This week is all about shameless self-promotion for me…my band GarageLand Rodeo is starting its 6th year playing at 600 Ferry Street. We’ve been a regular fixture through four ownership changes, countless staff changes and remodels – the band itself has even gone thru a few changes in personnel over the last six years.
I formed the Rodeo in 2004 shortly after moving the Martinez a few years earlier after the end of seeking out like-minded individuals who just couldn’t let go the desire to play music. It began with me looking for other “Rusty rockers”, those of us who have always loved and been involved in music but due to life changes had to move on to regular jobs and leave dreams of being a fulltime musicians behind. The one thing we all had in common was we never gave up the love of music, and since we all had “regular jobs” and an income…well we now all had a lot of really nice gear or access to funds to get it…so the band was born. The idea was to play the music we loved and not worry about what genre it was, as long as we liked it didn’t matter we were gonna play it how we wanted anyway.
The band had some country leanings in the beginning due to us having a pedal steel player…though he was right at home adding steel licks to rock songs. We practiced in a garage in the early days and thus I came up with “GarageLand” thanks to an article by Little Steven…and since we had that country tinge I tried a couple things: “GarageLand Opry” was almost chosen until I wrote down “GarageLand Rodeo” and liked the way it sounded.
Well next thing you know since we had a name and a load of songs we started looking for places to play – and low and behold people liked what we were doing. We did that for a couple of years then suddenly the reality of being in a working band caused some to leave…. but I was once again hooked on doing what I had done for years before so I sought out others again, but this time I was rebuilding Garageland Rodeo not trying to find people to just play with.
My late friend Mark Mitchell was one of the first I hooked up with and we hit it off right away – my love of sloppy and classic rock and blues and his jam band, classic rock background seemed to just click so we began playing together whenever we could and went through a string of others looking for a spark…and suddenly we found Jenny, though we were hesitant at first…ask her, she’ll tell you a funny story.
Jenny brought us Pat and we found Marc and did that for a few years. We had made some friends in other bands and were playing all over town and beyond. One night we were introduced to Mike and he sat in on a few and suddenly we had keys and new source of unbridled enthusiasm…and now 6 people, but it was the dream band set up - 2 guitars, keys, bass, drums and great lead vocalist. We were having a BLAST, things were loose yet controlled – we’d go off on jams and pull it back at the end, we were happy! We parted ways with Marc after a couple of years but around that time our new friends the Mark Emery Band were experiencing some growing pains and thus we were able to bring Charles into the fold.
We continued to grow and add new elements all the while sticking to our goal of doing the songs we love, the way we wanted to do them and not doing songs just because they were expected… We’d do acoustic shows, farmers markets, countless benefits for charities sand lost friends – we’d try instrumentation changes just to keep things different and exciting – because even the songs we loved would get old and I never drop anything from the song list – just ask the band, there’s songs on there that some of them have never even played.
We lost Mark to cancer a couple years ago and I didn’t think I could ever replace him, we’d been musical soul mates for our time together – Mike had stepped back a bit but came back full time to help fill out the sound and we continued on for a few months with the five of us. Our good friend Danny White mentioned our loss and situation to Kelly and asked him if he’d be interested – he and I got together and played a bit and I felt I’d found yet another brother…pretty sure he agrees and we were once again revitalized and whole, for a while.
Mike unfortunately was having wrist problems and the 2+ hours sets and 4-5 hours shows were taking their toll, thus reluctantly he decided to step down to preserve his health. We’ve always felt all bands and musicians are part of an extended family, it’s not a competition out there so lo and behold another band of friends was experiencing some growing pains and we got Kevin. Things were once again whole and that’s where we are today. Now as I said all bands are an extended family, and in our case we have some shared custody – so our lineup varies from time to time, we have a duo, a core, the band and THE BAND. We make them all work and if one of the family is visiting the relatives we make it work.
The Bar at 600 Ferry Street has been our home base for over five years, so this weekend we’re celebrating our time there – and we’re bringing in some of the people who we’ve shared it with and have helped us become who we are. There’s gonna be former members, extended family members and some of those who have inspired and supported us over the history of this thing I call GarageLand Rodeo.
We hope you can join us.
Well enough about us…here’s what else you can look forward to in town this month – as always if I missed anything or you have information on things coming up in the next few months drop me a line so I can include you in this recap.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to Jenny Starmack for compiling the info on the venues around town.
Roxx on Main:
627 Main Street, Martinez
Open Mic every Thursday – 6:30pm
Friday Feb 10th, Doug Wendt
Saturday Feb 11th, Jim Caroompas
Saturday Feb 18th, Savage and White
Friday & Saturday 24th & 25th, Meg and Bryan “The Two of Us”
600 Ferry Street, Martinez
Martini Tuesday with The Martini Trio every Tues Night!!
DJ Eclectic Every Thursday spinning R&R and videos!
Friday & Sat, Feb 10th & 11th – GarageLand Rodeo
Friday, Feb 17th – Aaron Pearson Band
Saturday, Feb 18th - TBA
Friday & Sat, Feb 24th & 25th – The Billy Martini Show
709 Ferry Street, Martinez
Open Mic with Steve Starr every Friday at 9pm and Sunday at 7pm
Saturday, Feb 11th – Mere Image
Saturday, Feb 18th – The Heartbeat Band
Saturday, Feb 25th – Top Secret
707 Marina Vista Avenue, Martinez
Every Friday, - Happy Hour & A Half, featuring Sin Silver and other Local Artists, No Cover 4:30 to 6pm
Friday, Feb 10th – Happy Hour and a Half, 4:30pm No Cover
Wednesday, Feb 8th – West Coast Song Writers Competition, 7pm $5
Thursday, Feb 9th – Duo Gadjo, “Jazz with a French Twist”, 8pm $10
Friday, Feb 10th – Happy Hour and a Half with Mikie Lee Prasad & Chris Burns, 4:30pm No Cover
Friday, Feb 10th – Con Brio, “Soul, Funk and Blues”, 8pm $10
Saturday, February 11th – Phil Berkowitz & The Dirty Cats, “Blues”, 8pm $10
Monday, Feb 13th - Good Stuff Guitars Blues Jam 7pm $3
Thursday, Feb 16th – SF Bluegrass & Old Time Festival, “Bluegrass” 7pm $15
Friday, Feb 17th – Happy Hour and a Half with Sin Silver, 4:30pm No Cover
Friday, Feb 17th – Sin Silver and the Avenue, “Rock Pop with an Irish Sensibility”, 8pm $10
Saturday, Feb 18th – Sophisticated Ladies, “Swing & Latin” 8pm $10
Monday, Feb 20th – Jazz Jam Hosted by the Greg Reginato Group, 7pm $3
Tuesday, Feb 21st – Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Party and Benefit w/ Duo Gadjo & Guests, 7pm $15
Wednesday, Feb 22nd – Bluegrass Jam, Hosted by Bruce Campbell & Rick Horlick. 7pm $3
Thursday, Feb 23rd – Mal Sharpe’s Big Money Jazz Band, “Dixieland”, 8pm $10
Friday, Feb 24th - Happy Hour and a Half, 4:30pm No Cover
Friday, Feb 24th – Mark Hummel Band w/Steve Freund, “Blues” 8pm $12
Saturday, Feb 25th – Houston Jones, “High Octane Americana” 8pm $10
Monday, Feb 27th - Good Stuff Guitars Blues Jam 7pm $3
Cue and Brew:
1029 Arnold Drive, Martinez
Creek Monkey Tap House
611 Escobar St. Martinez,
Open Mic Wednesdays, 6PM