Archive for August, 2014

“It’s All About the Music.”

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Biggest thanks to the organizers and attendees of Kingston Trio Fantasy Camp 15. A mountain of organization, changes, songs, rehersals, places to be, people to see…..you guys that put the show on make it look easy.
Named after the Detroit Tiger Fantasy Camp, where you get to play ball with the pros, the Kingston Trio camp is a multifaceted festival where you get to play with the Kingston Trio – but let me tell you friends – its so much more than that.
It doesn’t matter if you play professionally…..amateurally……psudo-amateurally…..barely…..badly…or not at all – you are welcome at the camp. Incidentally, everybody who played at camp sounded great, and thats because of the professional musicians, arrangers, sound men and producers that work to make you sound like a million bucks – thanks guys!
This event is 100% all about the music and is a week long musical journey for the soul.
If you love folk music – this is the place to be. You can sign up and be a camper – arrange your own covers of Kingston Trio songs, or attend as a Bloodliner – enjoy the show, the after parties, and then play music until the sun comes up in the hospitality (pronounced hostility if you’ve had too many toddies) suites.
Either way, you will have a great time with people who absolutely LOVE folk music.
And thats really a special thing. I’ve been booed off stage at venues where the crowd had no appreciation for folk music. Then at the next night – its 2 encores. The crowd in Scottsdale knows the songs and they sing along with you. The depth of appreciation of folk songs by the crowd is second to none. But thats not even the best part.
This was my second year in attendance, and I’m embarrassed to say that since last year’s camp…..I didn’t do shit. Didn’t book any gigs, didn’t record any music, didn’t write any music….really didn’t do anything musically. Not a damn thing. But thats how it goes sometimes.
But as the time of camp came nears, I sent Deb a track of how I do Hobo’s Lullaby. She added a harmony, we sent it to Len who liked it – and Bam!, I was inspired to play with the band…..thats also how it goes. We agreed to work on our other two songs when we got to Scottsdale.
Summertime is by far the most difficult time to get away from work for me, but we made it happen.
Kim and I decided to drive from Santa Clara to Scottsdale, stopping in Flagstaff for a night at the Monte Vista. I still have a few friends in Flagstaff, but I chose not to make a deal out of me stopping in town for the night – but wouldn’t you know, the Garro’s just happened to be having cocktails in the lobby of the Monte V when Kim and I were headed from there to the Weatherford for Indian (Navajo) Taco’s. So we had to have a few tequillas and talked about boats.

Then it was on to Scottsdale for check in and to attend a wonderful presentation about the solo’s of Bob Shane. After being mesmerized, we adjourned for the welcome dinner where we got to meet new campers, and new campers got to meet old campers. I actually like that part a lot. Its a good time to tell stories and to get to know people better. Its also a good time to tell new people that much more importantly than your performance on stage, is the fact that you are here celebrating the music with such a wonderful group. I really can’t stress that enough. As an audience member – I love seeing my fellow campers on stage. Its like going for a mountain bike ride with friends…..or going surfing……it doesn’t matter how long the ride is, how fast we go, or how big the waves are – being there with great people is what its all about. I couldn’t care less about if you forget a verse, sing the same verses 3 times, do the chorus twice, forget the bridge, or bomb your solo….just the fact that you are up there celebrating the music and taking us all on a musical journey means a lot to me. I think the rule is that you sound 95% better than you think you sound up there. Remember, its all about the music.
The format of the camp was to work on group songs in the morning (which I really do love), work up your trio songs/play in the pool/jam with other campers/jam in the Bloodliner Suites in the afternoon and then have a show in the evening.
I didn’t take any pictures, but thankfully many others did….so here are my favorites.
Group Songs always set a great foundation….they are layed back…..did you forget your verse? Doesn’t matter – the group will pull you through.

Tom DeLisle once again knocked it outta the ballpark as MC.

Our Trio, The John Bowles (a fellow camper) Parole Board, played my arrangement of Hobo’s Lullaby the first night. I think it went off well….sounded better than it does in my basement.

Bob Shane played a set

As well as the magnificent current lineup of the Kingston Trio

At this point, I should tell you that I could go through each individual and camper trio performance and tell you what I loved about each performance….from first time campers to veteran campers – it was beautiful to be there with all of you and hear your songs.
So here is a funny story…..we bombed at sound check on the second day. After slaying it with Hobo’s Lullaby, we were out of tune and not committed to a path for Scarlet Ribbons. I really wanted to play Dobro on it which left Len alone to “drive the bus” for the song. Seriously, we could barely make it through the sound check. But we re-grouped and re-worked the song.

Thats part of what you can do at camp – you work with your band. And let me tell you, Deb and Len are professional. Scarlet Ribbons was Deb’s pick. The Studio version has time changes that are hard to do live…..we came together and created OUR version on stage. A Folk classic, driven by Lens rhythm guitar, our vocals and a dobro part that punctuates the song with a hopeful sadness that only a resonator can deliver.

Post show, its time to stay up WAY too late playing music and blowing out your voice.

That actually works fine for me. I estimate that I sleep about 2-3 hours a night at camp. For the second year in a row, whenever I lay down, I have music in my head EXACTLY like I’m wearing a walkman….and I can’t turn it off. Good music – folk tunes and such…..but it is the damnest thing. Do a show in Park City – go to sleep. Get back from the Bloodliners Suite – its American Bandstand until 5am.
Our final Camper Trio song was Dancing the Distance – which we reworked to include a beautiful 7th as we bridged to the chorus which kept us on track lyrically…..and also added a 60′s Folk Rock dimention.
My favorite performance this year was The Shape of Things…..Performance Art meets Folk Music

As I said, every single performance had highlights that I could pick out….but this post is already long enough.
For my performance with the Trio on closing night, I did Tijuana Jail….in my Nudie Suit.

100% fun.

After the show it was a blast to talk about folk music with other campers – and hear their stories about why they selected their songs and did their arrangement. Really, I could stay all night.

I learned more in 1 minute about Banjos talking to Greg and Janet Deering then I have my entire life. I learned more talking to Bob Shane and the other musicians there about Martin guitars then in 25 years of going to music shops. Many of the attendees have music production experience and helped/encouraged/kicked me in the ass to do a better job of writing, recording, performing and publishing music – thanks guys.
But most of all, it was great to play music with all of you. Everybody has a story, everybody has a style, and when everybody comes together, we sing each others’ songs and make the world a brighter place.
And with that, take a look at our soundcheck and watch the people come together for this Kingston Trio anthem.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

On my mind this week is the death of my favorite Skateboarder, Jay Adams.
Jay didn’t give a shit….and his skate style showed it. As part of the Dogtown Z-Boys, the surf team I wanted to be on as a kid, he was the youngest….and the best…..yes, even better than Tony Alva (who is quite rad).



And Jay’s problem was also that he didn’t give a shit. Always out of money, drugs, prison….you name it. His life reminds me that there are boundaries out there whether or not we like it or choose to recognition them. Inside the skate park, let it go…..in life – use some self control.
Anyway, if you’re up there Jay, drain the pool for me when its my time.

One more bit of a sad note before we get on to happier things. If you don’t follow the DOD news, you should be informed that Major General Harold J. Greene was killed in action when his group was ambushed while inspecting the military University in Kabul. While it bums me out to see any member of the DOD family not return, it brings me great strength to see senior officers out there putting it on the line when needed to make the world a better place.
Thank you for your service Sir. Salute.

You can give him a salute too….its okay.
And by the way, General Greene is now safely in section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery….and I can tell you that there are some VERY fine individuals there who make it a rather honorable place to be interred.
With the respects out of the way, lets talk bikes.
Lets start with a SSWC video

And if you like stuff like that…you’ll like Gnome-Fest
Register HERE…and tell Gomez I said Hi.
If you didn’t see Steve’s write up of Kona Launch, read about it HERE
Good things from Kona…..people ask me sometimes, why does the Boutique Shop that sells $10,000 bikes carry Kona…..its because the bikes are great and the people are awesome….also, its because its our shop and we could come to the shop dressed up in Leather Daddy outfits if we wanted.
As the month of August passes the midway point, people are getting out there on gravel.

And people are also avoiding the trees.

And with that I’ll leave you with some words from Captain Dave.

Proof that people have fun

Monday, August 4th, 2014

There is much going on around these parts.

Much is wrapping up….like the great northeastern tour of team Evil/Marley/AssClown…..man I bet those people had fun…and not just because they proudly wore Dharma Wheels Caps.

Speaking of finishing, here is Yendra finishing off some crafty beers.

A man of many talents…..and taste.
And I’d like to give a shout out to KB, who had his “fini” flight last month after many, many missions of giving troops cover and blowing up bad people and things.
Well played Sir.

Big Hurl finished the MDH 100 in NoDak….big ups on that one.

Lets move right along to local things.
First, here is a pic of a local roadrunner here on the edge of the Mojave….photo credit to Bryce.

Gosh he takes takes good pictures….look, he even makes me look 10 years younger.

And Bryce can do the same to you…..for $16.66 a photo.
The Tour of Utah begins today, and I’ve been informed that big time pro people have been hanging out in Cedar City.

I’m guessing that it was a pretty quiet day yesterday – if you know what I mean. But good luck on course today gents.
And now on to broader cycling things….its time to look at the calendar of cycling events that are worth doing.
This is the last month of the summer to enjoy the lift service mountain biking at Deer Valley…..get some.
The Park City Point 2 Point is the 30th.
Interbike is in September don’t you know as well as the Tour De Suds in Park City on Sunday the 21st.
Outerbike is the first weekend in October.