They Like That Old Time Rock And Roll

By John Swartz

Everybody’s got a song. Not one popular today, but a song from a time when you hear it the mind leaves the moment and rewinds to an event, or memory of a person.

It could have been Uncle Buck’s favourite tune, or it was on the only cassette tape for a car trip with close friends, or similarly it got played – a lot – at a bush or beach party, or it could be it was the moment you saw him or her. The chance is, with 75 million albums sold and the likelihood you’ll hear Against the Wind on some radio station this week, it’s probable a Bob Seger tune figures somewhere into a memory or two you have.

“As we all grew up listening to FM radio (CHUM/Q107), his music and other music became the soundtracks of people’s lives,” said Jeffrey Goldstein, founder, band leader and drummer for Against the Wind: The Ultimate Bob Seger Experience. He’s bringing his show to the Opera House April 29.

“I’ve never been to the Opera House myself, but I’ve heard so much about it over the years from friends and people who have played there,” he said.

The band, and show isn’t new.

“I started to work on putting this together back in 2012,” he said. A lifelong musician, Goldstein started putting together a show based on one band’s output with Supertramp’s music. It didn’t last. “I started to think about what I wanted to do and I thought Seger would be fantastic artist to do a tribute show to, or to be able perform his music. I was a big fan. I saw him in the early days and I was just blown away. He put on a three hour show and it would be absolutely unbelievable, non-stop, an incredible band and his voice. Of course his music, those songs are great songs.”

COVID derailed the project which had been gathering steam playing in the U.S. and Canada. The forced hiatus gave Goldstein the opportunity to retool the band and plan to expand the show beyond just the music.

“As we progressed through the years we were able to get more professional, more experienced musicians to the point where we are today. The band is a great group of people, all extremely high calibre musicians,’ he said.

“We’re bringing in extra lighting for this show. I’ve got a gentleman we work with who is going to be our production designer, he also did the lighting in our videos. We’ve got our own sound man.”

“Some of these (other) shows, it’s a production and they use different musicians (each time out). This is a band.”

John Panchyshyn

The 10 –piece band is populated with working musicians, sidemen who have played with some high profile acts. For example, Steve Skingley co-produced, and played bass on two Rik Emmett albums, sax player John Panchyshyn is in Lighthouse and keyboardist and music director Richard Roxborough has played in Europe, Africa, Central America, at the North Pole and in the Sahara Desert.

“I’ve been in the music business many years and I know a lot of players. I guess I have a good reputation, when I call them up people said, “Sure, I’ll come out. I’ll check it out. I’ll see what it’s like, and everybody stayed,” Goldstein said.

Heck, one of the keyboard players is Bill Evans. Not that Bill Evans, but Goldstein still thinks he’s got a good Evans.

“Although Bill’s a phenomenal jazz pianist, our Bill, he’s also done a ton of work with major artists.”

Goldstein got the urge to play when most drummers do, very young, and in the part of the house most parents start to realize they have a musician on their hands.

“My mother was from New York, when I was a kid I was banging around on pots and pans and she’d say, “Oh we’ve got another Gene Krupa.” My dad’s younger sister was a bit of a hippy and she got me an album and my parents bought me a record player, a compilation album of The Shays and David Clayton Thomas and the Paupers. On the cover was this photo (taken) from behind the drums looking out at the lights and that’s what did it. I said, “I want to do this.” I used to stare at that album cover as I listened to this music.” Those drums were Skip Prokop’s.

The band’s promo shots show Goldstein playing a unique set of drums.

Jeffrey Goldstein

“I’ve got 4 or 5 Gretsch kits and I’ve got this Craviotto kit. I was just in Steve’s Music years ago and I tried them out and I bought them. I’m not big on boutique type drums, but I always felt Craviotto were something a lot different. I just love the sound of the kit. They sound great live and they’ve always recorded well.”

Aside from how the drums look; what makes them different is they are made from a single (thick) ply of wood which is bent into the round shape through a steam process. Most other drums are made of several think plies of wood, also steamed in most cases, and glued together. Properly tuned they do have a different sound.

Goldstein takes charge of the business end of things and the overall production, but not musical decisions.

“The music stuff, that’s Rich’s baby and he’s an excellent music director and I’m sure that will come through in the live show. I’ve never been happier,” he said. “There’s a real fun factor here too.. Look, I’m 63, I’m no superstar. I love to play music. It has to be fun. If you are not having fun your audience isn’t having fun.”

It’s also about doing the original music justice.

“Our concept of what we like to do is present to the fans a very high calibre show and pay honour to Bob Seeger’s music. That’s our mission, how I want to be able to completely present the show,’ said Goldstein.

“We’re not trying to be like a clone band. We don’t call ourselves a tribute band. What I’m developing with this is a show. We’re going to be adding more elements to the show as time moves on, more production and different things. It’s about people, sort of transporting fans back in time. where were you when you first heard this? How did it affect your life? How did it play a role in your life? Did you fall in love? Did you hear about a close friend or family member passing and this song came on and it reminds you of that (person)? We’ve all gone through different things in our lives where the music does trigger different memories and times in our lives. Some of them were fantastic and some of them were hard times,”

The band only had 4 shows in 2022. This year they played Ottawa in February and have several more booked.

“This year we’ve got 17 shows on the books. We’ll hopefully end up around 20/21 shows, which is a good year for us. We also look at the states, the market down there. We’re managed by the same people who manage ‘Ones’ (Beatles tribute), we’re going down with the same promoter next year; he‘s lining up 6 shows; lots of Seeger fans down in Florida.”

Ty Wilson

Of course a lot rides on who is singing. You can sample Ty Wilson’s singing on the band’s Youtube page.

“Our singer is a great singer, a young guy. Does he sound like exactly like Bob Seeger? No, he’s not trying to. Does he sing the songs the way Bob does? Yes he does. He’s got an incredible voice, he’s got the power, he’s got the range,” Goldstein said.

There are only a few tickets left and you can get them online. If Goldstein’s enthusiasm for what he and the band are doing, you’ll have a good time.

“You’ve got to enjoy it. We’re not getting any younger and to be able to go out and play music is a nothing but a blessing. I’m able to go out and play in a great venue such as the Opera House, and to go in there with an incredible group of people and have a great time playing music that I love. That’s a great feeling.”

(Images Supplied) Main: Against the Wind: The Ultimate Bob Seger Experience


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