What would make two band members who landed gigs in sunny Florida want to come back to Fort Wayne? The vibe, that's what.
At the end of December, things looked a little thin for Always In The Fridge. Drummer Adam Rudolf got a job with Radio Daze, a group out of Orlando.
"They came into town and auditioned a couple people," says Rudolf. "They asked me to try out, and I moved to Florida."
Then in March, bassist Adam Martin ended up in a band on a cruise ship.
"We were the back-up band for the three guys in the band," says Martin.
Aside from doing some promotional stuff with the cruise ship band, he wasn't very connected with the group. When the gig ended, he got on the phone with Rudolf. Turns out they both wanted the same thing: to go back to Fort Wayne and hang with their homeys Brandon Rentfrow, guitarist; Matt Cashdollar, alto sax, flute and keyboards and Dan Cappelli, baritone sax.
"It wasn't happening," says Rudolf, of Radio Days. During his time in Florida, Rudolf says he was pushing the live CD Always In The Fridge recorded at Legends last November on everyone. Radio Daze was a band, but they went about it in a cold way. Once the money was made, that was it. The detachment didn't appeal to Rudolf.
"I gave them my notice 10 minutes after I hung up from talking to Adam Martin," he says. On June 2, Always In The Fridge was back together again.
"The first rehearsal we did, it was like no time had passed," says Martin.
The first gig since they returned was June 16, and met with a favorable response. Cashdollar recalls the staff at Legends saying, "you sounded better than the last time you played here."
"It was a Wednesday, and it looked like a weekend in there," says Martin.
Was it the vibe working? This is a band that enjoys playing together as well as hanging out together. Maybe it was the mix of horns. Maybe it was the good-time groove. In a way, it was a reminder of an opening gig Always In The Fridge played in June 1998, only a couple months after they got together. The videotape they made of it won the attention of a local bar owner, despite the fact they didn't have that much material rehearsed. What material they do have comes from Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Paul Simon and Curtis Mayfield, to name a few. However, the originals are coming. And the way Always In The Fridge treats covers, their originals should be well worth the wait.
Rentfrow, Rudolf and Martin were former members of Smak Dab, which is where they learned their arranging skills.
"We learned a lot about how to keep things interesting and fun for ourselves and for the crowd," says Rentfrow, about the trio's Smak Dab days. Instead of playing "I Shot The Sheriff" in the Clapton or Marley way, they put some speed into it. It became part of their 11-minute opening medley/jam, which includes "Sexy M.F.," followed by a 311-type snippet segueing into a revved-up "I Shot The Sheriff," then a sax solo, finishing with the Bee Gees'"You Should Be Dancing."
The band is a refreshing change from the guitar-based rock that is so prevalent in the Fort Wayne music scene. It never has a chance to get boring, especially when "Iko Iko" gets placed right before "Copacabana," made famous by none other than non-funkster Barry Manilow.
Last year, says Cashdollar, the band was nominated by WhatzUp readers as one of the best cover bands in Fort Wayne. He says he'd like the band to be on the list again, but this time he wants the group to be nominated as best original band. Either way, fans are encouraged by the band to tape performances.
To put it briefly, if you own all the volumes of Pure Funk, or if you're a fan of good 70s dancing music, you'll like this group. Catch their vibe August 20 at Munchie Emporium, downtown.