By MIKE CHAIKEN
The prime movers of the band known as The American Vinyl All Star Band were burning up the charts and filling the arenas during the same moments of rock history.
But, oddly enough, until they were pulled together for a benefit a decade ago, these soldiers of classic rock never crossed paths.
The American Vinyl All Star Band is Jeffrey “Skunk” Baxter (formerly of the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan), Barry Goudreau (formerly of Boston), Fran Sheehan (formerly of Boston), Leroy “LRS” Romans (of The Wailers and Third World), Robert “Mousey” Thompson (of James Brown’s band), and Danny Beissel (of Fosterchild). The group is coming to Connecticut to perform at the Fox Theater at Foxwoods on Friday, March 6 at 8 p.m.
Barry, calling from Boston where the city had already notched off 100 inches of snow this year, said this conglomeration of musicians have been gigging together for the past 10 years. They were first gathered for a benefit for Vermont State Troopers, said the ex-Boston guitarist. (He said the band’s lead singer at the time was another ex-pat from Boston, the late Brad Delp.)
There have been a few changes in the line-up over the years, said Barry. But the core of himself, Skunk, and Fran has been a constant.
Although the Doobie Brothers during Skunk’s tenure and Boston, during Barry’s and Fran’s stint, were popular on the arena circuit around the same time, Barry said he and Fran had never actually met Skunk until they played together for that first gig.
What makes the last of contact even more interesting is that Barry and Skunk both attended Boston University at the same time.
What’s further interesting, said Barry, is that when he and Skunk talk about their own histories, they find they knew many of the same people when they were burning up the charts.
Yet, Barry said, he and Skunk still never managed to meet.
Some bands find their way to each other organically, when they realize the fit is just right.
But Barry explained The American Vinyl All Star Band exists because someone else had the idea of pulling the musicians together.
However, the guitarist said, “We really hit it off as far as becoming friends… We enjoy being around each… And they’re great players.”
This gig in Connecticut is special, said Barry, because the guys don’t really get a chance to play together that much. The members are scattered all across the country. Barry and Fran are in Boston. Skunk bounces back between Washington and California. Danny is in Florida. Robert is in Philadelphia.
“We’re all over the map,” said Barry. So, he said, “We really look forward to these shows.”
Fortunately, said Barry, the members are all seasoned pros so when it comes to getting prepped for a show, it doesn’t take a lot of rehearsal time to get all the pistons pumping. Usually, they get in the day before a show and sit down, rehearse, and map out the show. Then they use their soundcheck the day of the show as another opportunity to rehearse.
There have even been times when The American Vinyl All Star Band takes the stage as soon as they arrive in the venue, said Barry.
“But rehearsal doesn’t hurt,” said Barry.
The scattered locations of the band members is also why the band is not looking at recording a studio album, said Barry. They have worked on original material, said Barry. The logistics of getting everyone together in the studio at the same time are just too difficult to overcome, he said. However, he said, a live DVD of a show is always a possibility.
Given the pedigree of the band, Barry said, the band’s set list includes a few tracks from each of the acts from which the members came. So, there will be some James Brown, Bob Marley, Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, and Boston tracks.
“There’s something for everybody (in the audience),” said Barry.
The band also will perform some cover songs, some “chestnuts” the audience will enjoy.
Describing the show that fans will see at the Fox Theater, Barry said it is “straight ahead rock and roll.” And he said fans shouldn’t be surprised if they see a special guest join them on stage. For instance, in past shows, they’ve had blues guitarist Jonny Lang sit in and Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks once joined in, as well.
“It’s a high energy show,” said Barry. And Barry said fan response has always been great.
The American Vinyl All Star Band will be playing at The Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Friday, March 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 and are available at at www.foxwoods.com/americanvinyl.aspx for $30.
For more information about the band, go to americanvinylallstarband.com