Gig Genetics Part I Band Attributes

Murley Shertz circa 2011

Here’s one of my favorite gig bands—Murley Shertz. Far left on stage you’ll see Dave Wilson, who works at Groupon. His first drum teacher was Kris Myers of Umphrey’s McGee. Then he learned a great deal from Chuck Schwartz, drummer with the Roy Vombrack Orchestra. Dave then studied with Paul Wertico and Chester Thompson, and certainly part of his gig genetics comes from these guys, but I think I deserve the most credit as I spawned him.

The gentleman second from the left is Scott Burdsall, fellow founder, and self-taught guitarist and reed pro. Scott is in marketing at Career Builder, and is the offspring of Murley mom Deb Burdsall, the Annie Leibowicz figure to the band. Scott’s dad is an accomplished pianist who played a cut on one of their CD’s.

The dude in red is Travis Hall, bass impresario and arranger of tunes written by various band members. Travis is a career Apple guy, first a vaunted member of the Genius Bar battalion, and now with a firm like Johnnie “Apple” seed, consulting on Apple-related issues. I’m not sure where Travis got his chops, but I’m sure someone in his family passed it on.

The Antlers Guy is Ryan Curtis, co-founder and lead guitarist. Ryan shares in song writing and lead singing along with Dave and Scott. Ryan is a senior soundman for Sears Center, and has an impressive list of artists that he has already done concert mixes for, including Billy Joel and Bob Dylan. Ryan’s dad has played in a Beatles-cover band for years. Dave and I played with Ryan and his dad in a festival a few summers ago.

Why is Murley Shertz one of my favorite gig bands? Maybe because the embody the quintessential gig band attributes:

  • Self-less interest in the gig—the money is clearly secondary
  • Practices around each member’s hectic schedule and lives
  • Reinvests heavily into their art, self-producing their EPs.
  • Has a friggin’ great time every time they get together
  • Their fans love them and has a great time when they get together

I hope Murley Shertz will soon be discovered, but in the meantime the band that plays together, stays together.

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