Music : Staying power: Money Shot
A night on the town on Martha's Vineyard usually means dining, theater, casually hanging out with friends, or doing something a little livelier. And if you want to dance, you won't find better music to dance to a favorite local band, Money Shot.
Money Shot is the kind of band that entices you to put on your party clothes and venture into the Island town where they are playing. With their eclectic mix of hits from the past, and a song list that ranges from Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer" to The Strokes' "Last Night," Money Shot appeals to pretty much everyone.
Like most bands, Money Shot has had its ups and downs. It has taken time for them to reach the point they are at today. When Erik Claussen, lead vocalist, and drummer Colin Ouderkirk formed the band in 2002, they knew they wanted to start an 80s cover band. It was just a matter of getting the right people to fill the respective roles that proved problematic.
"We've had guitar players and bass players come and go. This is the tightest line-up we've ever had," says Mr. Claussen. While all four members have their separate lives and pursuits (their day jobs range from piano tuner to manager to carpenter), the group's bassist, Boaz Kirschenbaum, says, "We all actually get along."
Just listening to the band members chatting and telling playful jokes, it becomes clear that Money Shot is not strictly business; the guys' noticeable chemistry off the stage evidently informs the energy and cohesiveness found in their music.
For instance, when asked how they decide on the songs they play onstage, Mr. Kirschenbaum explains, "One of the guys will pick a song, and we'll sort of vote yes or no. John [guitarist John O' Toole] picked 'American Girl,' and that goes over pretty well," he says.
And Mr. O'Toole laughs and adds, "I feel like the Ringo Starr of the band."
Mr. Kirschenbaum retorts, "And I'm like the Rodney Dangerfield of the band."
When it comes to playing the songs they've chosen, Mr. Ouderkirk comments, "The songs we really enjoy playing are the ones the crowd enjoys hearing," and that's even if they don't align exactly with their personal tastes. "We're here to entertain them and that's why we have a good following."
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Many of the songs Money Shot performs they've been playing for several years, but these days the band is adding to their repertoire. With approximately 35 songs under their belt now, it aims to include about 60 by the end of the summer.
When faced with the task of selecting songs for this summer, Money Shot opted for a lot of new material. "Stuff that was more challenging," says Mr. Kirschenbaum.
Not only does practicing and performing cover songs let the band exercise their skills on a wide range of music, but it also lets them modify the songs to the members' liking by making their own arrangements. When asked if they think they'll stick with cover songs, Mr. Claussen says, "Yes, at this point. I don't think people are really into originals. Basically, we play the songs people know, play the songs that people love. They're going to dance, they're going to drink, they're going to have a good time. It's worked for six years."
And worked it has. Money Shot manages to fill a room in a matter of seconds wherever they play. Whether they're at The Wharf in Edgartown or the Lampost in Oak Bluffs - two spots you'll find them performing regularly - the laid-back, fun-loving members of Money Shot draw men, women, everyone from 20 to 60 year olds, to the dance floor.
"As long as the crowds keep showing up and they're having a good time - if I'm 70 years old doing this, I'll be totally fine with that," says Mr. Claussen with a smile.
Money Shot appears at The Wharf in Edgartown on Thursday, July 3, at 10:30 pm. There is a $2 cover charge.
Kylie Paul is a recent graduate of Skidmore College and a summer resident of Vineyard Haven.