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BassCliff w/CliffNotes at Backyard Birthday, 11/18/17

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by BassCliff, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hey y'all!

    Last Saturday I played a fun casual with a real pickup band. I haven't played a pickup band gig in many years. Craig celebrated his 70th birthday party. A drummer buddy of mine, Tom, with whom I worked in the early 80's, is a very good friend of Craig's. When he found out Craig was going to use a DJ, Tom said, "Oh no! I can get you a live band...and I'll play drums!" Craig agrees so Tom, knowing that I worked with Craig, called me up and I told him it sounded like fun. So Tom asked, "Hey, can you find us a guitar player? And a keyboard player? Do you have a PA system? Oh, and can you rent me a drum set?" (Tom was flying in from Wyoming.) So I put it all together and we played for Craig's backyard birthday party. I was told there would be about 150 guests but I think there were over 200. It was quite a party. But the cops never showed up. I guess they were invited too. Craig's house and yard are all decked out in a Southwest motif, complete with facades for a general store and a mine, some cigar store Indians, swinging doors, succulents, rocks, trails, etc. It's a pretty amazing place for a party.

    This all started when I loaded up most of my gear in my trusty Astro van. I brought my full PA and my small bass rig.


    Thankfully it was a short commute to the party, just past one of my favorite interchanges here in the So. Cal. Driving west at sunset can be brutal.


    Traffic was made worse during my relatively short commute by the freeway widening project. If you know where to look you can see the tall buildings of downtown LA.


    Like I said, the freeway is a mess around here. But the party was still only a little less then a half hour away from home.


    I hauled all my gear in with some help from my buddy Tom. It's kind of a weird setup. The kit is on the raised patio next to the jacuzzi. The rest of us would be in front on the ground. I put my rig on the same level as the drums. Mike's guitar amp would go on the steps. @Holdsg's keyboards would go direct to the PA. It was a little odd having the drums so far away. I liked not having the volume but I felt a little disconnected. We mic'd the kick drum and made it work.


    This is a view of the upper level of the back yard looking out from the stage. It looked like the set of a spaghetti western. I was hoping to see Clint Eastwood. He never showed but I heard that Dick Van Dyke's son was one of the guests.


    This is our lovely hostess, Jannine, wife of the birthday boy, in front of the back porch which had two bars. \


    This was my view out over the pool. The peak you see in the distance is Mt. San Antonio, a.k.a. Mt. Baldy.


    On the lower level you see Craig's ham tin camper, a vintage unit that he restored. They are called "ham tin" because they are kind of shaped like the canned ham tin containers.


    I'm all set up just as the sun sets. I did bring my 5-string Guild as a backup but left it in the gig bag. There was not an abundance of room and the footing was a little tricky.


    Our keyboard player, whom you might recognize as @Holdsg, and guitar player, whom you may recognize from the True Willie Band, are here now and just about set up.


    Here's a shot of the back yard just before downbeat. It's already a bit crowded.


    On a break I took a few photos of the back yard. This sculpture was made entirely of deadwood from the desert. It is a life sized horse.


    @Holdsg took this photo of the General Store facade on one of the lower levels of the yard. There is also a facade for a mine entrance that Tom built.


    I found a new friend. I think she's kind of sweet on me.


    The tacos were excellent this evening. We were able to sneak in front of the very long line to get some supper. It's amazing what happens when you say the magic words, "I'm with the band."


    I enjoyed a couple of chicken tacos and a couple of pork tacos along with my Modelo Negra.


    There were vats of several beers to choose from, plus wine and mixed drinks at the bars.


    Mike also enjoyed a couple of tacos.


    @Holdsg was too polite to cut in line so one of the assistant hostesses brought him some tacos right to the stage.


    I'll be back to finish the gig in the next post. Thanks for looking!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Beamrider, Wisebass, Mike N and 44 others like this.
  2. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    The gentleman in the suit is an official from the city of West Covina, here to give Craig some special recognition. That's Craig next to his wife Jannine.


    Let it be known that today has been declared "Craig Day" in the city of West Covina.


    Our lovely hostess makes a short speech.


    Mike and Gary are ready to rock and roll some more.


    Tom is ready to pound the tubs. He had a little trouble with the rental kit. It has not been treated kindly. You may notice the floor tom setting on scrap wood since the stand was stripped. The snare stand didn't hold too well either. But Tom made it work. He's been doing this a long time.


    Gary nabbed a picture of me while I decide what to sing. Before certain songs we would have a little huddle. "OK, the verse is one, four, five and the bridge is four, five, six minor, four with an extra measure" kind of thing.


    This is another of Gary's pictures of Mike with is beautiful tobacco burst ES335.


    Here's a couple of guys having fun.


    Another shot of the guests and the horse sculpture.


    Yes, we had dancers. Here's the birthday boy and his friend Rey. She's an actor.


    Yes, we got the place jumping!


    We had a few guests sit in. Robert did "Roadhouse Blues" and Kevin did "Stormy Monday", both with harps. After the harp intro we all looked at each other wondering, "Who's singing this song?" I didn't know enough of the words but I was going to fake it. Just then Gary got on the mic and nailed "Stormy Monday". Gary also did Tom Petty's "Breakdown" which was a lot of fun. We also had Deedee sit in with her banjo and play "Wagonwheel" with us. I wish I'd taken a picture.

    The load-out was a nightmare because Craig and a lot of his friends are into campers and they were all parked in the driveway. We had to carry or roll everything out to the street. We were scheduled to play until 10pm but got paid extra to play until 11pm. I got home way after midnight but I was well fed and well hydrated, if you know what I mean. ;)

    It was a pretty cool party. Thanks for having a look.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Beamrider, Wisebass, Mike N and 48 others like this.
  3. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    Looks like a swell time.
    nixdad and BassCliff like this.
  4. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    those kind of gigs i love..thanks for posting Cliff
  5. Jamvan

    Jamvan The Bassist Formerly Known As Meh Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2014
    Looking like a great gig, @BassCliff! My wife was born and raised in West Covina. She still misses it. I, on the other hand, am salivating thinking about those tacos!
    nixdad, dbase and BassCliff like this.
  6. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Beautiful backyard and tacos. Mmm.
    nixdad, dbase and BassCliff like this.
  7. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Excellent report! Looks like “almost” too much fun!

    nixdad, dbase and BassCliff like this.
  8. Holdsg

    Holdsg I should be practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    Endorsing artist: Remic microphones
    very fun gig. Amazing location. I'm still in awe of that backyard.
    The pickup-band part was the funnest part, playing in a band where everyone knows what they're doing (and faking it when we don't).

    Playing with Cliff was a treat.
    Beamrider, pjbassist, McG and 5 others like this.
  9. Holdsg

    Holdsg I should be practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    Endorsing artist: Remic microphones
    oh, one more thing.

    I can verify that Cliff does use his tagline at gigs as well.
    Beamrider, pjbassist, McG and 3 others like this.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Man, what a great night! You're a good pal for making it all come together.
  11. mwbonsall

    mwbonsall Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2000
    Casa Grande, Arizona
    Wow! What a cool place. I have never seen a Saguaro Cactus anywhere but Arizona. What a great birthday party, and gig. Thanks Cliff.

    nixdad, dbase and BassCliff like this.
  12. There was a city official there. Of course the cops didn't show up. :D

    I used to play places like that when I lived in Tucson. I like people with creative spirits like that. "Canned Ham Campers." That could be a band name.
    nixdad, dbase, Lvjoebass and 3 others like this.
  13. Holdsg

    Holdsg I should be practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    Endorsing artist: Remic microphones
    one more thing, I have met 3 people in the last 3 days that, after describing this house and this birthday boy, I saw there eyes light up when the tell me they were taught Environmental Science by Craig at Mt. SAC. Everyone I talked to said "best teacher ever". Evidently he is as great an educator as he is landscape architect.
    pjbassist, McG, nixdad and 3 others like this.
  14. Thanks for sharing your gig. It looks like a good time was had by all. I'm totally envious of the tacos and Negra Modelo. Yummy!
    nixdad, dbase and BassCliff like this.
  15. Looks like a great time was had by all. :D
    nixdad and BassCliff like this.
  16. Man, the moolah was on display at this place! Where do I start?

    - Hot wife? Check.

    - Hot ES335? Double-check (I love that finish, as I've said before).

    - Left-handed drummer? Triple-check!

    You do all the best gigs, BC.
    Gaolee, pjbassist, Sore Thumb and 4 others like this.
  17. stringthrough

    stringthrough Supporting Member

    Video or it didn't happen
    nixdad and dbase like this.
  18. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hey Cliff & Gary -

    Nice gig, guys! That area of West Covina certainly has some nice properties up in the hills (when I was with the LCR Band back in the 80's we played a party on a big, expansive lot as well with a BIG house,) but seeing the themed property you played at is really something special. Glad you had fun!
    McG, BassCliff and Holdsg like this.
  19. Medford Bassman

    Medford Bassman Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Medford, Wisconsin
    Great gig Cliff. Ya gotta those types off gigs
    nixdad and BassCliff like this.
  20. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Living the dream, @BassCliff! Thanks for the report! I'm thinking birthday boy is pretty lucky, too! ;).
    Wisebass, Sore Thumb, nixdad and 2 others like this.

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