By Hank McCoy
Parkland resident and digital media consultant Gary Lue wasn’t able to meet up with his friends in New Hampshire this year for their jam session weekend, so the band decided to play “together” from their homes.
Gary and the Star Island Shoal Survivors decided there needed to be more smiles in the world, so instead of completely postponing their yearly jam weekend, they took it to the internet to keep the tradition alive.
Their song choice: “With A Little Help From My Friends, the iconic megahit cover by Joe Cocker.”
The cadre of more than fifteen musicians has been jamming together at Star Island in the Isles of Shoal New Hampshire for about five years now.
They come from all different backgrounds, and some of the Star Island collaborators go back as far as high school.
Gary joined up with the group through friend and guitarist Carl Sturken; the two used to work in a recording studio together.
Gary, a digital media consultant, has been playing drums as long as he can remember.
“I’ve been playing drums since I was banging on pots and pans as a toddler.”
Carl Sturken, one of the guitarists in the jam session, has worked with artists from Rhianna to Christina Aguilera, and the songs Carl and his partner Evan Rogers have worked on have sold more than 60 million albums around the world.
Star Island, where the group gathers each year, is a retreat in New Hampshire for creatives and various artists. It started as just a place for families to get together, but they soon realized there were so many musicians coming to the small island, they started putting together a music weekend in September each year.
Gary explained that the choice of the Joe Cocker cover of The Beatles song fit the mood of the entire situation.
“We wanted a positive message. We really are a close group of friends. We just really wanted to put out a positive message.”
They seemed to have succeeded. The video performance has grabbed the eye of local television in markets like New York, Boston, and New Hampshire and has received over 10,000 views on YouTube.
“We don’t know ten thousand people,” said Gary.
Edited by Gary, the head of Digital Innovation and Operations for CreatorUp, an LA-based media production company, on the first inclination, it would appear they used ZOOM to put together the session. However, Gary said the lag makes it impossible to be able to record what they did in a single take.
So each artist recorded their parts individually — some even used their iPhones, while others used garage band or pro tools.
Lead singer Kemp Harris recorded his vocals into a mini recorder that you can see him holding during the performance.
The recordings came in from New York, Massachusetts, Florida, North Carolina, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine; each piece coming together to form like the 80’s animated cartoon Voltron and make a video that outshines the cringe-worthy celebrity “Imagine” video put out by Gal Gadot and other A-list celebrities a few months back.
When asked if the people will be able to see more of these positive jam sessions, Gary replied, “There’ll be more.”
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- Hank McCoy is a writer and journalist covering music, politics, and culture on his blog Hank's Luncheonette, as well as currently working on publishing his first novel. Hank grew up in Parkland and graduated from FAU before moving to Chicago where he worked in the music industry as an artist and talent booker when he wasn't throwing people out of punk bars. Hank recently moved back to South Florida after living overseas in Berlin while he traveled to Europe and worked on a new fantasy series. Hank digs music, comic books, history, and politics.