Midlife crisis

Thursday, January 3, 2008
Mid-Life Crisis band leader Chuck McGinty performed Friday, at Buckner's. (Kit Doyle)

Put a jeweler, a surgeon, a gastroenterologist, two band directors, an electrician, a personnel director, an insurance saleswoman, an office supply owner and a lawyer in a room together and one thing is bound to happen: People are going to dance.

The Motown and classic rock tunes Mid-Life Crisis plays induce enormous crowds to do just that at the Southeast Showcase, the cancer gala and at Buckner's in downtown Cape Girardeau.

"The real challenge is getting 10 people together to practice," said Mid-Life Crisis leader Chuck McGinty. But they do, every Wednesday night at McGinty's house.

After a semi-hiatus during part of 2007 while McGinty opened a new jewelry store in St. Louis, the band returned to the stage with two nights at Buckner's last weekend and is scheduling dates regularly again.

The band got started five years ago with friends Dr. Frank McGinty, Luke Landgraf and Mike Pind just playing around in Chuck McGinty's basement. Frank McGinty called in older brother Chuck when they decided they wanted to be whipped into rock 'n' roll shape.

The Mid-Life Crisis horn section blew it up for a large crowd Friday night at Buckner's. (Kit Doyle)

Chuck McGinty has played in 16 bands since he began playing rock 'n' roll as a 15-year-old in the 1960s. The first one was called the Werewolves. The band with the worst name was Conestoga Wagon.

Other bands were more notable. The Groupe, Orange Wedge, Fletcher, Big Muddy, Andromeda Strain and Haymakers Riot included some of Cape Girardeau's top rock 'n' roll musicians.

McGinty retired from rock 'n' roll for years to concentrate on his jewelry business and raising a family, but in 2000 the chance to play with the St. Louis R&B band the Contors drew him back for awhile. He had just finished up with the Contors when his brother called.

The Mid-Life Crisis lineup has changed some in five years. Pind has dropped out along with former lead singer Dave Gerlach.

Phil Wagoner, who played keyboards with McGinty in some of Cape Girardeau's seminal bands, has been replaced by Al McFerron, known for many years for his work with the Acme Blues Band. Dr. Jay Musgrave also spent some time playing keyboards for Mid-Life Crisis.

At times the band has 11 players, most times 10. Chuck McGinty plays lead guitar and sings backup, Frank McGinty is the bassist and Landgraf plays rhythm guitar. Cissy Burnett and Sally LeGrand handle most of the vocals. The drummer is Dr. Matt Coleman. Jim Edwards plays trumpet and flugelhorn, Dan McClard and Dan Berry on trumpet and Robb McClary saxophone. Pat Schwent, leader of the band Saxy Jazz, has played with Mid-Life Crisis at times.

Reece Leray and occasionally Doug Fowler run the band's sound system.

Like the musicians, most of the songs in their repertoire have some years on them. "Take Your Momma Out Tonight" and "Rehab" are newer additions.

Landgraf, a personnel director at Thorngate, took lessons from longtime Cape Girardeau guitarist Eddie Keys in the third grade but dropped the instrument when he started playing football and other sports. He has known the McGintys since childhood. Chuck performed at his wedding.

Now Landgraf's grown daughters Lindsay and Lacey come to see his band. "I think they like it," he said.

McGinty said being on stage is different now than when he was a teenager. "I do it for the fun of it now, not so much for the adulation. It's just strictly the fun."

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