East Main Band delivers energetic '60s and '70s rock, along with a few choice favorites, and solid lead vocals and harmonies.
Formed on New Year's Eve in 2007, the Ashland band's original lineup was Mike Gardiner on keys and harmonica, Dave Bernard on rhythm and slide guitar, Larry Addington on lead guitar and Mike Dadaos on drums and (ahem) accordion.
Growing up in San Francisco, the accordion was Dadaos' first instrument.
"We do a kind of tongue-in-cheek arrangement of The Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' with an accordion lead," Dadaos says. "It's always a crowd pleaser."
Ken Kigel of the Rogue Valley Symphony filled the lead guitar slot when Addington left the band early last year, and pedal steel player Will Bartell joined the group in late 2016. Sax player Lincoln Zeve, who headed up the Lincoln Project for several years, joined East Main Band in 2013.
"Lincoln's fun to have around," Dadaos says.
East Main is set to perform at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 15, at Red Lily Vineyards in Jacksonville; at 6 p.m. Friday, June 16, during the Medford Cruise celebration in Fichtner-Mainwaring Park in Medford; at 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 30, at Grizzly Peak Winery in Ashland; and at 6 p.m. Friday, July 21, at Del Rio Vineyards in Gold Hill. More summer shows will follow. See facebook.com/East-Main-Band.
"Everyone in the band, except for me, is a multi-instrumentalist," Dadaos says. "That lets us change things up for different sounds. We cover a lot of Beatles' and Stones' music, Van Morrison, some Joe Cocker. We do Eagles, Doobie Brothers, some Jackson Brown, a big mix of that whole era."
Audiences seem to enjoy East Main's harmonies, Dadaos says. The band also is versatile and can jump from Johnny Rivers to the Rolling Stones to some old blues songs, such as "Walkin' the Dog."
"Will's pedal steel gives us a new sound," he says. "We play outlaw country from the '70s and '80s by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. Garth Brooks' 'Friends in Low Places' also is a favorite with the crowds."
What's interesting about the band, Dadaos says, is that each member is from a large city: Pittsburgh, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Most of the members worked in bands when they were younger.
"Yet here we all are in Ashland," he says. "I moved here to attend SOSC (SOU). When the core band was me, Gardiner and Bernard, our kids were in kindergarten together. That's how we knew each other. Now the kids are in their mid-30s, so we've know each other awhile."
Bernard is a big James Taylor fan, and he's set the band to perform this fall in a three-week spotlight of James Taylor music at Camelot Theatre in Talent. Bernard also played in Camelot's spotlights on Kenny Rogers and Carole King.
"And we've known Ken forever," Dadaos says. "He was a music teacher at Ashland High, and all our kids went through school with him."
Keyboard player Gardiner fills in on bass for a number of East Main's songs.
"He loves that stuff out of Detroit," Dadaos says. "He sings Wilson Pickett's stuff, like 'The Midnight Hour.'
"I've saved all my records. It's really fun to spin those hits. I have all of the early Beatles albums, but my first was Elvis' 'G.I. Blues' that I bought at Sears in San Francisco when I was probably 12."
Dadaos got a new set of drums just before New Year's Eve in 2007, so he invited everyone to come play at his house on East Main Street in Ashland. Everyone had so much fun, he says, that they began rehearsing twice a week, first at his home, then later in a band room at Bernard's.
"Our first gigs were our kids' weddings and friends' birthday parties, then we started playing local wineries, private parties and corporate events in 2010," Dadaos says.
"We're all retired now. We used to rehearse from 6 to 9 p.m. twice a week. Now we play from 2 to 5 p.m., a much more respectable hour."