Daytona Beach News-Journal
Saturday, May 31, 2008
The Daily Journal, Page 5

‘Pirates’ keep rocking, honor memory of friend, band mate
By Paul Marseglia, Correspondent

NEW SMYRNA BEACH – Nearly a year after the untimely death of bandmate Timmy Probst, the remaining members of The Pirates are still rocking the boat at various venues.
“It’s been almost a year since Timmy’s sadly unexpected passing and he is truly missed,” John Hostetter said prior to one of the band’s recent shows.
“He was a dynamic character who was loaded with heart. He had great charisma and was a born entertainer. His songwriting was amazingly good and deceptively simple. He loved tell a good joke... in fact, he loved to tell a bad joke. Laughter was part of his daily melody.”
It all started about five years ago, when Probst was asked to fill in on a Thursday night booking at Peanuts restaurant and sports bar on Flagler Avenue. He invited his friend, Hostetter, to help him cover the gig. They rounded out the trio with drummer, Bill Games, a local chef who had played on the road in myriad R&B and funk bands.
“In Timmy, I discovered a special combination of talents and personality,” Hostetter said. “There was a psychic tennis match going on when we performed that allowed our disparate characters to play better together than we could have alone. We filled a certain blank for each other and then adding Billy on drums and vocals helped to glue the whole thing together so that we didn’t just fly off into space.” Games added, “We weren’t great musicians, but somehow we seemed to make great music.”
This is how these three happy Pirates started making waves every Thursday with their infectious blend of originals, country standards and rock classics. From the beginning, their onstage spirit and banter was loose and often hilarious and they started to see a crew of regulars at the bar and on the dance floor. These folks soon became known as Pirateheads.
With Probst’s unexpected death on August 3, 2007 at the age of 53, Hostetter and Games turned to Gary Buckels, who had played in a duo with Probst, to join the band and keep the magic alive. Soon after, as Hostetter puts it, “Justin Innamorato was shanghaied on board to play bass. He’d been snoopin’ around the ship for years and finally got caught. And so the Pirates were able to sally forth.”
In describing the band’s sound, Games added, “It’s real old rock ‘n’ roll played by real old rock ‘n’ rollers.”
The Pirates are all seasoned musicians and stage men, each with impressive backgrounds. Hostetter plays acoustic and 12-string guitars, harmonica, and sings. He had a successful career in Hollywood as a character actor and a musician for more than 20 years before moving to New Smyrna Beach. He also appeared regularly as “John the Stage Manager” on Murphy Brown for 10 years. He has dozens of film and TV roles to his credit, many of which can still be seen in reruns. He also was founding member of the popular a cappella doo-wop quartet, The Mighty Echoes.
Games, who plays drums, percussion and sings, has played with War, Curtis Mayfield and the late Johnny Cash. He toured extensively for decades with R&B and funk bands before landing in New Smyrna Beach to become a chef—and a Pirate.
Buckels plays acoustic guitar and also sings. The seventh-generation Floridian started taking piano lessons at age 10, then progressed to guitar, trumpet, tuba, French horn and drums. He’s been making music in New Smyrna Beach for decades, while also becoming a computer whiz and state-certified building and roofing contractor. Plus, Buckels does an excellent imitation of a trombone with his voice.
Bass player Innamorato, who also sings, left New Haven, Conn., at the age of 20 to go on the road, playing bass with top-40 rock and show bands. He has appeared on stage with performers from Travis Tritt to Count Basie and has been a musical fixture in Central Florida since 1976, playing and recording with the best musicians around. He has made his life all about making music and, like many famous bass players, has a quiet, mysterious personality and a rather wry sense of humor.
The Pirates perform every Thursday night at Peanuts, 421 Flagler Ave. To hear their music, visit their web site at They have released three CDs – “Magic Ship”, “Rockin’ the Boat”, and “Surrender The Bootleg”. These may be heard and purchased at the store on their web site.
Of Probst’s passing, Hostetter said, “Losing a friend is a void that one fills with tears and dark empty reflection and frustration. But then, insensitive as ever, here comes tomorrow and the machine of life is still chugging along, unconcerned about our sadness and confusion.
“Things still need to be taken care of... and songs still need to be written and sung, maybe now more than ever.”

Daytona Beach News-Journal
Saturday, January 19, 2007
GO! Music, Page 9E

A magical ship sails in for local Pirates
By Rick de Yampert, Entertainment Writer

The Pirates, “Magic Ship”
*** ½

Given that the Pirates craft songs about trailer trash girls and a guy who’s shocked to see how he looks naked, it’s easy to agree with singer-guitarist John Hostetter when he says: “We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
But the new Smyrna Beach rock band – Hostetter, singer-guitarist Timmy Probst and drummer Bill Games – does have some serious fun on “Magic Ship,” the group’s new CD.
With Hostetter and Probst splitting most of the songwriting duties, “Magic Ship” sails the seas of rootsy, swashbuckling rock, Buffet-esque ditties and pub-crawling tunes.
On “Trailer Trash Girls,” singer-guitarist Timmy Probst outdoes Confederate Railroad’s paean to “Trashy Women.”
“I like the trailer trash girls with the dark-rooted curls,” Probst growls, sounding like a guy who believes Daisy Duke’s shorts are too long. “Oh baby, get me a beer and get your butt over her. Put on some Willie and Julio Iglesias and talk dirty in my ear.”
“Old Florida Postcard,” for which Probst shares a songwriting credit with Hemingway (Papa?), crossbreeds a Jimmy Buffett vibe and carefree Southern rock. It’s picaresque tale about a guy who takes a Florida land cruise with a lassie who finally reveals her name is Mona.
For “Naked,” Hostetter rewrote a song by Sheb Wooley (he of “Purple People Eater” fame). The result is a fun slab of honky-tonk rock with robust piano by guest musician Paul Lawson as Hostetter caterwauls: “My belly done fell, chest went to hell. My butt’s done draggin’ the floor. People, I just don’t look good naked anymore.”
While the fun continues on such ditties as “Surrender the Booty,” “Life on the River” and “Philip the Phish,” the Pirates sober up on several Hostetter songs.
In “Legend of Detroit,” he weaves a somber tale of a drug-addled guy, but the breezy groove and a spry, lyrical solo by guest guitarist Denny Weaver give the track a feel like the poppy side of the Allman Brothers. It’s just such dissonance that makes the song arresting.
“Brighter Day,” a churchy slice of classic rock buoyed by Lawson’s organ, is a hope-filled sequel (of sorts) to “Detroit.”
The Pirates shanghaied an able crew for “Magic Ship.” Lawson shines throughout, and many other guests, including harmonica player Mark Hodgson and sax player Thom Chambers, add nifty touches. Edgewater resident Billy Chapin, who produced and has written for the Backstreet Boys, produced and engineered the 13 tracks.
And so “Magic Ship” makes for a rollicking musical cruise.
“Magic Ship” is available for $10 at Palms Up Pottery, Bridgeton Market and Heath’s Natural Foods in New Smyrna Beach, and at Pirates’ gigs; also online for $13.50 at

The Pirates are now on video!  Right click on the following link and save the video of "15 Palm Trees" to your hard drive before playing.  

The Pirates: Rockin' The Boat
CD by John Hostetter, Timmy Probst and Bill Games

Somewhere between Margaritaville and Montego Bay, New Smyrna Beach's renegade rock band "The Pirates" have found a sound that fits nicely on the beach, or in your car.
Their new CD - Rockin' The Boat - is an eclectic mix of Buffett-style ballads and classic rock.  If you like "summer music" all year 'round, you'll enjoy sitting back with a cold one while your mind drifts across the ocean realm.  
Visit for information on obtaining a copy of this CD.

The Datona Beach News-Journal
Friday, April 1, 2005

In The Spotlight
The Pirates

Entertainment Writer Rick de Yampert
gives you the chatter on local music

Vital Stats
§ Band Lineup:
John Hostetter, vocals, guitar and harmonica: Timmy Probst, vocals and guitar: Bill Games, vocals and drums.
§ Home Base:
New Smyrna Beach.
§ Type of music:
Rock, pop, island - both originals and classic hits.
§ Upcoming area gigs:
The Pirates play at 8 p.m. most Thursdays at Peanuts Restaurant & Lounge, 421 Flagler Ave., New Smyrna Beach. Information: (386) 423-1469.
§ Etc.:
Fans of the TV show "Murphy Brown" will recall Hostetter's 10 years portraying the character John, who was the fictional newswoman's stage manager. Some of Hostetter's many other TV and film roles include guest shots on "Arli$$," "NYPD Blue," "Who's The Boss," "JAG," and the blue guy in "Star Trek: Insurrection." He's also supplied voices for such cartoons as "Superfriends," "Transformers" and others.
   Probst spent eight years in Nashville where he released two albums produced by country artist Razzy Baily, and he co-wrote songs with Baily, Townes Van Zant and others. Probst co-wrote "No Tengo Dinero," which was recorded by Toby Keith in 1988.
   Games toured for decades in various funk and R&B bands, and has performed for U.S. troops in Vietnam and Guantanamo Bay.

Taking Notes

New CD: "Rockin' the Boat."
True to their name, The Pirates craft originals in the vein of Jimmy Buffett-style island pop and rootsy, swashbuckling rock.
   "We don't take ourselves too seriously," Hostetter says. "We want to make folks feel like they're at a gig, having a good time."
   The Probst-penned "Los Mosquitos" is a story song that would make Charlie Daniels proud. As guest musician Ken Rice plays gypsy-sounding fiddle, Probst weaves a tale of pirates, treasure and a guy who takes a harpoon through the heart at the captain's table.

   Buffet would feel at home with the feel-good vibe of Hostetter's paean to New Smyrna Beach's party street, "Flagler Ave.," and with the energetic title track, which might be considered the band's theme song. Guest musician Thom Chambers adds lively soprano sax to the former and chipper flute to the latter. Hostetter's "Laissez Faire" is a slice of Cajun swing, with Rice's fiddle again spicing the tune.
   The CD also includes The Pirates' covers of the Beatles' "Get Back," Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin'" and Van Morrison's"Brown-Eyed Girl."

Buy the CD:
Available for $13.50 through the band's Website, (includes shipping), or for $10 at gigs.

The Pirates Sail Into Fame and Fortune
      (OK, so they paddled into a little notoriety)

The Pirates are one of the most fun and original bands I've heard in a long time. They have an infectious groove that grabs hold of you from the very beginning and doesn't let go! By the time you finish spending some time with these guys, you want to hoist your flag and set sail looking for towns to pillage and ships to plunder! At the very least, you'll be looking for a parrot and an eye patch! "15 Palm Trees" was one of the highest rated songs on my afternoon program "The Showdown in KRO-Town" destroying the competition in every encounter and emerging triumphant without even breaking a sweat. Truly, these Pirates know how to fight...and win!

Pete Michaels
Afternoon Drive Host

From the Smyrna Breeze
September 2, 2004

The Pirates, from left, John Hostetter, Bill Games and Timmy Probst sing a song with the lyrics "we just want our picture on the cover of the Symrna Breeze" at a Flagler Avenue event last year. We are granting their wish. They will perform at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, October 30th and 1 p.m. Sunday, October 31st during the Smyrna Redfish Classic in Riverside Park.

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