Paul Heinz

Original Fiction, Music and Essays

Filtering by Tag: Block 37

Spicy: 8 Band in 4 Weeks

If variety is the spice of life the last month was particularly spicy for me. 

A few years ago I played with a drummer who performed very similar setlists between two different bands, adding the difficulty of having to recall the slight variations between the two, be it tempos, endings, extended solos, etc. In the past four weeks I’ve played with eight different bands, but I had the luxury (and also the curse) of having virtually no crossover between the various acts. That didn’t keep me from making countless mistakes, but at least the endings were unique!

August 19: my regular gig with Second Time Around.

August 19: a 50 minute setlist of a makeshift funk band playing tunes from The Commodores, Stevie Wonder, Patti Labelle, KC and the Sunshine Band, Kool and the Gang, etc.

August 20: a two hour rehearsal of Genesis tribute music that didn’t lead to a live performance but did require something close to twenty hours of preparation. I can tell you that Tony Banks continues to be my musical hero, as not only do his composition skills never fair to impress, but the keyboard part to “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” kicked me in the ass.

August 25: a gig with The Ripleys, a classic rock band that usually plays as a power trio but added keyboards for this particular performance.  Great time, and it forced me to learn how to play “Tempted” by Squeeze, a pop song with surprisingly complex chord changes.

August 27: my regular church gig at Elmhust Prebyterian.

Sept 1: my regular gig with Block 37.

Sept 2: a duo performance with Ken Slauf playing mostly light rock such as Van Morison, Elton John, Marc Cohn, The Beatles, etc.

September 16: for the third year in a row, a reunion gig with my old high school band, I ON U, playing mostly 80s rock tunes.

During these four weeks I performed something close to 150 distinct songs. In a few months I'll probably be hard-pressed to remember how to play any of them, but for a brief month I had a monster repertoire! It was great fun.

Now it’s back to normal during the non-summer months as my various acts struggle to find a gig here and there, but given my recent schedule I think I’m okay with that.  Sometimes after a run of spicy meals, a bland one isn’t so bad.

Introducing Block 37

With one gig and dozens of rehearsals under our belts (and five - count 'em - FIVE upcoming gigs scheduled) I figure it's high time to promote my latest band, Block 37, a five-piece act hell-bent on not boring you to death the way so many other bands do.  Seriously, I'm really excited about this venture for several reasons, three of which I'll highlight today.

1)  The band's mission to stay clear of classic rock and over-played hits and instead focus on fun, upbeat power pop gems, many of which you might have forgotten all about.  So yeah, we'll play some great tunes by bands you know like The Clash, The Cars, The Black Keys, White Stripes and the like, but then we'll perform that one tune that needs to be exercised from the recesses of your mind.  Songs like "Save it for Later" by The English Beat, "Here It Goes Again" from OK Go (which I just heard on an episode of Scrubs!), "Ah, Leah" by Donnie Iris, "A Million Miles Away" from the Plimsouls.  And Wilco.  And Elvis Costello.  Any Joe Jackson.  Vampire Weekend.  The Kings.  Fountains of Wayne.  The Knack. And, and, and...can you tell I'm really excited about our set list?

2)  So our current selection of songs is excellent, but what's really cool is we're learning new material all the time, which not only keeps us excited, it also means that our shows will constantly evolve so that you'll never get the same set list twice.  I've been in bands that are very reluctant to learn new material.  Not Block 37.  We are here to explore the vast soundscape of power pop gems from the last four decades.

3)  The musicianship of this band is ridiculous.  How Phil can remember all the lyrics to these tunes is beyond me, and Matt's spot-on guitar solos kills me.  Add to that a thumpin rock-solid rhythm section by Johnny and Doug, and it's a pleasure for me to add some keys to what's already a great sounding arrangement.

WHAT DO WE NEED FROM YOU?  First please go to our Facebook page and like us.  We're at 163 likes but we need more.  You can also check out our ever-changing website for news, videos and photos.

Second, come out to one of our shows!  As of this writing, you have five opportunities to hear Block 37 play:

Fri, July 31: Block 37 will be performing power pop gems for an evening gig at Phyllis's Musical Inn in Chicago, 10 to 1.

Sat, Aug 1: I'm back with Block 37 at Bono's in Lisle from 9:15 to 12:45 or thereabouts.

Sat, August 22: Block 37 is heading to Palos for a rip-roaring night of power pop favorites.  At Trio in Palos, 9 to really, really late.

Sat, August 29: My newest band, Block 37, will be performing at the Highland Avenue Block Party in Elmhurst Illinois.  Details to follow.

Fri, Septmber 18:Block 37 is back at our regular gig at Bono's in Lisle.  9:15 or so to the wee hours.

So come on out and see what all the hub-bub is about, help us grow, and with any luck, one day we'll play during daylight hours! 

Copyright, 2017, Paul Heinz, All Right Reserved