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Chatting with Dave Porter

“Funny where you find yourself in life,” I always say. Never count out any possibility.

I saw the 805 MTV video back in the day while I was living in California. Since I always had a foot still here in Syracuse, I wondered if it was the same guys.

Scroll up a couple of decades, and I’m jamming in a rib joint in Liverpool making friends with great musicians and great music lovers from the scene. I learn that my new pal Dave Porter is the singer for the 805 group you’ve all been so very fond of. Up till this point I thought he ran great sound and was a stellar singer at this open jam, every week. Mellow. Friendly. Modest. You wouldn’t know he was a front man for a group like 805.

By now, I’ve worked with him on a number of shows around the city, but mostly down at the Limp Lizard. It is in this location I learn a lot about the people from this scene as we sip and sing our way through the camaraderie we manufacture in the music. And that means we tell stories and share a lot of laughs.

We were recently enjoying a nice bloody red wine at a show and started chatting.

Chuck Schiele: Thanks for doing this interview for Table Hopping Dave. How are you?

Dave Porter: I’m doing great, Chuck. Thank you for thinking of me for the article.

CS: What are some the things that move you to do your thing—things that inspire you.

DP: Creativity, new ideas, new twists on old ideas that send them off in a different direction. Musically, there is a void in truly innovative new music in the rock category. I am so tired of songs that play the same 4 chords over and over and over again … with the same melody on top of them. Complex musical themes that all relate to each other, that’s inspiring.

CS: You have quite a history here in the area. Share a bit with us.

DP: I played in a band in high school called, ‘The Exiles’, several college and post-college bands in the Cortland NY area, ‘Magic Dog,’ ‘Harpy,’ ‘Dove’. ‘805’ in the late 70’s and 80’s. That band had a good deal of success. We had a deal with RCA that produced nationally distributed album. We toured the eastern US and Canada.

CS: What are some of the more memorable highlights of your career?

DP: Opened for a lot of famous bands. 805’s RCA album and single reached #36 nationwide on the Billboard Charts, radio airplay across the country. Had a video on MTV (back when they actually played music videos). Most memorable are the great musicians and co-writers that made up the members of 805 from ’77 – ’89.

CS: My favorite question. The “dirt.” Please share a funny war story from your crazier days living this music life.

DP: 805 carried a 10’ live Burmese Python that was used in the show. We had to sneak it across the border when we played in Canada, and obviously would not alert whatever hotel we stayed in as to it’s existence. ‘Dudley’ was often allowed to run loose in the hotel room. Once in Quebec, we were rehearsing at the club and Dudley pooped on the hotel room floor, and a 10’ python poop looks quite similar to a human one. Housekeeping never saw the snake, he had snuggled himself to sleep in front of the heat vent under the table, but they saw the floor. We came back from rehearsal and 3 maids and a manager were all screaming at us in French … they thought one of us had s**t on the floor. We explained as best we could “La merde de serpent sur le sol” … and soon having a 10’ snake in a hotel room became more of the issue. We found a new hotel.

CS: Okay, that story is definitely among the better responses, for sure. Mmm. Quebec.Okay, so aside from potty-training a touring snake, what advice would you give to someone getting started in music?

DP:  Make learning, appreciation, and the simple joy of playing and creating … your priorities. If your main objective is money or notoriety, you will probably abandon your musical virtues for either.

CS: Please share your thoughts on the CNY music scene.

DP: The CNY scene is one of the best. Lots of great players and innovators young and old. I have met or ‘re-met’ so many great musicians in the 2 years I’ve been doing ‘Open Mic Night’ at the Limp Lizard Liverpool. There are great players and great people everywhere you turn in CNY.

CS: Whats in your near future, musically?

DP: Just playing for fun the past few years. Solo acoustic / electric guitar, voice. I play to tracks I make in a little studio at home. Mostly, I rearrange cover songs, turn them sideways. I play Buffalo to Lake George, usually hit CNY a couple times a month.

CS: Where/how do we find you?

DP:  Every Tuesday at the Limp Lizard Liverpool. I’m also playing solo there on Friday, Feb. 2nd 7:00 – 10:00.

Also: dpxa@twcny.rr.com

On Facebook at: www.facebook.com/dave.porter.7549

Chuck Schiele
Chuck Schiele is an award-winning musician, art director, producer, editorialist, artist, activist, member of SaltCityChill.com and fan of the CNY music scene. To be considered for this column, please write chuck.schiele@gmail.com.