Day #6. Set the way back machine.
Day #6 of the 10-day career retrospectacle. (nod to Thomas Dolby)
We are headed down the back stretch folks, it’s going to a photo finish! Where will we go next?
Just a reminder here, these career highlights I’ve chosen to post are not in any particular chronological order nor are they ranked in any order of their significance. They are simply short stories to share for your amusement and mine. Okay, we set the time machine to 1983. The Delorean will need some more fuel soon, who has a spare flux capacitor?
If you’ve been reading these recent posts then you know about my unexpected happenings just after graduating high school in 1982. Instead of going to college I was delivering furniture. Although I had pretty much given up on having a career as a bassist I still practiced at home along with records. There were no computers back then, no YouTube, no mp3’s, no online bass lessons, nothing like that existed. I played along with “Permanent Waves” and other fusion albums. I jammed along with my brother Doug who played guitar, and we played a lot of jazz fusion, mostly. I also met a few other musicians back then who knew I played bass and we did some jamming. I still dreamt of being on the stage…
The city of Lakewood (where I lived) was having a ‘Battle of the Bands’ where the winner would earn the headliner spot at the big Lakewood on Parade concert they do each summer. I decided to put together a group to compete. I enlisted my former Golden HS classmate Chad Hodges, my brother Doug and two young horn wizards, Greg Gilbert and John Gunther. I lived on Field Street so I named this group ‘Eastfield Fusion’ and we entered the skirmish. We played some Spyro Gyra, Jeff Lorber, Weather Report, Billy Cobham, and stuff like that. We won the ‘Battle of the Bands’ and went on to headline at the big concert. That was really fun for me that night!
Here I am just nineteen years old and putting together a killer band and living the dream! I was lucky to have Gisbert and Gunther onboard for this gig. They were still in high school and would soon become rich and famous!
I also met Tony Arnheiter around this time in 83-84. Tony was a singer, songwriter and guitar player with some great songs. His style of music was right up my alley and we started playing together during that time. This included Chad and Doug as well. We did a bit of recording and performing, including a gig in Greeley where I forgot to bring my bass. Learned a lot that night! We returned to Lakewood on Parade the next year with Tony and showed them who was boss once again! My brother Doug is gone now, but he really liked being in this band and playing keys and guitar. Doug was an incredible musician and had the gift for sure. Tony is still my dear friend had has always been supportive of me and my family. As I look back I can’t believe that so many people (like Tony) were patient with me and tolerated my hyper-anxious and youthful behavior back then. Thank you, thank you.
I still have the trophies I won for Battle of the Bands. Of the thousands of gigs I’ve done, the reason I chose ‘Eastfield Fusion’ to write about is because this group was my idea and I executed it well, even though I was just a young punk. It was empowering to play the kind of music that I liked, on a big stage, and to have it be well-received.
It felt like playing with Miles…
I am including a few bonus thoughts here on Blake's Blog to accompany this Facebook post.
My life was in tatters back then in 1983. Still reeling with the aftermath of my parents' divorce, the traumatic events, and being bounced from house to unhappy house with no real guidance or advice. I wasn't equipped with the basic life skills and knowledge I needed to be on my own at 19, much less to think about embarking on a bass career. I did it anyway, to the best of my ability. It's what I always wanted to do since I was just fourteen...
Okay Marty, set the time machine for our next adventure.
Hope we land in the right place and not the wrong time!
Until then dear readers…