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"Just Another Funny Hat Band In Miami"

It took us a while to find out who we were supposed to be. 
Maybe some musicians start out one way and never change, 
but we tried just about everything. 

In Miami we played jazz, we played rock and roll, rhythm and blues, 
society ballroom music, and doubled on a variety of instruments, 
just trying to find our niche...and to not starve. 

Once I brought a trombone home and tried to play it. 
Property was sold on our street, 
by neighbors fleeing from the racket. 
It sounded like a buffalo, crazed by a discouraging word. 
I paid no attention in my fervor to be a tromboner. 

Eventually I learned to play one song well, "Georgia on My Mind", 
and the audiences liked it and asked for an encore. 
I was dumb enough to try a second song. 
I knew I didn't have the lip for it, 
but I was caught up in the glory, 
and assaulted the second song. 
My lip gave out half way through, 
but I continued trying to blow my liver out the horn. 
It sounded like an ambulance hitting a buffalo. 
A guy at the first table said "Is that out boat leaving?" 

I tried the bongos, timbales,  and the vibes but didn't see our career improving. 
I played "Swingin' Shepherd Blues" on the flute... Nothing. 
You could hear crickets. 

Piano was my best instrument, 
but Misty played better than I did, 
so I was trying to play something else. 
Misty would switch around too, 
from piano to organ to vibes, while I did a piano number. 
Funny...we never thought of featuring vocal duets until much later. 

The worst move we made was to try to be a comedy group. 
We found out later that we could be verbally funny on the mike, 
but, starting out we didn't know that. 
We went to novelty shops and bought rubber chickens, 
Groucho glasses, and arrows that go through your head. 
We didn't know we could ad lib, 
so we rehearsed corny routines with our sax player, Paul Mclaughlin. 
Is my face red? 
Here's a picture ... http://tinyurl.com/25dlbo 

In retrospect, 
what we were doing was imitating other bands 
who seemed to get better jobs. 
One miraculous day we found out we were supposed to Jack and Misty, 
and not everybody else. 
We wrote some songs, sang together in our own new style, 
and took the act to Key West. 
We had a recording contract within three weeks, 
and went to Nashville for our first sessions. 

We have never varied from our personal style since that time, 
even when the pressure was on to conform. 
A lot of artists got richer than us staying in the mainstream, 
and we've been through some hard times, 
but if we had it to do again, 
we wouldn't change much at all. 

Everybody has to start someplace. 

Copyright  April 18, 2007 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.

 

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2007 www.jackandmisty.com. all rights reserved.