Band members talk about their first gigs

Band members talk about their first gigs

Rock band performing



The Rolling Stones are iconic, but not the only rock icons out there. The lives and music of Elvis Presley and John Lennon will be the subject of a program at 6 p.m. Monday, July 9, at Mesa County Libraries’ Central Library, 530 Grand Ave.

“Elvis Presley and John Lennon: The Making of Icons” will be presented by Karen Kosinski, “a lifelong Beatles enthusiast who holds a master’s degree in The Beatles, Popular Music and Society from Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, England, the Beatles’ hometown.”

The program is free and open to the public.

Every band has a beginning.

Whether it plays for family members inside a home or in front of a slew of strangers at a bar, every band at some point has a first show for someone, somewhere.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones’ first show ­ — July 12, 1962, at the Marquee Club in London — several local musicians looked back on their first shows and laughed about what they could or could not remember.

Count James Williams as a local musician who remembers quite a bit.

Williams traced The Williams Brothers Band’s origins back more than 20 years to a mountainous area of Northern California, where an overnight 18th birthday party for him and a friend turned into a party of 900 people. His band, then called 922, made its debut.

“It was awesome,” Williams said. “It was out of control.”

Williams remembers the lights being so bright he couldn’t see anyone. Instead, he heard “the craziest amounts of applause.”

The excitement from that first live show propelled Williams into renting out a warehouse in Sacramento, Calif., so his band could play every weekend.

“It was kind of a catalyst for everything,” said Williams, who moved to Grand Junction in 2000 and joined the live music scene as part of The Williams Brothers Band. He still throws an annual birthday bash in September in Grand Junction.

“From that little seed of a thing (I’ve) played 22 years now,” Williams said.

While Williams’ first gig memory is pretty sharp, Flat Top Reed’s John Anglim’s memory of that first show isn’t very detailed.

It was “at least 10 years ago” with bandmate Paul Harshman at a coffee shop called Higher Grounds that was on 12th Street.

“I came down, and we did a set or two on a Friday afternoon and evening, and we decided it was pretty fun, and we’d keep doing it,” Anglim said.

And Trevor Adams’ recollection of his first show with the first band he played with is even fuzzier. “My memory sucks,” said the drummer for Dreamboat.

Fortunately, his memory of his first gig with Dreamboat and its current two other musicians is a little bit clearer.

“The feeling I remember the most is being (both) excited and scared,” he said. The excitement came from the chance to play for others. The scared part came because what if “people wouldn’t think (the songs) were as awesome as we did.”

That show with the three current members was Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011 — Adams looked it up on Facebook — at Tenacious Brothers Pub.

“I remember some technical things going wrong but nothing major,” Adams said.

Just as Dreamboat added and subtracted band members for any number of reasons, so did the Stones.

On July 12, 1962, the group was made up of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Mick Avory and Dick Taylor.

Well, “weeks after the (first show), Taylor left again and was replaced by Bill Wyman, formerly of the Cliftons. Avory also left the group — he would later join the Kinks — and the Stones hired Tony Chapman, who proved to be unsatisfactory. After a few months of persuasion, the band recruited Charlie Watts,” according to

Ronnie Wood joined in 1975.

But no matter who came and went, the Rolling Stones began in London.

And Flat Top Reed started at a coffee shop. Dreamboat, at least in its current form, began at a downtown Grand Junction bar. The Williams Brothers Band originated at a birthday party.

But that’s the past.

Anglim, Adams and Williams are excited for the future.

For Flat Top Reed, its next show is 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 6, at Cruiser’s.

Dreamboat’s next show is with Bad Weather California and Jason Anderson at 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 6, at Mesa Theater and Lounge.

The Williams Brothers Band headlines the Mesa County Fair at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 21, on the new Celebration Stage.

And the Rolling Stones? Well, the band has released “29 studio albums, 10 live albums and more songs than you can count,” according to So there’s that.


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