Grumpy’s Jam on Thursday Nights Struggling
The late great Charles Fambrough on bass (Jazz Messengers) was a frequent visitor for
the great food, good atmosphere and good jams.
Fri Oct 14
I love this jam. The food is slammin’ and the attitude is great. It provides an outlet for jamming that includes not just blues, but rock, jazz, country, reggae, fusion and anything we can think of. There’s lots of creative improvisation but also chart reading as well. Kids to adults practicing or just learning or totally impressing.
And the attendance has been OK, moderate, not really bad, in fact with too many more the night gets a little longer than preferred. But sadly that doesn’t justify the outcome.
Grumpy pulled me aside Thursday before the jam and said we aren’t making ends meet. We’re close, but more often he operates at a loss now. It’s the economy, they used to do better. Everyone is struggling. But like so many jams that open and sooner or later close Grumpy’s is in the same predicament after so many years.
He suggested doing it maybe once a month, and also informed me that we cannot do the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (our most popular night for school students) because they’ve hired a better drawing band.
Some of the kids that played here are pro’s now, and they were here playing with the big dogs
The problem is that even though there’s a nice draw, there’s very low sales. I know that doesn’t apply to all, but let’s face it: musicians aren’t going to jams to get smashed. It’s not a tailgate party. They want to perform well. And the kitchen more or less closes (10 pm) just after we get rolling (9:30)
But if everyone just sips a beer or a coke (I’ve known some people to even bring their own bottle of water!) it won’t continue.
So I am asking everyone for help. Just a little. The band is going to take a pay cut to keep it going weekly. I’ll run the jam a little more efficiently and I promise if you have a long wait (I can’t get everyone done by 11) just remind me next time and you’ll go first.
I’m asking anyone who’s ever enjoyed my crazy eclectic jam to show up a little more often and get some take home food if you don’t want to drink. Hey if you DO want Grumpy’s great authentic ribs once a week or so get them on Thursday night and be entertained too! You can also help by forwarding this plea and website to other friends and jammers.
Spread the word. Keep this great Thursday night social scene alive! Help me get some more musicians, beginner or professional. Don’t come alone, bring friends with you when you come. After all, it cost nothing to go in and participate, and I’m not asking for donations for some benefit or something….it benefits YOU…your playing progress…your belly’s progress! And it benefits live, creative, good times for all.
Grumpy’s will continue weekly for a bit and hope that we can all justify the time, cost, and effort to keep the gear going, the house band interested and run the staff.
At this point I want to thank my band who are excellent in talent and attitude: Suavek Zaniensienko and Keith McGonigle . Also anyone else who has shared the stage with me, especially the rotating drummers. Also Val at the bar who is also trying to generate support for this night. And of course all of you reading this and participating in any way. Thank you!
Thanks for your time and support,
Jams For September 2011
The Firehouse Grill
217 Broadway, S. Bethlehem, PA
A jam starts here in September -GREAT House Band! And you will play with them!
Tuesdays 7-10pm Starting Sept 6th
Hi everyone! Well the summer may be almost over but the party isn’t! There’s a few new jam things happening this September and they’re all open to the public and are free.
Sat. Sept. 3rd
Drewstock is a charity event that is being held in Wind Gap this year. There are several stages and many bands and artists. My NYC band The Heard will venture outside the city (NYC) for only the second time (the first was last May when they opened for Popa Chubby at the Sellersville Theater) and perform a 6 pm set. More info is online at http://www.drewstock.com/
Jim Gill’s Annual Bash
Sun. Sept. 4th
Jim Gill has a party at the end of every summer and he asked me to help with gear and host the jam. It’s free, there’s food and drink and jamming all day. Jim lives at 1561 State Rd in Coopersburg PA 18036. Bring a chair! We’ll start it around 1 pm I think.
The Firehouse Grill Jam
Tues. Sept. 6th
This started as a one time thing during Musikfest but when the owners saw Sauvek (Todd Wolfe bassist), Chicago Joe Mac (EVERY heavy cat in Chicago sideman), Pat Allen (Mad Dog & Blues Night Out drummer) and myself having such fun he booked the act to start a regular jam on Tuesday nights. Hey I said SURE! Plus it’s early, from 7-10 pm. Cool joint, great vibe I assure you, relax and have fun.
This House Band is SMOKIN’! And that’s who you play with! We all hang tight for you to be with the best cats in the house. If you want to play with top notch cats….guys I call for NYC gigs, show up and meet them. They’re great people. Very cool. Make ME sound good! Make YOU sound good! Make it ALL sound good! God bless them.
OK see you Tues Sept 6th. Help us make this successful for us all!
The Firehouse Grill is located at 217 Broadway, Beth PA.
Benny’s Annual Block Party Bash
Sat. Sept. 17th
This is another annual event that used to be a big Allentown Block Party. It benefited the local Rugby Club, their coach, and the kids.
As it grew in size so did some neighborhood problems so this year the whole thing is moved to The Main Gate/Fairground Grill (Tessie’s Restaraunt) at The Allentown Fairgrounds. It will take up two levels, one for an open mic and another for an entire band to host a jam.
The Fairground Grill is located at 17th & Liberty. Fairgrounds links
Thanks for reading everyone! Enjoy the rest of the summer and then let’s jam!
Roman (with my wife Ellie…Dominican Republic…sweet!)
Happy Mothers Day!!
That’s MY mom!! 1959
She’s in Heaven with my Dad and the Angels now.
From left: Pauline Roman, me up front (eating with long hair and a band-aid on my head already) at one-two years old.
My mom raised six kids while my dad worked his entire life at PPL in Allentown.
She took her first job (if you don’t count raising a house with six kids a job) after his retirement when she was 55!
Mom, I sure made it hard for you.
I appreciate your patience and understanding, and I’m sorry for breaking your heart so often.
I miss you and Dad, but I know you’re happy.
Hey, you did a GOOD job!
I Love You
The New Heroes
Johnny Heff was a NYC firefighter that lost his life on 9/11. But I first knew him as part of a great original rockin’ band from NYC.
I first saw The BULLYS at 2nd Ave in Bethlehem, PA. Rich Gensiak was bringing in all kinds of cool, original and wild acts from locals to bands on the road (often living day to day out of a van.) The list is incredible, anyone have one?
Johnny left a shirt there, a Boot Hill Harley shirt or something, and I told him I’d return it to him one day. And The FUX eventually found our way up to NYC shows with The BULLYS later on but the shirt never made it. I apologized and he said I could have it, but actually it was quite horrible to hang on to. Ripped, full of holes, smelly…couldn’t wash it or it would totally fall apart. He must have lived a whole tour in it.
Anyway just when we thought it was going to be a regular cool scene with us & The BULLYS and playing NYC disaster hit. I still have a hat that I bought the week before right down the street from a shop that is no more as a result. (It’s that cowboy hat you see me wearing in a lot of the FUX photos.)
The next couple of years there were lots of benefits for victims and the NYC Hard Core honored theirs. I’ll never forget seeing those majestic towers on all those gigs we went to in NYC, and I’ll never forget going going back there the following year to the anniversary benefit and seeing those two huge towers of light, shooting straight up to space.
Both an incredible sight. In my opinion both outdid the Statue of Liberty, but Miss Liberty certainly had more history…until now.
Yeah Johnny, I didn’t know back then at 2nd Av you were one of the Heroes. Thank you for it meaning life itself. I hope you and God are rockin’, we’ll do our best to take it from here.
More about Johnny Heff
May 1, 2011
It was March 14, 2001. I was in a bar. Not to drink, not even to pick up chicks, I was there to watch great local blues talent, people I aspired to be like. The band playing consisted of Craig Thatcher, Mike Dugan, the late great Al Guerra on bass. They were kicking ass and I was totally focused.
All of a sudden a girl ran up behind me, kissed me on the lips, and ran away before I could even see her! Awwww man!
Two weeks later she came up to me and introduced herself as Ellen. That woman is now my wife! We celebrate our anniversary this month, May 19th! Happy Anniversary Ellie!
Celebrating our 2nd Anniversary in the Dominican Republic
In other news, the debut of Carl & The Perc-U-Laters went well and they will start booking the Bucks County area. They return to The Perk June 17
This month also also sees the debut of my NYC act Roman & The Heard at The Sellersville Theater opening for NY native and national blues guitarist Popa Chubby. That’s Thursday night, May 26
Before that date though I’m honored to be opening for Ray Manzerek of The Doors. Kind Of Blue will play an instrumental set. Saturday May 21.
Both opening acts are a short 30 minute set that starts at 8pm.
Sellersville Theater 1894 with
Ray Manzarek (of The Doors) & Roy Rogers Sat May 21
Popa Chubby Thursday May 26
24 W Temple Ave & Main St/Bethlehem Pike (off Rte 309)
Box office: 215/257-5808 www.ST94.com
Don’t forget the The Wednesday open mic at the Perk and the Thursday BBQ Jam at Grumpy’s. (I’ll have a substitute on the May 26 date). Last but not least: the Last Tuesday Jazz/Blues Jam at The Washington House May 31st!
OK I’m off to do some yard work. Enjoy the new month and springtime weather and thanks for reading and supporting live music.
I’ll see you at an outdoor patio maybe!
April – May Romanmusic NEWS
My new band in Perkasie…The Perk-U-Laters! What else?
Wed Apr 18
As many of you know I’m out of the Mad Dog camp (let’s use the official “creative differences” cliche’) and just in time: look at that bunch of happy faces! They are Carl & The Perk-U-Laters, from Perkasie…playing at The Perk of course. I don’t know how we thought of that name.
Anyway, they are Carl Lichter-rythym & vocals, Matt Roman-guitar, Keith Reichard-drums, and Justine Gardner-bass. They will debut at the end of the month Friday April 29 at The Perk, Perkasie, and Saturday April 30 at the Ravens Nest, Quakertown. Below: Glue Factory, opening for us at The Perk
Glue Factory at their first gig. This will be their second.
Throughout the rest of the month are the jams and open mic’s, and don’t forget a solo BYOB smooth jazz/blues this Friday from 6-9 at The C&C Cafe in Perkasie. They have a nice outdoor patio, perfect for sippin’ your gin ‘n juice if it’s nice weather.
Then there’s Easter Sunday with our monthly sacred pilgrimage to Otto’s Shrunken Head in NYC. Roman & The Heard isn’t exactly praise and worship, but I am on my knees doing just that pretty regularly, of course for all the wrong reasons. I’m pleased to say that Chicago Joe Mac has been pretty regular on these trips, adding even more great guitar to show. Say your prayers and jump in the van!
Praise and worship!
Finally I want to call your attention to next month at The Sellersville Theater. I’m doing two opening acts, first with the Kind Of Blue Trio opening for Ray Manzerek of The Doors.See Ray Manzerek Links.That’s Saturday May 21. Advance tickets are a good idea.
The following week I’m bringing the official Roman & The Heard trio in from NYC to open up for NY friend Popa Chubby, a screaming wailing guitarist. Again, buying your tickets now gets you a guaranteed better seat. Look: Popa Chubby Links
So there ya have it: The Perk-U-Laters, Roman & The Heard, Kind Of Blue, all coming to a town near you!
See you around!
Joe Mac and Suavek join Roman & The Heard at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn, NY earlier in the month.
Hidden is Jean Carno on drums.
Sunday April 3
Highlights began on the very first day, with The Heard playing at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn. A great show, and what do you expect, there was a great team of musicians joining me: Chicago session guitarist Joe Mac, Suavek Zaniensienko on bass, Jean Carno on drums. The placed filled up as we played and they asked for an encore!
The month continues it’s regular course of jams and some weekend performances, including Kind Of Blue at The Perk in Perkasie, PA, and The Heard again in NYC, at Otto’s Shrunken Head.
But the big news of the month is on the last day, when a new band I’m in debuts at The Perk. It was formed around a great singer who had become a regular and popular favorite at the Wednesday Night Jams there. When I proposed the line-up to the manager they booked us right away, without even a name! So I’ll give that some thought and get back to you with details and a band photo or something.
Thanks for coming to support my efforts and live music everyone…and getting entertainment along with it! Have a great month as the weather changes.
Using the Tip Bucket for slide in Hank’s