Winter Park/live music: Band grooves on alternative fuel
December 5, 2008
Powered by excitement in a tour bus fueled by vegetable oil, Morsoul is set for its first visit to the Winter Park stage.
This summer, the band converted its diesel bus engine to run on restaurant fryer grease.
The converted “veggie bus” brought more than a dozen Burning Man fans to Reno, Nev. and Morsoul was happy to report it only took $40 total in diesel to make the 2,000-mile “maiden voyage.” The environmentally conscious passenger vehicle will make its first band tour trip to Winter Park for the band’s debut Grand County performance.
Like the band, the engine revs up on the standards (of diesel for the bus and jazz and funk for the band). After about 10 minutes, the motor starts running on oil from four filters. As the band warms up, its creative juices blend into somewhat of a jam fusion with elements of reggae and rock.
Founding member Dan Menchey said the band’s song list mixes it up with “groove heavy” originals as well as several cover favorites. Inclusions highlight hits from the Allman Brothers, Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Doors, Steely Dan, James Brown, Grateful Dead, Rick James and Phish.
Self taught in piano, drum and guitar, Menchey began the band as a side project. He played all the instruments from Morsoul’s first album and has three new songs on the MySpace page featuring the band’s current lineup (Phil Johnson on keys and trumpet, Adam Mason on bass, and Max Kabat on guitar).
In his earlier days, Menchey played drums with a bluegrass band called the McCloskey Brothers in early 2000, playing West Coast festivals and composing on his own in his free time. After eight years, the tunes surfaced in 2003 as premiere solo album “The Devil’s in the Details.”
When the McCloskey Brothers’ schedule eased up, Menchey started playing his own songs in Boulder. As in previous band Mucis (in the late 1990s), he provided the lead vocals, but also remained as the drummer.
However, unlike many other percussion artists who are shadowed behind the front line of guitars, Menchey developed a distinctive style and is the songwriter behind the varied Morsoul repertoire. Half the reason he started writing the music, he said, was that he got a “bit tired of playing the same beats that guitar players would come up with.” His strong beats and thoughtful lyrics aim for a crowd that is dancing and grooving (one of the best lines is from “Tell My Heart No:” My voice is cracking like thunderclouds. My eyes are all filled up with rain). The base beat he builds off of “tends to give each song some lift to it.”
With Breckenridge as his first stop in a move West from Philadelphia, Menchey plays often for ski towns like Winter Park. He took a job in a historic saloon in Breckenridge and it was there that he got his first taste of the Colorado music scene.
With inspiration from such brilliant shows like that of Umphrey’s McGee and Sound Tribe Sector 9, Menchey began to incorporate laser light motion to his shows. Morsoul’s debut concert will also be the first time the Winter Park Pub will have such a show.