It’s a Beautiful Day returns to the Egyptian Theatre
David LaFlamme, founder and violinist for It’s a Beautiful Day, is looking forward to the band’s return to Park City next week.
"We had a great time last year," LaFlamme told The Park Record during a phone call from Santa Rosa, California. "This year will be a highlight of what has been a very busy, hard-working, but fruitful year."
The Egyptian Theatre will present It’s a Beautiful Day on Monday, Dec. 21, and Tuesday, Dec. 22. Curtain is 8 p.m. both nights.
"It will be nice coming back to Park City because we’ve performed everywhere from San Diego to Seattle and then in the other direction, we went to Chicago and Cleveland and other Midwestern cities," LaFlamme said. "I look around at my band and see a bunch of old guys standing around at the airport and say, ‘I don’t know how much longer we can keep doing this.’
"I mean, some of the guys have been with me for more than 40 years. Others have been with me for more than 30 years," he said. "Although we’re not working as much as we used to, we’re still getting it done."
The gigs in the past few years have also included European tours with stops all around Britain and France.
On the home front, It’s a Beautiful Day recently performed with Big Brother & the Holding Company in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall.
That was a highlight for LaFlamme, who met the band while living in the Bay Area 50 years ago.
"I’ve been good friends with the guys in that band since 1965, and I’ve always wanted to team up and do some shows with the two bands together," he said. "We thought we’d give it a try after Thanksgiving. We had a great crowd. Everyone made a little money and had a good time."
While LaFlamme still enjoys playing live with his band, he confessed that he never thought he would still be playing past the 1980s.
"To tell you the truth, I had very little interest in performing when I got to the 1990s, although I was still playing for films and TV in Los Angeles," he said.
That said, he still pulled his violin out and played in a small orchestra.
"It’s funny, because I had gone to music school with the guy who ran the orchestra and his brother," LaFlamme said. "We went to Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara when we were teenagers."
LaFlamme found that out after his audition.
"I got a call from the musicians union to show up for this gig at the Century Plaza Hotel and the guy who called me wanted me to sub for him," LaFlamme said. "I showed up and there were 49 violinists warming up at the same time. Ninety percent of them were wearing cheap toupees. They were all really old."
LaFlamme met the orchestra’s contractor who said, "Who the hell are you?"
After introducing himself, LaFlamme was shown into the auditorium.
"We went into this gigantic conference room and the guy told me to go to this table way in the back," he said. "I was told ‘When you hear the organ, you come in and follow the organist.’
"Well, there were all of these Japanese people at the table and each one wanted to have their picture taken while holding the violin like they were playing," LaFlamme said. "When we got through with the show, the contractor asked if I had any problems and I told him that I hardly played at all and I told them about the Japanese."
To LaFlamme’s surprise, the contractor said, "You know, you did the right thing. What was your name again?’
That’s when they both discovered that they were not only former schoolmates, but also played in a quartet together.
"Well, once I started working for him, we played a bunch of wonderful parties, including Barbara Streisand’s wedding, and fashion shows," LaFlamme said. "We also did an annual fashion show at the Beverly Hilton for 15 years and we were up on the runway with the models."
Although LaFlamme, who is a former soloist for the Utah Symphony, enjoyed the anonymity of playing in an orchestra, he is still happy with the work he did with It’s a Beautiful Day.
"I started the band in 1966 in San Francisco and in 1968, we released the debut ‘It’s a Beautiful Day’ album," he said. "That was 47 years ago and recently I received a check from Sony Music for $47. So, I made one dollar for every year the album has been out."
That was due to management problems that have plagued the band since shortly after its inception.
"The guy who worked with us was a liar and thief," LaFlamme said. "Once I found out, we took off and began working with [the late promoter] Bill Graham. We ended up touring all over the world for a good six years."
Amidst the ensuing legal hassles that only recently ended, LaFlamme and his band have continued to bring It’s a Beautiful Day music to their fans.
"We did the best we can and fortunately, although my career hasn’t been stellar, I’ve always had work," he said. "You have to look at the bright side, the sunny side of life."
That positive attitude has made a difference in LaFlamme’s universe because It’s a Beautiful Day’s signature single, "White Bird," has enjoyed a resurge in popularity
"This last year it was in five different films that was topped off with the Will Smith movie, ‘Focus,’" LaFlamme said. "It’s been a good ride and that was a nice thing to happen."
The psychedelic sounds of It’s a Beautiful Day will fill the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., on Monday. Dec. 21, and Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $29 to $45 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.
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