If Fletcher wins, local band playing the party

October 28, 2003|JENNIFER BRUMMETT

"Monster Mash" and "Little Red Riding Hood" were the songs being played Monday night at The Obsessions' rehearsal. They were getting ready for a Halloween party gig.

But next week's musical fare, while still classic rock-and-roll of the 1960s, will have a different flavor. The Danville-based band has been tapped to play the party if Republican gubernatorial candidate Ernie Fletcher wins.

Dr. Gary Ahnquist, the main keyboard and sometimes guitar player, says the band - Thom Binford, lead vocals; David Robertson, lead guitar; Nancy Robertson, backup vocals, flute and some keyboard; John Wyatt, bass; and Reed Sanders, drums - was asked by Fletcher to play the party when the candidate heard the group at a Rick Dees fundraiser held last summer. Ahnquist says all the band members are cool with the gig, but he's particularly pleased about it.

"I strongly support Ernie Fletcher," says Ahnquist. "He's going to be helpful for doctors, with the medical malpractice problem we're having.


"The rest of the band members are OK with that. They have no problem playing for the party. I think the rest of them are less political than I am, but they'll play anywhere."

Ahnquist says the band has been together five or six years. Most of the members have played in other bands or have been involved with music for a long time.

David Robertson says he's been involved with bands since he was 12 years old. He played in the band Rumor Has It for several years, and in high school, Sanders and he played in "competing bands," he says.

"It's funny we ended up playing together when we got old," he notes wryly.

How'd David Robertson get into music?

"Because my parents said I would never play the guitar," he says with a grin.

Wyatt started playing when he was 9. His mother was a music teacher - she made him play the trombone before he could get a guitar - and he grew up around the organ and upright piano. The hardest part for Wyatt?

"Disciplining myself to practice," he says. "I tend to like to doodle."

Sanders spent some years playing with Charlie Daniels before the latter made it big. He played during college, and in the late '60s, he and Daniels would hook up around the state - sometimes hitchhiking and sometimes bumming rides - to play together.

"That man was dirt poor," Sanders remembers. "And I didn't have a car at the time."

David Robertson's wife, Nancy, says she always has had her "hands in different forms of music," including playing flute in high school.

"But I just add to what they do," she says.

Ahnquist, an obstetrician, got to know David Robertson during his wife's pregnancy. He says Robertson asked him to come play with the band, Rumor Has It, sometime.

"He was lead guitar in (that band)," Ahnquist remembers. "I started playing rhythm guitar with them ... and then we decided to form this band.

"We love playing music. We all had done (music) before. The reason this band was formed was Sandy Stocker, a nurse at the hospital, wanted a band for a Danville High School reunion, and we put this band together. Then they ended up not having the reunion."

But The Obsessions stayed together and have been playing around Kentucky and in a few surrounding states. The band has played Luminosity, the Central Kentucky Cancer Program's annual fundraiser, for three years. One of the first big gigs was at a ritzy club in North Carolina, David Robertson says - and the band showed up without a mixing board. Fortunately, another musician loaned one to them.

"That shows the camaraderie between musicians," he notes. "There's unspoken trust."

The band's name came from a Halloween party contest.

"There was a contest to name the band because we couldn't come up with a name," Ahnquist explains. "My wife thinks I'm obsessed with this, and she said The Obsessions. And won."

The Obsessions play mainly '60s oldies, with a few '50s and '70s songs.

"It's rock-and-roll oldies - some Motown, some Beatles songs, The Rolling Stones," Ahnquist said. "Grassroots people like that."

And the band hopes it is playing a happy tune next week.

"We'll play for one of the biggest parties of the year," Ahnquist said.

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