Archive for the Memorial Category

Best Guitar Players ( you never heard )

Posted in best guitar players, Blues Guitar, Celebration, Memorial, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 22, 2013 by damngoodtunes

One of the Best Guitar Players
By Bruce Maier

When I was growing up and learning to play guitar I was fortunate to have a few of the real gurus of the instrument around me and to learn from, and probably wherever you are on this planet you can likely say the same thing. I guess music is just that way. We get the privilege to have these wonderful mentors around to inspire and teach.

One of the  Best Guitar Players

Mike Keller – Guitar Master

Mike Keller was someone special though; I saw him, I watched him play and I heard him for over four decades, but I never got the honor to really hang out with him and get to know the local legend that he truly was. Now I can brag and say that I did meet his dad once. He even showed me around his shop where he was building violins, but with Michael it would be many years before I would get to spend a little quality time with him at one of his concerts where he, Sherry Potter on Bass and vocals and Michael Lacey on drums were playing a Blues Festival. That was a day I will never forget!   

Best Guitar Player Michael Keller

Mike Keller and Sherry Potter

Mike Keller had such a unique style that made you think you were listening to a much larger band. The way he comped, or played his chords and his selective choices of riffs and runs in his beautiful solos. His was masterful on the instrument and didn’t have to mask his playing with too much performance. Not to say he was stoic, he just didn’t need to do much more than just be Michael, the one with a very special gift. I will always remember Mike Keller, his amazing playing and a subtle smile. He loved to play music and loved to be in the company of special people and he was indeed, very happy to take to the stage with the love of his life. He was really – one of the best!

For the complete story please see http://damngoodtunes.com/The_Best.html

ROCK IT – David Shriver Tribute is now Launched!

Posted in I Have A Dream, Independent Music, Indie Music, Kickstarter, Memorial, Pop music, Short Film, Soundtrack, Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 13, 2012 by damngoodtunes

Full speed ahead! That’s what Bruce Maier and his dedicated team are saying now that phase 2 of the Kickstarter.com fundraising campaign has launched as of Monday. There is a brand new introduction video in place which will give the potential donors much more of the information and even a sneak peek at David’s live performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, along with a clip of actor-musician and author Mickey Jones who Maier recruited to play drums on the soundtrack for the film. Mickey was seated in the control room of the recording studio hearing back the song Rock It for the very first time when he is captured on  camera offering an emotional response.

This is a worthy project and there is an inspirational message of hope for anyone who loves music and has considered putting all their faith in the Dream of making it in music.

David Shriver and Mickey Jones along with their band-leader Trini Lopez sold millions of records and played the most important shows and broadcast in the world . But all this fame would come just a few years after David’s first time becoming famous as the electric Bass player for Rock icon Eddie Cochran. Cochran will killed in a tragic car crash in England, leaving behind millions of saddened fans and a young David Shriver asking the question of what would be next. After a stint with the Kelly Four, David was at the famed PJ’s in Hollywood when he meets with Lopez and Jones who were just then needing a good Bass player. The rest is an amazing history which includes moving from Malibu and buying a  farm in Washington state, joining with Northwest music legend Clayton Watson and performing in symphonies and Big Bands! David Shriver as the song says,  ” lived his life with passion ! ”

In order to tell this story in Rock It, we need your help. Please go to our Kickstarter page and watch the video and read the details. Rock It!

See The Video Here

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I was always a Fender man

Posted in Giving Thanks, Guitar Player, Guitars, Independent Music, Memorial, Mentoring, Tribute with tags , , , on May 19, 2010 by damngoodtunes
Gary Edmonds - King of Cool

King Of Cool

When I was a child many of my days were spent at the Academy, learning how to dance, unlike the other boys my age who were all playing baseball and football. Music was then and is still my life but at about the age of fourteen my parents took me to a county Fair where I saw a live Rock band for the first time in my life. There they were – four of the tightest musicians I would ever come to know. They were called The Trends, led by a man named Clayton Watson. With Clayton playing drums and lead vocals, Denny on Bass, Carol on the Tenor Sax and Gary Edmonds on Guitar, these guys were an incredible group that could play everything and anything with soul and fire. My attention immediately was directed to the Guitarist in the band. He wore Spanish boots, a blazer and turtleneck shirt, was tanned and had great hair. Clutching a Fender electric guitar and playing big fat jazz chords, then ripping solos through a Fender amp and Fender Vibratone Leslie Speaker, with one leg slightly bent at the knee keeping time, this guy was the epitome of cool! I turned to my folks and said, “ that’s who I want to be! “

And so it was. That summer my dad taught my brother and I to play some chords on an old acoustic guitar he bought for us at a pawn shop and we soon discovered our new home away from home – Lohr Brothers Music Store where we, along with all the other kids into music would hang out. And there he was, Gary Edmonds the guitar teacher from planet Cool! That same dynamic lead man in The Trends was there every day and accessible to all who would gather around him. And even if you couldn’t afford or didn’t have the attention span required for one-on-one lessons with Gary, he would show you the latest guitar lick or his “ big fat Jazz chords “ just for the asking. Gary loved to teach and was good at it. Over the years he probably taught hundreds of students and some of those went on to be really great professional musicians. And he would occasionally play solo, just a minimum of gear, but always with his trusty Fender in his hands, Gary could sing the standards and current Pop and Country hits all night long.

I had many interactions over the years with Gary Edmonds and I can honestly say that every single memory I have of the man is a good one. He was witty and sharp, full of great musician jokes and of course, always willing to help out a musician in need.

Gary was a soldier in two wars – WW2 and the Korean War, ending his military career as a US Marine and very proud of what he’d done for his country. At one point he became aquatinted with my father who was also a veteran. They spent some good times talking about having been in the service and being proud of their country. Gary was like family in our house.

Mr. Edmonds was married for many years to a fine lady, Penny, who was always very supportive of his music. They had several daughters who all learned the music of their soul from their way-cool dad! I don’t know a lot of other personal things about Gary but I can tell you that in my whole musical career the one time that I actually got to work on a professional job with him was a highlight of my life. He played Bass Guitar on that occasion because arthritis was preventing him from making a tight grip around a Telecaster neck. Halfway through the gig though we were asked to play some Big Band era standards that were way over my technical head and Gary said “ OK Man , I’ll give it a try ! “ And the guy absolutely tore it up and set the place on fire! I will never forget that moment.

Gary Edmonds, sometimes professionally referred to as “ Dad “ was our iconic hero in our little town where my friends and I grew up. He was always the coolest guy with those slick waves in his hair, the pack of smokes rolled up in his short-sleeved shirt which incidentally left the tattoos on his arms exposed. But the musician that he was transcended the normal levels of technical prowess that most of us could ever hope for in this life. He was simply the best.

The other day, as many of the musicians who loved and admired him were shuffling in, one by one to be at his bedside with family, Gary and I got talking about guitars. He said “ I had a nice Gretch once and it played real well, but I just couldn’t get used to it. I was always a Fender man.” When it was time for us to go and respectfully leave space for his loving family, I stood up and told him something I always wanted to say , that although many of us may have learned to copy his tricks and chops over the years, none of us would ever be cool. Not like him. As I turned for the door I said “ see ya later Daddy-O! “ Gary raised his arm and gave us a silent “thumbs up “. Three nights later with his wife and family at his side, Gary Edmonds began his journey in the afterlife.

One Cool Cat and 1 Nerd

Jerry McGinnis

Posted in Guitar Player, Indie Music, Memorial, recording, Reviews, Tribute with tags , , on April 12, 2010 by damngoodtunes

This evening I have returned home after a five-hour memorial jam session for some one who most of you have never heard of but someone you knew at one time, Jerry McGinnis. Don’t worry… this is not going to be some long drawn out sad  story to bum you out or make you cry. Hang in there for a minute.

Jerry was a fine guitarist and singer with a love for music which was  second only to his love and dedication to family. He grew up and lived, and died in a small town somewhere in the USA . The name of the place would mean nothing to most of you but you can make up your own name because you’ve been there. Jerry was a baby-boomer who had gravitated to music and the guitar at an early age.  He excelled at vocals and guitar- the Fender Stratocaster to be precise. A handsome young man and one of those guys who could wear long hair,  a full beard and he always  looked sharp! Jerry played in a lot of bands but most of the time in the early years he worked with his brother Ron, who also happened to wield a Fender Strat. They were one of the first groups to ever come out of our area that had that Allman Brothers thing going on with the dual lead guitars playing in precise perfect pitch harmonies and they not only blew the audiences away but also all the other bands and musicians who would drive long distances just to hear Jerry and Ron play those hot guitars and sing. At some point down the road, the brothers went different directions and both would earn the respect and many accolades of their peers and fans alike. I was fortunate to have worked in bands with each of the McGinnis Brothers at different times in my own professional career, first with Jerry over twenty-eight years ago and then with Ron a few years later. There was never a dull moment with either of the guys and the musicianship was always on a higher level than some of the other bands I’d played in, but back when I worked with Jerry McGinnis he was the guy who was always motivating the band to push the envelope, go outside of our comfort zones and learn some of the newest material being played on the radio.  He always brought something new and fresh to rehearsals and the stage and was a strong front man and leader.

Jerry playing with Backfire

There was something more about Jerry that everyone loved and that was his smile. He had such a great smile and  it was never hard to make him laugh and he loved to amuse others as well. When he was in ” the zone ” and playing that guitar I’d look over and see this little grin coming from him.  He truly loved to play and sing in a band. To him, there was nothing else quite like it in life.  About a year ago after a series of heart attacks which had come and gone over a period of years, Jerry had a serious one while performing on stage with the band he had been working in for a long time, Backfire. The EMT’s worked on him on the stage that night. Later his doctor would ground him from ever playing music on stage professionally again. His dream, passion and livelihood had come to an end and I can only imagine what it was like for him to be forced to give it up.

About ten days ago Jerry McGinnis fought and lost his last fight with a weakened heart and we lost a brother and a great friend. Today through the concerted efforts of the community, The Backfire Band, family and friends and the Fraternal Order of the Eagles,  Jerry was honored in an all-day jam session. Musicians from all over came to play tribute to their fallen Brother. I was so lucky to have had the chance to get up and play in remembrance of one of my friends who happens to be  one of my own personal guitar heroes.

In life as we meander down along that long lost highway of time and experiences  we have all enjoyed music – though  not all of us receive the calling to be a  professional musician and an entertainer, nor do most of us become great ball players or authors.  We’ve all known someone like Jerry who could play the guitar or throw a ball better than most  anyone else in our home town.  And, we’ve admired and sometimes even idolized these people although the major leagues and the major labels never heard of them. The fame thing really doesn’t matter does it ? It didn’t matter to Jerry and do you know why? Because when you’re a musician and it’s embedded into the core of your being, your essence and your soul – you play for the pure love and the joy of playing. And that my friends is true greatness.

Jerry McGinnis leaves behind a large close family, many friends and a community which will never forget him. The Eagles hall was filled with hundreds who would rather raise a glass of cheer to his memory than to sob in their emptiness alone. For a few moments we sat in silence as the band played along with a beautiful rendition of Jerry singing Bob Dylan’s immortal ” Knocking On Heaven’s Door “. His voice  clean, clear and sweet. His ever tasty guitar soothing like a beckoning to the Angels.  Jerry McGinnis didn’t have to knock for long – there were smiling faces eagerly awaiting his arrival on the other side.

bjm