Blog - April 2019
April 19 - Dorr Moose Lodge

This was our first Tricks show at the Dorr Moose in several years. Good Friday seemed like a risky day to ask a crowd to come out, and sure enough, the room was not very full. It doesn't help that the Moose enforces a pretty strict "Members Only " policy. We were happy with the sound of the room and the members who hung out with us. A small handful of Tricks regular fans showed up to give us some dancing action - Thank You The biggest and best surprise was seeing Tom & Fran there, since Fran has been in and out of the hospital for the past year or so. They have been Tricks' top "regulars" - Since we met them just five years ago, I doubt if they missed more than five or six Tricks shows - that is, until Fran started having serious health problems last year. Besides the moral support and love, we always like to talk Tom into taking some pictures for us. Tom often has his good camera in his car, but he also uses our cheapy camera like we talked him into doing tonight. Thanks for the pics, Tom. So good to see you there. Also, thanks to Rocking Rhonda and Todd, who drove out to Dorr to hang with us. Thanks to the Moose for having Tricks. Hopefully we can book some more shows at our new home in Dorr.

Blog - March 2019
Mar 8 & 9 - Wayland Hotel

This was basically our "Coming Out" party for 2019. Tricks normally takes a "Winter Break" in Steve's basement, and learns at least a dozen new classic tunes. This year, we had a situation where Steve was seriously thinking of hanging up his sticks for good. The Dick's Market store is going to need a new owner in a few years when Steve retires from that work, and Steve says he needs to concentrate on getting the store's business onto a more upward slant so it will look good to prospective buyers in a few years. So, part of the deal for Steve staying on another year was the offer of "no winter break in Steve's basement". That makes the entire household happy, not having to put up with our big noise two or three times a week for 9 or 10 weeks. The bottom line? No new songs. But, we certainly shifted our setlists around for our pseudo Coming Out. We have plenty of neglected songs that haven't been in the list for many months. We had a decent Friday and Saturday at the Hotel for this first weekend of 2019. By the way, it looks like Josh the owner is thinking seriously of dropping the live music. Seems like a trend, eh? Crurrently, the Wayland Hotel is our last venue where we are playing Friday & Saturday weekends. Everything else is one-nighters. Lots of work to set up and play and tear down all in one day. We don't usually accept a gig if we can't set up the night before. Guess we'll see what happens next year in Wayland. Like I've always said, there will always be live music somewhere. when one or two places stop the live music, there are a couple new places starting up. Plus, we always have said that we'd like to be done with the long hours at the bars, getting home at 2 or 3AM, and replace that with early-hours at clubs and parties. It looks like that's what is happening all by itself.

Blog - February 2019
Feb 16 - Birthday Party for Mike at Dorr Legion

Tricks normally has our winter break during January and February. It's not much of a "break" because we spend lots of hours working on some new tunes for our Classic Rock repertoire. We don't want to bore our fans or ourselves by playing the same songs every year, over and over. We usually add between 10 and 20 songs. This winter is different because Steve is looking at hanging up his drum sticks. Part of the agreement to keep Steve onboard with Tricks; we agreed to drop the winter break and give everyone a chance to concentrate on our families, our jobs, and other projects.
In early January, Steve got a request for Tricks to play for a birthday party at the Dorr Legion Hall. Since that hall is only a half mile from Steve's house, it was going to be an easy job. The Feb 16 date was already blocked out in Krystal's calendar, for an up-North weekend with her girlfriends. We ended up doing a "Boys Only" Tricks show. We only know about 140 songs, and we can't do about 60 of those songs without Krys helping out with lead singing and back-up harmony singing. That leaves around 90 songs for Steve and Rick to sing lead on. Lots of ZZ Top, George Thorogood, Stones, Skynyrd, Dire Straits, ... plenty of party tunes for drinking and dancing.
A fun time was had by all. Although we missed Krystal in the vocal department, we still has lots of power in the guitar, bass, and drums department. Lots of good friends and family, young and old. Plenty of food and drinks. Plenty of dancing and rocking with Tricks. Thanks to everyone who helped put on this party for Mike's birthday.
Steve names some names:
Birthday boy Mike & Denise Stebbins sent another deep appreciation text to Tricks yesterday.
Greg Potter ran the 50/50 to help them offset party expenses, no idea who the winners were.
Kitchen help incl. Brenda Dickman, Gail Potter, Joe VanWagner.
Volunteer Bartender Pat Pustay.

Blog - December 2018
Dec 31 - Allegan Eagles New Year's Eve Party

Tricks claims Allegan as our "home away from home", after Dorr and Wayland as towns that are close to our heart. Allegan is where we got our "better half" from the Opus band (in the 80s and early 90s), with Alleganites Dale Boysen and Tom Hudson coming directly from the Opus band to the Tricks band's Dutkiewicz brothers, Steve and Rick. Dale and Tom taught Rick and Steve how to do Southern Rock, Country Rock, and Blues Rock. In turn, Steve & Rick taught Dale and Tom a thing or two about British Rock and Progressive Rock. That all blended into our history and you can hear it in today's Tricks sound. Whenever we play in Allegan, that Opus band history comes washing over us, and we can't help but play some Lynyrnd Skynyrd and some ZZ Top, in memory of "what Allegan has taught us". And the Allegan dancers and head-bangers show their rock n roll spirit. This NYE Eagles party was one for the history books. Nothing but fun, fun, and more fun. As soon as Rick & Krys walked in, Steve said, "there's a Great crowd of people here". In a morning-after email to the band, Steve said, "Glad to see that packed house last night who partied until the end. Much better than many bars we've played on NYE. Like you said in your last blog, Tricks has found folks that suit us well at the Clubs. I know it always makes a big difference for me with energy when the crowd is even a little responsive."
Speaking of Tricks sound, we would be remiss if we didn't mention a HUGE milestone for Tricks: this New Year's Eve marks the end of Ozzy's EIGHT YEARS with Tricks. Jan 1, 2019 begins Ozzy's 9th year with Tricks. Only one bass player has been with us longer, the aforementioned Tom Hudson, from Allegan's "Opus" band.

All Hail the great John "Ozzy" Bosscher! Thumping for 8 Years with Tricks. So far...

The Allegan crowd did not disappoint. Nothing but love, love, and more love. Lots of dancing action, lots of hugs, lots of friends and family getting together to ring in 2019.
In a morning-after email to the band, Rick wrote, "Great job. Proud of my band. Glad Steve is staying on for another year or so.
Happy 8 years with Ozzy. Starting year 9. Wow! Thanks for putting up with us for so long.

My neighbors were the last table to leave. They were making plans for the Jam N the Cove party this coming summer.
Joe the property owner was there and gave his okay. Tim Miller texted Keith Dawson, and they are the top 2 who put money into the party planning. That whole table was just raving about what a fun and kick-ass band Tricks is. Let's keep working to live up to that expectation." .

Dec 1 - Holland American Legion

This was our 3rd Tricks show at Holland Legion. Steve booked a one-night gig in April through Fran Coughlin, son of Stan Coughlin of "Stan's Tavern" fame. We were hesitant to end our career being a band that plays all the VFW, Legion, and Eagles clubs, but it turns out that those drinkers who frequent those clubs are usually into classic rock, big time. That's how it turned out for us at Holland American Legion. They wanted us back as soon as possible, so we booked their drunk-fest of a golf outing. What a day-long party that was. We played from 4 to 7, and there were a few dozen people who still wanted to pay us to do more music. But, I digress.

This Saturday was terrible rainy road-flooding, snow-melting travel conditions. So, we had about half the crowd we expected. There might have been 40 or so people in there. But, what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality. It was one of the funnest crowds we had all year. Lots of cheering and dancing, and all kinds of fun.
Once again, we're getting asked back for a few Saturdays in 2019, and we are happy to take those gigs. If this is how Tricks is going to go out, we're pretty happy doing these one-night clubs instead of the bars. The hours are earlier, the drinks are cheaper, and the crowds are more friendly. Being members, they have more of a sense of "ownership", and it really shows in their party attitude. They work to create a fun atmosphere, instead of sitting back and letting the band do all the work. Check out our fun pictures.
We love this place. And we feel the love being returned to us. Thanks to Fran and the staff for being so nice to us. Thanks to everyone who braved the flooding roads to dance and party with Tricks. We love you guys.

Blog - November 2018
Nov 21, 23, 24 - Thanksgiving Weekend at AJs in Dorr (Final Tricks at AJ's)

Tricks final weekend at AJ's. Thanksgiving Weekend 2018. This place was "Stan's Tavern" for many year, even under several different owners who kept the name from the 50s, when the bar was owned by Stan Coughlin. It's been closed a few times, in between owners. The bar seemed to be closed for the last time around 2005. The place was run down and the building seemed to be on its last legs. We all expected to see the building torn down to make room for a parking lot or some new business in the old "downtown" section of Dorr, where Steve & Rick grew up. In 2011, the place was bought by Ernie & Amanda Gills, who already owned 2 other restaurants. One was in GR, the other in Hopkins, both with the name "Cocktailz". They got rid of their Grand Rapids place, and turned their attention to renovating the old building, with new plumbing, electrical, and lots of other things. Thus was born "AJ's Grill & Cocktailz". At first, they only intended to have a restaurant, with no late-night hours and no live music. Not sure how or why the decision was made, but Ernie and Amanda started having live bands in early 2012. After a more or less successful run with live bands, they have decided that they have to stop having bands. They want to sell the bar for their retirement, and live bands are lucky to break even on the spread sheet. That was fine until it comes time to sell. They have to show a lucrative business in their bookkeeping, and bands don't really contribute to the plus side very consistently. They are trimming the fat, so bands have got to go. We wish Ernie and Amanda all the best as they prepare for their retirement years, after a lifetime of working their butts off in the restaurant and real estate businesses.
This final big weekend for Tricks at AJ's was bittersweet for all of us. Wednesday was the usual "Turkey Eve" busy night. Although, the crowd is always gone home by midnight or so, getting ready for Thanksgiving Dinner at Grandma's house. It was cool to see all three of Steve's girls there with Tammy. A mini family reunion.

As expected, Black Friday was slow. Then our Grand Finale night on Saturday was a reunion of friends and family. Steve's birthday is next Wednesday, so Saturday was "get the drummer drunk" night. We had a small busload of people there from Holland, thanks to Krystal's Perrigo Art Dept work pals from way back, Nick & Shirley. We were also pleasantly surprised by our cousin from Grand Haven, Steve Weideman. Lots of our best Tricks fans, friends, and family came out to bid farewell to AJ's live music days.
Thanks to everyone for coming out to AJ's one more time. Thanks to Sherri for taking pics on Friday. Thanks to Ernie & Amanda for bringing live music to downtown Dorr for a good 6 years. And last but not least; Thank you dancers!

"Turkey Eve" Wednesday |Friday |Saturday




to Late 2018 website was started in March 2004.
Rick is webmaster, with graphics help from Krystal.

If you'd like to be a "Tricks Insider", receiving alerts about Tricks shows, parties, and other news, sign up for our e-mail newsletter.

Tricks News Only! - No Spam!

Comments? Clichés? Conversation? Chatter? Cr-r-r-riticism?
Send Tricks an E-mail

Tricks is on - Be a fan!
Share comments, messages, or pictures with the entire Tricks family.

Remember, Tricks loves you!

" There's Good Rockin' Tonight "