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An April Wedding “Thank you” card

Published October 14, 2007 [ From DeWitt-Bath Review ]

Life Support maintains DeWitt’s rock pulse

By SCOTT REES: Staff Writer
DEWITT — “Play Free Bird!”

background3It is perhaps the most clichéd thing to ever yell at a cover band. But as musician Ricky Nalett can attest, it happens. A lot.”Each night. Every night,” said Nalett, referring to the popular  rock song by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

It’s just another day for Life Support, the Dewitt-based cover band for whom Nalett plays keyboard. It seems to be everywhere these days — the DeWitt Ox Roast and the Car-Cruise-in, to name a couple of events — and despite its fair share of challenges over its nine-year history, the band doesn’t show signs of slowing down.The key members of the group consist of Nikki Zeeb Fowler on lead vocals, Nalett on keyboards and vocals, Gary Pryor on guitar and vocals, and Bobby Gardner on drums and vocals. The quartet plays at bars and restaurants across the Lansing area, but its primary focus is weddings and corporate events.The band has made a name for itself because of its flexibility.

“Our musical repertoire is a little bit of everything. We can do a whole entire gig of nothing but old jazz standards, or a whole entire gig of all rock bands, and everything in between – Patsy Cline, Frank Sinatra to Janis Joplin, Journey,” said Fowler. “One of our fortes we do that a lot of bands can’t do is if someone requests a song we can almost pull it out…While a lot of bands do the same 40 songs every night, we are able to adjust on the fly, “said Nalett. Usually, if there is a song the band isn’t familiar with, it will at least give it a shot, said Fowler. “We’ll pretty much try anything. Everybody in the band is a talented enough player that we can pull things out and sight read and usually pull things off pretty darn good,” said Fowler. How do they do it? Practice, practice, practice. The members have over 100 years of combined experience. Nalett and Fowler have been performing with one another even before the band came together, logging at least a thousand gigs together. Nalett has been doing music all of his life. He started when he was 15 and has never looked back.”It’s only difficult because you are self employed to start with. The budget in Lansing, especially in area bars, has not changed in 20 years. The crowds have become more complacent. That’s why we gear ourselves more towards the corporate parties, the weddings, and stuff. You just keep plugging away. You don’t have a choice really.I could work at McDonald’s, but I lack the necessary skills for that,” he said, laughing.Life Support harbors no great aspirations to be famous stars.”We would have to be younger and single and at a point in life where we would be willing to pack up and move to New York and LA or something and we’re just not. It’s never been my thing. I’ve got the family and the kids. I don’t desire that kind of lifestyle,” said Fowler. Nalett also runs a recording studio, L.A. Productions, out of his home in DeWitt. He has recently put out an album of original piano music called, “Healing Horizons,” a follow-up to his first solo piano recording, “Vermilion Sunsets.” These, along with Nalett and Fowler’s “Nikki and Ricky Christmas CD” and “Try It, You’ll Like It,” are available for purchase through the band’s Web site at

More information about the band and upcoming gigs can also be found at the Web site.