Photography is more than a business for me, it’s a life style. A passion, a love, a way of life. Baseball affects me this way as well. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget motorcycles. I reflected about my love for all things two wheeled after my ride to the Sturgis Rally last August. Besides photography, baseball and motorcycles, there is one other passion in my life (besides my family, of course), and that’s music. Not just listening to it, but playing it. Rock n’ roll music. Playing music exudes an energy that cannot be described. Similar to riding a motorcycle, the same saying applies. If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.
The weekend of November 20, 2010 was a weekend I’ll never forget. It was a feel good, flashback to your youth, I can’t believe this is even happening but it is kind of weekend. Forty musicians gathered at Naperville’s famed youth recreation center of the 1960’s and 70’s, The Barn, to reunite in a celebration of music, fun, and friendship once again. I refrain from saying one last time, because I hope that perhaps down the road we can do it all over again.
For 6 hours on this Saturday night, The Barn returned in all its late 1960’s glory and once again featured the musicians, bands and sounds from a bygone era to the delight of 160 invited guests. The evening kicked off with current Naperville Mayor George Pradel welcoming everyone back to The Barn, a far cry from back in the day when the same Mayor Pradel, known then as “Officer Friendly”, patrolled the grounds of The Barn looking to keep the youth of Naperville (ie us) in line! Now used for City of Naperville meetings and such, we spent the evening knocking the dust off the rafters.
Jennifer Hagemann Berthold, her husband Pat and Steve Ciambrone were the driving forces that made this dream a reality. Thank you!! What a night! Amps and a house drum kit were supplied for those lacking the essentials but surprisingly, many brought their own equipment. The list of bands appearing at Barnstock 2010 was a “who’s who” from the the era. Members of Winslow Savage, Blue Wind, Fog, The Vynes, Highway, Felix, Dirt Farm and Nepenthe were on hand, some having traveled back in time from as far away as California! Winslow Savage had the distinction of being the only band to feature their entire original lineup. Of coure, to keep with the theme of the evening, the music was all from 1973 or earlier. The only time I witnessed anything outside of our “time warp” was when Jennifer used her iPad for lyrics. If anybody was allowed to step out of theme, it was Jennifer. With all the work she put into this event, who’s gonna say anything!
For me, it was not only great to play bass again at the very venue where I grew my musical wings, but also to play again with two of my favorite lead guitarists from back in the day, Dan Kening and Tom Colton. Tom’s command of his Strat was as nasty as ever, and Dan’s Les Paul sounded even dirtier on this night than it did during Highway’s “heyday” back in 1973.
I played with both of these axmen, but never together. For me, I felt like Ric Grech playing in my own personal version of “Blindfaith”. Original Highway guitarist Kevin Regan flew in from California for the festivities, and I had the honor playing with a new, kick-ass drummer, Rob Aguilera, for the evening. We all practiced our set of songs individually (thank you, iPod), and only hours before we took the stage did we have the opportunity to practice together as a complete band during a fun filled, four hour rehearsal at nearby Harbor Lights Recording. Hey boys, it sounded really good! My only regret is that we didn’t record in the studio. Our five song set included Edgar Winter’s Free Ride, Rick Derringer’s Rock n’ Roll Hootchie Koo, Creedance Clearwater’s Fortunate Son, The Who’s version of Shakin’ All Over and our version of Humble Pie’s I Don’t Need No Doctor.
Thankfully, not only did I bring along my bass for the evening, but I also brought my Nikon D3s. Shooting available light this night gave me a chance to push the D3s’s capabilities, and without surprise, it produced big time! I ended up shooting at 12, 800 ISO (yes, twelve THOUSAND, eight-hundred ISO) and the results were fantastic! My sister Chris took over the controls when I took the stage, and she made me proud, even after only a five minute how-to session earlier that day. Chris, you’re HIRED!
Some might call Barnstock a rock n’ roll version of a high school reunion. It was more than that. It was a night everyone there will never forget, truly one of life’s benchmark events. After taking 37 years to be invited back to play The Barn, I can only ask one question.
When can we all come back and do it again?