MARQUETTE - By August, Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents will have been around the country.
The four-piece rock-rockabilly-pop band's tour for the summer of 2010 takes them from lower Michigan to North Dakota to Oregon to California, with a stop in Las Vegas on the way back to some more stops in the Midwest.
"All I can say is I hope that the van that we have will make it across the country... and back," said Nick "Flip Murray" Phlegar, the band's bass player.
Dan Daniels and the
Southern Gents perform at The Wild Rover in Marquette recently. (Journal photo by Danielle Lehto)
But before Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents hits the road, the band's music will be put into the listening public's hands with the June 18 release of the CD, "Get On the Ball with Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents."
A CD release party is set for 7 p.m. that date at Peter White Public Library in Marquette.
"'Get on the Ball with Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents' equals 12 original compositions recorded throughout the spring," said Daniels, actually Dan Pascoe, a Marquette native who is a guitarist, keyboardist and tambourinist. "Recording was easy, mixing was harder. Selling it should be a walk in the park, I hope."
CD Release Party -
The party celebrating the release of "Get on the Ball With Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents" is set for 7 p.m. June 18 at Peter White Public Library in Marquette. Also playing will be special guests Shipwreck Party, the Goldmine Girls, Pink O'herod, and the Amistad.
Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents:
Dan Pascoe, guitar and vocals
Matt Bullock, guitar and vocals
Nick "Flip Murray" Phelgar, bass
Alex Babcock, drums
Pascoe and his good friend Matthew Bullock are the founding members of the band.
"I've been friends (with Dan) since primary school," Bullock said. "I'd been a big fan of his previous band, the Rangers, and in the winter of 2008 we sat down and worked on five or six songs. That spring, we put together a four-piece band and started playing gigs.
"There have been several lineup changes since we started playing and touring in 2008. At this point, I couldn't see playing in this band, or wanting to play in this band, with any other musicians," Bullock said.
Another Marquette native, Alex Babcock - Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents' drummer - was recruited by Bullock in 2009.
"I started percussion at Graveraet Middle School, eventually picking up the traps, taking lessons at Superior Music, now Jim's Music, with Dan Stevens," Babcock said. "I also took lessons in jazz drums and percussion with Carrie Biolo."
Babcock now plays trap kit, go-go bells, bongos, congas, djembe, tambourine, claves and timbale. Prior to Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents, Babcock played in Pumpkin Meat, Wonky, Harry South and the Northern Lights, Dan Daniels and the Celebrity Sons and Distant Early Warning, a Rush tribute band.
Phelgar is the only non-Marquette native, hailing from Charlotte, which is near Lansing. He was attending Ferris State University in Big Rapids to learn welding.
"Even though everybody thought I was in the music program," Phelgar said. "It was at Ferris that I met guitarist Matt Bullock. Matt and I played with friends in a number of other bands such as Draco and Bearded Dragon, which was much less structured than the Gents and more of a loud instrumental post-rock jam band.
"When Bullock moved back to Marquette to play, they had no bass player for the Gents," Phelgar said. "When he asked me to join the band, I don't think he thought that I would actually say yes, seeing that I live eight hours away, but I wanted to play with musicians that actually wanted to get out of the basement and play shows."
Bullock, who graduated from Ferris with a bachelor's in music industry management, is currently pursing his master's in business administration from Ferris. He has been involved with music since his childhood.
"My grandparents and parents really supported by musicial interests at a young age, enrolling me in piano and guitar lessons," Bullock said. "I performed in orchestra and choir in middle school and high school, along with playing in rock bands. I play guiar, bass and drums and sing."
Pascoe is a self-taught guitar player who has musically talented sisters, Jessica and Melissa.
"My sisters and I are musical, but we sure did NOT inherit it from our parents," Pascoe said. "I taught myself to play around the age of 13 because I wanted to. I can't explain why."
The band went out on a tour of the Midwest in 2009 and is enjoying its time together.
"Playing shows is definitely the greatest part of being in Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents," Bullock said. "We've been incredibly fortunate to have opportunities to play locally, as well as to venture out around the country.
"There's nothing like working really hard to book shows, practicing the songs, and then playing a show where people come out to dance and have a good time."
Pascoe added: "(The best part is) getting to do what I love to do."
For Babcock, "The best part of being a Southern Gent is getting free drinks at the bar, and receiving cash at the end of the night. Also, sleeping on couches I'll never see again and turning decent, orderly establishments into riotous masses."
What about the future for Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents?
"More money, higher quality music and less hard work," Pascoe said.
Added Bullock: "Like all bands, we are always wanting to play more shows, and to reach new people. We are always working at writing new songs that people will enjoy hearing and dancing to. We don't want to be stuck in a rut, where in three months poeple are sick of seeing Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents playing the same old songs exactly as they did two weeks ago."
The new CD is something the band took its time putting together, Bullock said.
"We didn't want to put out a hastily recorded demo, so we took our time, and feel that we have a very accurate representation of what it's like to be in room listening to Dan Daniels and the Southern Gents playing music."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.