Yo! Adrian

MaineList Article: Yo! Adrian

Yo! Adrian

For the past twenty years, The Pier in Old Orchard Beach has given it’s vacationing tourists the opportunity to laugh aloud through the comedic musical talents of “Yo Adrian!”. Adrian Walker, raised in England in a sea-side resort town known as “Weston-Super-Mare”, has spent the last couple of decades entertaining both Maine and Florida as he strategically plots his course to stay warm throughout the year.

Summers in Maine“I’ll spend my summers in Maine because I still consider it my home.” Says Adrian, who technically spends nine out of twelve months each year in Key West Florida. Still, it was here in Maine that Adrian finally began a successful solo career for himself as a comedian / musician.

Adrian has explored a wide variety of musical endeavors throughout his lifetime which began in England so many years ago. “I played for many years in rock bands.” Adrian spent at least a decade of those early years playing in an English rock band known as “Morning Glory”. It wasn’t until he was thirty-nine years old that he eventually left England to make a new life in the United States.

His earliest projects were less comedic, with a strong desire to make it to the top as a serious minded musician. “We were working hard at booking gigs back then, trying to fill our schedules, playing whenever and wherever, five days a week if we could. I even had the honor of playing the “Albert Hall”. Twice!” Adrian humbly admitted.

“Now we know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.”

The Albert HallAhh, the Albert Hall! I immediately recognized the name from a Beatles song. The conversation shifted slightly as Adrian and I began to discuss our shared interests in The Beatles. Adrian was quick to point out a tattoo on his arm of a Beatles logo which coincidentally adorned the T-shirt I happened to be wearing.

For me, The Beatles have always been a big influence which started during my early childhood. This, of coarse, would have been after the Beatles had already given themselves to the rock-n-roll hall of fame. Adrian’s memories of the Beatles would have been even fonder, especially since he grew up in England, and remembers the dawn of the legendary band.

England was no picnic for this hilarious comedian though. Adrian’s life in England was one filled with pain, family dysfunction, and hard times. With two alcoholic parents, a musician father, and comedian mother trying to raise three boys, while verbally and physically abusing one another, the inevitable forthcoming of a hardened, comedic musician emerged.

The Art of LaughterThe boisterous personality of Yo Adrian comes across as a brisk Englishman who simply takes control of any conversation through the use of quick-witted comebacks. He’ll often corral an audience’s attention to unsuspecting victims of his humor by pointing out embarrassing qualities, which are rarely apparent until highlighted by the hyper-aware quipster.

For example, he might point out that a group of girls are all wearing basically the same outfit, or ridicule a man for apparently holding his own crotch, when in all fairness, they are often merely crossing their hands on their lap. The outcome is a sort of beer-driven humor, meant to encourage the bar’s guests to drink more, and laugh heartedly.

Many of Adrian’s “jokes” are repeated in creative ways during a rather busy work schedule. He’ll reuse a handful of jokes, and invent new ones on the fly. The audience becomes Adrian’s own canvas for painting a portrait of humor, using individual people as tools to construct new things to laugh about as he goes.

Music Background

Music Background

Making people laugh is only half of the talent he possesses. The other half lies within his understanding of music. Adrian is known to play bass and acoustic guitar in bands, as well as several other instruments which he has used for recording his own music in the past. This would include his CD entitled; “More Beer!”, recorded in 2000, featuring eleven of his original songs with full accompaniment.

During the mid-80’s, Adrian booked a gig alongside “The Outfield” at an open-air coliseum in Hawaii. This was one of the biggest concerts he has performed, which housed an audience of 15,000 Outfield fans. Right around that time, he made the move to Maine and then began to book solo gigs under the nickname that he had already been given by friends and fans; “Yo Adrian!”, obviously inspired by the blockbuster movie; “Rocky”.

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Sons of The BeachAdrian began booking gigs in Maine with a band that he still performs with today named “Sons of The Beach” which features a couple of other veteran musicians of the local scene. Dan Merrill on guitar, Ronnie Bouffard on drums, and Neil Avcollie on keyboards. Adrian plays bass guitar for Sons of The Beach, and all four members share the role as vocalists. “We play a lot of Beatles songs, and a wide variety of classics too.”

I haven’t seen Sons of The Beach in many years, but remember seeing them perform at Shelley’s in Biddeford long ago. Shelley’s was once a pretty well known venue for hosting live entertainment in Biddeford, and for those who remember, was a pretty cool place to spend a weekend night for the years that they supported the music scene.

My memories of Sons of The Beach are wrapped up in the musicianship of the members of the band. Dan Merrill, a fantastic vocalist with tasteful blues guitar riffs. And also Ronnie Bouffard for his impression of “Wipeout” as he tapped out pieces of his solo on objects throughout the room. These guys are a lot of fun to watch, and in my own personal opinion, a talented bunch of musicians to watch.

Sons of The Beach still gets together to perform at “The Brunswick” in Old Orchard Beach. “We’ve been together for eighteen years. It was about fifteen years ago that we did those Shelley’s gigs.” Explained Adrian. Wow does time fly!

JamieA lot of local musicians know and respect Adrian. I spoke with my buddy Ted Warner, guitarist for two popular Maine-based bands; “Funnel” and “Lost On Liftoff”, today about Sons of The Beach. Ted quickly emphasized the awesome musicianship in the band. He described the band as a powerful combination of local talents.

Another friend of mine, Jamie, called me one rainy Tuesday night to ask if I wanted to go out to see “Yo! Adrian” on The Pier. She wasn't even aware that I was in the process of writing this article, which made her random phone call feel very uncanny.

“I like to see Adrian perform at least once every summer.” She explained.

Despite the poor weather, we discovered that we were not the only ones who would endure a little rain for a few laughs. The tables were filled and the crowd’s spirits were risen.

I met a few vacationers during the show, and the small talk pretty much confirmed my own thoughts and opinion. He really puts on a great show!

Local TelevisionAnother interesting part of Adrian Walker’s past was his involvement in television broadcasting. Adrian did some work with FOX-51 for a show called; “Face The Music”. He was the show’s VJ for two seasons, where he would introduce local artists who were recorded to appear in a video for the show.

“I also did some introductions for some British sit-coms on PBS for a short time too. Stuff like “Benny Hill” and “Are You Being Served” for example.” Adrian added.

Our one-hour conversation couldn’t possibly enlighten me with enough information to tell a complete story. I have known Adrian for nearly two decades myself. I have been friends with Adrian since I was a teenager, when I often encountered him in local music stores as he passed through to pickup extra strings. He’s always had interesting stories to tell, and I have always looked up to him as a peer in music. No matter what, Adrian can always find a way to make people laugh.

Inventive Traditions

Inventive Traditions

His comedy routine is filled with inventive traditions that continue to evolve over time. When a customer drops a tip in Adrian’s jar, he has the audience shouting out rewarding cuss words, giving the audience the chance to swear and drink more beer. He’s got a set of rules that the audience must abide by, or suffer the consequences of feeding his tip jar.

F... N A!At the end of every performance, Adrian closes his set with “Imagine” by John Lennon. He always dedicates the song to his daughter, Angela Pelletier, who passed away at the very young age of nineteen just five years ago in Connecticut. Unlike the rest of his performance, he changes his tone just enough to let people know his sincerity towards his daughter’s passing. Instead of shouting “F… N A!” when customers drop a tip in his jar, he simply thanks them while playing this particular song.

Another noteworthy quality I have noticed during his performance is his recognition of the soldiers who are fighting for our country and the parents who pray for their safe return. Adrian has a way of squeezing in these personal dirges between jokes, helping people remember and realize some of life’s harder lessons.

Adrian pointed out how often comedians and entertainers are driven by emotional or traumatic backgrounds. How sometimes, a person can take these troubled experiences and use it to help bring more happiness back into the World. Life has enough tragedy and conflict. Through the power of music and comedy, this life-experienced Englishman has created a lifestyle allowing him to continuously give the gift of laughter to his audiences.

Additional Information

Contact Yo!Adrian at (305)296-3245

Winter 2009-2010 Schedule
@ "Rick's Bar" in Key West, Florida
(Across from Sloppy Joe's on Duval St. on the 200 Block)

THU: 4-8pm
FRI: 8-12pm
SAT: 4-8pm
SUN: 8-12pm

Summer Schedule
See The Pier in Old Orchard Beach, Maine


Comments:

Kurt I see Adrian in the Linburg Lounge at the end of the pier. I like him there because he can get as outragious as ever. And his energy, goes on at 5:30 and doesn't slow on energy at all through the 8:30 end. Although I have only spoken with the man a few times, I consider him as one on my FRIENDS list.
Posted by Kurt on September 8th, 2009 11:07 AM

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