Monday, November 26, 2012

The SV Houserockers -
Working Hard and Loving What They Do

If you haven’t had a chance to see the Silicon Valley Houserockers cover band you’re missing out on one of the true gems in bay area music. Led by front man Paul Kent, the Houserockers have become one of the bay areas most highly sought after acts, and one of the busiest. Winners of the 2010 K-FOX “Last Band Standing” competition as the best cover band in the bay area, the Houserockers playlist includes rock, R&B, funk and soul hits from the 60’s and 70’s with a sprinkling of 80’s and 90’s rock and soul tossed in for fun.

I asked Paul what the best part of playing music was. His answer was the crowds. “We love seeing our dedicated fans follow us from gig to gig just to watch us play, and dance.” And dance they do. From the opening song to the second - or third encore, people are on their feet. From “Dancing on the Avenue” in downtown Willow Glen, to the Capitola Begonia Festival, and all points in between, the Houserockers have lit up the south bay this year, having playing over 40 of their scheduled 50 performances. Their final gig for the year is at the Fox Theater in Redwood City on New Year’s Eve.

Paul, who also maintains a full time career, started playing guitar as a kid. After injuring his leg in a basketball game, his mother decided it was time for another hobby. She bought Paul his first guitar and a love for music was born. Lessons followed, as did stints with a few bands in high school. “ We weren’t great back then, but we loved to play!” Paul remembers with a smile.

With early influences from artists on the Stax record label like Sam and Dave, Ottis Redding and Eddy Lee Floyd, Paul kept at the guitar until his early 20’s when life, career and family became his focus. That was until Christmas of 1997 when his wife Terri surprised him with a guitar. “Didn’t you say you used to have one of these?” she asked with a smile, as he opened his gift. By the spring of ’99 the Houserockers were born.

Though the band has had a few lineup changes, the core of the group has been together since the beginning. “It’s great to play with guys for so long who share a love for the same types of music, and a love for playing.” Paul remarked. “It’s in our DNA and the music never fails to deliver adrenaline, whether we’re playing for 50 people or 5,000.”

In addition to the dedication and hard work the band puts into every performance, what comes through is their heart. The Houserockers have donated their time and talent to several causes and local charities over the years, including the American Cancer Society, private fundraisers and scholarship drives. “We love playing music, and we love a good cause. Since we all live in the bay area, we want to give back to our communities.” 

I asked Paul what he is most appreciative of regarding music. He answered, “If you learn music as a kid, you will always have it with you. It can help you learn good habits, and give you a creative outlet. It can unlock your brain, and we all need that!” He continued, “Music, when played right, is universal. It is something enjoyed by people of all ages. And it creates endless opportunities.”

As he speaks, his love for music shows on his face, and weaves in and out of his words. He sits across from me, smiling with a youthful enthusiasm and a childlike grin. It’s what you get when you watch Paul and the Houserockers perform; ten musicians, working hard and loving what they do. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Catch the band’s upcoming performances by going to their website:


The Housrockers:
Al Gonzalez - Trumpet
Jon Hassan - Baritone Sax
Paul Kent - Guitar, Vocals
Mark Proudfoot - Trombone
Mike McWilliams - Trumpet, Vocals
Nick Chargin - Keyboards, Vocals
Michael Mendoza - Sax
Simon Santiago - Guitar, Vocals
Joe "BAM!" Rizzi - Drums, Vocals
Steve Strom - Bass, Vocals
Bill Tasto - Sound Engineer

Meet Me at the Greek

Meet Me at the Greek

I recently had an opportunity to take in a performance by one of the truly great bay area bands at the Berkeley Greek Theatre. The Grammy® award winning band Train played to a sold out crowd on a beautiful fall night. Andy Grammer opened the show, followed by Matt Kearney. Grammer and Kearney are both accomplished musicians and both were amazing. I am looking forward to hearing more great music from these two artists in coming years as they embark on their respective careers. You can read more about those artists and about the band Train soon on our music blog that will be launched in the very near future.

For the sake of space, I will sum up Train’s performance by saying this… “Wow.”

And now, about the Greek: in my humble opinion.

Imagine you’re in an open amphitheater with 8500 of your closest friends. You just don’t realize anyone else is there except for the people right around you. That’s because all the lights in the venue have been drawn down just before the main act.

The venue is completely dark. You look up into the clear night sky above and there are stars; thousands of stars. Look just beyond the confines of the amphitheater to the west and you’re greeted by the lights of San Francisco, our city by the bay. She presents her soft amber glow as a gift to you for your presence here tonight. Her lights gently, perfectly rise up and blend like watercolors into the purple and cobalt hues of the night sky. Right before your eyes a masterpiece of color, texture, abstraction and symmetry develops and you’re overcome with a feeling that promises to take your breath away.

Now it’s time for a reality check. It’s Friday night. You’ve worked all day. You fought through traffic and somehow made your way here. You think to yourself; I can’t believe that just a couple hours ago I was on the phone, doing the grind, working for a living…. fill in the blanks. You’re still looking west and suddenly, gently, the Golden Gate Bridge rises in the distance across the bay, and whispers ‘Hello’

Reality check over. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Then, Sather Tower closes the deal. The Berkley campus landmark, also known as the Campanile, sits in the foreground. The tower; designed by John Galen Howard and completed in 1914 as a centerpiece for the UC Berkeley campus, glows like a beacon in the night. You can’t help but to smile. Ahh.

Now, you’re a rational, logical, hard working sort of person. You’re not prone to fall for the “warm and fuzzy” This night is different. It is beyond special. It is magical. Have I mentioned the main act has yet to hit the stage?
The Greek Theatre

Welcome the Greek Theatre. Located in the foothills on the UC Berkley campus, the theatre was built in 1903 on the site of what was already an outdoor bowl theater in use since the late 1800’s and known as “Ben Weeds Amphitheater”. Financed by the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, the Greek also bears his name. In its 100-plus year history, the Greek has seen performances from hundreds of musical and theatrical performances.

The Greek is also host to graduation ceremonies, the annual bonfire rally the night before the “Big Game” between Berkley and Stanford, among other events. President Theodore Roosevelt gave a commencement address to a graduating class in 1903 while the theatre was still under construction.

Musically, hundreds of big name acts, including Luciano Pavarotti, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, Elvis Costello, Joan Baez, James Taylor, and the Dave Matthews Band, have played the Greek. If you love music, history, culture, or architecture, a visit to the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre on the UC Berkley campus is a “must do”

On this night, the main act hits the stage and as the lights of red, purple, blue, amber and green cast their sheen upon the venue, you realize that you are in a special place. You begin to let yourself fall into the night as the notes from the music on stage lift off the instruments and float into the air… so clearly visible that you can reach out and touch them. But you don’t. You simply take it all in and know you are in one of the most beautiful venues this area has to offer.

If you do nothing else next year, meet me at the Greek. Do it once. Do it as often as you can. You will be delighted, amazed, and filled with joy. You will be inspired.

The event schedule runs from May to October each year. Go to: to learn more about the Greek and check out next years concert schedule. Go to  for directions and parking information, as well as local establishments to help make your trip enjoyable

Contributory sources:
Another Planet Entertainment:
Trip Advisor:

Let's Get This Party Started!

Welcome to BizBuzzOngo! This is not a test. This is my "tad bit more than half an effort" to write for public consumption. I know, good luck with THAT, right? Here's my short story;

Since I was a child I was told to write.
I said "Nope."
Now I'm all grown up and the voice inside my head still says "Write"
I'm tired of fighting about it... with myself.

So, I am going to write. Hopefully, someone is going to read. Although, I have no control over that part of it. That said, I will focus on my part. I will write. (Hey! voice inside my head, are you happy now?).

Here's what interests me:
Music, art, sports, business, politics (mostly the stupidity of politics), kids, biographies, history, travel,architecture, local people making a difference or "going for it" in life, education, faith.... Squirrel!

Sorry, I'm back.

This blog is your standard run-of-the-mill hodge-podge melting pot of ideas, thoughts, observations and interests of the author (Me) with no particular order. Wow, this sounds like a failure already! But, since I am a positive person and optimistic to a fault, I'm going for it anyway. I am starting with a couple articles I wrote for the South County's "Out & About" magazine recently. That's a new gig I started to make the voice inside my head (see reference above) happy. Hope you enjoy them, and the blog for many years to come. Ugh, that sounds like a commitment. Happy reading.