Thursday, March 25, 2004
When guitarist Tom Ayres launched into a rocked-up version of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” during Moving Parts’ first live show, drummer David Tucker mouthed the word “what?” while playing along. It turns out that the song was even a surprise for Dale Ockerman, the keyboardist and the band’s leader.
“I had no idea,” he says. “I hate Madonna. But that was fun.”
Actually, Ockerman believes the whole night was full of surprises due to the fact that Moving Parts has never played a show or even rehearsed together before last Thursday’s gig at Sly McFly’s. While most bands get to polish their sound during band practices in a drafty garage or a moldy basement, Moving Parts was having its first official band practice in front of a Thursday night Cannery Row crowd.
Luckily, the band is full of veteran musicians. Ockerman got his start playing with Quiksilver Messenger Service at the Fillmore West in 1971. In the mid ‘70s, Ockerman was a full-time member of the legendary Santa Cruz hard-rock band Snail. Then, between 1988 and 1996, Ockerman played keyboards for The Doobie Brothers and co-wrote three songs for the group, including “Take Me to the Highway” and “I Can Read Your Mind,” from Cycles and “This Train I’m On” from Brotherhood.
After his stint with the Doobies, Ockerman played with Zigaboo Modeliste, the former drummer for The Meters, in his funk jam band, Zigaboo Modeliste & The Aahkesstra.
Ockerman is not the only member of Moving Parts with impressive credentials. Bassist/vocalist E.T. has played with bluesman Coco Montoya, while David Tucker is also a drummer for Santana vocalist Tony Lindsay’s own band, Spangalang.
While Richard Bryant toured as a backup singer for The Doobie Brothers from 1989 to 1991, the lead vocalist for Moving Parts is probably best known around these parts as the recording engineer for The Parlor, a recording studio on East Franklin Street in Monterey.
Though Bryant is the only member of the band currently living in Monterey County, Ayres resided here for years, playing in Push and performing lead guitar duties for Karma. Currently, Ayres, who lives in Oakland, is also playing in Persephone’s Bees with his wife, Angelina Moysov, and in Mike Beck’s Cowboy Satellites.
Apparently, Jack Burnham, Sly McFly’s owner, had been asking Ockerman to get a group together for quite some time. Despite the fact that they live all over the Bay Area, Ockerman chose his bandmates for their versatility and talent. “Those were the names that popped to the top,” he says.
After playing classic rock songs like The Beatle’s “Drive My Car,” the Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle” and Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” during the first set of their maiden-voyage gig, the band launched into a funky instrumental after the set break. During the song, local bluesman Lee Durley watched the action on the dance floor, while Larry Randolph of The Remedy danced with the growing crowd.
With Bryant back behind the microphone, the group started played a tight version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” After a long keyboard solo by Ockerman, E.T. screamed into his microphone and the band effortlessly transformed the song into Allen Toussaint’s “Sneaking Sally Through the Alley,” which was a hit song for Robert Palmer in 1974. Basically, Moving Parts sounds like a hot jam band tackling FM radio staples from the ‘70s.
Though the set list varies from slick technical rock like Steely Dan to hard-edged funk and R & B, Ockerman believes there is something that unifies every song his band performs.
“We are trying to do melodies and songs we like, but it has to groove,” he says.
Another surprise occurred while the band performed the old blues song “Kansas City.” While Bryant clapped his hands and chewed on a piece of gum, Ayres took liberties with the song’s lyrics changing “Kansas City” to “Sand City.” At the end of the song, Ayres admitted that, yes, he has lived in Sand City.
Throughout Thursday’s show, all of the musicians appeared to be thrilled by playing with other high-caliber musicians. The next day, Ockerman is still excited about his new group. He is hoping to record a six-song demo with the group in the near future.
“Last night, we realized we really gel well together,” he says.
Not bad for a first practice.
Moving Parts plays at Sly McFly’s, 700 Cannery Row, Monterey, for the next three Thursdays at 8:30pm. No cover. 372-3225.