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Don't forget to watch us on Feb. 12th @ 7:00 pm on FOX, performing live - as we accept our WAMMIE award for Best Copy Rock Band!!!!!!!!!!!

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         January 17, 2005

 From Bill,

             Not a real busy start to 2005 so far. A Karen-less booking at Chuckie       D’s (as related by Robbie in his very first update), and two bookings this past      weekend at Lor-Re-Lei, up in Snead’s Ferry.  

               Friday night was, well, different. A good sized crowd but not a lot of       people dancing . Everyone stayed around and seemed to have a good time though. I was very surprised to see Debbie, one of the famous ‘back of the bar’ ladies, working AT the bar. Seems she’s been helping out on Friday nights. Good to see Judy back behind the bar as well, haven’t seen her the last few times.

                For something different I’ll give you an idea of Saturday night on a       set by set  basis:  Up and on the stage at nine thirty. First song was Get Ready, a Temptation number that was re-done by a band called RARE EARTH. I hear a     rather strange sound from Billy’s amp and look over---very unusual but he’s broken a string on the very first song! Lucky for us the rhythm guitar is not essential on this song so Billy was able to grab his spare set of strings and began changing it while we continued on. Still not ready at the end of the song so I looked at the set list and moved “Margaritaville” to second, since this song also can be performed without Billy. During this song there is a phrase  ‘well I guess it’s all (insert name here)’s fault. I try to use the names of people in the club that I know---this particular night it was bartendress Cindy, boss lady Tracie, Pam, a lady who’s always there when we play, and Sonya, Robbie’s wife. Some nights I don’t have enough different names and some nights I can’t mention everyone!  Billy was up and running so we continued down the list with “Boot Scoot Boogie”, which has Billy singing lead. Pretty much a standard setlist after that. Only one slow song during the set, though. I noticed that the dance floor was pretty full during the slower numbers and really wish that we did more of them. I don’t feel that one a set is enough when people are willing to dance. Hmmm….

                      A little more than fifteen minutes before the second set and a good  sized crowd. At twenty minutes I was livid and looking for the rest of the   band. I tend to get a little upset when I feel that we’re missing opportunities such as a large crowd, and this makes me hard to work with some times.  This was turning out to be one of those times. I immediately found fault with much of the set list---wanting to get that dance floor packed!

                     Anyway, my bum attitude aside, it was a pretty good night--- lots of people, most of them staying around and having a good time.  During the third set a lady walked up to Karen and wanetd to make an announcement. Seems like she was a representative from Budweiser and said that anyone drinking a Bud could go up to the bar and get a free second Bud. I was not drinking beer but she also gave everyone in the band one. (Thanks.)

                    Good food from the kitchen as usual---had the Shrimp sandwich on Friday and foraged off of everyone’s plate on Saturday night. Good to be many familiar faces: Pam, Steve, Debbie, Alison, Dan, but where in the world  was Gretchen, the other  ‘back of the bar lady’? Seemed very strange not to  have her there--- whenever she walks in the door the place picks up a notch or two.  Fourth set had pretty much a harder edge to it---Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rolling  tones. By then everyone was full of liquid refreshment and ready to party.

               Finished right at one-thirty and time to settle up the wages and began the load out procedures, made a little more difficult by the cold. Brrrr…. We’ll be back in two weeks on Saturday night only---have to work on the set list to keep things fresh and interesting for the people. Off this weekend with a chance to rest and practice.

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January 13, 2005

From Robbie:

Hello Maco Station friends, fans and family! This is my first update so please bear with me. As you all know, I got voted into the band in May of this past year and we worked very hard to get up to speed quickly and stay busy. It paid off as we were voted the #1 cover band in Wilmington, an award never achieved before by Maco Station. I hope I was part of the reason for that success! I was not familiar with the material we played because my former band had no female singer and I had to pick it up very quickly. Big Daddy, Bill, Billy and Karen really made that easy and we got tight in record time! We all get along and really struggle when the band has to play when someone is absent as Karen was this past weekend at Chuckie D,s due to sickness, but we struggled through it and the crowd loved it! This bar has one of the strangest clientels that I have ever seen! You can start playing to an empty bar and in minutes it can fill up and then they disappear just as quickly as they came only for another wave to follow. You would think that you were on the boardwalk with other bars close by, but that is definately not the case. We called it boys night out in Karen's absence and played a lot more driving southern rock than usual and our songs seemed to grow in legnth but we really enjoyed it!  Our #1 fan club of Bobby and Patty showed up all the way from Carolina Beach to see us for the last time before they move to Florida this week. We hate to see loyal fans like that go but wish them only the best! I want to tell the rest of the band how proud that I am that they allow me to be part of Maco Station and that I have the upmost of respect for each and every one of them. Come check us out this Friday and Saturday at Lo-re-leis in Sneeds Ferry where there is always a huge and enthusiastic crowd and never a dull moment! I really hope Karen is well enough to join us this week, we really missed her! Hopefully Bill will add something else to this update as he always has an interesting quote to open and observations that most of us overlooked in the heat of the battle. Again, thanks to all of our loyal fans and a special thanks to all of the band members from me. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this and will continue to do all that I can to make us even more successful! Hope to see everyone at the party at Sneeds Ferry this weekend! Robbie.

 
Perhaps we overlook our immediate needs when we get comfortable, as practice makes perfect and we consistently find reasons not to practice! How good can we be? As good as our dedication allows!

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                                                                                 December, 2004

 

    “You know you’re a drunkard when your liver is in the Federal Witness Protection care.” (Unknown)

From Bill,

     As another year winds down I’m going to be rather self- indulgent and reflect on the past twelve months. If anyone else in the band wants to add to this update it’d be great. When I played the New Year’s Eve job back in January I was at a point of considering ‘retiring’---again. Maco Station had a new bass player in place and I was ready for a break.   Well, things often don’t work out as planned. Drummer/Vocalist  Jamie O left the band and when all the dust settled I was back on board once again. All in all it’s been a good year.   I’ve met lots of people, renewed old friendships, and basically   have been able to enjoy myself (and make money too.)

      I consider myself blessed to work with three different Drummers during the year. Chris Stone was only with us for one night, but his opening speech at Cody’s broke the ice and allowed us to play a fun evening. I wish it was recorded.   Former Maco drummer Beth Bigford returned for a while- she had sat in with us in the past, never worked with the band the same time I had. A great person, as is her husband.  Robbie Spivey had been a founding member of “Jam  Sandwich,” I’ve found him to be totally dedicated to the band with an enthusiasm that I wish I still possessed. In addition to drumming, providing a place to practice, and just taking care of things, Robbie has been singing back-up. His personality makes him a great fit for the group. Musicians often can be moody and temperamental (yes, I fit this description), but Robbie has been a constant and steady force.

      A few new places for us---most noticeably I’m excited about ‘Breakers’, at Carolina Beach---a good room, hope we can build a following there in the coming year. It would be a fine place to spend the summer months. Playing new places is both exciting and scary—we often become comfortable with working the ‘usual haunts.’  

     It was nice seeing former drummer Jamie O---he visited at Chuckie D’s a couple of months back along with his wife Kim and sister Lori---we all had shared so much in the past that it felt like a family reunion. I understand that after almost a year off Jamie is wanting to get back to work. I’ve been there — I know how he feels. I believe that when music is in your blood there’s no use ignoring the call….

     New friends, so many I can’t remember them all…Debbie, Gretchen, Ron from Texas, Sharon, Alison, Robert, Dan, Diane-  hopefully our music has entertained these and others. We really appreciate everyone…Thank you.

    Our last booking is at the Moose Club in Wilmington on New Year’s Eve. The New Year’s Eve job is usually the highlight of the year, usually the best money, everyone ready to party, and a time to look back on the last year.

     …it will be interesting to see what happens next year, both with Maco Station and the rest of the world. The secret is to look at the future as an opportunity- for it really is. Make those New Year’s resolutions because anytime you resolve to change something for the better in this world it’s a good thing. I’m tired — got four hours of troubled sleep last night but I wanted to get this written down: fatigue sometimes makes you less cautious about what you say. I believe that playing the music we do in bars and clubs is a young man’s job--- these late nights are getting harder to deal with-- but if you really love what you do you’ll suffer for your art—just means being evil and tired the next day. My long suffering family can attest to that! Happy New Year. Peace.

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 From Bill,

    Well, let’s see what’s been going on…Plan B, the acoustic side project of Big Daddy, Karen, & Billy played their first ever public appearance at the Sunspree at Wrightsville Beach two Fridays ago. A little chilly that night for me so I wimped out and stayed home. I rarely go out and hear other bands, anyway- I’d rather be up there playing! From what I understood the whole thing went rather well—maybe someone from Plan B will write an update!

    Last Saturday (the 4th) had us back at Carolina Beach for the first time in several months. A new place for us---it’s called The Breakers, on Harper Avenue, which is actually the north end of the actual Boardwalk across from the Watering Hole Bar. I’d never been in the Breakers before—I thought that it was much  smaller than it actually was—what you see from the front is more  or less a square room w/ a bar on the left and pool tables. Actually, though, the club sort of ‘doglegs’ at the left rear and opens to another area. There are several tables, a dance floor, and a stage. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the Breakers, and also by staying out in the main area in front you probably aren’t subjected to our full volume!

    Load in wasn’t too bad—I found a place near the Boardwalk. The Breakers is owned by Diane, who was there during the night, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to meet her. We’re scheduled to be back there on December 17th for a Christmas Party that they’re having—should be fun.

     Nice to see familiar faces: Vanessa & Mark, Toni, Tommy, and other familiar faces that I’ve not yet been able to put names with from around the beach.

      Thanks to another Toni who served as our bartendress during the evening.     We got underway about nine thirty, slightly nervous to be in a  new club. First set was kind of slow but the second set was great— lot’s of people dancing and listening. A lady named Lisa was there celebrating her birthday (I’ll keep her age a secret!), and bought us a round of drinks. Thank you.

    Lots to see at times on the dance floor---gives US something to watch!  As the end of the night drew near Diane opened the door at the back of the stage, which led out to another Boardwalk street, so actually The Breakers goes all the way through the block.  The nice thing was though, at the end of this block there is a vacant lot that you can pull your car into, making for an easy load-out. All in all I felt that it was a good start to a new club for us---it’d be a great place to be the house  band at next summer.

     Off the weekend (again), and then back at the Breakers on Friday Night followed by a trip up the road to Snead’s Ferry on Saturday.  Someone asked me the other day what’s in my car stereo system.

    Well, this week it was “Stealer of Years” by Wild Turkey, a band that put out two albums in the early seventies then broke up. They re-formed in 1996 and put out their third album. Also playing was Steeley Dan’s ‘Countdown to Ecstacy’, and Genesis’ ‘Invisible Touch.’ And what’s in YOUR player?

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November 23, 2004

             “To err is human—to make the same mistake 14 times is job security.’

 From Bill,

               A VERY long time between updates as not much has been going on. This weekend had us back in action at Chuckie D’s on Friday night & Lor-Re-Lei on Saturday.

        Good to see Alex back behind the bar at Chuckie’s. Last time we played there it was her birthday and she had the night off. Pretty good crowd this evening and a very good response from everyone. Karen was nursing a sore throat so she limited her songs somewhat—no problem though, Billy and I had plenty of old things to drag out and sing! Chuck (the owner) himself was in attendance—been a while since we seen him. Especially glad that there was a crowd—hate to play a cave w/ the boss around!

    Noticed an acoustic guitar set up on stage. Billy used it on and off during the night. Billy, Karen, and Big Daddy now have an acoustic side project called Plan B. Since Big Daddy has never seemed to care much for acoustic music this comes as a real surprise. Who knows, maybe they’ll get busy enough to have an area of this webpage.

     I think that some of us may have enjoyed too much liquid refreshments this evening. Certain tunes sounded “strange”—and this time I don’t think it was my hearing. Hmm….

      Anyway, rested, recovered and back on the road up to Snead’s Ferry Saturday night.  Tonight the ‘back of the bar ladies’, Debbie and Gretchen were celebrating their birthdays. I remember talking w/ Debbie last year about this time and she was wondering if we were scheduled the night she was having her party. We weren’t booked last year , though, glad to be here for this one. Boss lady Traci had set out a great buffet out near the dance floor. The food was great as usual, though I had to keep looking at it from the stage until break. Finally! Great to see Gretchen’s friend Alison, who actually IS world famous, having a place in the Guiness Book of Records. Alison was there with many friends and family—we appreciate that. It was a very good crowd as usual, and they actually seemed more into the music and were dancing even more than usual.

    Interesting note: some songs people at Lor-Re-Lei do NOT dance to certain songs. While the floor was crowded for many numbers it was absolutely EMPTY when we played  the SRV song ‘Pride & Joy’. Felt strange to be playing to an empty floor after seeing everyone up and dancing—maybe they were tired? Anyway, the song seemed to go on forever—I kept wishing it would end. I never know what to do—look out at the crowd, at the rest of the band, back at the drummer, at the floor, the ceiling, close your eyes? Well, there was applause when we finished—maybe everyone was just tired. Once again Karen’s throat was bothering her—she sounded fine but backed away from doing songs that were hard on her. Not a real problem—we have lots of other material. I hope her voice is back to 100% this coming Friday when Plan B makes their first public appearance at the Holiday Inn Sunspree at Wrightsville Beach.

     Once again there was plenty to watch and observe. Whenever you’re in a bar and people are drinking and having a great time, especially with a large crowd, you’re bound to see something unusual. A while back it was the ‘homemade bikini contest’, when one of the contestant’s costumes had a “Janet Jackson’ moment. This evening there were two ladies that decided to briefly ‘show off.’ You had to be there. Good to see Pam & Steve in attendance. They’re always there for us and bring in many friends. (Thanks).  And Pam’s hair looked great (new style). But where were Ron & Sharon? They were missed—thanks for signing our guestbook!

     Well I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Plan B will be at the Sunspree the Friday after from 7:30-10:30, and Maco Station’s next booking will be back at our old stomping grounds, Carolina Beach. This time, however, we won’t be at the Surfside which has gone just about completely Karaoke, but another place, the Breakers. This will be on December 4th, so come on out!

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                                                                              October 11 or whatever, 2004

From Bill,

           A weekend with two one-nite-stands. At least we're getting exercise moving all the equipment. Friday had us back at Cody's in Wilmington. I arrived at 8:15 and was the first there--very unusual as I manage to usually show up last. Charlene, our bartendress for the evening had already opened the back door so I wandered in. Since our last trip there the size of the stage had been increased--not new construction but it looked like they had some original parts that have been left out in the past---the aged carpeting was a perfect match. In addition the drum riser was in the corner now, making for a rather unusual shaped stage. As everyone else showed up for the gig I could tell that the odd stage was confusing--we all milled around like cattle in a pen.

        Finally we got everything in and set up. The night looked like it was going to be VERY slow, and indeed it was. As I understood it Cody's had been briefly shut down and maybe not everyone knew it was open. I don't know, though, they had us advertised in the "Currents" section of the Thursday newspaper. The "Currents" generally gives you a good idea of who's playing where, and I make it a point to find a copy every Thursday as I no longer subscribe to the paper.

         Up onto the stage and into the show. Because of my hearing problems I've been experimenting with using earplugs onstage, usually just one in my left ear (the closest to the drums). I've read that the high frequencies coming from the cymbals cause some of the worst ear damaging sounds on a stage. It seemed to help--the ringing sound in my ears at the end of the night was greatly reduced.

         Pretty much our standard setlist---I was feeling good towards the end of the night and decided to sing "Tulsa Time"--- we've done the song once before at a private party this past summer. Thought it turned out pretty good, a little sloppy at the end, but hey, we've never really practiced it that much and the ending is rather abrupt.

         The crowd (?) never did pick up during the evening so it seemed like a rather long night at times--had to play for the few there and you want to do your best even if there's only one person--as a musician you owe it to the listeners.

         Anyway, we got to finish a little early and began the load out, a nice cool evening for the chore. Karen settled up with the management on the money and passed out the wages.

         Saturday night we drove up to Snead's Ferry for a booking at Lor-Re-Lei, one of our favorite places to play. After a respectable weekend last month there Karen had asked boss lady Traci about bookings as we had nothing after that weekend and usually try to stay booked about three months in advance. No luck there, and it appeared that we were not going to be back until the first of next year, very disappointing. Happily we received a call shortly after that. Apparently Traci is using Karaoke on Fridays (arrrghhh!) and bands on Saturdays. Maybe I  need to be more open-minded but I really grow weary of the Karaoke bars everywhere. It seems we're turning into a nation of people who like their entertainment from a CD player. I really shouldn't talk---our's is a cover band! There's lot's of good original music out there, you just have to look for it. I'm planning on heading up to Chapel Hill at the end of the month to see Mike Watt, a great bass player I've had the chance to see a couple years back.

        Lot's of familiar faces in the crowd---a great lady named Pam who also happens to be a fantastic harmonica player, and her husband Steve. (I hope I got that name right--I was spacing on names that night and actually called Bartendress Bonnie 'Brenda". What's up with that? Bonnie has been there as long as I can remember and is one of my favorite people! Great to see other people from past jobs there--- Sharon, of "Uncle Phil" fame was back...I told her she was mentioned in an earlier update along with her friend Kelly...good to see her again. She mentioned that she was going to try again to find us on the 'web. Since the internet is truly 'world-wide' Sharon is now proclaimed to be 'world famous" A truly stunning lady, but sorry guys, I'm not sure if she's single!

      I've really missed input about the sound from Tim, who was not with us this weekend. I did ask Cindy (the other bartendress) if we were too loud but she said no.

      Some great food which Lor-Re-Lei is becoming famous for, and I was getting quite a few leftovers from Beth and Sonya. Then Karen decides she's not too hungry and I inherit this huge shrimp salad. Yum! The shrimp-burger is absolutely the best I've ever had anywhere--great crew in the kitchen.

       Packed house this evening, and very much into partying and having a fun time. By the end of the evening the dance floor was staying pretty crowded-- a lot to watch, too! We have a couple of weeks off as Karen & Mike are going on vacation, back in action in Wilmington at Joel's near the end of the month.                                                      

 

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October 5, 2004

                                                                                                 October 5, 2004            My Boss is a work of art painted by a blind  Artist” 

                                      (Will Ferencak)

   From Bill,

             Well it was with no small amount of trepidation that I arrived  at the Moose Club on Carolina Beach Road last Saturday evening.  Maco Station is a rather LOUD band at times and we really have to work at controlling our volume. Noticed that there was already a good sized crowd  in attendance. One nice thing about the Moose Club is that the bands run from 8:00 til 12:00---makes it nice for getting home at a halfway decent hour. We mixed up our  set list with a good variety of slow & fast, country, some beach music, and actually brought back a couple of songs that we haven’t done in a while.  One of the things were considering right now is adding more beach music to our set list  hoping that bookings will pick up as winter is generally a slow time for musicians in the Wilmington area. Anyway, the crowd was great, and I was glad that two couples came in just as we prepared to get started and sat right near the front. They were there to party, and were up dancing from the start. Whenever someone gets up to dance that ‘breaks the ice’ and others soon follow. I had the volume on my amplifier lower than I’ve ever played it with Maco, and that plus the fact that I was wearing ear protection made for a very pleasant evening with no headaches or ringing ears afterwards! This coming weekend has us at Cody’sin Wilmington on Friday night, and back at Lor-Re-Lei in Snead’s Ferry for Saturday night.

         Monday evening we got together at Robbie’s place where we practice, and soundman/ helperman Tim recorded about fourteen songs for a demo tape we’re putting together. We finished laying down the tracks at about nine o’clock, with Tim planning to mix the instruments the next day and then we could add backing vocals. Big Daddy was eager to get the tape done so we could start sending it out and hopefully getting some more work so he, Karen, Billy, Robbie, and Tim stayed until about ten-thirty to finish up. I however went home to watch Monday Night Football! Well, we COULD have finished next week! Anyway, I felt slightly bad about leaving but not so bad that I stayed! 

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October 3, 2004

Hey it's me again - I've had some computer problems so that's why I didn't get to finish my update last week - I've also had to save all of the updates on a disc from Dec. 28, 2003 and prior - I do have them and maybe someday Maco Station will write a book with them!!!!

Getting back to my update about our gig at the Holiday Inn Sunspree - we had a great time!!!  Loved playing outside, we had a nice audience - they danced just about every song - also thanks to Sandra  for bringing her co-workers to see us!  Dr. Plage, himself was there and several others from work - please come back to see us again!

Sat. the 25th, we played at the Brass Pelican in Surf City.  We played to a completely different crowd than the night before - Friday night we played our variety, but Sat. we played all our good ol' rock & rolll stuff!  There wasn't a big crowd but we still had fun.  There was a beautiful couple who were standing at the end of the bar and kept to themselves all night, they looked very much in love!  So we decided to dedicate "Wonderful Tonight" to them.  When we had finished up for the night they made a point to come up to us and tell us how appreciative they were - apparently it had been their wedding song a year before and they didn't get a chance to dance to it and they said it  meant so much to them that they finally got a chance to dance to it!  Very romantic!  I told them I would write about them and I'm not sure if I have their names right but I'm going to guess Richard and Kathy - I'm sorry if  I'm wrong, with my computer having troubles it's been over a week and my short term memory gets worse with age! Hope you had a good rest of your vacation!

Bill was back with us this weekend and I'm hoping he writes something because he is so much better at it than me!

Thanks for reading these things!!!! Rock On..............

 

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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.......more on this above...............

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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!!!!!!

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