Gone But Not Forgotten
Thursday, August 20th at 1:30 AM, I received a text from my good friend’s sister informing me that her brother, John Killen (JK), passed away. JK came to Galveston in the Fall of 2010 to take a job as a Web Designer for the Islander, a locally published magazine. While at the Islander he wore many hats as a photographer, design editor, and contributing writer. When I first met JK, I was playing music at a local establishment one night on the Strand when he came and introduced himself. He was taking pictures for a segment in the magazine, Around The Town. He asked if he could take a few pictures of me and get some basic info.
A few days later a friend of mine who managed the pub that I was playing at, asked if a guy who was new to the area could come and sit in on a few songs. I agreed and that Friday JK showed up with his guitar in hand and ready to play. I had no intentions of doing anything other than a solo gig. I asked JK what song he knew that we could play, and he said, “you just play, and I will play follow along”. Play along he did!
I’ve had the opportunity to play with some of the finest players over the years, but I quickly found out JK was special. JK was a great guitarist in every sense of the word and his talent put him on the big stage with some well-known bands. He was in a band that toured and open for the Allman Brothers and after a couple tours he became good friends with all the members, especially Greg Allman. He showed me post cards and Christmas cards he had received from Greg and talked fondly of the friendship they shared through the years. He also played and toured with the band Wild Cherry, the band who wrote, Play That Funky Whiteboy. Rufus was the lead singer of the band at the time and wrote that famous hit six months after JK left the band! JK asked Rufus, “why did you wait until six months after I left to write the song?” Rufus said, “I didn’t wait, you just operate six months in front of everyone else.”
JK said that time on the road can age a man. So, in the late 80’s and early 90’s he decided to hang out in Los Angles for a little while, rubbing elbows with the who’s who in LA music scene. But he said that can be taxing, both fugitively and monetarily, so he swapped the west coast for the east coast. In Virginia Beach he played local gigs and that seemed to fit right into his wheelhouse until the Florida beaches came calling. He was originally from Pittsburg but always loved the coast. So, when a friend of his pointed him to a job opportunity in Galveston, he thought it sounded like fun, and plus he had never been to Galveston. When he arrived in Galveston, he said he knew he was home.
JK played on my CD, Where I Wanna Be, and did the graphics and layout. He built, designed, and maintained my website. JK was a talented web designer at Galveston.com, where they viewed him as family. He was good at anything he did and took pride in his work. In eight short years we played at the finest establishments around: bistros, fine dining, hotels, private gigs, listening rooms, weddings, bars, grills, casinos, festivals, and original music venues throughout the state. I cherished our time together. He made me a better guitarist in ever since of the word and I am eternally grateful. Thank you my brother JK. Until we meet again, rest in peace my friend.
Summer Outlook of 2021
Hello ! I am honored to have the opportunity to perform again for the On The Sidewalk Summer Concert Series (OTSCS) in June. I am on the clock so to speak, and putting the finishing touches on my new songs I have been working on for my upcoming album , the Quarantine Sessions . As the self proclaimed president of the Procrastination Society for many years , it’s time for me to resign my title and finish up the album. My most recent song titled, The Government Stimulus, is a catchy song that I am going to employ help from fellow talented musicians that I have performed before. I am hoping it achieves Herd popularity!
Robert Bubba Donoven is the brainchild who started the On The SideWalk Concert Series when he was the owner of Island Music . At the time he was operating our local music store that sold musical instruments and offered lessons. His store was located on 25th street in Downtown Galveston. The OTSCS originally started there, hence the name , but now the event has been moved to the corner of 27th and Market street, next to Maceo Spice & Import Company. The event is being sponsored by well known local business owners, Ronnie Macoe of (Maceo Spice & Import Company) and Cruz Cortez, (Cruz Cortez Fine Clothiers). They are collectively known as the Coconut Grove Bunch. The event has been running for 14 years now.
It is a showcase designed to give local, as well as area musicians a chance to perform. Last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic, but this year is a go with another great lineup . Some first timer’s as well as those, such as myself, who have had the opportunity to play in the years past.
Chris Gantry a long time Nashville recording artist who has written songs for artists like Glen Cambell, Dreams Of A Everyday Housewife which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1968. He made a cameo performance on April 15th to get things started but it was Burt Wills who actually kicked it off the Summer Concert Series with one of the largest crowds in recent memories . Of course Burt is one of the hometown favorites and the crowd certainly shows its appreciation on numbers for the Great One.
Recently I was in downtown Rockwall which is a suburb 30 miles east of downtown Dallas. It was there I was able to catch a Friday evening performance by a local 3 piece band that played on the downtown square . Pic’s of the event are posted here on my website . It was a really cool ambience which got me thinking , how lucky we are to have someone like Bubba ,and the Coconut Grove Bunch who promote and sponsor our concerts series without any financial assistance from the city or the parks boards and recreational department . Much kudos and thanks to the Coconut Grove Bunch for creating our summer concert series, because without them we would not have none.
I am scheduled to perform this month on Thursday the 24th of June. Being a part of this event is something that I take great pride in and look forward to .
For my schedule and the full summer concert series lineup go to galvestonmusicscene.com.
Till next time, stay safe and support your live entertainment .
From the late Ninety’s into the early Two Thousand’s I had the privilege of playing in a great cover band, “Shelly Banks & the Short Notice Band”. The band members were Charlie Alcala (lead & rhythm guitar), John Sanchez (keyboards & backing vocals), Shelly Banks (drums & lead vocals), and yours truly on bass guitar.
We played in the greater Houston area doing club gigs, private parties, and corporate functions. Playing in a band with talented musicians can be a lot of fun. Not only were we band mates but good friends to boot, which made it a very rewarding experience. You often hear people from all different professions say that what they really relish is the time spent together with those whom you work so hard with to achieve success. I know this to be true!
Since the late Seventies, through the Eighties and Nineties, till the present, Charlie and myself have played professionally together. Our first band together was called “Souvenir”. We had a couple local musicians, Claude Williams on Drums and Tim Vaughn on bass who were not in the reorganization when we formed our next band group called “Short Notice”. I went to playing the bass hence when John and Shelly came along, the name changed putting Shelly’s name out front Shelly Banks and the Short Notice Band”. Our song list was lengthy and reflected the modern songs of the day. The sound was full, and the song selection was great! But as all good things must come to pass, we played one of our last and most memorable gigs together on the Strand for the Z Krew Mardi Gras party. It was a spectacular evening with the drummer from the band Survivor, Mark Drubay coming to sit in with us for the night, after they had finished their set on the main stage as the headliners for the night. But it was time for me to move on. I was also at the time playing a duo with my good friend Richard Broom who left town to take a “real job “as he put It in Del Rio Texas. Richard wrote several songs on my CD including the title track (Where I Wanna Be). It was at that time that I got the notion to reinvent myself musically and become an acoustic singer/songwriter. Knowing that it was going to take all my focus and energy to achieve this, I made the decision to leave the band. Leaving the band was not easy but was necessary.
As of late I have not heard much from Shelly, which I say I take no news for good; John and I run into periodically around the town. As for Charlie he’s been playing with a little band on the mainland called “Small Town Friends”.
I was proud to be a part of Shelly Banks & the Short Notice Band; something I really enjoyed, and I cherish the time we spent together and the wonderful memories we made together.
So here we are in January of 2021. I hope all is well and that you had good holidays ! With that being said the Covid vaccine is starting to roll out and hopefully it will be readily available to us all so we can all get back to a sense of normalcy .
As far as the gigs go, I’ve been blessed to be able to play Friday night at the beautiful Galveston Hilton for their weekly happy hour from 5pm-8pm; and It looks like we are turning the corner for the better as the jobs are starting to roll in so to speak . I was asked to play on the sidewalk for the Postoffice street merchants . They are a great bunch of small unique businesses of all kinds . Clothing boutiques , art galleries, fine jewelry shops ,chic eateries , coffee shops and many more . They have been hiring local musicians weekly to play on the sidewalk , weather permitting. If all works out I am looking forward to playing for them once a month ! You can find them on the web at www.postofficedistrict.com or on their Facebook page .They are a great bunch of people that could use our support !
On another note , I am still working on my latest project, “The Quarantine Sessions” with Clayton Ceolli overseeing the track along with mastering the editing and mixing. He really has been a true blessing for me on the project and it’s friends like him that can turn an idea or a dream into reality . Also I have employed the help of some of the finest musicians in the land . Alex Leslie, former keyboardist for the Mambo Kings, is laying tracks for me on a couple of tunes; and I am wanting to get my web designer and web tech guy (JK) John Killen to lay a couple guitar tracks and riffs for me .
That’s about it for now , stay safe and be blessed and for more info on the music scene , go to www. galvestonmusicscene.com
Over the years I have been so blessed to be able to perform and play with many talented musicians, Mark Stricklin being one of them.
Mark first came on the Galveston music scene in the late nineties from Fort Worth, Texas. He was playing with some of the locals’ bands down on the Strand. After quickly settling in, Mark had regular gigs 5 to 6 nights a week. It just so happened in the same time frame that I was starting to get my feet wet playing a few solo gigs. As fate would have it, Mark and I started playing as a duo soon after.
Mark was a few years older than me and his musical knowledge, talent, and experience would provide us with a big, rich sound. Mark played several instruments – the Sax, the Guitar, and the Bass guitar. He had a degree in music from North Texas State where he went on a scholarship. After college he played with a local Fort Worth band called, “Larry and the Blue Notes”; and, he later played with many other bands before heading down to Galveston. He also plays and sings on several tracks on my CD, “ Where I Wanna Be”. We played together at the Galveston Hilton, Capt. Jacks Beach bar, and many other local establishments before the game changer came along in September 2008, AKA “Hurricane Ike”. Mark got out with just a few belongings; the rest was a total loss. Calling Galveston his home after that he was determined to make the best of it and replace his losses; but work had slowed after the storm and all musicians were adversely affected. After riding it out for a few years he decided to move back to Fort Worth to be with his mother who was in good health but was ageing. Mark and his brother Arvil, who is also a musician, started playing again in the Fort Worth music scene. Mark came down from time to time to visit me and play a few gigs and catch up on things in Galveston. We lost Mark way too soon, in August of 2014.
I am one of the luckiest guys around when it comes to having had the opportunity to play with many gifted and talented musicians. Mark being right there at the top. Mark’s birthday is coming up on July 21st. So may I say to my friend, “Happy heavenly Birthday, Mark!”; and, “Thanks for letting me be a part of your life!”. For we know, people are not with us for a lifetime, only for a season of time in our life . One day we shall meet and play again my brother. Till then rest in peace. Luv you Bro.
Music has been a part of Boo Schaaf’s life ever since he can remember. When he was a boy his family of eight would often get together and sing along as his three sisters played the family piano. He remembers vividly the day his mother gave him his first drumset. Purchased with S & H green stamps. The feeling he felt the first time he played is a fond memory of his.
As fate would have it, well known Galveston musician and band leader Danny Smith moved in next door. Many days Boo could be found at Danny’s band rehearsal soaking it all in. In his teen years many artists such as Larry Campanello, Danny Kristensen, and Boo’s cousin Fofo Gilich had a profound influence on his musical direction, and it wasn’t long before Boo started to perform with Galveston’s local musicians: Joe Dundee, Charlie Alcala, Tim Vaughn, to name a few.
In 2004, Boo decided to make a turn in his musical direction. He quit the band to start on his solo career; setting his sights on writing and releasing a CD. That goal became a reality in 2012 with the help of long time friend and musician Richard Broom. Richard helped in writing many of the tracks on Boo’s album, which include songs: ”You & Me”, ” Walking My Blues Away”, and the title of this debut album, “Where I Wanna Be”. Boo credits Richard for embarking him on his solo endeavor . A BOI (Born On the Island), Boo calls Galveston his home. When he’s not on the road, he can be found most nights gigging the local scene.