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Dave DeMarco's January 2011
and GigList
 
Latest News
A very special benefit
The DDB - coming to a room near you!
What the %&#@?
Lessons learned
Latest Press
Dave signs with Prophase Music. Read the press release here!

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Happy Holidays, one and all! I hope you're having a rip-snortin' time celebrating this, the most groovular time of the year!

 

Long-time subscribers to my GigList know that this is the time when I take a look back at the year that was and acknowledge all the great bands and artists with whom I was invited to perform or record. Whether it's someone who hired me to do a fill-in or one of my regular groups, I feel immensely fortunate to have the opportunity to play with them and they all contribute to my musical fulfillment!

  • Beach Bumz
  • Broadcast
  • Brandt Dunn
  • David Andrew Smith
  • Everybody Wants Some
  • Frank Grocholski
  • Jeff Johansen
  • Kajun Kelley Band
  • Legal Tender
  • Matt Kineke
  • Oh Yeah Sure
  • Real RockBand Karaoke
  • Regal Beagles
  • Sean Chyun
  • Seventh Son
  • Six Elements
  • Scott Spivey/Jason Heiser
  • Steve Fields
  • Terry Gourley
  • That 80's Band
  • The Waffles
  • Wes McDonough Band

To the bands and artists listed above, thank you for bringing me into your musical circle and know that to me, there's no such thing as "just a gig". I hope we get to do it again in 2011!

 

Other notable highlights from 2010 were:

 

  • Signing with Prophase Music
  • Making major upgrades to my home studio
  • Launching www.YourSessionBassist.com
  • Meeting lots of new musicians, fans and students and having more fun doing it all than any one person should have!
Upcoming Shows:
I gave a sneak preview of January's schedule last month and there have been a few changes and additions since then. This being the season of unpredicatble weather, please contact the venue if there's any question about whether the show is happening.

Sat 1/1: Oh Yeah Sure @ Ram's Head Rathskellar - Savage, MD
Fri 1/7: Dave DeMarco Band @ Waterfront Hotel - Baltimore (Fells Pt), MD
Sat 1/8: Regal Beagles @ Ram's Head Live - Baltimore, MD
Thurs 1/13: Steve Fields @ Kelsey Theater - Trenton, NJ
Sat 1/15: Dave DeMarco Band @ Firehouse Tavern - Carney, MD
Fri 1/21: Dave DeMarco Band @ Reckless Ric's - Glen Burnie, MD
Sat 1/22: Dave DeMarco Band @ Cobblestone Tavern & Grille - Eldersburg, MD
Thurs 1/27: Real RockBand Live Karaoke @ Looney's North - Bel Air, MD
Fri 1/28: Dave DeMarco BandGolden Sports Bar - Ellicott City, MD
Sat 1/29: RealRockBand Live Karaoke @ M&T Bank Stadium (private party) - Balto., MD


A very special benefit concert
 
I'm keeping this blurb in my newsletter from last month since the show is a benefit for a very worthy cause. Steve Fields is a gifted pianist and singer/songwriter who was an integral part of the late 60's Greenwich Village scene and played with many of the era's best including Blood Sweat & Tears. His daughter Brittany suffers from a rare disease called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and like many parents, he's struggling to keep up with the expenses of covering her treatments. Steve is using 100% of the proceeds from his music to help pay for treatments and is also holding a benefit concert in Trenton, NJ on Thursday, January 13, 2011. All of the musicians who played on his CD are dontating our time for the event. If you're local to the area and would like to attend or if you would like to make a contribution to the cause, visit www.helpbrittbeatrsd.org/.
The DDB: Coming to a room near you (and you!) in 2011.
 
As I mentioned last month, 2011 will mark the 5-year anniversary of the Dave DeMarco Band! To celebrate that milestone, we've added ten (10!) new venues to our schedule so far for the new year and four of them are starting in January - The Waterfront in Fells Pt (1/7), The Firehouse in Carney (1/15), Cobblestone's in Eldersburg (1/22) and the Golden Sports Bar in Ellicott City (1/28).

While we love playing the places we've been playing regularly for years, it's always exciting getting into a new room, seeing new faces and making new friends and fans! We feel our current setlist is the best it's ever been and we know you're going to dig the original toonz we'll be introducing in the coming months.

I was chatting with the guys in the band during a break on a recent gig and we all agreed that 2010 saw the greatest increase in new fans of any prior year! The number of new subscribers to my GigList seem to support that. Whether you've been with us since 2006 or you're new to the tribe, thank you for coming out and joining our reindeer games. Your support means everything to us!


 

The 15-string bass. What the?                              

Don't think I haven't noticed what you've been doing! You stop, point and stare. You whisper to your friends, even people you don't know who are nearby. Some of you grimace, some look bewildered and some others just point and laugh. At first I got very self-conscious, "Uh oh. Do I have food on my chin? Something hanging from somewhere? Is my fly down? Am I drooling? WHAT HAVE I DONE?".


Then it hit me. I noticed that folks were making little jab marks in the air, as if they were counting something. And then it happened. Some brave soul approached the stage and said,


"What the %&#@ is that thing you're playing?"


Since then, every gig has seen more inquisitive parties express interest in the formidable piece of lumber I'm weilding up there. Some have made educated guesses: portable harpsichord, lute, contra-dulcimer, Chapman Stick, ironing board, canoe oar. Since the answer always creates more questions than it answers, I figured it's time for a little show and tell session.


It's a 15-string bass guitar made by Warrior Guitars in Atlanta, GA. The easy way to explain this is to think of a standard 4-string bass, tuned EADG. Then add a 5th string below the E, tuned to B. We'll call these five the "fundamental" strings. Next to each fundamental are 2 strings which are both tuned up one octave higher than the closest fundamental. Since these octave strings are tuned in unison to each other, they give a chime-y sound when played. Now, when we combine the fundamental with the two octave strings, we get a "course" of three strings which are plucked simultaneously. So, the 15-string bass is essentially played the same way one would play a standard 4-string bass, only now three strings are being played with each pluck, resulting in a sound not unlike a piano or a guitar and bass being played at the same time. Or in my case, like something entirely different.


The genesis of this instrument goes back the late 1970's and a joint project between Cheap Trick's iconic bassist Tom Petersson and Hamer Guitars. Tom's idea for a 12-string bass was realized and helped shape the sound of the band in addition to inspiring other bassists like King's X's Doug Pinnick and Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament who both used the 12-string bass to establish their own unique identities as players. Fast forward to today and with the proliferation of 5- and 6-string basses, it was inevitable that someone would apply the 12-string bass concept to these extended range basses.


The acquisition of this bass prompted me to get my effects pedalboard together in order to bring to fruition a sound I've been hearing in my head for, well...about 20 years. I'll talk more about this in next month's newsletter. Until then, if you want to hear this beast in action, you'll have to swing out to a DDB or OYS show. I'll be happy to let you check it out, up close and personal.

Lessons learned.
 
One thing which remains consistent year after year is that I never cease to be amazed at the dedication many of my students exhibit. They rearrange work and home schedules in order to get in a lesson each week plus practice time at home. Most are busy professionals or students who are determined to become proficient bassists. Many studied with me briefly in the past but had to quit when life got in the way. They've now returned, better equipped to set aside some time to become better bassists. They share stories with me about their work and home lives and the obstacles they need to overcome in order to pursue their dream - whether that dream is to rock on stage a few times a month, or to rock the family room after everyone has gone to bed.

Just about every student has a moment at a lesson where they become self-conscious if they're working on something and it doesn't come as quickly as they would like. They say things like, "This must be boring for you" or "Doesn't this drive you crazy?". The answer is no.  Any seasoned player will tell you that we all experience the frustration that comes when working on new concepts or applications...or the tricky part in that Rush song. I'm more tuned into this than my students may be aware since I'm currently teaching myself a new instrument as well as honing my skills on a few others which I don't play as often as I'd like to. What my students don't realize though is that it helps me to hear what steps they're taking to ensure that they keep making progress. Many is the time I've been able to turn someone else's success story into an instruction manual for a student who's having a tough time.

So just in case it's not painfully obvious, the moral of this portion of my monthly screed is this: no matter where we think we are on the great cosmic circle of success, there's always more to be learned and it often comes when we're least expecting it. All we have to do is keep our eyes open wide and use the things on the side of our head more than the thing on the front. All I know is, the more I learn, the more I learn there's so much more to learn.

If you're one of my students reading this, know that I recognize and appreciate your persistence and dedication to your craft. Though our careers may differ, we share the pursuit of musical excellence - an elusive chase with immeasurable rewards.
Whether you're one of my students, a friend or fan of one of my bands, thanks for tuning in and making 2010 another great year! Your support is the greatest gift any musician can ask for. It's support like this which makes 2011 my 10th year as a "gainfully unemployed", full-time musician!

I hope that so far your holidays have been safe, fun and that you got a shiny silver sedan with a big red bow on it, just like everyone did in all the commercials. See you soon!

clef sig