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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites....10/5/17

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 10/05/2017

The definition of being in, "The right place at the right time" and "Making your own breaks" may differ, albeit slightly but for long time Frank Zappa guitarist Ike Willis, it led to a career.

"Well, there's one question asked of me all of the time and that's how did you become Frank's guitar player?," said Willis with a laugh as he relayed the story of the forging of his relationship both on stage and off with the legendary musical genius that was Zappa. "Frank was playing at my college back in 1977 and I really wanted to see the concert so I volunteered to be on the crew. So I was schlepping equipment, before his sound check we made eye contact and he called me over. We started chatting and we really hit it off well so after the sound check he asked if I wanted to come hang out with him and the band in the dressing room. Once we got back there he asked me if I played an instrument and of course I answered yes and I told him that I played a bit. He asked me if I knew any of his material and he handed me his guitar and we jammed and then the whole band joined in eventually and we jammed for quite a while. He told me that he was going to be holding auditions for a guitarist and asked me to come out to L.A. and audition and it was really a great experience. I wasn't sure if I'd ever hear from him again but a short time after I got back I was siting in my dorm and they told me that I had a phone call; I passed the audition and the rest as they say is history (laughs)." 

Willis began playing guitar at the age of eight and although perhaps best known for his days in the, "Zappa Universe," he also has an established solo career and often tours with various Zappa tribute bands from all over the globe. "There are many Frank Zappa tribute bands out there, 14 of them around the world and I've played with just about every one of them," he said with a laugh that was almost as big as his down home personality. "I often perform with Project Object and as many as I can because I made a promise to Frank that I'd keep his music alive by playing it as he showed me. Frank was a very generous man and was very good to me and doing so is fun and very rewarding." 

Currently on tour performing his own music as well as that of his mentor, Willis keeps a busy schedule yet has still managed to find the time to create. "I'm working on a new CD right now. I've got most of the songs written, I try a few out to see how they go over but I'll be recording and finishing up a new Cd of my material hopefully by early 2018." 

Now however, he's enjoying time on the road and will be doing several shows on the east coast. The Sellersville Theater in Pennsylvania, a couple of shows at The Iridium in New York City and one at the intimate Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ highlight the first week of October and Ike is excited to reconnect with the fans. "The two biggest cult followings in rock music are the Grateful Dead and frank Zappa," he stated with pride in his voice. "There's a huge cult of fans that are very loyal to me and to Frank's music. They buy everything, they are at every show, they just don't stop and they're absolutely great! No matter where we go we still have lots of fans and right now the band is sounding good, looking good; we're ready to go." 

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Despite the years and the passing of his friend and band mate, Willis still sees the music of Frank Zappa as if it were still as new and fresh as it were when it was written. He speaks in terms of gratitude and thanks as he reiterates what the man and his music meant to him and the opportunities which have been wrought from that chance meeting back in St. Louis, MO. "Frank was a very generous man as I said. I remember the first gig that I did with him; to this day it's one of my fondest memories. Well, first my fondest memory was actually getting to meet Frank for the first time and then that first gig. We played a festival with 125,000 people. Genesis was on the bill, The Scorpions, Joan Baez, John McLaughlin; it was the most amazing thing to me. Talk about starting off with a bang (laughs). I was also asked to be the voice on, "Joe's Garage" and I've gotten voice over work and more out of that; so it was the gift that keeps giving." 

Willis and the band (which includes his wife on percussion), will be taking a week or two off after these east coast dates before heading back out on the road. To catch a show or discover more about Ike, his music, Frank Zappa or his new book; please go to

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!


This week's event listings

Alchemist & Barrister
28 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-5555
Wed. 10 p.m. Paul Plumeri Blues Band
Bill's Olde Tavern
2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-0192
Thurs. 9 p.m. Trivia
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke Contest (Cash prizes) 
Ages 21+ 
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33 Hamilton 
(609) 245-8887
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia  Jam
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Shaun Ruymen
Bowman's Tavern
1600 River Road New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2972
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Dave Dales Trio
Fri. 8 p.m. Bob Egan
Sat. 8 p.m. Bruce Klauber trio
Sun. 6 p.m. Lorenzo
Mon. 6 p.m. Andy Prescott
Tues. 6 p.m. Lovey Williams
Wed. 6 p.m. Gary Reed & Arturo Baguer
Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room
19 E. Union Street Burlington
(609) 733-3562
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Shorty Rock
Sat. 9 p.m. Charlie Stroup & The Soul Battery
Bruno's Bicycles, One Sweet Ride
19 South Main Street Allentown
(609) 208-0544
Fri. 7 p.m. "Artists On The Avenue" feat. Radio Fiction
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic Street Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. (TBA) $10 (cover charge/$10 Minimum includes buffet) 
Tues. 6 p.m. "Tuesday Jazz Jam" Open Session feat. James Stewart / Tom Littwin Trios. $5 (Lite appetizers)
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night
Wed. 9 p.m. Quizzo Trivia 
City Streets 
510 Highway 130 South East Windsor
(609) 426-9400
Mon. 9 p.m. "Malibu Mondays" w/ DJ Brett Gash
Tues. 9 p.m. Trivia w/ Jessie & Chelsea
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays" w/ Rich Genoval 
Main Street Hightstown 
(609) 241-7103
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Michael Askin
Dadz Bar & Grill
744 Main Street Lumberton
(609) 267-4344
Thurs. 9 p.m. DJ Jason Byrd / "Beer Pong Tournament"
Fri. 10 p.m. Al's Pals
Sat. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Dubbs
Sun. 4 p.m. Billy Walton
Tues. 8 p.m. "Game Night"
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Superstar Entertainment
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. Dane Rosenfeld
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour Jam" feat. David Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.) Christine Warren
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch" feat. David Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.) Gypsy Mother
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Keli Vale  (4 p.m.) Julian Rosso
Tues. 8 p.m. Open Mic. Night Hosted by Dana Collins
Wed. 8 p.m. Mia Johnson
Fran's Pub
116 South Main Street New Hope, PA
(215) 862-5539
Sat. 8 p.m. The Inflexables
Freddies Tavern
12 Railroad Avenue Ewing
(609) 882-0978
Fri. 8 p.m. Judge and Jury
Sat. 8 p.m. Off The records
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Joe Vadala
Glory Days Tavern
1200 Hornberger Avenue Florence
Fri. 2 p.m. - 7 p.m. "Live Broadcast of WMGK 102.9 FM" w/ Andre Gardner
Grover's Mill Coffee House
Princeton-Hightstown Road Princeton Junction
(609) 716-8771
Thurs. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Anker
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA. 
(215) 862-9897
Fri. (8 p.m.) "A Tribute to Heart" feat. Kick It Out. Doors at 6 p.m., $25. (12 a.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sat. (8:30 p.m.) Alex Skolnick Trio. Doors at 6 p.m., $30 (11 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sun. 1 p.m. School Of Rock "End of Session Show."
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Wed. 8 p.m. "Local Original Music" Hosted by Pat Foran
Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn
15 East Broad Street Hopewell
(609) 466-9889
Fri. 8 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Sat. 6 p.m. Deb & Mike
Hurricane Jacks Bar and Grill
7759 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
(267) 914-4517
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paul Kircher
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula & Sam
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
(732) 306-9111
Fri. 6 p.m. Terry Rivel
Sat. 2 p.m. Jerry Steele
Sun. 2 p.m. Lisa Bouchelle
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Fri. 9 p.m. Blues In Disguise
Sat. 9 p.m. Spellbound
All shows 21+
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 9 p.m. The Adventure Soundtrack
Fri. 9 p.m. Cowbell Superstar / Cream Circus
Sat. (3 p.m.) Therese Anne & Friends (9 p.m.) Rainbow Fresh
Sun. (3 p.m.) Jamie Salvatore (9:30 p.m.) (TBA)
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic.
Tues. 9 p.m. Words In Flight
Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
Killarney's Publick House
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
(609) 586-1166
Check web site for upcoming events
Laurita Winery
85 Archertown Road New Egypt
(609) 752-0200
Thurs. 7 p.m. Laurita Idol Fall Singing Showcase: "Idol Semi-Finals" 
Sat. 10 a.m. "Run The Vineyards" 5K
Sun. 1 p.m. Ben Weiner 
Wed. 6 p.m. Girls Night Out "Yoga and Wine"
Mamma Rosa's 
572 Klockner Road Hamilton 
(609) 588-5454
Thurs. 6 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Richard Schneider 
McGuinn's Place
1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence
(609) 392-0599
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Ages 21+
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
(215) 949-9570
Thurs. 10:30 p.m."Beer Pong" w/ DJ RV & MC Slim
Fri. 10 p.m. "Frisky Fridays" w/ DJ Favs. & MC Fredo Ages 21+
Sat. 10 p.m. DJ OGEEZ
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Sat. 9 p.m. Kosha Dillz, Mindz, Doc Rotten, Icarus Kid
Tues. 10 p.m. "Local Artist" Hip Hop, Experimental EDM and Bass Music Showcase 
New Hope Winery
6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA
(215) 794-2331
Fri. 8 p.m. Kim Richey. Doors at 7 p.m.,  $25
Sat. 8 p.m. Martin Barre. Doors at 7 p.m., $39
Sun. 6 p.m. "Bruce In The USA" (Springsteen tribute) feat. Matt Ryan & American Dream. Doors at 5 p.m., $30
Nook's PourHouse
Route 130 South Florence
(609) 447-0927
Thurs. 8 p.m. Karaoke 
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia Tuesday w/ Quizoholics
Nottingham Tavern
9 Mercer Street Hamilton Square
(609) 587-6623
Thurs. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Super Dave
Wed. 5 p.m. "Weekend Warm-up" w/ DJ Chris Barlow
Ages 21+
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Road Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21 +
Patriot's Crossing
1339 River Rd. Titusville
(609) 737-2780
Sat. 8 p.m. Kevin Toft & The Alternators
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. (TBA)
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Infinite Bandwidth
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Sat. 8 p.m. Lisa Bouchelle / Phil McAuliffe. (As of this publication, this show is SOLD OUT. Check for availability)
Salt Creek Grille
1 Rockingham Row Princeton
(609) 419-4200
Fri. 8 p.m. Keith Franklin
Sat. 8 p.m. Brad Mandigo
Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon Street Princeton 
(609) 924-4377 x2
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Eugene Tyler
Sun. 7 p.m. Princeton Bluegrass Jam
1867 Sanctuary 
101 Scotch Road Ewing
(609) 392-6409
Fri. 8 p.m. Frances Catherine Ihling and Union County. $20
Sat. 8 p.m. Vin Downes,Tom Eaton, Jeff Oster. $20
Sun. (2:30 p.m.)"Spirits" A tour of the notable sites inside the 1867 cemetery. (4 p.m.) "Ghosts I Have Come To Know" Songs and Stories w/ Gordon Thomas Ward. (8 p.m.) Mele `uhane
Tara's Tavern 
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Fri. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ Big Daddy G
Sat. 10 p.m. Psycho Misfits
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main Street Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. Vince Sasso Band
Sat. 9 p.m. El Ka Bong
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
(609) 291-9110
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. Running With Scissors
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street Bordentown
(609) 291-7020
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Wed. 8 p.m. Sir Xierri
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Rockin' Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Fatha Ramzee
Sat. 10 p.m. DJ Darius
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Pines Tavern
6217 North Radcliffe Street Bristol, PA
(215) 788-1659
Sat. 9 p.m. Soul Custody Trio
Sun. 3 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Bill Monach Jr.
The Raven 
385 West Bridge Street New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2081
Thurs. (5 p.m.) Reverend Chris (8 p.m.) Will & Grace Viewing Party (10 p.m.) All Male Revue
Fri. (9 p.m.) Michael Ferreri (10 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sat. (5 p.m.) Dena Underwood (10 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Tues. 8 p.m. "Bearlesque In The Oak Room"
Wed. 7 p.m. Dena Underwood
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Please Check Web Site for Upcoming Events
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050 
Fri. 9 p.m. 80's Band
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday" w/ DJ Chillio
Fri. 9 p.m. Accelerator
Sat. 9 p.m. The Drunk Monkeys
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke
The Sun National Bank Center 
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
Tir Na Nog 
1324 Hamilton Avenue Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Fri. 9 p.m. Billy McGovern
Sat. 9 p.m. Billy Walsh
Tues. 9 p.m. Trivia
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine Street Trenton
(609) 392-6000
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic. 
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Audio History of Funk and Soul" w/ Professor DJ Tangency
Sat. 7 p.m. "Zen That Beat" Yoga w/ Cheryl Young scored to live music
Mon. 9 p.m. Monday Night Karaoke w/ Benny P
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Benny
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Fri. 10 p.m. Sonnder / Pete Hill $5 (cover charge)
Sat. "Oktoberfest" feat. (12 p.m.) Firehouse Polka Band (5 p.m.) Some Assembly Required (10 p.m.) "After Party w/ Essie & The Big Chill $5 (cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage Night (Sign ups at 6:30 p.m.)
All shows 21+ 
Triumph Brewing Company
138 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 924-7855
Fri. 9 p.m. The Outcrops
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Road Pennington
(609) 773-2392
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. Ernie White
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock Night
Mon. 9 p.m. "Moonshine Mondays" Trivia
Tues. 9 p.m. Ed Wilson
Ages 21+

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.



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