We get this question a lot “what’s up with the band?” On the outside, it probably seems like we haven’t been doing much but, internally we have been quite busy. This is what we’ve been up to.
Kelly Hendriksen joins us on drums!
As some know we lost FOM’s original drummer, Dave Sheakley to an chronic wrist condition in 2009. It’s true, what can we say-we destroyed him! Drumming in a hard hitting Celtic band is no easy task and, as sad as we were about losing him, we were having to much fun to let the whole thing fall apart. It took some time (6 months) but we found Dave’s replacement, Yoshi Tanha. Yoshi’s energetic drumming style was a new twist for the band. None of us had ever worked with a drummer who put so much energy into his live performance that he would physically be wasted after playing a set! With time and training we did get Yoshi (Animal) to calm down a little bit and, all of us learned to appreciate his “gruff-happy” personality. And, for a guy who hated to travel, he seemed to enjoy himself immensely on the two “road trips” we made to Petersburg and Haines. Last spring Yoshi started rumbling about leaving the band. He cited a few reasons, mostly he was not interested in traveling. He had done the whole “pack up the van and hit the road” thing earlier in his life and didn’t care to repeat it. Yoshi is also an author of fiction. His current book, called “All That Matters” is gaining some ground and he was anxious to write the follow up. He was also concerned about his ability to practice. His living situation didn’t lend itself to drum practice and often the only time he could actually play was at rehearsals. He didn’t want to leave us in a lurch however and even agreed to travel to Haines for our performance at the Alaska State fair. In September the organizers of the Capital City Brewfest needed a band and he agreed to do that show as well. Though we had plenty of time to get used to Yoshi leaving, in the end it was hard to see him go.
So, once again we found ourselves in need of a drummer! It’s funny when you are outside of a band and WANT to be in a band, it seems nobody wants you. But, when you are IN a band and you are in need of a new member there’s nobody out there! Juneau, Alaska is an awesome place but there’s a small musical pool of people to choose from here. We had a few minor contacts but we think we scared them off by being an established band. Enter Kelly Hendriksen. Kelly had actually played with the members of Fire on McGinnis for an special Easter program in 2010. She’s the drummer for an local Americana band called “Cayenne Blue” and a guitar player for a medley of other bands, most notably a church house band called “Songs For The Journey.” We knew Kelly was out there but were afraid to contact her. Kelly? No way. She’s too good to be in our band! Oddly enough it was Kelly that contacted us! As excited as we were to have Kelly in the band, we also knew that this was the first step in the long process of getting a new drummer up to speed. Fire on McGinnis, including the songs that have gone by the wayside, roughly has a 50 song set list. The magic number is 30. If you can get your drummer up to 30 songs that’s a whole night of music. Luckily the band has a library of recorded material, practice scratch tracks and produced songs for her to learn from.
We started working with Kelly in September with the goal of playing a 10 song set at the Celtic Arts festival in January. In that time she blazed through the material, adding her own chops to new songs while paying proper homage to songs on the CD. Kelly is clever and meticulous, often spending considerable to time to get one drum part just right. In fact, some band members have found that their own playing had to go up a notch to hang with her! Sadly during this time we had to turn down a lot of offers to play, most notably the Red Dog Saloon. We just wanted to spend the time to get this right. As a band we hope to not be in the business of looking for a drummer again!
New recording plan!
With the drummer change ups recording had to be put on hold. This was further complicated by Mark losing his access to Studio A. We have decided on 5-6 songs for an EP style record at least. We have a new song, called “Moon and the Stars” that the band is excited about recording. These things take time and we all have day jobs remember!
St. Patrick’s eve show at Rockwell!
We are excited to play St. Patrick’s day eve on March 16th at Rockwell’s. As some may remember, last year we had a family issue and were not able to preform anywhere. We are hoping to redeem ourselves at this gig! Currently we holding as many practices as possible to be ready for this. We are excited to officially debut Kelly as the new drummer and we also have a few surprises in store for the audience so, come check this one out! -fom