Alter Ego is more than just a
name of a local band. It’s also an explanation of how a group of mostly
middle-aged professionals wound up with a regular gig playing R&B in a south
Fort Myers bar.
The core members of Alter Ego
are, by day, a doctor, an insurance agent, 2 lawyers, and an accountant.
That’s right, an accountant.
"I’ve been with a CPA
firm in Fort Myers about 20 years," says 43-year-old drummer Todd Caruso of
his work at McHale, Caruso, Scullion & Co. "I’m a partner
Caruso and his musical cohorts
have earned a slot playing at the VIP Club in south Fort Myers.
……A band that contains,
two Assistant U.S. Attorneys – bassist Robert Barclift and part-time lead
singer Doug Molloy – may seem a bit of an oddity. However, lead
singer/insurance agent Tracey Coppin says it makes perfect sense.
"It’s a wonderful
diversion, a great outlet for all of us," Coppin says. "I totally
forget about my day."
Although their name is a
playful nod to the seeming disparity between their nighttime gig and their day
jobs, there may not be as much of a conflict between Alter Ego’s music and
lifestyle as one would assume. Musically, Alter Ego is more about dancing than
"I would say we’re
mostly R&B," says Robert Barclift, the bass player/Assistant U.S.
Attorney who was the driving force behind Alter Ego’s formation.
"We’re doing Aretha
Franklin tunes, Otis Redding, Blues Brothers, James Brown," Barclift says.
"It’s dance music, it’s party music."
Barclift, Caruso, Coppin and
trumpet player Tony Fransway are the core members of the group, although several
other musicians join them regularly.
They found each other through
various avenues – Caruso is a friend of Barclift’s, Coppin attends church
with Barclift, and Fransway is Barclift’s dermatologist."
"The four of us who are
the principals behind the thing are very committed to it and we practice once a
week for about two-and-a –half hours," Barclift says.
……Rather than refer to a
particular genre or era, Coppin prefers to describe Alter Ego’s musical
intent: "We just want to make music that makes people move," Coppin
says. "I don’t see us as a band where you go to a club and sit back and
take in the music."