Were you a Wind Machine fan?
Day #4 of my Colorado Career Recap. Prepare to be blown away…
The early-80’s were rough years for the me. in 1982 I was eighteen, I had just graduated from high school and I was eager to begin my studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I had earned my acceptance letter and was all signed-up with my dorm and classes for that coming fall. My father had other plans for me, and kicked me out of the house, disowned me, and withdrew his funding for my Berklee education. And that was that.
More on that at the end of this blog post.
I pretty much quit playing bass after high school and got a job at McBurney Furniture in Lakewood, doing warehouse work and deliveries. One day I was delivering chairs to Kenny Passarelli’s folks, and his mom showed me the albums her son Kenny had played bass on… Elton John, Dan Fogelberg, Barnstorm. That gave me a brainstorm, and I got a different job at Rockley Music where I learned instrument repair and did retail sales. I missed playing the bass but I wanted to at least be ‘around music’ even if I wasn’t actively playing. Somewhere around 1985 I got a call from a fellow Golden High School classmate, drummer Brian Mikulich, asking me if I wanted to jam with these two guitar players he had met. Even though I wasn’t really playing anymore I said “Sure, I’ll check it out.” I had never played with two better guitar players than these guys, and it was exciting to hear what was happening. We formed Wind Machine.
In my 42 years as a bass player the only true full-time band I’ve been in was Wind Machine. For five years (1985-1989) I played exclusively with these guys,
no freelancing or outside projects were permitted. We were all young, me being just three years out of high school. I didn’t know anything at all about the concert industry,
touring, interviews, album promotion, contracts, nothing. Nonetheless, it was an immersion in songwriting, rehearsing, recording and performing. Wind Machine rehearsed a lot, more than any other band I’ve worked in. There was a lot of material and it was all original. Our first two albums each won the coveted Denver Post Music Poll award for “Best Colorado Album”. (‘Wind Machine’ in 1987 and ‘Unplugged’ in 1988). This was a huge accomplishment in a highly competitive market.
During my stint with WM I toured and performed all across the country. I am grateful for those many van tours, it was a surreal time and I saw a lot of new things.
Wind Machine’s albums began receiving heavy national radio airplay in the late 80’s. KUVO was very supportive and played our tracks often. Thank you Carlos Lando!
Then came the “Wave” radio format which really embraced Wind Machine’s recordings. It was fun to track our airplay and rankings. In L.A. we were checking-in to our hotel along with Lyle Lovett and his band. As we stood there at the front desk, the music coming out of the overhead speaker was Wind Machine. That was a cool moment. I still hear Wind Machine on satellite radio on the ‘Spa’ channel. That’s pretty cool.
Wind Machine was founded by myself, Brian Mikulich, Stephen Mesple’ (owner of Wildwood Guitars) and Joe Scott (Acoustic Eidolon).
In subsequent years Brian left the band, and Steve’s sons Taylor and Ethan Mesple’ started playing in the band. I left Wind Machine at the end of 1989 and started my tenure with Moment’s Notice. Ah, but that’s another story…
My successor on bass in Wind Machine was the very talented Michael Olson. They made several more records after I left the band. Here’s a shout-out to other great musicians and engineers who contributed to this band’s early recordings and performances: Larry Thompson,
Tony Antonio, Mike Marlier, Gary Sosias, Kevin Clock, Tom Capek, and Yolocamba Ita.
A lot of people associate me only with Wind Machine which is just fine with me, but it was really only a small slice of my career ‘pie chart’.
I was so young and immature during that time, at least I’ve pretty much conquered the “young” part since then. Hopefully the Colorado Music Hall of Fame folks will one day recognize Wind Machine and the quality of music they produced in this state.
I am grateful for my time in Wind Machine and the experiences I had at such a young age.
Blake's Blog Bonus:
As for the unfortunate situation with my dad and being deprived of my college education, the day he kicked me to the curb changed my life forever. I have regretted it many times over. At least we started speaking again four years later, and he attended my first wedding. The last visit we had together just before he died was also the nicest time we had ever spent together and we talked it out. Better late than never. I wanted to go to Berklee and have a successful career but that didn't happen. I guess I still managed to create a career here in Colorado which also included having a wonderful daughter and meeting my beautiful wife who has stood by me for almost 20 years now!
That's the way the wind blows...
Thank you dear readers.