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Great Folks At The Seattle Folklife Festival
Posted On 12/11/2007 14:56:33 by VinceAdame
Saturday, Memorial Day weekend was a whirlwind. I'd just gotten back to Portland at 2:30 am from a Friday night show in Eugene and now I'm climbing back into the rig just five hours later. Gotta make Seattle downtown to play a 2:15 pm slot on the mainstage with The Ward Stroud Band at The Folklife Festival. After we arrivedat Seattle Center (Space-Needle park) and took a look around I perused the concert schedule to find that amid three full days of folk and world-beat ensembles, we would be the only "traditional" blues/rock band on the bill, and quite possibly the only one with electric instruments and looouud Fender amps. The closest thing was a cajun/zydeco band following us.

As we made way to the stage and quickly prepared for our thirty minute slot, the front-of-house sound engineer wanted to get a bass drum level. After some friendly back and fourth, and tweaking the volume up bit by bit, he congratulated me over the monitors for officially having the loudest bass drum mix of the festival. I turned to the stage hands, who were wondering what my reaction would be to the sound guy's comment, and with a grin I jested, "Oh just you wait..." [Ed. Eerie foreshadow music.]

Showtime! Everything is going well in the first song. It's a Bo-Diddley arrangement for Ward's didjeridoo, we call it the Bo-Didjeri song.
I'm up there pounding out this "Gene Krupa-meets-the-Hand Jive" kinda rolling floor tom pulse when suddenly, the beater falls right out of the bass drum pedal. So now the bottom end has fallen out of the sound just like the beater fell away, and I'm waving and playing to get the stage hand's attention who is in charge of drums. Is he just off-stage watching my every move? Nope. He's down behind the stage chatting it up with another stage hand. Finally he sees me and runs to my side. I'm yelling over my drums that the pedal's come apart. He's frozen about what to do. So with one hand, I pick up the floor tom and move it a foot over to my right while still playing with my other hand, I toss the drum key at him and point to the pedal, which I'm comically still playing even though no sound is coming from it. I lift my foot off the pedal and rest it on the drum head over the pedal and he crawls in between the floor tom and my drum stool and puts the pedal back together, all in about twenty seconds, the longest twenty seconds, mind you. Whew, and the rest of the show goes smoothly.

Afterwards, the stage hand and I are re-living that moment and he tells me that the pedal did the same thing on two occasions before me that same day. I faked a laugh and thought, "now why didn't you make me aware of that possibility so I could have put the "monkey grip" to the screw that holds the beater in place?". I didn't, though. It was too nice a day, and the crowd really loved what we did (I think they were in need of some rock music after all the twinkle ding dong stuff they had been sampling all day from the various festival stages). The rest of the day we walked around this festival, the second largest inner-city festival in the country. Picture an art festival, a hemp fest, a renaissance festival and Mardi Gras all rolled up in one and that's where we were. It was great fun. You should go next year, just tighten up your bass drum pedal.

-V-

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