Holy Smokes! Another Rock Camp cometh 'round the bend. So I better finish up my bloggins about last week's session.
A few words about the other guys and their whippersnappers
(And the obligatory anti-climactic Saturday "Day" show at Eugene Saturday Market):
THE BIG FRIDAY NITE SHOW:
Dan Mahoney is the new guy -- replacing "Crazy-for-a-Reason" Zak Johnson, who was dearly missed by many of the kids. (Zak rocks a new career and side gigs with Cherry Poppin' Daddies & David Jacobs-Strain).
Although Dan has plenty of experience with other camps, Music's Edge Rock Camp sports unparalleled chaos. I hope we wore him out properly (like beating him into our gang.) Dan took over the second youngest group, which practices in The WOW Hall foyer. He obviously did splendidly with his 10 kids.
Dan's "Bandidoritos" featured a Green Day medley, which I'm sure was at the behest of young bass dude David (12), with his red suit, scapula-length hair, and giant Elton John glasses.
"Grumpy" John Raden moved downstairs into the bar to guide Zak's former middle group. (Why do I call him "Grumpy John?" Because he is a taskmaster, and it makes me feel better about my own increasing irascibility.) John's drummer, Maverick, auditioned "Carry On Wayward Son." So, why not include it in the Brutal Noodle set list? Kansas was my fave band as a kid, and I never thought of trying to learn it 'cause it's damn hard. It amazes me that these kids tackle it without pause, just 'cause they want to. And John R. refuses to tell them it's too hard. He simply puts 'em to work.
The young lady who delivered Tool's anguishing "Sober" is still probably resting her voice.
Kurt Catlin's "Toxic Wash." As usual, they practice in the tiny ventless Keg Room -- AKA The Dungeon. Sticky floors, rotten beer smell, and inappropriate ancient concert posters. This group is not set not by age, but by willingness to thrive under dank conditions. The music that emerges is always heavy and aggressive. (And it's not always boys. Plenty of girls have descended through the miasma and come out roaring.) This year -- Sound Garden & MC5. I love it that these kids will play a 50 year-old song like it was written for them yesterday. ("Kick Out the Jams.") Kurt's perennial star is Raven the shredding bass player, who insists on being a Dungeoneer and jamming Iron Maiden. But the best thing about it: Kurt conducts such music like a high-school band leader blazing through the fight song with a big childlike grin. (More on Kurt's radiant personality next week.)
Oh, and then there's "Keegan-the Un-Containable."
Tim McLaughlin, who rehearses the older kids -- Veterans who make up Rock Campton -- on the Main Stage, from behind a desk, through every genre. Elegant, versatile, dynamic, sophisticated, detailed. Stella & Izzy were doing their usual wonderfulness, including a Stella original. Spencer shredded, and Champ played all instruments. But a new star is rising in Sophia who led Santana's instrumental "Europa." Inside a differently cool pocket, she soloed beautifully. I video-ed and sent it to my old bandmates with whom I cut my teeth on Carlos. (Way back then I played Santana like I was trying to strangle a squirrel.) Oh, she also sings, and they morphed Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" into a soul version to suit her deep-ish voice.
The special moment of the nite: Stretching a jam out for the graduating Cooper, who's been an "Edge Camper" for 8 years. I had him when he was smaller than his Strat, struggling with "My Generation." Goodbye, and keep shredding.
Okay, about Saturday Market show: After the kids put everything they've got into one big show, it's hard to ask them to reprise a rushed, truncated version of it in broad daylight, with no sound check. But we gotta show it off to the community, who appreciate it mightily in spite of how awkward it feels for the acts.
By daunting them with this tedious afterthought performance we're sorta saying, "Okay Kids, just in case you think you might want to do this for a living, here's how it can not always be so fun."
Alright, it's not so bad. The kids rally, and the crowd goes mad with delight. And my Iguana Gods were unbelievably poised through it, and just as tight, and pro as the night before. They didn't even know they were supposed to be uncomfortable.