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The Tim Tew Three/Four

Elk's Lodge -
                    DeLand FL
So I started taking music lessons when I was 10. My brother was a musician and always playing gigs and going out weekends. It sounded pretty cool to me.

When I was 13, I had been primarily taking bass lessons for a couple of years and was pretty good. My bass teacher, along with the drum instructor/salesman at the music store had a band. In fact, my brother, who also worked at the store, had been their original bass player. When he moved away, they found another guy, but he wasn't working out.

"Misty" in E-flat doesn't start with an open G

One of the stories they told me was the guy was constantly flipping through the "cheat book" the band had, basically hand-written chord charts to all the songs. They would play "Misty" for example, in the key E-flat and the guy would be so busy trying to flip to that page in the book, he wouldn't be ready when the song started. So he would play an open G note on his bass with one hand while flipping with the other. While technically G is the third in an E-flat chord, it made it sound like "look at MEEE" instead of "look at me..." They finally decided they were ready for someone else, namely me.

Guess the bass player's age contest

So, a lot of the story here is told in my Instant Classic Opus "Play That Funky Music, Mooseboy". It was my first real band. I'd played with other kids, in school, and at church before, but now I was playing with real musicians- guys who were good. And, it turned out, I was pretty good too. I'm not my brother, who is a natural, but I found a sound and a style all my own and made it work. We called ourselves The Tim Tew Three, as that was the drummer's name and there were three of us. We worked almost every weekend. Elk's Club, Moose Club, Yacht Club, private parties, and weddings (my favorite because the band gets free food, bridesmaids dig musicians, and the happy couple often want to start the honeymoon and leave early-I still get paid the full amount). I was so young, at the clubs especially I was the darling of many a drunk woman. We started joking we'd have a "guess the bass player's age contest" at the start of the 3rd set.

We played standards

Our repertoire was pretty vast. We played everything from the 40's to the 80's (seeing as this was the early 80's), but mostly standards. At first, I depended on the book just as much as my predecessor, but after a few months, they just took it away and I stopped using it as a crutch. We really did almost always close each gig with "After the Lovin'", which is a pretty good song for a couple on a dance floor to engage in what we called "belly rubbing". Still, there's only so many places you can play, you play there time and time again, eventually we decided we needed to freshen up the act a bit.

Enter my big buddy

So we added a keyboard player and became The Tim Tew Four. He was pretty good, not so comfortable with the standards, but he brought a lot of his own material to the act. He definitely enhanced our country and southern rock credentials, plus he could sing. I was his "little buddy", so he was my big buddy. And so we kept going. We decided to add more current material as well, as we'd get requests for certain songs. Still, we couldn't play Michael Jackson. Thriller just wasn't going to be in our set list. So whenever someone would request something like that, we'd say "we've got something just like that" and then we'd play "Long Train Runnin'" by the Doobie Brothers. Some of the numbers we added, though...well, I question the judgement in their selection, though this also was a key influence in my musical taste. For example, below you can hear Men at Work's "Who Can It Be Now?". Give it a listen and tell me that's not the loungiest version of the song you ever heard...

If I ever meet the mother***** that wrote "Proud Mary", I'll kill 'em

Still, it's not just the audience that gets tired of hearing the same songs gig after gig. Eventually we'd get tired of them too. So to entertain ourselves, we'd start changing the lyrics to something silly or outright dirty just to see if anyone noticed. They never did.

Banter Medley

Tim, the drummer, was the guy who pretty much decided the set list. Fast, slow, mid-tempo, fast, slow, slow, break. He also did most of the banter between songs and made announcements. So lounge. My vocals in Duck Mangler and the Radioactive Nuns' "The Elk's Lodge Dungeon Reunion" is a total knock-off of him, right down to that corny "If you have a request, please write it down on $20 bill and hand it to the drummer" joke. Here's a medley of the man in action.

Banter Medley <--Click here to listen

For The Good Times

For this classic song, we'd do the "little doggie" after the line "I'll get along". My favorite, however, was replacing the end of the second verse with "There's no need to wash the bridges. 'Cause they're burning..."

For The Good Times <--Click here to listen

Who Can It Be Now?

No one ever confused us with Men at Work, but this was one of the more successful "modern" songs we played. The drummer was a big fan of adding "uh" in every so often; it was a phase...

Who Can It Be Now <--Click here to listen

Drivin' My Life Away

The absolute best substitute lyrics no one ever heard. For the second verse, where Eddie Rabbit sings "Jack me up, pop me down, shoot me off, flyin' down the highway", we sing...well, you'll just need to hear it for yourself.

Drivin' My Life Away <--Click here to listen

Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound

No no, don't play this one, pa. It always makes me cry...

Whiskey Bent <--Click here to listen

Rocky Top

Not our best version, the guest vocalist apparently did it differently than we did, but you can hear my hyperkenetic bass playing in full effect here. In the early days, the drummer would say to me "Can you hear my right foot (the bass drum)? That's what you should be playing." At first, I listened to him, after all I was just a kid, but after awhile I decided I'm my own man and have my own style. I could never wrap myself around the idea of playing "bomp bomp. bomp bomp" country the drummer started calling me "Little Chris Squire"

Rocky Top <--Click here to listen

Church of the Poison Mind

Another song we did as part of our modernization efforts. It worked okay, but man...this was all the drummer's idea. We said "fine, but you have to sing the chick's part."

Church of the Poison Mind <--Click here to listen

Long Train Runnin'

The answer to many a song request, from Michael Jackson to disco to you name it. Anything that had a fast tempo and people wanted to dance this, this was our go-to number.

Long Train Runnin <--Click here to listen

Rock Around the Clock

I had two numbers I sang with the band. My "feature" song was "The Curly Shuffle", but also sang this with the lead. Also features a bass solo.

Rock Around The Clock <--Click here to listen

By The Time I Get to Phoenix/Joy to the World

As I said, the drummer usually ran the set list of what we played next. He would always say "go right into it", even if it was the most unlikely combination of songs you could imagine. Here's one such example, featuring our "surprise" ending of Phoenix. I say "surprise" because we did every time we played the song, and we played the same places again and again...probably not much of a surprise after awhile...

Phoenix-Joy <--Click here to listen