9.25.2010

Nine years with The Greatest American Heroes

Last night The Greatest American Heroes played our 9th anniversary show at the Carousel Lounge! It was a really fun gig with some power-packed sets, plus a special "unplugged" set with 12-string guitar, fretless bass and bongos (and I have the bruises on my hands to prove it!), and the crowd seemed to really have a great time watching us do our thing. I'm sure none of us ever imagined we would be playing TV theme songs for the past nine years, so it was kind of a nostalgic night that made me think about the history of the band and some of the changes we've been through.

Music: When we first got together, we were actually a surf band, mainly because surf is pretty easy and fun to play! We still include some classic tunes like Walk Don't Run in our shows, just for fun. Along the way we learned a surf rendition of The Munsters theme song, and suddenly we thought, "What if we played a ton of TV theme songs?" The rest is history, as they say. Several of the band members also wrote their own theme songs for shows that don't exist, and we love to put together three-song medleys of tunes that make no sense together, such as A-Team/Eight is Enough/Green Acres, Speed Racer/Fat Albert/WKRP in Cincinnati, or even Spongebob Squarepants/Gilligan's Island/The Brady Bunch. I'm not even sure how many TV theme songs we know, but it's a lot!

Horns: Originally we had a horn section with Ernesto on saxophone and Jonathan on trumpet, and they created some fantastic arrangements together that really established a unique sound for the band. Later Ernesto moved to LA (and we miss him!), but Jonathan does a great job of holding it together with cool lines and creative solos!

Bass Players: Our founding bass player was Barron, but he needed more time with his family, so we found a guy named Doc who had a great style of playing, and he stayed with us quite a while. Eventually Francis took over, and he's been a fantastic edition since he can also play keyboard on a few numbers (essential for Cheers, for example) and does a great Kermit the Frog impression for Rainbow Connection!

Singers: We started out with our pal Conrad, who even came to see us last night and sang a few songs for old time's sake. Later Dana joined the band, adding a great female voice that made The Jeffersons a real crowd pleaser, but she eventually moved for a job in DC. Since the singer is so important to this band, we didn't know what to do, but soon we discovered that one of our biggest fans (always in the audience and always dancing) was a performer, and so Kirk became our singer, bringing a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm that definitely kept the band going!

Events: Being a TV theme show band is a little weird, because people either love it or could do without it. We've even been hired for parties and had someone ask us, "When are you going to play something besides TV theme songs?" The Carousel Lounge is one of the craziest dives in Austin, so we started playing there since we totally "fit", and we've been performing there the last Friday of the month for nine years! We've been lucky enough to play some cool gigs like South by Southwest Interactive, and even an amazing show in the Austin City Limits studio, and we've also done many charity gigs at various venues. We always have a blast at our Halloween show every year, since we dress in costume (along with the audience) and totally go nuts!

Above everything else, The Greatest American Heroes are a group of friends who love to play music. We certainly don't do it for the money (tips are scarce sometimes!), but it's the perfect excuse to get together, have some laughs, and enjoy the TV shows that we all watched growing up. We play loud and we play sloppy sometimes, but we always have fun, and when the crowd "gets it" and the TV nostalgia starts flowing, it's a fantastic feeling! Francis has recently re-created our website, so please check it out and enjoy the photos and videos. But most importantly, come check us out at the Carousel Lounge sometime!

Visit site: The Greatest American Heroes

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