Brookings newest band proves rock and roll dreams never die
Written by Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer   
August 05, 2011 08:55 pm

 

 Inside a cordoned off section of a darkened restaurant in Smith River the searing rock music of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” shook the room, then suddenly stopped. The music started again, and stopped. The cycle repeated itself a few more times until the five band members of Point Taken were satisfied with the song.

“We want to be the best band around,” drummer Jay Smith said during a break in rehearsal. His four band members nodded in agreement.

Sounds like the typical rock and roll dream of any garage band. Only thing is, this isn’t the typical garage band. Smith, at age 54, is the baby of the band. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist James (Anderson) Night is 56; lead guitarist Juwat is 59; bassist/vocalist Kurt Kessler is 57; and keyboardist/guitarist Tom Alderman is 55.  

 

 

 Inside a cordoned off section of a darkened restaurant in Smith River the searing rock music of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” shook the room, then suddenly stopped. The music started again, and stopped. The cycle repeated itself a few more times until the five band members of Point Taken were satisfied with the song.

“We want to be the best band around,” drummer Jay Smith said during a break in rehearsal. His four band members nodded in agreement.

Sounds like the typical rock and roll dream of any garage band. Only thing is, this isn’t the typical garage band. Smith, at age 54, is the baby of the band. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist James (Anderson) Night is 56; lead guitarist Juwat is 59; bassist/vocalist Kurt Kessler is 57; and keyboardist/guitarist Tom Alderman is 55.  

The members hail from Brookings, Crescent City and Klamath Glen, Calif., and they all have regular day jobs and families.

All five musicians have been playing music since their teens, and most have played in various bands during the last 40 years. Their current band, Point Taken, came together to perform at a benefit concert earlier this year for Crescent City fisherman impacted by the March 11 tsunami. 

“We got a call from someone saying they were looking for a rock band to play at the event,” Smith said. 

Smith had recently jammed with Juwat and Night and asked if they wanted to form an impromptu band. Kessler, an acquaintance of the three, was invited to join, too. They called the band “Redwood” and played a two-hour set at the benefit that earned rave reviews from the crowd.

“We really got a great response; people couldn’t believe that we had only practiced a couple of weeks,” Kessler said.

Surprised by the audience response and how well the band played together was all it took to kick-start a new rock and roll dream. One that is starting with covering classic rock hits such as “Hotel California” and “Black Magic Woman,” but will eventually lead to some originals, Kessler said.

“We have a lot of talented guys here, and each one of us bring something in that can be turned into a great song,” he said.

The band members don’t hesitate to sing the praises of their lead vocalist. 

“The songs we do demand a singer like James,” Smith said.

“James is a great vocalist,” Kessler added.

Night stopped singing publically a year ago out of frustration with not finding a band that he liked. “I don’t mind doing some pop and folk stuff, but I was looking for rock,” he said. 

Word about the band is spreading. Point Taken played a set at the Memorial Weekend Party at the Port of Brookings Harbor, the Crescent City Relay for Life Poker Run in June and the Deck Party and July 4 celebration in Crescent City. They also played at the annual Gasquet Raft Races on July 9. They are entertaining offers from local bars in Brookings and Crescent City. The band will play 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Boardwalk Arts Festival at the Port of Brookings Harbor, and Aug. 26 at the Brookings Elks Lodge.

The band hopes to land paying gigs in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

“I see us eventually opening for recording artists, perhaps doing the fair circuit,” Kessler said. “As opportunities arise, we’ll take them.”

He added, “We’re all musicians. It’s part of our lives. We’re going to do it, one way or another. It’s that important.”

Jay said, “We have about three and half hours of music now, but we hope to expand that to about five hours. We don’t want to be a good bar band, we want to be the best band around, period.”