they should stop doing concerts and perform only in Vegas, Reno, Tahoe and (later) Atlantic City ... where the overhead was minimal and the gigs lasted a cozy two or three weeks at a time. I thought I'd find something more long-term, so I passed on their gig several months down the line. I regret having done that ... another lesson learned.


After that ...

I spent years in studios learning to be a recording engineer and playing a lot of sessions. Eventually this led to my career in TV audio post production ... which steered me away from live performance for many years.

Shortly after the C&T tour, there was another brief gig ... for a very short time, I was in a band called Neola with Brie Howard (Fanny, American Girls), Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello, John Hyatt) Tommy Faragher (Google him!) and Glen Ballard (I'm guessing I don't need to elaborate). Quite a talented bunch.


A few years ago, I sat in during a christmas party jam session at Echo Sound. Nearly all of my co-workers were unaware of my keyboard playing, and (I'm not kidding) they started screaming my name during my first organ solo. With the accolades flowing, I played for about two hours ... leading to an invite from guitarist/Echo head of sales Matt Preble to join his band. I've since been playing off-and-on in several bands ... mostly just for fun.


I'd love to tour again someday ... make me an offer! :)

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