The Salty Suites and Sand Guys at Sunset shindig

Scott Gates, Chelsea Williams, Chuck Hailes (upright bass) of The Salty Suites

Scott Gates, Chelsea Williams, Chuck Hailes (upright bass) of The Salty Suites

Rusty Croft and Kirk or Kurt, who is a SJS MFA circa 1972, and studied with Tony May and Sam Smidt, of Sand Guys International

Rusty Croft and Kirk or Kurt, who is a SJS MFA circa 1972, and studied with Tony May and Sam Smidt, of Sand Guys International


Terry and I spent a couple hours Saturday down at the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend event. She is going back today for a second helping. It helps that we live walking distance away. Actually they comp us in to keep us from making noise complaints. Besides the band, The Salty Suites, and the art installation, Sand Guys, I liked the free pop cycles from Dreyer’s (I think) which featured fruit and veggie essences, or so they said. We also ran into Michael Szabo, the Gunn graduate whose art studio is in Sf, on Yosemite, and will soon install a fountain on Cali Ave here, in addition to his coil at Mitchell Park. Not to invade his privacy, but it appears he now lives in the same building as the studio run by former Paly footballer Joey Piziali, although the two don’t really know each other.

Here is a video of The Salty Suites doing what I think of as a Los Lobos song, but is actually, or so this magic box tells me, is a 1951 Peppermint Harris song, “I Got Loaded”. Bassist Chuck Hailes takes the lead. On the 15-track live album, from Castoro Cellars, there are nine originals and six covers. Of those nine, writing credit break down thusly:

Chelsea Williams (guitar, v): 3 and 5/6ths or 5;

Scott Gates (mandolin, v): 2 and 5’6ths or 5;

Chuck Hailes (bass, v): 1 and 5/6ths or 4. (that is, Hailes has writing credits on four tracks, either a half credit or a third credit in each case). It seems, from watching half a set, that they trade the lead vocals such that the singer is probably the main composer of the song.

You, if you are super-observant or know The Salty Suites, or you ARE the Salty Suites, that the photo I took is reversed. Hailes was stage right of Williams, is in the video.  And I’m just guessing that Andrew the manager (on their site) is Andrew Gates, brother of Scott Gates, who also posts 160 videos on YouTube. Scott Gates owns the website, it seems. They play mainly Southern California although I would think they should try to get gigs at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass or Freight and Salvage or Crepe Place Santa Cruz. Chelsea told me that they went to Folk Alliance regional event.

Kirk Rademaker started Sand Guy then amended to Sand Guys when he took Iowa native Rusty Croft as junior member of the team. That Terry Acebo Davis and Kirk Rademaker shared some faculty members, a decade or more apart, at San Jose State led them to a little pow-wow on the Sunset grounds, although understandably Mr. Rademaker, after four days of building, in some considerable sunshine, only had so much energy left to schmooze. But her graciously posed with both Terry and I in front of the piece, which depicts Michael Jackson at Mandelay Bay Las Vegas, which I hope to add later. They are de-installing the piece Monday although they claim that the sand hardens to near-sandstone and could last months in a protected environment. They said that some muck-a-mucks in Kuwait owe them from a big-time installation there — that’s how it goes for artists, even among the best. And next time the Kuwaitis want American intervention, we will factor Kirk’s plight into the equation.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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