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'Official band of summer' plays on

When musician John Orcutt died in an automobile accident last November, it didn't make local newspaper headlines -- but the impact was definitely felt by lakes area music lovers.

For seven years, Orcutt and fellow musician Dave Herzog had been a fixture of the summer music scene in Detroit Lakes, as their band, Island Time, provided a dose of Caribbean flair to the annual Northwest Water Carnival in addition to their weekly gigs at Long Bridge and other area restaurants and bars.

"Some of our fans dubbed us the 'official band of summer,'" Herzog noted. "They said when we start playing, it's summertime."

But when Herzog first learned of his band mate's death at his winter home in Key West, Florida, he was so devastated that he nearly closed the book on Island Time for good.

"When it first happened, I said, 'That's it,'" Herzog said.

But then, he and Bruce Neumann, who had played guitar with Orcutt while Herzog was on vacation the previous summer, began to talk about carrying on with Island Time.

"We started playing a little bit together, and now we're playing all the time," Herzog said. "We decided to keep the tradition going -- it's been fun."

The musical duo plays every Friday at Playtime in Perham, every Saturday at the Graystone on Otter Tail Lake, and every Sunday at Long Bridge in Detroit Lakes.

"We also play at Zorbaz on Little Pine Lake in Perham, and at Big Daddy's in Fargo," Neumann said.

"We also do a lot of private parties and weddings," Herzog added. "The tropical setting is really popular for weddings."

In addition, they will be spicing up the annual Jaycees Chili Cookoff and beach party at the DL City Beach, as part of the annual Northwest Water Carnival festivities.

"We'll be playing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the beer garden (on the city beach)," Neumann said

"We've been doing the water carnival every summer since we (Island Time) started," Herzog added.

Herzog also teaches a local steel drum ensemble, once dubbed "The Purple Pan People" by Orcutt -- and now, the name has stuck.

"They will be performing right after us at the beer garden on Saturday," Herzog added.

And that's not all. This summer, Neumann and Herzog plan to release Island Time's third CD.

"It's still unnamed," Herzog said. "We hope to finish it about a month from now. We've done a lot of the recording already."

"There will be some originals, and some covers," Neumann added. "We may do some instrumentals that we co-wrote."

Though the CD will have that Caribbean island flair that fans of the band are used to, there will be some differences as well.

"Bruce brought some new music to the band, and we're doing more vocals this year," Herzog said. "But it's still all Caribbean-style music, with steel drums and guitar."

"It's happy music," Neumann added.

"We play outside almost all the time -- if we can play outside by the water, we're in heaven," Herzog said.

"That's where we fit," Neumann added.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454