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Tea Drinkers Don’t Suck

They just sip. And that’s why I don’t like tea.

I’m going to say something here that’s going to piss a lot of people off. I don’t care. It needs to be said. 

comedy, entertainment for events, piano music, comedy music,

Tea Drinkers Don’t Suck

If I’m going to have something to drink – I want to drink it. You can’t drink tea. You have to sip it. And that’s what infuriates me.

You can’t drink tea. It takes forever. I wish it didn’t.

I have things to do. I have people to be. I don’t want to waste my time sipping tea. Give me something to drink. There I’ve said it. I like to swallow.

You have to wait for it to cool down to sip it or you’ll burn the crap out of the roof of your mouth. Who wants a burned mouth? Not “It”.

It’s fine for my wife. She likes tea. No I take that back.

She loves tea. She drinks it all day long and she says it makes life simple and more enjoyable. She says tea lets you think about things before you react to them.

So since she knows so much more about so many more things than I do, I decided to join her at the tea store on one of our dates. Chicago has some great tea stores. There’s this one over on Broadway in Chicago. You can buy tea in bulk and it smells really good in there too.

But when we get home and she makes the tea, it tastes funky. Not like anything “good” funky. I tried to like it but I couldn’t.

comedy, entertainment for events, piano music, comedy music,

Don’t Drink This

To me it tastes like dish water that has been soaking the skillet that you broiled that salmon in last night.

At best it resembles a baby diaper bin at a day care center for children that suffer from inferiority complexes.

Once I had a sip of my wife’s tea and I thought I was drinking hair dye that got poured into the Ganges River and strained through a gym sock that had been left in the bottom of my gym bag from last Thursday.

Who wants to drink that?

I don’t. Not me. Go look for crazy somewhere else. Please.

How Does A Piano Player Learn So Many New Songs?

Learning new songs is part and parcel of our daily existence as a piano player who plays live music regularly. The challenge is sifting through all the new music and finding what works and what doesn’t work.

In my opinion most of the Pop and Country music these days has become homogenized. For those of you that didn’t grow up in the 60s ‘homogenized’ is not a sexual connotation. It means that everything is made the same. Some might say made to the same standard of quality. But I think what has happened is that most of the popular songs have the same chord changes and a drought of tasty melodies. I know there are some great and talented songwriters out there. But by the time their tune gets to the producer and to the recording process, there are changes that get made to make the song palatable. Axis of Awesome did this comedy music bit that has become a perfect example of what I’m taking about  

That’s okay by me. I don’t mind. I just know, as a writer, there are so many possibilities harmonically and melodically speaking, that there is no excuse for this. Even if a song were to have one ‘mystery chord’ in there somewhere, it would go a long way. It could be laziness. It could be ignorance.

But I think what has happened is when people like something, the creators replicate it because they know it’s a winning formula. This is true in every successful business. The music business is no different.

I think Adele has had some good success with adding tasty chords into her songs. Bruno Mars is copying many of the greats that came before him. They are both quite open about the fact that they are standing the shoulders of the giants who came before them.

My job is a piano player is to interpret what is out there and make it my own. For example, I don’t use massive amounts of music production techniques at our performances. I know some players use backing tracks and drum machines, even at dueling pianos shows. That’s cool. I never found it all that inspiring. As a piano player who works a lot I find I get inspiration from the people who are listening. I like that kind of energy rather than a technical energy.

The idea is that then the piano player turns the song into something of his own. Since we are all standing on the shoulders of the great ones who came before us, the only thing left for us to do is to personalize it.

That’s one of the things I learned early on as I was an aspiring musician learning to become a professional piano player. I used to think “Who is the best piano player?”. But then I realized it’s all one magic trick. Once you learn that one trick everything else after that is about adding the personality you were born with or that you are willing to let shine through.

So when I learn a new One Direction song or something from Jason Aldean, it doesn’t matter to me that all the same chords sequences are being used over and over again. I try to find the essence of the tune and make it my own. Sometimes I get it right, other times I need to keep learning.

When Was The Last Time You Had A Good Laugh? Dueling Pianos Music and Comedy

Another beautiful frosty day in November here in Chicago. We had another successful corporate event last night. It was a dueling pianos show in Peoria IL courtesy of Central Illinois Dueling Pianos. Thank you very much Andrew

We entertained a whole bunch of government officials. Some newly elected. Some newly un-elected. And of course all of their staff. We had a lot of laughs.

I love that part of our job as a musician, as an entertainer for an event.

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When Was The Last Time You Had A Good Laugh?

Getting people to laugh. Sometimes we’re just improvising. Sometimes they’re routines that we have been doing for years. But the thing about dueling pianos is we are always going to have something different.

It’s because of the audience. Every audience, tho similar, is different. Different requests. Different celebrations. Just different.

But we know you’re going to have fun. We know we’re going to get you to where you want to go. You want to have fun and you need to laugh. We just have to organize the deck chairs, if you will. Alphabetize the chaos.

We had that rolling laughter last night. That interactive banter that keys off of people in the audience and their responses. A quality dueling piano show allows for that to happen. It’s so flexible.

I feel like the laughter is the key. I have always been looking for that laugh. As long as I can remember. Its a key component of what I do. Getting people to laugh.

One of the ways to do it is to be able to laugh at myself. That right there is probably the top way to get others’ to join me in laughter. I don’t take this whole music and comedy thing too seriously. I know, comedy is a serious business and all. But I just don’t take myself too seriously.

I hope you don’t either. And don’t take it too personally either. We’re all human. We’re all really kind of the same – for the most part. We all do and think the same stupid stuff. So it’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes. It lightens the load we have to carry.

I think I read something somewhere about how laughter releases a chemical into our systems that keeps us young. I hope that’s true. Because there are times when I absolutely crave hearing laughter and having a good laugh – at myself most of all.

I hope you have a great Holiday season. We are busy busy busy again. Yet there are still a few dates open. I’d love to help you laugh some night too. Call me and we’ll see what we can do.

Add music to the mix and your audience will stay engaged


Ten years on the stage at Second City taught me one important lesson: use a warm and personal approach to engage the audience.

If you do that, they’ll have fun and stay engaged.

That’s how I’m able to put people at ease, and receptive to hearing your message.

And best of all, I do it with music – the kind of music that makes people laugh, sing along arm in arm and smiling from ear-to-ear.

Here’s another thing – they’re not only engaged with the music and me, they’re engaged with each other.

Now, I could go on and on about myself, but I’d rather let some of my clients do the talking for me.

Excited about using entertainment with great music? Let’s talk more about it!

Just give me a call at your convenience, at 773-527-7417.

 

 

You Call it Dueling Piano Music. Your Soul Calls it Stress Relief.

We played a corporate event with our dueling pianos show last week.

We are up in Wisconsin providing entertainment for events like these all the time. While every night is special, I need to tell you about this one.

We were performing to a group of law enforcement folks.

Sheriffs and deputies and their office staff. There were about 130 people in attendance. We took one look at the room, noticed there were mostly men in the house and thought, “Keeping 50% of these guys would be a major success.” Usually in a corporate event keeping 25% is successful. It’s just the way it is.

Let’s face it most folks go to a convention or a conference to meet other people in their industry and to reacquaint with old friends. So live music entertainment is the last thing on their minds.

So we went up there on stage and tried something a little different. We didn’t go up there and do our usual, “Hey! Here we are! We’re going to rock the house!” Instead we just went up there, laid down a saucy groove, played a couple of solos and listened to them get quiet as they began to listen. We introduced each other, waited for the applause and then went into our show.

It was remarkable! We kept over 90% of the people in the room.

We know we’re good at what we do. We know we will get people feeling good and singing along (even if they’re not inclined to sing). We just don’t always know how you’re going to get there. Our methods are to take chaos and organize it somehow. But honestly the audience tells us everything we need to know and we adjus from there.

By the end of the night, we had everyone gathered around the pianos, arm in arm singing at the top of their lungs. An organized chaos if ever there was one.

Handshakes all around and platitudes galore.

free stress relief dueling piano music entertainment for events

You call it Live Music Entertainment. Your Soul calls it Stress Relief!

One of the quotes from one of the wives said, “You don’t kow how much these guys needed this!” Someone else explained, “These guys are under intense pressure everyday. You gave them some much needed relief.”

I’ve kept thinking about that all week. These folks in law enforcement see the rest of us at our worst. Either as perpetrators when we are guilty or as the victims when we are not. I have no idea how they do it, how they hold empathy and compassion while doing their jobs. In essence, how they maintain their humanity.

Again, it wasn’t us. We were the guys behind the pianos that night and we are good at what we do. But it is the music. It is the power of the music that speaks to all of us – when we bother to listen, it is the music that heals and nurtures and pulls us all together in the face of our day to day trials.

So let us help you. Let us come to your next event and take your guests and friends and family to a relaxing, soothing place. Let us do our jobs so you can do yours. Thanks.

You call it Dueling Piano Music. Your soul calls it Stress Relief.  

I could have been in the Olympics but I’d rather be here

Olympics Rant

You know I qualified for the Olympics again this year. But I decided not to go. It wouldn’t be fair to the other athletes. I would have won all the medals especially on Track &Field. I mean that would be selfish of me.

Oh this sarcasm doesn’t look too good in print. Honestly, I’m surprised at how much of an expert I’ve become in sports I don’t know anything about. I was watching the platform divers last night and I had no idea how dangerous that sport could be. Those divers hit the water at 30+ mph. One wrong move and Ouch!

Olympics Day 3 - Diving

Then there’s me from my recliner in my living room looking to relax and I can only think there is not enough tape in the world to protect my wrists from hitting the water the wrong way. Then I find myself becoming VERY opinionated about the Splash Meter. When I used to watch this sport on the Wide World of Sports years ago, I don’t remember having it so easy. Yet here I sit with a beverage and a meter to gauge how much liquid should be acceptable in my life when it comes to platform divers.

You should have heard me last week during 2 man kayaking!