It seems like almost everybody has a "bucket list" - a list of things you hope to do or accomplish before you, well, kick the bucket. Some people think big, from visiting another country to meeting their favorite country music star. Others don't aim so high. A group of musicians with Lexington roots decided to take this idea and create a band around it.
"The reason we're called The Bucket Band is that we're playing all the songs from our bucket lists. All the songs that we've always wanted to play, but never had the chance," explained Cliff Payne, bassist for the band.
"When we first got together, we simply wanted to play something different from the same old, same old, songs that everyone else was playing," added Tim Coulter, keyboardist and guitarist. "But once we freed ourselves from trying to fit into the typical cover band mold, we realized we had thousands of songs to pick from. One of us would mention a song, and someone else would say, 'That's always been on my bucket list.' That's where the name came from."
The band soon noticed that almost all of their songs were from the "golden era of AM radio," the 1960s and early '70s. WHB Radio in Kansas City provided the soundtrack for the band members (who are now all in their 50's) while growing up. "We not only had WHB out of Kansas City, but KLEX in Lexington also played Top 40," said Payne, who worked as a DJ at KLEX for a time. "In the '60s there was KLEX-A-Go-Go. Bands would set up on the front porch of Teen Town, across from the Goosepond, on a weekend afternoon and KLEX would broadcast the show live - one microphone set up in the yard in front of the band!"
Guitarist Kevin Goodloe remembers the afternoon shows at Teen Town, listening to his brother Larry play in some local bands. "There was a certain feeling to the music back then. It just seemed fun. We're trying to go back to that time period with our music, and it turns out that it's just as much fun to hear now as it was then."
"I can't believe how much fun it is playing these songs. When I joined, they gave me a list of about 80 songs. I'd heard all of them before, but I'd never played any of them before," explained Bruce Johnson, drummer for the group. In fact, it took much longer for the band to be ready to play because they had to learn the songs from scratch.
"Usually a new band gets together and they all offer up songs that they played in their previous band. Since so many bands play a lot of the same songs, it doesn't take long for them to have an evening's worth of music. We purposely didn't want to do that, but it made it a lot more work for us," Coulter said. "There are a handful of songs that one of us played before, but usually it was 30 or 40 years ago!"
Goodloe added, "Another reason we had to learn so many songs is that the average song from the '60s was less than three minutes long. We didn't want to stretch them out with a long guitar solo or anything. We play them as close to the recorded version as possible. Of course, that meant we needed twice as many songs." The band also has worked up enough songs so that they don't play the exact same set list every time they play.
A lot of other bands will play one or two songs from the '60's. How is The Bucket Band different from that?
"We don't limit ourselves to anything. If it's fun, we'll give it a try," replied Coulter. "At one of our first practices, I took a chance and said, 'You know, I wouldn't mind doing a song by...umm...Neil Diamond.' I waited for someone to say, 'Are you serious?' Instead, Kevin said, 'I love Neil Diamond!' That opened things up."
"I knew when we added a song by the 1910 Fruitgum Company that anything was fair game," added Goodloe with a chuckle. "Just like Top 40 radio back then, we play a huge variety, from The Beatles to The Temptations to The Stones."
All of the members of the group sing lead, with Payne and Goodloe handling the majority of the vocals. For a four-piece band, they cover a lot of ground. Goodloe, Payne and Johnson handle the basic guitar, bass and drums, with Coulter playing a variety of instruments. "If you listen to that era of music closely, you'll notice that there's horns, full orchestras, 12-string guitars - everything you can imagine - thrown into the songs. There was a lot of musical experimentation going on then. So, to make the songs sound like the record, I either have to learn the odd instrument, or figure out how to play it on keyboards. But when we put everything together - all the vocals and all the instrumentation - it's worth it."
Payne sums it all up, "I've been in a lot of bands in my lifetime, and this is the best I've ever had the pleasure to play bass for. I'm really excited to get out and share the fun we've been having with this music."