Friends of Chuck

Chuck Beasley was passionate about music.  He wanted a certain sound and he got that out of us.  During rehearsals, Chuck's voice would rise above and call us to a halt to ask "What's the dynamic at D?" which usually meant we were playing much too loudly.  So we'd pick it up at D again ("D, as in canine" or "E as in pachyderm") at work it until Chuck was happy.
BBB's musicians are busy people.  Here are some of our moonlighting jobs, our favorite haunts, and our good friends.

O'Gara's and Beasley's - The end of an era 

O'Gara's was the first place that Beasley's Big Band played in public and we've never left since.  The only thing that can keep us away is if O'Gara's were torn down.  Sadly, that's exactly what's going to happen.  O'Gara's will be back, rebuilt a bit smaller, but we'll play our last gig there on Tuesday, August 7th.  It's going to be a hard show, to be sure.  Please come out and close out an era with us.

BBB Phraseology 

All bands share typical lingo like "gig," "book," and "set list."  But BBB has a few phrases and traditions of our own.

“Traveling” 
Chuck Beasley would always shout out “Traveling!” before he counted off a chart, giving the band a heads-up that we were about to start.  “Traveling!  One, two…”  This tradition continues at the start of every song today.

One Dollar 
If a band member blows a particularly impressive solo that totally impresses you, we tip them $1.  A truly fantastic job could net the soloist upwards of 3 or 4 dollars! 

“White Whale” 
Not so much a long tradition as one I’m trying to get started.  Our band’s gear is hauled in a giant, white Chevy Suburban.  Not only does the Moby Dick allusion fit, the great American novel offers a multitude of metaphors and similitudes that I can use.

Life of a Band: Who does What 

There's a lot to do with a band of this size.  There's a lot of equipment, a lot of music, gigs to book, rehearsals to run, subs, and - hopefully - a few bucks to share.  BBB shares these responsibilities across several band members so no one person has to do it all.  All of us are playing members of the band.
  • Musical Director - Find charts, run rehearsals, create set lists, and count off the band.
  • Business Manager - Coordinate and secure the gigs, work out the details, and produce the calendar.
  • The Money Man - Get the $'s, pay the $'s, and track the $'s.
  • Equipment Wrangler - The really handy guy with the big Suburban that can haul everything.  (Also coordinates our rehearsal space.)
  • 4 x Section Leads - Get subs as needed.  Rhythm, sax, trombone, and trumpet.
  • Social Media Guy - Manage the web site, Twitter, Twitter, and emails; recruit each gig's load-in crew.
  • 4 x Load-In Crew - Volunteers willing to come out early and setup. Bonus: you don't have to tear down.
  • 15 x Load-Out Crew - Everyone who didn't setup!

Life of a Band: Why Rehearse? 

If getting 2 people to coordinate is hard -- try 19.  Nineteen people who have different ideas of how it should sound (maybe a few without any ideas).  While the music lays out exactly what we're each supposed to play, it's not quite enough.  Each member must not only have the technical skills to read and play the notes, we all must "hear" it together.
Each horn section has a lead player, and each member of that section must listen and replicate the tone, style, starts, and stops of that lead player.  Then each of the lead players must hear each other.  The rhythm section provides not only the beat, but hits and kicks and fills to glue us all together.
At rehearsals, we pull out old charts to tighten them up and refine our group skills, then we pull out some new charts to remind ourselves of how far we have to go.  Sometimes these new charts are pulled out during a gig to provide the band with a little heart stimulation ("Well, at least we ended together!").
And that's why we rehearse.  That, and so our dancers don't sprain an ankle.