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Sep 08

Reflections of Summer

Hey all – Spiffy here.

I wasn’t really sure how to do this, but without a doubt this needs done.

I spent most of Labor Day – A solid 15 hours or so – sound asleep in my home in Pittsburgh, PA. Most of my stuff is in boxes: A combination of living out at the beach this Summer, and also trying to sell my place and move somewhere better for all of the gigs that are coming our way.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect this Summer. I was by all accounts, a “Dewey Beach Virgin” coming into this season. Sure, I made a few friends and played a few gigs, but THIS was the year that Walk of Shame was going to be introduced to the “scene” that houses without a doubt, the best cover band musicians in the United States. So… I posted on Facebook, found some nice old ladies with a house in Rehoboth that the band could use, and headed out to the beach.

Over 70 gigs in 90 days later, and here we are.

I really have to start at the beginning. None of this would have been possible if a couple of years ago, right after the very last Mr. Greengenes show, a young Bryen O’Boyle didn’t have an acoustic gig in Pittsburgh. It gave me a chance to jump up on stage and jam with him, meet some of HIS great fans (Hi Feazel!) who traveled from Virginia just to party, and learn about this magical place called Dewey Beach. Walk of Shame had a gig at XFinity LIVE in Philly, and then a couple of days off before a show at Fagers Island in Ocean City. It was a great chance to swing by and check out the area.

It was then that I met the guy who became my mentor and one of my best friends in Joe Daphne. Joe was nice enough to take me under his wing, teach me about how things were done there, and even helped me get some of my first gigs in town

So since this is already getting long-winded, even for me, let’s get to the recap and thanks:

My Summer started out Memorial Day Weekend playing at Scully’s in Dewey Beach. Sharon and Ben gave me my very first gig in Dewey last year, and I will always hold them in a very special place in my heart. They actually sold their place, and will be enjoying a much deserved retirement in about a month.

I got the opportunity to play at Conch Island in Rehoboth that weekend as well (again, thanks to Joe) and ended up turning that gig into a bunch of bookings throughout the Summer. Bryan and his staff were great to me, and I learned a lot playing there. We might even have a couple off-season weekends out there in 2016, so stay tuned!

SuperAgent Joe Daphne wasn’t done, because the following week he landed me a gig at The Crab House in Rehoboth. The gig was awesome, and literally 2 minutes from my house. I give them a lot of credit for having live music in such a non-traditional venue, but after we worked out some of the kinks, it also turned into one of my favorite Summer gigs. Huge thank you to Noelle for her patience and for going to bat for me, and to Chris, Josh, Mike and the rest of the staff for always finding a bottle of Jager just for me haha.

Then, I got the chance to play at Hammerheads Dockside – Another amazing gig! We ended up playing there pretty much all Summer in their steady rotation. I can’t thank Cohen enough for taking the chance on an unknown guy, and to Andrew, Steve, TJ, Wendy, and the rest of the crew – Thank you so much for the kind words. Such kindness and generosity across the board. Hell, Cohen would call us any time one of his guests was trying to book a private party, which we took as a massive compliment.

Speaking of new places taking a chance on unknown talent, a big thank you to the brand new Bethany Boathouse for the opportunity. The place is gorgeous and was a lot of fun to play, especially once the sound issues got fixed! (Hey, it’s a brand new place!) I got what might have been the greatest compliment of my career from the entertainment booker. When a young, local artist was complaining about his schedule and pay, the manager responded, “Hey, I’ve got these guys driving 7 hours from Pittsburgh just trying to get a foot in the door – Maybe you should try to be more like them!” It means a lot just to have the effort recognized, so thanks again to Bump and the Boathouse family.

Jesus, this is going to be a long post!

So we’ve been talking about Dewey and the surrounding area, but what about Ocean City? That’s the FIRST place Walk of Shame played on the coast, and thankfully we’ve come a LONG way from playing gigs at rundown venues and getting sick from staying in dirty band houses! Hey, it builds character!

My “home” in Ocean City was without a doubt, the Brass Balls Saloon. I go way back to the IUP days with some of the staff, and they always treat me like family. Like, I had a show right after one of my good friends passed way (we miss you, Garrito) and I was a bit “off” my game. They took amazing care of me, got me home safely, and didn’t judge me when I needed a good cry. We’ve got one more trip down there for Bike Week, so I’ll get a chance to thank them all in person, but to Lynn, Ryan, Ashlea, Luke, Mike, Chels, and the rest of the staff – Thank you for being so good to me.

So in an effort to ride Bryen O’Boyles coat tails, I booked gigs at the new Skye Bar in Ocean City. They literally could have paid me in their Lobster Mac n Cheese, but chose not to take advantage of me. Thank you to Tammy for the opportunity, and to Jeff and the entire bar staff for showing me the ropes, and even for ending up in Dewey Beach buying Jagerbombs for me and Richie D at Jimmy’s before the Citizen Cope show.

Speaking of new places that I booked because I stalk former members of Mr. Greengenes, The new Ropewalk OC might be the next big thing in Ocean City. HUGE space, great location, and amazing food. We played a few times there, and look forward to continued success. Thanks to Marc and the staff for their hospitality.

And of course, there is absolutely no way that we’d go down to Ocean City and not show love to our friend Buxy at the Salty Dog. Best Pittsburgh bar in OCMD, hands down, and always a pleasure to feel like we are home, even when we are 300 miles away.

Is this post over yet?

So that brings us to the cameos.

We have to start at the beginning with the amazing generosity and kindness that LauraLea and Tripp Fabulous showed to our band. They gave us a chance to play with them at The Starboard where quite frankly, only the cream of the crop play. They have had the top bands in the country for over a decade, and show no signs of slowing down. Big thank you to Monty for the opportunity, and another big thanks to Kim, Karley, Kelly, and everyone involved in the Restaurant Olympics for asking us to perform at the afterparty. (Sponsored by Jager!)

To the great bartenders and staff at the Rusty Rudder, you must have been absolutely sick of me. No, I was not a member of the Fantastic Four, I just crashed their show so much that you all just assumed that I was. On that note, big thanks to Joe, Ken, Marty, and Rick for allowing me to learn at their feet. Any time you get a chance to play with guys who have a combined 100 years of high-end cover band experience, you TAKE IT!

To Chris, Lacey, and the staff at Jimmy’s – Thanks for always being supportive when I stopped by to Jam. The last month of impromptu, drink a bottle of Jameson and sing boy band and pop punk songs all night shitshows with Richie D might genuinely have been the most fun that I’ve had on stage. Thanks for encouraging that.

Spiff and Richie

And now… To the people!

Whether it was jumping up on stage and singing with Love Seed Mama Jump, or learning choreography and eating Joey D’s awesome cooking at 5am with the rest of The Rockets, talking wrestling with the guys from Go Go, playing “CLR” with the guys in Split Decision, or just getting a chance to listen and learn from some of the best bands in the business from the crowd, thank you all so much for your friendship, wisdom, and guidance.

To Mol, Craig, Mitch, Randy, Kendra, Bella, Maura, Nic, Jill, all of the band wives, girlfriends, and fans – Thank you all so much for helping to show me the ropes!

Only 264 more days until Memorial Day! I MIGHT have recovered by then!

 

dewey pic 4 lauralea

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