Ask Dave the Bartender; Episode 11 and a 1/2

Dave the Bartender is no kidder … 

He is also no bartender.


He does what he does and speaks what he hears. He is every man / woman who tends bar. He is wise, diligent and savvy.

He is ….

Dave the Bartender?








jarrett copy





Hanson; REAL or Imagined?

The kids … er … adults … are all right. Sorta …

hanson2The authors of the huge hit; MMMbop – are grown up ( fathers in their own right) and have elevated their game (and height) to a different level. What level? Is anyones guess.

For the large contingent of females in attendance who are in the same age bracket or a little younger than the trio – the boys are status quo. Forever embedded in that special place as pre – teen poster boys. A boy band with hair a la Beatles with a much lighter hue and a much lighter musical catalog.

For music ‘enthusiasts’ – a blend of potential combined with a dash of ‘cheese’ all mixed together with smoke and mirrors. Drummer Zac appears to be the most talented of the bunch. Singing, banging and even playing guitar and keyboards. Brother Taylor – a close second with the same talents but less sincere ( he comes across as calculated ) and less able on the skins.

Then there is Isaac. This is where the trickery appears. The mirror amongst the smoke …


Poor Isaac.

The least talented of the bunch ( he does play piano – offstage). The runt ( weakest ) in this musical litter. The guitar player who wasn’t. The brother whose Mom may ask his siblings to bring him along so he will not cry.

How else does someone explain his lack of natural rhythm in the hand clapping segments of the show? The guitarist behind him on stage playing the same chords? Something is rotten in Denmark, Montreal and probably everywhere else the ‘big boys’ play … Nothing appears natural for Isaac – it all seems forced and for that reason, all eyes focus on Zac and Taylor.

Hanson is a Pop group who tinker with – and sometimes pull off, a more profound sound. Sometimes funky, sometimes Bluesy and sometimes interesting. ‘Get the Girl Back’ – their first single to chart on Billboard in nine years and possessing a Billy Squire-type intro, an example of doing something ‘not broke’. Hanson ( and probably the powers that be) do not want to fix the sound too much. A shame because the group appears to want to mature on songs such as ‘Give a Little‘. A funky number which escapes the Pop moniker and at the very least – delivers the band to a level which is more suitable to their age than Mmmbop (even Michael Jackson OUTGREW Ben).

On the Coldplay copycat; ”Lost Without Each Other‘ – the boys soak up the love emitting from the mostly female audience. People who were in the building for the fun and not as judges. No Simon Cowells to be seen dissecting musical theory,pitch and chord structures. The audience just a bunch of folks who like what they hear and Hanson  delivered it quite well …

The band also knows how to dip into a treasured past via covers. ‘Happy Together’ – that wonderfully innocent Turtles tune as well as The Bee GeesToo Much Heaven‘ – a pair of songs perfect for the setting and sung a capella. An additive of where the boys’ come from when they are not performing their own songs. Hanson do come from an education ripe in Motown as well as Classic Rock and R and B. A fact which appears sporadically in their new songs from their latest disc; Anthem.

‘Lost without You’ is a perfect example of what is good in Hanson. The boys are hugely popular worldwide and appear to do things for the right reasons. They have a squeaky clean image which borders on a seemingly ‘uncomfortable’ transition into adulthood ( see video below).

Hanson cannot be taken seriously in the grand theme of musical history. Hanson will never be spoken in the same breath as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan or  Elton John. Hanson will be included in conversations related to all the boy bands who have come before and will arise in the future.They will be added into a category of able songwriters who can write catchy Pop tunes.

A bad thing?

Only if the ‘kids’ who idolize the band are not all right …

Or …

Hanson: Melding Rock and R&B Influences with Radio-friendly Pop

By Craig McKee

How many groups do you know that can go on tour and play EIGHT songs from their newest album without their fans minding a bit?

That’s what fans of the pop/rock trio Hanson heard at Sunday night’s show at the Corona Theatre in Montreal. Taylor, Isaac, and Zac treated their fans to 23 songs from their catalog of pop gems, including eight from their new album, Anthem.

They performed hits from their early years, including Mmmbop (the song that launched them – written and first recorded when the average age of the band members was 11), Where’s the Love, A Minute Without You, With You in Your Dreams, This Time Around, Crazy Beautiful, Lost Without Each Other, and Penny and Me. Their encore included a rocking version of the 2000 album cut In the City that is even better live than on record.


But what really shows the development of the band is their more recent output, 2010’s Shout It Out (which has a distinctly Motown feel to it) and 2013’s Anthem, which incorporates their classic-rock-influenced style into a very current sound. Whether they exhibit the influences of Ray Charles or The White Stripes, they seem equally at home.

Hanson’s more than two-hour set also included a terrific a cappella version of the Bee Gee’s Too Much Heaven along with a rousing version of So Happy Together. It worked. All three members sing lead on different songs, and all three are comfortable changing places and instruments on stage, going from drums to piano or vice versa.

What is very clear about Hanson is that they are in it for the long haul. Each album this hard-working band releases shows another side of their talent and a growing maturity. They are celebrating 21 years as a band, even though the youngest member (drummer Zac) is just 28 (guitarist Isaac will turn 33 next week while piano/keyboard player and lead singer Taylor is 30).

Unfortunately, those most lacking in imagination will cling to the success of Mmmbop as an indication that these brothers aren’t to be taken seriously. But that’s their problem. With each new release, Hanson keeps proving themselves with quality material and passionate, crowd-pleasing performances.

The thing that comes across most as you watch Hanson is that these three really love music and respect those who have paved the way for them. It shows.

–Craig McKee is a Montreal journalist who has covered news and entertainment for more than 25 years. He is the creator of the  political blog Truth and Shadows

Top Ten Oddest Things Overheard at The House of Jazz

Hier soir – a la Maison du Jazz, there were two pianos …

Not one, not three – two. A pair of grand pianos taking center stage in the house that George Durst built. All week long, an event titled Piano Cameleons is taking place. An event hosted by John Roney and Matt Herskowitz which will offer a fresh take on old favorites. Special guests scheduled to appear this week are Lorraine Desmarais, Taurey Butler, James Gelfand and Marianne Trudel. Two guests will join the Chameleons each evening as the classics will be played like you’ ve never heard them before!


Aside from the ‘chameleon’-like playing by the array of virtuosos, John, Matt ‘ and friends’ will also be joined nightly by a surprise guest.

A talented pianist quite able to ‘tickle’ the fancy and ivories of everyone who loves music. Bach, Bethoven and Debussy. Peterson, Madison and Jones. Name a composer – chances are one of the talented performers will play it. An original event exclusive to the House of Jazz this week only …

Last night – Oliver Jones, the famed Montreal pianist blessed the audience with his legendary presence. A delight to watch and listen as John Roney explained how he owned all of Jones’ records. A fact displaced by John’s observation that perhaps – Jones’ did not own any of his …


During the course of the evening, while music danced around appetites fulfilled, statements could be heard. Words exchanged. Sentences delivered. Some of which …. well let’s just say; straight from the mouths of Jazz babes!

Here now are the …

Top Ten Oddest Things Overheard at The House of Jazz …

10. What time does the Metallica tribute start?

9. Sure there are two pianos but where is the laser show?

8. They just played a Bethoven song. Isn’t he the kid who plays the piano on A Charlie Brown Christmas Special …?

7. Beer nuts … ! Where’s the freakin’ beer nuts ??????

6. Isn’t Oliver Jones that guy who stole all his clients money in that Ponzi scheme?

5. I heard Elton John was going to be here! Where is Elton John …?

4. That Mitt Romney fellow is pretty good …

3. If the Yankees play in The House that Ruth built, how come the Utah basketball team is not here?

2. I said … what time does the Metallica tribute start dammit !

and the number one Oddest Thing Overheard at the House of Jazz?

1. Peanuts, Popcorn … Crackerjack!

Vinny Appice; All in the Family; Part One

“I was always banging on things …” Admits legendary drummer Vinny Appice.

” I started at around ten years of age.  My brother Carmine, who is eleven years older than me – showed me some things but he was, at that point,  always on the road. I took lessons from the same guy that taught him.”


Vinny and Carmine Appice are drum playing brothers from Brooklyn, New York. There may have been a few years between them yet their paths in life collided with rock star status. Lately, the pair have collided in the same room as they travel around with their Drum Wars / Clinics. Something, says Vinny, that is both fun and competitive …

” We started to do drum clinics together but that turned into drum duets. Then we realized that was not enough and we wanted to play. That led into introducing music into our show and a tour. We decided to play four – five songs from my history and the same from Carmine’s. We do Dio and Sabbath from my repertoire and Ozzy, Cactus and Rod Stewart from Carmine’s past. We play eleven or so songs, then a duet.  You don’t usually see two drummers, so it is really exciting.”


Vinny – according to Vinny, plays louder and faster than Carmine and his brother plays with more feel. There are things Vinny does that Carmine  does  not do and the same the other way. There is also a lot of comedy involved – which makes for a great night of entertainment.

” If there are musicians in town that we know, like Rick Derringer or something, we get them on stage.” Says Vinny. ” It can turn into something real cool.”

What is really cool is what happened to Vinny when he was sixteen years old. Something that very few drummers can claim fame to…

vinny1“What happened was that I ended up playing in a band in 1975 in New York. The guitar player knew Jimmy Lovine, the producer, and he brought us into his studio where he worked to rehearse. Him and Roy Cicala ended up liking us and gave us a management deal and a room in The Record Plant Studio*  to rehearse. ”

The Record Plant Studio, a place where Aerosmith recorded ‘Get Your Wings in 1974, was the place where Lovine  showed up one day looking for guys to do hand-claps for a couple of  fellows that were rehearsing nearby. Two guys that were … somewhat ‘famous’.

” Jimmy said he was looking for about nine guys to add some sound for Elton John and John Lennon who were working in another room. It was like ‘wow’ – there’s John Lennon! We did not get to meet him then but a couple of days later, he heard our band playing and asked who we were. Then he started coming up and hanging out with us. We were playing pool and everything. I ended up doing a few gigs with him but at that time he was producing Yoko’s song or album. It was pretty cool for a kid like me.  Something I won’t forget …!”

Another thing the younger Appice does not lose from his memory are the guys who influenced him growing up. Guys aside from his older brother Carmine who was and is – a huge influence …

Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Coghland were the main guys.” Says Vinny. ” Really – those are the guys who I studied to death!”

Following his ‘stint’ with John Lennon, Appice joined forces with Rick Derringer. A guitar player who Vinny had the opportunity to play with on three albums. ‘Derringer’ in 1976, ‘Derringer – Sweet’ in 1977 and ‘Derringer – Live‘ in the same year.


Appice then joined the band Axis and followed that up on Ray Gomez’ disc – ‘Volume’ in 1980. Then, the fun started …

” I met Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath. He had heard me play and asked who I was. Someone told him that I was Carmine’s younger brother and he asked me if I wanted to play with Sabbath.

“Well … ya ….!”

Stay tuned for Part Two!

Top Ten Greatest Solo Artists

For every bunch of guitar – toting, ripped – jean wearing, bad – ass drum keepers and platinum blonde – haired  singers who called themselves a band; there were solitary men / women who crooned their way into the hearts of millions …

There are many talented singers who have been omitted from this list. James Brown and Michael Jackson to name two.This list is comprised of the most influentual individuals and the people responsible for the careers of the likes of Jackson, Brown and Janis Joplin.

Here are the top ten …

10. Little Richard

Glam rock did not commence with Gary Glitter. It started with ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’, Tutti Frutti’ and a pompadour which made wealthy women ‘ gold’ with envy. A rock n roll legend who was never given his due financially or musically. A foreshadow for James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elton John , Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson ….  Should we continue?


9. Long John Baldry.

The British grandfather of blues. The man who played an intregal part in the careers of Rod Stewart, Elton John, Mick Jagger ,Charlie Watts, Clapton etc etc. Not a hit maker, not a star – just one of the best teachers of all time and considered the first british man to perform the blues on stage.


8. Rod Stewart

A member of the faces and a true blues singer before branching out on a solo career which has spanned multiple genres and decades. Pop, rock, disco, blues up until his current standing as a crooner of American standards. A shameless chameleon, one of the most distinctive singers and performers to grace a stage. ‘Wake up Maggie’ – Mr. Stewart has something to say to you ..


7. Elton John

No other artist, solo artist – had the amount of songs and stage personas that Mr. John possessed in the 1970’s. Hard rockin’ ‘Bitches’ were front and center while ‘Daniel’ was everyone’s brother. Giant glasses, ‘mohair suits’ and ‘Tiny Dancers’. Elton John revitalized the soundtrack almost single – handily in the 90’s.


6. Eric Clapton

Considered by many as ‘ God ‘. A guitar playing one anyways … Aside from spectacular stints with Cream and the Yardbirds, Clapton carved the rock landscape with one song; Cocaine. ‘Tears in Heaven’ made the world forgive his pain while women continue to adore his romantic ‘ Wonderful Tonight’. Possibly the only white man to channel Elmore James and Robert Johnson directly and profoundly …


5. Elvis Presley

The ‘King of ( white ) Rock n Roll’ . One of the biggest selling artists of all time. The most influentual performer of the twentieth century and the first male sex symbol to grace a stage and movie screen. His one downfall – not a songwriter …


4. Tina Turner

Mick Jagger combined James Brown and Miss Turner to come up with his act. Turner made women everywhere realize they could be a star and not just a back-up singer. Surviving years of abuse at the hands of Ike – Tina became the most successful woman in rock, selling out stadiums well into her fifties. ‘What’s Love got to do with it …?’


3. Bob Dylan

Rock n roll’s, folk, the blues’ and country’s biggest poet. A genius who has sang everything and sang it …not so well. A conundrum yet responsible for ‘plugging in’ and taking folk music to a different level. Rock’s singular muse who is seemingly getting better with age … Anyone who is involved in music – holds Dylan in high esteem …


2. Muddy Waters

The first man to elecyrify not only the blues, audiences as well … His songs remain the cornerstone and building blocks for the elite of rock n roll royalty. ‘Mannish Boy’, ‘ You Shook Me’ and ‘I’m your Hoochie Coochie Man’ among many songs covered by anyone starting a rock n roll band ….The father of Chicago, Delta and Mississippi blues. The father of the Stones and Led Zeppelin.


1. Chuck Berry

Would rock n roll be the same today without Johnny B. Goode? Little Queenie or School Days? The St.Louis native combined the blues with a sound all his own and got people dancing. A showman who endured through racial profiling and greedy record executives. No Berry – no Keith Richards – no Rolling Stones. No Berry – no Lennon – no Beatles. Imagine a landscape without the three ?