Monday, October 30, 2006

"October Surprise" Update

Well then, what can we say? It was a warm and sunny day; the next it was cold, with two feet of snow and trees were destroyed for miles and miles in the storm’s wake. At times during the storm, it was difficult to determine whether the rumbling sounds were those of thunder (in a snow storm, no less!) or of the trees breaking under their own weight and exploding from the inside-out.

In case you haven’t heard, the Buffalo & WNY area is still recovering from a surprise snow storm that occurred on October 12th. I have lived here most of my life, and I don’t recall snow earlier than October 31st, and certainly not this kind of “real winter” snow storm. I saw a transformer exploding, and it looked just like 4th of July fireworks. Very odd. So were the reports of blue, green, and purple lightening! (I didn’t see any, but several reputable sources described it to me).

Juke Manor was without power for eight days, although on or about the fifth day a friend blessed us with a generator. We still did not have a phone connection until yesterday (October 29th), which makes what, 18 days without a telephone? On October 13th, I left early in the morning to get some groceries—all told it was a six-hour trip to a store that is about seven minutes from my house… We also had to cancel a 50th Anniversary party for my folks that has been planned for over a year, and we had to cancel a gig on Friday the 13th (I think that’s one of only three that I’ve ever scuttled for any reason in the last 25 years). Big shout-out to Seneca Niagara—the folks in admin decided to pay all of their bands anyway, even though nobody was able to make their gigs that night!

We are finally starting to see more of the local streets cleared and the 25 foot long by 8 foot high, five foot deep wood and brush pile in front of my house is starting to get moved out of the way by workers. What impressed me the most was how people really pitched-in to help others. We had a lot of help from friends, family, and neighbors at our place, and we were able to remove most of the debris from the lawns of quite a few older folks that would have had great difficulty in doing so on their own. I’d also like to thank all of the relief workers, the power companies that sent personnel to help National Grid and NYSEG restore electricity (we saw trucks from down south and from Quebec), and the phone company men. Maybe somebody can take the time to explain to me what the different hard-hat designs and shapes mean…

Needless to say, we’ve been pretty busy and are just now starting to get back to band stuff… The exciting news is that we now have three (yes, _3_!) recording projects that will be available this Christmas season, plus another CD that we want to remind you about:

The first is the long-awaited album project from Gregg Juke & The Mighty No-Stars—Blues Power. This project has been several years in the making, but we feel it will have been worth the wait. Sixteen tracks (13 originals and three covers), available soon (watch the home website: for details). We will get release-party details out to you as soon as possible.

The second CD is a local project to benefit the Food Bank of Western New York. This CD is called “Happy Holidays from Buffalo,” and will feature lots of local talent. It is being created under the auspices of an organization called Musicians for WNY ( We are contributing a new song slated for our next album called “Always (The Poor).” Pick-up a great gift this year and help people helping others at the same time.

The last CD that we’re going to be on in 2006 is a compilation on DCD Records called “WBFO Gives You The Blues, Vol. II,” which is a premium for those donating to WBFO during this year’s fund drive. We are contributing the track “Nomo Loot” from the upcoming album Blues Power. Lots of great local blues and roots acts will be involved, and these tracks were all hand-picked by WBFO Blues host Jim Santella. Pick this one up and give yourself or a friend the Blues this year…

Also, the long-delayed release of Boston-based singer-songwriter Mark Lenkei’s second album should be upon us soon. The album features yours truly on drums, percussion and vocals, keyboard phenom J.J. Moscato on organ, and was produced by our long-time friend and associate (and sometime Mighty No-Stars bass-sub) Glenn Bernardis. We’ll keep you posted as details are available.

We had our first gig back after the storm and a brief pre-planned hiatus at the Pearl Street Grill on Saturday night. Great crowd, and it was good to see Patti Parks, Judd Sunshine, and Gus Pusateri in the audience. Sorry the Sabres lost, folks… I was really looking forward to getting some cheap applause and billing the rest of the evening as “Sabre-ween.” Don’t forget to get down to the Lafayette Tap Room on November 4th and support Patti and all of the other bands competing in this year’s “Memphis Bound” competition.

In other news, Guy, myself, Joel, Pastor Joe, and Joel’s son Justin recently went to a shooting event called “Shoot ‘till You Drop.” Yes, that’s really what it was called. We partook of various shotgun shooting sports, including skeet, trap, and sporting clays. The entire band was supposed to go, but some last-minute issues came up for some of the guys. We asked our manager, Susan, if she'd like to come along with us (I suggested a Katherine Hepburn type of look with riding pants), but she just spun on her heels and mumbled something mostly unintelligible, probably unsavory, and largely unfavorable to the idea... Try as we might, we did not see Michael Moore, Alec Baldwin, or any member of PETA anywhere on the premises. I know next to nothing about shotgun shooting (currently, I now know just a little more than nothing); needless to say I hit less than 50 percent of the targets, but Joel and Guy both hit TWO with ONE shot. Pastor Joe also pulls them out of the air with great ease. I fared better on the air-rifle range, having the second fastest time for knocking down all the targets. I guess all of that practice with rifle marksmanship in the service was worth something! Look for pictures and the full scoop on the home website soon…

Finally, congratulations go out once again to former No-Star Jack Prybylski for his nomination in the category of “Best Blues Saxophone Player” in the upcoming Buffalo Area Music Awards. Congratulations also go out to all of the nominees.

Thanks for checking in, we’ll see you at one of the gigs, and of course, God Bless & Good Blues…