A few years back, some friends along with Mrs. F&theCats and I visited the Motown Museum in Detroit. It was a remarkable experience where I learned a lot about what made that place special (hint: it wasn’t just one thing).
The embedded video, courtesy of Reverb.com, does a good job of capturing some of the magic and explaining a bit of the chemistry too. Check it out!
It goes almost without saying that Berry Gordy‘s vision and genius in putting it all together was a key factor. There are a couple of recent documentaries in which he appears that would I would suggest you see if the subject interests you.
Some recent social media posts have got me thinking more deeply about the oft-read rant regarding “amateur” musicians “stealing professional” jobs. It is the last quoted word that got me curious.
What does it mean to be a “professional musician”?
At the far end of the scale, it’s obvious: musicians who earn their entire livelihood from playing music. Easy enough!
But what about, say, someone who works in a music store and plays shows in the evenings and on weekends? Does the day job disqualify that person from the professional ranks or is working in a music store a mitigating factor?
Okay, let’s take that further. What about someone who work instead as a server in a live music venue? Does the place of day employ shield a musician from being ranked amateur? What if he/she/they work in a doughnut shop?
Is it a question of how many hours performed vs. the day job?
Perhaps I’m looking at this all wrong…could it be a question of expertise or raw talent? Is it attitude and the ability to please an audience? Is it originality?
I have my own ideas, but I’d like to hear back from you, dear readers. Just leave a comment if you wish.
This Saturday the Cats Will Play
After a good and hot rehearsal last night working through the four new tunes we hope to launch, the Cats are raring to go this Saturday at Relish 2.0. We kick off at 9:30, but please come early for the food and former ABC Songcircle guest One-Eyed Oracle (aka Boris Buhot) playing from 7 to 9.
The band is very excited to be back for the first time (?) at the new Relish 2.0 at 511 Danforth this coming September 21, 2019.
We hope to introduce a few new songs that I have tried out at the open mic and one world première, so it should be a special evening on all counts. You can subscribe to the band’s event calendar here, should you wish to be kept up to date while avoiding social media overload.
Again, just a short update this week. The Salabama show at Relish 2.0 went great, thanks to solid playing by Sal himself, Tony Oldland on bass and Paul Brennan on drums. Special thanks to the brilliant Sean McAuley on harmonica too, and to Rick Henry for a superb mixing job and for having the nerve to tell me to turn down! It’s always a fun privilege to play with Sal and have the chance to try out live the arrangements we’ve worked out in the studio sessions at ManCave. Here’s a sample courtesy of Dave Correia with one of Sal’s originals, Swamp Chickin.
TheCats have been on low-profile for most of the summer, but a few shows are beginning to line up for the fall. September 21 will be our first time at Relish 2.0, then October 15 at the Linsmore Tavern with special guests, and finally (so far) a Sunday matinee at the Black Swan with special guest OmarSaab of the Lonely Hearts.
In the last few weeks, I’ve caught shows by a few bands that were characterized by a phenomenon I had never noticed before: the Barefoot Bass Player.
So just for fun, here are photos of three players who I know directly or play with who I know. See if you can figure out who is who. Answers next week.
As Mrs. Félix & the Cats will be away for business for a few days, there may be a few more shows to catch during her time away…tbc.
Today for sure I will be at Long & Mcquade for the new mural unveiling and to catch the Lonely Hearts performing there live, then later it’s off to the Linsmore for FatC drummer Chris Bender‘s cover band Rock Bottom. Should be a fun night!
Just back from a lovely weekend in Buffalo, New York with the lovely Mrs. F&theCats. Impressed by how many big homes there are there and the obvious care the owners devote to the city as a whole. Thanks to the Elmwood Village Inn for being extraordinarily welcoming hosts. Highly recommend this B&B if you are going through Buffalo.
Last night was a long deferred return to the Amsterdam Bicycle Club to say hi to Henry and Laurie and catch some Afro-Brazilian vibes with Bruce Jones, Robin Asher and Lucya Almeida. Great vibe!
Tonight, Tony Oldland is hating a Rolling Stones themed jam at the Salty Dog, so that should be fun.
This Friday, it will be a special night as one of fave bands, the Lonely Hearts, is playing for the first time ever at the Dakota Tavern. Got my ticket and eager for a hot show!
The lure of things new, shiny and tenuously linked has always been irresistible for me. This week’s surprise last-minute show at the Linsmore (this Tuesday, June 11, 2019 – 10 pm, for those interested) is a case in point. Not content to stir the pot by subbing in the amazing Omar Saab, lead singer of the Lonely Hearts, for his live debut on bass, as NeMo had a previous commitment, I have also decided to try out a new rig, shown below.
Now, these are (almost) all components I have used before, but never in this combination. The binding characteristics is that 3 of the 4 parts of the rig spark joy (those who have seen the clutter in the ManCave may laugh at the irony). All are connected to my past career at Yorkville Sound. The obvious link is the TraynorQuarter Horse which I just picked up this week as the sale price was irresistible (see the pattern?). I was very impressed with the sound right out of the box, particularly when paired with the Talbo, a product line Yorkville distributed in the 80s, and the Rexx speaker, designed by Yorkville (again) alumnus George Krampera. I’ll let you know next week how it all works out.
Also performing that evening will be Ian Alexander Robson at 8:00 PM and Dingo at 9:00 PM. The Facebook event link is here.
So, I do hope you will be there to support live music. Plus the beer is cheap!
On Sunday June 23, The Cats will team up will Salabama (Sal Indigo) for a special matinee show from 4 to 8 at the Black Swan. More details as we near the date.
Super thanks to loyal friends and fans who made it out for the Black Swan show this past Saturday, considering how many other things were happening as it was Easter weekend.
A special thank you goes out to Fraz and Emmy for being there so often, and to Kevin and Jen for impeccable sound. Particularly, I want to recognize Monkey Fightin’ Snakes for an awesome opening set.
Work is about to begin in the basement area leading to ManCave Studio, so there may be some disruption to the blog over the next month. The good news is that this has forced us to tidy up and purge a lot of accumulated memorabilia. During that process, some interesting artefacts have surface. Here’s one with a shoutout to the Nerve, a band I worked with a few years back.
There may be some show announcements soon…tbc. In the meantime be well!
I haven’t played a solo show in quite a while, so today’s show at Might & Main Café was pleasant, rewarding and more intimidating than I expected. Overall, it went well with flubs well-disguised and a forgiving audience—thanks!
Thanks to Phillip Vonesh and the staff for the opportunity to stretch outside my comfort zone.
The studio just got a major monitor upgrade, going from the solidly serviceable Yorkville YSM-5s to beefier and crisper Yamaha HS8s. Of course, now I have to remix everything accordingly! So that’s where I’ll be up to for the next long while I think.