It begins as a feeling; not a sound exactly--more like the promise of a sound. The promise is real though. It's a certainty you can feel with every fiber of your being.
There's a day in the spring, sometimes early in March and sometimes you have to wait until April, but eventually the day comes that you walk outside and you know beyond any doubt that winter is on its way out. Surely a close look at the trees would reveal the tiny buds of muted red that will soon become green leaves, but even as a last chilly breeze nips at your ears, you don't have to see anything. You can feel it down to the roots of your soul that the lengthening days will bring warmer and warmer air.
So too has something new begun here; I can feel it, and soon the feeling will give way to sound. It's as if a drummer has picked up his mallets--the wooden sticks with the round, felt-like balls on the end--and he has begun a slow, low roll on his biggest cymbal. The duller, low frequencies grow louder as the higher, bell-like tones begin to increase. Something huge is about to happen... a feeling; a sound; a band... music.
November 4, 2011 doesn't seem like only two and half years ago. Some days it feels like a decade has passed and other days it seems like just a few days. I have profound memories of that night and although it's safe to say most of it remains a blur, isolated images fill my head when I close my eyes. I can hear every note of the Joe Cocker-inspired arrangement of "With a Little Help From My Friends" reverberating off the back wall of Park Street Tavern, and even though sweat (or tears?) blur my vision, I can see the smiling faces, teary eyes and open mouths of every friend of Sharp Circle Band singing the words right back to us as we wrap up the last song of the last set of the last public show of our career.
Ending seemed like a good idea at the time. Jason had moved to California, Scott was embroiled in important career moves, Cory and his wife were thinking of starting a family, and my three kids were getting old enough that I feared I was shortchanging them by playing all the time. And we did play all the time. In 2011 we'd probably done 65 shows prior to that final night, and in the three years before we averaged closer to 100 gigs per year. We were a well-oiled machine of music and business and we had a heck of a lot of fun playing the dozens of clubs, hundreds of weddings and private parties and several really big events that continued to roll our way. But we were tired. It was time to pack up the gear for awhile and rest.
Ultimately there were three problems with this plan.
First and foremost was the disappointment of our friends/fans. When we would get together to hang out in Sharp Circle Band's post-retirement era, each of us could relate multiple stories of being asked when we were coming back, if we were still available to play weddings or parties, and retirement was really everything we hoped.
Second, we all realized rapidly just what it was we'd given up. The other members of the band had been on the local scene for about ten years and I for about twice that. Speaking for myself, I have had the honor and privilege of playing with a number of wonderful bands consisting of nice folks and fantastic musicians. Yet none had the combined talent, business sense and (yeah, I'll say it) the magic of Sharp Circle Band. The right combination of people, repertoire and market savvy created a mojo that I never experienced before or since. It turns out that it's really hard to walk away from that.
Finally, all of the reasons we chose to retire Sharp Circle from gigging were valid and important, but the passage of time has revealed that not one of those reasons alone or together are mutually exclusive to playing really great music with really great friends for really great fans.
By the time one year had passed we all knew to one extent or another that we had to come back. The pure, unbridled joy we experienced in watching people listen, smile, dance, drink and party to the music we created for them was a symbiotic circle of ever-increasing happiness, whether out at a local club, sharing a bride and groom's most special day, or bringing the slam to thousands of people as the opening act for Smokey Robinson.
Soon plans were laid to start anew. In a few months Jason will return to Central Ohio from California and then... well... it's on, baby.
On October 18, 2014 at Park Street Tavern, almost three years to the day of our last show, we'll be back to deliver the funk, rock and soul that people came to love from Sharp Circle Band in a new package: Scarlet Fever.
It was decided that when Sharp Circle Band retired in 2011, its name should be retired as well. Scarlet Fever represents a new direction, a new member or two, and new material with a name meant to evoke both our roots in the Central Ohio area as well as the pulsing ague of hot, sweaty grooves. Just like the majority of the members remain the same, so too will some of the old favorites from the Sharp Circle Band repertoire pop up in the set lists of Scarlet Fever. This time though there will be even more funk and soul--we won't let those horn players rest for even a minute! (Sorry Tim & Kevin; the first beer is on us!)
Scarlet Fever will be back in rotation at a few of our favorite clubs like Park Street Tavern and Grandview Café--on November 22 in fact) and we'll be available from there on out to play weddings, corporate parties, graduations and just about any other event you can think of where the goals are huge smiles, great music and soulful celebration.
In the meantime I try to contain my excitement; I can't wait to see all of you out there on the dance-floors again and Scott, Aaron, Cory, Jason, Phil, Kevin, Tim and I throw down the soundtrack for your best times.
That cymbal roll is getting louder now. Can you feel it?