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Stories from the 1990's...

And how Strange Brew came to life!



March 7, 2021


STORY # 3

The 'Dan Jams'... And hanging with Vince Martell...



Welcome...

As Strange Brew was evolving over the late 1990's, we decided to rearrange things and fix up the basement with the idea of using that area as a rehearsal space. At the time, little did we realize that our house was about to morph into 'a Blues Club'...

 

Meanwhile on a business trip to San Francisco, I stopped at the famous John Lee Hooker's 'Boom Boom Room' and I was so inspired by the look of it, that I wanted to replicate that 'look' in the basement...

So I got a spray painter and did the ceilings in black - and then we did the walls in a deep red... It was starting to come together! But it definitely needed more light...

Shortly after that, I had to take another business trip to Ybor City, FL... and while I was there, I found this cool store with the funkiest lights I'd ever seen. I thought they'd be perfect for the basement, so I ended up spending hundreds of dollars on 'hanging lamps' in a variety of shapes and colors. Meanwhile, Doreen was installing black lights here and there... so we could get the right 'ambiance'.

As we continued doing some home improvements to the house, we needed to install a new gate for the alleyway. So the sales guy comes over and writes up our order - and then asks us if we wanted anything written on the top of gate, and in that spur of the moment, the first thing that came to me was: 'House of Blues'. Haha, he even added in the black musical notes!   Nice touch!  >>

The walk down that alley took you to our back patio and entry into the basement, so we added strings of colored lights along the length of the alley... And it looked great; on hot summer nights, the back patio was all lit up, too. Everyone knew to just come on in!

 

Our friends would hang out with a beer and some good conversation. Until the music started, that is... Then they would come in through the back door through a short corridor lined with black curtains... to the basement 'Blues Club'... and what a club it was turning into!

We had bistro tables and chairs set up in the middle of the room - sandwiched in between musicians at the front of the basement - and a sound studio in the back, which included a 50 foot snake that ran to a Roland 2480: a 16 channel digital recording studio. Lol...

We had already bought a beautiful, red Sonar drum kit so that we could have rehearsals whenever we wanted. And some of our guitarists left their amps here, including a bass cabinet, guitar stands and a variety of musical odds and ends. We had four speakers hanging from the ceiling... and several room mics at intervals in the ceiling to record 'room sound'. We even bought conga drums, in case anyone wanted to play. Lol... We were out of control.

Meanwhile, I was teaching myself how to play drums by watching video tapes, and eventually, I actually played a couple of blues tunes with the band. As a kid of 13, I always wanted to play drums... so when I asked my folks if I could, what did they do?
'They bought me a drum pad'. Lol...

But I finally got to play drums - 50 years later. And when I did, it was a trip! I was even able to do some fills and I could keep time pretty well. It was so much fun!

 

Then one night - at one of our jam sessions, Vince stopped by...

Our friend, Lou Albero (he was our 'Mick Jagger look-a-like guy') had introduced us to Vince Martell and over the years we became friends. Vince even 'guest-starred' with Strange Brew at a couple of our gigs.



The truth was that we were having great fun putting together jams at our place. We'd put out word that we were going to do a jam session... and like magic, LOTS of people would show up. It was the place to be!

And one of our favorite jams took place in the year 2000...

It was the usual scene; friends and musicians were arriving... carrying in food, booze and instruments. The 'smokers' were hanging out on the back patio... and everyone was excited about a fun night of music. And then, in wanders the legendary Vince Martell (guitar in hand) along with his wife (then girlfriend), Peg Pearl.

So in addition to the usual culprits - most of which performed in Strange Brew at one time or another - on this night, Vince showed up and decided to play with some of our friends. And it was absolutely magical.

 

 


                 Listen to this LIVE recording of Vince playing:

                  'All Along the Watchtower  >> <<   9:24

It was amazing! By the Way, Vince opened for Jimi Hendrix at Royal Albert Hall and in many other venues as well, since they were friends. They toured together during the 1960's.

And you might enjoy this interview that Vince did with a popular blues web site: CLICK HERE  <<
Here's a short excerpt from that article:

"Jimi Hendrix and Vanilla Fudge toured together... The great Jimi himself once told Vinny to contact him if The Fudge ever broke up... the Hendrix-Martell Experience, perhaps? Jefferson Airplane, Cream, Janis Joplin, The Doors, B.B. King and more & lots; all graced the stage with them..."

Meanwhile, here is one of the world's most amazing and famous guitarists --- playing at a jam session
IN MY BASEMENT.  You can't make this shit up!  Haha... What fun we had back then.

Meanwhile, keep rockin'...  

Dan Molloy

Story # 1 ~
Story # 2 ~

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Dan Molloy, vocals  &  Doreen Molloy,
vocals

-:- Bill Moraites, lead guitar Mike Smith, lead guitar -:-
-:- Ray "Rainman" Portante, drums -:- Donnie Piller, bass -:- Ron Hagen, keys -:- Jeff Pines, percussion -:-