Saturday, August 22, 2015

OUR MYSTIC NIGHT WITH RAY MANZAREK by Gentry Bronson


On December 2, 2011, I  opened for the Manzarek Rogers Band at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, California. Ray Manzarek and Roy Rogers had teamed up for an album called Translucent Blues”, and they were playing out to promote the album. My booking agent Steve Keyser asked my band and I to be the opener. It was one of the best rock ‘n’ roll events of my life. Opening for Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist and co-­‐founder of The Doors.
 
 
 
The Doors have been written about for nearly 50 years as a band that has fans in every generation. They are timeless, inventive, theatric, cinematic and darkly risqué. Perfect for a 15-­‐year-­‐old punk rock art kid growing up in the Midwest who wants to get out. And that was me.
 
LuAnne, one of my girlfriends in high school, had a poster of Jim Morrison on the wall of her bedroom, and I wanted to be him. I believe thousands of counter culture kids want to be Jim Morrison at some point.  But, I also wanted to be Ray Manzarek. I played the piano from the time I was five years old, and there was no one I wanted to emulate until I heard him play. Not Billy Joel, not Elton John. I heard The Doors, and my life was changed. Ray’s left-­‐handed bass lines changed the way I thought about piano and keys. That marvelous, frivolous, surreal organ sound, the way he played the solo on “Love Me Two Times”, and the long, jazz-­‐tinged solos. It all changed me from my fingers to my head to my balls.
 
We used to play “Roadhouse Blues” in my first high school garage band, The Eviction Committee. We were too young to play most bars, so instead we played makeshift stages inside barns in the winter and next to browning fields in the summer. Out on farms where we couldn’t get caught for playing loud and partying. Kegs of beer and girls and parked cars lined up the long, dirt driveways. Whenever I sang “Roadhouse”, I felt the audience go wild. I was on top of those fields of wheat and corn.
 
I moved out to the West Coast in 1990 and migrated from Oregon to Alaska to Washington and finally down to Northern California in 1994. San Francisco was my home until the end of the decade when I started moving north. First to Sausalito in Marin County, just down the road from Studio D where Ray and Roy would record “Translucent Blues” in 2010. Then, to Mill Valley and up to San Rafael, and in 2011, I moved to Petaluma in Sonoma County.
 
I loved Petaluma, but I wasn’t a stranger to it. I began working in Petaluma in 2002 as a music director for Alchemia, a day program for “differently-­‐abled” adults. While working there, I wrote music for a rock band and a musical, and I instructed a very talented and unique group of disabled people how perform and write music. They played venues and schools in Sonoma and Marin counties. I was a part of a team of instructors that included professional artists, dancers and musicians. Alex Aspinall was one of those instructors.

Alex grew up in Santa Rosa and already had incredible chops as a Sonoma State University educated jazz drummer when I met him. I asked him to join my band, and neither one of us would ever has guessed then that we’d end up making five records together and opening for Ray Manzarek nine years later.
 
Bassist Dave Fairchild joined my band in 2008. He grew up in Texas and had played for Alejandro Escovedo and other roots, Americana and punk styled artists for years. Dave’s gin & tonic resting on his bass amp, flannel shirt unbuttoned over his T-­‐shirt and a giant smile on his face coupled with Alex’s Zen expression, solid rock playing, and quirky inventiveness formed an excellent rhythm section. Guitarist Jesse Brewster joined the band shortly after Dave. I had known Jesse since my days in Sausalito, and he had his own solo career, having released several solo records. The burn and energy in his guitar playing completed my electric 4-­‐piece band.
 
My history with the Mystic Theatre didn’t exist yet. In fact, I had never even been inside its hallowed halls by the autumn of 2011. So, I went to see Dave Alvin play there to a solid 500 people a month before opening for Ray and Roy. That night, I realized something; this venue was the Fillmore West of San Francisco’s North Bay. A holy place. Wooden and creaking with expansive, high ceilings dripping sweat and sound, and long ago spilled beer seeping from the walls and floors.
 
Roy Rodgers & Ray Manzarek
 
The Mystic was only five blocks from my rented cottage, so the day of the show, I drove down to load in and sound check at about five o’clock. I walked in, and Ray and Roy and their band were just finishing sound check with Randy Teaford, who was behind the main console upstairs. I brought in some gear and some wardrobe, and then I saw Ray getting ready to leave the stage after his sound check. So, I walked over to introduce myself.
 
There are moments in your life when time stops. There are moments when you regress in age. There are moments when you feel like everyone in the room is looking at you. All three things happened when I walked up to the Mystic stage to say hi to Ray Manzarek.
 
I said, “Um, hi, I just wanted to introduce myself. My band & I are opening for you tonight. “And you must be Gentry!” he exclaimed as he smiled with a remarkably young twinkle in his eyes. Then, he extended his hand. I gleefully shook hands with him and then bashfully said, “I just wanted to say that I’m really honored to open for you. You’ve been a big influence on me.”
 
What do you say to someone who’s been a big influence on you? I guess you say, ‘You’ve been a big influence on me.’ Instead of ‘I’m totally star struck right now!’ What do you say to a guy who’s been doing this for 50 years, who is a legend, has graced albums with legends, and who is looking at you in the face with generosity and a grin? The room was spinning. I was 15 years old again.

Ray looked me right in the eye, “Well, we’re looking forward to the night. Thanks for opening up for us!” and then he climbed down from the stage to the floor where I was standing.
 
We small talked about the show for a while, and then Ray asked with an air of sarcasm, “So, you’re probably classically trained?” “Yeah, I am.” “I would’ve played classical or jazz, but it was too hard. So, I stuck to the blues. It was easier.” We laughed.“Where you guys from? Did you have to drive far for this gig? “I live right up the street. About four blocks. It was a pretty cool drive to get here.” “Wow! That’s nice. I live in Napa. And I thought I had an easy drive to get here!”
 
Still the same glitter in his eye. Still looking exactly like he did on the covers of albums like “The Soft Parade” and “Morrison Hotel” and “Waiting For The Sun” with slightly shorter hair. I’ve met a number of “rock stars” in my life, and I generally think they’re ego-­‐less, nice people. But, here was Ray, doing something that felt different, talking to me like we were buddies, or like he was a super groovy Uncle I had never met. He was putting his arm around me, smiling and joking.
 
Then, for some reason, we started talking about what it was like for us to vote in The Grammys. I mock complained, “There’s so many bands to listen to. I don’t know how anybody can go through them all. ”Ray responded, “I voted for a polka band in The Grammys once.” I laughed and said “Did you know that Duke Ellington was writing polkas at the end of his life?” “Really?? I did not know that!”
 
People were staring at us and I was thinking, ‘I’m talking to fucking Ray Manzarek about Duke Ellington, polka music & The Grammys!’
 
For Ray, it was probably just another night talking to his opening act with stars in their eyes. For me, it was like reaching backward into rock history and my own artistic future at the same time. Weeks before the show, Alex and I had joked about how, years from now, we’d be telling people about how we opened for Ray Manzarek and all the stupid questions we would ask him about Jim Morrison. I realized that night, that I probably could have asked Ray all about his old friend Jim. And I realize that years from now, I will indeed be telling people about the night I opened for Ray Manzarek.

Petaluma’s Xmas tree lighting was that same night, right outside the theatre. People were all over the street under this strange, magical haze. By the time we walked out on stage, I felt more relaxed than I had on stage in a long time.
 
I’ve never found that I can write about what it’s like to perform music live. There are looks between the musicians, lights and sweat and stories told to the audience. Sometimes you get a cramp in your leg or your fingers. Sometimes you screw up a solo or miss a word in a verse. But all of that doesn’t mean as much as what happens for you and the audience in the moment. That is a special, spiritual thing. Unless it’s recorded, as soon as you play or sing a note, the sound of live music trickles off into the ether like a sonic rock thrown into a pond until you can’t hear it anymore. It all goes by fast and furious until you’re taking off your show shirt in the dressing room.
 
Right before we launched into our first song, as the audience applauded our entrance, I walked back to the drum riser and quietly said to Alex, “Remember every moment, man.” I took my own advice. Our 45-­‐minute set was like three glorious hours to me.
 
After we finished, I drove my gear home and then walked back to The Mystic. The Manzarek Rogers Band were just starting when I returned. They performed a lot of songs from their new album along with Roy Rogers’ originals and a couple Doors’ songs. I called my brother and put my phone up to the stage at one point during a Doors’ song. It wasn’t musically the greatest thing I’d ever heard, but it was solid.
Legends on stage. And the audience loved it.
 
They came out for one encore, the air buzzing with electricity. And Ray said into the microphone, “This one’s for Jim.” Yes, that is what he said. I got goose bumps then, and I get goose bumps now. 40 years after his friend died, Ray still had no problem paying tribute to his long gone friend. Then, they played “Riders On The Storm”. The final song from the final record The Doors recorded with Jim Morrison called “LA Woman”.
 
There was the opening bass line and the sizzle of the ride cymbal, the long glissando of keys like a rainstorm, and then Ray sang in a deep baritone, “Riders on the storm, riders on the storm, into this house we’re born, into this world we’re thrown…” Is it possible that every time Ray Manzarek sang that song after Jim Morrison died, that Jim was floating above the stage, watching? Because, to me, Morrison’s ghost was in the theatre, high above us, that night. And Ray was playing music with him.
 
The night ended with the usual post show schmoozing and hang shaking and hugs and drunks and flirting girls and money counting and loading out. Back stage, Ray was slumped down in a chair and was not as enthusiastic as he had been hours before while talking to me. He was tired. I reluctantly asked him and Roy for autographs. I don’t even like autographs. I don’t know why I did that. I wanted to feel like we were on the same level that night. It was a one-­‐night only event for Ray and I though. I would find out later that he was fighting cancer.

It wasn’t very long after that night at the Mystic Theatre that Ray Manzarek went to see his old friend Jim. He died on May 20, 2013.

There are many quotes from many Doors’ songs that I could end this memory-­‐filled night with. Many lyrics Jim Morrison wrote. But it’s the trailing sound of Ray Manzarek’s keyboard that I hear instead. Lingering like rain on a warm California night, with the flicker of a thousand white Xmas tree lights. Bluesy and shimmering, mystical and grinning.
 
 
A SHORT ADDITION TO THE STORY: I also recall this night very well!
 
I've been a huge fan of Roy's and have engineered countless live shows with Roy Rodgers and The Delta Rhythm Kings and of course my old friend Norton Buffalo through the years., but this new duo with Ray Manzarek at the keys was something else!
 
I thought to balance Gentry's recall of his first meeting with Ray Manzarek I would do the same.
 
It was about 5pm  at The Mystic Theatre and I was waiting for Ray and Roy to arrive for their sound check. Ray loaded in first and as I was greeting him, I was placing our backline RD700 keyboard and throne out or him to use. Ray had a real warmth about him and a big smile to match, I found him very approachable and casual.
 
He sat down immediately before everything was placed... just as I realized how dusty the keyboard was. He looked up at me just as he started to play the declining line on "Riders on The Storm" and smiled and said "you could of at least dusted the old girl off for me."
I melted as he played the line and of course was embarrassed, but Ray unlike a lot of other major performers that I have  worked with turned the mishap into a moment that
I will never forget.
 
FYI, Ray & Roy as well as Gentry and his band rocked the house that night, and I am very grateful for his recollections of the evening... it was a special one for me as well!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 






 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

USING PERFORMANCE & MEDIA AS A SOCIAL TOOL

You see peoples opinions everywhere these days, some wear them like a uniform. Obviously social media platforms like facebook and twitter allow the individual the endless opportunity to espouse their personal opinions and beliefs, but at what price. We're entering into another election cycle and the wheels of public opinion are turning. I'll be the first one to admit that I am a contributor to the cause of enlightened awareness through memes and syncs, but I've also noticed that these opinions fall short sometimes and become more like wall paper on an angry wall.

(or, am I that social tool?)

I like to apply the image of myself standing on a soapbox in a crowded room of mostly strangers, when I take my stand on that box to make my opinion known I have to ask myself, would I really say that here and now? From my perspective I believe there are actually only 2 kinds of people on our planet, the "I's" and the "we's'" they are sometimes recognizable by their political or religious affiliations, and other times they stand on their own. The "I's" will take the stand that it's my right as an individual to be able to say or do what ever I want and the "we's" will sometimes take the position of consideration.

I like to think that I am a "we" personal, after all I've taken the road less traveled and spent most of my adult life trying to make people sound better... not a big monetary pay off there! What all this pay forward attitude has built for me though is a solid network of friends and co-workers who trust and value my opinion. This interest and this trust is the pay forward - pay back to me and I publicly thank you deeply here and now!

Because of this relationship that we have, you've allowed me to influence your entertainment mediums and even reinvent some of them based on our evolving opinions and technologies. I realized in my early years of music video sync presentations at The Mystic Theatre that I had a captured audience and a responsibility to maintain a certain professionalism with what I put on the screen, or at least walk that line when it comes to public taste. I had the opportunity to hone my craft in public and watch their reactions on a nightly bases, from 40 minute original music video syncs at door time to elaborate visual back drops during the shows... I have been most fortunate.

Because of this captured audience effect I quickly realized that I had a platform to get my personal opinions or positions across to the public, sometimes in a very subliminal way. I've have taken the personal stand that one of the greatest evils that we have in our society is the misuse and misappropriations of public media, although it apparently worked very well for Adolf Hitler (my only reference I promise). The culprits are agenda owned media moguls and countless television commercial's that stretch the truth beyond belief, shows that pander to base emotions as well as news entertainment reporters with their own opinions that read the words off teleprompters and act as if they are your best source for honest information. Perhaps if the TV had not lost it's ethics and moral center I would have more respect for the medium, rather than the corporate money grab that it has become.

It's a confusing world we live in right now, a full swing pendulum from good to bad... one sided political flags go down, equal rights and love wins at last! As a video and performance artist as well as a mock Professor I certainly try to take advantage of that confusion, after all if you are not paying attention or are distracted I may be able to get my point across without you even noticing,
 other times I'm not so subtle.

Case in point, my "Dark Side of Oz" series. Both subject matters,
"The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wizard of Oz" are steeped in political
commentary, even "The Wizard of Oz" has been interpreted as a political statement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_interpretations_of_The_Wonderful_Wizard_of_Oz 
it's just so subtle that it is almost unrecognizable.

Where I like to take advantage of this trusting relationship is actually not in my "Dark Side of Oz" movie sync, but in my "Introduction to Oz" portion of the show that opens up the first 30 minutes of my screening, an "Oz" primer so to speak. It's in that opening context of "The Introduction to Oz" that I get to demonstrate  my theories and practices of synchronicity. Interwoven into this opening Introduction is what I like to think of as my personal point. My personal performance point or focus varies from year to year depending on the political and social climate and like any good opening band it had better be fun, educational and entertaining!



In 2012 the current trend of non violent protest was camping on doorsteps and the word of
the day was occupy! I found myself in the position of understanding and agreeing with a lot of the movements objectives but, disagreeing with a lot of the Anonymous antics. Now I am not the one to lead a rally or announce a charge but I do have the ability to demonstrate my thoughts and beliefs through public performance. I took the 2012 "Introduction to Oz" 
on as a very personal political statement.

BACK TRACKING for a minute: At the end of the 2011 "Dark Side Dub The Moonshine" screening I announced that this show might be my last. The audience didn't believe it, my family certainly believe it... even I partially believed that I meant what I had said. I told the audience that I was taking a sync sabbatical so I could spend more time tracking down the elusive synchronistic creatures while I was working on my Sync Thesis (code for my "Another day, Another Decibel" EBook.)

The year went by and I thought to myself, I can't just say I'm done and disappear, if I'm going out.. I'm going out on top... if I'm going out... I'll blow the whole thing up! Since it was the year of "occupy" and I was somewhat sympathetic to the cause I decided to set up a tent on stage at The Mystic Theatre and start my own sit in... "Occupy Oz." The day of the show I dressed myself up in the best image of Ozzy that I could pull together, loaded up the tent and myself with special effects and placed myself center stage inside my Occupy tent at door time, started my opening "Introduction to Oz" and waited for my "Diary of a Mad Man" cue to exit and begin class.

FYI: I cut the back out of the tent and placed it in front of the back curtain so I could slip
 through the curtain to I could come and go without the class seeing me! As a matter of fact anyone coming or going on or off stage had to crawl through my hot tent lighting maze to get to the stage. I also had what I refer to as The Professor's "Wayback Machine" installed in that tent filled old school lighting effects like fog, strobes and spinners. I even installed a video monitor in the tent so I could see my cue and watch my opening video live with the class.



The Introduction to Oz video for my 2012 Oz Fest had George Bush introducing Ozzy and was loaded with comedy versions of Madd TV's Alternate Oz Endings - https://youtu.be/6exm2Hi28Xw
as well as quite a few political video statements from notable stage men like:
George Carlin (The American Dream - https://youtu.be/acLW1vFO-2Q
Michael Douglas (Wall Street - https://youtu.be/pjCObyaJRMQ

The glue that helped bind the video statements together was the large collection of
occupy photos that I collected. All of these hand picked photos and video clips,
were represent my personal and public opinion were carefully placed in
context to make my Personal Performance Point and in turn,
better prepare you for your Dark Side of Oz journey.



The Dark Side of Oz - Somewhere over The Wall - 2015

This years live stage screening will re-invent the entire urban legend and as far as my
 "Introduction To Oz" goes, you will have to wait for my Personal Performance Point at 
my live screening. I will say however that this year I point my fickle finger of fate at
all of the talking heads on television, for better or worse they influence a nation.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

RANDY TEAFORD - SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS


I'm a 63 year old Native Californian deeply involved in the art and technology
of modern recording, live sound reinforcement, audio & video production.
Over the last 30+ years I have designed, installed and engineered live sound and recording systems in a number of Sonoma County's most historical venues... In 1982, I opened " The Sound Source", Northern California's 1st audio digital production facility.  During the early stages of digital recording I had the great pleasure of creating special effects and musical scores for Charles Shultz Productions and many other commercial and musical projects with notable bay area and internationally
 known composers and performers.

SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS:

TECHNICAL:

LIVE SHOWS: Over 30 years of professional experience in the design, installation, and engineering of club and concert sound systems for nationally and internationally recognized performers, venues, and events throughout the United States and Canada; design and installation of intercom and music playback systems for commercial development projects.

STUDIO: The Sound Source, Owner/Operator of Sonoma County's first audio/digital production facility for music, film, and video. Extensive knowledge of current computer-based recording and digital editing systems for music, film, and video productions; radio and television systems for live broadcast and recording of performances on remote and venue stages.

INSTRUCTIONAL

TEACHING: Music and Computer Technology at the Sound Source facility; substitute positions in Recording Arts Departments at Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College.
GUEST SPEAKER: Business in Education Day at Sonoma County schools, Sonoma State University, and Santa Rosa Junior College Recording Arts Departments; IBM International Conference, San Jose (1988).

ADMINISTRATIVE

BUSINESS OWNER: Owner of the Sound Source, the first digital recording facility in Northern California. Responsible for all aspects of business management including contracts, bookkeeping, and publicity and all client services.

PRODUCTION MANAGER: Complete production management of performance venues; ability to coordinate entertainment and technical aspects of performances, while working collectively with house staff and management; prepare and fulfill performance contacts; book shows via agencies; prepare promotional materials; disburse payouts, advance shows, schedule engineers and general maintenance.
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LIVE ENGINEERING & PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE:



 THE MYSTIC THEATRE, PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA - 2000 to 2014 / Production Manager & Chief Engineer Designed and installed with manufacturer, Apogee Sound International, performance systems for national and international touring acts.

THE INN OF THE BEGINNING, COTATI, CALIFORNIA - 1997 to 2000 / Production Manager & Chief Engineer. I Designed and installed in conjunction with Sound Expressions sound and recording systems; scheduled crews, house booking agent for two years while advancing and engineering all shows. Worked in conjunction with Sonoma State University.

THE STUDIO KAFE, SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA - 1991 to 1994 / Production Manager & Chief Engineer. IDesigned and installed sound and recording systems; engineered live shows; scheduled crews; integrated live cable broadcasts and recording of select performances by Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, Bela Fleck, Robin Ford,  Mark Isham, and others.

MAGNOLIA'S, SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA - 1985 to 1988 / Production Manager & Chief Engineer. Responsible for booking, producing, engineering an Alternative Rock series featuring artists such as Green Day, Sister Double Happiness, and Cadillac Tramps, among others including The Blasters, the Beat Farmers, and Charlie Mussellwhite.
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STUDIO ENGINEERING EXPERIENCE:
- THE SOUND SOURCE 80's -
- THE KITCHEN SYNC 2000 -
Viral Media Art and fEaRnOaRt Entertainment 2000 to present - Santa Rosa, California. Owner and operator of computer-based music video recording & editing facility specializing in music video syncs, visual effects for performances, live recording and original sample based music construction. 
THE SOUND SOURCE, Santa Rosa, California - 1986 to 1990, Owner/Operator of Sonoma County's first audio/digital production facility for music, film, and video; projects include Charles Schulz TV movie ("Girl in the Red Truck"); PBS documentaries & instructional videos; commercial advertising for Anheiser Busch, Heald Business College, & Stanroy's Music Center; educational facility for college, private and group sessions.
SOUND EXPRESSIONS, Santa Rosa, California - 1980 to 1986, Involved in the design and construction of a computer-based recording and digital editing facility for music, film, and video; experienced in subcontracting and retail sales of performance and recording systems.
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CREATED AND PRODUCED ANNUAL SCREENING SERIES: 2007 - 2015 of 
 "The Dark Side of Oz" 
A full length video screening and show based on the urban legend as well as conducted
mock classes on the subject of synchronicity as his alter ego The Professor.
(The Mystic Theatre - Zodiacs - Aubergines)
"Tales From The Big Blue Chair" 1997-2000
An improvisational interactive self generating audience experience based on the concept
of a $5 cover charge or 5 minutes sitting in The Big Blue Chair. 


 "The Jazz Elephant Story" 1985
An original mythological tale about the birth of music set to
Sonoma Counties 1st computer driven electronic musical performance.

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TOURING SCHEDULE

The Mermen, 1998 - 2001 / National and Regional Touring -  Production Manager and Tour Engineer; extensive touring throughout the United States. Regular venues included: Great American Music Hall, Fillmore, Fox Theater in Boulder, Blue Bird in Denver, many festivals.
The Cardiff Reefers, 1993 - 1996 / National and Regional Touring -   Production Manager and Tour Engineer; extensive touring throughout the western United States and Canada; tour venues included Phoenix, Seattle; Slim's, San Francisco; SLO Brew, San Luis Obispo; Belly-up Tavern, San Diego.
The Charlie Mussellwhite Band, 2008 - Langstien Blues Festival - Germany. As well as local shows at The Mystic Theatre, The Inn of the Beginning, Studio KAFE and Magnolias.

1988 - 1993 / National and Regional Touring
- The Loud Family (Alias): Tour Engineer; United States.
- Crystal Wind (Higher Octave): Tour Engineer; United States.
- Sister Double Happiness (Warner Brothers): Tour Engineer; Western US
- Smokin' Rhythm Prawns (B.S. Records): Tour Engineer; US and Canada.
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FESTIVALS and CONCERTS: 
4 years - The Petaluma Music Festival committee & live engineering
10 years - Sauasilito Arts Festival / Production Manager, Engineer
10 years - Eureka Blues by the Bay / House Engineer and Tech
Too many community events to count....

 Partial list of National & International Touring Bands:
The Mermen
The Loud Family
The Cardiff Reefers
Sister Double Happiness
The Smokin Rhythm Prawns
The Charlie Mussellwhite Band

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BLOG/EBOOK WRITER
"Another Day, Another Decibel"
I'm currently compiling the history of the live music scene of Sonoma County
 as well as my own personal path through the middle of it all.

a work in progress...

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 2015
VICE CHAIRMAN ON BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR CMEDIA LABS 
 Community Access Internet - Radio & Television

I have recently been elected to serve The Cmedia Labs in their quest for serving the community!
Watch as we re-invent public Television!


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COMMERCIAL INSTALLS:
St. John's Catholic Church, Healdsburg
St. John's School Gymnasium, Healdsburg
St. Philip's, Occidental
St. Theresa's, Bodega
Sonoma Nation Bank, Santa Rosa
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 Favorite Autobiographic Books:
"So you Want to be a Rock & Roll Star" - Jacob Slichter (Simi Sonic)
"Bill Graham Presents" -  by Bill and Robert Greenfield
"The Real Book of Frank Zappa" - by Frank and Peter Occhiogrosso
"All You Need is Ears" - by George Martin and Jeremy Hornsby
"The American Original" - by Walt Disney and Bob Thomas
"Saucerful of Secrets" - Pink Floyd and Nicholas Schaffner
"Miles" - Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe
"The Nerve Bible" - Laurie Anderson
"I Killed" - Ritch Shyder & Mark Schiff

Monday, May 25, 2015

2015 - THE DARK SIDE OF OZ - SOMEWHERE OVER THE WALL - PART 8 - The Final Chapter


This is an important year for me... It's my 1st year of retirement, or so it seems. I've been asked repeatedly, How's it going... like I've just had some kind of life altering moment. After all I've been a musician, an Audio Engineer and a Production Manager for most of my adult life... so I'm used to making due with very little... to make less really isn't so far off. I've have also excepted the position of Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors for CMedia, a community access TV & radio lab and public access point for community media. I love to pay forward!


I recently wrote "My goal each day was to create something that wasn't there the day before."

I know that kind of sounds lofty or unobtainable goal, but that's a good focus to start out any day on and 8 times out of 10, I can do it. Case in point, my latest personal productions... My 1st "Dark Side of Oz" Live on-line class seminar where I will attempt to create the worlds largest synchronistic event by making available the "Wall Reveal Assignment.

 At the exact stroke of 8pm we will all start our videos simultaneously around the world (Pacific Standard) on Sunday evening @ 8pm during the month of June 2015 (world clock adjusted.) For more information go to:

In August this year I will conduct my 9th Annual "Dark Side of Oz" screening. In the past "The Mystic Theatre" in Petaluma has always hosted my events until last year where I took my class on their 1st mental field trip to "Zodiacs", also in Petaluma. This will also be the classes 1st road trip to the West County shire of Sebastopol and to "Aubergines," a quirky colorful local venue that will suit our class screening purposes quite well.


This year however is very important for a number of reasons. It will be the 1st time that the "Dark Side of Oz' will be presented in it's entirety, no intermission just 1hr and 40 minutes of synchronistic bliss and the surprise discovery that will be revealed about the center of The Dark Side of Oz's 2nd repeat.
Just to make sure that we're all on the same page in regards to the basic mechanics of the urban legend, it takes 2 and 1/2 repetitions of Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon"
to equal the length of "The Wizard of Oz."

The DSOOZ History & backstory is right here!
http://www.viralmediaart.com/the-dark-side-of-oz.html

What I am suggesting is that rather than repeating "DSOTM" the traditional 2 and 1/2 times like the original hand synced "Dark Side of the Rainbow" a new brick road has been discovered. The center point compositions that takes up where DSOTM leaves off.

But, I have decided to wait until after the August 12th screening and the grand reveal to
 write the next part of this chapter... I want that sense of surprise, even for my honor
students of years past... something that even they didn't see coming.

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As an extra educational guide I have implanted in this years screening well over 100 sync cue texts that will be displayed at the bottom of the video through out the entire evenings show. These cues will relate to all of the well known and even the lesser known sync cues that have been discovered, not to mention all of the new cues found because of the 2nd repeat discovery.
What a lot of people don't realize is that I edit a new version of the urban legend every year,
 it's not just the same story being told over and over each year... typically I spend any where
 from 3 to 4 months in editing this one free show each year, it truly is a labor of love.

The evolution of an American film classic.

And so the legend grew and took new shapes
and forms, It evolved as an American film classic.
Not just a dry book on a library shelf, but a
living breathing urban legend with a
life of it's own.

Sure, my retirement is going great... I've pushed my self to write this Blog/Book after many years of carrying around this working title of "Another Day, Another Decibel" and threating on stages all over world to write down these stories and publish them. I feel like this years screening and this book is a life time culmination of all of my time spent and work that has distilled down to this one moment where I can properly demonstrate the grand urban legend for what it is and how it relates to all of our lives and how it has changed mine.


The Urban legend represents = possibilities, the possibilities that anything at anytime may
 find it's proper place in time and therefore become one with it self and the world around it.
I strive to seek out the synchronistic elements in music, film and life
to find the middle ground that connects all of the forms into one
continuous element of synchronicity and art. 


These stories consist of rough drafts that will be proof read and finalized
before being included in "Another Day Another Decibel"
www.ViralMediaArt.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

2014 - THE DARK SIDE OF OZ - ZODIAC FIELD TRIP - PART 7


In mid 2014 I decided that it was time for me to pull out of the Chief Engineer / Production Manager position at The Mystic Theatre, it also meant that my DSOOZ class would now have to find a new venue hold our yearly "Dark Side of Oz" live screening. I felt as if the screening of the urban legend was beginning to out grow it's initial birth place and like a young child needing to escape the confines of it's parents... it needed a new experience and a new way to grow!

A road trip was in order or in this case a class field trip!

As I searched for a new classroom venue I soon realized that just like in "The Wizard of Oz" I didn't have to look any further than my own backyard. A new venue had opened down the street from The Mystic Theatre named "Zodiac's" and fortunately for all of us it was very open to artsy exploration and big on the local vibe, making it the perfect place to take my class on a field trip.  


The date was secured and "as always" it was based on the actual release dates of "The Wizard of Oz," typically August 12th (Wisconsin) or the 15th (Hollywood) and 17th (New York City.) I chose these dates for two reason's, #1 it gave me an annual theme to work off of and #2, I could always claim that my screenings were tributes or at least a parody and avoid any legal ramifications that may arise due to copy right infringements. While I have you here, let's be perfectly clear:

Fair use:
 Is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, unlicensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term "fair use" originated in the United States.[1] A similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright. Fair use is one of the traditional safety valves intended to balance the public's interest in open access with the property interests of copyright holders.

As with every year, I needed a theme to base the screening off of, a starting point on the Red Brick road to Oz. Because it's always best to start at the beginning I didn't have to look to far from there to find my theme... Zodiac's... a planetary, astrological point of view... always a good way to begin a journey. The opening scenes to my features are always some of the most fun to construct, in this case I found an HD version of an animation voyage from earth that propels you well beyond our solar system to a distant black hole. I took that HD video and reversed it, so it appeared that you were leaving a swirling black hole and traveling across the solar system to arrive at earth. A nice video image and it worked well but I wanted to get more personal with it... I wanted the video to end with the arrival at Zodiac's! I found that if I used Google Earth and plotted Zodiac's address I could zero in on that location and come from a planetary position to arrive at our class room for the night.

Needless to say it's a fun way to start off any journey and always a great way
to capture the audiences attention right from the start... where will he go next?
 
Jonesy & Kristin - Owners of Zodiacs

 After the previous years "Dark Side of Oz - Reclaimed" which included the trial and the demise of Oz Osborn,  I decided to return to the best twin sister that "Dark Side of The Moon" has, Easy Star All Star's "Dub Side of the Moon." For those who are unaware the Easy Star production crew was well aware of the synchronistic connection to "The Wizard of Oz" and the urban legend that surrounds it, so when they made their reggae version of this Pink Floyd classic they followed the synchronistic timings perfectly. This symbiotic relationship allowed me to bridge the 2 worlds together and create a new larger whole, which I entitled "Dark Side Dub the Moon."

 DARK SIDE OF OZ - DUB SIDE OF OZ - DARK SIDE OF OZ

This new version also brought one of the strongest syncs in the reggae swap context... "The Rasta Lion." During the "The Wizard of Oz" segment in front of the doorway to Oz, the lion takes on a very
Jamaican appearance as he apparently recites the lyrics to money and the trio follow along crowning him the Rasta Lion King!

The 3rd revolution leads us back to the beginning heart beat of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"

In all honesty I go to great lengths not to edit the master video and with the one exception of that Oz Osborn's public display for attention, I have never changed anything within the video itself. I will admit however to making one very important edit at the end of the witches castle chase where everyone is cornered by the witch. I move the beginning of "Dark Side of the Moon" forwards about 5 seconds to create the moment that begins to send us home. Just as Dorothy throws the pail of water that hits the Wicked Witch and liquidates her, we hear the beginning guitar chord strikes... the same as Melvyn in the beginning... full circle.

last note... the witches castle is the dark side of the moon...


These stories consist of rough drafts that will be proof read and finalized
before being included in "Another Day Another Decibel"
www.ViralMediaArt.com

Saturday, May 16, 2015

SYNCH HISTORY THRU THE MIND OF MERK - PART 2



 Merk Coolie Brighton: Still reading through The Synching Troop posts (2004-2005)

(2004-2005) Incredibly interesting information, and also amazing interactions between various synchers. I think there were about 11 regular posters, enough to make a solid yet diverse group. Karl, I wonder why you weren't there (?). We had: Mike Casey, Dave Bytor (limited appearances), Whytless Physh, Key, Taylor Cole, Virotti (group leader), Essse (a good "synching" friend of mine), Matt Gitlin, Dean "The Grump", maybe a couple of others. This forum morphed into b_hivia in Fall 2005, which then lost some members and added a few more. The basic division was between those that enjoyed talking about synchs in daily life and the world around us and those that enjoyed talking about a/v synchs, especially the technical aspects and sharing/feedback. I see the Synching Troop as the last grand forum for a/v synch speak. "O" had already corrupted the Sync Ark forum as I understand. I suppose this group was made private to hide from him, in part.

I'm very interested to hear other people's experiences with boards beyond the Sync Ark forum (which continued until 06-07? not sure). The old Film/Album Synchroncity Board (2000-2002) was a spin off of the latter, but had a life of its own as well. That was, by far, the busiest and longest lasting of the bunch, I personally view it as a gap filler during the heart of the "golden age", when energy was highest. But this "Synching Troop" starting up about 2 years later, obviously represents a type of last ditch effort at coming together and promoting the creation and propagation of a/v synchs.


Facebook interactions are really different. I know I go on about the old times being better, but there are certainly advantages to the new times as well. A number of us here have our on pockets of well established synching fun. Like Randy aka The Professor and his Viral Media Art site and his Dark Side of Oz yearly permutations. Like Jon and his past as a video editor and his present as a hard line syncher of old school styling. Like Karl, also an old schooler but in a different way and understanding the history of a/v synching built around the Sync Ark perhaps better than any of us, except me maybe -- and Mike J. himself (Sync Ark creator and leader). We have others but they aren't as vocal now: Dave B., Shawn H., Key, Michael A. MA and Randy have synch theaters (!) There was an older dude who had set up the same in Vancouver -- Turn Me On Dead Man was a handle as I recall.

What would we like to see moving forward? I'm not just talking about promotion and propagation of our own works but moving forward in a collective way, with commonly set goals? I'd like to see these pockets become better coordinated.

Now this talk of so-called manipulated synchs not being cosmic/true synching threw me admittedly. This was better understood in the past for certain. What do you want me to say to better explain this? I'll be willing to speak at length about the subject. Or if you tell me to make it quick I'll attempt to do that as well.

Just throwing out more food for thought that you can chew on or not.
Is it good I can write so much again?
Peace,
baker b.

Friday, May 8, 2015

THE DARK SIDE OF OZ / SOMEWHERE OVER THE WALL - The Wall Reveal Assignment

From different points around the planet, from Argentina to Europe and back to the US,
we will all start the "The Dark Side of Oz - The Wall Reveal" dropbox link at the same
time and participate in what will be the worlds largest synchronistic experiment!

SUNDAY, JUNE 7th
8:00pm Pacific Standard West Coast Cali USA

 A discovery has been made that changes everything
we've known about the 2nd repeat of "The Dark Side of Oz"!
Your class assignment is to download and join us as we watch
together this 11 minute segment from the Live screening that
will occur this August 12th @ Aubergines in Sebastopol

 

"THE DARK SIDE OF OZ - The Wall Reveal Assignment"



 Get Ready Guinness World Book!

On the day of the on-line seminar (Sunday 6/7/15) I will make the dropbox link available on the EVENT PAGE. Those of you who have joined our class experiment by selecting "GOING" on the EVENT PAGE will receive the dropbox link to view the on-line screening that evening. Just adjust your time zone to our Pacific Standard Time and we will all start/synchronize to our computers time of day! 8pm sharp Sunday June 7th. and we're off... all from the comfort of your own class room... invites some friends...  Sunday June 7th @ 8pm sync sharp!

 You will be allowed to download the DSOOZ link (on 6/7/15 only) and watch at anytime,

however what I envision is everyone watching the clock on their computer/device
and starting as soon the time turns 8pm Pacific Standard time... 

If you are watching the event from another time zone your participation
with the class LIVE will depend on having to adjust your timing to
that of our Pacific Standard / West Coast USA.
If that's not possible... please enjoy!

If you are planning on participating from another
time zone you may adjust your sync timing by using

THE WORLD CLOCK

FOR INFO ON HOW TO PARTICIPATE GO TO:
http://www.viralmediaart.com/the-dark-side-of-oz.html

A real-time synchronistic on-line public
event screening of "The DSOOZ Wall Reveal"

"The Dark Side of Oz" - Somewhere Over The Wall."
Sunday evening June 7th - 8pm sharp sync cue start!

Please join the DSOOZ Event Page and it's GROUP @

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/171406969587714/
 
CLASS DISMISSED!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

THE MYSTIC THEATRE - I'll Bet You Did'nt Know


As the Chief Sound Engineer and Production Manager for the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma Ca. I had the opportunity imprint my personality on the venue in the 15 years that I worked there. It's not just about the quality of the sound of the shows there, but it's about the vibe of the room. It's the biggest reason some clubs make it and some don't. A lot of thought and preparation goes into building a concert facilities sound and lighting systems and even more goes into creating and maintaining the venues vibe through the years.

At some point in this article I'll actually get to the various components of the house and stage systems and how they came to be for all the tech geeks out there, but for the moment I want to concentrate on the intangible aspects of the grand old room and it's history since I became involved.

MY HISTORY IN THE ROOM
2000-2015

I inherited the room and the Chief Engineer job from Greg Rehberg who had spent a number of years installing the basics of an Apogee sound system with a small Mackie mixing board and trying to get a handle the room. I had been bringing in full concert sound systems for live shows through Phil Salisbury of Sound Expressions in Santa Rosa long before Greg's arrival. I knew what the room was capable of and I also had some system changes in mind that I new would bring it up to the standard that I wanted to maintain local, national and international artists.

We were all sitting around a big table upstairs in McNear's Restaurant and I was in the middle of meeting with Ken, Jeff and a few other Managers at the time in regards to my input and position. I remember listening carefully to everyone to better understand their plan and passion for the room and after everyone had their chance to clarify their business position I took my opportunity to do the same... "You know, there's really only 1 person that I am interested in pleasing when it comes to staging and producing shows"... I said with a very straight sure of myself face. Everyone at the table thought that it was going to be them, the owners, the managers... "The only personal that I'm really interested in pleasing is the bands Tour Engineer."

My theory was pretty straight forward and an equation that was hard to argue with. As a band Tour Engineer for many years already, I understood the value of the House Engineer position. In my opinion the House Sound Engineer should be a friendly and competent Engineer with at least 1 gray hair capable of tearing apart and rebuilding the house and monitor system at any given point of his day or night. He or she is the 1st one to greet you and typically the last one to wave goodbye. The House Engineer should make all of the incoming Tour Engineers comfortable interfacing their acts with the house system and have a good time doing it. In turn, The Tour Engineers will see that their event is going to be not only technically fine but they are going to have some fun as well. A happy Tour Engineer on stage and in the house means a happy band on stage, the happier the band the better the performance, the better performance the more people return to share in that good time!

P.S. To keep your House Engineer happy give him the best tools affordable
 and give them dinner and a drink for gods sake!

 THE PROJECTION ROOM HAND PRINT:
The room says welcome.

It was very late after a show one evening, somewhere around the time that I began working full time at The Mystic. I was walking around the theater in the dark turning off the systems and the last of the lights when I noticed that the projection room's door was unlocked and slightly open. I need to say that in all of my time at The Mystic I have never felt any presence of being or spirit in the theater and I have had those kind of experiences before. One of the long time staff member, Ryan recalls his sightings of a rather old Italian Man in a suit sitting in the seats well after the doors were locked and we were closed, but I've never personally met a spirit there.

This is however the closest that I have come to shaking hands with the rooms spirit. 

As I pushed open the door into the darkness, I placed my left hand on the wall looking for the light switch. A really cool chill came over me as I rested my left hand on the wall and turned on the lights with my right hand. My left hand felt like it sunk into the wall and once I turned on the light I saw that my hand was sitting in an imprint of someone else's hand print! I was startled at first, but when I realized what had actually happened, I began to feel that it was more of a welcoming handshake... the magic had been passed on!


SKINNY & SLIM
The story of Skinny & Slim

Shortly after my arrival at the Mystic Theatre I stumbled across my house muse or guardians. 

The 1st on the seen was Skinny, a wood skeleton stick figure that I propped up on a guitar stand (above on the left.) One of his hands is appropriately at his ear listening and the other on his crotch... we're not to sure why! One of Skinny's first appearances on stage was standing next to Dr. John's (Mack -----) piano during a show. Mack was so impressed by Skinny that he signed him on that hand that covers the crotch and sealed his fate as our stage mascot. Skinny lived at the top of the stage stairs and never moved unless a performer moved him themselves. It was his presence and invitation to participate that was the key to unlocking some truly great shows in that room.

Skinny has stood on stage in place of missing band members... He's filled in for sax front-man Martine Fiero from the band Zero after he passed away just before an upcoming show and he has stood next to countless drummers and keyboard players. The image of Skinny standing by Johnny Winter side while he was seated playing a show was fearless! It seemed after every show I would find him on one side of the stage or the other and frequently on top of some gear behind stage if he was hiding! Once after a show, one of our security guys even found him in the men's room upstairs, he had been mugged and left for toothpicks. I patched him back up and reinstated him in his honorary position side stage, but clearly Skinny was in need of some help and not just from me but someone from his own tribe.

Unlike Skinny it took Slim years to find his way to the stage... his resurrection happened like this.

After a show one night we thought that we would all go over to McNears and have a last call drink, we had worked hard and just wanted to unwind. As we were all sitting there in a booth enjoying our drinks and talking my eyes wander up the wall and there hanging on a hook 10' above us I spotted him, he had both of his wood hands help up to his ears... it was Skinny's long lost brother. Maybe it was the drinks or the time of day but the only thought that came to mind was lets get him down from there! We looked at each other and quickly realized that if we were to succeed and not piss off the boss, we needed to send a member of the O'Donnell clan up there to rescue Skinny's brother. Travis O'Donnell, one of my best young Monitor Engineers and the nephew of owner Ken O'Donnell quickly volunteered and In a blink of an eye leapt up on the back of the booth where we were seated and released our new friend from his bondage. Within 10 minutes Slim had a new home on a guitar stand of his own and in the only one logical room position left for him to take. We placed Skinny house right and Slim on house left on each of the speaker stacks boldly looking down over the audience from above the stage.

Skinny & Slims costumes changed as the years and shows went by, they became a place to put lost articles of jewelry and accessories. All of the jam bands loved the Skeleton vibe reminiscent of the Grateful Dead era and I would  occasionally point our front PAR can lights onto the boys with a dark blue gel just to be able to pull their presence up in the room or sometimes green for our reggae shows. On one of our Halloween shows I modified Skinny & Slim's persona by drilling holes
where their eyes were and installing 2 pin spot lasers that I could turn on during the show, unfortunately they weren't very cost effective to use on a regular basis.

The boys are no longer at their post at The Mystic and may have even retired much like myself, but they were a very special presence for me and a lot of people who have attended the shows over the years... two friendly benevolent spirits that always had the best interest of me and the theater at heart.

The Petaluma Gazette article: ----

http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2009/03/captain-beefhearts-10-commandments-of-guitar-playing.html


THE LIFT TRADITION
 
The Carolina Chocolate Drops
Zeparella
Dick Dale
Petty Theft