Sunset Station

On Thursday October 10th we begin our residency at Club Madrid inside beautiful Sunset Station! There is no cover charge and the show starts at 9pm.

For those of you who have not enjoyed this venue, it is very reminiscent of GVR, we know you’re going to love it, especially our Anthem friends.

Also, a huge shout out & thank you to those of you who supported us at The Smith Center last week, what an amazing night! And… they want us back, so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, please come out and see us Thursday October 10th, Thursday
November 7th, & Thursday December 5th in the incredible Club Madrid inside Sunset Station.

-Lon

Doc Goes Vegas Now Shipping!

 

The Lon Bronson All-Star Band has been keeping the tradition of great horn band music alive in Las Vegas since 1990, so it was only natural that Stephen “Doc” Kupka formed a musical partnership with Lon Bronson. Doc and Lon began writing songs together some years back and it was decided that “DOC GOES VEGAS” would be the culmination of that musical alliance.

Recorded LIVE on September 15, 2011 at the Ovation Room in the Green Valley Ranch Casino, “DOC GOES VEGAS” is a great collection of new tunes along with smoking versions of some TOWER OF POWER classics.
DVD
INCLUDES SPECIAL BONUS DVD
BONUS DVD includes video footage of the live show!

The iconic LON BRONSON ALL-STAR BAND is joined on stage by very special guests LARRY BRAGGS, DAVID GARIBALDI, FRANCIS “ROCCO” PRESTIA, TOM E. POLITZER, JEFF TAMELIER, CHUCK HANSEN, and the Funky Doctor himself, STEPHEN “DOC” KUPKA.
Doc Goes Vegas

The LON BRONSON ALL-STAR BAND features some of Las Vegas’ finest musicians and is the longest-running band in Las Vegas history. Many headlining artists drop in to catch the band or perhaps sit in. Performers like Skunk Baxter, The Righteous Brothers, Huey Lewis, Tower of Power, Blood Sweat & Tears, The Temptations, Taylor Dane, David Cassidy, Penn Jillette, The Bare Naked Ladies, Tom Jones, Joe Walsh and the cast of the HBO Drama, The Sopranos have come by in just the past few years. World Heavyweight Champions Ken Norton and Leon Spinks attended the recording of “DOC GOES VEGAS”.

Catch the excitement that is the LON BRONSON ALL-STAR BAND with Doc Kupka’s latest project, “DOC GOES VEGAS”.

DOC GOES VEGAS is a co-production of Strokeland Records and House of Hansen Productions, LLC and Strokeland wishes to thank Chuck Hansen for his loyal support and invaluable assistance with this production.

Click here to order from Strokeland!

 

Ellis Hall


Ellis Hall, born in Savanna, Georgia, raised in Boston, is often labeled “genius”. Without musical boundaries he is the quintessential performer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, with a five-octave range.

Hall has also made a mark with his incredible ability as a songwriter, arranger and producer. Ellis has performed, recorded and collaborated with a vast variety of musical icons. Including Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, George Benson, Michael McDonald, John Mayer, Herbie Hancock, Earth Wind & Fire, Natalie Cole, James Taylor, George Duke, Huey Lewis and the News and his musical mentor Ray Charles.

In the early years of his career, Ellis was featured as the lead vocalist performing with Kenny G. on his debut hit single, “What Does it Take.” He then joined the soul-stirring group Tower Of Power as lead vocalist, keyboardist, songwriter, arranger, and producer and enjoyed tremendous success as a member of the multi-platinum group, The California Raisins.

Ellis has been featured in the award winning TV shows including, “The Wonder Years”, and The 75th Oscars “Chicago” segment with Catherine Zeta Jones and Queen Latifa. Some of his film credits include “Big Momma’s House” with Martin Lawrence as well as Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can” starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. He has also been a featured vocalist on soundtracks ranging from the TV series West Wing and NYPD Blue to films such as “Lion King II,” “Chicken Run,” “Bruce Almighty,” “A Day Without A Mexican” and “Polar Express”.

Ellis has the honor of being the only artist, other than Ray Charles, to be signed to Charles’ label Crossover Records. He performed and was introduced as Ray Charles’ protégé at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where Mr. Charles received the National Visionary Leadership Project Award. This tribute has lead to his recent performances with various symphonies including the Pittsburg, Tucson, Nashville and Honolulu Orchestras. Ellis is proud to carry on the celebration of the soul legacy.

Bronson Has Made the Rounds in Vegas

The Lon Bronson All-Star Band performs Thursdays at the Ovation lounge in Green Valley Ranch.
The Lon Bronson All-Star Band performs Thursdays at the Ovation lounge in Green Valley Ranch.

Musicians usually have a meaningful story about why and how they chose to specialize on a particular musical instrument. It’s often about how they felt an irresistible pull toward a guitar, the piano, saxophone. Lon Bronson was drawn to play the drums when he was a kid. So what did he do? He played the trumpet. “When I was 10,1 desperately wanted to be a drummer but my parents had a trumpet laying around,” says Bronson, founder and leader of the Lon Bronson All-Star Band. “They said ‘Here you go, you’re going to play the trumpet.  It was kind of a sealed fate, I didn’t have a lot of wiggle room there.”

That was 40 years ago, and he’s picked up some percussion experience along the way. But the trumpet has been the bread-and-butter of his career, so in hindsight, it looks like his parents knew something he didn’t. Bronson has worked steadily since moving to Las Vegas in 1985, as a musician,, consultant, bandleader and musical director. For the past 19 years, he’s played the trumpet in his self-named All-Star band, something he calls a “labor of love,” a way to have some fun playing the horn.

The 14-piece big horn band started as a Tower of Power cover band with the blessing and support of its members, Bronson says. Nineteen years later, it’s morphed into more of an original entity, playing what Bronson calls rearrangements of cover tunes, as well as the band’s own music.

The Lon Bronson All-Star Band plays a recurring 9 to 11 p.m. gig Thursdays at the Ovation lounge in Green Valley Ranch.

For more information, visit Bronson’s Web site at lonbronson.com.

– By SONYA PADGETT
-Photo Credit  JASON BEAN/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

A Night in The Life

By Lon Bronson

“Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head….”

Well, not exactly, but I had spent eight or more hours in mundane conversations with agents and stage managers about upcoming gig details. All that will soon be behind me as I prepare to leave for my All Star Band Saturday night performance (“get a little action in”). I kiss the kids goodnight as they leave me with the eternal question: ‘What’s the true meaning of Christmas, Daddy?’ Before I can venture a reply, they chant in gleeful unison “Vengence”, ah, I’ve taught them well.

My Durango 95 purrs away (“Baby you can drive my car”). It’s a real horror show down Las Vegas Boulevard; I’m steeling myself for the upcoming battle. Tonight we’re recording “The Gig” and that’s special. As I pull into the Golden Nugget valet I make small talk with the attendants. (“Everybody knows my name”). In Vegas it’s way more important to know the valet guys than the bartenders (but knowing the bartenders doesn’t hurt either). I make my way through the battleship gray labyrinth of wrong way turns to the Sinatra Room. Find the elevators. The frenzied trumpet duel from ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” plays over and over in my mind. I half expect to be confronted by Tuco and Angel Eyes as the doors slide open. ‘(“If there’s anything I can do, just call on me and I’ll send it along.”)

Now there’s a flurry of activity – set lists must go out, mutant musician egos must be massaged, which guest artists are sitting in and are they here? I need to relax, only 22 minutes to downbeat time, where’s my beer?
Fee Waybill from the ‘Tubes’ enters our Sinatra Green Room. I’ve been a fan for years; he’s the ultimate front man. What can I say that would be cool? I manage a lame “Hey man!” Noel Coward I’m not. “I’m just a jealous guy” without any power tools.

It’s the midnight hour. Cue the good guys. Rhythm section is in place. Assemble the horn section in the wings. Tom effortlessly screams out a double C note-guess he’s warmed up! Sloppo (the forgotten Marx brother) brings up the rear. He just now begins to assemble his charts and put his horn together (“Try thinking more if just for your own sake”).
We finally take the stage. Applause is mixed with ‘whoas’ and ‘my mans’ which heralds our arrival. Band fans. ‘Cat’ lovers.

I give Mark “the look” and he clicks off four into our opener ‘Gotta Run’. I have a split second to make a decision: one more pull of Guiness or play my horn. Reluctantly I reach for the horn. The first few notes are laborious, a test of sorts: “Cold turkey”.
I once told friend Drew Carey comedy was easy and playing the trumpet is difficult. I like Drew: “A working class hero is something to be.”
The tune comes to a screaming, screeching finish and the crowd erupts…..what this is really all about. I step to the mic to address them thinking ‘So this is what it’s like to be a big Vegas star like Clint or even the Scintas’…. “Imagine” but I kid, I kid….

Over the next 90 minutes we play 15 songs , I down five Guinesses, Sloppo fumbles three more times, Fee nails two unrehearsed Tubes tunes and newlywed Penn Jilette gets kicked in the jewels by one little fool. It turns out to be an “ordinary All-Star gig after all.” I want to tell you being a live musician is a magnificent anachronism.

We’re pauper dinosaurs, new Age antiques, the last of the last yet best of the best and I’ll keep showing up til the fat lady sings.

Another Perspective – What Is Hip?

***The following story contains adult language which may not be suitable for those under the age of 18 or anyone from New England (note: the author was recently contacted us while serving a tour of duty in Iraq . He was amused that we still had his story on-line, more than a few years later. )***

by Mike Atkinson (a senior majoring in Belligerence, and featured columnist for the Oregon Commentator)

We now return to our story about the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Silver Anniversary Tour TM, where our two lunatics are surrendering to Sin City.

The LeBistro Lounge at the Riviera Hotel was the first place we found some legitimate live music, which was a welcome relief. They didn’t have the typical sleazy lounge act-no single-named “artists” crooning Cyndi Lauper covers to a drum machine. They had a real 13-piece band, complete with horns. As we took a table in front of the stage, a sultry diva burst through the rear curtain right in time for the opening verse of “Somebody to Love.” Her Grace Slick impersonation convinced us to stay for a round of 101 proof rum shots. The sparse crowd mildly responded when the song was over, providing plenty of dead time for the band to mull over their next tune. The tenor sax player took this opportunity to noodle around on some pussified Kenny G melody. This did not sit well with the fire in my belly; Lite jazz never does. I had already heard all I could tolerate that summer, at the Mount Hood Jazz Festival. Due to a horrendous misinterpretation of the schedule, I sat through half a set of Earl Klugh while expecting to see McCoy Tyner. I don’t rebound easily from such trauma, so the last thing my being needed was some smart-ass sax player jerkin’ off in my Budweiser. Luckily my Tourette’s syndrome intervened. “Cut that bullshit out!” I booed and heckled him relentlessly. “Sound off like you got a pair! Play some Coltrane, ya pussy! Gimme some goddamn Trane!”

This seemed to be just the kind of crowd energy the band thrived on. Lon Bronson, the emcee, came to the edge of the stage, eager to answer my battle cry. “Ladies and gentlemen, its seems we have a request of sorts. This kind gentleman would like to hear some John Coltrane. Well sir, you’re in luck, because Jay here can play the first two choruses of Trane’s solo on “Giant
Steps.”

“Bullshit!” I chided. I honestly didn’t believe that this guy could pull off one of the hairiest musical feats known to man. I forgot that these sax hacks dedicate their entire lives to that shit. Lon gave the drummer two quick counts, and they tore into “Giant Steps” at breakneck tempo. And darned if Jay didn’t nail that sucker to the wall. When it was finished, he dusted off his suit and mopped his brow as if he had just beaten someone to death. I jumped up and shook his hand for his ballsy effort. In just 32 bars, this guy had redeemed himself from my musical shitlist and established himself as a heavyweight. I turned to berate the stagnant crowd, who only mustered an indifferent smattering of applause for his solo. “Give it up, you shitferbrains putzes! Put your hands together!” The laymen couldn’t appreciate what he had just done-Coltrane’s solo is the musical equivalent of completing an entire decathlon in under one minute.

“Play some Skynyrd!” Austin prodded the band with the next test. Without hesitation, the guitarist broke into the opening riff of “Sweet Home Alabama.” “Turn it up!” They rocked it for all its Southern flavor.

The six-piece horn section put the hammer down on the next number- a balls-out rendition of Tower of Power’s funk anthem “What Is Hip?” Their brazen lines were tighter than Jenna Jameson’s ass. These guys cranked out more power than the Hoover Dam. At the climax of the tune, they gradually snowballed a background lick into a blazing shout chorus that made my soul shiver. I lost control-I sprang out of my chair and tore open my paisley shirt with a primal scream, scattering buttons all over the lounge. Again I razzed the passive audience, and this time they started to respond. People actually joined me in yelling incoherent approval slogans.

I lit up an H.Uppman after “What Is Hip?” I was in full “Cape Fear” mode now. Then Ollie Woodson, lead singer for the Temptations, came from out of nowhere to perform “Soul Man.” I died.

When the band finished their set around 3 a.m., Lon brought me up on stage in recognition of my cheerleading. With my expanding beer gut hanging out of my torn-open shirt, I blew kisses to the now-boisterous crowd with my cigar butt clenched in my molars. As the players packed up their instruments, we introduced ourselves as musicians. “We had you pegged as players the minute you walked in,” joked the baritone sax player, Gordon. “I’m not sure what gave it away first-your taste in requests, or your obnoxious behavior!”

The guys were in a hurry to get to their private post-gig party. Most of them had been playing in Vegas’ top showbands since 8 p.m., so they were eager to get loose. Gordon extended us an invitation, which was a offer we couldn’t refuse. He led us on a back corridor short-cut, around the infernal slot machine/life support systems, past the endless casino, directly to a hotel courtyard where funk and loud voices wafted from a pool-side suite. Two Neanderthal security guards recognized Gordon and waved us in the sliding-glass door. Band members greeted us with belligerent groans. “Who let you fuckers in?” Lon growled. “Naw, you guys are alright. You two were the craziest audience since Chris Farley was here! Make yourselves at home.”

We already were at home. This party was the closest I’d ever seen to utopia. Gordon gave us a tour of the luxurious amenities. The ice-filled bathtub was stocked with Bigfoot Ale and Schlitz. There was also a full no-host bar (which rhymes with “no-holds-barred”), plus a buffet of gourmet hors-d’oeuvres to wash the liquor down. It doesn’t get any better than this,
right? That’s when a troupe of exotic dancers from the “Crazy Girls Cabaret” came sashaying around in Daisy Dukes and bikini tops. After Lon introduced us to “the talent,” I proposed a raucous toast “to sex, drugs and rock and roll.”

“Speaking of drugs…” Gordon said with a mischievous grin as he produced a leather kit bag from his pocket. “Anyone who requests Coltrane and Skynyrd in the same set can toke off my stash any day.” He unveiled a humungous spliff, which he jammed it in my mouth. “have a hit of this shit, kid.”

After a few pulls on the herbal jazz cigarette, my equilibrium called it a night. I was spinning like a dreidel; my vision was a twisted kaleidoscope of blurry strippers and greasy musicians. The curtain was quickly closing on my first night in Vegas, until someone spoon-fed me some “pepsi.” I was instantly rejuvenated; born again hard. Back to the front. I suddenly became the life of the party, clowning and schmoozing with unusual verbosity. I had diarrhea of the mouth, which made me pure comedy. I cracked up the ladies by quoting the movie “Showgirls”: “Ice those nipples, girls. I want perky, perky, PERKY!” I killed the guys with my impersonations of Robert Plant, Joe Cocker and Axl Rose.

As we partied into the night, the players oozed musical wisdom from their collective decades of professional experience. These guys were grizzly studio veterans and show band jocks who had toiled in the shadows of Diana Ross, Doc Severinsen and Sinatra, just to name a few. (Months afterwards, Austin saw Lon and Gordon struttin’ around Vegas with Wayne Newton on some HBO special-these guys are starz!) They were excited to meet two younger musicians who were so curious about their lifestyle. They obliged us with wild stories of their many misadventures in show-biz, such as when the whole band got banned from Reno. I shared the story of my high school jazz band intentionally slaughtering “Hail To The Chief” for President Bush when he spoke at Bob Packwood’s campaign luncheon in 1991.

My recollection of events after the “pepsi” wore off is quite hazy. I remember the first break of daylight inspiring me to go for a swim. I dropped my drawers and ran out to the pool. After throwing a chaise-lounge in the water, I scaled the life guard chair at the deep-end. I pounded my chest and bellowed, “GOOD MORNING LAS VEGAS!” at the top of my lungs before executing a perfect belly-flop. The security guards then kindly told me that the pool didn’t open until 8 a.m.

I returned to the party soaking wet. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the wall of ashen faces that I walked into. The stereo was silent; no one spoke. The tension was so thick you couldn’t have cut it with a Stihl chainsaw. All eyes turned to a man charging toward me holding a coffee pot filled to the brim with a foul yellow brew. This was Fred, the burly ex-Marine who engineered sound for the “Crazy Girlz Cabaret.” I never could’ve guessed Fred’s age if it wasn’t his 50th birthday party. He was still in Boot Camp shape, wound up tighter than a baseball. He appeared to be on DEFCON 1, ready to be called up to kick some Commie ass at a moment’s notice. His chiseled upper-body distorted the star-spangled message printed on his tight
T-shirt: AMERICA-LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT.

Apparently I had slipped into a vegetative state and mistaken Fred’s Krups coffee pot for a bedpan. It was a brand-new birthday gift. Fred was not amused. His jugular vein bulged out of his taut neck. His eyes were as wide as Hulk Hogan’s when it’s payback time. He was in full attack mode. “Take your clothes, and get the fuck out of my room,” he ordered in a demonic, guttural voice. He quaked as he struggled to speak slowly and clearly. It took every ounce of this soldier’s discipline to refrain from tearing my spine out. “Get the fuck out, before I break this on your head,” he barked as he raised the tainted coffee pot above my head. Austin leaped into lawyer mode, stammering off profuse apologies and improvising some explanation of my rare mental illness.

I was shocked and appalled to learn of my debacle. I’ve committed my share of party fouls over the years, but nothing as bad as this. I pleaded to make amends. “Gosh, Fred… I’m really sorry! Tellyawhut, I’ll buy you a new…” “Just get out!” Fred snapped as he pointed to the door. “You are forgotten, but not forgiven.” Funny choice of words coming from a Vietnam Vet.

To be continued…