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

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!