Friday, January 30, 2009

Master of His Public Domain

I admit it, I'm a sucker for old movies & TV shows (for those under 30, this was BEFORE reality TV destoyed the genre).

Tragically, a lot of early TV was lost when the recordings were either thrown away or recorded over to save money.

Fortunately a few things survived and have been archived on the net.

While today, most films and TV shows are protected by copyright, many earlier ones have lapsed into the public domain.

To that end, my twin brother Mike (who also writes the Avian Flu Diary Blog) has begun to blog about the wonderful treasures that are available for free downloading.

THe website is

More than just a listing of available files, Mike brings you the backstory in a very readable, entertaining format. You see stars before they "made it" and revisit a lot of fond memories.

So, go take a look ... but be prepared to upgrade your hard drive once you see what gems are available!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Video Killed the Banjo Star

You notice a new Google module in the left hand corner of my blog.

I've added a Youtube channel to this and my webpage featuring about a dozen clips from a recent live performance on board ship.

You can either subscribe or simply visit

Additionally, I have a number of videos posted at

Monday, January 26, 2009

I've seen the Future...

As the Cruise Entertainment Industry continues to change, I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that before long, acts that DON'T have professional backing tracks are destined to be left on the dustheap of booking history.

Cruise Lines are cutting back on show bands (some are cutting them out completely) and acts that continue to rely on them will find engagements fewer & farther between.

My biggest problem with tracks has always been that they almost always sound like tracks - not live musicians. I believe trumpets should sound like trumpets, not a Casio keyboard.

Today, I heard the future.

While working on board the Volendam, I met Jeff Fabischek. He is a talented guitarist / arranger who has the most impressive computerized notation/arranging set-up I've ever seen.
I spent most of the afternoon listening to some of the work he's done for other artists and I now believe that well written charts with proper sequencing can produce tracks that sound like a live orchestra.

Not only are the instrument samples top notch, he knows how to use them to re-create the sound and feel of the real thing. Truly a talent.

My goal in 2009 is to have him produce tracks for both of my shows. While I plan to use live musicians whenever they are available, the ability to go in and do a show without a band opens up numerous employment opportunities on and off ships.

Whether you are looking for new Charts (6 to 11 Pieces) written, cleaning up old charts, adding horns to existing charts, converting old charts to digital copies or backing audio tracks, Jeff can handle the task.

If you are interested in contacting Jeff, shoot him an email at and he'll gladly supply you with a price list.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wringing In the New Year

From the "Glamour of Show Business" Files....

I'm currently on board the "Volendam" in Sydney, Australia ...unfortunately, my luggage isn't!

I flew from Bangkok to Christchurch, NZ on Christmas Day to join the cruise. I even checked in 3 1/2 hours ahead of my flight - somehow my luggage never made it on the plane.

As a result, I've lived in the same clothes I traveled in for seven days (so far).

So I'm hand washing my one pair underwear & socks in my sink every night and "wringing" in the New Year as we speak.

We are in Sydney for New Years Eve (overnight) so I went to the Airport this afternoon, and with the help of a friend who works for the Port Agent, I was able to locate my luggage. It's sitting in Christchurch (where it arrived two days after we sailed).

The Lost Luggage people at Sydney Airport were extremely helpful (of course, it didn't hurt to have the Port Agent with me!) and they took the time to really search for it (thank you!)

I went downtown (Pitt Street) and bought new socks & underwear today so my mood has improved immensely.

"Hopefully", the suitcase will be here in Sydney on Jan 5th. Believe me, 10 days of "Drip Dry" is more than enough.

On the positive side, the Cruise ship was kind enough to loan me a Tuxedo for my Shows and the audiences were great!

And I must admit, Sydney knows how to put on a GREAT New Years Fireworks Display!!!