Del Oro grad tours with retro R&B band

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A local musician is living his dream. George Schafer, a 2009 Del Oro High School graduate, is touring the country with a group that recently released its first CD and album and was spotlighted on television’s Last Call With Carson Daly earlier this year. The band, Nick Waterhouse And His Tarots, just returned from their second European tour and their musical tracks are featured on a national car commercial and on ESPN for their ESPY Awards show promotion. The new album is called Times All Gone. Waterhouse, who resembles a Buddy Holly of yesteryear, composes his own music and plays guitar. The band’s style is retro rhythm and blues from the late 1950s to mid 1960s. George Shafer, of Loomis, plays tenor saxophone in the band with a baritone sax player, bass player, keyboardist, drummer and a two female back-up singers. George Schafer played in the Del Oro Jazz Band for four years, earning the Louis B. Armstrong Award his senior year. After one year at Sierra College, he transferred to San Francisco City College to pursue music. A semester later, he transferred to California State University, San Francisco where he met musical classmates and formed a jazz band called Jazzophiles. According to George Schafer’s father, Don Schafer, the band was talented, but couldn’t find jobs to display their style of music. He said his son was a junior when he decided to respond to a Craigslist ad for auditions for a tenor saxophone player for a new band. Waterhouse, who grew up in Southern California, but moved to San Francisco for school, had signed a record deal and needed musicians and singers and placed the Craigslist ad. He needed a band for his upcoming debut CD/album and to perform shows. Waterhouse sent George Schafer his CD’s to listen to so he could practice the sax parts before auditioning. Don Schafer said during auditions his son, who had just turned 20, felt like a child among elder musicians. After playing through the set, Don Schafer said Waterhouse looked over at his son somberly, and smiled saying, “Kid, you’ve got the job.” Don Schafer said his son was then juggling school with night club performances in San Francisco and Las Vegas. Waterhouse decided he had to move the band to Los Angeles where musical opportunities are more abundant. His father said George Schafer “had to make a heart wrenching decision to finish his college education as he had promised his parents, or pursue a once-in-a-lifetime dream.” After much soul searching, Don Schafer said the family agreed that his son would take a sabbatical from college and follow his dream. George Schafer now lives is Los Angeles with two of his band mates. Recently, Don Schafer said Waterhouse surprised George Schafer with an extraordinary birthday gift. Waterhouse and George Schafer flew to New York to play alongside Daryl Hall, of Hall and Oates, and his band at Hall’s house in upstate New York to shoot a video for “Live from Daryl’s,” which will air in September or October. This fall, Nick Waterhouse and the Tarots are scheduled for a month-long tour of Europe, and are appearing on PBS’s Austin City Limits, Don Schafer said. George Schafer’s mom, Nancee, said her son is engaged to Del Oro classmate Nikki Mischke, of Penryn. When asked how he likes being in the band, Nancee Schafer said, “He loves it.” Not bad for a Loomis kid who went to Del Oro. For more information on the band and to listen to their music, go to Joyia Emard