Instead of just telling you that we'll be here or we'll be there, I want this page to be as much a journal as it is a schedule. But, if you're not interested in where we've been feel free to go to the bottom of the page and find out where we'll be.
The first time we played was in April, 2003. It was at the Kent County Association of Realtors' annual oyster dinner at the Felton Fire Hall. We knew just enough songs for a couple of sets but we had a great time. The crowd couldn't have been better and the food was the best. (I must admit that fried oysters and chicken salad are positively my two favorite food groups.)
The next time we played was in May at a benefit in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Bob and his brother, Russ, have played this affair before but this time the band was invited. The benefit involves a golf tournament and an award ceremony that follows. We played at the award ceremony. It's put on by a couple who own a restaurant in Harpers Ferry who lost their son several years ago and it's all done in his honor. Robert Burns wrote, "The best-laid plans of mice and men go often awry," and for us it was the weather that went awry. Because the event draws so many people, and the restaurant just isn't big enough, the folks put up a huge tent to house the festivities. Well...the wind was blowing and the rain was falling (but mostly blowing) and the temperature kept dropping. And the power supply wasn't enough to keep what amplification we use juiced. The hosts didn't want us to play before the awards were given out so we waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, the awards were distributed and it was time for the band to play. Only problem was, 20 minutes after we started, everyone was gone except for Bob's family and a couple of hearty souls who were willing to face the elements, no matter how inclement (refer to the aforementioned wind, rain, and temps). Nevertheless, being the troopers we are, we persevered through the first set. Which was the only set. As soon as we could pack up our gear we went to Russ and Lisa's house and played in front of the fireplace where we had one of the best times I can remember. I hope we go back next year, so we can party again with Russ and Lisa and the entire Nasteff brood!
Through the summer and fall we spent a lot of time learning more music. During that time we went into the studio and recorded a demo to help us get jobs. We ended up putting five songs on it: Sound of Silence, Mr. Tambourine Man, Norwegian Wood, No Reply, and Nowhere Man. I came up with designs for the CD label and jewel case and we started handing them out. That resulted in our first paying job!
On November 9th we played at the closing party for the Rehoboth Film Festival. The festival started the preceeding Wednesday and was held at the movie theater in the Midway Shopping Center in Lewes. The party was held in back of the movies in a ... tent. Okay, okay, we didn't require a tent, it just worked out that way. It was even bigger than the last tent. The only weather situation we ran into there was the freezing temperature, but the tent was heated. We had a great time! We started at 8:30 (yes, at night!) and played until almost 10:30. There was food, drinks, and a whole room full of people there to have a good time and celebrate the successful run they'd just had with the film festival. We recieved several nice compliments for which we were grateful. Like I said, we had a great time.
Friday night, December 5th, we played for the American Health & Fitness Center's 17th Annual Christmas Party which was held at The Wharf in Ocean City. We were set up and ready to play at 7:00 but, because we waited for most of the guests to arrive, we got started at 8:00. We played two 45 minute sets, most of which were Beatles songs, and we finished up just before 10:00. Now, if you didn't know, The Wharf is under new ownership and we were all treated to a luscious buffet with such items as prime rib, snow crab legs, oysters-on-the-half-shell, shrimp cooked about four different ways, cajun food that included crawfish (know how to suck a head and pinch a tail?), and a whole lot more. It was all good. The only funky thing about the night was that we played in the middle of the room, facing the salad bar. Even though that was a little wierd the crowd was great and the food was delicious and the wait staff was top-notch. Special thanks goes to Jack, our server, who was gracious enough to take pictures of the band when we were playing. Hopefully we'll be there for the 18th Annual Christmas Party!
The employees of Shawnee Country Club in Milford had their Christmas Party on December 22nd, and Newspaper Taxi was their entertainment. Some of the Directors came out to serve the employees. We had a good time and we played from 7:30 to 9:30. We like playing at private parties and this was a good one.
We played our second job at Shawnee Country Club on Valentine's Day, February 14th. They had a dinner and dance and we were on from 6 to 9.
On March 13th we played at Shawnee for a third time for a private birthday party.
Mario's Italian Restaurant on Coastal Highway in Ocean City, Maryland is celebrating 50 years of operation. Jackie clearly realizes that you can't be open that long without two things; faithful customers and good employees. So, she's thrown two parties. April 3rd she hosted a party for some of the best customers over the years and on June 5th she had a party for the employees over the past 50 years. Both events were huge successes and it was an honor to be included in the festivities. Congratulations, Jackie, on your long run and may you have another 50 years of success.
3 Seasons RV Resort in Rehoboth booked us to play on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 29th. We set up in the gazebo next to the pool and played from 6 to 8 PM. We had a blast and the crowd was gracious. There were even a couple of little kids who got up and danced which proves to me that The Beatles music still holds up. By the way, my wife, Carolyn, and I are seasonal campers at 3 Seasons and we absolutely love it there. If you camp (sorry, no tents) you really should try it because it's the best. For more information about 3 Seasons you can call them at (302) 227-2564.
We played a couple of "Open Mic" nights on Monday and Tuesday, June 7th & 8th. On Monday we went to Books and Coffee in Ruddertown which is in the Rusty Rudder complex in Dewey Beach. (I have a friend so dumb that he thinks Dewey Beach is a question!) They have a small area at the front of the store where the musicians set up and they've got couches and chairs (like living room chairs) as well as tables and chairs (like bistro chairs) where you can sit. It's kind of like playing in somebody's living room. We went on after the host band and two poets who read some of their poetry. After us was a singer/songwriter and another guitarist after him. I'm sure more people did their thing after we left. On Tuesday we went to the Big Easy in Bethany and played in their bar for about a half-hour. Michael Tracy White organized the whole thing and it was pretty cool. He plays bass and would back up anybody who wanted to break out their guitar and play. One of the songs we cover is The Weight by The Band. All three of us play guitar on that one so Bob, on mic, asked if Michael wanted to come up and play bass. Well, he was outside or otherwise unavailable so Bob asked if anybody else wanted to come up and play. This guy, whose name was also Bob, came up, plugged in his bass, tuned up and didn't miss a lick. I'm not sure if he even knew the song! That was very cool. We all had a good time and the crowd seemed to like what we did. Actually, the people in both places were very receptive of the band so I'm sure we'll be doing that again, when time permits.
Until now we haven't played as many public performances as we have private parties and I'm not sure we ever will. Thursday night, June 17th, however, we participated in the City of Dover's Spring and Summer Performing Arts Series which is open to the public. In fact, the whole idea is to have the performances on The Green in downtown Dover where you can bring a blanket or folding chair and enjoy the entertainment while becoming one with nature. How Zen! But, in this less than perfect world where Zen is more conceptual than actual, we have to factor in weather. More specfically, thunderstorms with lightning and torrential rain. For our appearance, Bob and the gang at WBOC were calling for severe afternoon/evening thunderstorms. So, in his great wisdom and much to my delight, Wayne Voshell of the Parks & Recreation Department moved the program into the John Haslett Armory which backs up to Water Street, just a couple of blocks away from The Green. While the rain we got was far from torrential it was surely enough to give us a shocking experience had we been playing in it (and I'm not talking about jumping in the puddles). Even with the dampening of spirits and the resulting modest turnout we had the best audience we've played for so far. We played for a little over an hour and did songs from The Beatles, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, The Band and The Rolling Stones and it seemed to me that the audience enjoyed every one of them and for us there is no better feeling. So we want to thank Wayne for having us and look forward to being included in next year's program. For more information about the series call the Department of Parks and Recreation at (302) 736-7050.
On Saturday, June 19th we played in Fenwick Island at Charlie's Bayside in Fenwick Village. The event, sponsored by the Shops of Fenwick Village, was a celebration of the Summer Solstice. We were on the deck at Charlie's from 2 to 5 so it was hot but there was a breeze and no rain so we didn't have to run for cover. One thing for sure, the crowd was into the Beatles. There were even a few people who stayed until the last song. We had a good time and want to thank the shop owners for sponsoring us and Charlie's Bayside for hosting the event. Hopefully, we'll be back there before the Vernal Equinox.
On the Fourth of July we opened for Davy Jones of The Monkees at Colonial Downs near Richmond, Virginia. Jones is the track spokesperson for the 2004 season and performed at the July 4th Spectacular in "The Green" area. Horse racing (they raced thoroughbreds that day but they also race standardbreds) began at 1:00, we went on at 6:30, Davy Jones took the stage at 8:00 and the fireworks show started around 9:30 under the threat of severe thunderstorms. It was touch and go all day and we had a downpour or two but the weather service predicted a three-hour window that began just before we started playing and remained open long enough for the entire show to take place. In spite of the wet grass there were about 2,000 brave souls who came out to the show. Talk about southern hospitality ... these people were great. They really enjoyed the Beatles and Byrds and the other songs we played but, make no mistake about it, they were there to hear Davy Jones and he did not disappoint them. His show is high energy and a little vaudevillian, much like The Monkees TV show. I told Greg that I could see how he passed the audition. There was a fellow in the audience who had been his next door neighbor 45 years ago and thought enough of him to come to this show. That speaks pretty highly of who Davy Jones is as a person, I think. It was certainly an honor for us and we were thrilled to have been chosen. You can find out more about Colonial Downs by clicking here. If you'd like to see some of the pictures we took click here.
Saturday night, July 17th, we played at The Quail in Fenwick Island. It's located on Highway 1, in the first strip mall on the right, as soon as you come into Fenwick from the north. John, the owner, has a nice restaurant and neighborhood bar that serves up good food and cold drinks. Every time I've eaten there I've been extremely pleased. I can attest that the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich as well as the Fried Oyster Platter are excellent and priced right. You should know that when we formed the group we decided that we weren't going to play in bars but since The Quail is more like a restaurant than it is a bar we've made an exception. We started just before 9 and played until about 11:30.
August was quite a month. From the 6th through the 9th we played at the largest Beatles festival in the United States and maybe the world called Abbey Road On The River which took place in Cleveland, Ohio in the historic People's Auditorium. When the Beatles played Cleveland n 1964 it was on that very stage so there was historical relevance for many who were there. Outside there were three other locations where they had entertainment. The main stage was located across from the auditorium on the lawn area that is about half a city block in size. At the north end of that area was the second stage which overlooked Lake Erie. The third venue was called Molly & Desmond's Patio which was an intimate place for one- and two-person performances. On Friday we were on the second stage and on Saturday and Sunday nights we played on the main stage. Inside the auditorium was where you got to see the tribute bands that appeared in costume and were considered the top entertainment there. The weather was absolutely beautiful and the event went off without a hitch. While in Cleveland we went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame which is also on Lake Erie. It was too cool. The whole weekend was too cool. I will post some pictures but I haven't gotten my film developed yet. If you're a Beatles fan and would like to know more about Abbey Road On The River just click here.
The Saturday night after AROTR we were back at The Quail and we played there again August 28th. It's become a favorite place for us because we always have some great Beatles' fans in the restaurant. You know, the kind who know every word to every song ... you know who you are! We also returned to The Quail on Saturday, September 18th. My wife and her sister, our son and daughter (and her significant other) were all there and too much fun was had by all.
Something else we've talked about for months is playing on the boardwalk in Ocean City. There's no good reason for us to do it ... we just want to. None of us has ever done that sort of thing and we think it will be fun. We're all licensed "Street Performers" by the Town of Ocean City. So if you see three middle-aged guys playing Beatles' music on the boardwalk any time during the next couple of months it'll probably be us.
On Saturday, October 2nd, we went to West Point, Virginia to play at their annual Crab Carnival. They blocked off the streets and had a major party! It was a big event with a weekend attendance of about 25,000 people. We were scheduled to play from 3 until 6pm but had to quit early due to a threatening thunderstorm. All in all, we had a good time and loved the southern hospitality.
On Saturday, the 9th, we went back to The Quail. We had hoped to include three new (for us) piano songs: Let It Be, Ruby Tuesday and Imagine. The problem was that Bob's cat ate the power cord and he didn't know it until his piano had been set up. Maybe we'll be able to bring them out next time we play there which will be November 6th. I should mention that the Coastal Point newspaper did an article on the band in the edition that came out just before that Saturday night. It was a very nice piece and we had a full house to play to. It was a very memorable night and we certainly hope everyone enjoyed themselves. I do owe an apology to Alex from Easton. He wanted to hear While My Guitar Gently Weeps but he, his wife and his sister had to leave before we got to it so, Alex, we owe you one!
All good Sussex Countians know about Return Day, the Thursday following election day (Tuesday). The tradition goes back to 1792 when all votes had to be cast at the County Seat (Georgetown) as was required by state law. The votes were cast on Election Day and the voters returned two days later to hear the results. Old habits are hard to break so even after the voting laws changed, the tradition didn't. Now people come from all over to celebrate Return Day. In addition to lots of good food you can find music, arts, parades and politicians, but don't let them keep you away. You can find me at the fried oyster sandwich booth. Anyway, this Return Day, November 4th, J. W. Pickles (on Route 113) is joining in the celebration with music most of the day. We're going to be playing from 8 to 10 pm and there will be acts before and after us.
As I mentioned above, on Saturday, November 6th, we'll be back at The Quail.
We've got three jobs scheduled for 2005 right now. (I'll post more about "Why only three?" later.) We'll be playing on The Green in Dover on Thursday, May 26th for the Dover Parks & Recreation Department's Summer Concert Series. We'll get underway at 7:00 and play for at least an hour. If it's a rain-out we'll be at the Parks & Rec Department's White Oak Lane location. We're booked at 3 Seasons for Saturday, August 27, from 6 to 9 pm. Then we'll be one of the bands playing at Milford's Riverwalk Festival on September 10th which is a Saturday. We'll start at 2:00 and play until 3:30 in the afternoon. It is one of the biggest events our Park & Recreation Department puts on every year and I'm proud to be a small part of it this year. If you want more information on any of these events, please call or e-mail me.
Are you ready for the pitch? Okay, here it is ... if you have a special event coming up and you'd like Newspaper Taxi to play, please send us an e-mail and let us know more about it. No salesman will call, your mileage may vary, no tent required ... really!
And don't forget to check back here often to see where we'll be playing. We want to see your face in the place.