Break out your dusty ball glove, sharpen those cleats and stroll out onto the field for the 4th Annual Asbury Rockstars Charity Softball tournament. I know August has been hotter than Mercury, but nevertheless, this is the place to be on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010. A place where you can join in with the roar of the crowd and feel the rapture of victory (or defeat) without having to draw embarrassing attention to your weak game hand. It’s all for fun and it’s the place where Asbury’s music makers congregate to swing a few bats for charity.
Q: Why was the piano tuner hired to play on the softball team? A: Because she had perfect pitch.
For the past three years the organization has raised funds for many groups while providing a day of social fun for all. The continuing event is unique in that you must be a musician or industry insider (god only knows what that is anymore) to be on a playing team. But that’s where the exclusivity ends, as each player has to cough up his or her own entry fee to each team captain (all going to charity as well) if they want to hear the applause of their biggest fans.
Speaking of that, Q: How do athletes stay cool during a game? A: They stand near the fans…
This year’s tournament will be held at the capacious Bert Willis Field in Neptune, NJ beginning at 10 a.m. and ending somewhere around 6 p.m. Eight different teams play individual games throughout the day eliminating teams, until like in Highlander, only remains. This year’s colorful team names have the attitude and aggression of the players who name them. Hot-rodded monikers such as Rick Barry and his The Bar-Barryans or the Miller and Tomek conglomerate of Diamond Dogs and Cole Lipman and her AC Slater’s. My one great hope is that everyone has matching outfits like on Batman, where The Penguin or Mr. Freeze somehow convinced all of their evil henchmen to dress the same. Something Nascar-ish would be nice too.
Q: What does softball have in common with pancakes? A: They both rely on the batter.
The Asbury Rockstars Charity Softball tournament organization raises money for eight different team picked charities. They have done this successfully every year since Rick Barry came up with this event idea back in 2007. I should also mention that interest in this event has grown each year to the point of the last couple of years featuring eight teams (they raised over $10,000 last year) though it started quietly with four teams and charities. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast or a hardcore music groupie, this is your chance to come and take a look at the altruistic musicians that continue New Jersey’s musical heritage and who toss a mean curveball all in the name of giving.
There is no admission charge for this event. Money is raised in a variety of ways, including food and drink, raffles and T-shirt sales. The coolest interest for me is that this year’s prize includes a Gibson Les Paul, which will be raffled off on game day. Raffle tickets for the Gibson Les Paul can be purchased ahead of schedule at Russo Music located at 639 Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park.
Okay, I’ll leave you with one more gem. Q: What was the spider doing out on a softball field? A: Catching flies….
Bert Willis Field is located right off New Jersey Garden State Parkway exit 100 A or B (33 east). For further directions or information please visit the website at AsburyRockStarsCharity.org
@ McCloones Supper Club, Asbury Park
Kinderhook (previously Kinderhook Creek) was a Shoreworld mainstay before the word retro ever existed. They were known for their country rock and three-part harmonies from as far back as back 1973 and were tearing up Jersey club stages back when girls were wearing belly shirts and bell-bottoms and guys were driving muscle cars…for the very first time.
At their highpoint, Kinderhook was the top drawing musical group in the state. As Kinderhook’s legend progressed, the band began seeing high profile offers and opened for national recording acts such as The Flying Burrito Brothers, Conway Twitty, Pure Prairie League, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Outlaws, Richie Havens, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Commander Cody, Poco and a host of others. By 1982, Kinderhook remained the only unrecorded act to play the Central Park Schaefer Music Festival (1975), opening for Poco in front of 25,000 people.
As a kid, I remember seeing their show ads in this very magazine featuring their long list of dates where they would be appearing. Clubs such as Baby O’s in Seaside, the Stone Pony in Asbury, Creations in West Orange, Final Exam in Randolph and other venues, like the old Chatterbox and the Headliner. I also remember their logo, a little green frog in the crunched up cowboy hat. And while some of us musicians used to sneer at that annoying little frog, we sure didn’t sneer at the band on stage. They were monster players that packed every bar they appeared at and for us, this was pretty much as close to Pure Prairie League, Charlie Daniels or The Outlaws as we were ever going to get.
Then in the early ‘80s, due in part to poor management and the change in drinking age from 18 to 21, the band evaporated into obscurity. Or so we thought. The group did a test show in the late ‘90s for a benefit and found people from across the country were showing up. The band discovered that for whatever the reason, they still maintained a large and loyal crowd even after all the absentee years.
Viewing these recent attendance numbers around the area tells me that this is a group that has left a lasting impression on the early music scene in general. And, while Kinderhook is primarily a cover band, they also carry a well-written arsenal of original material and perform great flat-pickin’ songs such as “Cowboy Union,” which features some of the best steel and acoustic jangle around. I still don’t quite understand why this band didn’t go on to sign with the majors but life hands out straws of differing length and it appears that at this time perhaps Kinderhook is eyeing a second lease on career life.
Their recent show at McCloones in Asbury Park showed a group of guys that, while a bit grayer, still packed the punch and vitality of kids half their age. Going thru the first set of country oriented ditties, Kinderhook blazed on great old standards such as the Carl Montgomery and Earl Green song “Six days on the Road,” and Hank Williams Sr’s “Hey Good Lookin’” as well as Williams 1948 gospel number, “I Saw the Light” and others. All in all it was a rousing Nashville vibed set of vocal harmonies, hot fiddle, cold-rolled pedal steel, twangy Telecasters and drums and bass all driving the sold out crowd wild.
This is a band that belongs in a rock and roll club, and while McCloones excels at a smaller acoustic/trio setting, they aren’t set up for a bigger band that draws this many people. The bar is tucked in the back and the floor table seating fans around the entire circular front section, prohibiting people back at the bar from really getting close to the action. I look forward to seeing Kinderhook back in a true clubroom and up on the big stage like down the street at the Stone Pony.
Kinderhook includes original band members Yuri Turchyn (fiddle/guitar/vocals), Andy Fediw (bass guitar/vocals), Jerry Kopychuk (guitar/banjo/vocals), Craig Barry, (drums/vocals), John Greenaway (guitar/harp), John Korba (keyboards/vocals).
If you have the chance, check them out live, grab a T shirt or a CD and head on over to say hello to that damned frog at Kinderhook’s web site or on Facebook: Kinderhook 2010.