How did you first start ranting, and do you still do it in concert?

I was doing wedding band things at the same time as the Milt Trenier's gig and also after that. On these gigs, we'd be in the middle of “Isn't it Romantic” or something like that, and the leader would come up while I was singing and say in my ear, “Tell them that they're going to cut the cake now,” or “five minutes to the bouquet toss”. So instead of stopping singing, I'd just start making up the announcement in song, often trying to rhyme the lyrics and sometimes making up little stories to go with it, singing all the while over the changes.
Well, I was invited on the gig with the Ed Petersen Band at the Green Mill. We were hitting on some tune, and Ed leans into me and says, “Hey, man! You should do that thing you do on the wedding dates where you make up a story – that shit's cool, man!” So I just leapt out there – and out pops a pretty prolonged subconscious offering involving dream sequences and out of body trances and some past life stuff. Well! You can imagine the response that got – and you can imagine how thrilling it was to feel this other door open. So I ended up experimenting with that quite a bit in front of audiences, and they loved it. It was Jazz – even I never knew where it would go.

Of course, now that I'm married and finally have somebody to talk to at home who shares my life, then I don't have the same need to get subconscious stuff off my chest in public. My focus for the audience is more mature, more controlled, and has less to do with ad hoc therapy and more to do with art. It still leaps out sometimes – especially when there is another singer involved, a sparring partner, if you will. Get me together with Mark Murphy or the delicious Sheila Jordan or maybe the very swinging Nancy King and just you wait & dig the fireworks!