I had a call last week for another custom writing job. It was to be part of a long list of retirement party ideas.
I’ve had these calls before. An executive of seasoned tenure is about to retire. The accolades will be forthcoming. The revealing anecdotes will be told. … and … in this case, a special song parody will be written and recorded for the celebrant.
The gentleman going into the golden years of his life was a life long salesman. He had founded his company, mentored many young professionals in his time and was looking forward to go off hunting and fishing. The perfect choice was a song parody of the Kenny Rogers hit The Gambler.
The interview process is a simple one for gigs like this. I have a 2 page questionnaire I have the contact fill out. They usually send it around to the other executives and co-workers around the office. They become our eyes and ears.
The process is going to take at least two days. I get all the info. I write up a few verses. 5 or 6 to be exact. I’m only going to use one or two. Then I get the chorus to go along with the plan.
After that I get the studio all cranked up. Fire off the essential parts. Arrange it for timing of the jokes and then I get a quick demo out the door. Once the customer signs off on it, I know I’ve got a winner. Then I just re-record it, mix it and master in the studio.
Listen to the final product. How did I do? Let me know.
Lickety split, Super quick Retirement party ideas will last a lifetime.
The question I get asked second most is, favorite song “What kind of music do you like to play the best?”
Two Kinds of Music
I always like to quote Duke Ellington who said, “There are only two kinds of music. Good and the other kind.”
I only play one kind. Which is good.
But what is good? How do you know it’s good? It’s so hard to tell these days. Let’s go back to the Grand Master Duke who went on to say,
“If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good!”
So it starts if I can make it sound good. Brown Eyed Girl can have a great groove. You can play it reggae style. You can play it bluesy. You can even go Calypso on it and fill the dance floor in nothing flat. favorite song
So, basically, if my audience is having a good time, it’s probably cuz it feels good to them.
I can play Sweet Caroline 4 times a night because if I place it in the right portion of the night, people love that song. They’re having a great time with it. So I’m having fun too.
I got asked that question the other night again, “What is your favorite song to play?”
I was in a club. It wasn’t all that busy. Kind of a quiet night. Maybe 50 people in the bar. The usual mix of foreigners and American tourists. A few Canadians but mostly Brits. A relaxing, warm spring evening in Chicago.
I love meeting new people. Especially people from other places than my neighborhood or my city. It’s good to have another perspective.
I remember one time I was playing on a boat that was spinning around Lake Michigan. I was a young man; about 20 something. I struck up a conversation with a woman from Israel who was living in Germany. I was complaining about our government and all the problems. She just looked at me and in no uncertain terms expressed, “You have no idea how good you have it here in America.”
There are always more than one way to look at things. I forget that sometimes unless I am talking with a wide and varied group of people on a regular basis.
Last night at a party I met a woman who was probably in her late 60s who is deeply involved in the justice system. Her point of view is massively different than my friends who are police.
That’s why when people ask me what kind of music I like the best, I have to answer with a question; “What kind of music do you like? What is your favorite song?” Because as an entertainer I’m not really allowed to judge. I want you to have a good time. I want you to hear the music that makes you feel good. If you’re feeling good, then I’m feeling good. Pretty simple really.
But as a musician (not as an entertainer) I have a very different point of view. First and foremost, it has to have a groove. I also like music that tells a story. I like music that has interesting harmonic structures; something I can spread my wings on and investigate tonalities and textures within the course of the tune. I like to discover something new in every song. Especially if I’ve been playing it for many months – or years.
It’s pretty simple. It comes down to the same thing for me too. Does it make me feel good? Cuz if I’m feeling good, you are too.
Let’s feel good together with live music and piano songs that create more great memories that will lat a lifetime for you.
Call me at +1 773-527-7417 and I GUARANTEE we will have some fun!
Hi There and Welcome to Another Installment The Piano Bench Blog Cast:
Chicago Mayoral Election Results
Today’s broadcast comes in the form of some more great piano music and comedy. Our topic? Chicago mayoral election results. I certainly hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed writing and recording.
Chicago politics has no shortage of great comedy material. So tune in regularly.
And be sure to contact me, Dan, for your custom written music and comedy for your client appreciation night, your corporate event or hospital visit.
This is the first in what may prove to be a very successful series of blogcasts.
Followers of this blog (and there are thousands of you every month right now) have the keen sense of wit and mental faculties to remember this very popular blog from last week.
Only this time I turn on the mics and get a good take; an interview, if you will, of the principle characters from this news style podcast. Thanks to The Onion for such consistent inspiration.
Please let me know how I did. Rate it with the the choices at the bottom here.
Also be sure to contact me to write custom material for your trade show entertainment, for your corporate events and your coming out parties. Our team has been producing shows for a couple of decades now. You should get it on it.
“A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself
and then says them about other people.” – Peter MacArthur
That about sums it up. I love complaining. It sometimes comes out a bit caustic. I think I’m being funny. But my wife says differently.
The Zen of Driving
For example, when I’m driving on Chicago streets. I think I’m providing a public service when I let other drivers know how they’re doing. It works especially well in the winter time when I’m screaming at another driver with my windows rolled up. I’m pretty sure my message is getting across fabulously.
But just to make sure they actually get what I am trying to say I use sign language that involves flailing of the arms, extension of the fingers and stretching the facial muscles into contorsive positions the face was not meant to adopt.
Of course, this leads to glandular secretions and onset of early Alzheimer’s because if you were to ask me 5 minutes later what I was so creatively expressing my opinion about, I couldn’t tell you. Perhaps I have moved on to other, more worthy subjects of derision or it just didn’t merit my well intentioned wisdom. comedy
Nevertheless, I do it strictly for the good of the community, providing a service in the name of entertainment. It’s just in my nature I guess; entertaining the rank and file. It’s cheaper than my shrink and I’m pretty it entertains you.
Plus, I don’t need to set up a play piano.
So thank you for playing along. We’ll see you at one of the music and comedy shows I have scheduled coming up. If I don’t see you then, I’ll see you later.
Until then .. just remember …
“Everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else.” – Will Rogers