An interview with Derek Decesare by Mike Sales
When I came to Siesta Key for the first time; I naturally gravitated to the village and wound up at SKOB, where I found an open air party on the porch, bustling with vacation revelers, food, drinks, dancing and music…good music, with Derek Decesare playing percussion.
I’ve since seen him play almost weekly and gotten to know him as a friend and colleague, through my dealings with him for bookings at the Local Bean and making the rounds through the village everyday. If gotten to know him as the friendly percussion player, everyone is always happy to see. I like to think of him as Siesta Key’s musical ambassador.
WPT: How long have you been on Siesta Key?
Derrick: It will be 22 years in June.
WPT: Where did you come from?
Derrick: Warwick, Rhode Island.
WPT: How did you find Siesta Key?
Derrick: My mother found it when she was looking for a warmer climate for me. Because of mobility issues, I was stuck in the house, 6 months of the year, while there was snow. She had planned to move us to Naples, but discovered and fell in love with Siesta Key, in the process.
WPT: How did you get involved with music?
Derrick: I grew up with music in the family, all around me. My mother played bass & violin, my grandmother played the flute and my aunt played guitar a bit. Its in my blood.
WPT: When did you pick up percussion?
Derrick: One day I picked up a really inexpensive djembe and started working with it and going to open mics, trying to find my niche.
WPT: That’s when you started playing live?
Derrick: When I was 22/23, at an open mic, hosted by Bob Comeau at the old Key Hole Lounge, which is now Giiligan’s.
WPT: When was your first gig?
Derrick: Gigs?…about 2000, 2001 I guess.
WPT: Who were you playing with?
Derrick: Acoustic Pete, was the first one. He took me under his wing as a percussion player. I played with Marvin next and then with Kettle of Fish in 2004 with Dana Lawrence, and Mason Dunn.
WPT: Where did you play?
WPT: You’ve pretty much been a SKOB fixture, ever since then?
Derrick: There was a break in there for a little while, but I’ve played there quite a bit.
WPT: What night do you currently play at SKOB?
Derrick: I play every Monday night 7-11pm with Tony Tyler.
WPT: How long have you been playing with Tony Tyler?
Derrick: I played with Tony Tyler, Dani Jaye, and a long list of members, for 3 years at the Beach Club, when they were the Tony Tyler Band. Then I came up and saw him at SKOB, when he was playing by himself, but he didn’t seem like his normal self, like he was missing someone to feed off of, so I volunteered to play with him and have been doing that for the past couple of years.
WPT: What do you think of when you’re doing a gig?
Derrick: I just play my parts and add what I can to the music. If I can make one person smile; I’ve done my job.
WPT: I understand you do other things, behind the scenes to contribute to the music scene as well?
Derrick: I was booking some acts and posting the schedule for the Local Bean Coffee Shop, for a while and am working on getting more into helping artists build an online presence for their schedules.
WPT: What do you see as being the next direction of your music?
Derrick: I’m looking to book more gigs and have also been working with an electronic dance music genre called “dubstep”, which originated in England.
WPT: Where would you like to go with your career?
Derrick: I am interested in doing some session work and would like to begin playing festivals. I’m also getting commitments from the best players around, to record on my own cd of instrumental originals, as soon as I get a backer for that.
WPT: What’s your favorite part about being a musician?
Derrick: The enjoyment of playing…playing is what I live for.
WPT: What’s your view of the music scene around Siesta Key village in general?
Derrick: I like it because it’s the music I grew on; 60’ & 70’s rock & roll. When I hear the music on the radio these days, I often don’t know what to make of it. It sometimes doesn’t even sound like music compared to what we have here.
WPT: Which local musicians do you like to go see?
Derrick: I like to go see Tony Tyler with Come Back Alice, Ben Hammond at the SKOB open mic night and Acoustic Pete on Saturdays at Gilligans 1-5pm.
WPT: What’s your message to your audience?
Derrick: Don’t let the music die. Come out, watch live music and support the local scene, because we rely on you to keep our jobs.
You can keep up with Derrick on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/derek.decesare.79
Siesta Key Oyster Bar (aka SKOB) is located at 5238 Ocean Blvd, in the Village on Siesta Key and features live music nightly.
Mike Sales is a local singer/songwriter. For more info, log onto www.mikesalessings.com