Are you watching the Grammys alone tonight? Wishing you had someone there with you to enjoy the performances and award presentations help make fun of any and everything that deserves to be? Whether you're solo snarking, hanging out with a few pals, throwing your own Grammy mega-party or at the ceremony in person (we hear Taylor Swift is a big citybeat.com fan), join me tonight at this very cyber spot for some hot live blogging action. And when those witty comments pop into your head (or you become outraged with something I've written), feel free to post some comments of your own. The show airs live on CBS at 8 p.m.; pre-show red carpet festivities are probably going on now on E! And you can watch the program (and pre-show activities) through the Grammys site or through the Grammys YouTube channel.
Below is a little "pre-game show," addressing some of the more interesting story-lines this year, the saddest of which began just last evening when superstar Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room. Even though her tragic death occurred just over 24 hours before the Grammys were set to begin, Houston's shadow will loom large over the ceremony, if not overshadow it completely.
Cincinnati restaurants Adriatico’s and Eli’s BBQ got national recognition this week when they appeared on Urbanspoon’s top 100 “cheap eats” list. Urbanspoon chose these two eateries, as well as 98 more, from the million (yes, million) restaurants in their database.
Eli’s BBQ upgraded from a tent at Fountain Square and Findlay Market to a permanent home in the East End this year. They serve smoked meat and home-cooked sides. On Friday afternoons, you can bring your own drinks to accompany the pulled pork and macaroni and cheese on your plate. Eli’s offers hickory-smoked ribs, all-beef hotdogs, pulled pork sandwiches and more. For a longer rundown of Eli’s BBQ, check out CityBeat's review of the joint.
Adriatico’s brings New York style pizza to the Queen City. The pizzeria and sports bar is open after midnight each night, so you can get your late-night pizza fix after most places are closed. And since pizza isn't complete without beer, this place has plenty of it. With more than 40 beers on tap plus tons of craft bottled and canned beers, you’re able to mix and match pizzas and brews for the best combination for you. To keep up with Adriatico’s, check them out on Facebook.
Congratulations to Cincinnati’s cheap stops to fill up and leave full. Once you give these restaurants a try, check out more local spots because Cincinnati has a lot to offer when it comes to eating.
Last week, Cincinnati's stars-in-the-making Walk the Moon issued the first release under its deal with RCA Records. Though only three songs, the effort is illuminating and a hint of what's to come on the band's forthcoming, so-far-untitled RCA full-length debut (due to be released this May). The Indie Dance Pop foursome has seemingly been touring and doing business related tasks non-stop for at least the last year. Now that it has a release on RCA, that will only increase. The recording is called Anna Sun EP, named for the band's irresistible tune that (along with a stellar music video) helped initially generate much of the buzz they've received fairly consistently over the past year or so.The song "Anna Sun" is on the EP, but those who have i want! i want! (the group's stellar self-released LP containing the original track) might still want to listen. It's a new version of the catchy song, slicked up a bit for radio and seemingly (inexplicably) sped up.
Keller's IGA, located at 319 Ludlow Ave. in Clifton, shut down Thursday citing tax issues. While the doors are still locked, it has been announced that the store's liquor license is no longer suspended.
Cliftonites have been shopping at IGA's Ludlow location since 1939. Nestled near Arlin's Bar and Esquire Theater, Keller's was one of the only grocery stores in walking distance from The University of Cincinnati and has been a staple for many students and locals, especially those on foot.
While there is a CVS Pharmacy and United Dairy Farmer's nearby, the closest full-service grocery stores are the Kroger stores on West Corry Street (1.5 miles away) and off Spring Grove Avenue (1.7 miles away). The absence of Keller's not only leaves locals with fewer shopping options, but leaves a gap in array of locally-owned businesses in the Gaslight District.
While many former Keller's shoppers will turn to new stores where they can purchase deli items and fresh produce, they will most likely have to forgo supporting a neighborhood store and resort to a larger chain. A sign on Keller's door urges patrons to do what they can to save this local business.
Last month, the Ohio High School Athletic Association declared her ineligible for the current basketball season. It says her family’s move into the suburban school district was not for “bona fide” reasons; it was solely to play basketball. A lawsuit filed by Paige’s mother, Vivian Watkins, contends Withrow High School opposed the transfer and filed an inaccurate complaint that led to the ban. OHSAA has not yet filed its formal response in the case. Court officials told CityBeat its lawyer has been in touch with the judge and indicated it will fight to keep Paige from playing high school hoops.
The 18-year-old Paige is a 5-foot-7 guard who is one of Cincinnati’s top female athletes. A post-high school college scholarship might be hanging in the balance of the court case. She was all-conference for the past three seasons in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference, the league which includes most of the city’s public urban high schools. (Clark Montessori and Walnut Hills are the two city schools that are in different leagues). Three years worth of Paige’s stats are available by clicking here.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman has scheduled a Dec. 4 hearing on a request for a temporary injunction that would lift the OHSAA ban and allow Paige to play. The basketball player’s mom — who is acting as her own lawyer in the case — says legitimate family issues led to the move outside the city. The mom contends the OHSAA has refused to consider evidence showing her daughter transferred to Winton Woods because the mom’s marriage broke down and she moved into a suburban apartment with her two children.
“Mrs. Watkins looked for apartments that would fit her budget and a decent community to reside in,” the mom wrote in the lawsuit against the OHSAA. “She looked all over and finally found a place in May of 2012. Since Alexxus was moving with her it would have been hard to transport Alexxus back and forth to Withrow High School, so it was decided that Alexxus would attend Winton Woods High School which is closer to Alexxus place of residence.”
The state rule is designed to hamper schools from recruiting star athletes to pump up their sports programs. In the past, there have been allegations that players enrolled in schools where they did not actually reside, or had temporarily “moved” in order to improve a team.North College Hill was dogged for years over rumors it recruited O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker for its state championship hoops teams. Both are now in the NBA: Walker plays for the New York Knicks and Mayo is with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Tristate hipsters' shopping selection has significantly decreased with the closing of Newport's Village Discount Outlet this week.
500 Miles to Memphis at the Southgate House Revival: Say goodbye to 2013 with the band, one of the best live groups in the area. 9 p.m. $8 pre-sale; $10 day-of. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., 859-431-2201, southgatehouse.com.
Big Easy New Year’s Eve: Ring in the New Year New Orleans-style with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and conductor John Morris Russell. The evening will feature jazzy Big Band favorites with trumpeter Byron Stripling delivering Dixieland favorites and a tribute to Louis Armstrong. Following the concert, there will bea ball hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, carnival-style dancing, dinner, live music and a champagne toast at midnight. Concert: 7:30 p.m.; ball: 10 p.m. Concert: $12-$90; ball: $175-$250. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.
SOLD OUT CityBeat and Know Theatre’s Speakeasy Party: A 1920s-themed speakeasy in the basement bar of the Know Theatre with casino games, dance lessons, food, martinis and a champagne toast at midnight. Benefits the Know Theatre. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $25. Know Theatre of Cincinnati, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, RSVP to 513-300-5669 or knowtheatre.com.
Hamilton County Parks’ Family New Year’s Eve: A ton of family-friendly fun to fit in before the ball drops at 9 p.m. See live animals, balloon sculptors and magicians and play games, make crafts and more. 6-9 p.m. $4; free for 2 and younger. Woodland Mound, Seasongood Nature Center, 8250 Old Kellogg Road, Beechmont, RSVP to greatparks.org.
First Midnight: Performances by DJ ETrayn, DJ B Sarge and Peter Dressman plus hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast. Benefits Give Back Cincinnati. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. $40; $30 advance; $50 per couple advance. Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, 1000 Broadway St., Downtown, RSVP to ffecincinnati.com.
Happy Zoo Year: Ring in the New Year early at the Zoo with the Festival of Lights, a New Year’s Eve Madcap Puppet Theatre black-light show, party favors, costumed characters and appearances by Baby Zoo Year and Father Time. An early New Year countdown begins at 8:55 p.m. at the Wings of Wonder Theater with fireworks at 9 p.m. 5-9 p.m. Included with zoo admission: $15 adults; $10 seniors and children. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
International New Year’s Celebration: Celebrate New Year’s traditions from around the world each hour in the Cincinnati Museum Center’s rotunda. Learn about the different countries and their culture, music, games and crafts. Stop by “customs” for special country stamps and write a letter to troops stationed abroad. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, cincymuseum.org.
Midnight in Munich: Celebrate the New Year in Germany with a German dinner buffet, German festivities and a champagne toast at 6 p.m. — midnight Munich time. 5 p.m. $30. Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University Ave., Corryville, RSVP to mecklenburgs.net.
Mike Davis New Year’s Eve Show: Las Vegas-style entertainment by Elvis tribute act Mike Davis. Includes a buffet dinner, coffee, soft drinks, beer and wine. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $50. Mariner’s Inn, 7391 Forbes Park, Sayler Park, RSVP to 513-465-9037 or todayselvis.com.
New Year’s Eve Ball: Two DJs on two levels plus an hors d’oeuvres buffet and champagne toast. 9 p.m. $30; discounts for 10 or more. Mount Adams Pavilion, 949 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, RSVP to 513-744-9200 or mountadamspavilion.com.
New Year’s Eve Bash at Blinkers Tavern: Regular menu available plus a three-course dinner, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Music by DJ Lunaman. 8 p.m. $65. Blinkers Tavern, 318 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., RSVP to 859-360-0840.
New Year’s Eve Black and White Ball: Includes a two-room suite at the Embassy Suites Blue Ash plus an open bar, dancing, DJ, buffet dinner, midnight continental breakfast and late check-out. Check-in at 3 p.m. $349. Embassy Suites Blue Ash, 4554 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, RSVP to 513-981-3752.
New Year’s Eve Blast on Fountain Square: Food vendors, beverage stations, souvenirs, dance contest, music by DJ Tweet and Rozzi’s famous fireworks at midnight. 8 p.m.-midnight. Free; VIP packages available. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, 513-763-8036, myfountainsquare.com.
New Year’s Eve at Bobby Mackey’s Music World: The 35th annual bash at Bobby’s with line dancing, live music, bull rides and hourly ghost tours. Music by Bobby Mackey and the Big Mac Band plus karaoke. 9 p.m. $10. Bobby Mackey’s Music World, 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, Ky., RSVP to 859-431-5588 or bobbymackey.com.
New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise: An Ohio River cruise with BB Riverboats including the sparkling Cincinnati skyline, a buffet, entertainment, champagne split at midnight and a late-night snack buffet and party favors. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $102 adults; $62 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., RSVP to 859-261-8500 or bbriverboats.com.
New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance: Hot buffet, snacks, a wine fountain, hats, noisemakers, music and attendees can BYOB. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $40. Lakeridge Hall, 7210 Pippin Road, Colerain Township, RSVP to 513-521-1112.
New Year’s Eve at the Funny Bone: A special engagement with comedian Basile. 7 p.m. $45. Levee Funny Bone, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., funnybone.com.
New Year’s Eve Gala at Vito’s Cafe: A five-course prix-fixe menu with music, balloons and champagne. Seatings at 6 and 9 p.m. $60; $15 for ages 9 and younger. Vito’s Café, 654 Highland Ave., Fort Thomas, Ky., RSVP to 859-442-9444.
New Year’s Eve at Go Bananas: Comedian Cy Amundson plus party favors, snack plates and a champagne toast. 7:30 and 10 p.m. $20 early show; $40 late show. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.
New Year’s Eve at Igby’s: Dress in cocktail attire for music by DJ Ice Cold Tony. Advance-order bottle specials available: two bottles of Grey Goose and a bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut champagne for $420; one bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut for $65. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $20. Igby’s, 122 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-246-4396, igbysbar.com.
New Year’s Eve Kids’ Countdown at Newport Aquarium: Q102’s Katie Walters takes over the Shark Ray Bay Theater for a kids’ celebration with music, dancing and giveaways plus a special appearance countdown by Scuba Santa at 5 p.m. Kids also get noisemakers and party hats to ring in the New Year. 3-5:30 p.m. Free with admission: $23 adults; $15 children; free two and younger. Newport Aquarium, 1 Levee Way, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., newportaquarium.com.
New Year’s Eve at The Lackman: Drink specials including $5 Bulleit cocktails and $3 select bottle beers. Complimentary champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. Free. The Lackman, 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, lackmanbar.com.
New Year’s Eve at Mayday: Great Gatsby-style party with live ’20s-era Jazz and a three-course dinner. Champagne pairings available. Dinner followed by the Koi Pound Annual Carnivolution with DJs, LED spinners and other carnival antics. 6 p.m. dinner; 9:30 p.m. Koi Pound party. $30 champagne dinner; $45 sparkling wine dinner. Mayday, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, RSVP to maydaynorthside.com.
New Year’s Eve at Mynt Martini: A balloon drop, complimentary hors d’oeuvres from 8-9 p.m., music by Davey C. and a champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. $25 advance; VIP packages $400-$2,500. Mynt Martini, 28 Fountain Square, Downtown, RSVP to 513-621-6968.
New Year’s Eve at the Newport Syndicate: Multiple party rooms with music by the Rusty Griswolds, multiple pianists and Q102’s DJ Mark McFadden. Champagne toast at midnight with dinner buffet and open bar. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. $75 piano package; $100 premium; $125 VIP; $150 Best Seat in the House. Newport Syndicate, 18 E. Fifth St., Newport, Ky., 859-491-8000, cincyticket.com.
New Year’s Eve at Obscura: Includes a four-course prix-fixe menu. Seating begins at 6 p.m.; 8 and 10 p.m. seating includes a cocktail or wine pairing for $99; 10 p.m. reservation includes a champagne toast. $75-$99. Obscura, 645 Walnut St., Downtown, RSVP to obscuracincinnati.com.
New Year’s Eve at Perfect North Slopes: Skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing open until 1 a.m. with party favors and a DJ in the lodge. Fireworks at midnight plus a torchlight parade down the slopes by ski instructors and ski patrol. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Free (except for lift tickets). Perfect North Slopes, 19074 Perfect Lane, Lawrenceburg, Ind., perfectnorth.com.
New Year’s Eve at The Stand: VIP tables available. 8 p.m. Free. The Stand, 3195 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-871-5006, thestandcincy.com.
New Year’s Eve at the Rail House: Enjoy a New Orleans-style masquerade ball with live music by the Robin Lacy & DeZydeco plus a three-course prix-fixe dinner package. Show off your best Mardi Gras mask and win a bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut to use to toast the New Year. Reservation times for the NYE dinner package are every half hour between 7 and 9:30 p.m.; early-bird seating 4-6 p.m. $39.95 dinner. The Rail House, 40 Village Square, Glendale, RSVP to railhouse1854.com.
No Hassle New Year’s Eve with Cincinnati Sports League: Party favors, two free Budweisers, one American Honey cocktail, a champagne toast, macaroni and cheese buffet and a chance to win a cruise to the Bahamas. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $25. Keystone Bar & Grill Hyde Park, 3384 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, RSVP to 513-321-2150.
NYE 2K14 Hosted by Grandmaster Flash: Includes a complimentary buffet and party favors plus packages for skip-the-line entrance, open bar, a meet-and-greet with Grandmaster Flash and more. Opening set by DJ Mike B of Animal Crackers. 8 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $75; $50 advance. PLAY, 35 E. Seventh St., Downtown, RSVP to 513-500-6923 or playcincy.com.
Pauly Shore at Boogie Nights: Ring in 2014 with comedian Pauly Shore at Hollywood Casino’s Boogie Nights nightclub. Shore will be mixing, mingling and emceeing the evening. 9 p.m.-3 a.m. $20; $35 per couple. Hollywood Casino, 777 Hollywood Blvd., Lawrenceburg, Ind., hollywoodindiana.com.
Red Wanting Blue: Celebrate New Year’s at the 20th Century Theater with music by Red Wanting Blue and Young Heirlooms. 9 p.m. $25 advance; $30 day-of; $40 VIP with access to a pre-show acoustic set, limited edition signed poster and meet-and-greet. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-731-8000, the20thcenturytheatre.com.
Rumpke Mountain Boys’ New Year’s Eve Ball: Bluegrass band the Rumpke Mountain Boys host a New Year’s bash with New Old Cavalry and Flatland Harmony Experiment. 7 p.m. $25. The Thompson House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, Ky., 859-261-7469, thompsonhousenewport.com.
Silvestertanz: A German New Year’s Eve celebration with music by Alpen Echos, hors d’oeuvres, a sandwich buffet and dessert. Cash bar. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $22. Donauschwaben Haus, 4290 Dry Ridge Road, Colerain Township, RSVP to 513-385-2098 or cincydonau.com.
Star Lanes NYE: New Year’s Eve packages for day and night, including complimentary food, drinks and bowling. Nighttime 21 packages include three hours of bowling, shoe rental, passed hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast and four well-drink tickets. Daytime family-friendly packages available. 21 event starts at 9 p.m. $50. Star Lanes, 1 Levee Way, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., RSVP 859-652-7252, starlaneslevee.com.
Stress Free New Year’s Eve: Music by DJ Simo. VIP tables available. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Free. The Righteous Room, 641 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-381-4408, therighteousroom.com.
Track Bash New Year’s Eve Party: Turfway Park presents live horse racing, music by Doghouse and various packages including everything from buffet and party favors to a champagne toast. 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Packages $75-$150; free general admission. Turfway Park, 7500 Turfway Road, Florence, Ky., turfway.com.
Why? at The Comet: Locally based, internationally beloved Indie crew Why? will play its final show of 2013 at the intimate Comet in Northside. 10 p.m. Free. The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-8900, cometbar.com.
Wussy at the Northside Tavern: Wussy and Frontier Folk Nebraska close out 2013. 9 p.m. Free. Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsidetav.com.
Those not in the know often knock Cincinnati for a dilapidated arts scene, as if a conservative political climate results in a conservative cultural one. Those who have read CityBeat over the years hopefully know that this is a myth. Cincinnati's arts and music scene is often right on time, if not a few steps ahead. Tonight's tribute to the Ludlow Garage (and Rick Bird's feature this week on the late ’60s/early ’70s venue) is just one example that bucks any misconception that Cincinnati is, always was and will always be a backwards, messed-up city with, say it with me now, "nothing to do."
The Doobie Brothers have been entertaining audiences across the world for more than 40 years. In 2010 the band released World Gone Crazy, their first album in a decade. They continue to be an inspiration with their recordings and their rigorous tour schedule.
CityBeat caught up with guitarist and vocalist Tom Johnston by phone this week. Johnston discussed the changes the band has seen through 40 years of Rock n Roll and what guides the creative process of the band. They will be performing at Riverbend at the PNC Pavilion this Sunday alongside Chicago.
CityBeat: You guys have been touring on the road for over 30 years. Do you ever get tired of just being on the road?
Tom Johnston: You get tired of travelling. You don’t ever get tired of playing. The playing part is what makes you come out here in the first place. I think Keith put it the best, Keith Knudsen, “You get paid for all the time it takes to get to the town and then you play for nothing.”
CB: You have seen music change over the years in recordings from albums to 8-Tracks to tapes to CDs to MP3s and iPods. Do you think it sounds better or worse today, the classic analog vs. digital question?
TJ: If you have hearing like mine, it really doesn’t make any difference. There is basically the school of thought that digital recordings aren’t as warm as analog. I can’t really tell you the difference when I am listening to it. Maybe if I did a mix there would maybe be a difference in analog that I could tell the difference. They have really come a long way with digital recording. They have ways of mixing digital recordings now so it sounds more like analog. Some people still buy albums if you can get them. People are still putting albums out. In fact, this last album we put out, World Gone Crazy, there was over 14,000 actual albums put out with the CDs, and by that I mean actual vinyl records for the people that want to hear it in analog.
CB: How many guitars do you have and what is your favorite to play?
TJ: Oh boy. I’ve got a lot of guitars. Basically, everything I use on the road is PRS and that is what I play live. I use two basic guitars live that I trade off and I have a Martin acoustic that I play as well live. It is pretty much all about Paul Reed Smith right now. At home I have a Stratocaster and I have some older guitars I have had for a long time, an old Les Paul, an old 335, a couple Strats and a Telecaster. But live and when I am out on the road, it is strictly Paul Reed Smith.
CB: When you began and wrote the early hits and songs for the band like “Rockin’ Down the Highway”, what were your early inspirations?
TJ: My inspirations at the time of writing a song like that had pretty much been put in place from playing since I was 12 on the guitar and picking up singing when I was 15. Most of my early stuff came from Blues and R&B and Rock & Roll by the guy I consider the King of Rock & Roll, that was Little Richard and people like Jerry Lee Lewis. Later on, that changed, I got into Hendrix and Cream and quite a few other people I am not going to be able to think of right now. David Mason albums, old Fleetwood Mac albums, you know from the ’70s, just a lot of stuff going on then. As far as players, Albert, Freddie and B.B. King were huge in my guitar playing. I call them the Three Kings, that’s basically how a lot of people refer to them. There are a lot of singers that influenced me. James Brown was definitely one of them.
CB: Have you had a single issue or incident that has ever changed the way you approach music?
TJ: If I ever did, I am not really sure when it was. I know the first time I ever watched, one of the few times I actually got to watch, James Brown live was 1962 in Fresno and that was pretty much a life altering event, musically. I had never seen anything like that. It just blew me out of the water. I couldn’t believe someone could work that hard that consistently and put on just an incredible show. That was a big event in my life.
CB: Over the years, you have had some health ailments with your voice and other things. How do you stay healthy on the road now?
TJ: I take care of myself. Back in the old days it was the Rock & Roll lifestyle, that wasn’t really healthy. But the biggest sideline I ever had was stomach ulcers which I developed in high school but it fully bloomed when I was out on the road in 1975 when I actually had to leave the tour. That is really the only health issue I ever had, but it was a bad one.
CB: Do you consider yourself or does the band consider themselves spiritual in any way and did it ever play a factor in your music or writing?
TJ: To be honest with you, no — at least not in the secular way of any specific religion. It’s not that we are not a religious band, it is just everybody has their beliefs about the world and mankind and how we got here I suppose but it is certainly nothing we would talk about.
CB: After all these years, I assumed you guys would talk about everything.
TJ: We talk about a lot of stuff but that isn’t one that pops up. Actually it popped up this morning. I was just giving my views on Buddhism and thinking it was a little more realistic since it is based on mankind’s shallow man as opposed to strictly about a specific deity and things having to be done a certain way. But those are just opinions and I don’t really follow it that closely; I don’t think anybody in the band does, to be honest with you.
CB: Do you guys take on different leadership roles within the band?
TJ: Yeah, to a point. It is basically when we are recording. When we are playing, it kind of happens naturally. Recording it is pretty much whoever writes the tune will be leading if you will, but other people come up with ideas for the tune so it is pretty much always a group effort.
CB: Are there any current Rock bands or new Rock bands on the scene right now you would like to collaborate with or work with?
TJ: I think John Mayer is an incredible guitar player. I really enjoy his work. Another one is Bruno Mars — I think he is extremely prolific as a song writer and pretty amazing. There is a band called Mannish Boy, which is a Blues group. I really like those guys. They are new. Most people aren’t going to know them. They aren’t Pop or anything like that. They are simply a Blues band but they are really, really good. There are more, I just can’t think of them right now. There are more people I think are really good out there that would be fun to get in the studio with. It would be fun to work with Christina Aguilera or Cee Lo Green. It would be fun to work with anyone from Maroon 5. We recently worked with Luke Bryan for that TV show on CMT called Crossroads and we had a ball doing that.
CB: I love Luke Bryan and his music. He has kind of blown up recently.
TJ: He is a good guy. He is a really good guy. We had a lot of fun doing that show. Everybody was just having a lot of fun.
CB: Do you have any creative outlets or hobbies outside of playing music?
TJ: It’s outside of the band in a sense but I write music for a hobby. I love writing. I do it all the time. I have a little studio at home. A lot of the stuff I write would never be used by this band. I am starting to branch out and write with other people now too, which is something I haven’t done as much. I have always kind of just written my own songs. I have started taking the steps to go out and write with some other writers who are very prolific and very much involved with the Pop scene or the Country scene or whatever else. I just really started doing that before we came out on this tour. When we finish this tour this year, I will go back to doing that some more. It was fun. It was a new place to go. It is exciting to get in and work with someone else because they help you find a lot of stuff you don’t know you have and I think you do the same for that person. You come up with songs that you would never come up with if you were just sitting there by yourself.
CB: Do you use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to stay connected to your fans?
TJ: There is Facebook and Twitter and all that stuff on our website. I don’t do any of that stuff. For whatever reason it hasn’t called me. I don’t have any need to be in touch with people or stay in the limelight or find out what is going on. I am kind of a private guy and I would like to keep it that way rather than blast it all over the universe. I don’t belong to Facebook. I know tons of people who do it and that’s great. From a business point of view, it is a really smart way to go. From a website point of view, it is a really good tool for getting your music out there, events out there, where you are going to be, maybe even staying in touch with other musicians, things like that but mostly I do that on the phone. Twitter, I have never even used Twitter. I know people do it all the time but I have never gotten involved with it.
CB: I still use a telephone because I prefer to talk to people.
TJ: It is alive and well in the younger generation. That’s how they communicate.
CB: My last question is do you have any fond Cincinnati memories over the years?
TJ: Yeah, playing at Riverfront Stadium, playing at where we are going to be playing this Sunday which is right on the river, Riverbend. We have played there lots of times. I was just talking to a gentleman a little bit ago about playing in Blue Ash the last time and a tornado came through and shut the show down and we never got a chance to go out and finish it. We have been playing Cincinnati since we started so we are talking 40 years of playing Cincinnati.
CB: We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
TJ: Thank you very much. We are looking forward to being there and it will be a gas as always. This show with Chicago has pretty much been sold out everywhere we have gone. The crowds have been great and it is a good combination. The two bands, we get together at the end and do an encore of everybody in both bands playing at the same time and it is pretty powerful.