Jack Fennimore
Jazz in the Park

Questions for Steely Dane

The band performs Steely Dan classics and will be playing at Jazz in the Park this Thursday.

By - Aug 11th, 2015 04:46 pm
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Steely Dane. Photo courtesy of Dave Alder.

Steely Dane. Photo courtesy of Dave Alder.

It seemed like a crazy proposition, getting 20 of Dane County‘s best to perform the classics of Steely Dan. But that’s exactly what happened in the fall of 2013. The band, headed by Dave Adler and Dave Stoler, has been selling out venues ever since with their tribute to the talents of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.

In addition to Adler and Stoler on keyboard, the band also has Jay Moran, Steve Burke, and Dennis Shepherd on guitar; Joey Banks and Gregg Rullman on drums; percussionist James “Pie” Cowan; Phil Lyons and Gordon Ranney on bass; Al Falaschi on tenor saxophone; Courtney Larsen on trombone; Phil Zell on trumpet; Clay Konnor on alto saxophone; Alison Margaret and Megan Moran as backup singers; and Biff Blumfumgagnge, Freedy Johnston, Mike Massey and Andy Wallman as featured vocalists.

The band will be playing at Jazz in the Park this Thursday, August 13th, at 6 p.m. at Cathedral Square Park. Adler responded to our questions via email.

How did your band meet/start playing together?

Dave Stoler lent me his Ball-peen hammer for an experimental piece I was working on. We started talking about William S. Burroughs.

How did you get involved in Jazz in the Park and what do you like about performing there?

Milwaukee has always been one of my favorite places. We have many good friends who live and work there. They all speak very highly of Jazz in the Park. We’re psyched.

Who are your main musical influences?

Hendrix, [Johann Sebastian] Bach, Queen, Queen Latifah.

How would you describe your style of jazz/reggae/rock?

Jazz had an illicit affair with Rock. This band is their love child.

How do you try to connect to and work the audience?

We totally tear down the third wall. We ARE the audience.

Which famous musicians do you most admire and why?

Tom Jones. Obvious reasons.

How would you describe the state of jazz/reggae/rock music today?

Flat.

What is your musical background?

Piano starting at age four. Never looked back.

How did you get your start in music?

Wanted to be piano player at Shakey’s Pizza.

What is your favorite thing to see in the audience while you are on stage?

Eyes closed in blissful communion.

What are some of your most memorable experiences performing on stage?

I can’t remember.

What are your fondest musical memories?

Listening to classical records with my father.

What drew you to jazz/reggae/rock music?

Looked like they were all having a good time.

Where are you performing next?

Shank Hall, Milwaukee, WI, Saturday, September 26.

Is there a musician dead or alive that you would love to perform with?

Paul Shaffer.

What do you love the most about performing live?

Everything about it.

How do you handle making mistakes during a live set?

There are no mistakes, only opportunities.

What was your most memorable show to date?

Hasn’t happened yet.

Where are your favorite places to perform?

Jazz in the Park, Milwaukee, WI.

What do you think of Milwaukee as a musical city?

Best.

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