The Band That Almost Wasn't
The Full Story
Unlike most bands, The Eastwood Project happened by mistake. In late November of 2014, founding member Pete Kremer’s wife came home from work and casually told him “Oh, by the way, you’re playing at 'Christmas in The Park' downtown next week." Having not played publicly with, or without a band for over a year, Pete decided to call some friends for help. He contacted guitarist Doug Tisdale, percussionist Alex Nobles, bassist Ian Hanavan, and multi-instrumentalist Larry Smith. To Pete’s surprise, they all agreed to lend their talents and do the gig. However, the main stumbling block was that there was only time to get in one rehearsal. The fact that Ian, Alex and Doug had never met before didn’t prove to be a problem and off they went into what would become Eastwood Studio to put their own spin on "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" etc.
During the rehearsal, Larry pulled Pete aside and said, “I’m not sure what it is, but I’m hearing something really cool here". So Pete relayed that to the other three and all agreed to get together and see where it went. However, Pete didn’t want to simply put together another cover band and play in bars. Armed with a few dozen original songs that he had penned, he explained his vision of being a recording band and all emphatically agreed. The line up was set, the songs were selected, but now they needed a name. It would be Alex who suggested, “Well, it was Pete who brought us all together, and something like this only happens once in a blue moon, so I suggest, "Pete Kremer & The Blue Moon Band".” And that name and line up stuck... for a while, anyway.
After recording their first album, Wrong Side of The Law, Alex wanted get out from behind the drum kit and form his own band, "The Noblemen". Ian, who was filling in with several other local performing acts, took the position of full time bass player for "The Chris Squier Band", which left Pete and Doug on their own.
They recorded half of the tracks for their next album, Poets and Minstrels, with just the two of them and some studio effects. However, they both agreed that they needed more.
They advertised online that they were interested in finding a keyboard player. Pete’s cousin, Chris Drechsel, saw the ad and called him and said, “Pete, you want Dave Stevens.” Pete asked if he could audition or find some recordings of something he had done, but Chris replied, “Trust me, Dave is who you want”. Pete contacted Dave and asked if he was interested, explaining that they were a recording band who only did originals, and Dave said, “I’d rather create than copy”. And that sealed the deal. Dave fit right in, seamlessly. It was at that time that the name was changed to The Eastwood Project. Aside from Dave being a classically trained pianist, who filled in the bass parts on his electric organ, he was also an amazing drummer. The three finished recording Poets and Minstrels and went on to record Psychedelic Still Frames.
During the recording of the next album, Hide The Evidence, long time friend and 50 year WNY performing veteran, Gary Poncho (Dakota Jacobs), joined the group to add his bass playing expertise and brought in a few songs of his own. At one of the sessions, Gary said that he had told his friend and fellow 50 year WNY performing veteran, Brian Brothman, the he had joined up with a band that only did originals. Brian expressed interest in playing drums for the band and that rounded out the current line up of The Eastwood Project. They went on to record the next two albums, Right On Red and Empty Bar Stools. For the first time, rather than having all the songs written by Pete, these two albums included songs that were also written by Doug, Dave and Gary.
Honorable mention should be given to Doug Tisdale. With no training at all, he taught himself (and perfected) the art of recording, engineering and mastering for the band. He passed those skills onto Chris Drechsel, who also runs the sound for live performances. Alex Nobles and Larry Smith also come back occasionally to add their talents on songs where mandolin, accordion, harmonica and harmonies are needed.