The History of Identity Crisis
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In January, 2004, Terry Reiter, who is a band director at Sudlow Intermediate in Davenport, decided it would be fun to put together a band for a gig in a bar. He gathered some friends and had a couple of rehearsals in his band room. My kids were students at Sudlow at the time and he stopped me in the hall one day and told me about this band and asked if I knew any keyboard players. I said "Sure - me!" "Really? You play keys?" I told him I was really a trumpet player but could hold my own at a keyboard and he asked me to come to a rehearsal. Terry told me later that Matt Noah had rehearsed on keys but he must have dropped out because I was invited. I remember that Terry said the plan was to get it together enough to play a gig in March for fun and if it ended there or went further, either was fine with him.
I came to the next rehearsal with my little Yamaha board that I bought for my kids to play with and I brought along my trumpet. We ran through a few songs and I played trumpet with Jim McCartney on a Chicago tune. (It turns out that Jim and I both played in the Johnson County Landmark band at the University of Iowa, just not at the same time).
We zero'd in on our first gig, St. Patrick's Day at Rookies. We had many more rehearsals and then crammed ourselves into a corner at Rookies, on a "stage" which was old plywood on top of beer cases. At that time I think the band consisted of Terry (drums), Alan (guitar), Dave (bass), me (keys), Tom Sokolik (guitar), Tony ('bone), Jason Mott ('bone), and Shawna Pennock (saxophones). Jason and Shawna were both students at West High School at the time. Wayne Head was the original sax player but by the time we had our gig, Shawna was in. Oh, and of course Dino Hayz on lead vocals. Dino was a big part of our early success because of his great voice and his great ability to be a front man. We also had Laura Faust (?) as our female vocalist at the time. Ryan Riewerts ran sound for us for the first year or so.
We had a really nice turnout for that St. Patty's gig - we were very nervous but we did fine although we pretty much ran out of material after about a set and a half. Fortunately, Terry, Alan, Dave and I all know LOTS of songs and we winged (wung?) it through the later part of the night. If nothing else, that first gig inspired us to keep going, have more rehearsals, and learn more songs.
We did well enough at Rookies that they asked us back and each time we played better and brought more of a crowd. We also booked ourselves into Pat McGuire's (owned by the same guys who owned Rookies) for a few gigs, including New Years Eve in 2004.
Pretty soon we started doing weddings. I don't recall our first wedding but we've done a lot of them and I think we do a really good job.
Shawna and Jason both went away to college and that's when we acquired Kathy McMillen on sax and around that time we got Drew Anderson to join as a second trumpet player. Drew and Jim both play very well. We enjoy our standard show ending when I join Drew and Jim on trumpet and the three of us wail away on the ending of "Beginnings". While I'm under the gun with no warmup, I have the advantage of having played the whole evening with my fingers, not my lips, which Jim and Drew have done.
A friend of the band, Nicole Gabriel, sat in on a couple of songs and of course she knocked everyone's socks off with her awesome voice. She soon became a regular in the band. She and Dino had been very good friends for years, which helped.
An important note - the people who are public school band and orchestra teachers pretty much all know each other and they have a great network of friends. At some point, Terry decided to bring in Kris Kendell, who teaches strings and is a fantastic violinist (plays in the Quad City Orchestra) to sit in on the Charlie Daniels Band song "The Devil Went Down To Georgia". Truth be told, I winced at the thought because I have always HATED that song, mostly because of how badly Charlie Daniels plays. Sorry if you're a CDB fan. But from the first time we played that song, I honestly felt that we played it better than the CDB does, mostly because Kris is such a great violinist. Terry decided that Kris would become a permanent member of the band. I thought that was insane - she only played on one song. Well, once again I was wrong. Kris has added a great layer to our sound and adds tastefully to many of our songs.
We played the "19th Hole" party for a couple of years at the John Deere Classic, and we've been "the house band" for Assumption High School's major fund-raiser, "April Night". That's one we always look forward to - fun people. We've also played the Bix Street Fest for many years and we really enjoy that as well.
One memorable day was when we played two gigs in one day - the Rockin' RibFest in the afternoon and then the Vera French Foundation benefit at the Outing Club that night.
The most recent personnel changes have been the exit of Dino Hayz and Terry Reiter in 2008. Terry chose to focus more on his job, his family, etc. Terry was doing so much for the band, actually he was doing everything. We're lucky to still be in business and we owe everything to Terry for starting Identity Crisis. We miss Terry and Dino very much - they're still part of the family.
Fortunately, Mike Ochs, a longtime friend of Dave's, sat in for Terry just before Terry made his decision. Mike is a fantastic drummer and we're lucky that he agreed to take Terry's place.
When Terry announced he was going to leave, Dino and his wife had just recently learned that they - very happily - were going to be parents! Dino and Tina also had just recently opened The Center For LIVING in Rock Island and Dino decided to phase himself out following Terry's departure.
We got lucky filling Terry's shoes at drums. Replacing our front-man and lead singer, Dino, really scared me. I didn't know if we could get lucky twice.
I arranged an audition time and scheduled three guys. One guy didn't show up. Another came and said he had a cold and had never been in a band but he sang very well and we really liked him. Then Tom Brooke came in and won the spot. Tom has been our male lead singer ever since.
That's the scoop - we're just a bunch of musicians having fun and trying to get the audience to have fun, too.
- John / Elwood -