The Firm is back and they’ve added a junior partner.
For those of you who don’t know, The Firm is Bill Eustice on bass, vocals and keyboards; Dan Crouchley on guitar, vocal and keyboards; Jim Morrow on vocals and guitar; John Foley on guitar; and Mike Daeges – formerly of Satchel Grande and Me2 – on drums and vocals
The band has been around, well, more than half the lifetime of its members would be one polite way to put it. It started with four Creighton University Law grads.
For years now, with some time off, they have provided a great night’s rock ‘n’ roll entertainment. The latest edition surfaced just more than a year ago.
“My 60th birthday was last November,” Crouchley said. “I wanted to play on my birthday, so …”
He contacted the other guys, who of course, said “Yes!”
They played at the Side Door Lounge on Leavenworth.
At that point longtime member Gary Foster was still on drums, and it wasn’t long before there was another gig, this one on New Year’s Eve.
The reason for the reunion is simple.
“We missed each other,” Eustice admitted.
Crouchley’s daughter is now older than the band was when they started in the late 1970s.
The band members will kid about missing the groupies, or maybe not missing them. “They can’t get through the medal detectors with their walkers,” Eustice joked.
The members of The Firm are always joking.
“We see a lot of the old fans,” Morrow said. He runs into them while taking his son to school. “Man, you guys should get together again,” they tell him. Then he tells them they have.
Daeges came in October and brings a different feel to the band from the admittedly excellent Foster. “It worked out quickly” the band members say. Eustice says: “Daeges is a master.”
As for the material, some of it you’ve heard the boys play before. “We’re about half and half,” Eustice said, referring to the mix of old and new songs.
“We draw from the same genre of music,” Eustice said, with at least one new set.
The band also has the perspective of time to consider the music they have played, and all admit they were inspired by some pretty good stuff. Eustice said a couple of 20-somethings recently started talking to him about David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album. The Byrds are another band that the audience has discovered.
“You get a mix of ages in here,” Morrow said.
Their ears remain open to new sounds, which, they point out come from different sources than in the past. “There’s so much more out there now,” Foley said. “It’s not filtering through record companies.”
YouTube and Spotify are cited as the sources for new music.
Which means fans can expect to hear something new. “It’s not all the same songs,” Morrow promises. It’s also not all cover songs.
Crouchley, Daeges and Morrow are writing. “I have no muse any more,” lamented Eustice.
“Volvo Wagon” is Crouchley’s new original. “It celebrates the kind of vehicles we drive now,” he said.
Morrow has been listening to a lot of Motown lately and that could show up in his writing. “I’ve been of been Motown crazy lately,” he said.
Musically, they remain solid. “John’s at a peak now,” Eustice said of Foley. “There’s some real playing going on.”
But, the years have led to a few changes. They now perform live about every 4-6 weeks instead of the more frequent bookings of the past “Because of the recovery time” they need.
Crouchley admits their hair color may be one thing that is different, and they joke about now being a 60s band in a different sense. That number is closer to their ages – a milestone not all of them have reached – not a reference to the decade in which much of the music they have played was created.
Today there is more competition. “There’s just so many bands playing . . . a lot of bands are paying to play,” Eustice said.
They don’t have to do that. The Firm practices at the Side Door Lounge on Mondays and hopes to become the house band. Owner Steve Jamrozy lets them keep their amps and drums set up.
“We kind of have an understanding that this is the only place we’re going to play,” Eustice said.
And perhaps things are not really that much different. “The last time we played I went over to my nephew’s house and stayed up until 4 in the morning,” Morrow stated.
For fans old and new, The Firm wants to make one more point about something that hasn’t changed.
“If they don’t want to rock, they probably don’t want to come,” Morrow said.
“It’s still a guitar-driven band.”
We know they aren’t kidding about that one.
The Firm is scheduled to play New Year’s Eve at The Side Door Lounge, 3530 Leavenworth. The band plays from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. No cover charge.