Hooters drummer celebrates Philly Rock and Soul connection
Wayne’s passionate David Uosikkinen project burns brightly with classic Philly songs and a who’s-who from a talented pool of local contributors.
David Uosikkinen is in Tubac, Arizona, a town about 15 miles north of the Mexican border that he so colorfully describes as “a meeting of the artist community. breaking Bad. “He visits his son, Sam, and stays in an Airbnb located behind a cigar store and relatively secluded, so he can play music without others complaining. And that’s a good thing. Uosikkinen doesn’t annoy anyone nearby.
“If you were dropped off here from South Philadelphia, you’d think you were on [freaking] Mars, ”he said with a throaty laugh. “The people are really nice here, but everyone is carrying guns. Everybody. It’s really intense.
It’s a social visit, that’s for sure, but Uosikkinen has business to deal with. Turns out there are a few old-fashioned record stores in the area interested in Uosikkinen’s latest offering, In the Pocket, called The Philly Special. He took some vinyls with him to southern Arizona and will stop by stores to drop off a few copies, just like he did in the Philadelphia area.
“I feel like the milkman,” says Uosikkinen, 65, who grew up in Levittown but now lives in Wayne. “I drive and see who wants the record. I’m exhausted, but it’s a cool exhaustion that you experience having fun with something.
Most fans in the region know Uosikkinen as the drummer for the Hooters, who burned brightly in the 1980s here and across the country, and although he continues to perform with the band (often in Europe), In the Pocket is a passionate project that has enabled him and many others to record what Uosikkinen considers to be the “essential songs” of Philadelphia. The band is more of a crowd than a more traditional outfit and accepts contributions from an ever-growing collection of local musicians who can turn shows into raucous bands. The name comes from a musical term describing a particularly good track composed by a musician or collaboration that sounds particularly good, and the sound of In the Pocket is indeed high end.
Hooters co-founders Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman have recorded with the band, as have Richard Bush and Rick DiFonzo of the A’s. Schoolly rapper D contributed, along with longtime Philly artists Jeffrey Gaines, Kenn Kweder, Tommy Conwell and Ben Arnold. Scandal’s Patty Smyth (“The Warrior”) is not a local, but she sang on songs. “I have all kinds of people who want to be a part of it,” Uosikkinen says. “There are only a certain number of spaces.”
Arnold gets one of these places. He went to an In the Pocket show, and soon after, Uosikkinen asked him to sing Robert Hazard’s “Change Reaction”. It has been a staple ever since. He enjoys working with the boisterous collection of musicians and credits Uosikkinen – a longtime friend and supporter – the glue that holds everything together.
“Dave is the great connector, the guru of In the Pocket,” says Arnold. “He ended up connecting different generations of musicians The Philly Special is an 11 song offering released earlier this year that includes everything from David Bowie’s seminal “Young Americans”, recorded in Sigma Sound in 1974, to the O’Jays’ “Back Stabbers” and “Escalator of Life”. . When Uosikkinen came up with the album title, which as any Eagles fan knows was the name of the famous Super Bowl game against New England, his wife, business partner and photographer, Dalyn, questioned his sanity. “Who will recognize this name?” ” she asked. Uosikkinen was incredulous. “Everyone,” he said. “It’s a legend.”
The band might not have reached that level of fame, but they have a pretty good concept that brought together a group of musicians, who in the ’80s and’ 90s competed against each other for broadcast, concert income, and music. recording contracts, but who now just want to play.
“When it was all going on in the ’80s, there was a certain adversarial relationship,” says Bush, who has known Uosikkinen since the 1970s, when they played together at the former Bucks County club, The Anchorage and today. hui in the face of peace. Rupture. “Now none of this exists. Anyone who’s still doing it now is happy to do it, and it’s nice to hang out with guys like Tommy Conwell and the Soul Survivors. It’s fun getting to know everyone.
Uosikkinen doesn’t expect In the Pocket to make him a big star, but he certainly wants to reach as large an audience as possible. “There are songs that matter to me,” he says. He realized how much he came back to the area after living in Southern California and was fortunate enough to experience the eclectic mix of styles that have made up the sound of Philadelphia over the years. He shares this passion with the students he teaches every week at the School of Rock’s Berwyn.
It’s a motivation that shouldn’t be running out of steam anytime soon. As The Philly Special Gaining momentum and the group is performing to support him, Uosikkinen will continue to respond to inquiries from potential participants and decide which other favorites he wants to tackle.
“I’m already thinking about the next album,” he said. And what stores in exotic locations might have it.
Visit songsinthepocket.org for sample downloads and the calendar of events.
Related: WMMR’s Pierre Robert Confronts Hooters Eric Bazilian & Rob Hyman
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