by Nick Christophers
Sometimes things happen for a reason as they say. Well those words could not be truer than in the case of the funk band Worange Drexler. It all began when then music teacher Mike Develis made the acquaintance of Danny Rodriguez. Danny Rodriguez' son happened to be the lead drummer in the school band. The school being James Madison High School in Brooklyn. Mike who already had an established band needed to fill in some slots and asked if Danny and his son would be interested in practicing together. When they finally settled into a studio it was amazing how well they clicked. The chemistry was definitely there.
The band soon took shape and started doing shows, mostly in Manhattan, places like Desmonds Tavern and Crash Mansion. At the same time Danny Rodriguez Jr. was competing in the Guitar Center Drum Off Competition in 2006 where he not only reached the regionals but was flown to California for the finals. His father like his son grew up around music he began playing guitar at the tender age of seven. He soon moved onto the bass which was his favorite. Danny Sr.'s father was also a musician hence his love of music was inbreeded. Danny Jr. was more attracted to the drums where at any given function his Dad would find him admiring the drummer of the band.
Even though Danny Sr. and Danny Jr.'s musical inspirations may have been different they seemed to mesh great onstage. "I was inspired by artists like Carlos Santana, Kool & The Gang and bass player John Patatucchi," added Danny Sr..
"I liked all kinds of music but I was most inspired by my Dad for sure. We did a lot of gigs together. I began when I was about ten years old. We played in some many states like Buffalo, Vegas, L.A. and Florida."
Danny Jr. tends to lean towards David Weckle whose style is a Latin jazz and funk. Danny Jr. even had the pleasure to play with some of his idols at a Hollywood Drummers Festival. "I had the pleasure of playing with the likes of Virgil Denardi, Travis Martin, Horatio Hernandez, David Weckle and Dennis Chambers. These guys are funk-jazz they already had made a name for themselves."
Danny Jr. received most of his training either by his father's friends or at the Boy's Harbor the Conservatory of Music. At the school he learned most of the basics like how to read music and to apply it approximately. He attributes most of his talent as being a heaven sent a natural blessing.
The band has played in clubs from Manhattan to Brooklyn. They are attempting to reach out to Long Island since the core of the band live on the island. Danny Jr. and Sr. live in Rockville Centre and are hoping to branch out. Danny Sr. not only plays with Worange Drexler but with a Latin Christian band called Justice who had released their own CD which sold at Tower Records called " Sin Conoser A Cristo". The band Justice is an eleven piece band while Worange Drexler is a five piece band. But Danny Sr. did not stop there he also heads a trio group called TRIO SINAI where his son plays for all three. All three bands play different styles Worange Drexler is funk, Justice- Latin/Christian and TRIO SINAI strictly Latin. Hence their diversity even earned them the opportunity to play for the Mayor in December of 2006. Trio Sinai also released a CD called " Mirando Al Cielo."
The band tends to keep most of the family involved like younger brother Michael Rodriguez is the sound man and Danny Jr.'s wife lends her voice. Danny Sr. feels blessed that his children have taken to music. "When I watch my kids and see where their heart is at its great. You can tell that they are taking it seriously. I always tell them that music is not a joke you have to take it seriously."
The founder of the band Mike Develis is a music teacher at James Madison High School and a versatile band leader. The name of the band which may be odd to most had a strange origin. Mike as part of his morning ritual would always mix orange with water hence the first name Worange. The second name derived from his style of playing music which to his friends mirrored the way basketball player Clyde the Glide Drexler performed. He combined the two and came up with the name. Mike and his buddies played basketball by day and music by night. Growing up Mike had a jazz and classical background.
He first started playing violin then moved onto what he plays now the saxophone. His inspirations were the likes of Charlie Parker who helped him improvise along with Herbie Hancock and Clarence Clemons. Mike admits that this is the best group of players he has ever played with.
Even though Danny Sr. is involved with two other bands his main focus is with Worange Drexler as is with his son. Presently they are working towards the possibility of releasing their first CD. Their music is original and they rarely do cover songs. Mike even began his own label called Pocket Records which is an underground label.
He hopes to shop around their new CD to other labels. He has developed some contacts with iTunes where the music can be heard. Worse comes to worse he would release it on Pocket Records at least. Recently, Danny Sr. is hoping to bring the band down to do an open mic session at the Piano Bar in Rockville Centre. A stepping stone to breaking in the Long Island crowd to their music. The bands main goal is to make music for people to enjoy the way they should. "The lack of real live bands is a shame because people out there deserve to hear raw music that hits your soul," said Danny Jr.. If all goes well Worange Drexler will soon be making great music for the Long Island crowds.