Back to York – Back to Pittsburgh

Returning to York I was right back to the big fish in a little pond.

Within days of getting back into town I received calls for pickup gigs.

One of the most memorable ones was my drum teacher wanting me to sit in with his band for a gig that he could not make.

Don Frey was an excellent technical player and teacher.  He didn’t take any shit.  You learned your weekly lesson or he sent your parents home and you stayed until you learned it.  I believe he was Rudiment Champion of PA for three straight years.  I’ve been trying to verify that.

The band played standards much like the band I was in when I was 14.

I had a good time playing with these guys and did really well with no previous rehearsals.

The sax player came to me during the first break complimenting and praising my playing and then proceeded to complain about how Don Frey overplayed everything.

This reinforced my lessons learned during my past year in Pittsburgh plus it certainly helps your confidence when your teacher’s band tells you they wish that you were their drummer.

Shortly after this gig I hooked up with a country band.  I can’t even remember their name but I never needed to rehearse with them and was able to just sit in and play.


One of the best days of my life.


Best Man – Barney Lee

In June of 1979 I got married.  We promptly moved back to Pittsburgh in September of that year which just happened to be the same year (season) when the Pirates won the Worlds Series and the Steelers won the Super Bowl.  It was pretty cool to be in the city and experience something like that.

I worked at some temp jobs while looking for a band and my wife really helped with supporting us.  I managed to hook up with Bruce Marshall again and joined his band called “Snatch”.  How nice, I was in a band that I couldn’t tell my mother the name of the band.  But I remember my sister-in-law got a real kick out of the name.  It wasn’t very well run and didn’t last very long.

My wife kept supporting us.  This was during the time of Jimmy Carter, a rotten economy and a gas crisis.


Festival set up with DC Band

Barney Lee was working sound for a local Pittsburgh band called the D C Band.  This was a precursor to his record producing abilities/talent.  They lost their drummer and Barney got me in as a fill in drummer.

They were a good band and did OK financially but after playing several weeks as a fill in they never offered me the permanent gig.   After I had had enough of being a temporary drummer and relying on my wife to support us I decided to move back to York.   Then they offered me the gig.  Too bad it was too late and the wheels were already in motion.

So after another year in Pittsburgh I went back to York.

Previous: Reality 1.0          Next: Back to York – Back to Pittsburgh Reality 2.0    

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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