By day, they may be all business behind an office desk. But by night, they know how to let loose. LN recently caught up with some local working dads who use their garage bands as an after-hours outlet.
As a teenager, KTRS Radio's John Carney was a fan of Mr. Wizard. Now he's ‘with the band.’
A percussionist since age 9, Carney has lent his musical talents to dozens of local and regional rock, dance and funk outfits through the years, currently moonlighting with the St. Louis dance music group Mr. Wizard, local jazz artist Jim Cunningham’s funk project and Southern rockers, Heartsfield, of Chicago.
While Carney jokes his ‘rock star window is closed,’ the local radio personality still lives out a musician’s dream with his bands these days on the stages of venues like The Pageant, as well as amid the natural beauty of the region’s wineries. “I was a percussion major in college, always with the intention of being a music therapist,” Carney recalls. “Then my father, who also was a broadcaster, told me not to go into radio—so that’s when I went right into radio.”
And the music genes just keep flowing through his family, as his 3- and 4-year-old sons, Liam and John James, can typically be found singing, playing toy guitars and even trying to take over dad’s drum kit—at the most inopportune times. “They are always playing my drums—that’s, like, all they want to do,” he says. “I got my first drum kit at 9, so they already have me beat.” Even his 15-year-old, Joerdan, has the music bug—she’s a violinist.
Carney is sure he’ll be sitting in the audience of his own kids’ concerts one day soon—only he hopes they’ll see it as "just a hobby." But don’t expect him to relinquish the spotlight just yet. “I’ll be the one at the rest home mumbling to myself with a tambourine.”
Dave Schmid’s daily grind involves business development for a division of Regions Bank. But when the weekend hits, he’s ready to rock.
His band of six years, called Spontaneous Nugent—because one of the member’s is “prone to playing Ted Nugent spontaneously”—covers '60s, '70s and '80s classic and Southern rock, with a few originals thrown in from time to time for good measure. With a 100-song repertoire, the 13-member group rocks out to the tune of The Who, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Eric Clapton at venues like Sky Lounge in West County and outdoor festivals such as Fair St. Louis, as well as weddings and nonprofit parties. “We’re just a bunch of guys in their late 40s having fun,” he muses.
The bandmates, who all have full-time jobs and families, get to play out their 'rock ’n’ roll fantasy,' while their spouses and kids dance and sing along in the crowd. “They think it’s neat,” says Schmid of his kids’ thoughts on dad’s rock band. And that’s what it’s all about, he says—having fun and grooving to the music.
Roberto Trevino might play blues music, but he’s all smiles. That’s because he has married his love of good music and good food. His band, Blues Incorporated, frequently takes the stages at his restaurants, La Cantina in Webster Groves and Amigos in Kirkwood.
In the “old days,” Trevino was a professional musician for a groove band in Daytona Beach, Fla., hanging out on the beach during the day and partying onstage at night. “Then I got married, so I thought I better get a real job,” he says, laughing. But after moving to his wife’s hometown of Webster Groves, Trevino missed music and his uncles’ restaurants. So he found a suitable solution in combining the concepts.
For the past two years, his raspy vocals have led his blues, rock and Motown group as they perform '50s and '60s rock from artists such as Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Fats Domino and Otis Redding. “We have a good time, and people seem to like it, so it’s a win-win for both parties,” Trevino says.
The band also takes its shows to the streets, playing outdoor festivals and local clubs. And Trevino’s kids love it. “When we play at the Kirkwood Concert Series, everybody comes down with their lawn chairs for an afternoon of music,” he says. “We kid around when we play. Everyone is just there to have a good time.” Good times, indeed.