Musings on music, sports, life in general from Quincy, Illinois.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lotsa music

Now THAT was a Friday music night.

Fun times at Turner Hall, especially with Napalm doing lights and the temps reaching 100-plus on stage. Hey ... needed to burn off a few pounds anyway, right?

The Funions played very well and I appreciated the young people who gave us a chance and listened.

Great crowd, great bands ... St. Amy's had everybody going, First of November was really cool (you just don't see two girls playing guitar in a band), Predawn Hour looks good with their new bass player and Fielder .... Geesh. What can you say about those guys? I've run out of words .... simply awesome.

Thanks Tookie, for showing up AFTER we played. He blamed the women. Oh well.

Also slid down to the Elks and caught some of Mad Hoss Jackson. Drummer Jim Jennings is always fun to hang out with.

Now we get ready for the June 20 show. It will be nice today to do nothing but recover and watch YOUR Detroit Red Wings play in the Stanley Cup finals tonight.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sports Guys

Some interesting talk by Web Warriors this week about sports writers.

I was a sports writer for 10 years. I enjoyed a lot of it. I hated other parts of it.

People assume you have the dream cake job, watching sports for a living. You get into the games free! You watch sports and write about it. How hard can it be?

If you like working strange hours, enjoy debating mad soccer moms, get a charge out of meeting impossible deadlines and like dealing with the strangest and most passionate of people, this is your job.

Sports writers make good reporters in general because they cover fast moving live events. They pay attention to detail. Good sports writers look for different angles all the time — writing about a blowout hoops game gets old after a while unless you keep it fresh.

Sports writers learn to develop sources and figure out in a hurry who the good guys and not so good guys are. Good guys are coaches, men and women, who are accessible and know what you are after. Bad guys blow their own horns and don't return phone calls.

Sports writers can make the jump to news. But it doesn't work the other way. Covering sports makes you a good reporter, in time.

Very rarely I miss it, like on a Friday night when I'm going to a football game. Years ago in Michigan I used to bomb down rural roads and see the lights in the distance from the field and if it was a big game, I'd get that knot in my stomach.

I also miss the rush of finishing a story or meeting deadline, though that happens a lot on news side.

Our Whig sports guys do a great job.

If you are a sports writer, it's a way of life, not just a job, and those that do it should be commended.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Excellent times at Vegas Music last night. We learned the Jimmy Buffet song "Fins" but no guarantees it will be flawless Friday night. Also have a brand new Funions song to debut.

As Pat says, "We need to practice here every time." As my neighbor down the street said during a phone conversation, "No no, it's Vegas Music, it's NOT a bar!"

St. Amy's practiced after us and I was blown away by Nathan Cornwell, David Brink and Eric Strubinger. Three young guys, acoustic guitars, great songs from Garth Brooks to Meredith Brooks. They seemed to be having a good time. Hope we didn't get in the way, bad Police renditions included .... they play between bands Friday night.

And yes ... Tookie was there. He's not the first person to have a man-crush on our sax player. Ask the Macker guy from last week.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vegas Practice

Funions practice tonight in preparation for the Friday night show at Turner Hall. We'll be making a racket again at Vegas Music. Broadway has been warned ....

Fielder, Predawn Hour, First of November, St. Amy’s, The Funions
Turner Hall, 926 Hampshire
Doors open at 6:30, music starts at 7
All ages, $4 cover

St. Amy's is three young guys who just formed, they are playing acoustic music between sets.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shopping Done Right

So I go to Springfield Monday for a father-daughter shopping expedition.

I was sort of dreading it but it actually turned out very well. We instituted the Fleetwood Mac rule, you know, "Go Your Own Way," when getting to the mall.

On the way back, I nearly cried when she plugged in her iPod and we blasted Boston, U2, Kansas, Toto, Asia and other classic rock over the Old Fogey Car stereo.

Geesh. Might not be so bad to get her another $50 for iTunes ....

By the way — YOUR Detroit Red Wings are up 2-0. Just thought you should know.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Goodbye Gus, July 5 update

Always sad when Gus heads home Sunday night. All in all, Gus was good again in Q-town, one or two knuckleheads as usual. The Dream Court was huge, highlighted by DOB and Tyler T from WGEM doing the final game today. They watched the Rocky Cola-coached team dominate, as usual!

I jumped the gun on the July 5 Gems announcement, a couple of the Funions have other commitments that day so we'll try to figure out another Gems show.

Have a good Memorial Day and remember our men and women in the Armed Forces who gave and still give so much for us.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rain Again?

It seems the Herald-Whig Demons softball team, YOUR defending Quincy Park District Division V champions, may be rained out again tonight. In the first four weeks of the season, we've had two rainouts and a bye. Teams and Mother Nature fear us.

Another massive jam at Vegas Music last night as The Funions get ready for the May 30 show. We play at 7 p.m. There will be a huge crowd at Turner Hall as the night goes on, hopefully we'll get a few people out to see us.

Don't forget, Friday, June 20, Turner Hall with the Blue Healers and Midnight Legend. Also working on another major show, info coming soon.

Rich Meyers is here from Belding, Mich., and Gus Macker headquarters. He endured a Funions practice last night with the usual groupies and is taking everybody to see the Demons play tonight, if it doesn't rain. Gus himself will be here tonight too. Rich is still getting therapy from rooming with me in Macomb last year but that's another story for a more adult blog.

If it does rain, hopefully that clears it out for the weekend ....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dog Named Blue

The best thing ESPN has done in years is get Don Cherry to do commentary after Stanley Cup playoff games.

You can get a taste here of Cherry's colorful style.

During my one disaster of a year at Calvin College I played on an intramural hockey team called "Dog Named Blue" in honor of Cherry's canine. As I recall, we lost in the championship game in overtime, shades of Cherry's Boston Bruins falling to my beloved Montreal Canadiens in the 79 semifinals.

Anyway, check Cherry out on SportCenter. And ... he's donating his ESPN pay to the Humane Society, God love him.

Never thought I'd ever say that about a Bruins coach.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Canning Jams, Blue Healers

The Blue Healers ( might be the best rock/blues band in Quincy. They were fantastic Sunday at Turner Hall's Can Jam.

The Healers are playing Blues in District Friday, July 11, and they are playing at the Bluesfest the following weekend.

This just in ... we are planning a show Friday night, June 20 at Turner Hall with The Blue Healers. We've asked a new band, Midnight Legend, to open at 7 p.m. Cover will be $3, The Funions play at 8:30 and the Healers at 10.

The May 30 show at Turner is also generating lots of buzz. I know it's QHS graduation night but we are still expecting a big crowd later. Fielder played yesterday too and did a great job with Tyler Dickens filling in for Chris Cornwell on drums and Alex Tappe doing a great job on the congas.

So ... lotsa music coming up in the Q-town!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Click Here

To find out what's happening on a busy weekend, click here.

A year ago today, good family friend Sid Jansma lost his wife, and he reflects here on making peace and saying farewell. Sid is the real deal, and God be with him and his family.

I'm loving this story about a double amputee qualifying for the Olympics.

Kelly Wilson had a nice blog item about the local theater presentation of MASH. Click here to vote for your favorite character from the TV show.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Learning New Songs

Tremendous practice and great fun hooting and hollering with The Funions last night.

We hung out at Pat's store since Mark's basement is still in the process of being demolished/renovated/fixed for human habitation. With Jack and Rock A Bye gone on bidness, the four of us jammed for more than 2 1/2 hours.

I asked each band member to list their favorite Funions songs, and we sketched out a tentative set list for the May 30 show. By the way, it's now evolved to a full-blown five-band rock and roll blowout, but more info coming in future posts.

I threw four new songs at the guys last night and nobody blinked. Granted, they are simple in structure but it never ceases to amaze me how the band immediately puts a distinctive stamp on a cover song.

We learned a Funions original and then Pat got us going on a Jimmy Buffet song that rocks, not the usual stuff you hear from him. Somebody get me a Landshark!

There's something cool about running around a music store after hours and listening to the ghost stories, then actually hearing some strange stuff in the 102-year-old house, too, but that's for another post.

May 30 will be fun! We play at Turner Hall at 7 p.m. with four other bands to follow, including Fielder and Predawn Hour.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Some Guy Named Zach

So some guy named Zach was in Quincy Monday and posed for this photo with a Quincy girl.

Apparently this guy is into musicals or something. I have no idea, never heard of him or seen him.

He wanted The Funions to do the soundtrack for what he is calling his "third movie." What were the first two called?

He seemed handsome enough but I don't think he's nearly good enough for the girl in the photo. He seemed more interested in talking about Hollywood and famous people.

He just seemed ... fake.

Who is this guy, anyway?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day, Links

And a very happy Mother's Day!

Especially thinking about Susan White today. Her son, Devon, bass player of doom, was confirmed this morning at Trinity UCC. I'm sure Susan beams with pride when watching both her boys.

I'm sure Susan runs into Virginia Hart, who is gossiping with Wilma Collins, and they probably pee themselves with laughter over the stupid stuff their kids are doing right now.

To read about my surrogate mother's son, click here.

To read about the latest Crazy Calftown Girl's exploits, click here.

To read about the Dallas Stars resorting to thuggery against YOUR Detroit Red Wings, click here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Motels - Only the Lonely

Every now and then I'll find something on Youtube that takes me back, like this fantastic song and video featuring Martha Davis. Good grief, is she SMOKING hot.

Saw The Motels open for Super Tramp about a million years ago and I was just entranced by her voice and stage presence. Love the sax solo, too.

Great music for a melancholy Saturday morning.

It's almost enough to make me forget picturing Tookie wearing a pink sweater vest at a local establishment.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Gas Price Woes

Gas prices have really made me think twice about some stuff. I'd love to get away for a weekend, but it costs too much.

I make two or three trips to Michigan a year but this year, with these prices, I'm just going once, and only because I'll hopefully have free lodging on a Lake Michigan beach.

Apparently more and more people are thinking this way too. Shouldn't using less gas mean supplies go back up and prices down?

I'm ignorant about gas prices. I just know it's a ripoff and somebody is laughing all the way to the bank at our expense.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Funions CD?

One of the things this incarnation of The Funions seriously has to think about is recording a CD.

It could be a lot of fun with this group of guys, but it takes an enormous amount of planning and directing before we can even remotely dream about doing new songs.

First of all, where do we go to record? Alan Lawless has been so good to us and we have a blast in his dungeon of doom Copper Mine studio.

But we happen to have a sax player who owns his own studio. Jack has Pillar Productions and has indicated we can use the studio for a CD project, and we could save ourselves a lot of money that way.

I have four or five songs that might be ready, but with these guys, I think it would be fun to come up with stuff in rehearsal and just messing around, because they are such good players. Plus Pat Cornwell has a good voice and we'd be foolish not to take advantage of it.

I listened to Just Pretending the other day for the first time in maybe a year and I realized how much Larry Flavell put his stamp on those sessions, and it really came out well.

Now with a slide player and sax, it gives us a bit more of a jam and blues feel.

With every band you have to have the Alpha guy, the person who does all the stuff and pushes the buttons and often is the jerk who massages ideas in certain directions. That's balanced with every individual in the band. They all have contributions and the key is to mesh everything.

So .... the process begins. Can't say when it will result in a new CD. But. It begins!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Paul's Big Night, season golf debut

Paul Gilmartin brought his A game to Q-town last night in a hysterical comedy performance at Backwaters.

Paul was a little nervous about doing his Ohio Rep. Richard Martin character, but it got laughs from the start under the expert guidance of his cousin and Slide Guitar Player Of Doom, Rock A. Bye.

There was a big crowd and laughter was the rule, a beautiful thing!

Played golf for the first time today with Chuck Otte, Mike Hancox, Bill Gay and Rollie Thomas at Westview. Glorious afternoon, to say the least, even if the golf on my part was atrocious.

Hope you got out to enjoy the day too!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Anniversary, Parades, Paul

Here's to remembering Virginia Hart, mother, grandmother and friend, who passed away three years ago today.

I think of my mom a lot.

Good times on the Trinity float today at the Dogwood parade. Cold, misty rain at the beginning, AWOL drummer, etc .... but we got through it and the crowds were still huge on Maine Street.

Paul Gilmartin is in Quincy tonight at Backwaters, I believe tickets are still available at the door ($15), it will be a very funny evening!