Banjo Riot in Professorville, by Michael John Simmons of Fretboard Journal

On Saturday I went to a picking party in Professorville, an elegant old neighborhood in Palo Alto. There were dozens of people there playing bluegrass, swing, folk and all sorts of good things in little clusters all over the garden and in the house. The party started early in the afternoon and things had pretty much shut down by 9 PM. Even so, a cranky neighbor called the police to complain about the noise. At around 10 o’clock a pleasant police officer came into the garden where we were sitting (and not playing) and said that he had received a complaint about excessive noise from the banjos and violins. “But that can’t be right,” he said. “From what I understand, it’s fiddles that play with banjos.” What can I say? Palo Alto police officers really know their instruments.

(I’m always looking to name a political movement in Palo Alto; I do this the way normal people invent band names; Banjo Riot in Professorville, could be the ticket)

Michael John Simmons, it says, worked at Gryphon for 15 years. I bought this copy of Fretboard 32 because it had Ry Cooder on the cover — I actually bought it at McCabes. What got me started on the cyberspace is that this issue features photos of Jolie Holland and her guitar by Laurel Nakadate. So I am fixing to write critically about Laurel’s work, on Jolie. Something about Laurel likes a good cry and uses a Jolie song as a type of emotional dildo.

The actual link to MJS on “words” and “Platos Republic”

There’s also a Nathaniel Riverhorse Nakadate if that explains how Laurel got lassoed-like to shoot for Fretboard Journal, which costs $12.95 in the U.S.



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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