Just over eleven years ago, “Tuesdays with the Band” premiered on WVBR as a weekly look at the local music scene. Tonight, host Dan Cole brings the show full circle, ending as he began, with Mike Brindisi.
“The talent in this town never ceases to amaze me,” says Dan, a frequent DJ on Ithaca community radio station WVBR who quickly grew interested in supporting the local music scene with his weekly show. Often a mix of recorded music from local albums, interviews with local performers, and a few songs played live, “this show would be nothing without the fantastic musicians that fill the airwaves every Tuesday,” he says.
Local performer Mike Brindisi was the guest on the first weekly show. Now the front man for the New York Rock, Brindisi has been back on Tuesdays with the Band countless times as he and the group have released new albums or kicked off tours. A special two-hour grand finale for Dan Cole’s tenure on the program tonight, from 5-7pm at 93.5FM and wvbr.com, will feature the New York Rock once more.
“A lot of artists in the area owe him for their success,” says Brindisi. “Dan Cole was the first radio DJ to play my song on the air. Not only did it jump start my career locally but it led to so many other opportunities.”
“As a guest on the first episode of Tuesdays with the Band, I had no idea how big it was going to become, and how important it was going to be to the local music scene,” he adds. Last June, the New York Rock headlined a two-hour tenth anniversary special, though Dan lined up several other performances from other frequent guests, including Don Bazley, Steve Gollnick, and Joe & Amanda Massa.
Tuesdays with the Band began when WVBR was in temporary space on Mitchell Street, and the broadcast studio was barely big enough for three people at a time, never mind the six or seven musicians the show sometimes crammed in. The radio station moved to its current location at the corner of Stewart Avenue and Buffalo Street just over three years ago, and a year later, the show was able to start broadcasting from a beautiful two-story live performance space that doubles as the radio station’s record library, allowing bigger bands to play with a little more elbow room.
Cole credits the Ithaca music scene for the show’s success and its effect on the community. “To the hundreds of musicians who have graced one studio or another over the years, I say thank you. You may think it was me helping you all this time, but really it’s been the other way around,” he says. “The other thank you goes to the listeners and supporters of local music. Those who don’t have an affiliation to any particular band, but who go out to shows, pay cover charges, buy merchandise, and keep this scene alive only because you recognize how special it is. This is a symbiotic relationship, and the musicians couldn’t do what they do without such unwavering support from the community. We are all here for the same reasons.”
“Being on the last episode with Dan has sparked so many emotions for me. To be the last guest with my band is not only so meaningful but a perfect book end,” Brindisi tells us. “The whole thing is bittersweet because while I’m so upset we are losing such a fantastic and vital show, I am excited for Dan’s next chapter because I know he’s going to do great things and I know he’s certainly not leaving the music scene. Not only has he helped with my band’s success, but we formed quite a friendship because of it. I’m more thankful for his friendship than anything. We’ve both watched each other grow over the years.”
Cole says “Tuesdays with the Band” will continue next week with a new host, Don Manuel, and he himself isn’t done with WVBR. “I’m looking forward to filling in on some weekend shifts, and don’t be surprised to see me working sound boards around town,” he says.
For now, one last “Tuesdays with the Band” featuring Dan Cole with guest Mike Brindisi and the New York Rock, runs from 5-7pm tonight.