The musicians of Offtrax strutted their stuff, introducing their debut CD "Too Long´ for a packed crowd in the Vienna Tap & Grille. As they hammered out their diverse music, they proved themselves to be doctors of music, doctors of rhythm, doctors of creativity and they just happened to be doctors: Four members of the group are doctors at Fairfax Hospital.
The room was packed with friends, fellow physicians, former patients and music aficionados, enjoying the night´s entertainment.
"Great doctors and great musicians, they´ve kept me alive since 1985," said one former patient, Dave Herold, who was grooving to the music. Herold is a patient of Dr. Albert Del Negro, who plays the keyboards for the group.
Guitarist Ted Friehling, Aldo Esposito and Bryan Raybuck also have medical degrees. They are leading contestants for the most highly educated band in America. In addition, Stacy Ann Cohen is the lead vocalist, and Glen Schuster hammers on the drums and percussion.
Faith Frankel, M.D., a pediatrician at Fairfax, has seen Offtrax a few times before and she enjoyed the music on their new album.
"I Think they´re great. I like that they´re diverse," she said.
Among the crowd was Washington-area DJ celebrity known as Cerphe. He has been on the radio circuit in the area since 1970, spinning tunes and contributing his rock ´n´ roll expertise to listeners on WHFS, DC101, WJFK and currently on classic rock station WARW. He enjoyed Offtrax uniqueness.
"They have a creative outlet. I dig passion, and they are very passionate about their music," Cerphe said.
"Too Long" is composed completely of original. It goes from the hard-driving sound of "Lonely Girl" to a Beatle-esque sounding "Beggars, Monkeys and Thieves." Which, when accented with some burning incense on the floor, was reminiscent of the ´60s. The fifth song, "Dark Side of the Mountain," received honorable mentions in two categories in the Mid-Atlantic Song Writing Contest.
Included among the play list of originals were a few cover tunes from Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Joan Osborne and the Allman Brothers. The crowd packed the dance floor on several occasions.
The CD was self-produced and is available at the Tap Room, where Offtrax performs regularly, or by contacting band representative Linda Friehling. She has sent the CD around to local stations as well as a station in upstate New York, where singer Ted Friehling is from.
While their medical professions do keep them busy, Offtrax has been know to do benefits such as the American Associations´s Heart Ball, and AIDS research benefit in Landsdowne and a medical benefit in New Orleans. The door proceeds from the CD release party will go toward the Pediatric Heart Fund at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
The musicians frequent the Vienna Grille but have also scheduled shows at the Shark Club in Centreville on Aug. 8, Union Station on Sept. 24, and back to the Grille on Oct. 9. For more information, contact Linda Friehling at (703) 438-1712.
Mike Salmon, The Connection