Chapter 3

The Move to Nevada!

In the last chapter, Terri and I were offered a steady house gig at Harrah's Casino in Reno, Nevada. We decidied to go for it and packed up our lives in California and made the move to Reno. It was 1986. It has been hard to reconstruct the timeline after so many years. All I have to go on is dates on the cassette tapes and some newspaper articles I still have.


Harrah's 1986

At the time we moved to Reno, in 1986, there was entertainment in just about all of the cluibs/casinos on Virginia Street in Reno as well as nearby Sparks, Nevada. Our gig was in the Virginia Street casino of Harrah's. There was this little raised stage and we were one of three shifts of duos performing on that stage. There was a duo called Brown and Diamond and another duo called Stan and Gloria that we shared the stage with. We stayed there for several months and this is also where I developed enough keyboard chops to eliminate the pre-recorded tapes and switch to entirely live MIDI sequencing. The money was great and we continued to improve.

Unfortunately, soon things would abruptly change. One annoying thing about this gig, and for that matter, every casino, was the smoke. There was no such thing as a non smoking area, and because our stage was so high, we were constantly breathing in second hand smoke, sometimes enough to make you cough. We had little fans up there to try and fend it off. On my side of the stage, below on my left, really close, was a bar and waitress station.

One night, a customer sat at our end of the bar smoking a cigar. It stunk so bad it was killing us! I finally leaned over and asked the guy to please put out his cigar. He got pissed and left the bar. Noticing this, the bartender got mad and complained that I chased away one of his regular customers. He yelled up to me, "If you can't handle the smoke, you shouldn't be in this business." This really infuriated me. The following week, the same bartender called up to me and asked me to turn the music down. My response to him was, "If you can't handle the volume, you shouldn't be in this business!" Boom! In two weeks were gone as he complained to the management!

Moving On

After the experience at Harrah's, I learned real quick that you don't mess with the bartender! Although our agent wasn't happy about our losing the gig at Harrah's, he went ahead and started booking us at other casinos in the Reno area. We worked at Fitzgeralds Casino, The Horseshoe Club, The Pioneer Inn and Casino, The Reno Ramada, Harold's Club, Karl's Silver Club in Sparks, to name a few. Below is some of our repertoire at that time.

Songs with an * feature trombone solo.

La Isla Bonita
*Bei Mer Bist Du Schon
*Route 66
Smooth Operator
Meet Me In Montana
Careless Whisper
Part Time Lover
I Only Wanna Be With You
In My House

Stream all tunes here >>>>

Joe And Terri at Fitzgeralds


The Birth of Rhythm and Motion

In 1988, Terri and I went our separate ways. She returned to California and ran a succesful business as a singing DJ. I renamed the duo "Rhythm and Motion" and over the next couple of years, I had 3 different female vocalists work with me. The sound and repertoire of the duo evolved with each new vocalist. The new vocalists over this period of time were Jan Curtis, Debra Clark, and Lynne Colvig. Each one brought their own style into the show.

As a side note, during this entire period of time, I would often perform with a strolling Dixieland band at Caesars Palace and other Casinos in South Lake Tahoe during the day, and come back to Reno to perform with the duo at night. The old jazz never left me! There was so much music happening in Reno/Tahoe back then. It's really a shame that those days are gone.


Rhythm and Motion - with Jan Curtis

Jan Curtis was the first vocalist that worked with me under the new name of the duo. Jan had a very powerful and dynamic voice. Below are some tracks from a performance at the Gold Dust West Casino in Reno, NV.

Songs with an * feature trombone solo.

Sweet Love
*Pink Cadillac
Don't You Want Me
More Today Than Yesterday
Boy From New York City
*So Emotional
In My House

Stream all tunes here >>>>

Joe And Jan at the Gold Dust


Rhythm and Motion - with Lynne Colvig

Lynne Colvig performed in another duo. She occasionally worked with me filling in during some of the transitions from one singer to the next, but also became a regular part of the duo for a period of time. Lynne was a great jazz and blues singer and brought an entirely new feel to the duo. This performance was at the Pioneer Inn and Casino in Reno, NV.


Songs with an * feature trombone solo.

Caribbean Queen
Nursery Rhyme
Giving You The Best That I Got
Undercover Agent For The Blues
Card Carryin' Fool
Nothin's Gonna Be Alright
I'll Always Love You
Been Around The World

Stream all tunes here >>>>

Joe And Lynne at the Pioneer


Rhythm and Motion - with Debra Clark

Debra Clark and I had a fairly long partnership. We worked together from 1988-1993. Her voice had a very smooth quality and she could really move you with her ballads. It's kind of ironic that this segment of my career ended where it started years before at Harrah's Club in Reno. We performed a steady gig at the new (at the time) Rendezvous lounge. This would be the end of Rhythm and Motion, at least for awhile, which you will see later on. This is also where I met the future mother of my son, Brandon.

Songs with an * feature trombone solo.

You're a Friend of Mine
For the Love of You
Love Potion #9
Make It Real
Never Gonna Give You Up
Too Much Fun
La Isla Bonita
Forever and Ever Amen
Get Here
*Bei Mer Bist Du Schon
Thing Called Love
*Choo Choo Chooboogie
Walkin' After Midnight
More Today Than Yesterday
Don't You Want Me
Grandpa Good 'Ol Days
Meet Me In Montana
Words Get In The Way
Straight Up
Two Hearts
Tonight I Celebrate

Play Column 1 here >>>>

Joe And Debra at Harrah's #1

Play Column 2 here >>>>

Joe And Debra at Harrah's #2

Play Column 3 here >>>>

Joe And Debra at Harrah's #3


The Lelands

After Debra and I went our separate ways, I started performing as a solo artist to keep the money coming in. My son was born in February of 1993 so I had to keep working. I was also in the process of rehearsing in a new vocalist to take Debra's place. While performing as a single at the Pioneer Inn in Reno, I received a call from Leland Henricksen from a group called The Lelands asking me if I would be interested in playing keyboards in his band. The Lelands were a popular group that regularly toured around the State of Nevada. It was steady work, so I decided to do it and put any ideas of continuing the duo aside. The new vocalist that was rehearsing with me was understandably disappointed. I had no choice. I was a Dad now and needed to work.

In the pic from left to right is: Lee Henricksen, lead vocal; Jet Kanani, Bass; Dave Sturtz, drums; Tom Davis, guitar and sax, and myself on keys and trombone.

Unfortunately I have no recordings of the Lelands when Iwas a member, but, the drummer, Dave Sturtz, was into writing his own songs and brought me in to record some trombone and trumpet parts on two of his albums. The albums were "Smell This" and "Pictures and Conversations". The tracks below are from those recording sessions. I especially like the song "You Smell". It's a great little tune!

The Lelands at John Ascuaga's Nugget

"You Smell" by David Sturtz
"A Long Tale" by David Sturtz
"Pigs and Pepper" by David Sturtz


Las Vegas, Sidro's Armada, and Beyond

I had several life changes while with the Lelands. While performing at the Nugget in Sparks, Nevada, I met Rebekah Holman (Now Rebekah Chase). My son and his Mom had moved to Washington State. Rebekah was a talented vocalist and when I left the Lelands, we decided to re-boot Rhythm and Motion. We performed at casinos all around the state of Nevada. Rebekah and I ended up getting married and soon after that, I was offered a job playing trombone with Sidro's Armada, a Vegas show group based in Las Vegas. We eventually moved to Las Vegas. The following track is from a gig with Sidro's Armada performing at the Palace Station in Las Vegas. (Two tunes and I sing the second one).

Sidro's Armada Palace Station


Unfortunately my run with Sidro's Armada didn't last very long. We bought a 32' travel trailer and went on the road as the newest version of Rhythm and Motion, performing in Nevada, California, and the Pacific Northwest. We hit the Seattle area, Lincoln City, Oregon and went as far east as Blackhawk Colorado to play at the Fitzgeralds' Casino there.

The tracks below were recorded at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe and the AVI Casino in Laughlin, Nevada

Songs with an * feature trombone solo. (also trumpet on Sheik of Araby)

I Got It Bad
Have Mercy
*Route 66
Thunder Rolls
Thing Called Love
Time Of My Life
Motown Medley
Does Anybody Know What Time It Is
*Just a Gigolo
I Feel Lucky
Love Potion #9
*Bei Mer Bist Du Shon
Somebody Done Somebody Wrong
Put Yourself in My Shoes
Don't Be Cruel
Come To My Window
Nothin's Gonna Stop Us
Something to Talk About
I Wanna Be Rich
Danny's All Star Joint
Strong Enough
I Swear
Hey Bobby
*Sheik of Araby
We Didn't Start The Fire
*Choo Choo Chooboogie
Black Velvet

Sometimes Love Ain't Enough

Lovin' Feelin'
Chain of Fools
Play Column #1 >>>>>
Play Column #2 >>>>>
Play Column #3 >>>>>
Play Column #4 >>>>>

This was our home while in Lincoln City, OR.

Performing in Lincoln City Oregon.

This was our home for two weeks at Mammoth Lakes, CA.

Yep! What you see is a decommissioned ambulance that I bought for $1000 in Reno! They told me it wouldn't start. As it turned out the engine computer had been unplugged. I plugged it in and it started right up. It was a 1985 Ford Econoline E350 1 ton van with a big 460 V8. That truck pulled the trailer with no effort, but got only 12 miles per gallon! The trailer was 32 ft. long and my two cats and a dog travelled with us. When we worked at a casino, instead of getting a hotel room, they would pay for our RV space. Was a cool way to travel. Never had to unpack!


The End of Rhythm and Motion

After months on the road, we found ourselves playing at a restaurant in Salem, Oregon. When our contract expired, it wasn't renewed. I ended up going back to work as a mechanic and we sold the travel trailer. There was no music work for us there. Rebekah and I soon divorced and I decided to go back to the San Francisco Bay Area. Rhythm and Motion would cease to exist. The next chapter of my musical career would take place in California. Click the link below for Chapter 4 "Back to California"



Chapter 4 back to California!

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Back to Chapter 1


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