past summer Windjammer celebrated 23 years of continuous musical activities.
The Florida-based pop Caribbean group was the first full-time ensemble
of it's kind performing in the northern half of the state and has proven
not only to be quite durable, but continues to set the musical pace for
many other groups. Over the years Windjammer's personnel has changed,
but the current line-up of Lawrence "Laree" App (bass, lead vocals and
the original member), Peet Winders (lead guitar, vocals), and Eric Mason
(drums and vocals) have been together for over six years now--longer than
any of the other WJ groups. Additionally, the fourth member, Joe Yorio
(saxophone, EWI, vocals) joined the fellas this year. Although many talented
musicians have played in Windjammer over the years, App says, "this group
is the best by far. The guys are all great musicians and we work together
so well. No ego hassles at all. And the drive and the versatility of this
group is amazing."
After being based
in Jacksonville for six years, the band shifted its focus back to central
Florida (where it was based from 1982-91) six years ago. This, in part,
through the relocation of App from Jax Beach to Ormond, and in part to
put the band closer to more markets for performing. During this season
Windjammer has performed from Tampa to St. Simons GA and everywhere in
between. Although three of the members now reside in Volusia County, Windjammer
still performs regularly in northeast Florida due to the fan base they've
built over the years.
addition to the geographical shift of the band in '97-98, the mission
and performance strategy of the group changed as well. After becoming
more of a cover band in the early '90s, Windjammer went back to focusing
on their original material. Part of this change involved limiting the
live appearances by the group, a move that has made everyone happier.
"We had to get more selective, more focused, " says App. "We were drifting
towards becoming another bar band instead of playing the stuff the got
us known in the first place." This shift also coincided with the 1998
release of The Best of Windjammer CD, a 15-song retrospective that has
been widely praised. Sales from the CD and a lighter gig schedule have
allowed the fellas time to concentrate more on songwriting and recording.
The quartet currently has two new CDs available: one is a four-song EP
of "death metal meets soca" released pseudononymously, and the other is
a full length CD of more mainstream Windjammer original material mixed
with covers. For more info call (386) 441-0692 or email .Lapp@cfl.rr.com.
l-r: Peetie, Ray, Eric, Laree