Maggie Speaks: 2013 in Review

It may a little late, but we are taking a look back at the year that was 2013.

Of course, we have nothing on the American Cancer Society – who used the time travel theme of 1913 to celebrate their 100 years in service.  Their Discovery Ball resembled a train station circa 1913, complete with signs and a “Ticket Counter” check in desk.

ACS Discovery Ball

Photo: Jenn Gaudreau

This was just one of the many fun events that we were privileged to play at this year.  What makes these events so special?  They were all raising funds for very special causes.

The ACS Discovery Ball was the #1 fundraiser in Chicago!  Almost 900 attendees raised over $2.1 million.  For more information on this event, go to http://www.bizbash.com/american-cancer-society-gala-gets-fund-raising-help-from-100-leaders-1-puppy/dallas/story/26103#sthash.772ruDEI.H3VdVJbd.dpbs

We were rubbing shoulders with the greats at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Colombian Ball where we were delighted to share the stage with Buddy Guy!  The night also included a failed bid by Dave to drink out of the Stanley Cup (the winning bid was $10,000 – just part of the $2 million raised that night.)

Photo: Patrick Gipson/Ravinia

Photo: Patrick Gipson/Ravinia

Big Stars and Big Venues – we were exhilarated to play in front of a sold out crowd at the Ravinia Gala.  This was the first time a gala concert sold out, plus record attendance for the lawn seats.  (As much as we’d like to claim it was all us, it probably had something to do with world-renowned pianist Lang Lang as well!)

 

Photo: Dan Rest

Photo: Dan Rest

One of the most visually stunning events was the Friends of Prentiss Gala at Navy Pier with an Into the Wild Theme.  Over 700 guests raised over $1 million.

 

Photo:  Christy Lynch

Photo: Christy Lynch

And, we took a walk on the wild side at the Brookfield Zoo Whirl.  (Which almost required helicopters and/or boats to reach due to flooding!)  While many of our club gigs can claim some interesting attendees – our audience that night included flamingos, a sloth, a penguin and a cheetah.

 

What was the common theme between these events?  Success!  All of these events were among the top 25 fundraisers in Chicago.

Why mess with a good thing?  We are excited to be playing all these events again this year as well as adding the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum’s Butterfly Ball and the Auto Show.

For more information on these events, click here:  http://www.bizbash.com/chicagos-top-100-events-2013/chicago/story/27486#sthash.Rw8Gg2v2.dpbs

Want to include Maggie Speaks in your fundraising events?  Contact us at sales@magevents.com or call 815.230.3770.

Dress Ugly – Do Good

ugly sweaterEveryone has been touched by Cancer.

This holiday season, Maggie Speaks wants to give back by partnering with Stand Up 2 Cancer to help find a cure.  Join us on Friday, December 20th at 10:30 PM at 115 Bourbon Street for their Ugly Sweater Show.  During the show, text UGLY to 40202 to make a $10 donation to Stand Up 2 Cancer*. Join the fun by wearing YOUR ugliest holiday sweater – “losers” will win a $100 gift certificate.  115 Bourbon Street is located at 3359 W 115th Street, Merrionette Park, IL 60803.

As Sarah Silverman (SU2C Ambassador) says, “You’ll feel like you’ve done something good – which you have! In the most minimal possible way.”

Don’t want to text?  Go to https://uglysweater.su2c.org/ to donate or start your own team.  Help us start the end of cancer for everyone!

About Maggie Speaks: Since 1997, Maggie Speaks has been building a reputation from Europe to the Bahamas to our hometown of Chicago as the band that delivers more than a show.  Having shared the stage with names like Earth Wind and Fire, The Doobie Brothers, .38 Special, and Jay Leno, among many others, Maggie Speaks is considered one of the hottest live bands in Chicago. They’ve also performed for some of the largest corporations in the world, including Pepsi, IBM, Estee Lauder, Nike, and Marriott.

*$10.00 donation to EIF-SU2C. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to participate. Msg&Data Rates May Apply.

Allison Says…

allison-microphone

1.What music are you listening to recently?

Lots of different stuff…lots of Beatles records and solo McCartney stuff (in anticipation of his upcoming tour!), Company of Thieves (Running From a Gamble), the new JT album, Little Dragon, Dirty Projectors (Bitte Orca), Nikka Costa (Like A Feather) to name a few…

 2. How did you get started playing music?

I’ve been singing since I can remember, but I started piano lessons when I was 6 or 7 because all of my older sisters were taking lessons.  I’m pretty sure my parents forced them to take lessons (like most Filipino parents do), but I was super eager to get started.  Best decision ever.

  3. What’s one of the coolest gigs you’ve played? and/or what’s one of the worst

I was a member of the Grant Park Symphony Chorus during the summer of 2004, and it was amazing to sing some incredible music on the Pritzker Pavilion stage as well as in the Harris Theater.  We performed some of the most challenging music I’ve ever learned, and it was the greatest experience to work with such talented musicians and conductors.

Worst gig? I gotta say, although I met some hilariously awesome people and we had a whole lotta fun mocking the show we were performing, it has to be the Spirit of Chicago show circa summer of 2003. Lots of sequins and faux fur. Just terrible.

 4. Famous people you’ve met or played with

In college, I met and performed with some great musicians including Wynton Marsalis, The New York Voices, Take 6, Patty Barber, and amazing opera singers Sam Ramey, Michael Best, and Tracy Watson.  When I did Miss Saigon at Drury Lane, I got to meet Cameron McIntosh, the original producer for the show, and worked with Roberta Duchak, who was a vocal coach for the film version of Les Miserables. And we just met the Goo Goo Dolls in Vegas. That’s a weird little laundry list of people!

 5. If you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing?

I’d be teaching elementary music, ideally to grades K-4th.

 6. What did you want to be “when you grew up”, when you were a kid?

I always wanted to be something having to do with performing, any combination of singing, acting, or dancing.  I also wanted to be a teacher.  Fortunately, I’ve been able to do all of those things professionally!

7. What’s different about performing in FS compared to other bands you’ve been in?

Definitely the super busy schedule, and the repertoire is broader than any other band I’ve been in.

8. What’s a fact that surprises people about you?

I played on a competitive dodgeball team called the Dickey Donkers with the National Amateur Dodgeball Association (look it up, it’s real) and we won a couple national championships.  NBD.

9. What is something you want people to know about you?

I taught general music for two and a half years in Skokie, to kids from preschool to second grade, and my Illinois teaching license is current. I can teach band, orchestra, choir and general music to students from kindergarten to 12th grade.  Teachers are the greatest people, and are so important to making this world better. Just sayin’.

 10. Do you play other instruments?

Yep, I play piano and guitar, and am an amazing drummer. ;-)  Tyson and Jeff will tell you I play amazing cymbals and hi-hats, sometimes a tom or snare here and there! No really though, I got like 3-4 beats that might cover a wide range of tunes…Strong beats are on 1 and 3 right?!

 11. How long have you been with FS?

Almost 3 years.  Wow, does time fly.

Domingo Says

We know you’ve all been yearning to know more about the only known Asian Neil Diamond Impersonator (and one of the funniest guys around) – Domingo Castillo.

1.What music are you listening to recently?

I’m a little late to the party on this but I was recently introduced to a band from Iceland called Sigur Ros. Amazing! I like the 2012 Van Halen album with David Lee Roth. It’s not unusual to find me singing along to early 80s Genesis with Phil Collins or The Best of Men at Work. Hmm…Halestorm is pretty rocking’. I love The Sundays, Stone Temple Pilots and Siouxsie & The Banshees as well as other groups that don’t necessarily start with the letter S.

 2. How did you get started playing music?

In fifth grade my school attempted to offer music lessons on this funny plastic wind instrument called the recorder. It was a short-lived program but we all learned basic melodies. I was a big hit when I taught myself how to play both The Star Wars Theme and Macho Man by The Village People, solely by ear.  A year later, when I was 12 I discovered my mom’s dusty acoustic guitar in the back of my closet. Soon after I met an older kid in the neighborhood who knew how to play guitar and owned all the Led Zeppelin albums…then it all fell perfectly into place.

3. What’s one of the coolest gigs you’ve played? and/or what’s one of the worst

Playing for several thousand at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was surreal. Performing in Barcelona, Spain in 2010 and more recently in Istanbul, Turkey were also career high points. As far as one of the worst? I make mistakes all the time. Wait ’till you see what I’ve got planned for tonight’s show.

 4. Famous people you’ve met or played with

I once did a gig with the singer from Maggie Speaks.

 5. If you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing?  

I’m fortunate in that I have more than one job that I truly love. Since 1997 I’ve lived a double-life as an instructor in the Radio Department at Columbia College Chicago. If music wasn’t an option I’d probably be teaching full time. I’ve also painstakingly rehearsed the phrase  “Welcome to Los Pollos Hermanos, where something delicious is always cooking. How may I help you?” just in case this guitar player / rockstar thing doesn’t work out for me.

 6. What did you want to be “when you grew up”, when you were a kid?  

As a child I really didn’t have any clear picture as to what I wanted to be. I just tried to stay positive and indulge in my creative side with work that I enjoyed which ultimately led to this moment.

7. What’s different about performing in S4 compared to other bands you’ve been in?  

There’s a high level of musicianship and professionalism in this family of bands that I’ve never before experienced. (I believe that’s how I was told to say it.)

 8. What’s a fact that surprises people about you?

Here’s two:

There’s a dimmer switch on nearly every light in my household.

When you buy a new set of guitar strings it comes with a paper or cardboard proof-of-purchase. I’ve saved every single one since I was about 13. The box now weighs about 20lbs but the good news is that I think I finally have enough “Players Points” to redeem for those Hall & Oates / Billy Squire tickets.

 9. What is something you want people to know about you?

…that I’m sorry and that it won’t happen again.

 10. Do you play other instruments?  

I’m the only member of the organization who is able to cover the guitar, bass and male vocal positions when needed. I’m considering attempting the female vocal position but I’m still working-off a few extra pounds from the Holidays.

 11. How long have you been with MS/FS/S4?

I started with Maggie Speaks as a guitar sub around 2004-2005. I’ve been with Spoken Four since Day One in 2006, up until sometime in the near future when Neal Schon from Journey calls me, seeking a Fresh, Fourty-something Fillipino Face to replace that current guy.

Dave Carl Says

1. What music are you listening to recently?

Utopia (Caravan), Tom Waits (Blood Money), Eagles (One Of These Nights), John Mayer (Queen Of California)

2. How did you get started playing music?

My father and uncle are very musical, and my grandfather was George Carl, a very unique comedian well-known mostly by other comedians. So doing something artistic was encouraged, rather than discouraged. I was given a toy drum kit when I was five, and at six I upgraded to a real kit. When my dad would take me to lessons, he’d be in the next room having a guitar lesson. I could recognize that guitar is such a melodic instrument that songs just magically pop out of the thing, while my drum exercises just sounded like scattered puzzle pieces. I switched to guitar at 7 or 8 and discovered I had small hands but a fair amount of natural talent.

3. What’s one of the coolest gigs you’ve played and what’s one of the worst?

One of the coolest: winning the talent show in school and hearing the entire auditorium chanting my name.  One of the worst: I was playing Palace Station Casino in Vegas, and when I arrived I got my right thumb stuck in the sliding door of my van. I had to fumble for my keys with my left hand and unlock the door to get my right hand out. I still did the gig, but that was the most pain I’ve ever been in wearing a guitar. The most pain I’ve ever been while wearing womens clothing is another story entirely. You know I’m joking, right? LOL… RIGHT?

4. Famous people you’ve met or played with?

Played onstage with Louie Bellson, Lou Marini (SNL, Blues Brothers),  Jim Peterik (Survivor, Ides Of March) Kelly Keagy and Joel Hoekstra (Night Ranger), Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon), Henry Paul (The Outlaws), Don Barnes (.38 Special), Dirty Dan Buck(The Boyz).

Cool people I met by being in their warm-up band:

Greg Allman, Robin Trower, Steve Walsh (Kansas, Streets), Bobby Kimball(Toto), Sebastian Bach(Skid Row).

5. If you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing?

Probably weeknight solo gigs and weekends with Monkey Cocktail, my previous band.

6. What did you want to be “when you grew up”, when you were a kid?

I’ve never ever wanted to do anything but play music. It was obvious to me and everyone around me, going back as long as I can remember.

7. What’s different about performing in Final Say compared to other bands you’ve been in?

I’ve always been in bands that drew from a broad range of material, but not thiiiiiiiiiisssssssss broooooaaaaaaddddddd!!!!!!

8. What’s a fact that surprises people about you?

That I have this whole other life and am actually better at songwriting than anything else I’ve learned to do.

9. What is something you want people to know about you?

I don’t like beige. And I miss riff rock. And I can’t sleep. And I don’t watch sports.

10. Do you play other instruments?

When I played drums, I got really good with my hands, but didn’t stick with it long enough to get each foot doing a different thing. Played snare drum in marching band in school.

11. How long have you been with Final Say?

Since the band’s inception, 2007.

 

Maggie Speaks Helps Harrah’s Celebrate 20 Years!

Harrah’s is proud to announce their 20th Anniversary in Joliet and Maggie Speaks is excited to join in the celebration.

Harrah’s first opened its “doors” in May 1993 as a River Boat Casino traveling the Des Planes river 6 times a day.  It is now a barge platform with Vegas Style Casino, luxury hotel, several restaurants, VIP lounge and Stage 151 – it’s entertainment stage.

This Sunday, May 26th, Harrah’s culminates its month long celebration with special jack pot bonuses, charitable donations, giveaways and of course, entertainment.  Stage 151 will once again be home to Maggie Speaks, playing from 7-10 PM.

For more information on Harrah’s, read the full article here.

Blake Speaks

Without him, you would have no beat to shake your booty to… Learn what makes Blake tick:

1.  What music are you listening to recently? Muse, Skrillex, Lithuanian Snuff Band

2. How did you get started playing music? An evil monkey visited me in a dream and told me that if I didn’t become a computer scientist he would cut off 3 of my fingers. The next night a wise old llama came to me in a vision and said the only way to fend off the monkey was to play loud drums all the time. So, you know – just trying to fend off the finger monkey.

3. What’s one of the coolest gigs you’ve played? and/or what’s one of the worst?  Tweeter Center in Boston with Meredith Brooks – Anything where ‘strolling’ was involved.

4. Famous people you’ve met or played with ?  Tom Hanks, Sammy Hagar, Meredith Brooks, Nelly Furtado – oh you mean in person?? No one.

5. If you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing?   Sleeping

6. What did you want to be “when you grew up”, when you were a kid? Drummer. Oops.

7. What’s different about performing in MS/S4/FS compared to other bands you’ve been in?
The intense focus on costume changes.

8. What’s a fact that surprises people about you?  I’m married to a doctor of neuropsychology.

9. What is something you want people to know about you? How old are you?

10. Do you play other instruments?  Musical? No. Not that you’d want to hear.

11. How long have you been with MS/FS/S4?  32 years this April

What else do you want to know about Blake?

Robby Says

He’s more than just a hot fedora and floor humps – find out more about the dynamic lead singer from Final Say:

What music are you listening to recently? I’ve been digging an Indie artist named Allen Stone. Check him out.

How did you get started playing music? My Dad was a singer in an Atlantic Soul group called the Enchanters. Before getting signed, they performed with the Jackson 5. When I was around 8 or 9 years old his group had a mini reunion in my living room and sang some a cappella tunes. It was one of the most beautiful things I ever heard. That pretty much got me hooked on singing.

What’s one of the coolest gigs you’ve played? And/or what’s one of the worst?

Hmmm. I guess the coolest experience was performing at the White House. The coolest gig was every show that I was able to sing side by side with my Dad in the band TimePeace.

Worst gig was playing to about 20 people on a wagon in the middle of a cornfield. Wait. That wasn’t so bad. The corn was delicious.

Famous people you’ve met or played with- Met Smokey Robinson and the Goo Goo Dolls. (How’s that for a broad spectrum?) Met and jammed with The Four Tops once. They were awesome.

If you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing? I’d probably write, act, and work as an English teacher.

What did you want to be when you grew up, when you were a kid? In order- I wanted to be a football player, then a screenwriter/director, and finally a singer/songwriter. Oops. I forgot one. When I was 2 years old I wanted to be a fire truck.

What’s different about performing in Final Say/Maggie Speaks/Spoken Four compared to other bands you’ve been in? Definitely the repertoire. I was never in a top 40’s cover band before. Jesse’s Girl was a whole new world for me. That being said I dig the variety. It’s a fun gig and I love my band mates. They’re the best in the biz.

What’s a fact that surprises people about you? I have a large comic book collection. Mostly Marvel. Geek you say? Very well. I accept.

What is something you want people to know about you? I have my own music. I don’t sing it often but it’s out there. I have a CD called Voiceprints floating around on itunes. If you really want to know me just give my tunes a spin. They’ll tell you almost everything.  :)

Do you play other instruments? I play the piano but I use the terms “play” and “piano” very loosely. I’m also a frustrated percussionist.

How long have you been with FS/MS/S4? Hmm…I better check my calendar…or I can just make myself a PB and J and throw out my best guess. 5 years. Mmmm..peanut butter.

Wedding with Style at Navy Pier’s Crystal Gardens

We have been privileged to play at a number of weddings, but none quite like this!  Where could you combine beautiful gardens, a city view, great catering and fireworks?  Navy Pier Crystal Gardens!  We got to work with some amazing people in the industry Phil Stefani Catering and LOLA Event Planning.  And, of course, our beautiful bride, Katie Thome of Dolce Strings and her husband Justin. 

For some amazing photos, please go to the LOLA blog.

Thank you, Katie and Justin, for letting us be the soundtrack to your wedding.

 

** Photos provided by Tricia Koning

Avi Says

1.What music are you listening to recently? Right now I’ve been listening to the radio.  I’m into a large variety of stuff ranging from pop to rock to metal to r&b.

2. How did you get started playing music? I wanted to become a singer when I was a teen and was influenced by the MTV era.  I learned how to play guitar when I was 15 and a year later learned bass.  I stuck with bass as my main instrument since it was in high demand.

3. What’s one of the coolest gigs you’ve played, and/or what’s one of the worst? The coolest gig I ever played by far was in 2003.  I played bass in a band called “From Zero” who were signed to Arista.  We were on a fest in Connecticut opening up for “Cold” and “Seether” and a bunch of other bands.  There had to have been about 6000 people there.  That was amazing!  My worst gig by far was in 1996 I was playing at a now defunct club called “Sidelines” in the city.  Only 3 people showed up and the owner made us end early.  We got paid 5 bucks and were told never to come back.

4. Famous people you’ve met or played with? In the late 80′s and early 90′s I opened up for Enuff Z’ Nuff, Lillian Axe, and Life Sex and Death.  During the mid to late 90′s I’ve shared a stage with Soul Asylum, Nine Days, and Guster.  In the early to mid 2000′s I was on the same bill as Chevelle, Cold, Seether, No One, and 30 Seconds To Mars.  With Final Say we’ve played with The Spinners and The B-52′s.  I also did recordings with Steve Albini and Johnny K.

5. If you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing? That’s a real good question.  Probably some kind of job that I didn’t like.

6. What did you want to be “when you grew up”, when you were a kid? I pretty much wanted to play in a band and so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 25 years.

7. What’s different about performing in MS/S4/FS compared to other bands you’ve been in? This is the only band I’ve ever played with in ear monitors.

8. What’s a fact that surprises people about you? I was an ice hockey referee for 5 years in the late 90′s,

9. What is something you want people to know about you? I want people to know that I will be here for as long as I am until I’m gone.

10. Do you play other instruments? I play bass, guitar, and sing.

11. How long have you been with MS/FS/S4? I’ve been with FS for 5 and half years since it started.