In reality, some of these questions are not asked frequently, but it is our policy to be up-front about how we operate and what to expect. Please take a few minutes to read through these items; we've tried to cover all topics, but if there is anything else you want to know about us, just ask!
How long has the band been together?
Formed in 1989, The Mystery Band™ is currently celebrating its 22nd year of excellence in entertainment. Experience counts - We've performed at over 4,200 corporate events and wedding receptions!
How many people are in the band and what is the instrumentation?
There are five permanent members in the band. We have a female singer who sometimes plays guitar; a keyboardist who sings; a guitarist who sings; a sax player who sings; and a drummer. A band that has several strong lead singers who can also sing harmony is very hard to find! For smaller occasions we can break the group down to a trio or quartet, but we do reserve our Saturdays for the five piece or larger group.
Can the band add more horns for an event?
Yes, we can add more horns to the band if requested. We play many events as a six, seven, eight piece band, or even larger if requested. Normally we will add first a trumpet, then trombone or an additional sax . . . we can grow as large as you need.
How does the band compare to other regional bands?
We've had clients
tell us that our competitors say that they're "just as good as The Mystery Bandô. We don't compare our band to other bands. We hold ourselves to our own professional high standards. We've found that other groups use us as the standard of quality to judge themselves. Certainly, you'll find no other regional band that will generate the excitement we do. We take no time between songs, and we play the right songs at the right time to keep your guests dancing.
What kind of music can the band play?
We can play a very wide variety for everyone: All the top hits from 1950ís Sock Hop; 1960ís Rock and Motown; 1970ís Funk, Rock, Disco and Soft Rock; 1980ís new wave; hit songs from the 1990ís and 2000ís; California and Carolina Beach Music, Tropical, Reggae and Latin Hits; 1920's, 1930ís, 1940ís Jazz and Swing Standards; Country; we even play Cajun & Zydeco music! During breaks we provide i-pod music or you can have us play your selected playlists from your own i-pod or CD, just keep the selections suitable for general audiences, and compile the song selections onto a single CD or playlists that are labeled for each break between band sets.
How do we choose the songs we want you to play?
We use selected songs as a guideline for musical material that you might enjoy. It is not necessary, nor is it recommended that a song list be too explicit, because the most successful way to keep your guests dancing is for us to read the crowd. It can be difficult for the band to keep in a "groove" when we have to keep referring to a list of songs to play or not to play. Also keep in mind that your guest's musical tastes may not be the same as your own. Of course, if there are specific song requests, we always do our best to work them in while making sure that everyone is having a good time. If there are a few songs that are unwelcome at the event, let us know and we won't play them. Try not to be too critical about choosing songs; limiting too much can seriously disrupt the flow, making it difficult to get your guests dancing.
What if we don't see a specific song that we want on your song list?
We'll learn it free of charge. Just make sure you give us enough time (at least 8 weeks before the date) to put it together. It also helps us a great deal if you supply us with a CD or mp3 recording of the song, that way we will know the exact version of the song you want. If there is not enough time before your event for us to learn the song(s), we do have the ability to play the original artist's version on i-pod or CD.
Does the band play dinner music?
Yes, for most events we play light jazz and standards during dinner at a "background music" volume. For theme events (i.e.: tropical, era, holiday) we play the appropriate songs to give the party "audible atmosphere".
Is music played during the band's breaks?
Yes, we play i-pod or cd music during every break. You may provide your own i-pod or cd music of your choice if you want, just let us know prior to the event that you will provide your own break music. Our only request is that the music is suitable for general audiences.
How long does the band play?
Every event has its own unique flow, so even though we contract a specific time (for example: four 45 minute sets during a four hour event), we are well aware that our main concern is to get the guests dancing, and to keep them dancing. During most events, we usually perform an hour for the first set, then 45 minute sets following. Sometimes the sets go much longer than the specified time, but never shorter unless it is requested by the purchaser. We never take longer than 15 minutes between sets unless it is requested, and we play i-pod or cd music during all breaks unless we are requested not to. We are always flexible to keep things flowing.
What if we request overtime?
We provide an overtime clause in our contract that can be signed at the event if you decide to extend the evening. If you request the band to play overtime, here's an example of how it works: Let's just say for this example that your event is scheduled to end at 11:00PM, but you decide at 10:45PM that you want to extend the evening. At that point, you would tell us that you want to extend and we would continue to play without a break until 11:45PM, which would be another full set. So, instead of the band taking a break at 11:00PM before playing the overtime set from 11:15PM until midnight (which is what most bands would do ...a definite crowd thinner!), we would go straight into the overtime set at 11:00PM with no break so we can keep as much of the energy and crowd as we can for another 45 minutes. As for the cost of the overtime, we pro-rate. Divide the total fee by the number of sets the band is to perform during your event (usually a 45 minute set per hour).
How much does it cost to hire the band?
The price of the band depends on several things: how many pieces you want . . . how far we have to travel, how long the event is . . . those types of things, so it's best to contact us for a price quote. Whether you plan to hire us or not, please keep this in mind: If you are concerned about the quality of your entertainment, remember, in most cases you get what you pay for. There are bands who will charge less or offer more than they can truly deliver in order to get the job . . . those bands are usually not the best choice if you want your event to be a real success.
What are the band's contract requirements?
A deposit with the return of the signed contract; Final payment 14 days in advance of the event; non-vendor dinner for the performers; and a private dressing area or green room. If the event is more than 200 miles from Jacksonville, Florida, we may request hotel rooms.
What is a "non-vendor" dinner? A non-vendor meal can be whatever the guests are eating, plated or buffet, or something hot from the venue's grill menu that might be less expensive. Many venues and coordinators push vendor meals (also known as boxed lunches), but we do not accept them because it's impossible to have the energy needed for good performance on a turkey or club sandwich. Most events require us to be on site without leaving for a minimum of 8 hours between moving and setting up the equipment, performing during the event, and packing up the equipment and moving it again.
What about payment?
Make all checks payable to Howie Lucero. The mailing address is 10952 Hawaii Drive South, Jacksonville, FL 32246-8839. Do not make checks payable to The Mystery Band or Howie Lucero/The Mystery Band. We cannot fully reserve a date until a deposit has received with a signed contract We do not accept credit cards. Final payment will be due 14 days prior to the event. If the balance is not received by us prior to 14 days in advance of the event, we will accept a cashier's check or cash (do not sent cash via mail). The cashier's check would have to be made payable to Howie Lucero. The mailing address is 10952 Hawaii Drive South, Jacksonville, FL 32246-8839 and delivered to us no later than 7 days prior to the event. Once again, do not send cash via mail.
Why is the balance due 14 days prior to the event?
We need time for the funds to clear our bank, many people write checks from out of the state or the country, and the bank can put lengthy holds on the availability of the funds; we must have the funds available to pay the players on the event date. Paying the players on time keeps the band together.
How much space does the band need?
The band's stage area requirements vary depending on the type of event and the size of the band. Usually, 16' deep by 20' wide stage. If the event is in a smaller venue, we are comfortable with an area of 12' deep by 16' wide. However, we do realize that some venues, especially private clubs like golf & country, or yacht clubs, are unable to provide that much area, so we work with what they are able to provide. If the event is in a large ballroom, usually the stage is 16' or 20' deep by 20' or 24' wide.
What are the band's electrical requirements?
The amount of electricity varies depending on the size of room we are to perform in, which will determine how much sound reinforcement and how much lighting we will use. Generally, in the private clubs, we use whatever is available. In larger ballrooms, we may require an electrical power distribution box with at least four 20 amp circuits.
What is the "intelligent lighting" that you use?
Our intelligent lighting is a system of motorized "moving head" (very expensive) light fixtures that are controlled by an onstage computer. Each light in our system is capable of giving us any combination of colors and many gobo designs, allowing us the ability to have all types of color schemes and special effects. In comparison with our lighting, most bands still use the old standard Par can systems, which are basically large cans with a car lamp type of bulb and a single color per can ...not very exciting. There are a few bands (very few) that do use some of the cheaper intelligent effects that are really more in line with what a mobile DJ would use, but none of them that we know of have a computer customized light show for each song in their show.
How long does it take the band to set up?
In most cases, about 45 minutes to an hour. We like to be set and out of the way at least 30 to 45 minutes before guests enter the area. The band usually arrives about an hour and forty-five minutes to two hours before your guests will arrive.
What if we want to have the band set up outside?
THIS IS IMPORTANT - READ THIS!!!! We can set up outside. We will need a dry, level stage or area, and access to nearby (within 20 feet) electricity that is not being shared for other uses. It will be the purchaser's (that's you) responsibility to provide the band adequate protection from inclement weather. Any roofed structure with at least 15 feet distance between the band and the edge of roof or a tent with sides is considered adequate; a tent without sides is not adequate because with any wind rain can blow in on the equipment and cause serious damage to it or deadly electrical shocks to us. If there are no plans to have a tent and there is ANY chance of rain, it will be the purchaser's responsibility to decide or to delegate the decision to someone at the event venue BEFORE the band sets up whether to have us set up outside or inside. Once set, we cannot strike everything down and set it up somewhere else. It takes a lot of energy and time to move everything and it is very risky to the equipment to move it without casing it all up again. If we are directed to set up outside without adequate protection and it does rain, we reserve the right to cancel performance for the duration of the event, and there will be no refund. When we are at the mercy of the elements, we are taking a tremendous risk with our ridiculously expensive equipment, which are the tools of our lively hood, and we are risking our lives... water mixing with electricity... well, you get the picture. Also, please make sure there are no sprinkler systems timed to water near us before, during, and after the event ending time for at least 2 hours. Our safety and yours are most important.
What does the band wear?
Typically, formal wear . . . unless of course, the event happens to be a theme party (i.e.: Tropical, Futuristic, Fiesta, Western, 50's Sock-Hop, 70's Disco Party, Mardi Gras, or anything else you can think of . . .) chances are, we already have right attire.
Does the band have references?
For over 22 years, we've performed for over 2,000 shows for many of the biggest corporations in the world & well over 2,200 happy wedding couples. If you feel the need to personally talk to a reference, please e-mail us and we will be happy to put you in contact with them.
Where can we see the band play?
Since we almost always perform at private functions, your best bet is to e-mail or call us at (904) 613-4009 or (904) 645-0514 about our upcoming schedule.
Does The Mystery Band™ carry liability insurance?
Yes, The Mystery Band™ is amply insured through Cecil W. Powell & Company.
Is The Mystery Band™ exclusive to any agent or venue?
No, The Mystery Band™ and the band's calendar are not controlled by anyone but the band itself. Also, beware of imposters! We have had reliable reports of unscrupulous agents booking other acts under our name. If you are unsure that getting the real thing, just contact us for confirmation. If you already have a working agreement with an event planner or agent, rest assured that by contacting us, we will not interfere with your agreement. We will simply confirm where we are performing on your event date.