The Arts section in today’s New York Times has a profile of Chicago adult-alternative act NYCO. More specifically, it’s about NYCO frontman Ted Atkatz, who quit his job as the principal percussionist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to pursue his soft-rock dreams on the club circuit. You can tell the piece’s author, Daniel J. Wakin, is a little off his usual classical beat, as evidenced in the disbelieving hand-flapping in this passage:
He now plays in joints across the Midwest, sometimes performing for the bartender or, on a good night, several hundred people. Orchestra Hall? Carnegie Hall? The Musikverein in Vienna? Forget it. Try the Mousetrap in Eau Claire, Wis., or Beaner’s Central in Duluth, Minn.
Although I don’t really have any hard data on NYCO’s popularity, I’m going to point out that for most bands with a self-released album and a “Past Shows” list that includes the Mousetrap and Beaner’s, playing for several hundred people is rarer occasion than a “good night.”
More funny disbelief:
Indeed, these days Mr. Atkatz has become his own stagehand, lugging keyboards and guitars into clubs, where the intermission drink of choice comes from a tap, not a Champagne bottle, and where the fragrance is stale Coors, not Chanel. Sometimes his nightly take barely covers gas and meals. Instead of fancy hotels, the band’s red minivan is where he often sleeps.
I’ve seen that minivan around town, and it’s actually pretty nice.