Rockin' with CITGO

One of the more unusual bands I've played in as a drummer was called the CITGO All-Star Rock & Roll Revue, made up of employees in Tulsa. Around 1992, CITGO decided to put on a huge talent show to raise money for MDA (their biggest charity recipient each year) called the CITGO Follies, and one of my bosses and some other guys got the idea to form a band. They knew I was a drummer (and maybe they also thought it was good to have a "young guy" in the group), so we started rehearsing during lunch in our warehouse. One of the guys was a hardcore 50s and 60s rock & roll maniac, who knew every bit of music trivia you can imagine, so we decided to do a kind of timeline medley, starting with Rock Around the Clock and ending with Heart of Rock and Roll (I guess someone was a Huey Lewis fan!). The show was a pretty good success, and afterwards we were asked to play for some other parties and charity events, so suddenly we were kind of a real band! We started learning tons of songs, and the older guys would always be amazed that I had never heard most of these old tunes before! Actually, it was really good for me, since I expanded my knowledge a bit and totally nailed how to play a shuffle beat. We even had a band logo, and CITGO paid to get us custom embroidered shirts and shiny jackets, too!

A couple years later, there was another CITGO Follies, so we worked up a new show and added tons of people to the band, including backup singers and even a horn section (which is how I met my good friend Nick, since his dad was a CITGO employee). Another year there was a mock casino night, and we played a long set for the party (my parents were visiting Tulsa during that event, and got to see me go nuts during Ray Charles' What'd I Say). I really enjoyed some other great events, too, such as playing outdoors at Bell's Amusement Park right next to the roller coaster! I don't really remember how or why we stopped playing, but after our four or five year run, we eventually packed it up.

During our heyday, we were featured on a local Tulsa news broadcast, and now you can watch that ancient (probably 1995) video! I thought it was hilarious that they used me to begin the segment, with the crazy line "mild-mannered computer whiz by day, rock & roll drummer by night!" I was looking kind of silly in my Mod Mikey phase, but I secretly thought I was super-cool. Playing in the CITGO band sure made work more interesting, and definitely had a positive effect on my drumming ability today. I hope the other guys still find the time to break out their instruments, too!

Watch video: CITGO Band News Broadcast