Where do I even begin? Well... The craziness began on Thursday of last week, so I'll start there.
Every year, my uncle Cloy and Evelyn Jones have a family reunion intended for their family. I'm not entirely sure why, but my parent's family has been invited to this reunion for a long time. Some years we go, some years we can't make it.
I am so
glad we were able to make it this year.
The reunion lasted 3 days, but we were only able to make it to one. The day we went, their family was spending time at a wonderful little piece of heaven found in Burley Idaho. It's called The Harris Pond
. This place is ... insane. It's fantastic... When you drive up, you notice a big pond with canoes, and paddle-boats, along with a tower on one end with a big tube as a slide which shoots directly into the water, and two huge telephone poles sticking out of the ground with a HUGE
swing between them, on the other end of the pond.
This place is probably one of the most politically incorrect places I've ever seen. With all the hoopla of making things so sterile and safe now-a-days, it's amazing that a place like this even exists. I'm oh-so-glad it does, though.
For example... The slide is rigged up to a tower and sits at about a 30 degree angle going *straight* into the water. There's no lips or bends at the end of the tube, either. You slide down inside a tube and shoot out like a bolt into the water. And by the time you hit the water, you're going pretty darned fast. ...and the water? Yeah, it's "pond" water. There's mud on the pond floor, and the water is dirty. Did I care? Not a single bit. I was too busy having the time of my life.
Then there's the swing, held up by two telephone poles at the pond's edge. I kid you not. This thing is the single biggest mammoth swing I've ever laid eyes on. It's so big, that alone, it's pretty much impossible to gain any momentum, due to the weight of the chains holding the swing up. This is where good friends come in.
The cousins, Grant, Clifton, Blaine, and I got working together with this swing, and before long, we were all being thrust up to 30 feet in the air back and forth on this swing. When I jumped off going that high, I was left without any ability to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs! And I did it time, after time, after time. It was a complete blast! Even Jolynn got in on the action, and showed us all up by doing the first back-flip off the swing into the water. I had to try it, and ended up doing it perfectly, but it felt like a fluke. Then Grant tried it, and almost killed himself by getting his foot caught by the chain. He landed on his face in the water. I then tried it again, and forgot to let go, so I, too, landed on my face. But then I tried it again, and got it right. Anyway...
So, yeah.. After being there all day and playing harder than I have in a long, long time, my body was not
happy, but my soul couldn't have been happier.
...and to think.. All of this was at a place where most urban folk wouldn't even consider going because it's not sterile enough. Bah.. gooooood times!
The drive home that evening was not fun.
The next morning, I woke up and my whole upper body threatened to kill me if I moved, but I had no choice. I went to work for a few hours, and then drove down to Manti to gig it up with my band, Plan B. I played pretty mellow because my body was still in pain. It was still fun, though. We played down the street a couple blocks from the Mormon Miracle Pageant
which goes on every year at this time. It was pretty fun!
I had been looking forward to this day for months. The whole concept of what was going to happen made my skin go through waves of chills... Seriously.
This day, I was going to get together with a bunch of musicians I had never met, let them know of my passion for music, and drumming abilities, and then spend the rest of the day writing, rehearsing, and performing (and recording) a brand-new song. The party was called the Art City Music Fest
I woke up early (again), feeling a bit of pain, still, but the pain was no match for my excitement and anticipation for what was to come.
I arrived at the meeting place around 8:00am, and mingled a bit with other artists there. We then proceeded to funnel to registration, and then went into a huge room, where we all sat around in a circle and introduced ourselves, and played a little diddy, just to let our musical abilities shine. Because I'm a drummer, I didn't play anything, but I plugged my studio, and let people know I was dead-serious about music, and making today one of the best days of my musical life.
While we were going around the circle (there were about 50 musicians present), I was so, so, so impressed by the musical abilities of these people! I was in heaven! Most of their "1 minute" performances were seriously impressive.
After we were done showcasing our talents, we were supposed to find people with whom we were interested in collaborating. One dude floored me with his talent, and I knew I had to play in his group. His name is Jason Taylor, and about 2 minutes before the showcasing ended, I made a B-line to the area he was in, and told him of my intentions... He looked at me and said pretty much the same thing about my area of expertise.
We then went down to a wonderful continental breakfast, and found some other band-members. After milling around, and finding some seriously awesome musicians, we ended up leaving to my studio to give birth to a brand-new song with Jason Taylor (acoustic guitar, lead vocals), Dan Steen (insane lead guitar chops), Bethany Dunford (Lead Vocals), Jake Wahinehookae (awesome bass skills), and myself on the drums.
Let me tell you what... I've never, in my entire life, by a very large measure, been in such a creative situation.
We were assigned to create a whole new complete song with musicians we'd never before met, and do so in less than 3 hours. Holy frappin' cow. It was one of the most difficult, intense, gut-wrenching 3 hours of my life. I was the "band host", so I needed to make sure we were kept on track, and that we had something to perform that evening, and that it was completed (or nearly completed) by 3 o-clock
The dynamics in the group we had were very interesting. Suffice it to say that none of us were in our element. We had people in our group who were seasoned musicians, and we had people in our group who had never before been on stage. I've gotta say that, by the end of the session, each and every person in our group had become a valuable resource, and had contributed in no small means to the song.
After going from sweating bullets, to having chills race down my spine, and back again, we eventually did it. By 3:00pm, we were in our cars, heading back to headquarters to grab some lunch, and race over to the Arts Park to get our soundcheck in.
I'd have to say the best part of the whole day for me, happened after soundcheck. We had about 2 hours to just sit in our group, and rehearse the song. We played it at least 8 times through, and each time, we got better. We were just off sitting on the grass, playing our instruments, listening, unbelievably, to a beautiful song we had written just hours before, with people we had barely met, and were going to perform in front of hundreds of people in just a few moments. I was playing the back-side of Jason's guitar case with my hand to keep rhythm, while we were singing, and enjoying our new creation. Most of the time, my eyes were closed, as I let the music work its magic within my soul.... honestly.... I was in heaven.
So, come 6:40pm, and we were called on stage... I got behind the drum-kit (a very nice one, too), and away we went! The setup was such that I could hear pretty much everything, which helped tremendously... We played our best, and when we ended, the crowd cheered like crazy. Some people were even standing up clapping!
We then all went back and recorded the whole song in my studio! I actually kind of feel badly about doing that, because the guys I was with and I had to miss the rest of the concert, but.. We did get the song recorded, and I'm currently working on mixing it up!
Crazy, fun, intense, awesome weekend!!!!