There’s a small tavern in the town of Victor, NY, a suburb of Rochester, called the Black Diamond. Not much of a place, really, but it’s clean and friendly and the food is quite good. A few years ago, they started doing something really cool there; on Thursday nights, they open the stage area up to anyone who would like to play music. All kinds of music. Mostly Rock & Roll, but not always. Spend an hour or two there and you will see that the musical influences vary greatly. It has become a very popular attraction, these Thursday night open-mic events. They have a house drummer who will gladly play with anyone who wants to give it a try. When the event gets rolling, it’s not uncommon to see musicians of all ages and experience levels, packed into the performance area and often out into the hallway, standing around with instruments in hand, waiting for a chance to hit the stage and have a go at it.
It was at the Black Diamond that Nick LeDuc met Tim Green. Both are guitar players. Nick, also an aspiring singer with an unusual sound and very good pitch, would look forward to hitting the stage with Tim and the two discovered that they had very similar tastes in music and that their guitars complimented each other very well. Tim, a decade older than Nick, has played guitar from a very early age, but after college he took a long break from the music scene. It’s only recently that he has gotten back into playing guitar. He’s been taking lessons and working with some very accomplished mentors. Rochester, NY doesn’t have too much going for it in the 21st century, but it does have good taste in music. The Eastman School, Hochstein and the RPO are all highly respected in the classical music world and there are lots of other musical styles and resources available to this area. Tim Green has been glad for the opportunity to play with and learn from some great musicians.
Nick and Tim have very different personalities. Nick is young, passionate, committed to success –some would say “driven”. He works hard, plays hard, parties very hard, but always has his eye on his future. His greatest desire has been to develop a band, a core group of musicians and to make it a success. Tim is also passionate about his music, but in other aspects of his life, he’s much more relaxed. He is past the hard partying stage and doesn’t need to stay out until the sun comes up to convince himself he had a good night. But he loves to play guitar, and he loves to share his music with people who want to listen. And there are a lot of people who want to listen. It was at the Black Diamond that these two dissimilar personalities became fast friends. It was here that they formed what would soon become a local musical phenomenon. They call their band LAST NOTE.
They needed a rhythm section and in the traditional four-man rock band style, that meant a drummer and a bass player. Over the next year, they worked with a couple different bass players and one local drummer. Nick was gifted, not only with a great singing voice and the ability to play guitar, but also as a songwriter. Unlike many startup bands, Nick and Tim didn’t want to waste a bunch of time playing cover tunes and competing with other local bands to see which one could sound most like the original. Nick wanted to play his own music and Tim was the perfect compliment in this. Tim could always find a way to weave his creative sound into one of Nick’s songs and enhance it. And when they do pick a song to cover, they find a way to make it uniquely their own, without offending the spirit of the original composition.
After about a year of playing out at local venues, the guys decided to spend some time in a recording studio and see how their sound would translate onto CD. They spent hours and hours laying tracks, playing late into the night. Their fans waited anxiously to hear the first release. They called and emailed and left messages on Facebook and MySpace, asking when were the first tracks going to be available. And then the news came out; toward the end of their recording sessions, the drummer and bass player decided to leave the band. The bass player was involved with other bands, and even though he enjoyed being a part of LAST NOTE, the demands on his time were excessive and he had to prioritize and this wasn’t going to work. The drummer’s wife had recently given birth and he needed to devote more time to his business and his family. And because these fellows were no longer a part of the band, it wasn’t appropriate to release the recordings.
Now the search was on for a new rhythm section. Calls were made, discussions had, notices were posted and in the end, Nick and Tim were introduced to drummer Greg Andrews through some musicians with whom they had been doing some jamming. Meanwhile, a friend of Nick’s introduced him to a bass player one night in a bar. Kevin “Chops” Murray was available and had the experience to fill the bill. Shortly after that, the guys got together in Greg’s basement and started to play. From the first get-together, there was no question that Greg and Chops had the musical skills. It was only a question of whether they could incorporate their individual styles into these original songs that Nick and Tim had been performing for more than a year already. As it turned out, they didn’t have much time for the band to gel because, by the time Chops was on board, they were only a couple of weeks away from a booking at the Water Street Music Hall. For those of you who don’t know the Water Street, it’s the preeminent location in Rochester for aspiring musicians. It’s also the preferred venue for national acts, looking for a smaller hall to perform in when they’re in town. The walls are covered with autographed posters and instruments from huge performers like Ted Nugent, Dave Matthews, Bela Fleck and Victor Wooten, the Goo Goo Dolls, and on and on. Those hardwood stage floors have been tread upon by so many incredible musicians that just standing on them can be intimidating.
LAST NOTE pulled it off. They put on one hell of a show and the fans loved it. Chops and Greg were welcomed into the group as if they’d always been there. The music wasn’t perfect or even particularly polished, but it sounded good and the fans had a great time. Since then, they’ve played a bunch of public gigs and private parties and they just keep getting better. Now summer has passed on by and the band’s gig schedule has lightened up a little and it’s time for them to get to work on recording some stuff. Maybe they can add a few new songs into their playlist. Whatever the guys decide, there’s no doubt that a great group of dedicated fans will be there to support and appreciate all the time and hard work that goes into each new song and performance. Nick, Tim, Chops and Greg…..keep it up and your fans will be there cheering and partying through every encore and right down to the very LAST NOTE.