The Stick Night Reunion
The Guitar Merchant in Canoga Park, California
September 23, 2017
How did a reunion come to be? I was talking to Scot Apathy, who is our web producer, and we were discussing how we were going to put archived videos of Stickband up on the site. We wanted to put up more than just the old videos of yesterday, so we decided to do interviews with members the band and the sound crew.
Scot is always interested in creating as much content as possible, be it text, audio or video, so it goes without saying that we wanted any input that Emmett Chapman would grace us with. I called Emmett up and asked him if it would be possible for us to come down with a camera crew to interview him to get his thoughts on video and to let him know that any text that he could provide us with would also really be appreciated.
One of his first questions was “Will Bob Culberson be coming with you for the interview?” I told him that I was sure that we could work that out (to be honest, I wasn’t sure at that moment, but I hoped that Bob would be up for it). Emmett responded that if Bob was coming down, it made sense to have a Stick Night featuring Bob and I. That sounded wonderful, and I bounced the idea off of not only Bob but Rick Allegra, drummer extraordinaire, as well. Rick had already been doing a CD project with Bob, so he was enthusiastic about the idea.
Now, getting Bob and Rick to say they WANT to do it and actually finding the actual date that they COULD do it are two entirely different things, as they are both extremely busy working musicians. We also had to coordinate with Emmett.
We had a date in mind, but it turned out that Rick was going to be in Las Vegas with Paul Williams – yes, the same Paul Williams who’s written hit songs like ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’, ‘The Rainbow Connection’, ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ and ‘Just an Old-fashioned Love Song’. Rick has been Paul Williams’ drummer for over 30 years. So much for THAT date.
Bob Culbertson is just as busy traveling all over the country/world doing Stick seminars and concerts, and had a full schedule. Just when it look liked it just wasn’t going to happen in 2017, Bob’s schedule changed a bit and low and behold, synchronicity! We had a new date that we all would be available for.
During the course of this, we also had some video interviews for the website with Bob Cooper, our original drummer and a founding member of the group, along with our old sound crew. That was a great day of reminiscing and enjoying each other’s company. Almost immediately, Bob Culbertson and I started discussing how cool it would be to actually get together with Bob Cooper to play some of the old Stickband originals from early on in the group.
Could we feature two drummers at the Stick Night show? Could we make it work? Heck yeah – we’d find a way for sure! We called Bob Cooper and ran the idea past him with the hope that he would be available for our chosen date. There was a bit more juggling of times and dates, but we finally reached a date that worked for everyone. I then called Emmett to discuss the details and to talk about possible venues. He looked at the lineup and thought that we should bring one more Stick player into the lineup, and he knew just who it should be.
Don Schiff is not only a great Stick player, but he is one of the world’s greatest NS Stick players, and since he and Bob Culbertson live pretty close to each other, Don just seemed like the perfect addition. He was very gracious and excited at the thought of this lineup, and was available on our chosen date. Again…synchronicity.
So here it is – we actually have a reunion/revival of the original founding members of the Stickband, Emmett Chapman the creator and inventor of the Stick, Bob Culberson and Don Schiff, two of the greatest and most well-known Stick players in the world, myself and two of the most talented drummers out there – all in one evening.
As for me – I’ll be playing both the classic Chapman Stick and the NS Stick, and I’m bringing some of my electric horns from back in the day out of storage to play as well. Needless to say, I am extremely excited to be included in such an incredible evening.
Oh, and what about the two drummer dilemma? Both Bob and Rick are bringing small drum sets that will be set up on either side of the stage with the Stick players performing in the middle. Wow.
What a night it’s going to be!
On May 21, 2017 Jim Bruno invited Bob Culbertson and me to join him for an exchange of memories and a videotaping of our thoughts on everything about Stickband. During our meeting, I suggested scheduling a time to play our music together again sometime in the future. I meant it to be a private event at Jim Bruno’s studio in San Jose.
The possibility of a fun and impromptu jam session quickly developed into a plan for our first reunion gig at the Guitar Merchant in Southern California on September 23, 2017. I’m overwhelmed at the speed at which the Stick Night event came together. Special thanks to Emmett Chapman for spearheading the event. Schedules permitting, we may repeat our reunion gig in San Jose in 2018.
I believe our original sound will come back to us rapidly. We’re all like finely-aged wine now and we’re supposed to be more tasteful players. Our music will groove a bit differently. I’m confident we’ll all bring our A-game and I’m really looking forward to playing with Jim Bruno and Bob Culbertson again.
It will be very nice to see Emmett Chapman, Don Schiff, and Rick Alegria perform at the Stick Night event. I hope we get a nice turnout. I enjoy networking with musicians and I hope a lot of young players come out to see us. They are the future.