November-December, 2001


December 31st--The ByPass--Joplin, Missouri--For months, we had been gearing up for one of the most anticipated shows of the year.  This night, we recorded the tracks for our long awaited new live CD which should be completed by late February.  After building things, loading gear, running wires, tweaking tones, tuning instruments, and fine-tuning new songs, the show came not a moment too soon.  The crowd was fantastic as expected.  The folks at the ByPass are experts at setting the mood and providing for the heavily attentive crowd.  It is amazing to us that the Joplinites are such assiduous listeners.  Hanging on every note and uplifting the band with praise without regard to hits or misses.  Special thanks to all of our loyal fans who made the trek to Joplin for the show.  Fans came from as near by as down the street to as far away as Indianapolis, IN, Mena, AR, and Parsons, KS.  We also had a few first-time listeners joining us on this special occasion.  Brian's gal pal, Day, had her folks up from south central Arkansas with a few friends for their first taste of Oreo Blue.  We hope you enjoyed the show!  Special thanks as well to Tom Ware from Fat Rabbit Studios and his family for giving up their time to assist us in our new recording project.  Tom is a consummate professional in the recording business and can be reached at www.fatrabbit.com or fatrab@swbell.net.  We look forward to packaging the show together as a keepsake for a wonderful evening had by all.  For those of you that did not get a chance to get your autographs (or lost yours in some cases), keep logging on to oreoblue.com for tourdates in your area.  CD release parties will be announced in the coming weeks.  Happy New Year from Oreo Blue!

December 29th--George's Majestic Lounge--Fayetteville, Arkansas--The last warm-up before the New Year's show and what happens?  Brian was victimized by the Arby's Roast Chicken Club.  Sick as a dog, Brian braved the illness to make it through the first two sets before succumbing to the food poisoning and hitting the sack.  The crowd was great as usual.  Gary, Rod, and I braved the raucous crowd and set up as Northwest Arkansas best-kept secret--The Oreo Blue Power Trio!  Gary rocked them with all the classic rock favorites and some mighty fine blues jams.  At the time of this writing, it seems as if Brian has defeated the Arby's disease and has fully recovered.  On to Joplin from here...

December 28th--George's Majestic Lounge--Fayetteville, Arkansas--Brian, Gary, and I had a fun time performing with Jed Clampit and his brother Bill Clampit as the Free Beer All-stars.  Despite the demise of four PA cabinets due to a feedback gremlin, the night was enjoyable and fresh.  

December 21-22nd--Eureka Live--Eureka Springs, Arkansas--Gina and the gang are great hosts.  It is evident that they are extremely patient with us considering our last episode at EL.  If you recall, the Razorbacks were caught up in--well, we were caught up in--what has now been called "Seventh Heaven".  That 7-overtime game versus Ole Miss.  This weekend, we weren't late, but due to Christmas traffic, we ran right up to the moment.  The crowd was full of cheer as the band tried out some more new music in preparation for the new CD.  Kudos to big Mike for jumping up and singing a tasty Mustang Sally.  Since the band will not next perform until after Christmas, we would like to send out our best wishes to all of our fans, friends, and families for a Happy Christmas.  May your holidays be cheerful and white with a dash of (Oreo) Blue...

December 15th--Two Frogs Grill--Ardmore, Oklahoma--All that can be said about Two Frogs has been said in previous posts.  However, more must be said about such a deserving oasis in South Central Oklahoma.  Aubry and Angela Harris should open up a chain.  Their hospitality, service and world-class food should be shared beyond the confines of Oklahoma.  For example, Aubry forced me to partake in the Voodoo Filet Orleans.  Wow!  And have I mentioned the Apple Dumpling in a while?  Check back to previous posts on Two Frogs.  The show was wonderful and the crowd was as appreciative as ever.  The band rolled out some new virgin blues as a tune-up for the new year's show and despite a few quirks and hitches, they went off like a charm.  I was especially impressed by Brian's solo on Heaven's Door (as always), and how he just got completely unconscious on All Along the Watchtower.  It's a good thing that Two Frogs uses industrial strength glassware, or I am certain that Brian's saxophone would have pulverized the lot at some point during the night.  Rod turned our heads with some hip licks on Little Wing and we had to (as Aubry might say) 'scrape the funk off' him after Messin' with the Kid.  I broke some stuff tonight...cracked my first cymbal in 24 years of playing drums.  I got that cymbal in the 5th grade and I hated to see it go.  All for a good cause.  Shed a little blood, too!  Giving it up for the people.  That's what we do.

The Daily Ardmorite on Oreo Blue 

A Holiday Card Sent From Our Friends, Matt and Jamie (Thanks!!!)

We hope your holidays are filled with fun
and your new year filled with peace.
See You New Years!
Matt and Jamie

December 13th--Fayetteville Town Center--Thompson & Murray Christmas Party--In another fine move by local advertising moguls, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Murray put on a wonderful party for their employees and their families rewarding them for a fine year.  The event was family-oriented and themed, "Christmas in Memphis".  Kids were highlighted and treated to banana sandwiches and some clean rock and roll by Oreo Blue.  The kids boogied down to Wooly Bully, Hound Dog, and Takin' Care of Business.  The party was catered by Sassafras and the food was excellent.  I, personally, was fond of the marinated roast, the lightly battered chicken, and those little lemon pastry thingies that were quite zippy.  Gary was fond of the duck cakes and Brian really liked the banana sandwiches.  Oh....where was I....right.  This isn't the food chat list, this is Oreo Blue!  Speaking of chats, the band had a memorable visit back stage while the party was viewing a video.  Gary should really write a book....unfortunately, the text might look sort of like this:  "There was this time when I ***!!! and I ******** and *******!!! then there was this time when **********!!!"  Just kidding, Gary. 

December 11th--Ft. Smith--Faucette Christmas Party--Last year, Oreo Blue donated its services to a benefit auction sponsored by the Ft. Smith Junior League.  The winning bidder was kind enough to book the band for a Christmas party for friends and co-workers.  He was also kind enough to book the band on a Thursday evening to avoid conflict with our regular schedule.  A great time was had by all as we rocked their night away.

December 8th--Pinnacle Country Club--Cargill Christmas Party--Cargill was kind enough to invite Oreo Blue back for a second year to perform at their Christmas party.  Cargill does it right treating their employees to a fine meal and fine entertainment at one of the region's most prestigious clubs.  In a tumultuous year, many companies are forgoing parties in favor of either quiet remembrance, or (in most cases) selfish withholding.  Cargill deserves praise for rewarding their folks with a well-deserved function.

Photo and art by John Blair of Parsons, Kansas

November 30th--Pebble's Lounge--Ft. Smith, Arkansas--Brian and Rod used to frequent this place back in their young adult days and claim it was a happening place to catch a band.  The club has been out of popular commission over the last few years, but has now re-opened under new management.  The room was nice and the band felt great from the stage.  It looks like we might have found a new home in Ft. Smith after a long layoff.  Thanks to some of our loyal fans who came up from Hot Springs and beyond for the show.  You guys helped us break in the place.

November 24th--The ByPass--Joplin, MO--Honestly, we felt pretty spent after last night's show.  Usually we can count on a good crowd at the ByPass at any time during the year.  However, so soon after the Thanksgiving holiday, we expected an average crowd at best.  Feeling down and tired, an average crowd may not get us through the night.  As mentioned in previous posts, the crowd really makes us go.  Our best shows are always and invariably the result of a great crowd.  A great crowd energizes the band and brings out our top individual performances resulting in an awesome ensemble.  We were obviously surprised.  What the crowd lacked in quantity, it made up for in quality.  Looking forward to our New Year's show here, some of us were thinking that, 'maybe we should have recorded tonight as well'.  The band was on fire from the get-go.  With Brian's masterful sound engineering, everything was hitting on all cylinders.  Highlights were many, but included Brian's overall performances on Steamroller Blues, Messin' With the Kid and solos on Brick House and Rock Me Baby.  In addition, Gary unveiled his new, as of yet unnamed, Rhumba that went over marvelously.  It is sort of an All Your Lovin' style song that has a nice touch to it.  Look for it on the new CD.  Another song pulled out of the cedar chest was the Buddy Miles tune, Them Changes, which seemed to lay so far in the pocket that it was covered in lint by song's end  

Photo and art by John Blair of Parsons, Kansas

November 23rd--The Kitchen Pass--Parsons, Kansas--Currently heralded as an Oreo Blue favorite venue, the KP once again proved its mettle by delivering a raucous crowd performance.  The band was in top form.  Gary once again wowed the Kansans with rousing renditions of Hey Joe, Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine, and the oft requested Chickens For Jesus.  Gary also proved once again that guitar strings are expendable.  I, like many, wonder if the unleashing of the strings is some primitive effort to exorcise inner musical demons, or if it is the barbaric frustrations of a musical genius dissatisfied with his tuning...the world may never know.

Post-show highlights included a joke session led by Gary and the ritual visit to the corner store on the way to the hotel.  Items to enjoy may include:  IBC Rootbeer (Gary, Stephen), Microwave Burritos (Stephen), Spicy Tortilla Tostitos (Stephen), Peanut Butter Crackers (Brian, Rod), some kind of Pizza Pocket thing (Gary), Diet Mountain Dew (Rod--one for now, one for breakfast), Cookies (Stephen), etc.    

Photo and art by John Blair of Parsons, Kansas

Special insert from: Brian Crowne--November 16&17--Maxine's Taproom --Fayetteville, Arkansas--Maxine's may not be the biggest or most glamorous room that we perform in, but it has certainly became one of our favorites.  It's tiny by live music venue standards and the group is literally on top of the fans, but the energy generated is amazing.  Perhaps because it is so intimate, but wait, intimate probably isn't the right word to use describing Maxine's Taproom.  After all it is a funky shotgun styled beer joint that is where all the cigarette smoke lives.  It does feel comfortable to all that pass through its doors.  It doesn’t matter if it is your first time or your first time to come was 50 years ago, it still looks the same.  It truly is a time warp, from the old bowling game to the vintage jukebox and yes to Maxine herself.  She has been the matriarch watching over her kids for 52 years, and she remembers all of them.  You are sure to be greeted with her gravely old voice saying, "hey baby, how have you been".  I guess what I'm saying is the place is just homey, and all feel comfortable there. 

This weekend is even more special as the Razorbacks are playing SEC rival Mississippi State Bulldogs in football.  They treat us to another victory and for some of us in the band, I won't name names (Brian & Stephen), this gives us a little more excitement than usual.  The energy becomes infectious and from the UofA students to their parents who may be experiencing Oreo Blue for the first time an amazing time is had by all.  We love to see our old friends, but we love making new fans.  The first time a head spins around or someone points a finger for their friend to see Gary doing something crazy and amazing it is very gratifying.  I know that we have helped someone enjoy their evening and by doing this and getting their attention we have made a new fan.  Our fans are the best, and we appreciate them very much.  We also appreciate Maxine for allowing us to perform in her little legendary beer joint, Maxine's Taproom.  Do yourself a favor, go by and say hello to Maxine, and tell her the boys in Oreo Blue sent you.

November 15th--On Line--Congratulations to Jeanette Sinclair of In-House Creative for winning the Ozark Music Award for Best Cover Art.  The depiction of her idea of seltzer tablets dropped in bubbly water with Oreo Blue logos on a crisp, blue background was a highlight of the Spring 2000 release, Prescription For The Blues.  

November 10th--Phi Delta Theta House--University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas--Being invited back to the Phi Delta Theta house was an honor.  The Viking party was...well... interesting, but the Casino party was just as fun.  The day started off wonderful with Homecoming activities on campus and our beloved Hogs winning again.  I, personally, had the opportunity to perform in the Razorback Alumni Marching Band at the football game.  I was featured on the world's largest big-screen in both an interview and performing on the field.  Oreo Blue got a big plug out of the deal and I got sunburned and sore hands from swinging those tree trunk sized sticks.  It was a hootin' hollerin' time all the way to the end of the Phi Delta Theta party.  Kudos to UA Drumline member, Brad Foster, for braving the stage and sitting in with OB.  We'll bring you up next time before the punch starts flowing...Our friends from Texarkana were there as well and requested their favorite, All Along the Watchtower, whereby Gary probably ripped them a few new orifices in the process.

November 3rd--Eureka Live--Eureka Springs, Arkansas--This was another room that Oreo Blue had not played.  It was roomy and nearly filled to capacity by show time.  Our favorite college football team, the Arkansas Razorbacks (Go Hogs!), were locking horns with their hated rivals, the Ole Miss Rebels.  The game was an emotional roller coaster and the best many of us had seen.  Seven overtimes and the Hogs win 58-56.  Epic.  Well, the game pushed back our start time a bit to placate the Hog fans (us).  Once things kicked in, we once again slew a bevy of Oreo Blue virgins.  Hitting them from all sides this time, Rock, Blues, Country, Funk, Swing, and OB originals, the Eureka Springs transients and locals alike stood no chance against the aforementioned infectious grooves.     

November 2nd--Lisa's Clubhouse--Rogers, Arkansas--This was our first show here at Lisa's.  The folks are real nice at Lisa's and the band was in rare form for a smallish crowd.  There were a few familiar faces in the crowd to help stir up the intensity, but when we got right down to it...we came, we saw, we conquered.  Clearly, there were a few locals that had not been exposed to Oreo Blue.  By the time we kicked into the B.B. King classic, Rock Me Baby, the folks were hooked.  I must admit that we were a bit hooked as well on the grooves this night.  Another town.  A few dozen more Oreo Blue converts.  Call it a grass-roots blues revolution...

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