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February 13, 2003

Rolf's First Rambling 2-16-03


At the second break of the Volker Strifler Band show several of us went out in the parking lot for some air. Veteran blues drummer Gary Silva had played two fantastic sets driving the band and a floor full of dancers. And like all drummers he'd been in the "second line" of the band behind the guitarists.

Gary came outside and was quietly talking with a friend and getting his break and some deep breaths before going back in to concentrate on the last set. After a few minutes a second friend joined Gary. Out the backdoor of the 'Winds came Second Friend's wife. She'd been hugging everybody and socially interacting all up and down the bar and greeting every friend. She'd been out on the floor bouncing and shaking peppily several times. She'd had a heck of a good time over the course of the evening. Joining Gary's group, she began happily talking about how much fun it had been and how happy she'd been to see all her friends and how much fun she'd had dancing.

"And GOSH, the BAND is so GOOD! I LOVE the way they PLAY! They sound WONDERFUL!

Gary said mildly "Yeah, it has been sounding pretty good."

"Oh," she said, "Were you in there too?"


I'd been fascinated with the beautiful dull patina on David (A Case Of The Willy's, Poyntlyss Sistars, Volker Strifler Band, San Francisco Saxophone Quartet) Schrader's tenor saxophone for a while. It's so different from the way most other saxophones look. It's not shiny at all. It looks like it was first played about 1900 in Buddy Bolden's New Orleans jazz band, but the sax is in perfect repair. And it's a really good sounding one the way David plays it. So one night I cornered David at a gig and asked him about it.

"I bought it new in 1973. Then I played on the streets of San Francisco every day with it for thirteen years. We'd start in the morning at the cable car turntable, move over to Union Square, Chinatown in the afternoon, and finish up in North Beach in the evening. Eight hours a day, the longest we went was thirteen hours. Somehow, playing all those years in the San Francisco fog made all the shiny stuff go away. Now I just clean it every three or four months with jeweler's rouge. It's a good sax."


Learning a musical instrument is hard and mastering it is hard too. After you can play all the notes and all the songs there is still the problem of getting enough experience. "Sitting in" is one way to do it, being allowed to play with a band at gigs for a few songs, for free.

Getting enough experience is hard for horn players. Steve Long, trumpet player in the Pulsators, is especially well known for "sitting in" (and his shaved head and military mustache). Possessor of an ebullient personality, he's often seen with his trumpet case asking to sit in at gigs. He's pretty diplomatic about playing only a couple of songs unless he's really welcome to add horn lines the rest of the set or night. And, over the course of time of being what he refers to as "a trumpet tramp," he's made friends and helped out on gigs.

Levi Lloyd had a sudden hastily arranged Christmas time gig at Connolly's in Guerneville. Levi's regular band wasn't available. Levi put together a band including Roger Scott (Bone Dry) on guitar, Bob Morgan on bass, and Walter Perkins on drums. And Steve Long on trumpet.

Happy to be asked to join a gig that wasn't going to make a dime but was just for the fun of it among professional musicians, Steve entered Connolly's at gig time with a snap in his step and his trumpet case under his arm. Sitting down with a flourish at the center table opposite the bar, he placed his trumpet case in the exact center of the table with a pleased gesture. And with a further flourish and the aura of happily getting down to some music he opened the latches on the case and flipped it open. It was empty.


The Michael Barclay Blues Band has been on the scene for years. And for a bunch of those years and dozens of shows Banana has been on organ and Joel Rudinow on piano. They make it work too. They lay a fine harmonic foundation for Michael and do fine solos. Most blues regulars have seen them many times while dancing to this fine band.

"John Doe" has been on the blues scene in Sonoma County a lot longer than I have. He's been to many, many shows. He's known all over and is well liked. He might not be the sharpest tack in the box.

At the second break of a Michael Barclay Blues Band show he came out of the backdoor of the Tradewinds pretty well lit. Approaching Banana and Joel he said seriously "So, what's with your band? Do you have two keyboards or what?"


I've got thick hair. It's always been there. I don't like haircuts much. I used to have a ponytail but it got too hot.

Long about one o'clock in the morning at San Francisco's The Saloon (a/k/a "The Dump" for its d├ęcor) I was standing at the waitress station ordering a beer. I shoved my four bucks over and the barely civil bartender bent to get my Sierra Nevada. It was then I felt something tug on the left side of my hair. I figured I'd caught the fringe in my collar or something and shrugged to free it. I felt the tug again and turned to my left. There about twelve inches away and twelve inches down was a shiny shaven head, earring laden, with the bristly goatee and mustache of the "New Dudes." His arms stuck out from his sides since his deltoids were so overdeveloped. He was about five foot five tall and five foot wide, all muscle. His dress was all "attitude." He pulled my hair again.

He smiled angelically and beerily at me and said with a tear in his voice, "I just love your hair. My mom always loved the Beatles!"


Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)