Soul Cats musician revels in screens and saxophones
Greg Gorman of Solvang leads a double life.
During the day, he travels around Santa Barbara County as the owner of Screenmobile, installing and repairing screens on site for homes and businesses.
In the evenings, he plays saxophone in the Soul Cats, a 12-piece band based in Santa Ynez Valley who perform soulful music from the 1960s, ’70s and beyond at weddings, special events and venues like the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez and the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company in Buellton.
“I play baritone sax and alto sax in the brass section, and sometimes fill in as a vocalist,” said Mr. Gorman, 69. “It’s a fun group with a lot of talent, a passion for music and a passion for performing and making people happy.”
Others in the brass section are the leader, Michael Roberts on trumpet; John Ovbro, alto sax and percussion; and Roger Wolin, tenor sax.
In the rhythm group are Dave Yarnell, keyboard; Bob Thornburg, drums; Rick Miller, bass; and guitar, John Nuss.
Vocalists are Carrissa Look and Miles Castro with Mr. Yarnell and Mr. Gorman filling in at times.
“Our ages range from the 40s to the 70s, and we all live in Buellton, Solvang, Los Alamos and Lompoc. We’re having a blast. We practice on Mondays at a storefront in Buellton, which is large enough for us to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Mr. Gorman, who began playing the saxophone in high school.
“I signed up for beginning band, but when the teacher found out I had never played the saxophone before he directed me to the beginning instruments class, but there were no openings. The teacher gave me a practice sax, and I began to teach myself,” recalled Mr. Gorman. “I did so well that he allowed me to join the band the last half of the year. I got to play in the marching band for all the football games and other events.”
Born in News Brunswick, Canada, Mr. Gorman came to Eagle Rock, Calif., with his family when he was 12 years old. After graduating from Eagle Rock High School in 1969, he attended Glendale Community College and Santa Ana Community College.
“I majored in political science intending to be a policeman,” said Mr. Gorman. “Instead, I began working for Safeway at the bottom rung of the ladder, bagging groceries and then working my way up to clerk, department head, assistant manager and manager in the Los Angeles and Pasadena area. I really enjoyed what I did while working there for 22 years.”
When Safeway was sold to Vons, Mr. Gorman decided “to find something else to do” at the age of 37.
In 1989, he and a friend bought the Screenmobile franchise for Santa Barbara County, which he now operates with his wife, Dodie, and son.
“We’re based in Solvang and work with clients from Carpinteria to Santa Maria installing and repairing screens of all kinds. I’m enjoying the work as much as I did my grocery career. Both are people businesses. I love dealing with my clients and giving them good service.
“Best of all, having my own company has allowed me the flexibility to get back to the saxophone. Music has always been therapeutic for me. I can’t wait to start performing again when the pandemic crisis is over.”
For more information about the Soul Cats, visit www.soulcatsband.com.