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Mike's Rants

Summer in the Zone

Jerry Celebration #16 has "come & gone, my oh my!"! It's hard to comprehend that we have been doing the Jerry tribute show for 16 years. The first was indoors at the Blue Heron in Duncan Mills , CA. it was basically an excuse to play a bunch of Jerry/G.D. tunes. The "band" consisted of Sylvia on acoustic piano, Melanie Campbell on flute, Dan Albers bass (original thugz bass player) & Sylvia on acoustic piano. By the second year we went to a full band format and played outdoors. The last Jerry show at the Blue drew the largest crowd ever seen there. When the Blue closed up we went over to the Pink Elephant for a few years and then finally landed at Rio Nido. The Rio Nido Roadhouse has been a great spot for this event. It is such a classic Russian River venue with ties to the Grateful Dead who played there once upon a time.

 This year we faced some challenges though. We almost threw in the towel. We had no regular drummer and worst of all no Sylvia. After much soul searching we decided to carry on as the power and influence of the music for us, as well as the fan support, was too great to ignore. Fortunately we were able to get Rick Cutler to do the gig and commit to learning a whole new (for him) repertoire and style. He is a real pro and a very cool guy. Everyone else, Andre, Steph & Chris (recovering from a saw accident on his fretting hand) kicked into gear. We also had my nephew Cody helping out on guitar and Shawn Britton contribution percussion. Melanie got the raffle and motivational speech going and show went very well. The support of the thugz fans was just inspirational! Thanks much much.

 The unsung hero though is Drew Carpenter our sound engineer & equipment manager. He is the one who gets there 5 hours early with all the equipment and gets everything ready for us. For us, some of the equipment has become too heavy  to deal with. Thanks Drew! What a tremendous help that is! His sound engineering skills have blossomed and he now is employed by several venues, a sound company and works various union jobs all over the area (as well as  being a thug).

 We don't claim to be a Dead cover band although we do versions of their tunes a lot. Sometimes we don't play any Dead tunes. But once a year we we salute Jerry with this tribute show as that music has so influenced everything we do.

 I don't know if there will be a Thugz Jerry show next year. Maybe... maybe not.  We do have a couple more summer shows  though; Northwood tonight (8/11) and Taft St. Winery this Sunday (8/14).  We will do our best to play well and enjoy the sweet days of late summer.

Thanks to everyone for the tremendous support and memorable times!


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