Back in the USA Pt 2

I spent the first few days with my friends Steve and Frances Stizzo in my old hometown of Roseville. Steve and I go back to when I was still in high school and he was in JUNIOR high. We’ve played together off and on ever since, sometimes in bands together for years at a time.

He arranged a nice party/jam at a local place called ‘Basic’ and I got a chance to play with Steve and his brothers Curtis and Gordon, along with lots of other excellent musicians. We tried to let as many people know as possible and there was a good turnout, lots of people who are very dear to me. One, Steve Rambo, dating back to 4th grade! (we didn’t DATE… I am talking about something more like carbon-dating).

When Tuesday morning came, I was off to Santa Cruz with my ex-Dipmate Greg Carter to begin rehearsals for our ‘Bopapalooza’ tour. It was great catching up with Greg on our 3 hour drive, which seemed to pass incredibly fast. Once in ‘Cruz,’ we proceeded to the house of our keyboard player of yore, John Biddick. Once again I got to reunite with somebody I hadn’t seen in decades. Fred Dodini, our bass player from the old days soon showed up as well. I was introduced (first time) to numerous other prior members of the group and the rehearsals began.

We dove right in, but as we had never all worked together at the same time, it was hard to get everybody headed in the same direction. By the end of the ‘tour’ I think we had an idea of how we should have rehearsed. Fortunately, we have plenty of time to forget all that before the next gig (next year for some, not so likely for me unless I have a rich uncle I don’t know about who dies and leaves everything to me).

The first day was a marathon session, 12 hours or so. Oh my achin’ head. We did about half that the 2nd day and then a short session before loading up the stuff for our first gig at a place called Bocci’s Cellar. I knew we would be making lots of mistakes, but hey, we were there for FUN and to put on a show, and we accomplished that quite nicely.

The second show was in Walnut Creek at a place that had ‘vices’ in its name somewhere. Nice place. Our main problem is that the sound man didn’t show up, and I (yes, yours truly) ended up trying to figure out the system cold. I can’t say I got everything working the way it was intended, but I can say that we got enough going for the audience to hear us and for us to hear ourselves. We were a little tighter this afternoon/night, and I got the beautiful bartender Alejandria to pose for a picture with me. 3, actually. Lucky for me, there are beautiful girls in Costa Rica too or I might still be there, begging to wash her car for the hint of a smile…

Greg and I drove straight from the gig in Walnut Creek up to Chico, where the 3rd and final show was to be, at a nice big place called the ‘Graduate.’ We hooked up with another bunch of former Dips, including my old buddy Gary ‘Strings’ Campbell of the Legendary Stardust Cowboys. We spent the late morning and afternoon doing a sound check and some impromptu rehearsals with the newest members of the Bopapalooza tour. Then it was SHOWTIME.


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  1. Nothing beats getting together with musicians that you've played with "back in the day." I hope to get that very same opportunity whenever I get back to Tennessee (which ain't gonna be anytime soon, it appears.) Really glad this happened for you.

  2. Niiiice… our past never leaves us after all! 😀