About Wishbox.....backing band for JLT and for Glenn

  • I've enjoyed watching these guys play with JLT in November and hanging out with them then and at NAMM. Here's some more info about them I found on Google. Even though they all have non music day jobs.....these guys are all great players who nail the stuff they are playing just like the recordings. They are as good as any full timers out there. And look out.....guitarist Mike's son has been playing drums since he was 5 or 6 and he is already incredible and he's only 12 or 13!!!!!!! (I saw him play at NAMM)



    Brad Kava, 05:16 PM in Brad Kava, Concerts, Music
    The bass player with the long hair and the buffed shoulders popping out of a sleeveless shirt, is in fact a rocket scientist.
    The flaming-fingered guitarist owns two moving companies, 20 semi trucks, six bobtails and a plethora of service vehicles.
    They are two Silicon Valley musicians who have never given up their dream of playing loud rock 'n' roll to big audiences, but have had to find ways to pay mortgages and support families.

    (Photos: sal above; mike below, courtesy wishbox)
    Tonight, these guys, who play together in the bands Wishbox and the Real Rockers, will back up heavy metal rocker Joe Lynn Turner, the former singer for Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow in the 1980s and Deep Purple in the 1990s.
    For Sal Birtola, 46, it's not the big dream come true, but it's a good taste of it. Birtola, who has been a musician since attending San Jose's Leland High School, has backed up bigger name musicians -- Pat Travers, Santana singer Alex Ligertwood and Suvivor's Jimi Jamison -- who fly into town and take them on tour up and down the West Coast.
    By day, he has helped design the cargo bay for the space shuttle and is a contractor for Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore.
    "It's fun stuff but it's not like music is,'' says the scientist who has a number of patents for spaceships that probe the planets. ""It's somewhat rewarding and challenging, but if I got musical a break, I'd take a leave of absence and go for it.''
    Birtola, who has two kids, Jake 13 and Sami, 10, can make as much as $1,500 for a musical gig, but more likely takes in $300 to $500 a night … nothing compared to his day job.
    His best shot came when he was in the band Palace, which was briefly signed to an offshoot of Columbia Records, and launched a tour of Japan in 1982. But in the middle of the tour, the label stopped paying them and things fell apart.
    The other bandmembers tonight include moving company owner Mike Rose on guitar, exterminator company owner Ben Street on drums; guitarist Mark Jones, who is a handyman by day and Kirk Gibbs on keyboards, who spends his days working at Veriphone, an ATM company.
    They have played in local bands with big names -- Fantasy, Anthem, Rival, Storm Front and Fortune -- as opposed to big-name bands. They still dream of the big time at night, but by day live a very different workday reality.
    ""I've got a $3,800 a month mortgage,'' says Rose, who has owned a branch of Mayflower movers for 19 years.
    ""I don't have a choice.''
    He and the others work hard in a studio to learn sometimes complex arrangements so the out-of-town singers can pick up and play a show without even a rehearsal.
    ""I don't play golf,'' says the 45-year-old extremely talented player who shreds with the best of them. ""I'm not into sports. Music is what I love doing.''
    He says he's realized that trying to make that his fulltime job is like ""winning
    the lotto, a pipe dream.''
    But he still labors hard at it, even building a recording studio in his Almaden home.
    Birtola says none of them is too old to rock and roll.
    ""If Pat (Travers) and Joe Lynne (Turner) can do it, so can we. Once it gets in your blood, you keep doing it and strive to go further and further. It's not about the money. It never was. It's about playing with these guys who were our heroes growing up. It's a personal reward.''
    You can catch them for $12 tonight at 8 p.m. at the Avalon, 777 Lawrence Expressway, Santa Clara, with openers Whskey Dust and Moreality.
    Also on tap this week: Paul McCartney, Monday and Tuesday at H-P Pavilion; jazz band the Bad Plus, Friday at the Independent in San Francisco; Santa Cruz hero Lacy J. Dalton returns home to Don Quixotes Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m.

  • Funny my brother calls me up & says he is buying a guitar for $2,000 + from a neighbor of mine & wants to know if I will tag along. When we get there it is Mark Jones from Wishbox/RealRockers. We had a good time talking with Mark & about seeing him play 20 years ago in the clubs. But what was cool was Mark played some of the backing tracks the band used to get the JLT gig, Amazing stuff. These guys have it together! You would have thought you were listening to the original recording's minus the lead vocals. Mark said there was a chance they might be backing Joe in Japan, not to bad.

    PS My wife went to School with the bass player Sal way back when, lol.

  • Now check this out..these guys can pursue the dream of performing and still keep the roof over their heads. I suppose the naysayers might carp about these guys are doing this as a hobby and that they aren't being true to their art..or some other anitquated codswallop. I don't believe in the nearness of glamour to squalor or the whole ethos of suffering for your art. These guys aren't a bunch of 20-somethings driving to a gig in a van. They have families and responsibilities....how cool is it that they can have solid day jobs and still do what they love after hours? More power to them!!

    I know there are a lot of musicians on the Forum here...for every one that hits the big time there are another 99 that are busting their butts doing what they love and still keeping a home and family together. Wes Montgomery used to work in a factory during the day and play music at night...he was pursuing his dream but had a wife and six kids to take care of too!

    We all love a success story.....way to go, guys!!:claphands

    Yours In The Funk
    Bill "Capt. Midnite" Redford



    "Cause if you fake the FUNK..your nose got to grow!" Bootsy Collins

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