The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








Aces & Eights

Aces & Eights

When: Friday, March 21, at 8 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.)
Where: Alpine Grove, 19 S. Depot Road, Route 111A, Hollis
Tickets: $15 at the door or at Scontsas Fine Jewelry & Home Decor, 169-173 Main St., Nashua

Original six
Aces & Eights reunites to help fire victims

By Michael Witthaus

 The members of Aces & Eights met during a time when rock ’n’ roll’s dreams were coming true. It was 1967, the year of Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love. Rick Haas met Jim Hinkle on his first day at Nashua High School — Hinkle liked Haas’s T-shirt. “He said, ‘You play music? You look pretty cool,” recalled Haas. Both were guitarists. They formed a band called Saddle Sore.

A few years later, it was renamed after a passage in the novel Little Big Man. 
“Wild Bill Hickok was shot holding aces and eights,” Haas said. “It’s called a dead man’s hand.” 
Though never reaching the rock star heights of contemporaries like Aerosmith (the two once shared a stage), the band kept at it, playing Poco-flavored country rock and, later, rootsy Americana.
A full-length record finally came in 2006, but the band dissipated after that. Hinkle and vocalist Buddy Bernard now play in The Distractions; Bernard also sings with Beatlejuice. Lead guitarist Dave “Mo-Jive” West and drummer Dirt Munson are with the bluesy Jive Kats. Haas moved to Florida a few years back. 
Along with bassist Jim Mello and keyboard player Keith Zizza, there have been a few near reunion shows, but the original lineup hasn’t performed together since 2006. That’s about to change, as Aces & Eights reunite on Friday, March 21, at Alpine Grove in Hollis, to play a benefit show for Brian and Bonnie Gamache of Mont Vernon. The Gamaches suffered a devastating home fire a few days into 2014. The couple had been strong supporters of the band early on. 
“When we were first starting out, they helped transport equipment, we stayed at their house,” recalled West. “They are old friends.” 
The Gamaches live in a rental house while their 1792 antique cape is being rebuilt; the work could take up to a year. 
“We feel it’s a great opportunity to help them out,” West said.
The band rehearses with Haas sitting in via Internet video chat. 
“I feel like one of those guests on the news that’s always delayed by a few seconds,” he said, adding that he’s excited to play with his band mates again. “I always tell people that the most fun I’ve ever had is on stage making music.”
Haas shared a few good memories from the Aces & Eights heyday in the early 1970s. 
“We did a lot of touring and played with a lot of bands,” he said. “We played a lot of places with NRBQ, we did the Cambridge Common with J. Geils, went down to University of Connecticut. … It was just the experience of being together and trying to make it when we were young; it was unique.”
The duo of John Latzis and Trent Larrabee, also friends of the Gamaches, will kick the show off with a 30-minute set. 
“We’re letting them open for us because frankly, we’re struggling to learn 30 to 35 songs,” said a laughing Haas. West described a set list peppered with Van Morrison songs — “Buddy sings in that kind of style” — along with Steely Dan and the Dead. There will be at least two songs from the band’s lone album, Final Draft. 
Alpine Grove is donating its function hall for the event, which Haas hopes will attract between 300 and 500 guests. 
“Alan Archambault has always been a good friend,” he said of the facility’s owner. 
There will be at least a couple of raffles, along with good friends making music for old friends. 
“Hopefully, we’ll keep doing this on a more regular basis,” said West. “I think hearing the whole thing together will be great. … Once we get there it all clicks in and has a good feel to it.” 
As seen in the March 20, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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