On the Beach returns to Old West End FestivalWritten by Tony Gonzalez | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Songwriter Jeff Tucker and his group On the Beach return to Toledo’s Old West End Festival after a two-year hiatus from the event.
On the Beach became a staple of the festival in the late 1990s, playing each summer 1996 through 1999, but has only played the festival once in the past five years. On the Beach returns with a prominent slot, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on June 3 and 4.
“We’ll be smooth, you can’t be wrong with smooth,” Tucker said, referencing the band’s intended set list. “It’s a pretty laid-back thing for a really wide age group. It’s a very old and well-produced festival.”
Tucker said he enjoys the festival’s location, which encourages passersby to stop and listen.
Despite the band’s recent absence from the event, On the Beach has continued playing independent rock as far north as Traverse City, Mich.
“We have been playing consistently, but you have to play your butt off to make money,” said Tucker, who makes his living with music.
Tucker has maintained a rotating On the Beach lineup since 1995 amidst approximately 150 shows each year. Tucker said On the Beach peaked with 224 shows in 2001, but scaled back for the 2006 summer to shorten driving requirements for band members.
“There’s definitely ups and downs,” Tucker said. “I’ve played for a living and I’ve had to put my butt on the line financially. I wasn’t brain dead when I did — I realized it was a wacky, crazy thing to do.”
Besides rigorous touring, Tucker released two independent albums. On the Beach’s music ranges from politically charged rock, such as “Freedom (Is Not Free)” and “Ritalin Children” to acoustic ballads such as “Dear Emily.” Tucker said some venues have requested the band not play political songs.
Tucker plans to record all summer shows to release a third CD.
“I want to re-issue some of the songs,” Tucker said. “We’ve never matched anything we do live.”
Tucker welcomes a new backing band for the summer, including Cleveland pianist Jessica Stewart and a “road dog” rhythm section of 30-year musicians Larry Smirin and Sam Miller.
ON THE WEB: www.onthebeachband.com