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January 26, 2012 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-01-26

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Scott Gittleman on drums

Builder Constructs Five-Man Band


Foster Brooks band rocks to a different beat.

By Pamela A. Zinkosky

Seven powerful and emotional portraits of Jesus
by Rembrandt and his students are brought together
for the first time in this exhibition of 6+ intimate
works. Experience Rembrandt's break from tradition
as he portrays Jesus as a compassionate, complex
human. being. I diaiorg

I) rumming was hardly forefront in builder Scott Gittleman's mind when he designed his




This exhibition has been organized by the Detroit Institute ofArts, the Musee du Louvre and
the Philadelphia Museum ofArt. In Detroit, the exhibition is generously sponsored by a gift
from The Cracchiolo Family. Additional support has been provided by the City of Detroit. This
exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Head of Jesus, attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn, 16+81165-o, oil on oak panel. Detroit Institute ofArts.



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8 February 2012



Bloomfield Township home in 2006. But the 400-square-foot, ultra-soundproof music
studio above the garage betrayed an internal desire to jam.
The childhood drummer had skipped out on his craft for 20-some years while raising
a family and establishing Farmington Hills-based Gittleman Construction. A milestone
birthday, a son's passion for guitar playing and a few well-connected friends revived
Gittleman's beat.
A couple of years ago, Gittleman's teenage son Jace was in a talent show with his guitar
teacher Dave Pandolfi, with Gittleman looking on. Pandolfi said what they both were
thinking: "We should be doing this."
Gittleman, now 53, had purchased a drum set for his 40th birthday and had already
dabbled in bands that either broke up or weren't the right fit, he says. He wanted a band
based on strong personal connections, much like his 35-year-old construction business.
Gittleman and Pandolfi looked first to their circle of friends and acquaintances in seek-
ing fellow musicians. For example, Mark Anderson's daughter and Gittleman's daughter
were in class together. The girls were at Anderson's Farmington Hills home one day, and
the wives began to talk. "I came home that night to find out I was in a band;' Anderson
Anderson's "audition" consisted of a few jam sessions with the band, which made him
anxious since he'd put away his bass for 25 years to pursue a graduate degree in psychol-
ogy."I thought,'These guys are really good.They're going to pick somebody else."
But Gittleman focused less on Anderson's real or perceived musical rustiness than how
his personality and life stage — all the members are married with children — fit with the
"It's about having fun;' Gittleman says. "Music is not a competition' Besides, says Gittle-
man, the technical stuff in music follows the passion. "When you really attempt to do
something, it grows pretty fast'
Foster Brooks, named
for a 1970s comedian
famous for his portrayal
of an inebriated man,
includes Gittleman on
drums; Anderson on
bass; Sam Gray of Bloom-
field Hills, a construction
client of Gittleman's, on
lead vocals; Pandolfi of
Berkley on lead guitar
and Doug Kahan of
Bloomfield Hills, the
newest member, who
auditioned after meeting
Foster Brooks band in action
the band at a party, on
The music is a combination of classic rock, pop and easy listening."From the start, we
decided we would only play music we really like and hope our audience approves;' says
Pandolfi. "There are a thousand great songs out there that we and our audience grew up
"We have a good library of 50 or so songs," Anderson says."We all have our favorite
genres. We have a rule that when we add songs, we all get to pick one song,"which keeps
the band's repertoire diverse, he says.
There's some Bob Seger, Billy Joel, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beatles and Neil Diamond.
But newer tunes from artists like Gavin DeGraw and Bruno Mars make their way into sets,
Anderson says.
Because the band members all have families and day jobs, Foster Brooks plays publicly,
at most, once a month. "A lot of us have young kids;' Gittleman says. "We don't want to
turn our wives into groupies:'
Gigs have included a fundraiser for Temple Israel — where Foster Brooks held its own in
a pool of younger bands — plus a few bar scenes and private parties. The band's recep-
tion has been great, Gittleman says.
"I think the reason people like us is because they can see we're having fun," Anderson
says. "They pick up on that energy."
Weekly rehearsals at Gittleman's studio are like guys' night out, Gittleman says."We get
together and just check out for a few hours."
"We spend as much time laughing as we do practicing," Anderson says."The camarade-
rie is amazing."
The band's close friendships keep the music going, Gittleman says. Because they're less
concerned with making money than sharing their passion for good music with others,
there are no power struggles or other conflicts that plague many bands.
What's more, the next generation of Foster Brooks is in the works because many of the
band members' children play music, too."It's all intertwined, and all these kids are playing
together now;'Gittleman says.
"This could be a really long-term thing," Gittleman adds."It's created some really strong
friendships. It's not like other bands I've been in:'


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