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Winter Park / Live Music: ‘And thus Double Parked was born’

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

What started out as a chance meeting has lead to a beautiful relationship for members of jam band, Double Parked, scheduled to bring its Colorado roots music to the Winter Park Pub tonight.

Although the band jokes that its music sounds like a “Black Panther party of self-defense holding a rally at the Grand Ol’ Opry” on its MySpace page, their music encompasses a wide arrangement of Americana, rock and “draws from such wellsprings as blues, jazz, honky-tonk and psychedelia, all the while with an ear toward the future.”

Members who are making their musical debut in Grand County are Chad “Chadzilla” Johnson on drums, Mike “Spanky” McCluer on bass, Bill McKay on keyboards and vocals, Adam Stern on guitar, and Paul “Dr. Poz” Cohen on saxophone.

McKay and Stern first met on New Year’s Day 2005 after McKay finished a four-night gig with Leftover Salmon at Boulder’s Fox Theatre.

Stern had been playing with Dan Walker and The Sky and with the Henry Parson Project, a Widespread Panic tribute band. The two realized they had a mutual respect for jazz icon Sun Ra and when a Denver club owner had a last-minute cancellation, the two gathered up other musicians “and thus Double Parked was born.”

The two ended up playing a series of shows in the Front Range area with a stock company comprising of what was believed to be some of the area’s best rhythm sections, including Cohen, Johnson and McCluer.

“I’d known of Spanky for a while and loved his playing with Crispy Critters, so he was the first choice for a bass player,” Stern recalls. Johnson, who signed up with Double Parked last September, had been playing drums for Polytoxic. Cohen plays for the band for select shows and Stern believes he will be joining Double Parked for the Friday show at the Pub.

Before he ran into McKay, Stern worked for dot com companies in New York City.

After Sept. 11, 2001, he “hightailed it out to Colorado” and started playing guitar as something to bide the time. He had the opportunity to get to know Tori Pater and Stern, joined his Widespread Panic cover band, the “Henry Parsons Project” and played his very first show (ever) with them. After that, they did two national tours and Stern moved out to Boulder County to pursue music as a full-time career.

He’s written about four of the band’s 20 original compositions and said he gathers inspiration for his music from a variety of sources, including novels and classic films (particularly film noir, westerns and musicals). One of his all-time favorite movies is “Blue Velvet” and right now he’s enjoying reading “V” by Thomas Pynchon. He said he’d also cite Little Feat as a major influence.

The band’s large repertoire includes covers from musicians like John Coltrane, Merle Haggard and Carlos Santana, along with a collection of originals that continue to grow.

Stern said music by Double Parked is “very danceable and roots-oriented while still maintaining a quirky sense of humor.”

With their original song list gaining momentum, the band released a handful of tunes on a CD last summer and they are gearing up to record a full-length album in the near future. When they’re not playing off each others’ sounds and talents as a band, McKay and Stern sometimes play as a Double Parked acoustic duo for intimate venues. McKay also plays keyboard for Shanti Groove and Stern helps out with the Cold World Culture project.


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