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September 26, 2004

Hey y'all - it's me Karen.  Been awhile since I wrote an update but Bill was out of town this weekend so it's up to me to tell you about our weekend.  It was busy!   Friday night we played at the Holiday Inn Sunspree in Wrightsville Beach for the first time.  Great gig - we played outside on the deck facing the ocean.  It was a beautiful night, the wind was a little strong at times but it was a nice breeze

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                                                                                                  September 19, 2004

              "Break A Leg"  (Old show business exclaimation of Good Luck)

              "Break an Arm" (Kasper's comment to Lori.)

 

 From Bill

             Well, I continually say to myself I'm too old to being doing this, have too much to do to keep doing this, it doesn't pay well enough, people don't come out to see bands and party like they used to...and here I am once again writing an update for yet another show with MACO STATION.

              The latest job was at Chuckie D's, just off Oleander Drive in Wilmington. This is one of those places I have a love-hate relationship with--- on the plus side the people are great, nice little bar, fairly easy to load in, good staff...on the other side they don't advertise who's there so unless you are a regular or read this website, well, when we're there not many people know about it. Good to see a good sized crowd of regulars though. It was Alex's birthday...for those of you who read these updates Alex is the bartendress at Chuckie D's. She always keeps things running smoothly and has the uncanny ability to remember what people's drink preferences are, even if you've only been there once or twice. Since it was her birthday she had the night off and was there to party.  We got underway at nine-thirty with "Jumping Jack Flash", and I was “blowing clams" from the start (making mistakes.) Seems I just couldn't focus on what I was doing. Hopefully nobody noticed, but I realized during the second song, the Temptations "Get Ready", I had better get my act together. Strange, I've never had this problem until recently.  (Getting old?).

              Lots of MACO family in attendance. In addition to the band itself- Big Daddy, Karen, Billy Stratton, Robbie, helperman/recording person Tim (who had the distinction of getting "hit on" by three different women during the course of the evening), and myself, was manager (and Karen's husband) Mike, & Billy's father, Mr. Bill Stratton. Our crew is getting to be rather sizeable! Longtime family member Beth came in, great to see HEr again, and who should wander in but former drummer Jamie O, along with his wife Kim and sister Lori. Of course we had to get Jamie up to play drums and sing a few songs---his version of  "Unchain My Heart", is a real treat to be heard, not to mention his drumming on the Allman Brothers "Whipping Post", where his part actually was played by the Allman Brothers with TWO drummers! A testament to Jamie's past contributions as a drummer/vocalist is the fact that Maco Station replaced him with two people!  Nice to see people dancing--and singing along, particularly to "Hands to Yourself", the Georgia Satellites number (their one hit.)  

Next week has us at The Holiday Inn Sunspree at Wrightsville Beach on Friday night, and back at The Brass Pelican at Surf City on Saturday night....Billy Stratton will be back on bass for the next two weeks as I'll be out of town, should be a treat for the long time fans to hear the band sound more like it did a few years back, I know I'll be wishing I was there!

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                                                                                             August 29, 2004

  From Bill,

              To all the readers who are making their first visit to our webpage:  welcome, and to those returning: thanks for dropping in again. MACO STATION updates this website to let everyone know who we are, where and when we are appearing live, and what's going on in our sometimes insane world of a cover band. As I reflect back on many years of playing clubs and parties it occurs to me that the ideal  progression of a musician is to pay your dues practicing your craft, usually in a multitude of "garagebands" that go nowhere, then advancing to local clubs where you play cover tunes in a smoky room full (hopefully full) of people drinking, dancing, and having a goodtime, and then doing original music, recording, and becoming 'a star.' Hmmm.... Having done some recording and small concerts where you play for about 45 minutes I can honestly say I prefer that, however, we're one of  the many local bands that sweat it out in smoky bars for four hours a night and very little money. You obviously must love what you're doing... or be a little 'off', as the British say.

             Anyway, this past weekend had us trekking back up to Lor-Re-Lei,  a nice little bar located in Snead's Ferry, NC, about forty miles from our  home base of Monkey Junction. (The town of Maco is about twenty miles  to the west of Monkey Junction and no, no one in the band is actually from there.) The drive up isn't too bad, very familiar road to me from my travels  in the late seventies w/ the Al Watkins Band (often six nights a week up in Jacksonville NC over a two-year period.) We all travel separately which considering gas prices can get rather expensive.

              I arrived at about 8:20 on Friday to set up. My current bass rig fits easily into the little Nissan station wagon I've been driving-- 220 watts into 15" &  12" speakers, plenty for this place. Looked over to Big Daddy's side of the stage and I see we're back under "Marshall Law." Working in a music store means that Big Daddy rarely plays the same guitar or amp twice running. Good crowd tonight, especially for a Friday, and everyone's up and on the dance floor from the start. This always makes for a fun night. Many  familiar faces, and Pam & her husband have brought a crowd as usual.

             Seems that they're always there at least one night when we're at Lor-Re-Lei. And of course, the 'back of the bar ladies', Gretchen & Debbie were there both nights to liven things up. (More on this later.) Gretchen brought along Allison on Friday night, a friend of hers I don't remember seeing before.

            Saturday rolled around and th advance crowd was even larger than the night before. Pam was back again (glad to see her and her husband and all their friends, once again they brought a crowd.  Two new ladies sitting near them, Sharon & Kelly, who mentioned that they had left "Bob" & "Uncle Phil" either at home or in the car--- these were not actual people as it turned out-- you had to be there!

           ...there was an interesting contest held about midnight...a bikini contest where the contestants had to make their own bikinis, using anything but cloth. One lady made hers out of duct tape...thought that was very inventive on her part....nobody else came prepared but luckily boss lady Tracey had some 'interesting' ones in the back. There were categories for both men and women...sadly only two women took part, the aforementioned 'duct tape lady' and Debbie...all I can say is 'checkmate!" Three men in the contest including our own Mike Heath....good job, Mike, but the men's category was won by  a recent transplant from Texas who is also a bass player.

            Robbie's friend Tim was there both nights to lend a hand and a helping ear to our sound, and Saturday night he recorded the entire show. From what I heard during the breaks it was possibly the best live recording we've ever done--unfortunately there were NO originals done that night.

           Great to see Ms. Beth, a longtime Maco family member & friend of Karens.... she came in right before the first set having caught a ride from  Mike & Karen...I was sitting there eating a shrimp burger (great food from the Lor-Re-Lei kitchen, by the way) and looked up to see Karen & Beth walk up...quite a fun night, one of those nights that make you realize how much fun performing in public can be....lately it seems that those nights are getting fewer & further between---I must be getting old, don't really get the same enjoyment as I did just a few years back....and that Damn bass gets heavy after four hours---anybody doing one set shows that needs a bass player? Preferably one with a road crew....this coming week four shows at the Surfside in Carolina Beach, Thurs thru Saturday--unless Hurricane Frances spoils or fun....later....                        _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

                                                                                             August 22, 2004

"The dog ate my homework." (Statement made by a classmate of mine back in the fifth grade)  "My dog ate my floppy disk." (This really happened to  me!)

 From Bill,

            I thought that this week I'd give you an honest idea of what goes on w/ a band. We gathered together at Robbie's house on Tuesday night for a practice.  We had been rehearsing at Karen's but it turns out that Robbie has an outbuilding that he and his friend Tim have turned into a combination studio and practice room. No A/C so we played with the front doors open which Big Daddy liked because he could smoke. I had no idea of what we were working on but there was a recording of the old hit "Slip Away" which was recorded by Clarence Carter as well as many others. Since this song was playing over and over I figured out that this was a possible new song for us so I began to learn the bass part.  Luckily I was somewhat familiar with the tune and it's rather easy to learn. I thought that we had done a respectable job of learning it but it didn't appear on the song list.

          I checked the 'Currents' section of the Wilmington Morning Mullet-Wrapper as I do every Thursday morning to see who's playing where. We were booked at Chuckie D's on Friday the 20th, and since he often doesn't advertise who is playing there I wasn't too surprised to not see us mentioned. I fail to see the logic here, I mean, if you're paying for an ad, a band, and wanting to make money I would assume that you'd let potential customers know who is appearing. To make matters worse, I showed up at 8:15 to find a Karaoke show set up on the stage.    Big Daddy, Robbie, and Tim were waiting outside and had confirmed that indeed we were supposed to be there. The people doing the Karaoke show were then called by the management and informed of the fact that they were not there that evening. They were not real happy about this--- can't say I blame them. And of course they had been there the previous Friday & several people had been told that they would be back. All this confusion does nobody any good....

         Anyway, we started just a bit late with the late load-in and everything. Crowd was respectable despite the lack of advertising and everyone was having a real large time. Opened up with "Jumping Jack Flash," a little worried that it  might be a little loud for a first song. No worries, though, the people were great and no complaints about the volume at all that evening. Good to have Billy back with us, and his son and future daughter-in-law were there as well as his dad, Big Bill. Seems like Billy can fill up any club we play at with just family!

         Back on the road next week- up to Snead's Ferry once again.      ______________________________________________________________________________________________

                                                                                                     August 15, 2004

                   “I talk to myself because I want to associate with a higher class of people.”     (Jackie Mason)

 From Bill,

             Well, where WAS everyone on the 11 th of last month? Certainly not at Cody's (well, except for a few!) And that was too bad because despite playing without Billy Stratton we had one of our best nights--- even the song "Redneck Woman' came out sounding really good. The people that were there had a good time...something I've noticed, though....we've played bars where there was more men than women and there naturally was not as much dancing and everyone seemed more restrained....however, this particular evening there were more women than men and the results were pretty much the same...our friend Elizabeth (Dr. Elizabeth yet?) would have a lot of fun studying this phenomenom!

         Last month also had us trekking up to Emerald Isle, NC to play at the Holiday Campground up there. They have live bands every Saturday night from 7:30 until 10:30. Most of the band & family drove up early with plans to stay overnight and enjoy the beach...Big Daddy had to work so I rode up with him as I knew the way from many family vacations at Emerald Isle. It's about a ninety minute ride and we had about two hours to get there. Somewhere outside Swansboro we noticed that the van was running a little hotter than normal....I suggested turning off the A/C to see if that helped but Big Daddy did not want to do without his A/C! With the temperature gauge hovering near hot we cruised into Emerald Isle. This job was outside under a covered gazebo-type open building, and lo & behold---they had plenty of electrical outlets! Very unusual. The only detraction to the whole set-up is that the restrooms were quite a trek away---but being so hot out my main worry was staying hydrated.

           Holiday Campground is a family type event so we were asked to refrain from drinking and using any profanity. We actually changed the words to several songs "to keep it clean."  It was also a pleasure to have former MACO STATION drummer and vocalist Dr. John & Vicki join us for the evening. Dr. John played drums & percussion as well as sang---it really added a lot to the night. As I've said before this year we're calling our series of bookings "The MACO Family Reunion," and having John & Vicki there made it even more special. The only thing I regret is not having Billy play bass while John played drums for that "1999" original sound!

          I used my wireless system for my bass for most of the first set until I began to perspire so much that I actually shorted the transmitter out during "I Ain't Fat." By the way, we're now doing two originals from the MACO STATION CD, 'I Ain't Fat', and  'Separate Ways,' almost an old-time beach music slow dancing song. It's got a good groove and the response has been very positive despite the fact that were still learning it.

        All ages at this gig--- a little different from what we're used to. I liked the fact that because we were outdoors cigarette smoke wasn't an issue. Also interesting was the fact that every time we went on break the audience left and went back to their campsites, but returned as soon as we started playing. One young gentleman (10 or 11) actually wanted to hear 'Drift Away,' and we were glad to play it for him.  Finishing up at ten-thirty was very different & welcome. We loaded up and Big Daddy & I left in his van, the rest of the band opting to stay the night at the campground. As we started up the bridge leaving Emerald Isle we noticed the temperature gauge once again headed for the dreaded 'hot' area. I once again suggested turning off the A/C but we continued on bravely (well, after all, I DID have my cell phone!) A little rain further down the road seemed to help ('...rain water blowing under my hood, knew it was doing my Ford engine good...')  ---anyway, we made it home all-right.

        Several bookings at Lorettas and Lor-Re-Lei up in Sneads Ferry have occupied the rest of our time. Due to Karen's computer being down we have not had any updates, and unless I write those soon after they occur I tend to forget all the details. This past weekend had us back at Loretta's Surfside Bar at Carolina Beach. Only one night this weekend as Hurricane Charley was heading for us thankfully now at a category two.

     Anyway, Friday night was sort of a "Hurricane Party" for the regulars and a few tourists who were braving the elements. Due to his job at a local TV station Billy Stratton was not able to be there so we once again carried on with Karen, Big Daddy, Robbie, and Myself. I missed Billy not being there but then again I had more room on my side of the stage! We started out to a rather sparse crowd due to the impending storm and the rain showers. Karen's husband Mike & Wesley were kind enough to run down to Britt's Donut Shop and bring back what are probably the best donuts you'll find anywhere. A customer at Lorettas, also named Karen was sitting at one of the front tables talking to us so we introduced her to Britts great donuts. Needless to say, she thought that they were great.

        Thanks to Shorty and Barbara for tending bar. I received the sad news that bartendress Pam was no longer working there and was glad to see her wander in later to hang out and even take the time to pass around our tip jar. (Thanks!)  Ms. Loretta was missed this evening--she could not be there and her absence was noticed by everyone.

       The crowd picked up towards the end of the night as often happens at Caroliona Beach. We packed up at one AM reluctantly--- the storm was due to hit the next afternoon and we were all hoping for the best. Noticed Robbie trying a few background vocals during the night--- appreciate the help! And Big Daddy is also singing more.

    Next week has us back at Chuckie D's---and we'll try to get these updates happening more often.

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August 7, 2004

Hey Fans,

I finally am able to update the web site after several weeks of my computer being down!  We are now up and running - hope you haven't given up on us!!!!  July was an extremely busy month for us with several gigs at Carolina Beach and a weekend at Lo-re-lei's in Sneads Ferry.  Bill will have to write about July in greater detail - he's much better at that than me!

Next weekend we'll be back at  Loretta's at Carolina Beach - please come out to see us!!!!!  Rock On!!!!!!!!

-Karen

P.S.  Unfortunately - because I had to start from scratch when updating this website recently - we lost some of our Guest Book entries - any entry after Jan. 2003 is gone, so please keep signing our Guest Book - we love hearing from you!!!!!!!! 

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                                                                                                            June 10, 2004        

              From Bill,

                  As I sit here with a slight cold and a sore throat looking ahead to Friday night at Cody’s I realize just how busy I’ve been over the last two weeks. Along with the forementioned four wonderful nights in a row at the Surfside over the Memorial Day weekend was three bookings last weekend.

                I was not able to be at the Surfside last Friday night due to a previous booking with SHAZAM, the keyboard-bass duo that I’ve worked with off and on since 1995. MACO STATION once again relied on the abilities of Billy Stratton, the original bass player who now plays rhythm guitar w/ the band (at least when I’m there!)

               Saturday afternoon was the annual Carolina Beach music festival held on a stage right by the ocean, near the Surfside. Ms. Loretta had us play from 1until 5 last year and we had a good crowd, so she decided to try it again.   I arrived at the beach around 12:15. Free parking areas are a thing of the past  so I headed for one of the $5.00 public lots where at least you probably won’t get towed from. Well, with all the people at the beach these lots were full as well so I took my chances and parked in the bank parking lot despite that there was a sign saying “all unauthorized vehicles will be towed at owner’s expense” (like the bank was going to pay   for the towing!). Since the bank was closed and the lot was full of refugees like myself I took a chance and slid my ’83 Nissan station wagon into a space. Luck was with me this day as the car was still there at 5PM. (Maybe the towing company felt sorry for me driving such a disreputable car, but hey, it hauls all my equipment and is great on gas!)

               I wandered with bass in hand through the Boardwalk (actually it’s made out of concrete---a Concretewalk?)  Lots of people milling around as I made my way past the cycle rentals, arcades, Britt’s famous donut shop, the Pizza place, and a new shop: ‘A Little Bit Hippy’ (Hippie?)  Looked to be a shop that sold clothing and accessories  from the sixties-might have to check it out sometime.

               Loretta’s Surfside Bar sure looks different in the daylight---most musicians are Vampires anyway---takes some getting used to.  We got started at one o'clock to a respectable crowd that included friends & family. Mike Raab of  THE BEAT MAGAZINE (see our link to it at the bottom of the home page) came out and took several pictures. Good to see him again. In addition to publishing The BEAT MAGAZINE Mike is an ccomplished keyboard player who has worked with MACO STATION in the past--- always fun!   The first three sets were great and things began to die down towards the end of  the afternoon, both at the Surfside and on  the Boardwalk itself. This was fine with me because we were all getting a little tired from our busy schedule and wanted to rest up for the evening show.

               I arrived back at the Surfside around eight-fifteen for the evening show. Both Pam and Shorty were STILL tending bar---a long day for them. Lots of familiar faces mixed in with the regulars. As the dance floor got more and more crowded Billy had his microphone accidentally pushed into his mouth more than once as the dancers got wilder and wilder. One lady in particular was having a great time, and covering a lot of the dance  floor in the process. During 'Margaritaville', a Jimmy Buffet song that I sing Karen walked out onto the dance floor and pulled up her shirt during the 'with nothing to show but a brand new tattoo' line in the song...revealing a temporary tattoo across her lower back.,  Bartendress Pam did this same thing on Monday night---wonder if it's getting to be a tradition? Great fun, but I do tend to forget the next verse.  Robbie is doing great as the MACO drummer---the breaks, beginnings, and endings are becoming tighter and tighter. Nothing like a series of bookings at the Surfside to get a band sounding good!

             Only (ONLY?) one job this week---Cody's on Friday night. Because of computer  problems you'll most likely be reading this AFTER the fact....but the booking has been on  our webpage for some time so hopefully anyone that wants to will be out that evening.

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                                                                                                   June 2, 2004

  From Bill,

           MACO STATION has just finished up a four day series of shows at the Surfside at Carolina Beach. All I can say is “what a great start to the summer!”

          I arrived at the club at eight o’clock Friday night to set up & the bar was already packed. Bartendresses Shorty & Pam were running around  like centipedes that have walked through itching powder. It was a struggle to get all my equipment inside and to the stage.

        We’re a five- piece band right now which cuts down on the money but is a lot more fun. Along with the ever-present Big Daddy on lead guitar is Karen (Miss Kitty) on vocals, original bass player Billy Stratton now on rhythm guitar and vocals, myself on bass, and newcomer Robbie Spivey on drums. We started at nine to what was already a full house, and I was pleased to see that everybody was staying around. I felt great about that until someone pointed out that it was pouring rain outside! Anyway, it was great night and yes, the crowd was with us to the end.

        Saturday rolled around and I walked in fearing the worst. Usually a busy Friday is followed by a slower Saturday as some of the customers are “recovering.” Ms. Loretta had lots of food out (I must have missed a party!), and the place was packed. Lot’s of dancers again which ALWAYS gives us something to watch. Along with the regulars were a lot of people that were obviously tourists down for the Memorial Day weekend, especially nice to see some faces from the night before.

        Because of the Holiday weekend we were booked to play on Sunday night as well-this sometimes turns out to be a slow night. But as I mentioned before, this was a great start to the playing season at the beach, and Sunday had the Surfside packed again. I notice that during Billy’s version of  ‘Heaven’s Door’ that we dedicate to the men & women who serve our country, & to friends that have passed on, a lady who is a regular at the Surfside came up to Karen during the song, very upset over some private loss. I did not ask Karen for details & what was REALLY unusual was the one of her friends came up to offer this lady some comfort and actually crossed herself as she knelt by her friends side. This is one of those special events & moments you witness…even in a bar we often turn to God for comfort, aid & solace. I was truly touched by witnessing this event.

        Monday afternoon I received a call from Karen—Ms. Loretta wanted to know if we could play Monday evening as well. Apparently the success of the last three nights encouraged her to try another. Billy unfortunately could not make it so we decided to play as a quartet as we had some many times in the past. Noticed three ladies sitting at what I call the ‘first table’, one close to the stage. Two of them left right before we began, leaving one there alone. Now, as in most bars, a single lady sitting alone is going to get ‘hit on’ by every guy in the place. No surprise when this happened. I kind of felt sorry for her and considered sitting down and talking but number one with my hearing I don’t do well in conversations in loud bars, and also maybe she preferred to be alone. Anyway, Brenda (that turned out to be her name) stayed the entire evening (thanks!) and was joined by her daughter Donna and two friends. Seems that Brenda & Donna were down Visiting from Ohio and were going to be a the beach for a week---Loretta’s instincts were right on the money---turned out to be a very respectable Monday night. During the song ‘Margaritaville’, which I sing there is a verse ‘…don’t know the reason I stayed here all season with nothing to show but a brand new tattoo…’ bartendress Pam was walking by the front of the stage as I sang this and turned her back to me and pulled up her shirt revealing a very nice tattoo across her lower back. I immediately forgot the words to the rest of the verse!

       As I packed up my bass at the end of the night I felt that the entire weekend at the Surfside had been a great success--- and we’re scheduled to play there next Friday, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night. Due to a schedule conflict I won’t be able to be there on Friday night so Billy Stratton will once again resume bass duties. Come see us.

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May 27, 2004

Hey Y'all,

Just wanted to let all of our fans know that we found ourselves a drummer and we are so looking forward to what the future holds for Maco Station!  Some of you may know him - he's Robbie Spivey and he used to play drums for "Jam Sandwich" a couple of years ago.  We'd been practicing with him for a couple of weeks and this weekend at Loretta's will be our first gig with him. 

It all started because we needed someone to play drums at my husband Mike's 30th birthday party on Sat. May 15th.  Big Daddy said that if he was going to be at the party than he wanted to play guitar, so I said alright then, let's see if we can get the band together.   Bill had family and work obligations and could not make the party, but luckily Billy Bob could be there and being the versatile muscian that he is, he played bass for the night.  So we had the guitar and bass but no drummer.  Beth who had been filling in a couple of gigs with us could not make it.  I had invited Jamie O. to play but he was out of town so the search was on........At 3:30 Sat. afternoon (the party started at 5:30), I phoned an old friend I knew from a couple years back, Robbie - with much surprise and a 2 hour notice,  he said he could make the party!!  Yeah, we had ourselves a drummer for the party!!!!!!  Now, I also knew that Robbie wasn't playing in a band right now and that we needed a drummer,  so I was hoping that .....well, what I was hoping for happened.  We found us a drummer for the band!!!!!   The party ended up being a blast - the band played on a flat bed, thanks to our friend Robert who works for Waste Management!  All the neighbors came over to enjoy the music, but we must have forgotten to invite someone because the Police showed up saying that someone had complained 10 times that we were too loud!  Luckily one of Mike's friend is a Sheriff, and he knew the Officer, so all we had to do was turn down. A lesson learned, whenever having an outdoor party with music, always invite an Officer of the Law!!!  Shortly afer that Billy Bob got called into work and the music stopped about 10:30.  It was a fun time had by all!

This should be a great weekend down at Carolina Beach as Memorial Day weekend always is so come on down and check us out!!!!!

ROCK ON!!!!

-Karen

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                                                                                                           May 9, 2004

                            "Time goes by so fast ya know, you never really know who your friends are"    (Al Kooper)

 From Bill,

              ... Big Daddy & Karen sure found out over the last month. Personnel changes in the MACO STATION Band have been coming fast & furious as band members have left to pursue other interests. After trying out several musicians a rather strange series of events occurred & this series of shows has been titled "The Maco Family Reunion."

             First former member to rejoin Karen & Big Daddy was Billy Stratton, the original bass player. This time around, however, Billy is playing rhythm guitar & singing. He was asked back to help with the vocals when Jamie O departed. Shortly thereafter Paul Mack announced his departure to pursue other interests in music & I received the same phone call that I have gotten so many times in the past..."could you come back and play bass for a while?"

             My first performance was April 30 at Cody's, a place I knew well.   Joining us was drummer Chris Stone who started out the evening on a high note with a great introduction to the crowd before the first song. A good turn out on this evening & Big Daddy's wife Sandra took several pictures which hopefully will make it to the website. Thanks to our bartendress for the evening whose name I unfortunately did not get.                The following week brought the news that Chris would be unable to work with us, and with only three days before our trip back to Lor-re-lei      Maco Station once again called on a former member, Beth Harris Bigford, who was the drummer several years ago. Beth did a great job at rehearsal despite the fact that we had two hours in which to go over two nights worth of music.

            Friday night & my first trip back to Snead's Ferry since January.  Lor-re-lei has been one of my favorite places to play for quite a while now, boss lady Tracy has a great place. Thanks to Tracy & Bonnie for tending bar. We started with some classic Motown songs, followed by some of Billy's good time country tunes that soon had the dance floor packed. All in all a great show...thanks to Debbie & Gretchen, the famous (and since  this IS the world-wide-web), actually world famous "back of the bar" ladies.

           Saturday brought a real shock at the gas station ($1.85.9 WHAT?!?), so I called Big Daddy and caught a ride up w/ him. A rather sparse crowd for a Saturday & rather subdued at first. Lots of compliments so I guess the music was OK but the crowd seemed very laid back....noticed something about that....the audience was definitely more men than women, and anytime a lady walked in she was with a......... .man..... hmmm.... anyway , a rather quiet first two sets.

          During the break between sets two & three who should wander in but the aforementioned "back of the bar" ladies. Gretchen (bless her heart) immediately yelled out 'it's time to get this party started", and what do you  know, things picked up almost immediately. By the end of the night we were all having a "real large time." Finished w/ Zeppelin's "Rock & Roll" and immediately people began yelling for 'more'...music to a musician's ear's! With all the people yelling for various songs we heard a few voices calling"Freebird!" This happens to be one of Billy's better songs to sing, and of course is a real rocker at the end. Great way to end a night! Bonnie was back to tend bar, said she works Friday & Saturdays in order in be off on Sunday so she can spend the day with her family. Also thanks to Cindy, the other bartendress---they were both quite busy during the last two sets.  Also I'd like to thank the guy who requested 'Wipe Out'---the dancers during that song had to be seen to be believed! Big Daddy ended the song to much sadness from me---was having fun watching the dance floor! (You would be amazed at what you see from on the stage.)

           Next week brings us back to T-Bones, located in Wrightsboro. I enjoy  playing there because of the large stage--I have lots of room to run around there & usually use my wireless set-up for my bass...just as long as I don't  pick up any police calls over the airwaves!

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April 26, 2004

Well another month has gone by - I'm not very good with these updates - Luckily someone is coming back to help me which I will tell you about shortly!  So much has happened this month let's start at the beginning......

April 2nd & 3rd had us at Lo-re-lei's - it was Jamie O's last weekend with us - we had two great nights, as always there.   Big Daddy even recorded both nights. We had so much fun, especially Sat. night, Jamie's last night.  I didn't realize how emotional I was about Jamie's departure until the very last song of the night, which was Rock & Roll by Zeppelin.  As Jamie was playing his last solo at the end of the song, I had to fight back tears! I'm a woman so I'm not afraid to admit that!  We will miss Jamie - but he will always be welcome to come visit us and get up on stage and play anytime!

We were off the following weekend because that was the weekend of the big move for my husband and I.   Before our weekend at Loretta's April 16th & 17th, we had great news - BillyBob came back!  He's our rhythm guitar player.  Billy had always played bass, so this is something new and different for him, plus it adds a second guitar and a fuller sound to the band.  It was so great to be back at the beach, no matter how long it's been since we've been there, when you walk into Lorettas, it feels like home!   Everyone was so glad to see us and it was so nice to see so many familiar faces!   First and foremost it was great to see Loretta!  She'd been through a long hard fall and winter after suffering from her motorcycle accident.  I know she's still not all recovered but she looks great!  It was also great having BillyBob on stage again and hearing him sing those slow country songs!  Overall we had a great weekend there.  My entire family came to see us Sat. night. My brother Ed came in from California, my sister Amy and brother-in-law Al from Boston, and my parents (who live here in Wilmington and been to see us several times).  My family was down for the weekend celebrating my brother's birthday! 

Unfortunately, we are still searching for a drummer!  This past weekend, we played at the Moose Lodge here in Wilmington on Sat. the 24th.  Wiley (?) - sorry if  I spelled it wrong -Brock sat in as the drummer for the night.  Also, sadly, before the gig, Paul informed us that he would be leaving the band!  Paul has been playing bass since January/February with us.   We were saddened by the news because not only is he a great bass player, but he's also a great guy!  So we played Sat. night and it was a good gig - the Wilmington Moose Lodge is a fun place, the people seem to enjoy our variety of music we play.  We keep most of our heavy rocking stuff for late in the evening.   Wiley did a great job on drums.  We're negotiating with him and hoping he will take the job as the drummer. 

Also great news, Bill (Ferencak) is coming back to play bass!  This is the part where I told you someone was coming to help me with these updates!  Big Daddy, BillyBob and myself are looking forward to having Bill come back!  BillyBob and Bill have played two gigs together before but other than that, they've never been in the band at the same time, since both had been the Maco bass players.  We see a lot of  fun in the future!!!! We're even talking about putting out another CD again!  Hopefully the drummer's position will be filled soon and the band will be complete so we can start learning some new songs again.  This Friday we're at Cody's and the line-up will be Big Daddy on lead guitar, BillyBob on rhythm guitar, Bill on bass, Wiley on drums and me on vocals!  Come out and see us!

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March 27, 2004

Well I can't believe a month has gone by without an update - we miss you Bill - you were always so good with keeping up with these!!!!!  So much has happened this month.....  Well sadly, Jamie O. has announced his departure from the Maco family.  He's leaving us to pursue other adventures.  So the search for a new drummer was on this month, a singing drummer at that!!!!  After a few weeks of searching, we found one!!!  His name is Mike McGreevy - he's lived in Wilmington for 3 years  (he's from Maryland).   He's got years of experience under his belt and we look forward to new adventures with him.  His first gig with us will be April 16th  at Lorettas.  Yes, that's right Surside at Loretta's at Carolina Beach - we'll be going back to our old stomping grounds!  So this next weekend, April 2nd & 3rd will be our last weekend with Jamie, we'll be up at Lor-re-lei's in Sneads Ferry.  It should be a fun weekend, sad too, as it always is when a Maco family member leaves us......

On a sad note, Paul's mother passed away a couple of weeks ago.  Our prayers and wishes go out to Paul and his family! 

Well - I could write more, but Mike, my husband, and I are in the middle of moving so I just have one more thing to say....ROCK ON!

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Feb. 29, 2004

Hey Y'all,

I was reminded the other night at Chuckie D's that I need to update the web page!  Well, it's been a busy month............  Lets see, when I left off, I mentioned that we were playing at Lor-re-lei's in Sneads Ferry on Valentine's Day weekend.  We had a great gig both nights!   As I mentioned before, this is one of our favorite places to play because of our response from the crowd. It's always nice to walk into a club and see familiar faces, because you know that the people are there to see you!!! And they stay all night long and dance and have a good ol' time!   That's what it's all about for us!  Wish the clubs in Wilmington could be that way.  It just seems that the crowds keep dying down here in town lately.  Hopefully the spring will bring everyone back out!!!!!  Actually, when we played at Joel's on the 20th, we did see more people out and we had a real good gig.  It's a great bar with a real good sound and a nice stage.  People just need to find they're way over there and see for themselves.   As a matter of fact, we're playing their on St. Patricks Day - so what a great time to come see for yourselves!!!!!!!!  This past weekend, we played Friday at Chuckie D's.  We usually play on Sat. nights at Chuckie's but he wanted to try something different, and it worked out well.  We had a great gig!  Nice crowd throughout the night. Surprisingly too, because the weather was terrible!  Rainy and cold!    Nice to see Alex working behind the bar too.  She had some help for a little while from Darla.  So maybe people are starting to come out of the wood works here in Wilmington. 

We're real happy with our new bass player, Paul Mack, or should I say Paul McReight(??).  We promise to get pictures of him real real soon!!!!  We had a great set the other night at Chuckie D's.  We went from Brick House, into Superstitious (totally by surprise thanks to Big Daddy), right into Funky Music, and the crowd loved it!!!!  Paul got to show off his funky style!!!  Y'all are just going to have to come out and hear for yourselves!  

We're trying to get back down to Carolina Beach.  As a matter of fact, we have a gig on April 10th at Club Freaky Tiki at the beach.  Hope our fans on the beach will find us there!   We'll be putting flyers all over the beach towards the end of March.

Next Friday, the 5th, has us at Cody's, so come one out and see us!!!!!!!!  Rock On....................

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Feb. 11, 2004

From Karen......

    Well I'm back to writing these updates because we finally found a permanent bass player, which means that Bill is no longer filling in as the temporary bass player, as he did for the past year!  We're happy to welcome Paul Mack into the band!  He comes to us with a heavy metal background and a funky sound and boy can he play!!!! More on him later....   First let me tell you about our last gig with Bill. 

    We played Chuckie D's on the 31st last month.  Not a real busy night but by the last set, the place was packed!  Go figure!    All and all it was a good gig.  A little sad to see Bill go.  Bill, as you know, has been with the Maco family on and off for 3 years now!  Only one year less than me!  We just couldn't get him to commit!  But we're fortunate that he was able to keep the band going whenever we needed him, which was a lot over the past year. If you read all the updates you'll hear the whole story!   Thank you Bill for helping out and making us sound so good while you were with us!  I know we'll see you again, because all the Maco family members seem to pop in and out of our gigs from time to time, you're all welcome any time (Billy, John, Mitch, Bill, Beth)!

    Well, we practiced with Paul for 2 weeks and he was ready to play his first gig with us at Cody's on the 6th of this month.  He did a great job!  I mentioned earlier that he can play!!!! But he also practices!!!!  He learned most of the 36 songs that we played by himself at home and we just ran over them at practice.   I don't know if we really told Paul how excited we are to have him as part of this band, but we are!  Look for a biography on him and new pictures to come real soon!

    This weekend has us back up in Sneads Ferry at Lo-re-lei's. Another road trip, as Bill would say!  We look forward to it, as this is one of our favorite places to play because we get such a warm welcome from all the people that keep coming to see us!

    The most exciting news is the Wammies, the annual music awards in The Beat MagazineIncase you haven't picked up this months Beat, I'll tell you about them.  We, yes MSB, tied for 2nd place with Poor No Moor for the Best Copy Rock Band, and we also came in the 2nd place for the Best Oldies/Beach Music Band.  So we want to thank all our fans out there who voted for us, and club owners!  We appreciate all your support!  And most importantly, Rock On......

_____________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                                January 25, 2004

                 “Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.” Steven Wright

 From Bill,

                …some random thoughts…this was probably the best back-to-back nights that MSB has had in a long time. We were back at Lor-re-lei, THE spot to be in Snead’s Ferry. Boss lady Tracy(or is it Traci?) has provided the place to be…Lor-re-Lei is a class establishment with friendly personnel, shuttle service so those who have had too much to drink can be safe & legal, and some great food from their kitchen. Saturday night was also Tracy’s birthday party, and it was  great to see how many friends & customers came out to celebrate.

         Knowing that there was going to be a large party complete with a pig pickin” on Saturday I expected a rather slow Friday night. We caravanned up in three vehicles including Karen and Mike’s new Mustang convertible. Karen was kind enough to carry most of the band’s equipment in the trunk…a more varied crowd on Friday night in both age and types of music…we mixed in a wider variety of songs, more slow songs, less wide open rockers, and tried to keep our volume under control. Saw some people from the Topsail Moose Club where MSB is booked in February—apparently they wanted to see what the band sounded like. …lots of familiar faces in the crowd both nights, Lor-re-lei has actually become our favorite club to play in despite the rather long drive, and this says a lot because we like just about all of the places we regularly appear at….Friday night turned out to be a great time, nothing really new music wise from us, just paying a little more attention to having a good mix of slow and fast songs…we ran rather short on slow songs though…

        …wasn’t real surprised to arrive Saturday night and find the place packed…the party had been under way since about five o’clock, and as Tracy said, “the people here want to rock tonight.” Interesting sideline…on the way up to Snead’s Ferry we stopped at a store in the Ogden area  and Big Daddy mentioned to the clerk we were on our way to Snead’s Ferry…turns out that the clerk, Voni, knows Tracy and sent along a note wishing here a happy birthday!Even funnier, Mike & Karen went into the store later and got to talking w/ Voni and mentionedthat they were on the way to Lor-re-lei. (Small world.)

        …the dance floor was packed for most of Saturday night. I loved it because there really is lot to see…the dancers give us something to watch…(some more than others!)

        On a sad note…MACO STATION’S founder and original drummer James Buffkin was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident earlier this month. I only had the chance to share the stage with him one time at the Surfside last year and it was an honor to be onstage with the man who started it all for us.

       …we’ll be out at Chuckie D’s next Saturday. Hope to see everyone there.

 _____________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                                                            January 18, 2004

                “I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather --- not screaming in terror  like his passengers.” (Unknown)

  From Bill,

            Something old, something new…. a return to T-BONZ and a new club in town. Wednesday night found MSB at the Sandbar in Wilmington, an established club with new management. And if you had ever been in the Sandbar before, well, you should see it now---looks great. Wednesday night is ‘bike night’ there, and everyone seems to have moved from the Lighthouse Lounge on Market Street which recently closed. Thanks to our bartendresses for the evening, Laura & Ann Marie, for keeping everyone supplied with ‘the good stuff.’ A lot of familiar faces in the crowd: Tommy & Elizabeth (it’s almost Doctor Elizabeth now as she prepares to defend her thesis.), and Bob Clayton (Jr.) from the band “Messenger Bob.” Both Bob Clayton Jr & Sr  go back a long way—I worked them back in the late seventies. During a break Bob & I walked over to another club where his dad was doing a Karaoke show. Even though I’m no fan of Karaoke (usually slightly drunk people singing off key and out of time) it was good to see Bob Sr., who runs a very successful  Karaoke show. (Before that he was a very good DJ, and before that he was well known as a singer, guitarist, and entertainer.)

          Rather strange for us to be out on a Wednesday night---I could get used to it providing I don’t have to get up early the next morning! Saturday we were back at T-Bonz in Wrightsboro. Paul, the new MSB bass player was there and was kind enough to play a couple of songs during the second set. This works out nice as I am able to wander around the room and see how everything sounds. (Lots of drums.)  Mike, Kim, & Lori were out to support us, although Lori commented that there was another band playing in Wilmington that night that she wanted to see. Can’t blame her…how many times has she sat through the same show? Anyway, thanks.    Gene Bussard, an old band mate of mine from high school was there---good to see him! Also Bob Clayton was back---he had been out at the Sandbar the previous Wednesday night.  Once again he took the stage to sing a song with us---- after coming out to see us so much lately we definitely owe him a visit when ‘Messenger Bob’ plays next time. You need to check them out--- they have a good sound, and there’s a large party happening where ever they play!        

            Didn’t get our bartendress’ name last night but w/ an almost full house she did a great job keeping everything running smoothly. In addition she brought the evenings wages to us---usually you have to chase club owners down and wait forever. When Lori has her hair pulled back she has a slight resemblance to Tonya Harding (Tonya Harding wishes she looks that good.) so, as has happened many times in the past, it was no surprise that two ‘gentlemen’ sent her and Kim a beer from the bar. Unfortunately the bartendress did not mention who bought them the beers, just said ‘some guys at the bar’. They didn’t know who to thank and their benefactors were slightly put off by this. By the way, six quarters do not buy you many nuts from the vending machine at T-Bonz: Lori dropped one on the floor and we all regarded it as a tragic loss.       

         Hanging w/ the family is always fun before we go on and during breaks, and believe me, when nobody’s there on some jobs it makes them seem longer and lifeless. But we’re here to do a show and that’s what we did at about 9:40. I love the large stage at T-Bonz: lot’s of room to run around on. This is one of the few places that I routinely use my wireless transmitter out--- it’s often hard to get used to being tethered to a cord afterwards! We opened w/ ‘Jumping Jack Flash’, thought it sounded pretty good—room is large w/ good acoustics. We often  change up the set during the night to fit the crowd (when people are dancing or reacting well to certain things), this keeps things fresh for us as well.  Next week has us taking another road trip to Lor-re-lei up in Snead’s Ferry. It’s the weekend of boss lady Tracy’s birthday so we’re hoping to have a large celebration, maybe like a continuation of the New Years party we had there. Hopefully in the near future MSB will be having the first performance w/ Paul, their new(est) bass player. And me, well, I’m going to take a nice long rest and re-evaluate things. Frankly, the club scene with its usual poor pay and spotty attendance is losing its fascination for me. But hopefully MSB will continue on, building their fan base with each live show.

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                                                                                                                    January 11, 2004

“*****   RULES”

                                “words written on Leigh’s T-shirt (if you want to know more, visit Cody’s Pub in Wilmington & ask                                  Leigh the bartendress)”

  From Bill,

           Hope that your New Year is getting off to a rousing start. MSB is busy, actually seems very busy for a January which is usually a rather slow month. Last night had us back at Cody’s in Wilmington. We were there just a few weeks ago. We did our usual load-in chores without the help of Mike Heath who couldn’t make the gig. As usual when Mike isn’t there we miss him--- the PA system was making some strange noises at times and it was hard to tell just what was the problem from the stage. Not to mention Mike’s help w/ the setting up, and just having family there. By the way, Kim & “Tonya” were BOTH absent last night so it was again one of those nights “alone in the wilderness.”

         Many thanks to the abovementioned Leigh for tending bar, keeping everything running smoothly, and just being a great person. I was talking to a lady at the bar during our second break and is my usual custom I forgot her name! (Sandy maybe?) Anyway, she was telling me that she just moved to Wilmington from Charlotte on January 1st, and upon her arrival in Wilmington (this being about three PM on New Years Day) received a DUI! This hopefully is not the way we welcome all new people to our city! Makes me wonder also how long alcohol stays in your system as she said she had nothing to drink since the previous evening.   Be careful out there people, you might be “illegal” longer than you think. She and her sister stayed for about two and a half sets and danced almost every song! (Thanks!)

      Tried out a few new (actually old) songs that we had been working on: “Tumbling Dice” by the Rolling Stones, “Dreams” from Fleetwood Mac, “I’ll Take You There” by the Staples Singers, “Watchtower”, a Dylan song originally but we do more of Hendrix’ version, well, you get the idea, we’ve been working on a lot of classic stuff. I was pleasantly surprised by the people dancing to the new stuff, always a good sign. It actually turned out to be a pleasant evening even without our family there--- a few more people at each job,   hopefully the crowds will continue to build.    A rare Saturday night off for MSB allowed me to head up the road to Surf City with my two-piece band SHAZAM. Wednesday will have MSB at the Sandbar on College   Road for our first ever performance there, and Saturday (the 17th) we’ll be making a return trip  up to the greater Wrightsboro area, to T-Bonz. Come out to see us whenever you can, and please, sign our guestbook: I need something to read!             

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                                                                                                                   January 1, 2004

              “Marriages performed by the Captain of this vessel are only valid until the vessel returns to dock.” (Sign found on a boat I was once on..)

 From Bill,

         …and a Happy New Year to you. MSB’s year got off to a great start with a party at Lor-re-lei, in Snead’s Ferry. The advance word from boss lady Tracy was very positive:

        their main concern was having enough seating for the expected crowd. It was then up to us to keep them entertained for the night.  Because of Big Daddy having to work yesterday and Jamie wanting to get there and set up all the equipment we did not caravan up together like we usually do. Jamie, Kim, Mike, Karen & Lori, (AKA Tonya), drove up early and did the honors of setting up most of the equipment. Big Daddy, Sandra, & myself arrived later in Big Daddy’s van. We actually were there early ourselves---I noticed when I sat down at a table with everyone else that it was only 8:05, and we were to start at 9:45!

       While I was loading in I saw Robert Yopp, a co-worker from my day job, and had the opportunity to meet his wife and some other relatives. They had quite a large party going on, and during the evening I had the chance to see Robert actually dance! And much to my surprise he did a great job!

        A lot of familiar faces in the crowd including several of the “back-of-the-bar ladies” from earlier jobs at Lor-re-lei.           By 9:45 the club was pretty crowded, and people were coming in steady during the first part of the first set. We opened up with “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Not many dancers at first but a very enthusiastic response from the crowd.  Our second song was “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” a Stevie Nicks-Tom Petty song. I looked up and coming through the doorway was former MSB drummer Dr. John , and Vicki! I knew that they were planning on being there but it was still a thrill to see them. Dr. John was MSB’s drummer during my tenure with them back in 2001, and a member of the  famous Maco Station line-up that recorded the band’s first CD. He was enthusiastically received by everyone in the band, and by the rest of the club after they heard him play and sing. Dr. John is living in Pennsylvania currently, and Vicki is in West Virginia, so it was great to have them come all the way to visit us.

      Tracy had quite a large staff working for the evening, and I’m afraid I didn’t catch all of the names. The food prepared in their kitchen was excellent. I tried some of Karen’s prime rib that she had ordered, she wasn’t that hungry so I was glad to help out. At $10.99 for prime rib, baked potato, and salad Lor-re-lei   had quite a good deal going for New Year’s Eve. All in all the evening was made enjoyable by the management & staff---they had a packed house but managed to keep every moving smoothly. I’d also like to thank Lori for keeping me supplied with clam strips, water, and champagne during the evening.   At 12:00 we all counted down to the New Year together, and the dance floor was absolutely packed---they had been playing some hip-hop and dance music during the break and we continued in a dancing mood with “Brickhouse”, “Play that Funky Music,” and finally slowing things down so people could get a break or just slow dance. The crowded dance floor, packed house, partying people, that’s what playing in clubs is all about to me, and this night was a GREAT example. We’re booked back at the club during the weekend of the 24th this month---a special occasion, Tracy’s birthday, and we’re looking forward to it. Hope everyone comes out to thank her for the job she’s done bringing a great club to Snead’s Ferry!

      Big Daddy decided to end the evening with “Whipping Post”, the Allman Brothers classic, and we immediately went into an improvised jam at the end that had some nice musical surprises in it for all of us---wish that had been recorded. The crowd was still wide open and yelled for more so back on stage and into “Rock & Roll,” by Led Zeppelin. As we finished the song I prepared to take my bass off as Big Daddy immediately went into“Jumping Jack  Flash”--- he wanted to play some more! I quickly slung my bass over my shoulder and was there for my intro but Karen didn’t get a chance to peek at her lyrics---never heard those verses sung like that before! We finished to very kind words from the people and began the loading chores, much help from Mike & Dr. John.

       2004---a new year brings great hope, challenges, and opportunities. Let’s all work together to make it a great year. Peace.

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Dec. 28, 2003

From Karen:

        Well, I haven't written anything in awhile, thanks to Bill!  But we had a gig last night at Chuckie D's and Billy Bob filled in on bass!  It was nice having him there, especially since Jamie couldn't sing due to a bad cold, so Billy and I did all the singing for the night, with the exception of 2 songs by Big Daddy.  One song I never heard Big Daddy sing before, "Kansas City".   It went over real well!  Spite the fact that Billy and Big Daddy were the only two that ever played this song before.  Jamie did real well on drums!  The other was the song he made famous "I Ain't Fat" and it's one of our favorites, but Big Daddy always forgets the words and he wrote them!  We had fun playing last night, spite the fact the crowd died out by 12:00 AM!  We pulled out some old songs out of the Maco closet and had fun with it!  It was nice having the Maco family there with us too, Mike, Kim, Lori, Big Bill (Billy's Dad) and friends, Katie and Beth!

        As Bill mentioned we'll be up in Sneads Ferry at  Lo-re-lei's for New Year's Eve!  Word is that Dr. John and Vicki will be joining us to bring in the New Year and Dr. John may even get up and sing a few songs for old time sakes!  We wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!  And most importantly.......ROCK ON!!!!!!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                                        December 24, 2003

                   …and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.  ( Lennon-McCartney)

From Bill,

         December indeed is a month to put things off…like updating the web page. It’s also been a very SLOW month so there     isn’t a lot to report. We played at Joel’s place the first Friday of the month. I’ve said it all before: nice club, not a big crowd, although the place is getting better known—it all takes time. Maco Station then had a weekend off & I played at Chuckie D’s with my band SHAZAM. Once again the dreaded December slowdown hit and it was a quiet night. No Christmas parties for either band this year—I guess the economy still isn’t up to par and anyway, holiday parties using live entertainment have not been as popular as of late. However, if you’re a DJ you were probably quite busy this month. These things go through cycles---I remember about twenty-five years ago while performing a number of bookings on the base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina that people actually preferred DJ’s who could play any style of music to the more limited fare of bands. I was working with Al Watkins at the time and even though we did a wide variety of music people constantly wanted to hear music from the then very popular “Saturday Night Fever”. We actually discussed buying three Disco set-ups, then driving up to the base, dropping a person off at each of three different clubs, and giving up playing as a trio. Never did that, though.

        The following Friday had Maco back at Cody’s, on Carolina Beach Road. Nice sized crowd at the beginning, seems there was a large table of ladies celebrating (a birthday? wedding? divorce?) We had the opportunity to destroy “Happy Birthday to You”, this time in honor of Patsy’s 29th. (Happy birthday.) As the crowd slowly faded into the December Night I asked myself again “why do I do this?”  

         I understand that there are already over 100 reservations for our New Years Eve job up in Sneads Ferry at Lor-re-lei. New Years Eve is traditionally the best (biggest) night for a band---interestingly enough it’s also the night most bands break up. Anyway, I’m looking forward to New Years Eve.

         I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and thanks for your support over the last year. Got the chance to meet many new people, play at new venues, and run across many old friends.

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                                                                                  November 23, 2003

 

                     “The Internet? That thing still around?” Homer Simpson.

 

From Bill,

            Well, where do we start? Busy week, drove up to Snead’s Ferry for two nights at Lor-re-lei, had fun, blah, blah, blah. These updates need to be more interesting…

            It WAS nice to be back at Lor-re-lei. While both Friday & Saturday were overall good nights it was the last two sets of Saturday night that REALLY rocked!  Friday we once again ventured out on the road. I caught a ride to the club with          Big Daddy, the first time I’d ever ridden with him. Hey, he doesn’t drive half bad!   Got us there in good time, and safely--- that’s all that counts. Jamie was having trouble with his knee--- been bothering him for several days now. He twisted it  while running with one of his dogs and has been limping ever since. On the way up to Snead’s Ferry Friday night the lights went out on his Land Rover. In between making jokes about British Automotive electrical systems (why do the British drink warm beer? Because they have Lucas refrigerators!) we helped Jamie find the problem. Actually, I held a flashlight while he found the problem- a blown fuse.   Luckily Jamie knows all about British car ownership & thus had many spare fuses in the glove compartment.

           Arriving at the club we saw many familiar faces: Boss Lady Tracy, Pam, who is a great harmonica player and a heck of a singer, Gary, who works the door, our bartendress for the evening, Brenda, and Debbie, one of the ‘back of the bar ladies.’ Just like coming home- we like it here.  Starting time was 9:30, and we opened w/ Jumping Jack Flash, one of our older songs that we discontinued & brought back last week for the first time.   I don’t know  what in the world Karen was thinking by starting out with that song, because we haven’t practiced it in a long while and I now sing harmony as well as play on it—still trying to co-ordinate the parts. Anyway, we started with it and I got through it all right. I still need to practice it, though.

           A new song for the beginning of the third set--- a Pointer sisters number from the late seventies or early eighties—Lady Marmalade. Seems like it will make a good dance tune although nobody did this time. They did applaud at the end so I guess it went over well. Karen did warn them before the song that it was a new number (to us), that we’ve never played before. This apparently made everyone decide to sit & listen rather than  dance--- maybe they were afraid we were going to screw it up    royally! Anyway, it turned out fine although I noticed that it wasn’t on Saturday’s set list! I think the song will be one we continue to do, however.

            I drove Jamie’s Land Rover home for him Friday night as his knee was not feeling too good. First time behind the wheel of a ‘Rover--- drives nice even when pulling a trailer behind it.   Saturday night we were actually in doubt whether  Jamie was going to be able to play--- that knee was really bothering him. A visit to his doctor, and with a little pharmaceutical treatment (drugs?), he was feeling better. Jamie has become essential to the band’s sound—we could have performed without him but it wouldn’t sound nearly the same.

           Arriving at the club we found a more active audience present (they wanted to party!), so we once again started with Jumping Jack Flash. Saw a lot of familiar faces in the crowd, several people sitting with Pam that were there last night also,      (thanks for coming back, sorry I once again failed to get names.)  We have the distinction of doing possibly the state’s worst rendition of  ‘Happy Birthday’, (and we love to prove it.) Lucky for us Rhonda was celebrating her birthday so we were able to once again prove our point!   The club was packed by the beginning of the third set, and the crowd was great!  Very active, yelling, dancing, clapping--- made the rest of the night fly by! At one thirty we attempted to finish up but actually got two encores! Got to love it, even with Jamie’s knee problem the night went well. Looking forward to coming back in  December.

          Because of the Thanksgiving Holidays we are taking a week off. We’ll be back at Joel’s in Wilmington on the following WEDNESDAY and Friday nights.   The following Saturday I’ll be at Chuckie D’s with my duo SHAZAM ( a little plug for me here!), and then we’ll be heading back up the road to Snead’s Ferry.

         And new bookings keep popping up…now if I could just make these updates a  little more interesting….

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                                                                                                                     November 16, 2003

                           People want to be in the front of the bus,  the back of the church, and the center of attention -                               Unknown

   From Bill,

          That quote is for Lori, and it doesn’t involve beer. (Don’t ask.)

       Anyway,  the past week went by quickly, too quickly. I took the week off  from my day job, just sort of hung around the house and worked on little projects that needed doing. I can take early retirement (!) in three and a half years, and am considering that. This will allow me to spend more time playing music---  if I want to. At this point I’m not sure…. We were back at the Brass Pelican in Surf City on Saturday night. Really enjoyed  our first visit there last month and was looking forward to it. Once again we caravanned up w/ three vehicles, would love to get it down to two.   It was nice to see some familiar faces upon entering the club: bartendresses Bridget & Danielle, Steve, who runs the shuttle service, and boss lady Wendy.   Jamie has been putting some serious time and money into the band--  he bought a trailer two weeks ago to haul equipment around, and this week he bought a large speaker cabinet (sub-woofer, for all those low frequencies). This guy does not mind moving equipment if it helps the sound! Anyway, we were able to back right up to the front door and load in. We were now used to the small stage that was such a shock the first time we played there--- everything fit neatly this time around. Got everything set up early so I kicked back and actually drank a beer.

       Not too many people there at show time (9:30), but last time the crowd arrived  later and tonight was no exception. By the end of the third set the place was pretty much full once again. One problem I have is that there is not much dancing there—just a little clearing at the front of the stage area, so most people sit and drink. (sometimes a lot---Mike, Kim & Lori fit right in!) Actually, this was Lori’s first trip out to the  ‘ Pelican—she wasn’t there last time. I think she had fun--- I know Mike did--- during one song he grabbed Karen for a dance during the last set and the BOTH fell and tumbled onto Karen’s monitor. The   last time someone fell onto the equipment was last summer at Lorettas. The sight of falling bodies made me think of summer….

     Well, we finished the night still standing. The crowd asked for one more,  and musicians love encores so we dragged an old one “out of the trunk”---“Jumping Jack Flash.” Good energy on this one but I never had sung harmony on this one--- need to co-ordinate my playing and singing (in other words- PRACTICE.)

     OK, well, we finished, lots of kind words from the crowd. Load out was probably the slowest I’ve ever seen, probably due to the placement of equipment in a trailer. (Has to go in a certain way for balance purposes---very important.)   I was in a rush to get home and let my dogs out as the rest of the family was either out of town or working so time really dragged for me.  Finally Karen suggested I go ahead and she and Mike could ride w/ Jamie. Felt bad about  packing them all together like that but not so bad that I didn’t take her up on that. Made good time on the way back to Wilmington and managed to pass two speed traps without getting pulled (just a little over the limit.). Next week has us back at Lor-re-lei in Snead’s Ferry. Could someone else drive?

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                                                                                                               November 10, 2003

 From Bill,

             Loaded all of my equipment into my van Friday afternoon preparing for the evenings job at Codys. Been a while since we’ve been there---always enjoy the nice stage. When I arrived at Codys about eight fifteen I saw Big Daddy’s van already there---not unusual, he’s usually the first to show up. Looking a little further I saw Jamie’s Land Rover, and what’s this, a brand new trailer behind it? Yep, Jamie has decided to buy a trailer for his drums and whatever other equipment we want to haul around. This will be nice for those out-of-town trips! As I struggled in the back door with my amplifier I saw Jamie & Big Daddy talking to a gentleman who turned out to be Mike, a possible new bass player for the band. For those of you who are wondering about that let me explain: when the band lost their bass player back in February (Chris, for those who are keeping track), they called me and asked if I would fill in temporarily.  They then hired another bass player (Robbie), and a month or so later I received another call--- would I fill in again….? Eric followed next as the MACO STATION bass player, then Karen (or was it Big Daddy?) called again…“would you…” well, you get the picture. Anyway, this last time I sort of hung around since late July---I had to miss a few bookings due to schedule conflicts and Billy Stratton came back to help out. All these games of musical chairs in the bass department have to be hard on the rest of the band. I really enjoy working w/ Jamie, Karen, and Big Daddy but I seem to have a problem with making that firm commitment for various reasons. I will say though, that MACO really feels like family to me---we’ve done somewhere around 150 jobs together over the last two years! Add to this the rest of the band family---Mike, Sandra, Kim, & Lori, and it really seems difficult to imagine not working with them. Well, things work out for a reason--- we shall see.  As I just mentioned   Cody’s has a great stage. The club was not real busy as we got started and I hoped it would pick up later. Great to see MACO friends Patty & Bobby wander in. The night was made more interesting by the gentleman who had had a few too many and was persuaded by the management to bring his motorcycle inside the club for safekeeping. This he did by actually driving it in through the front doorway--- a little loud. (Sometime during the next set he decided he wanted to start it up inside the club--- thought the PA speakers had blown up at first it was so loud.)  This doesn’t happen at many clubs! Thanks to Gwen for tending bar for the evening.

          Saturday night had us on another road trip, this time to Wallace, NC. Our first visit to the Moose Club up there. I left about an hour after everyone else and relied on a map I printed off the computer. It happened to include a road that was closed!  After a few minutes of being lost I called Karen on my cell phone. People, if you do any traveling at all you need cell phones--- she was able to guide me right to the club. I arrived just as a light rain started to fall.  Really nice club, nice stage. Not many people there that night because there was another party or two and most of the members weren’t there but the ones that were there stayed all night  and seemed to have fun. This is one place that we look forward to returning to!

         Sunday afternoon was the “Golden Retriever Rescue Benefit.” This was held at Marrz nightclub in downtownWilmington. We were on the bill with the 360 Degrees, Tommy B. and the Stingers, and Captain Cook and the Coconutz, in other words we were in good company! Mike Raab, publisher of the “BEAT MAGAZINE” (see our link to the current issue at the bottom of our homepage.),sat in with us on keyboards as he had done once in the past. Always fun, Mike— thank you again! Playing at Marrz is a real treat--- large stage, GREAT sound system, and a soundman who knew how to get a great sound out of the bands! We went on at three thirty to a very enthusiastic audience. With a hour to play we were able to do some of our best material: Have My Man, Shakey Ground, Wild Nights, Unchain My Heart, Whipping Post, Chain of Fools, Mojo, Get Ready, as well as several others including Blues in E, a number that features just Big Daddy and Karen on the first. Jamie and I wandered backstage during their duet and who should I run into but an old friend Bobby Russell, a jazz guitarist who has worked as a studio musician as well as teacher of guitar. He’s currently playing bass for The 360 Degrees--- great to see him! Had to cut our conversation a little short as I had to return to the stage for the second verse, which has the bass and drums added. Luckily I had my wireless setup for my bass--- I was able to play while trying to fight my way through the curtain.  Managed to take a few pictures while we were setting up, sadly only one was very good. I’ll send it along to Karen in the hope that she can include it on the webpage. Great to have the MACO family there: Sandra, Mike, Kim, and Lori. My wife Betty had planned to be there but an illness with a lady in our church that works with the youth group meant Betty could not make the show. Too bad, the smoke in Marrz wasn’t too bad. (My wife is a non-smoker---doesn’t handle smoke well!)     

         Next Saturday will have us back at the “Brass Pelican” up in Surf City, so I feel another “road trip” coming on! And Tuesday night is the regular band practice night where the rest of the band will be working with  Mike. Are my days numbered?  Stay tuned.             _____________________________________________________________________________________________      

                                                                                                       November2,

                                                 “BULL”

From Bill,

                …another Saturday night & I don’t make much money (apologies to the late, great Sam Cook.) Saturday night we were back at T-Bonz,  located in downtown Wrightsboro (?!?) Anyway, it was good to be back, a nice sized club with a big stage, easy load-in, and good parking. Upon arriving I looked around for Sissy, who had been the bartendress there last time we played.   Not there tonight, so a big thanks to Amanda, who tended bar, and Billy, who took care of the door.

               Tried a new amplification set-up this evening (getting worse than Big Daddy about always playing through something different.), and of course, had some problems w/ it while setting up and testing everything. A little bit of duct tape & everrything worked out fine. As I was loading in I noticed a bull (mechanical) that was set up right in the middle of the dance floor. The aforementioned bull and the safety mat around him took up the entire dance floor. Seems like the “Urban Cowboy” fad is making a comeback. Whatever it is it worked. As we started playing the first set I noticed people coming in steadily. By the time the third set rolled around people were ready to try the bull. We cut the third set short (nice looong break!), and the fun began. A few brave souls tried their hand and did very well.  MSB’s own Mike Heath jumped onto the bucking bull and managed to hang on. (Did well, I wonder if that was his first time?) Saw a lot of cowboy hats in the audience. Just to be in style? No, it turns out that there were some really good bull riders in there. And , wonder of wonders, Karen climbs up onto the bull and does a great job! I want to see Kim try it because she rides horses regularly and has that great sense of balance, but she decides not to. (Awwwww.) I also wanted to see Lori try the bull but to no avail. (No, I didn’t even CONSIDER it!!!)

             Anyway, with all the action going on we didn’t get back onstage until after one o’clock, and we quit at one-thirty. Because of the long break we were able to put  a lot of energy into the last half of the set and the crowd hung around and seemed to enjoy it. Maybe we could hook up with the bull circuit—really draws the people in!  Thanks to all the people who came up to us with nice words about the music--- as usual I didn’t get all their names.

             Busy week coming up---practice on Monday, band pictures on Tuesday ( tell you why later), and we’re playing Friday, Saturday, & Sunday of the next week.

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                                                                                                                     October 26, 2003

 

                               “The faintest ink is better than the best memory” (Author unknown)

   From Bill,

             Three nights in a row, and I need some SLEEP. Yeah, it gets rough to play three in a row and try to get up and function the next day. We were at Joel’s, located in the 6700 block of Market Street on Thursday night. Owner Joel wanted to try to have live entertainment for his Thursday night which happens to be ladies night. He wants to try to increase business on that night & thought a live band would help. I arrived at about eight o’clock to set up and met bartendress Doreen who was working this evening, and also Becky, who was actually off work but stayed around for the band. (thanks).

            A rather sparse crowd--- it takes time to get things established, and I’m sure that eventually Thursdays at Joel’s will take off. Bob Clayton Jr, from the band MESSENGER BOB came in for a while, his band is playing there on Friday night---first booking there for them & we wish them a large and happy crowd! Sat w/ the people at the bar during breaks and actually watched the World Series, which is something I had gotten away from ever since the baseball strikes several years ago. I was a Braves fan, but the strike got me away from the TV, and I never really sat and watched a baseball game again.

ROAD TRIP!!!!

         Friday evening we were all pretty tired from staying up late the night before and then getting up for our day jobs after about five hours of sleep. We met at Jamie’s house about seven o’clock for our trek up to Lor-re-lei, up in Snead’s Ferry. As I mentioned earlier, traveling on the road w/ a band is great fun, if you don’t have to do it all the time as I did in the seventies. Jamie was really tired from the night before so Mike volunteered to drive Jamie’s Land Rover while Jamie rested. (Actually Mike WANTED to drive the “Rover--- he & Karen are thinking of buying one.) A pleasant drive up to Snead’s Ferry and a quick load in--- one of my favorite clubs. Thanks to Tracey & Brenda for tending bar and making everyone feel welcome. Good to see some familiar faces in the crowd--- noticed that the “back of the bar ladies”, as I’ve mentioned before, were there, although they don’t all stand together at the back of the bar anymore. Members of the band SOUL ANGEL came in for a brief visit—they do all original music and are currently working on a CD. They’ve asked Karen to come in and do some vocals w/ them--- I know she wanted to sing well this particular evening, and of course her allergies picked this night to act up!!!  A little cold medicine and she was up and singing fine though. Brought back some of  the songs I sing lead on to help rest her voice--- “Cocaine & Honky Tonk Woman”, I had fun doing them again after a long time. I actually still do “Honky Tonk Woman” with my other band SHAZAM, but we do it in another key. One of the customers asked that we announce an “after hours” party at his house following the show---these can be a lot of fun but we had to get back to Wilmington.

        However, when Karen called us on the phone (I was riding back w/ Jamie), Jamie decided to play a little joke (Band road trip humor here) & tell her we were headed to the after hours party. (We were actually a few miles behind them & VERY tired.) When she called back a few minutes later Jamie turned the radio in the car up real loud and I started talking and making various background noises, like we were at party. Karen was NOT amused--- she worried about what the band’s rhythm section was up to at 2 in the morning—Jamie &  I were laughing so hard--- well you had to be there. Anyway, we called Karen as we pulled into Jamie’s driveway and I confessed---I’ll leave the rest of the story to your imagination.

        Saturday night found us much rested and back on the road to Lor-re-lei. It was nice not having to tear the equipment down the night before. We showed up at nine o’clock and owner Rob was there--- I had last worked for him when he had the famous MERMAID restaurant and bar in Surf City a few years back. Good to see him, Rob & Tracey are great club owners--- always enjoy working for them. Thanks  to our bar staff for Saturday night--- Brenda was back (had to listen to us again!), and Gary.  We had a birthday celebration going on--- happy birthday to Missy & Jimmy. Always great to walk into a club & see the tables full of people & balloons--- these folks are here to party!!! Nice crowd as always, although at times they were rather quiet--- maybe just tired as we were? A big thanks to Debbie, who has been there every time that we’ve been at Lor-re-lei--- she is one of the “back of the bar” ladies that I’ve mentioned in past updates.  Great talking with her--- turns out that she used to work at the Mermaid when I played there with the RADIO FLYER band several years back. She has a birthday coming up  November  8 (happy birthday!!)  The same gentleman from the night before asked to come up on stage and make an announcement---- another after hours party at his place. I need to find out more about this--- sounds like fun. Snead’s Ferry is definitely a partying place--- good people, a great club, and just a good place to spend  an evening.

         Next week we’ll be back in Wilmington at T-Bones, haven’t been there for a while.   With the sad demise of the ROADHOUSE SALOON it hopefully means more customers from the Wrightsboro & Castle Hayne areas will be at T-Bones--- they used to often compete for the same crowds.  I’ve played at both clubs many times last year with the band TOO FAR AWAY, which unfortunately disbanded on New Years 2003. It’s a shame— Guitar player Eddie Deaver, Vocalist Rick West, and drummer Rob Lashin were quality musicians to work with--- we made some solid music in our short time together. Anyway, hope to see everyone at T-Bones this Saturday night. Take care.                           

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                                                                                                                    October 19, 2003

                                             “May you live in interesting times.” (Ancient Chinese curse)

  From Bill,

              Hello once again--- this is getting to be a regular weekly update. When I worked with MACO STATION back in 2001 I was lucky to do a monthly update. The problem with monthly updates is that I tend to forget most of what happened.

              We gathered at Jamie’s house at seven o’clock on Saturday night to drive up to Surf City for our first ever booking at THE BRASS PELICAN, a well known bar that’s been around for a long while. We decided to drive up in three vehicles, takes that many to get us and all the equipment there. Jamie & Kim led the way in his Land Rover with all his drums packed in (there’s just enough room), and  I followed in my van w/ Karen & Mike. We met Big Daddy at the Hardees near Ogden. I was feeling good tonight, getting out on the road with a band is fun--- if you don’t have to do it all the time! Wandered into the Hardees, and ordered one of their new “Thickburgers.” Not good for my diet, but hey, this was a “special evening.”(Yeah, right) The thickburger was good, slid right down with all the grease--- good road food, keeps you regular if you know what I mean.   Anyway, Mike decided to ride with Big Daddy to keep him company, so they followed Jamie out of the parking lot and north towards Surf City. I followed at a slower pace, hampered by trying to eat that thickburger, and the fact that the lady ahead of me was afraid to go over 35 miles per hour! On the way up we listened to Deep Purple’s “Fireball” album, good seventies rock to get you in the mood to play, (although  I started wishing that we had a keyboard player.) Stopped at the intersection of Highway 17 and 210 for some hot coffee. Nice little quickie mart that does quite a business—it was packed in there.

           I had never actually been to the Brass Pelican before. I walked in and was quite surprised. This place was tiny! I mean, even the mice had round shoulders! We looked at the postage sized stage and immediately decided that Karen would set up on the floor while the rest of us squeezed onto the stage. We actually got everything to fit quite well thanks to a lot of help from Mike, and I took time to look around. Despite the size the club was nice, very comfortable, with friendly staff & customers. Our bartendress for the evening was Bridget, and she was joined later by Danielle (or was that Daniella? I heard two different names there.) The Brass Pelican has a shuttle service--- a great feature for those who want to drink but not drive. Scott handled the shuttle service and turned out  to be a great guy. He collects drum sticks from different bands, and Jamie was happy to oblige.

           Well, nine-thirty rolled around and it was time to go on. The place was getting rather busy, so with our customary toast we started into the first song “Tina Nu’. Good response from the crowd, and getting more and more crowded by the minute. This bar is quite a busy place! Jamie’s friend Dr. Andy & his wife came in to say “hi” and listen, nice to meet them. Not too many people dancing--- no real dance floor just an open section of  floor between the stage and pool table, but very enthusiastic people. This place really rocks! …And it stayed that way…turned out that the Brass Pelican   is one busy place. Even had our own kleptomaniac! During the last break I noticed a gentleman over by the equipment— not that unusual, a lot of people like to look onstage and check things out. What I did notice is that he had Karen’s tambourine in his hand--- still not unusual, people are forever picking that up and playing with it, sometimes in the middle of a song! He wandered around with it a while, and then, without even seeming to notice, slid it under his jacket and headed to the restroom!   What!?! I looked around for Mike, the club security guy (HUGE, you don’t want to mess with this guy!), and our own Mike asked what was up. I told him and he took off  for the restroom.   We generally let the club personnel handle problems like this, and thankfully rarely have them, but Mike handled it just fine. Fact is, either the guy was drunk or really didn’t realize he even had it---gave it back readily and seemed unfazed by anything!

            The last set went by fine----more and more people dancing, lot’s of nice words from the staff and customers when we finished. A customer (Michael) came up and wanted to know if we had any t-shirts or CD’s for sale. (Sorry, no, we had shirts a few years back but got rid of them all and never got anymore.) I felt a little embarrassed that we didn’t have anything so I mentioned that we had a web page--- hope he checks it out and sees his name mentioned!  The load out was not too bad—lots of people helped hold the door for us. We’re looking forward to coming back next month!

          This upcoming week will have us at Joel’s place on THURSDAY night, and back on the road again for  Friday & Saturday up at Lor-re-lei in Snead’s Ferry. Even more special will be the appearance of Maco co-founder and original bass player Billy Stratton on Saturday night— I will not be there due to a job w/ Shazam ( the keyboard-bass duo that I committed to back in February). I hate missing a job, but hopefully everyone understands that this was something I was in before this latest bass opening w/ Maco came about. Actually, this can work out well---when Billy Stratton plays with the band I always return to hear about how good the band sounded. And I know that Billy always enjoys the chance to come out and see if the band is maintaining the high standards he helped to set!

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                                                                                                                   October 12, 2003

              “Give me a woman who loves beer & I will conquer the world” Kaiser Wilhelm.

   From Bill,

              A couple of weeks off and back on the stage again. Friday night found us back at Joel’s place, on Market Street here in Wilmington. As I have said before Joel’s is a rather plain looking building on the outside, but really nice inside. Joel’s is located on the North side of Market Street, near the Highway Patrol station. It’s kind of hidden away back from the road with a small flashing portable neon sign---it’s hard to find but  worth the effort. As with any new place it takes a while to build up a clientele, but it’s nice to see that each time we return it seems that there are a few more customers each time. Thanks to Star, our bartendress for the evening, and Becky, another bartendress who actually was off duty but stayed around to play the very addictive video game at the bar, and hopefully enjoy the music.

             It felt good to be playing after a couple of weeks off, and the festive mood was heightened by the presence of Vicki, a family member from the old Maco days, Karen’s friend and business partner Katie, who was kind enough to buy us a round of drinks (Thanks!), and of course Kim & Lori, who are always there for us, unless they’re nursing a hangover from the night before!  During the second set Bob Clayton, Jr, vocalist and sometimes drummer for the band “Messenger Bob”, came in w/ his lovely fiancée. Once again he was kind enough to come up and sing a song with the band. His version of Skynrd’s “Simple Man”, was once again a crowd favorite---always fun to have him sing w/ us.

             This entry’s quote, a habit I got out of lately, is dedicated to Kim & Lori, for obvious reasons if you were at Joels. If you weren’t, well, maybe next time!  Saturday night found us back at Chuckie D’s, a friendly neighborhood bar that  has become a steady venue. I had played there two weeks ago w/ my band Shazam, which actually is just two of us, not really a full band.  It was good to be back—thanks to Alex, the bartendress w/ an absolutely amazing ability to remember  what you’re drinking. She’s always been there when I’ve been performing there— the bar wouldn’t be the same without her. Kind of a slow night, and  noticed that  there were several faces I didn’t recognize---- missing a lot of regulars. Once again it boils down to the fact that you have to support your clubs so that they can stay in business.

           Quite a few bookings coming up---next week a club up in Surf City that we’ve never played at before called “The Brass Pelican”.  Also a return engagement up at Lor-re-lei, which is located in Snead’s Ferry. This place has become a real favorite of ours, w/ a really good crowd, reminds me of the atmosphere of the Surfside Bar we used to play at in Carolina Beach. We also are playing at Marrz, in downtownWilmington, on Nov 9, for the Golden Retriever Rescue benefit.( I’m doing this job although I don’t have a golden retriever.)                                                    

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Hey y'all,

Well I finally put some new pitures on here - so I want you to check them out - check out the "Fans" and "Band Pics" and also "The Azalea Festival Pictures".  We're playing both nights this weekend after a 2 week break.  Come check us out - this Friday, the 10th we'll be at Joel's Place on Market Street and on Sat. night we'll be at Chuckie D's.   Hope to see you out and ROCK ON!!!!!

-Karen

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                                                                                                    September 21, 2003

  From Bill,

                Hello & greetings from all of us! Well, Wilmington survived the threat of  another hurricane. It looked really bad for a while as Isabel sat out in the Atlantic at a category five and looked to be heading for us. Thankfully it lost a lot of steam before it hit the east coast---still a lot of damage for those folks that were in the line of fire.

             No practice because of the storm, and Friday night saw us back at Joel’s  on Market Street in Wilmington. More people seem to finally be coming into the club---it takes a while for a steady clientele to build up. We try to get the word out as to where we are playing, but we’ve spent a lot of time playing at Carolina Beach and developing a following there --- unfortunately the regulars down at Carolina Beach rarely leave the beach area! So here we are trying to build up a following in Wilmington again.   I arrived at the club and began setting up. Big Daddy & Jamie had already been there and were set up. Said “hi” to owner Joel and the new bartenderess, Becky. Decided to have a beer (usually stick to coffee & water, don’t need any hassles from THE MAN, driving at two in the morning after a beer or two), and sat down at the bar and ate some pretzels and waited to go on. Karen wandered in by herself as Mike was home w/ his son. Very strange to be playing a job without Mike, he was much missed. He keeps so much straight, letting us know how the sound levels are, coming up to help during breakdowns, talking to the management, and ALWAYS helping with the load out chores, even when he’s not feeling well. Jamie’s wife Kim came in, and where was Lori? Home!?!

             Well, this indeed is looking like a very long night! Out in the wild by ourselves, except for Kim no family there tonight. Going to be a struggle to get in the spirit of things. We head for the stage to get started, and Big Daddy decides to start w/ “Shakey Ground,” which was actually the second song on the list. Joel’s has a very “live” sounding room, which means I have to watch my volume or the bass ends up being one loud roar. The PA is sounding good tonight---I can hear what I’m singing and this helps immensely w/ my attitude. Don’t know who made up the set list tonight, either Karen or Big Daddy does it, but they’ve got me doing two songs in the first set. Great, especially when the sound system is working so well. While never being packed, the club did have people wander in during the night. Thanks to the gentleman who came up w/ the kind words about the music, appreciate that! Hopefully he’ll come to see us in the future and bring a friend or two.

             The first set went well, lots of energy from everyone. Since we’ve had some time off, (less bookings lately—we like to play twice a week—every week), we were enjoying just being together and making music. Even after all this time  it’s still about the music!  Well, were going to try to get a practice in this week--- no job this weekend though. This will give us a chance to hopefully get some new tunes together to keep things fresh.  Summer’s behind us now and we’re looking forward to  Fall--- cooler temps and hopefully lot’s of jobs.

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                                                                                                             September 14, 2003

  From Bill,

             Can it already be the middle of September? Time flies when you’re having fun, and last night’s booking was definitely fun. The band once again ventured up to Snead’s Ferry for a two night engagement at Lor-re-lei, a club that has become a personal favorite of mine. Original MACO bas player Billy Stratton was once again there for the Friday night booking---I had a previous booking and could not be there, but I think that this is actually a plus---MACO is actually a different sounding band depending on who’s playing bass, and that makes for two different shows.

              I unloaded my equipment and set up on Saturday, the rest of the band was already set up from last night, and from all reports last night was great. Billy actually had the band perform “Folsum Prison Blues, in memory of Johnny Cash who had died this week at the age of 71. Many people at the club on Saturday had been there the night before---good to see them. Kim & Lori were there to see us—it’s always great to see friends & family at the show.   It really does make my evening---and it’s nice of them to sit through what is probably the tenth time they’ve seen us. (Maybe twenty?)  During one of the breaks a lady named Pam, who has been there the last four shows, came up and used our PA to sing w/ an Eagles song that was on the jukebox, sort of Karaoke style. Not only did she sing in tune but she had the actual phrasing of the words perfect! I was impressed. (Thanks)  For my intro to Margaritaville I mentioned  that the “back of the bar ladies,” a group of ladies that stood near the back of the bar where they had a good view of everything, were missing tonight. Imagine my delight when one of them (now standing near the SIDE of the bar) yelled and waved! Good, they’re here, just not in the usual places—now I can sing the song!  Mike & Karen showed up with Mike running a fever and generally not feeling to well--- despite this, Mike helped out w/ the load-out chores as he always does. Hope he’s feeling better soon.   

                This Friday night has us returning to Joel’s place, out on Market Street here in Wilmington. This is a really nice new club that hasn’t yet developed their own crowd--- they depend on the bands to bring in people. Friends & family, if you get a chance we’d appreciate seeing you for that one night to help out the staff & management of Joel’s--- this could be a really nice addition to Wilmington’s music scene if they can get things going. Now’s the time to make a difference. One thing  noticed this weekend--- Lor-re-lei had a  cover charge, the place was packed both nights and the people had a great time.  Many places we’ve worked at in the past locally have had no cover charge but were only marginally attended. Hey, if it’s free…. 

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                                                                                                            September 8, 2003

From Bill,

                      Drink water while upside down, cover both ears and drink water, concentrate for 20 seconds on nothing but telling your body that it’s a reflex action that your brain can control. (Various bits of advice given to Lori for curing hiccups Saturday night at Chuckie D’s.)

                         Welcome back to yet another MACO STATION update---it’s been a while! Last Tuesday night at practice we discussed just what is going on with the local music scene. Karaoke bars, clubs w/ DJs are seemingly on the rise, even our favorite club (and summer home to Maco for the last eight years), the Surfside has suddenly stopped booking us!!! Ms . Loretta is  using more and more Karaoke, and, with the economy the way it is we can understand. After all, at the Surfside there is never a cover charge & the drinks are fairly priced. We’ll miss everyone there---it’s been a good venue.

                        But on to the future! We’re re-evaluating our song list, trying to guess (guess?) where the live music scene is headed. For me, it was all summed up neatly last night when I ventured out to “Lucky”s” a club here in Wilmington to see my son Rob play in his band RASTAWAR. They’re a three piece punk rock band that plays their original compositions at the typical high-energy breakneck speed. Even with a five dollar cover charge at the door the club was quite busy--- even had the mosh pit! So yes, live music is definitely still happening here---I was wondering.

                        Anyway we were Chuckie D’s on Saturday night. It was the usual dancing party crowd--- a great place to play! Once again thanks to our bartendress Alex who has the uncanny ability to remember what everyone’s drink preference is! Our latest additions to the set list were well received---Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,”  “Wild Nights”, a Van Morrison tune that was remade a few years back by John Cougar Mellencamp, a cover of an old Bonnie Raitt song, and a number by Carla Thomas, “Got My Mojo Working”.  Lots of familiar faces in the club, always makes for a fun night. We had a several day late birthday celebration for Beth, one of our family members from way back. Jamie’s wife Kim & his sister Lori also came out, and we had a great time trying out different cures for Lori’s hiccups! However, nothing seemed to work, and I left that night wondering if Lori might be setting a world record for longest lasting hiccups. Actually I think that record is several YEARS!

                         Wandered into ROB’S MUSIC LOFT today (Big Daddy Jim’s day job), and who was there but Tommy & Elizabeth, good friends of the band.  Elizabeth told me about a club in the North Myrtle Beach area that she thought we would be a good fit for. The name of the club is HD Spokes, understand that they have a webpage. Elizabeth also has taken many live pictures of us over the last year or so. As soon as she gets these to us we’ll have some new shots for the page. Yes, we’ve been slack on our updates!  This weekend has us back at Lor-re-lei, up in Snead’s Ferry. Maco co-founder Billy Stratton will be back on bass Friday night as I have a previous engagement with Shazam, the keyboard—bass duo I”ve worked with over  the last few years. Saturday night I’ll be back--- looking forward to it!                            

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                                                                                                                        August 17

 

From Bill,

                Been another “interesting” week, which often has many events that can be considered good OR bad! Practice Tuesday was fruitful--- we added several new (old) songs to our list. Some of these we’ve played before and dropped for various reasons, some were new songs (to us). One that we particularly like is a cover of  “Come Together”, written by Lennon-McCartney. It occurred to me as we learned the song that we don’t do any Beatles material, and this was a band that arguably influenced more bands to play music than anyone. We also did a remake of a Monkees song “I’m a Believer”, that was recently remade by a band called Smashmouth, so I guess that makes the song current. I don’t about that song—it still sounds very dated to me.

                Friday night saw us at a new club in Wilmington---Joel’s Place, located on  Market St. It doesn’t look very impressive from the outside, and that’s a shame, because they have done a wonderful job with the interior. Being a new place the management looked to the band to bring in customers, they aren’t that well established yet. Unfortunately, we were booked for this week on short notice and didn’t have time to get the word out. Credit Joel, Eric, bartendress Sonya with getting the announcement in “Currents”, the weekly Star-News entertainment section which arrives in each Thursday”s edition. (I ALWAYS read it.) The crowd was sparse this evening, we hope that the people of Wilmington give Joel’s a try. Some old  friends came out to see our first gig at a new site---Bob Clayton Jr. from the band “Messenger Bob”, who was kind enough to come up and sing a song w/ the band.  Also nice to see David Peterson, vocalist for Wilmington’s famous Jet 22, wander  in with a few friends. I owe them a visit next time they play somewhere, which is fun because they really PACK the houses they play--- a lot of fans. Thanks also to Lori, Kim, and Beth for supporting us, as well as Jamie’s neighbors, whose names I unfortunately didn’t get. (Sorry)

                We were at the MOOSE CLUB on Saturday night. Been there before, nice club, friendly people. We kept our song list to more Beach Music and slower material, but after a slow start the club got rocking, and by the end of the set we were up to full volume and rocking. Thanks to Deesia, our bartendress, and all the late-arriving customers who made it a VERY enjoyable evening.

                  The economy is not doing real great, that, and tougher DUI  laws are taking a toll on clubs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m for strong laws, we shouldn’t drink and get out there on the roads, I’ve lost a few friends that way, but it has made an impact on people’s coming to clubs. Throw in DJs, Karaoke, and you soon find that people have so much to choose from that there’s not enough customers to go around. To that end we’re actively looking to change--- different material, and possibly even our name. Maco Station has a well-deserved place in the local music scene---we're a working band that manages to play almost every weekend, and have since the band was formed in 1995. We even tried calling the band MSB a while back to   change our image (Maco Station does sound either like a bluegrass or country name), and the name of a band is important, but then again the name Maco Station does have a rich history that cannot be disregarded. No matter what, though, we do constantly strive to find what people want to hear from a band. When I  was a full-time member in 2001 we were leaning towards a modern rock sound. We soon realized that wasn’t us--- and there are bands around that do it better. We’re currently working on some ideas--- we want to keep it interesting for you. If you have any suggestions we’d love to get an email from you.

                Got a couple of weeks off----check out our “dates” page and come visit!

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August 13, 2003

From Karen,

Hey y'all, just want to let y'all know the change in our schedule, we're playing this Friday at Joel's Place on Market Street, so please make sure to come out & see us!!!!!!!!! 

Rock On!!!!!!

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                                                                                                                                                    August 10, 2003

 

From Bill,

 

         Despite a case of writer’s block I decided to sit down and get this written. After recording last week’s show at Lo-re-lei in Snead’s Ferry, Big Daddy decided that our harmonies needed some major work. We had a vocal practice on Tuesday night that allowed us to change some of our vocal parts. The trick now is to remember them and not revert back to the parts we’ve sung in the past. While moving my amp up and down the stairs (we practice on the second floor at  Jamie’s) I pulled a muscle in my back--- it’s been bothering me all week. By the way, that particular amplifier is now for sale.

         Only one job this weekend---Chuckie D’s here in Wilmington on Saturday night. With all the rain we’ve had this past week I wasn’t too surprised when it started pouring the minute I pulled out of my driveway. Luckily it pretty much stopped by the time I arrived at the job. I was the last to arrive, and the load in at Chuckie D’s is great—you can pull right up to a door w/ a ramp going up to it. Nice. I wandered up to the bar to order a beer (I sometimes have one before job, but lately it’s been water for me) and Alex, the bartendress (Alex is a girl) came up to me and said “you drink Natural Lite, right?”  I’ve been in Chuckie D’s maybe three or four times and Alex remembered what I drank. Needless to say I was impressed! By the way, I now refer to her as “the world famous Alex” due to the fact that I mentioned her name in a previous web entry. Someone from another band apparently had read the diary entry and called the club regarding a possible booking. They asked for Chuckie or Alex by name. Since anybody in the world can access this site (would love to have you sign the guestbook like Mr. Maco from Scotland did a while back) this means that Ms. Alex  (technically speaking) is now world famous!  

          We started out with a Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty song “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” and we were off! The crowd was up and dancing from the start. The first set saw the club pretty crowded, died out a bit for two & three, and the last set actually was the best. Lots of new friends to talk with:  Rhonda, Cathy, Joe, and of course Katie, a lady originally from England who still has the enchanting accent.

          I am enamored of  both English & Scottish accents---- I could sit and listen all day long. Hope to someday get the chance to cross the Atlantic & visit.  We tried our newest material for the second week in a row--- it’s getting more comfortable each time. I sing lead on a new one- “Runnin’ Down a Dream”, by Tom Petty, and still have quite a time co-ordinating my bass & vocal parts.  Not to worry this time through---during the second verse my amplifier shut down on me. After a few futile attempts to get it going I decided to just continue with singing. Big Daddy & Jamie did a GREAT JOB of filling in all the gaps and wegot through the song OK. Took a few minutes to find the problem (blown crossover circuit on my speaker cabinet), and I was able to switch inputs and continue the night. We finished (almost as always) w/ “Rock & Roll”, a Led Zeppelin classic, and finished what had turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable  evening at what has become a favorite club of mine. The customers are a very diverse group of people who have one thing in common: they like to party and have a great time. The fact that here are a lot of dancers in the crowd helps too—gives US something to watch!  

          Well, this week ahead has us practicing on Tuesday (and no, I’m not bringing the heavy amplifier again!) Only one booking this weekend as well---the Moose Club here in Wilmington. Still ahead for us---more bookings up in Snead’s Ferry, a new club in town, and possibly more Carolina Beach work. I feel that with the new Marriot opening up down there we might be able to find some bookings even after the usual playing season ends on Labor Day. By the way, for equipment-oriented readers who might care---- Big Daddy has once again switched both guitar & amplifier set-ups--- see what I mean? Things don’t remain the same here for long!                                                                                                 

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                                                                                                                                                            August 3, 2003

     From Bill,

                  “There were times cats were worshipped as gods, & they’ve never forgotten this.” (Anonymous)

 

             Greetings & welcome to the MACO STATION traveling circus. I say “traveling” because we journeyed up the road to Snead’s Ferry, North Carolina for two nights at Lo-re-lei, a fairly new club owned by the former owners of the famous MERMAID in Surf City.

              Because of a previous booking I was unable to be there for Friday night’s show so Billy Bob Stratton once again helped out the band he co-founded. It speaks well of him that the next evening a lady came up to me and commented that she was back again & really enjoyed speaking with Billy and his father, Mr. Bill Stratton. He is usually there when Billy is playing & is a great ambassador for the band. Although people enjoy the music I’ve gotten more compliments about Billy’s personality— his willingness to talk to people and ability to relate to just about anyone. Anyway, this often makes him a hard act to follow.

               The drive up to Lo-re-lei is very pleasant in the evening, the sun has gone down and I was able to drive   with the windows down. Arriving there at about nine o’clock (we play 9:30 to 1:30 there) I brought my equipment in and set everything up. Big Daddy was already there, and Karen and Mike came in a few minutes later. It was getting close to show time when Jamie arrived, along with his wife Kim and his sister Lori.

              We pretty much stuck to a standard set list and the crowd was great. Thanks to the gentleman who bought a round of drinks for the band during the first break. There was a lady at a table near the front that had been there the night before also.   It turns out that she is quite a harmonica player—she had a couple of harmonicas with her---they were of high quality and she played well. We generally don’t have people sit in with us—some times it works and sometimes it REALLY doesn’t, but next time we’re there we need to see if we know a tune or two in common.  The “back of the bar” ladies were in attendance again; they stand at the back of the bar (hence the name), where they can see the whole club. They also came      out to the dance floor a couple of times. I remembered them from the last time we were at Lo-re-lei, about a month ago. Good to see familiar faces.  Another gentleman was kind enough to bring up four bottles of water during the last set---thanks, my water had somehow fallen off of the stage and I was parched.

         Some new songs for us. One of my favorites was a remake of a Dixie Chicks song which in itself is actually a remake of a Bonnie Raitt song. The new material went over well as did most of the usual tunes. Karen commented Saturday afternoon that Friday night had been a really good show—great crowd, but she mentioned that this evening was even better. I will say this—the good folks up in  Snead’s Ferry really know how to have a good time, I look forward to playing there again in the future.

           Finally, at one-thirty at was quitting time. The crowd asked for one more and we were happy to oblige---we’d had a great night, wish I had thought to put out a tip jar! The load out is not bad at all, and parking there is nice. The only problem is that long trip home. Jamie, Kim, & Lori took off first in Jamie’s Land Rover--- the last I saw of them, they were wasting no time getting home. I set my cruise control to 55 (Don’t need a ticket!), turned on the A/C and CD player and settled in for the tiring drive home. Mike & Karen soon passed me and vanished into the distance--- Big Daddy had mentioned he was going to stop on the way back--- we all have cell phones in case of breakdowns, a good precaution when traveling.  This coming Saturday we hope to see everyone at CHUCKIE D’s, back  in Wilmington.  Come out and see us!

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                                                                                                                      July 27, 2003

  From Bill,

               A friend will come & get you out of jail in the middle of the night----

                 A True friend will be sitting there beside you saying “Damn, that was fun!”

 

             It’s nice to be back holding down the bass lines for MACO Station. During my absence the band was trying out another bass player & I was busy w/ my band , SHAZAM. (No, I didn’t pick the name!) So, with the help of Billy Stratton I hope to be playing on a regular basis w/ MACO again.

            This past weekend found  the band back  at Loretta’s Surfside Bar, summer home to the MACO STATION band for the last several years. I won’t go into the load-in and parking woes (I’ve run THAT subject into the ground) , but really, some of our visitors to Carolina Beach need to watch where they’re driving. I was rolling my amp down the street, way off to the side, and this car from out of town, with the driver leaning ‘way forward and looking up at the new Marriot, suddenly drifts over to the side of the road and heads for me. I immediately came to a complete stop and prepared to jump out of the way when the drivers wife (their windows were down) starts yelling at him to watch where he’s going. She proceeds to lay into him pretty good, and after my heart starts beating again, I continue on to Lorettas.

           A busy Friday night on the Boardwalk, don’t know if it’s due to summer crowds in general, or maybe increased visitors from the new Marriot. This might end up being a boon to the Boardwalk, all these visitors who can park in the Marriot lot. Time will tell, particularly this fall. Charlie (I finally got around to asking about the spelling of her name, Charlie is a girl) also works at the new Marriot as well as tending bar at the Surfside. She mentioned that the lounge at the Marriot is very small and the only entertainment that they have so far is outside by the pool on Sunday afternoons. This leaves a lot of people to head for the Boardwalk for live music & dancing. Hmmm.

           We started out our first set w/ “Tina Nu”, a usual opening song. People were on the dance floor from the start. Much applause also, thanks. We’ve been working on some new material at practice but due to the unfortunate passing of  Mike’s mother we have not practiced this past week. Our prayers & wishes go out to Mike, Karen, Wesley, and the rest of the family.

           Friday night was a lot of fun. We had a ‘birthday lady”, Edwina, in the audience. (She mentioned that we could just call her “Lucy”. Don’t know what that was all about.) She and several friends were having a great time, dancing and enjoying themselves, too bad they had to leave after only  one set.

          Speaking of birthdays, we had two on Saturday night. Happy birthdays to Mike and Jody. It seemed as I walked around the Boardwalk Saturday evening that there were a lot more people that had started partying early (meaning “slightly drunk”) on Saturday, more so than Friday night. Arriving at the Surfside I noticed a large table of food set out in honor of the birthday celebrations. Great, because I didn’t eat much dinner.

The song list was much the same as the last nights, and towards the last set Big Daddy got adventurous and we tried some of the new material. To my surprise we remembered most of what we had learned two weeks ago. A crowd favorite was “Unchain My Heart”,  a R&B classic that has been redone by Joe Cocker. It’s got a driving rhythm to it made for dancing.

            We tried some equipment changes this weekend as well as the new songs. Big Daddy has gone to playing a Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall amp without using the effects that he usually uses. Still sounds like Big Daddy, though. I switched to a small bass amp w/ separate head and speaker cabinet, getting away from the combo amps that I’ve been using the last few years. Sometimes I have to refrain from getting too technical on this ‘page, the music isn’t about what kind of instruments you play, and the average person could care less. However, for those of you who are equipment   freaks here is a first ever listing: Big Daddy---Les Paul through a Marshall amp (this week, anyway. Working in a music store means he rarely plays the same thing twice.) I’m still using the same bass (Fender copy, heavily modified w/ EMG pickup & extra shielding), and a recently purchased Peavey Mark VI head w/ one cabinet. Jamie plays Tama drums, and the PA is a Mackie Amp w/ Peavey cabinets. We all use Shure microphones. Well, that’s enough for all that--- maybe more in the future. I mean, if you really care about this you can ask anytime you come out to see us, we’re happy to talk shop!

        Well, 1:00 AM rolled around and the club was still packed and rocking. Ms. Loretta was not there, too bad, I think she would have wanted us to play another hour.

         Next week will have the band up at Lo-re-lei, a fairly new club up in Snead’s  Ferry---we’ve played there before. Billy Stratton will be playing Friday night as I have a schedule conflict. I’ll be there Saturday. We also have an upcoming return engagement at Chuckie D’s this month, and a job at a new place---Joel’s. And, of course, we’re still trying to get some pictures posted to the site. For lack of any club pictures I was going to attach a picture of my dogs but I couldn’t figure out how to move them yet. Take care.

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                                                                                                June 22, 2003

  From Bill,

             “Never Say Never Again.” (Title of James Bond Movie)

               …And what did YOU do this past weekend? Friday night saw MACO STATION up in Snead’s Ferry for their first ever show at Lo-Re-Lei, a rather new club. We caravanned up in three vehicles w/ all the equipment and arrived about eight o’clock. This gave us about an hour & a half to set up.

            We were able to pull right up to a door which opened right onto the dance floor in front of the stage, making this an easy load in. Karen ordered Pizza & Hot Wings from a delivery service as the club isn’t yet serving food, although they plan to soon. Lo-Re-Lei (hope I got the spelling right!) is run by Rob & Tracy,  who are the former owners of the famous MERMAID club & restaurant in Surf City. Needless to say, they know how to run a club, having had more than 20 years experience in the business. One of the customers there remembered me from a job I did at the Mermaid last summer when I was with the band “Too Far Away.”  Tracy & Brenda were our bartendresses for the evening, and there was a good crowd from the start. We opened up w/ “Tina Nu”, a frequent first song for the band.  People were on the dance floor from the start. All in all a good show, w/ much compliments from the people there. MACO STATION will be back there the first weekend of August for a two night stand. While I was singing “Margaritaville”, I noticed several ladies at the far end of the bar dancing, waving their hands in the air, and singing along. I dubbed them the “back of the bar ladies”, and got several cheers in return. Thanks.

            It’s a long way back to Wilmington at two o’clock in the morning. Karen & Mike were kind enough to ride back w/ me to help keep me from falling asleep. Call it self-indulgent but we listened  to a tape of ourselves that we made last weekend at the Surfside.

            Saturday evening I showed up at the RUSTY NAIL on 5th street in Wilmington  for our booking there. The Rusty Nail is a really neat old-style bar---the kind that’s authentic----you don’t just create something like it, a lot of history there. The bar is famous for blues & acoustic music but MACO had played there before & gone over well. It was a lot of fun to play in a place w/ so much history—just looking at all the posters and old newspaper articles on the wall took about an hour.  

            Karen brought in some hot coffee from Port City Java and we began setting up. The crowd was rather sparse but very enthusiastic throughout the night. Thanks to Jackie, one of the customers who yielded her place in line for the ladies restroom to Karen so that Karen could get back onstage. During the first break a gentlemen named Mike came up & remarked that his initials ---MSB—were the same as that of the band, and that he had seen our website and came out to see us. It turns out that Mike plays some really nice acoustic guitar music by artists such as Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Blake, Dave Van Ronk, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Many of the old blues artists were indeed blind, and used that descriptive title in their names. A lot of their songs were remade by other artists, particularly during all the blues revivals of the sixties. Eric Clapton is one such artist who has done a lot of the old songs. A lot of this music is very challenging to play, and to get up there onstage by yourself w/ just a guitar takes a lot of courage as well as talent. I really admire people that are able to do that.

          Eric, the new MACO STATION bass player, came in during the first set. I asked him if was interested in playing a few songs (he was), so he came up during the third set and did a few tunes w/ the band. I like to have people sit in like that--- it gives me a chance to sit out in the crowd and listen to my bass rig. I then invariably go back on stage and change a few settings---musicians are always fooling w/ knobs on amps!

           Several people out to see the band that I’ve never seen before--- a lady named Michelle, the aforementioned Mike, and others including a couple that came in during the third set. The lady was an attractive blonde and her boyfriend came up to the front of the stage during the ZZ Top medley, he seemed to be enjoying it a lot. Several other customers came in during the night and we started getting some song requests, especially dance songs like “Midnight Hour”, which we haven’t done in quite a while. Former MACO bassist Mike Fowler came in for a listen---I thought he had left Wilmington to go out West and work with a band.

         One thirty rolled around and it was time to pack up and load out. Although we were on 5th street parking wasn’t too bad, and the load out was a breeze. Thanks to the staff of the Rusty Nail for having us.

         Next week has the MACO STATION band back at the Surfside at Carolina Band---ought to be a fun time. Come out and see them!

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                                                                                                                      June 15, 2003

 

  From Bill,

          “All the world’s a Stooge.”( Moe Howard.)

          Greetings and welcome to the latest installment of the MACO Station   traveling circus. This past weekend had us back at the Surfside at Carolina Beach, our favorite hangout during the summer. I arrived at the beach about eight o’clock on Friday evening. Remember that parking space I mentioned a while back for thirty cars that only twenty-nine people knew about? Well,  the “powers that be” have eliminated all those—and then some. And the parking spaces that were there had evil “towing zone” signs all over them! What is this all about? So, it was off to the public parking lot, about three blocks away.  Five dollars to park there!!! Thank you, Carolina Beach, you have truly become a miniature wanna-be Myrtle Beach. Bring money, folks.

          Anyway, I grabbed my bass and headed for the Surfside. The walk to the club carried me all the way through the Boardwalk area. The streets were alive w/ people--- looked like the good old days. Walking by Britt’s Donut Shop made me realize how hungry I was--- the best donuts around. Sadly I’m not supposed to eat donuts anymore for health reasons so I wandered by, looking at all the happy people in line. Across the street was the pizza place, and people were piling in the door. I saw at least six people enter in the short time it took me to walk by. Arriving at the club I found it almost full –a good sign.

           We took the stage at nine o’clock and people were on the dance floor from the start. People were in the mood to party & dance---some apparently had been partying for quite a while! During the last verse of the last song of the evening a lady dancing near the stage lost her balance and went toppling onto Karen’s monitor speaker. OUCH!!! That had to hurt, especially the next morning. Karen took a pretty good blow to her left knee from the flying speaker, gave her a little problem the next night. I went to speak to the lady after the job (never did get her name), she said she was all right. Her first visit to the Surfside too.

         Saturday night I once again paid ransom money to park at the public lot & headed for the club. It happened to be Shorty’s (our bartendress from last night) birthday. Happy birthday. Shorty has been a fixture at the Surfside since I started    playing there in 2001----good people. While Shorty was taking a well-deserved rest this evening Charlie (Charley?) tended bar, keeping all the customers happy.  That’s two birthdays over the weekend, the other being longtime MACO friend        Tommy’s on Thursday, which we celebrated on Friday. Great to see Jamie’s wife Kim & his sister Ms. Lori come in. They started out at a table right by the dance floor but moved to one near the door after the first set---the smoke from all the cigarettes was INTENSE this evening. Many thanks to all the fine people  who kept the dance floor busy. Eric, the new MACO STATION bass player, came in during the last set. He’s ready to start working w/ the band next weekend, which will once again allow me to take some time for other projects.    I didn’t get a chance to talk w/ him, but Karen says that he’s very excited about becoming the latest MACO bass player. I wish him luck---they’re a great group of people!

        One o’clock rolled around. Our last song was to be ‘Rock & Roll’ , off  the Led Zeppelin 4 album, but Ms. Loretta asked us to play ‘Bobby McGee’ for her, one of her favorites. We’re always glad to do this song for the “boss”, and I think this run through was possibly the best that we’ve ever done it.  We then tore down the stage equipment and began the evil load out procedure. Thanks again to Mike Heath (the fifth band member) for all his help.

        Next week will find MACO at a new club up in  Snead’s Ferry on Friday night. They’ve played in Snead’s Ferry before at another club and should have a good following up there to see them. Saturday they’ll be at Wilmington’s own “Rusty Nail”, on fifth street. The following weekend will have MACO back at the Surfside. They’ll be doing six nights straight over the 4th  of July weekend---Eric, if you need a break I’ll be glad to fill in for a few of those— several nights in a row really gets a band tight. Come see the band & thanks  for everything. _______________________________________________________________________________________________

  June 8, 2003

  From Bill, 

            “Eagles may soar, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines.”

             It occurred to me last night that in a 28 hour period this weekend MACO STATION was onstage for twelve of those hours. In addition to the usual Friday and Saturday night jobs at the Surfside we played from 1 till 5 on Saturday afternoon. This coincided with the annual “Beach Blast” concert held at Carolina Beach on June 7th. The stage is actually set up on the sand right on the beach. This year the stage was located near the water right in front of where the SURFSIDE is, and owner Ms. Loretta decided to have a band so people could come in out of the heat, rain, or whatever and party.

            Saturday morning looked pretty dreary, and storm clouds were gathering overhead when I pulled out of my driveway at about noon. Suddenly the sky opened up---I mean it REALLY rained! The closer I got to Carolina Beach though the sky grew brighter. When I crossed the big bridge to the beach the rain stopped and the sky towards the east was clear. I’m afraid that the weather kept a lot of the people away:   the concert was poorly attended even with all the good music. The first two sets for us in the SURFSIDE were rather slow also---looked like a quiet afternoon. My hope was that the crowd at the Beach Blast would be huge, and then maybe a little rain would drive the people inside to Lorettas. Well, the weather stayed fairly nice throughout the afternoon, and by the third set we had a PACKED house---couldn’t believe it! At one point a customer told me that there were more people in the bar than at the concert outside! That’s good for us, but I do feel for the promoters who put on a concert like Beach Blast---if they lose money, well, there won’t be anymore live shows like that and we all lose.

            Speaking about losing things—more parking spots are gone from Carolina Beach. I usually can find a spot for thirty cars that only 29 other people know about it but it’s getting harder to do. I ended up parking along w/ some construction workers cars on the new hi-rise motel site and nobody bothered to run me off. (Thanks)

           The summer crowds are starting to arrive. Both Friday & Saturday nights had good crowds---more and more people on the dance floor also. Saw a lot of our regular crowd there this weekend: Glynn, Barbara, Beth, Vanessa and Mark, and  former MACO drummer Beth Bigford showed up with her husband and was kind enough to pass the tip bucket around. Thanks to our bartendresses Shorty & Charlie (Charley? Gotta check that spelling!)

           I was told by a couple of people that the song “Whipping Post” that we did during the third set (or was it the fourth) Saturday afternoon sounded REALLY good. Well, when there’s an active, supportive crowd it always makes you play better, or at least put more energy into the music onstage. Sometimes I’ve noticed when I’m more active on stage my playing becomes more sloppy, but I personally feel that the crowd is there to have a good time---dance, party, drink, meet someone new. By putting on a good show and keeping things rolling hopefully the people will then enjoy whatever activity they’re engaged in!

           Some nice words from a lady who came up at the end of the night. Turns out that she was here vacationing from Holland---the country, not a small town in Georgia. I showed my typical lack of breeding  & culture by commenting how well her English was---I mean no trace of an accent or anything. She informed me that EVERYONE in Holland spoke English. (Didn’t know that.) She also said that we should come to Amsterdam & play--- she said that we would go over great. Hmmmm.

      We’ll be back at the Surfside this coming weekend, which means no evil load-out at the end of Saturday night. This was very welcome after playing two jobs in the same day—our voices were pretty well shot by the last set on Saturday night—we’ve had two weeks off and then had to do three jobs in two days. Takes a while to get into the groove again.

         Not to plug the competition but there was a good group next door at the Silver Dollar. They were three (or four) ladies who did GREAT arrangements of some older classic songs--- they had a sound all their own and I enjoyed their taste in music.

        Well the Boardwalk sure looked alive on Saturday night--- lots of folks wandering around. Summer looks to finally be here. Take Care.

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May 18, 2003
 

From Bill,

          “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana.)  Friday night found MACO STATION returning to CODY’s after a long absence. We were fortunate to have a guest keyboardist for the night---Mike Raab, who in addition to being a fine musician is the editor and publisher of Wilmington’s #1 music scene magazine ‘The BEAT’. (By the way, there is a link to his magazine at the bottom of our homepage. Check it out.) Mike also has played in “The Jellybean Bandits”, a band who has the distinction of possibly being the only band in the WORLD to have both of their two albums come out in a different CENTURY!!! The original album came out in 1967 and has become a cult classic---they released a follow-up just recently.
            It was nice to return to Cody’s---they have a large stage at one end of the room and good acoustics. (By the way, for Wilmington old timers, Cody’s is the location of what was called Jenny’s 421 club, back in the seventies. It had a fire a while back that required a new roof---they made it quite a bit higher which really adds to the place as far as sound goes.) Thanks to Gwen for tending the bar, and to the rest of the staff.  Mike fit right in on keyboards, and we even added the old Booker T. & the MGs classic instrumental “Green Onions,” to the set-list. The organ gave the song that genuine “Memphis R&B sound.”
            Longtime Maco family member Beth came in during the second set, along w/ her friend Shane. It was nice seeing them again, they were out to see us a while back when we played at the Roadhouse Saloon. And, of course, Big Daddy’s lovely wife Sandy was there as well. It seems whenever we play a nice venue or return to a place after a long absence Sandra is right there to provide support for the band. Thank you.
        I’m actually writing this update in two stages. John Crumpler, the other half of my current project “Shazam” came over and we had a band practice for about two hours. Looking forward to playing a few jobs soon--- we’ve been practicing for about three months now w/ some time off while I’ve been working w/ Maco but haven’t played live in public for about four years.
        Well, MACO STATION is going to be taking a couple of weeks off (rare for them!) and then they’ll be back at the SURFSIDE at Carolina Beach (Loretta’s). If any body reading this remembers the movie “This is Spinal Tap”, and remembers the situations concerning their continuity in drummers---well let me just say true life is often more strange than the movies---particularly when it comes to bass players. Check out the dates on the “Where We Do It” page and come visit. Thanks for your support.

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May 12, 2003

Well it's been a few weeks since the last update and a lot has happened.  To mention a few things, we played this past weekend with Billy Bob Stratton.  That's right, he came out of  retirement to help us out for the weekend, and we had a blast! Friday had us at Jimmy's Cafe in Oak Island.  We always have a good time there,  good crowd too.  They kept requesting "Beach Music" all night, so we gave them everything we had!   Sat. night had us at Chuckie D's.  Chuckie had a big party with 200 people on Friday night, so needless to say, it wasn't a big crowd, but the ones who were there, had a good time and we did too!  This coming Friday, the 16th has at Cody's.  Bill Ferencak will be playing bass for us this weekend and Mike Raab, from "The Beat Magazine" will be guest appearing, playing the key boards.  It should be real fun, so please come out and see for yourselves.  We are so thankful to both Bill and Billy for helping us out once again!

Well I'll have more to write later, in the mean time, ROCK ON!!!!!!!!!

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                                                                                                                April 20, 2003

              From Bill,

                       …”Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip this has been”…(Garcia, Lesh, Weir, Hunter).    Well, another week w/ MACO STATION---lots of news. But first, I mentioned a while back that nobody probably reads these updates anyway. A few people have written or called  to let me know that they do. Some as far away as Jersey. (Thanks, Dianne!)   This could be MY last update for at least a while because the band has finally found a  permanent bass player, which means I won’t be working w/ them on a steady basis. If you enjoy our updates please write to MACO STATION, either on their email address or by signing their guest book. (The last entry in the guest book was made ‘way back in January. Perhaps someone in the band will continue the tradition of keeping you informed. “Aww, mama, can this REALLY be the end?” (Hunter S. Thompson).

                 As promised last week I’ve saved the song list from last night at Slick & Red’s Saloon. Slick & Red were the names of HORSES, by the way. When I mentioned to people where we were playing I got looks of disbelief. (SLICK & RED ?!?). We started out just a little late but this is essentially how the first set went:

1)  Tina Nu

2)  Best Shot

3)  Shakey Ground

4)  Hands to Yourself

5)  Brown Eyed Girl

6)  Chain of Fools

7)  Wonderful Tonight (They changed this one up on me---set list originally had “Dark End of the Street”

8)  Doobie/Allman Brothers medley.

 

                          Thanks to Tim & Amy for tending bar and taking care of business. We were further honored to have Eddie from the band JAMIE come in to listen for a set or two. For those of you who don’t know, JAMIE was one of  THE rock bands in Wilmington in the late sixties & early seventies. They have reformed and are playing all over Southeast North Carolina to enthusiastic old & new fans alike. Their original bass player, the late Bobby Stover, was a hero of mine when I was starting out and encouraged me and was patient and helpful w/ my countless questions.  Maco’s NEW bass player ventured in during the end of the first set. I’ll let Karen tell you more about him in the near future.

                            Now for some final words of wisdom & random comments: It’s been fun the last two months, people. I’ve enjoyed coming back and seeing many old friends. Onstage with the band was just like old times. My personal schedule & a feeling of wanting to try new things prevented me from returning permanently---but working w/ a great group of musicians, fans, friends, and club owners is always great.

                           And for my pet peeves---I thought I use this opportunity to vent my frustrations-- I’ve got the audience now and need to use it. First of all, most of our club owners are great people---they’re fair and run good places to go, they advertise their entertainment, and are upfront when there are issues to work out. Thank you. However, I’ve sometimes run into places that have live bands, don’t advertise at all, and wonder why the place isn’t full. That’s one of the purposes of this website---to let people know what’s going on w/ this particular traveling circus. There are lot’s of places competing for customers, we have to work TOGETHER to get people out to see us. It’s a team effort.  And the subject of pay---times are tough. Talk to each other. If there’s a prob w/ the money, PLEASE BE UPFRONT about it.

                           When not working w/ MACO I enjoy visiting the website often and seeing what’s new----pictures are nice, too. I’ve been at many gigs lately where some great pictures were taken—please get them to Karen so she can post them.

                           Anyway, I’m going to hopefully take a little time and work on some projects I’ve had on the back burner for a few months such as SHAZAM (no, I DIDN”T pick the name!), a duo that I had years ago w/ Keyboardist/Guitarist John Crumpler. We did a lot of beach music, and oldies---it was a lot of fun! Also, I’ve been singing in my church choir---our new director is very helpful w/ ideas to improve my singing (much needed!) And, of course, I’m sure I’ll be working w/ Big Daddy, Karen, & Jamie again in the future---meanwhile, stay tuned and come see MACO STATION!

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April 14, 2003

                        from Bill,

                       Another busy week for MSB. We played at the Surfside Friday & Saturday night, and Saturday night I came down w/ a killer sinus headache. A real chore to get through the night, believe me. Still not back to 100%, and I figured, what the heck, who reads this anyway? Shouldn’t matter if I skip a week. Well, Ms. Lori (Jamie’s sister) told me last week that she reads the updates, so this one’s for you, Lori.

                      Showed up about 8:15 on Friday to play the first night of our second weekend in a row at the Surfside. My equipment was already set up (thankfully) so all I had to do was walk in and play. Jamie, however, was not so lucky. He had to bring his drum kit to the Azalea Festival last Sunday and then cart it back to the beach for the weekend. I’ve told my son this is why you don’t want to be the drummer. (Didn’t follow my advice---he plays drums!)  Big Daddy mentioned that someone at the Azalea Festival commented at the sound (good) that I got out of running my bass directly into the PA.  I appreciate that---after all, Soundwave Audio has great equipment.  At eight forty-five there were THREE people in the Surfside---it looked like a really slow night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this empty. By eight-fifty about six people wandered in, followed by another group of four, then five more,well, you get the picture. By nine-fifteen the place was packed. All in all a good night. One of my goals is to copy one of our set lists to this page—not this week, unfortunately. While packing up Saturday I somehow forgot the set lists—again.  Didn’t forget our bartendress’ name, though. Thanks Charlie. (Or is it Charley?)

                      Saturday I awoke w/ a slightly sore throat and a headache that got progressively worse all day. I showed up at the club around eight-thirty to find a birthday party for Joey, one of our favorite regulars, in full swing. There was lots of  food as well. (Happy birthday, Joey) A good crowd started dancing as soon as we started playing. Former Maco drummer Beth Bigford showed up to say hi, and passed the tip bucket around. (Thanks!) The night was winding down towards 1:00 when Jason, lead singer for Jam Sandwich, wandered in w/ some friends after their gig at the Watering Hole was over. We were just finishing our last song and Jason yelled out “one more!” Well sure, Jason, if YOU come up and sing! He did, and we decided to do “Whipping Post.” Thanks, Jason. He did a great job and the crowd enjoyed the impromptu “Jam Session!”   The evening was over and we began the evil load-out chores that Carolina Beach is famous for.

                     Next Saturday night has us at Slick &  Reds, where you can back right up to the door. The following weekend will find us at Jimmy’s, in Oak Island. Be sure to check back often and see what weirdness we’re up to!                         

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                                                                                                     April 9, 2003

                      From Bill,

                           Well, the Azalea Festival has come and gone. We were fortunate enough to perform on the main stage Sunday afternoon. What else can I say? Playing the Azalea Festival is considered good exposure—a lot of people get to hear you that normally wouldn’t. (You mean there are people in Wilmington that don’t frequent bars?) The thing is about street fairs is that you get all types of people: all backgrounds, ages, tastes in music. We tried to vary our set list as much as possible: throwing in a little classic rock, blues, beach, and country. A lot of familiar faces in the crowd but also a lot of new people--- and some of those stayed throughout the set. Hopefully they liked what they saw and we’ll see them in the future.  Parking downtown is always a challenge, especially during the Azalea Festival.  I managed to get a spot four blocks away (well, slightly illegal—it was BEHIND several marked spaces, thankfully no ticket), and hoofed it in w/ my bass slung over my back. The sound system was plenty powerful for us, and the monitors on stage were strong enough that I didn’t need a bass amp—just plugged straight into the sound system through what is called a direct box. This puts you at the mercy of the soundmen but I’ve worked w/ Soundwave Audio before, and they were up to the task. (Thanks again, guys!)  Really strange playing in the daylight and outdoors---not something I’m used to!

                  Friday & Saturday nights had us at the Surfside on the Boardwalk at Carolina Beach- Loretta’s. The summer crowd is finally starting to show up: lots of new faces mixed in  w/ the old. Saturday night was especially fun due to all the friends, family, and past band members. Dr. John, the drummer who has worked w/ MACO STATION the longest, came down from Pennsylvania to hang out w/ us. Besides adding his drums and vocals to the band (allowing Jamie to step out front as a lead singer again), Dr. John played bongos and other percussion. (Thanks!) He commented that he never realized  how LOUD the band was before but that might have had something to do with the fact that I’ve added another bass cabinet (for more bottom end) to my setup. I think the greater presence of bass frequencies caused Big Daddy to turn up his guitar, which probably in turn caused Jamie to play louder. I’ll have to watch my volume!  Ms. Lori & Jamie’s wife Kim  came out as well—great to see them. Noticed that they were still there at quitting time which meant that they probably stayed around  to help Jamie pack up his drums for the Azalea Festival job the next afternoon. This means that MACO STATION has the most attractive ROADIES in the business!

                   Well, this is again a LATE update, thanks to Time-Warner (my internet provider).  This weekend has us back at the Surfside Friday and Saturday---come check us out!

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                                                                                                                       March 31, 2003

                 From Bill,

                    Well, I wrote this on the 31st, but don’t know when it’ll show up on the web page as my internet provider is not working---again.  The last week had us over at Jamie O’s for practice. Karen &  Mike have moved into an apartment---not particularly conducive to band practices. Jamie & Kim have a nice place on the north side of town with a large room perfect for a band practice. We really appreciate Kim’s putting up with us! We tried to keep both the volume and the length of             practice time down. Thanks to Kim for the hot pot of coffee I found downstairs in the kitchen after practice.  

                    Friday night had MACO STATION back at Jimmy’s Café, in Oak Island. The band had played there before but this was my first time there. I walked into a modern, pleasant restaurant with a bar but was surprised at how small it was. By 9:30 however it was  filling up nicely with customers. These folks were really enthusiastic and friendly---we had a great time there. We’ve been booked there again for the last weekend in April ( Friday & Saturday), and I’m looking forward to it. During the last set (we only play three hours there, allowing us to play only the best material) who should walk in but Billy Bob Stratton! Of course he came up to sing and play bass on a couple of songs— and they were crowd favorites. It’s great to have Billy come up and play---he sounds great, the crowd loves him, and I get to wander around the room and see how everything sounds.

                   Saturday night had us back at Chuckie D’s in Wilmington. Much thanks to Alex  the bartendress,   and all the customers. Thanks to the two guys that came up during the break who gave me some nice words on the music---they were bass players as well!  Thanks. Everything sounded rather strange on stage this particular evening--- didn’t  know if it was just me or what, so I ran out to my van after the second set was over and got my wireless set-up for my bass. I recently bought this wireless transmitter but haven’t felt comfortable w/ it until tonight. It’s nice because it allows me to move around the room and see how things sound---there’s actually a big difference in what we hear on stage and what someone in the room hears. It was nice to have both Kim and Ms. Lori come out to see us---one of the reasons we learn new songs and try to vary the order of what we do is so our friends, family, and fans have something new to experience. While it’s nice to bring our music to new people and that’s what makes new experiences for us as well, it’s those familiar faces that we see that inspires us to do our best. After all, it’s about the people. Having nice equipment and lots of songs to play means very little if the people that give you inspiration aren’t there.

                   This coming week will have us at the Surfside both Friday & Saturday nights. I understand that there may be some special guest musicians there this weekend--- you never can tell just who might show up, especially w/ it being Azalea Festival weekend. And, of course, this is the start of the “playing season” at the beach. Playing at the Surfside on those sultry summer nights brings back a lot of fond memories.  

                    Speaking of Azalea Festival weekend---MACO STATION will be on the main stage Sunday from about 12:30 until about 2:30. Come out and see us!  The advantage to only playing one set is obvious---it allows us to pick and choose from the song list and to really put energy into a show.

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                                                                                                                    March 23,  

             From Bill,

                     Sitting here half asleep on a Sunday afternoon but wanting to get the previous weeks events down before I crash and forget everything.   No practice this week---Mike & Karen are in the process of re-locating and most of our equipment was at the Surfside as we had played there the previous Saturday. Friday night at the Surfside had a really good crowd at first but with all the NCAA games and the fact that everyone was tired from a long week the crowd faded fast. By the last set the place had quite a few empty seats, nothing like the Surfside usually is during the summer season.

            Saturday night started rather promising as we had three different people having birthday parties there. In addition other bars in the area had a lot going on. Our friends ‘Jam Sandwich’ were at the other end of the boardwalk at the Watering Hole. Unfortunately it seemed that every time they took a break and came down to see us we were on break as well. I did manage to catch part of their first set---sounded good. Karen did make it down there for the beginning of a set and got up and sang a song w/ them. Sorry I missed it. MACO friends Tommy and Elizabeth came out to hear us along w/ their friend Clarence. (By the way, you don’t run into many beautiful women who are brilliant as well. A double major from Duke?) Always great to have Tommy come see the band—he’s one of those people w/ a great outgoing personality. They stayed through a couple of sets and Elizabeth took a few photos of the band---hope these make it to Karen so she can post them.

          By the end of the third set the Surfside was looking empty----what? This has NEVER happened two nights in a row—never mind it wasn’t summer yet. During the fourth set I noticed a few of the regulars wandering back in after making the rounds of the Boardwalk. Great to see Joey, Connie, Barbara, Glenn (one of our birthday people), Gail, Tommy and all the rest. Then several people walked in I didn’t recognize. This was followed by even more regulars and then---well, by 12:45 the Surfside was packed. And these were some dancing folks! We pulled out everything we knew to keep people on the dance floor. Veteran drummer Eddie Todd was working w/ us again that night and did a great job---I don’t think he was prepared to play an extra hour. Because that’s what ended up happening. Frankly, we were all surprised. At one-thirty the place was packed and rocking. People were filtering in from everywhere on the beach. Like I’ve always said, the Surfside is a great place to be on the Boardwalk (and has been for 31 years now).

         We finally finished at 2:00. (Thanks, everyone!) Since this was our last night until April we had to tear down the equipment and load-out---never fun at Carolina Beach because of the long walk to parking area. I was rolling my amp to the door where there is a rather large step---it’s quite a job to lift it out to the sidewalk. One of the customers was a gentleman from the Hell’s Angels MC and he grabbed my amp to help lift it over the edge. Before I could warn him that it was rather heavy (A Peavey Combo 300 is one heavy bass amp, and this one had a custom aftermarket speaker that adds a LOT of weight) he lifted it w/ one hand and neatly deposited it outside where I could roll it to my truck. Thanks!

           Once again I have to give a shout to Eddie Todd who ably filled in for Jamie O again for this job. (I’m sure Eddie is wondering why it is every time he works w/   us it involves playing an extra hour!)

            Next week has us out of town (Southport area, I’ll have to get directions) on Friday, and back at Chuckie D’s on Saturday, then back to Loretta’s for a two week stand in April. (I love these multiple jobs at one place---moving equipment is rough even though we try to stay fairly small and put casters on everything. Thanks to everyone for their support. Later.

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                                                                                                                      March 16, 2003

                      From Bill,

                          Woke up yesterday morning to a dreary, cloudy day. This was followed by a rain that started at 11 and continued all day—yecch!  Things got even more interesting when Karen called—since it was Loretta’s 31st anniversary of the Surfside’s being open at Carolina Beach on the Boardwalk Loretta wanted us to start at eight and play for FIVE  hours! Could we do that? Sure, no problem. Then the other shoe dropped. Due to a death in the family Jamie O would not be there for the booking. (Our condolences & prayers are with you Jamie.) WHAT? No Jamie? Who would fill in? And what would Maco Station sound like with 1/3 of it’s members absent?  Not too bad, actually. Veteran drummer Eddie Todd agreed to do the job with no practice(!), and did a great job. Eddie has worked with well known local bands Leesburg, and recently, Sonya’s Kitchen. He recognized many of the songs and quickly picked up on the ones he didn’t know.

             The Surfside was packed when we took the stage at eight o’clock. Our customary toast, and then into the first song---“Have My Man.” Former Maco Station drummer Beth Bigford was in attendance and sat down at the drumkit to play a song. Surprise---Eddie is LEFT-HANDED, and his drumkit is set up BACKWARDS! If you play an instrument or any sports try switching to the other hand—it’s a whole different world! Beth did a great job—thanks! Later in the evening Maco Station founder James Buffkin came up to sing a couple of songs—the man who started it all. It was my pleasure to be up on stage with him—had never met him before. Seems like anytime that the band has problems old members keep returning to help out. This says a lot for the quality of people in the band both past and present, and the closeness developed over the years. Even a temporary member like myself feels at home anytime I get the chance to work with the band.

            The crowd had a lot of staying power---maybe because the rain never let up! Shorty and Charlie did a great job tending the bar and keeping the customers happy. Good to see all the regulars there. By the end of a five hour job both my hands and shoulder were killing me---thankfully we’re back at the Surfside next weekend so I didn’t have to tear down and move the equipment at the end of the night---a distinct advantage. Jamie O will be back w/ us Friday night—and due to a conflict w/ Jamie’s schedule Eddie will be back on drums next Saturday.Come out and have a listen! Hopefully, we’ll back at the Surfside a lot this summer---even though the load in is murder (no place to park, a long walk from where you can park) the Surfside is a favorite of mine. I congratulate Ms. Loretta on 31 years of business and wish her many more---I only wish that I had started playing there before 2001! I missed a lot.

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                                                                                                                March, 2

               From Bill, 

          Wrapping up another busy week for MACO STATION. A Tuesday evening practice had us working on a few new songs to keep things interesting for our fans and friends. The slow version of Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ went well w/ Jamie O on the vocals.

        We also worked in the new Kid Rock/ Sheryl Crow song (how’s that for a strange combination?). And we also tried the old classic ‘Whipping’ Post’ from the Allman Brothers Band. This song was rather interesting as the original had two guitars, organ, bass, and two drummers on it---quite different from our guitar/bass/drums setup.

        Friday night had us at T-Bonz in Wrightsboro. WWQQ radio was doing a live broadcast there that night and giving away concert tickets and CDs. The DJ (as usual I forgot his name) was nice enough to give us a real nice introduction and it turned out to be a really fun night. Thanks to our bartendress Sissy (who I’ve worked at several different clubs with in the past--- always great to see her.) Big Daddy’s wife Sandra was out to see us, along with Jamie’s wife Kim, and Ms. Lori, Jamie’s sister. Its always great to have these ladies in the audience---thanks for being there for us! Also great to see longtime friend Beth there, and while I was chatting with her who should walk in but Vicki, another great friend from days past at the Surfside with Dr. John. Vicki’s living in West Virginia now and the MACO family really misses her.

         We tried some of our newer material at T-Bonz that night and it went over well---although I totally screwed up the ending of  ‘Whipping Post’. Saw Big Daddy’s nod at the point where we build to the climax w/ a really nice scale in unison---except I stayed in A! Well, at least I was in the right key!

         Saturday night had us at the Moose Club on Carolina Beach Road. Kim was there but Ms. Lori was not feeling well and opted to stay home. (Get well soon---we missed you!) The Moose is a great club, and the coffee was some of the best I’ve had in quite a while. Most of the band ate dinner there, and from all reports the food was excellent. I had already eaten but looked at the menu and when I noticed the prices---I thought about joining the Moose Club. Great food at very reasonable prices, a comfortable room to play in, who could ask for more? We did, however, have to play at a much lower volume than we are used to, and this sometimes is harder to do than just cranking it up and going wide open. The beginning of the third set had a MACO first: we opened w/ a jazz standard—‘Chameleon’, by Herbie Hancock, and it went over well. This was something that Big Daddy started playing at a rehearsal one night in deference to Jamie O’s love of jazz.This went over really well---might have to add it to a songlist! I’ve noticed that the MACO songlist is changing constantly---adding new songs that are more danceable, and it’s working. Great to see people up on the dance floor.

        We actually have a weekend off coming up and will being working on more songs for the upcoming ‘playing season’. Also need to figure out what to call Mike Heath---he does everything---booking, sound levels, roadie work, management---as I’ve been working with the band the past few weeks I’ve realized more and more that there are actually FIVE people in the band.(Thanks, Mike) Come on out to see us----we’ll be looking forward to seeing you.

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                                                                           February 23, 2003

                from bill,

 

                … a busy week with MACO STATION.  A practice on Monday night—usually a practice runs from 6:30 to 9:00), a chance to go over some rough spots and work on new material. It might be a sign of our age but fresh hot brewed coffee is rapidly becoming the beverage of choice over Natural Light beer for us. (We had our customary toast before the job last night and I lifted a cup of coffee (black, and very good.) Jamie O has bought another drum kit so he   doesn’t have to set up and tear down his drums at every practice.

            Friday night had us back at the Roadhouse Saloon in Castle Hayne. The regular Friday  night booking had the addition of the celebration of owner Forest’s birthday. As we prepared to take the stage a cake complete with a HUGE array of candles (didn’t count them!) appeared. Forest then attempted to blow out the candles---no luck, these were the trick kind that don’t give up very easily.

            The Roadhouse is a great place to play with a really nice wide stage and a friendly staff. I was pleased to see  Beth, an old friend of the MACO family come in during the first set. Great seeing her again! Karen’s friends Dawna and Sue were there, visiting from Boston and escaping the snow. I rarely focus clearly on the audience while I’m onstage (I actually don’t focus on anything---I’m listening to the music and staring either at the floor or off in the distance somewhere) so I really didn’t notice who it was at first but three ladies ( I DID notice that!) entered the club at took a table right at the front closest to the stage. Those had to be the loudest seats in the house! It turned out to be Jamie’s wife Kim, his sister Ms. Lori, and Lori’s friend and co-worker Tina. I wandered over to their table during the first break and asked if it wasn’t a little loud where they were sitting. Lori looked at me and said “what?” Sorry about the volume.

           Tried some new songs that night---MACO hasn’t played these songs in quite a while: A Shania Twain song, “Outta Here”, a Brooks & Dunn song “Boot Scootin’ Boogie (which had our DJ for the evening jump on stage and help w/ the vocals), and an old 80’s tune “What I Like About You.” It was good to bring back these songs and see the crowd’s reaction to them. If you get a chance be sure and check out the Roadhouse Saloon’s webpage: roadhousesaloon.net. They have a great site listing upcoming events and containing many pictures taken ----you might see yourself on the world wide web!

          A rainy Saturday night had us back at Slick & Red’s, on College Road in Wilmington. This bar has nice acoustics and a high stage---a fun place to play. Tim, our bartender, did a great job of keeping us supplied with liquid refreshments (and yes, I stuck to coffee but it was not decaf so I was bouncing off the walls by quitting time.

        Great to see Tommy and Elizabeth come in, and Elizabeth took some pictures with her new digital camera--- a really nice 4 mega-pixel Canon. Hope these find their way to Karen so we can post them to the website. Although it was a sparse crowd (the weather was awful ) we had a great time---thanks to the people at the Foosball table who stayed until the very end. Usually our set lists are made up and it’s hard to fit requests in---but the late night crowd was very receptive and we ended up doing all requests( the one’s we knew well enough to try anyway) during the last half of the set. Thanks, people!

        Well, this week promises to be fun---practice on Tuesday, T-Bones in Wrightsboro on Friday night, and a Moose club job on Saturday. That will be my first job at the Moose in about four years so I’m really looking forward to it.

        So, from Big Daddy, Karen, Jamie O and myself ---come out to see us!!!!

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                                                                                            February 15, 2003

 

from bill,

                 Once again it is a pleasure to work with Karen, Big Daddy, & Jamie O –   the MACO STATION band. Last night had us at Chuckie D’s, just off  Oleander Drive here in Wilmington. The bar reminds me a lot of the Surfside at Carolina Beach (Maco’s summer home), which means I liked it right away, even though I was set up directly in front of the jukebox!

                Great reception from the crowd from the start, especially thanks to the lady who asked for our autographs on a flyer for the band. Signing autographs is a great joy, especially since I’ve never been able to do a lot of that. I can’t imagine the big name stars who hate signing autographs---   it’s great one-on-one appreciation of a job well done.

               We got started with “Tina Nu”, one of the MSB standards, and it was a real joy to play there. Owner Chuckie D is a great guy and came up to introduce himself. He runs a nice, friendly club, and I was pleasantly surprised at the reception we got there. Bass legend Bill Holland was in the audience with his lovely wife Nancy, and he was nice enough to get up and play a few songs with the band. His knowledge of the instrument is obvious---it’s a pleasure to listen to someone who plays that well. Thanks, Bill!

               A lot of new material from the band for me to learn.  We had time for a  rehearsal last week and the new songs (new to me, anyway) went over well. You’ve got to hear Jamie’s version of the classic R&B song “Messin’ with the Kid!” More of the emphasis with Maco currently is DANCEABLE music, and it showed by the people on the dance floor.

               Next week promises to be busy. Practice on Monday, the Roadhouse in Castle Hayne on Friday night, and Slick & Red’s in Wilmington next Saturday night. Come out, have listen, dance a little, and  enjoy a cold one w/ the MACO Station Band!

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Hey - I just updated the "Read The Story" section  of the site - an entire long history of all the members of Maco Station is now on this site!

It's long reading but interesting, so if you have the time, check it out!!

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Hey,

I haven't written an update yet this year.  Thought it was time I got on the ball!  Well I'm really excited that we finally updated our first page with a picture of the newest members, a close-up picture will be replacing this one soon - but I couldn't wait any longer!  Also check out the "About The Band" page - new bios on Jamie and Chris.

We've been busy learning new tunes - alot of R&B dance stuff and still some of the classic rock  stuff too.  We played a new venue for us this month, Chuckie D's.  What a great bar!  Nice atmosphere, it kinda reminded me of the old Fatboys - a nice layed back place to be!  We'll be playing there again on Feb. 14th, Valentine's Day.  We also played Slick & Reds, another great place to play.  We'll be playing there sometime next month too.  Keep looking at our "Gigs" page - it tells you where we play and when.

We love our fans and friends that support Maco Station, but we really need you to come out to the clubs!  The music scene in Wilmington is really struggling.  We know its cold and its nice to stay in on the weekend, but come out once in a while and hear your favorite band - Maco Station!  Rock On!!!!!

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Hey Y'all,

Thought it was about time to do another update, Bill emailed me a few weeks ago with his update and I've been so busy with the holidays that I haven't added to our web site, so here it is........Sorry Bill, we love hearing from you especially when you say such wonderful things about us!  We sure did have an awesome gig on Dec. 7th as Bill will tell you all about.  Hope the holidays have been good to everyone, there will be lots more to come real sooon!  Rock On!!!!!!!!!!

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    Dec. 8 

    From Bill,

                 The Date: December 7, 2002

               The Venue: Surfside Bar at Carolina Beach (Loretta’s)

               The Occasion: Barbara’s Birthday Party

               The Band: MACO STATION All Stars

                  

                      One of those rare occasions where “the magic” is there. Due to Karen’s illness Billy Bob Stratton was called in to handle the Vocals and Bass playing in case Karen wasn’t up to singing the entire night. (Get well soon, Karen!)   Along w/ Big Daddy, Karen, Jamie, and Billy Bob, was myself on rhythm guitar,  and former MACO drummer Beth Bigford showed up to make it one of the largest MACO STATION get togethers ever! At one point during the night all SIX of us were on the stage at the same time! (Anybody get a  picture?) It would look great on this website! 

                It’s always great to be able to play at Lorettas. Barbara, one of the regulars there was having a birthday party. I remember her from the many jobs I worked there in 2001 but I had never had the occasion to speak with her. What a great lady! I found her to be very personable and witty. (Ask her about the mistletoe!)

                        We started out with “Tina Nu”, one of Karen’s songs, and her voice sounded great. It looked as if she’d manage the booking with no problems.  Billy Bob was up next with “Suzy Q” and we were underway. Everyone got a chance to sing and hopefully the customers had as good a time as we did!  Beth Bigford sat down at the drums for “Mustang Sally”, allowing Jamie to step out front and be a lead singer! (How was it, Jamie?) Beth came up again to play tambourine on a song giving us perhaps the first 6 piece MACO STATION lineup on stage ever.

                       Jamie’s wife Kim came in (it was HER birthday as well---actually Dec.8), so we had two birthday people giving everyone more to celebrate. MACO “family” wandered in all night. Along w/ Kim was Ms. Lori, Jamie’s sister,  (even though Jamie is a great drummer and singer we now can see who got  the LOOKS in that family!), and Lori’s co-worker Tina. Yes, the names are spelled right- I checked this time! Billy Bob’s dad Mr. Bill Stratton was there, and of course Karen’s husband Mike, who does everything from booking the band to moving equipment, helping w/ sound levels, providing a place to   practice----you name it.

                        Thanks to Shorty for working the bar and keeping everything going. It’s amazing at times that one person can tend that bar w/ so many people there trying to order at once. Thanks again, Shorty.  And of course thanks to Ms. Loretta for having us and providing the last great place on the Boardwalk to play. I can remember way back in the seventies being on the Boardwalk and wandering by the Surfside and hearing great music.

                        Well, with 2003 fast approaching and the new MACO bass player ready to start I guess I’ll be returning to my band TOO FAR AWAY again full time. Billy Bob plans to take some time off and rest a little, although he’ll be doing another job at Cody’s on the 20th of this month. So, for the both of us I’ll say so long, and thanks to everyone-------we’ll be w/ the MACO family sometime again in the future filling in for absent members. Looking forward to it!         _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Nov. 24

 From Bill,

                     Sitting here watching the Carolina Panthers lose big time to the Falcons when the phone rings. It’s Karen from MACO STATION wanting to know if I can continue my “part-time interim bass playing” for a booking on Dec. 7 at the Surfside at Carolina Beach. I’ll let Karen tell you more but Maco Station has hired a new bass player to replace Billy Stratton---unfortunately he has to finish some existing bookings w/ his previous band. This new bassist should complete the line-up for 2003, and I for one will be looking forward to hearing them.

                   This previous Friday we were at Cody’s, on Carolina Beach Road, and a good time was had by all. Two new songs were added, one a remake of an old Percy Sledge tune sang by Jamie and a cover of the Rascals “Good Lovin.”  Both songs are great dance tunes and it was great seeing people out on the floor. Cody’s is a great room to play in with a nice stage and drum riser—thanks  to Chris and Carmen who worked the bar and kept everyone refreshed. On a personal note that night I ran into Regina Jackson, an old friend from my Rockin’ 70’s days with the band SAGE. She, her first husband Herman, and I  shared a house on Myrtle Grove Road in ’74 and we shared a lot of memories from those times---no money, no food, and band gigs that paid-well-actually they paid about what they do now—so much for inflation.

                     The previous Saturday saw MACO STATION at Slick & Reds for the first time ever. This club has great acoustics---a really good room to play in. Thanks to owner Dick Gilbert and Tim the bartender. I think MACO will be playing there again in the near future---watch the website for dates. It’s a fairly new club and building a steady, loyal clientele…these things take time but I feel that the club is in a good location for people living in the area. Well, with a new year quickly approaching, and a new line-up in place MACO STATION will by looking forward to a great new year. Come out and check them out!

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 From Karen:

      My turn my turn!  Thanks Bill for another update and keeping everyone informed about what’s going on with us.  Yes, I need to let y’all know about our new line-up!  Well we finally found us a permanent bass player!  Chris Candler has joined Maco and will be keeping up the rhythm section with Jamie O. on drums.  Chris has played with “Essence” and more recently with “Lucky The Dog”. (A biography on both Chris and Jamie is coming real soon). We’re real excited to get things started – It’s still the same ol’ Maco with a different sound!  Look for pictures of the new line-up soon!

    We can’t thank our two part-time bass players enough for carrying us through this fall, Bill Ferencak and Billy Bob Stratton!  Actually, we still have one gig with each of them this month – Bill at Surfside Sat. Dec. 7th and Billy Bob at Cody’s on Dec. 20th.  We couldn’t have made it without you guys!  As I’ve said before you’ll always be a part of the Maco family!

    Keep reading these updates and come out to see us!!!!   Rock On!

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Nov. 9

From Bill,

                 Had the opportunity to work two more jobs as the “part-time interim” bassist for Maco Station.  We traveled up to Snead’s Ferry on October 31st to play at Paradise Landing, a nice bar right on  the water. It was a brisk evening and I was glad to get the equipment inside and begin setting up. Karen was nice enough to go next door and get hot coffee for us---vocal chords work better when warm too I’m told….

               The occasion was a costume party for Halloween and we had a great time—many  of the customers were dressed up for the occasion. Jamie has settled in well as the new drummer-the song endings and beginnings are much tighter-in all in good solid sound. I think his singing has come as a pleasant surprise also. I think old age is catching up w/ me—didn’t get the names of our bartender and bartendress:  actually I knew their names but have forgotten them during the last ten days.

               Last night we performed at T-BONZ out on the Castle Hayne Road. This club was formerly known as Coyotes—both   Maco Station & my own current band Too Far Away had played here before the name change. Since I’m just a temporary hired hand this time around I don’t really meet the club owners but our bartendresses Sara (Sarah?) and Ray (Rae?) were great---kept the liquid nourishment coming.  Well, this time I remembered names but you can never be too sure about the spelling of some names.  Jamie”s wife came out, along w/ Laurie (Lori?) , Vicki from the old Maco days showed up   to get an early start on her birthday celebration (Sunday, happy b-day again Vicki!) Vicki, as all  the Maco regulars know, is former drummer Dr. John”s lady. She’ll be moving up north towards Dr. John’s area in a couple of weeks---the family’s getting spread all over.  We were actually the first live band to play at T-BONZ---hope this works out for them as it will be a great place to play on a regular basis.

                   Maco’s next live job will be at the Moose Club this coming Friday---unfortunately due to other commitments I won’t be there---Billy Bob Stratton will once again be plucking the bass for the band he co-founded. Catch Maco Station live whenever you get a chance---the songlist is currently growing and changing, and with the new year coming up shortly there’ll be a lot of jobs and parties for the holidays. Till later…

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Dear Maco Fans,

           This is Dr. John comin' to ya, sadly for the last time. After 19 years and a lot of soul-searching, I have decided to move back to my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa.  I played in many bands during that time in the Wilmington area, but none had the "group" experience and family atmosphere than in my 5 years with Maco Station.

          From my first introduction to Big Daddy, Billy and Mitch, through the changes the band has seen lately, I've always thought of my fellow bandmates as friends and thoroughly enjoyed playing with them. I guess you're bound to develop a closeness and mutual respect with someone you perform with 70-80 times a year, and we hope it showed onstage. It's a team effort to pull off a successful show night after night, month after month, especially when the band scene has not been very accommodating in recent years. I have always said that "if it's not fun, I wouldn't do it" and there were times when it seemed more like a job than a gig. But once the music starts, you forget about your troubles and go with the flow. It's the best therapy in the world.  And now the burden falls on Big Daddy, the sole surviving original member, to keep the Maco train on the track. He has always been the backbone of the band, the driving force, the reason it was a success. And when Karen replaced Mitch as the lead vocalist, the band hardly missed a beat, expanding its songlist and style, and playing the same clubs with a new sound.  Karen and Mike have proven themselves a great asset, handling the bookings and the tough clubowners, providing a place for band practice, and proving their dedication to the cause.

    Now the Maco light will shine on, as Big Daddy and Karen are looking for the right musicians to continue the Maco tradition. As you may know, Bill Ferencak and Mike Fowler have handled the bass duties since Billy Stratton's departure, and the search is on for a permanent rhythm section.  Please come back to this website soon as Karen will be keeping you posted.

    The summer was good to us and the fall will bring new horizons for the band. Above all, they will need your support to keep the bookings and make it all worthwhile. As I hate long goodbyes, I'll just say so long and ROCK ON!   It was a lot of fun and I'll remember it always.   Peace.

Dr. John

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Well there you have it, Dr. John's last words of wisdom to the Maco Station Band.  It's not that easy to see a band member move on, especially when you spend so much time together, practicing and playing out to sound good to the public and most importantly to have fun.   We sure did have some good times with both Dr. John and Billy Bob.  It's been a rough fall for Big Daddy and I to keep the band going, after losing our rhythm section completely!   Fortunately, Bill Ferencak has agreed to play bass again until we find a permanent replacement, maybe it will be him??????  We just starting practing with a drummer this past week, Jamie  Overton .  Jamie has been playing drums in Wilmington for quite some time (a biography on Jamie is yet to come).  He played with local bands "Essence" and "Whistle Pig".  Not only will he play drums, but he will also help me out with vocals (wait until you hear his voice!) and we're really excited about things to come. 

Although the music rocks on, I just want to say to Dr. John and Billy Bob, we will miss both of you!  You will always be part of the Maco Station Family!  We love you guys!  ROCK ON!!!!!

-Karen