A Long Way From Home
A young musician makes the most of his first on-the-road experience. Derek Day drove nearly 8,000 miles, from his Los Angeles home, to Detroit, Chicago, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Miami, and home again.
Two weeks of rock and roll excitement, on tour with Living Colour.
Bennie & The Jets
— derek day music
(October 27, 2017) — After meeting Derek Day as he traveled with my old friends Living Colour, I was surprised to hear the 23-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist, starting at his home in Los Angeles, California, had driven the entire tour, first to Detroit, then down the Mississippi River to Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama, continuing on to Florida and Georgia, playing a dozen shows in just more than two weeks time.
I might have been more surprised when, in his first set at The Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale, Derek and his band Stephen “Steaks” Lyons (bass) and Alan Toka (drums) broke into Elton John’s “Bennie & The Jets.”
Images of Marc Bolan (T-Rex/”Bang-A-Gong”) came to mind as the kid, so soft-spoken and seemingly innocent offstage, energetically preened, strutted, and stomped across the stage, of which he was in complete command, with a presence well beyond his years.
Then, quickly, as a reminder of the 21st-Century reality, Derek is a kid again, with thanks full of young, west coast “awesomes” and Ninja Turtle “Cool, Dudes.” His youthful enthusiasm elicits smiles of amusement and polite laughter from the usually older Living Colour audiences, often with parents introducing their children to their first, live rock n roll experiences.
Derek confidently delivers the goods to the diverse-aged appreciative crowds. The young, soaking up the kid-friendly jargon, and the elders recognizing the serious musical talent they know is still in its infancy.
All said, don’t be fooled by my focusing on “Bennie & The Jets,” and the conjuring of early ’70s music memories. Derek’s set was filled with his own compositions, and in addition to his charismatic stage presence, he also proved himself to be a talented and prolific songwriter. “Bennie” was the only cover in a set of originals, most written since releasing his first recording, last year’s The Honeymoon Ep.
Another reminder of Derek just getting started on a promising career, it is he who mans the merchandise table, where he appreciatively signs autographs and takes pictures with every new fan, and sells T-Shirts and The Honeymoon Ep for, as he explains to all, gas money to get him home to Los Angeles.
— video b/ dave hogerty (originalnoise.org)
Derek Day, a long way from his Los Angeles home, at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall in Ponte Vedra, Florida (near St. Augustine). With Derek are bassist Stephen “Steaks” Lyons and drummer Alan Toka.
Included is a performance of Elton John’s aforementioned “Bennie & The Jets,” the only cover on Derek’s first recording, The Honeymoon Ep.