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

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Last Post

It's been a fun ride, Q-Town.

We are on to other pursuits like this one at Second String Music.

Life goes on. Git Cheesey, sell guitars, come up with column ideas, observe the human condition under stress, walk the girls in a quiet early morning cemetery, dream of a Lake Michigan beach, drink coffee with Shey Fey before another busy day, smile at the Calftown Hood, order another DNA test to make sure the 6-2 sophomore is really my daughter.

To all you anon web warriors, life is good, and anger management is still free on the blogs, so go for it. Approving comments can make you lose 30 pounds in 30 days.

For everybody else, by far in the majority, well .... it's been real.

God bless.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rock and Roll Weekend

Best. Weekend. Ever.

It started Friday night when I played at the old firing range with my old friends from The Funions, now known at Reasonable Doubt. Good times with good friends for The Mighty One's mother in law birthday party.

Saturday we had the official grand opening for Second String Music and I've never had so much fun playing music. Tons of people in the store and an epic jam session that turned legendary when the guys from Jake Owen's band showed up, and a couple of them actually joined in to play.

Jake put on a tremendous show Saturday night at QJHS Morrison Theater. Thanks Scott for the great front row tickets, and the guitar we donated was raffled off for the Firefighters 63 charities.

We got backstage to meet Jake, and in the photo above, concert organizer Scott Westhaus is explaining to Jake how he took the band over after sound check to hang out.

Today Reasonable Doubt played at the State Room for a benefit. This was the first time I've been on the stage since the infamous 2007 ice storm show with Bartholomew, a high-water mark of sorts for The Funions at the time.

Lotsa fun again, we actually played pretty well and got a good response.

Now I'm ready to sleep until Tuesday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bella destroys moles, snakes

Click on the video below to see Lucy and Bella at play today ....

At the risk of offending PETA - actually, I couldn't care less - I must report that Bella The Destroyer killed a mole and tortured snakes today.

The mole was digging up Woodland Cemetery. So Bella dug it up. Lucy helped finish it off. Shey Fey and I are thinking of making some money on this mole-killing service thing.

Last year we saw a harmless garter snake slithering around the backyard and figured it was living in the neighbor's railroad ties. Turns out the snake was a momma, because now we have three or four in the backyard, and they've made holes to actually live in our lawn.

Bella and Lucy like to play with the snakes too, as you can see in the video, but we like snakes so we try to save them from being dog toys.

Sorry PETA. Well, not really.

Friday, March 18, 2011

New guitar lines

Shey Fey and I have had a blast since we opened Second String Music earlier this month. She has done an unbelievable amount of work getting us up and running.

We are close to getting a really good guitar line in the store, and I'm excited about sharing the news very soon.

Updated the Cheeseburgers shows. We ended a phenomenal run at Sawyer's Creek last night, a good reminder that while it is a business and we are doing a job, playing music is more than you should be allowed to have. Unless it involves setting up with narrow stairs and impossible tight corners. But that's besides the point.

Full moon tonight. Behave!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yes to NoCeBo

Gittin Cheesey in Keokuk tonight, it's always fun to play a venue you have never been to, and the people up there say the Mardi Gras party with be nuts. If it's half as good as the SSBC last Saturday ....

Looking for a big day at Second String Music. Yesterday a couple of guys came in from the death metal band NoCeBo, the bass player bought strings and he restrung his guitar in the store. The singer, Kraig, gave us our first ever dollar when we opened so he's in the Funions Hall of Fame and he's a very nice young man.

These guys play fast-paced and aggressive music. I'm not a fan of death metal but they are passionate and hungry and care about what they are doing, and all they want to do is play.

They are heading up to Joliet tonight to play at a big show with a bunch of bands. They are spending a small fortune in gas and had to sell a bunch of tickets and are not being paid a dime to play.

That, my friends, is rock and roll. I tip my hat to the NoCebo boys and wish them the very best!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Cowbell Medley

Here's The Cheeseburgers "Cowbell Medley" as performed at the South Side Boat Club last Saturday. A big thanks to Becky for playing the cowbell, Greg Ellery for shooting the awesome video and Shey Fey for editing the clip. Come out and see us do it live!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

South Side Party Monsters

Holy Mardi Gras party, Batman.

They started on the first note of the first song Saturday night at the South Side Boat Club, and they didn't stop until we played until we almost dropped.

Geesh. How much fun are you really allowed to have?

Facebook pics and video coming soon. Greg Ellery was also there with a camera and we might have more coming.

Now we get ready for what might be another massive party this Saturday at Keokuk's South Side Boat Club.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hanging slotwall, raindrops on head

Thanks to Greg Ellery for helping, no, actually doing most of the work, putting up slotwall at Second String Music ...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Trading Rock and Roll

Played a wild show Saturday night at the Adams Trading Post. This is the third time we've played Adams in the past half year and it's gotten better every time.

Adams is literally in the middle of nowhere. Adams is a town of, well, maybe 3 people. Maybe. The bar is a classic roadhouse layout with a big deep stage. These people know how to party, believe me.

Last night it took a while for them to get going but once they got hooked, it was over. Birthday parties always help, and we had a classic Cheeseburger moment when a gal who wasn't feeling much pain decided she wanted to sing with us, and decided she wasn't going to leave the stage.

Now we get ready for a huge Saturday. We are playing in the afternoon at the Rally For McNally, a huge benefit for the late Steve McNally and his family. Then Saturday night it's the annual Mardi Gras bash at the South Side Boat Club, more wall to wall fun.

Get there early.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Life In The Way

Sorry about the lack of updates ... life getting in the way, as are jury trials, 6-2 sophomore recitals at Western, the store!

Speaking of the store, a big thanks to The Mighty One, Sgt. Adam Yates, for giving us some good advice about keeping the store safe. I will say this, if you are a dirtball and you want to break into my store, there is little I can do to stop you. But we are prepared. And don't let us catch you in the act.

Added a few new Cheeseburger dates, including May 20 back at The Elks and a road trip to Monroe City in September. The Blind Pig was amazing last Saturday, more fun than you should be allowed to have!

Back to Adams Trading Post Saturday, and a week from Saturday is the huge Mardi Gras party at South Side Boat Club.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The New Store!

So we got the keys tonight to Second String Music .... HUGE!

Had to break it in right by bringing the girls and playing a few tunes ....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Crowds and gigs

I never worry about the crowd when we play a show. I've played gigs where we've scared them mostly all away, and I've played gigs where they really get into it from the start.

The better the crowd, the better the show. Last night we got Cheesey at The Ambiance and what I thought would be a decent gig turned out to be amazing.

The Ambiance is Quincy's largest banquet facility. They actually divided the room in half last night, there was a wedding on the other side. We played for a Cursillo dinner, $35 a plate, and the crowd was mostly older folks.

Then again, we are mostly older ....

Burt always puts together the set lists and he has it figured out. We played a lot of older standards and slower songs in the first hour and we hooked them after about the third song. The key is to not have long breaks between songs either ... if you get them slow dancing, launch right into the next one without delay, and we're getting better at it as John Hodge and I really settle in.

Loved the energy, loved the crowd, and Brian Stump (our roadie) did a great job with the PA.

Of course this morning the crud has set in and I feel about 120 years old, but that's rock and roll, its in the moment and it's all good.

Thanks to the folks at the Ambiance and the Cursillo crowd, they were great!

Guaranteed to have a party crowd next Saturday when we return to the Blind Pig in Quincy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

That kind of day

No idea why, but this song is appropriate today.

Maybe I'll steal a bottle of bubbly at our show Saturday night. You know. The appropriate thing to do.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Laptop

Got a new toy today, a Dell Inspiron Duo. It's a little smaller than a laptop but bigger than a mini. The screen flips and the keyboard is a little smaller but not too bad.

My Mac has lasted 5 1/2 years, a long time for a laptop, so it's time. Shey Fey's Dell is going to the store and the Mac will be the house computer, and this little baby will be going places with me.

Very cool!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Busy Gittin Cheesey

Saturday is the first of five straight Saturday shows for The Cheeseburgers. We are at the Ambiance for a Cursillo event. Really looking forward to playing there, been to a few events but never played in one of Quincy's nicest venues.

Tired of this cold weather yet? You are? Me too.

Plans continue for Second String Music. I am the luckiest man in the world to have a great gal at the helm. We should be in the building next week and hope to open in early March.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Dancing and more

Recovering from a fantastic time at the Cornerstone Dancing With The Stars event, click here for all things dance dance dance ....

Rare Saturday off during a busy Cheeseburgers Hold The Pickle Tour 2011. Might go make snowmen at Washington Park this afternoon.

Steelers, 24-19.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


This is a pretty good storm even by Michigan and Hoser standards ...
Here and here for info and fun ...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Music Business

Shey Fey and I are embarking on a new adventure — we are starting Second String Music.

It will be located at Eighth and Washington, on the southwest corner, where Peggy's Costumes used to be. It's a beautiful building, move-in ready, reasonable rent. Sheryl has done a massive amount of work to prepare, and we hope to open later in February.

The seeds were sown when Sheryl's position at Titan Wheel was eliminated a year ago. She could not find a decent computer job in Quincy and had a disappointing experience working for a local bank. A novelty shop has been on her mind for years and she wanted to get away from doing too much computer work. Then something happened that changed everything. When Pat Cornwell passed away last November, a huge void was left in our hearts. Vegas Music closed and we began thinking about opening a music store. We looked at several locations and finally decided on the Calftown building.

We are working with Pat's son, Chris, to help get the store started. We want this to be a place for musicians to hang out, to sell their CDs and swag. We'll have guitars, amps, drums, accessories. We will offer guitar lessons. We will have art and some other fun, novelty items.

Second String refers to my legendary athletic career coming off the bench, plus the strings, of course, and we want to "backup" our local musicians. Second String Music will be a huge supporters of local music.

I am NOT quitting my day job. Sheryl will be operating the store on a daily basis although she may not get paid for awhile. We are both scared and excited to get going!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dealing with death, doubt

Really had to stop and think this week after the death of local author Leisha Kelly in a car crash near Quincy. Click here for more, and I have a column about Leisha in The Whig Saturday.

Three nights ago she was driving her son to Taekwando practice in Quincy, and now they are putting her in the ground next to her son after her funeral this afternoon in Clayton.

Life is a fleeting thing and we take it way too much for granted. I was talking to Leisha's pastor for the column and he said it's not for us to question why horrible things like this happen, but to rely on faith and each other to get through it.

Wow. What a tall task. To question is second nature, and to accept is near impossible. All that stuff about her being in a better place, God's will and plan ... man.

God be with Leisha's family, friends and community. That's all I can say.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Very much looking forward to playing at The Elks Lodge in Quincy this weekend.

Friday night we play at 7:45 until we stop having fun, probably around 10:30 or 11. Saturday we play for a wedding, first time I'll be doing that kind of gig for The Cheeseburgers.

As you can see on the right, we are very busy in February and March, and we have a big show in the works for April.

So come on out Friday, members and guests, if you know us, you can be my guest!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

See what I mean? Snow is fun!

Snow plus crazy dogs equals big fun ...

Embrace the snow

Before we launch into today's discussion about snow and dogs and stupid people, let it be known the reason Larry David is one of the funniest people in the world is simply because he knows when to say something and when not to. Anonymous Web Warriors should be forced to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm to cheer up.

There. I feel a lot better now.

So this morning we woke up to four inches of fresh snow and two dogs ready to rock. A day off means I get to stroll Lucy and Bella through winter wonderland, and we headed to Greenmount Cemetery.

The nice thing about snow is that it keeps people away and the girls can roam all over the place. Lucy likes to drift drive, while Bella runs and runs and runs and eventually crashes into a heap of long legs and big puppy paws in the snow.

In the southeast corner a crew was getting ready to dig a grave, and it occurred to me that life and death go on, even if people get mad about not having a snow day.

People around here just don't know how to deal with the white stuff. It's Quincy, it's January, it's a part of life. Be careful in the car, don't trust the other guy and bundle up if you do go out. It's not that bad!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gigs and crowds

So a week ago Saturday we played at The Grove in Quincy. It was basically for a 50th birthday party but open to the public as well. The Grove is very small and there's no stage, just a space in a corner for the band.

We set up early in the afternoon and when we came back about 45 minutes before start time, the bar was packed and people were in the mood to have fun. So it was no surprise that from the opening song to the riotous encores, it was the best time we've had since John Hodge and I joined last summer, and we played really, really well, no hiccups, cranking 'em out one after the other.

Last night we were in Pittsfield and nobody, and I mean nobody, was there when we started. We made friends with the bartenders and cook and were halfway through the first set when two people showed up. Then some of Burt's family arrived, and a few more people straggled in, by the end of the night we probably had 20 people.

Well. We were paid to do a job and we did it, and did pretty well, but it was tough to maintain the energy all night. I do appreciate the people who came out and had a good time listening to us. We had a nice stage and a great-sounding room.

It's amazing how other factors influence how you play, or how you feel when and after you play. Good crowds, good venues and energy make all the difference.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Drums On Fire

I've played with a lot of good drummers. Chris and Pat Cornwell, Adam Yates, Justin Busen, David Steggeman, Josh Kattelman, Danny Mabie, Kevin Vandament and other fill-ins along the way.

Kirk Gribbler of The Cheeseburgers is awesome. He doesn't smash everything in sight, he just keeps a steady beat and helps us take off and land smoothly, and he has an ear for PA systems and balance.

We do a bit where he has a drum solo before we launch into a fire-related song, so here it is from the other night at The Grove. Come see it for yourself!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Undecided? YES!

So The Cheeseburgers played Sunday afternoon at a Turner Hall cancer benefit, and as usual it was a blast.

I respect and appreciate the many local bands which donate time for such events. They are all awesome and I love to hear them play.

We were getting ready to leave when a band from the St. Louis area called The Undecided took the stage. They were a little heavier but had some really cool original music. The singer also played acoustic guitar, the rhythm section was right there and the guitar player had this Gibson SG just roaring. Only a few guitarists should be allowed to play an SG. This guys is one of them.

Then they did a couple of covers, Billy Idol and Bob Seeger, and then they launched into Van Halen's Mean Street and it was just freaking phenomenal.

Always great when you go to hear music and something jumps out at you. Apparently they'll be back in Hannibal in July, might have to check em out again!

Friday, January 07, 2011


One of my favorite movies is That Thing You Do, about a band that has a smash hit in the 1960s and then splinters apart.

I love this scene, which shows the sheer exuberance when band members hear their song on the radio for the first time.

Cheeseburgers play 8 p.m. Saturday night at The Grove, and 5 p.m. Sunday at Turner Hall as part of Leaps of Love cancer benefit. See you all out and about!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Buh bye RR

Buh Bye, RichRod. We hardly knew ye. Well,we did know ye. Sorry it didn't work out.

On a related note, it's nice to see the Cheaters from Ohio State had absolutely no impact on the Sugar Bowl game.


Most of the time I like Todd Blackledge, the football announcer. But I lost a lot of respect for him when he said Tie Boy did the right thing by allowing them to play because he had the rest of the team to consider.

Well. They shouldn't have put that one dude in prison last month for killing another dude, because the one dude's family had such a hard Christmas. You know. To be fair.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ice. Gone. Sniff.

A week ago we had ice. Then we had a thaw, and there's no super cold weather in site.


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Ringing It In. And The Big 10 SUCKS

The only good part about watching Michigan today was the fact I fell asleep and missed most of it. And there were other games on.

We had fun at the Elks last night, thanks to Greg and Steph for hanging with us, and the Boulevard Band did a nice job.

Happy New Year!