Being a rock star or musician is often a teenage dream, but just because you grow up and get a respectable job by day and start a family doesn’t mean you have to give up the dream of being in a band.
Two well-known local bands made up of (ahem) more mature members have gigs this weekend. Bob’s Your Uncle and Vertigo are each playing on Saturday night.
Bobs Your Uncle
Bobs Your Uncle has been together since 2004. It’s made up of mostly Wilton residents, including Matt Greene, Patty Perry, Jen Goldwag, Dave Goldwag, Chris Peacock, Tim Flanagan, and Greenwich’s Andre Schipper (plus member Mike Reese who moved to California last year, but occasionally sits in when he makes a trip back east).
“We’re all full-time work and family so it’s a full time hobby on the side,” says Matt, who plays guitar, and grew up in Wilton.
The band came together by happenstance. “I knew Mike from way back and Patty lived next-door.” Patty and her husband Brian, own Open House Gift Shop. “She knew Chris Peacock who was a drummer and hadn’t been drumming in years.”
They brought in the others and somehow meshed musical styles and tastes to form the band, which plays mostly covers of songs made famous by other bands.
“One of the things that’s interesting about this group is we all have somewhat different backgrounds and interests in music, so we’re not all the same. Some are more jam band, Grateful Dead influenced. Others more of a blues background, or in Chris’ case more of a 70’s and 80’s British pop stuff and new wave, and Patty the same. So very different mix. When we do choose songs, people will say, ‘What about this?’ and throw it out there and you have to generally agree on what we’ll play. We call it ‘Bobbing it up,’ we find our own way to play it,” Matt says.
The name actually has a British origin, thanks to member Chris Peacock. “We were playing word association, which is something bands do when they’re trying to come up with a name,” laughs Matt. “Late one night, Bobs Your Uncle came up. It’s a British idiom that means ‘everything’s cool’ or ‘it’s all okay.’ As soon as somebody said it, that was it,” Matt explains, adding that it’s definitely an appropriate description of the band’s vibe.
“We’re all in it for a good time, we really enjoy playing. None of us gets to play as much as we like. We have a lot of regular folks that come to see us time and again. The music is the platform for friends to go out and socialize around it. More than anything we enjoy playing together,” he says.
Bobs Your Uncle has had a yearly gig as the band that plays at Ambler Farm Day. They also play many of the area roadhouses and saloons in the area, including The Lumberyard in Georgetown and the newly re-opened Redding Roadhouse, where they’ll be appearing this Saturday night at 9 p.m.. They also play at private parties and charity functions, and try to keep a regular schedule of at least one gig per month.
Generally it’s something that the band members like to do to keep in touch with the local music scene and their love of playing with other kindred spirits.
“It’s pleasantly surprising how many local musicians there are. There are a ton of folks locally who play, and everybody has their fingers in a couple of different projects, which is fun, and tries to support each other. You get to sub in, you get somebody else to join you, people sitting in. It’s a lot of fun. In terms of the scene around here, it’s a relaxed, open one,” Matt says.
Fans can find out where the band will be appearing by following them on the Bobs Your Uncle Facebook page.
Redding Roadhouse is located at 406 Redding Rd. in Redding.
Vertigo is a cover band that has also been together for close to 15 years.
“The thing that’s cool about it is we’re all professionals with families. We were all serious musicians in high school and college, and there are a lot of people I run into now who say, ‘I used to play guitar,’ and I say, ‘Why don’t you still?’ The ability and drive to play is still very strong,” says Wilton’s Dan Berg, who plays bass guitar and sings for the band.
He laughs when he says, “I love the fact that even at my old and decrepit age  I can still find people to play with who have similar musical abilities and sensibilities, who still have the energy to want to get together once a week and practice, to get out and find local bars that will have us and to play for people.”
What’s the appeal? Knowing they’re entertaining people.
“It’s a huge rush when we’re playing something fun and there’s a packed dance floor and everybody’s hootin’ and hollering. As long as that keeps happening, I’m going to keep doing it,” he says.
At this point for bands like Vertigo and Bobs Your Uncle, a cover band is also the more practical way to approach the business than writing their own material, as Dan explains:
“When they go out to a bar, whether it’s a Girls’ Night Out or a bunch of hockey parents, whoever happens to be there–from 20-somethings to 50-somethings–they want to hear their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and some things on the radio now,” he says. “There’s an outlet for people who have the creative spark to do their own music, but our goal is for every song we play, there’ll be someone who jumps up from the back of the bar like, ‘I love that song!’ Which is not going to happen if you’re playing your own stuff–that’s a different audience, more a listening than get up and shake and shimmy.”
Vertigo has their regular, favorite haunts to play, including Westport’s Black Duck and Bobby Q’s, where they’ll be appearing this Saturday night at 9:30 p.m.. They’ve also played the Georgetown Saloon and hope to play their again now that it’s reopened.
“The reality is for bands like ours, there are a fair number of venues in the Wilton area, even just from Wilton on south,” Dan says.
Bobby Q’s is located at 42 Main St. in Westport.