In the Mix - With Dan Ashley
Aug 03, 2015 09:59AM
By Elena Hutslar
By Paul Cotruvo
Most of us know Walnut Creek’s Dan Ashley as the award-winning anchor of ABC7 News, but did you know he is also the lead singer for the local rock band, PUSH? Breaking News! Dan Ashley can rock the house! PUSH is a classic rock band that does original music plus some covers. I had the pleasure of meeting Dan a few months ago while volunteering at an event he put on called “ROCK The CASA,” a benefit for Friends of Camp Concord and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), two charities near and dear to Dan’s heart. I had no preconceived notions of who Dan might be in real life, but I was genuinely touched by how passionate he is in person. His perseverance and dedication to this event were very inspiring. He not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. Dan is truly a great human being that we all should get to know. So, he graciously agreed to a little interview regarding his passion for music.
PC: What inspired you to become a musician?
DA: I’ve always loved music of all kinds. As a child and teenager, I had lessons in a variety of instruments: piano, guitar, and trumpet -- with no great success. I also sang in the kids’ choir. Over the years, I have attended musical events of every kind, from rock, to opera, to orchestra, and I enjoy them all. A few years ago, I decided to start taking singing lessons, and it progressed from there.
PC: Who are some of your influences?
DA: As a rock singer, I pay particular attention to Roger Daltrey of The Who and Paul Rogers of Bad Company, among others. For other styles of music, I try to learn from people like Tony Bennett and Rod Stewart.
PC: How long has PUSH been a band? Are they the same original musicians?
DA: PUSH has been around for five years now, with some terrific players and singers. The drummer, Gregg Solomon, and I are the only remaining original members. We’ve made changes and grown considerably.
PC: Do you write most of your songs? Take me through that process.
DA: We are an original band that also plays covers, so we do write a lot of material. We’ve had several past members who wrote songs that we still play today. I’ve written lyrics and melody on a number of our songs. It’s a collaborative process that begins with an idea and then the band fleshes it out.
PC: What have been some of your favorite musical highlights?
DA: As a band: opening recently for Eddie Money, performing to thousands at AIDS Walk SF the last several years, playing Yoshi’s. As a solo singer: performing the National Anthem at a Warriors game last season, performing with my dear friend and three time Grammy winner, Narada Michael Walden, at his charity benefit, which included singing a song to legendary Dionne Warwick.
PC: What is your take on the local Contra Costa music scene?
DA: Contra Costa County has a great music scene with some nice venues and terrific events. There is a wide range of great bands and top-notch musicians performing all over the county.
PC: If you were a song, what song would you be and why?
DA: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who—it’s one of my favorite songs. I love the lyric and the attitude.
Check out PUSH’s upcoming performances at: www.rockwithpush.com, and be on the lookout for next year’s amazing ROCK The CASA event!
Quote of the Month: Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.
~~ Ludwig van Beethoven
Paul’s picks for August:
August 15: The Von Trapps, Dallimonti’s, 1932 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill, 9pm
August 15: Super Diamond, Dan’s Bar, 1524 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, 10pm
August 16: Groove Doctors, Pleasant Hill Summer by the Lake Concert Series, City Hall,
100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, 6pm
August 20: Dave Martin’s Houseparty, Summer Concerts in the Plaza, Downtown Pleasant Hill on Crescent Drive, 6:30pm
August 27: Native Elements, Todos Santos Plaza, Concord, 6:30pm
August 29: Lady Bianca, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm
August 29: Dr. D, Dallimonti’s, 1932 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill, 9pm
August 30: The Sunday Paper, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 4pm
August 30: East Bay Mudd, Pleasant Hill Summer by the Lake Concert Series, City Hall,
100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant
Armando’s: 707 Marina Vista, Martinez CA www.armandosmartinez.com
Dallimonti’s: 1932 Oak Park Blvd. Pleasant Hill, CA www.dallimontis.com
Dan’s Bar: 1524 Civic Drive Walnut Creek CA www.dansbar.com
E.J. Phair Brewing Company: 2151 Salvio Street, Concord, CA www.ejphair.com
Pyramid Alehouse: 1410 Locust Street Walnut Creek, CA www.pyramidbrew.com
Roxx on Main-627 Main St. Martinez, CA www.roxxonmain.com
Rocco’s Pizzeria: 2909 Ygnacio Valley Road Walnut Creek CA www.roccospizzeria.com
The Roundup Saloon: 3553 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Lafayette, CA Phone: (925) 284-4817
Vinnie’s Bar & Grill: 2045 Mt. Diablo Street, Concord, CA www.vinniesbar.com