Colorado Tour Summer 2011 Finding My Home on the Explosions of red, white and blue echo down the canyon. It is a moonless, star-laden evening, and the brief flashes of light illuminate the smiles of the nameless faces gathered for the show. It is the Fourth of July in Silverton and the night’s display resounds strongly within me. For it is a celebration of my own independence as well, this being the first stop in my summer of freedom, and the contemplation of my upcoming journey fills me with strong feelings of patriotism. Thus begins Colorado Tour Summer 2011. It was a fast paced tour, having only three weeks to traverse the state’s high country. In total I drove 1,636 miles, crossed 15 mountain passes (9 on the Continental Divide) totaling 156,744 feet of elevation and almost hit a moose. Between mile 1 and mile 1,636, here are some notes from around the state: Southern CO: A highlight for me was Pagosa Springs. A small, sleepy town to be sure, one can sense a vibrancy in locals’ eyes. The hot springs are right downtown, and while a bit pricey, are quite nice and have equally pleasant showers (an important perk for the dirty traveller).
They have about 15 different pools, each with a different aesthetic and temperature. Also, they don’t check your bags so a wise soaker can sneak the growler they filled up at Pagosa Brewing and enjoy sips all evening long [the same cannot be said for Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat, which confiscated the author’s micro cans at the gate]. Central Mountains: The newly rebuilt State Bridge Amphitheatre is a sweet venue! You can float the Colorado all day, take out at State Bridge Landing and start partying for the show... which is exactly what we did Once inside the gates you’ll find that lush grass in back, a sandpit dance floor up front and a natural-looking landscape and ambiance set the stage perfectly for the funky grooves of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. Northern Mountains: The northern ranges of Colorado got hammered this winter and spring, and the effects were visible - two weeks into July and the mountains from Steamboat to Fort Collins were blanketed in white and the rivers were raging. I stopped into a couple of fly shops just to chat (the rivers weren’t fishable). .
It was interesting to hear how this winter’s epic snowfall is reshaping the seasons for outdoor companies. While fishing outfitters have not been able to get clients on the water, and business is slow due to lack of fishable water, they expect the fishing season to extend late into the year. Also many whitewater rafting companies are experiencing an unusually long float seasons. Front Range: Colorado Tour ended with a week long stint in the Front Range. And my hell was that fun! Trampled by Turtles at the Mishawaka, Brewery Tours in Fort Collins, Denver Cruisers (envision 500 bicyclers costumed in theme holding a dance party at Civic Center Park!). I was blown away by the thousands upon thousands of beautiful restaurants and tasty women.... which interestingly enough arose my desire back to be in the quiet confines of Western Colorado all the more. I realized that while I love visiting the Front Range, once I saw through the glitz and glamor I missed the smiles and “howdy’s” of random passerbys, the ruggedness and solitude of the western mountains, the general lack of traffic and facade. Colorado: The sun shines red, white and blue into kaleidoscope eyes.
Written by: Frank Jacobs
(Full Disclosure: I am Jason Hunter.) It can be difficult to track down jason hunter, mostly because he lets his calls go to voicemail and dodges text messages, but I was finally able to track him down at his house after taco night on Friday. His house wasn’t a total disaster, but the cilantro, lime, and green onion left over from a fresh avocado salsa sat wilting slowly in the center of the table Jason Hunter: Tacos? jason hunter: That’s right, [awkward silence] You want one? Jason Hunter: Sure. jason hunter: Here, don’t forget the cheese… Jason Hunter: Mmm muh deh burh gohd. jason hunter: [smiles] Thanks. Jason Hunter: Those are great. Really. What’s the secret? jason hunter: That’s a secret. Jason Hunter: Right. So… you’re in a band… jason hunter: Oh, yeah, the jason hunter band. It’s kind of a peculiarity, but it’s all lower case. Jason Hunter: Lower case? Why’s that? jason hunter: It has to do with a conscious de-emphasizing of the proper noun business. It’s kind of an accident that a group of people who are so unique together wound up in a band with someone else’s name on it. It deserves to be something like Megalopolosaurus or Sock Puppet Downtime, but they got stuck with my fake name. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I like to think of it in the sense that we’re a band as in a roving band… of lunatics or something, a vagabond safari. Jason Hunter: Fake name? jason hunter: Well, it’s not fake. It’s just not the whole story. Jason Hunter: What is the whole story? jason hunter: Are you going to let me lead you around like a horse on a harness, or are you going to ask me some real questions? Jason Hunter: [nervous laugh] Fair enough. I sound like a shrink, I know. Well, I am curious where the story begins. jason hunter: You want it from when i was 13 and got my first guitar? The action on that thing was ridiculous. It was at least a quarter inch at the octave, I had a band in high school that played all original stuff. We even got to play all ages shows at the club where I saw Offspring open for Pennywise for 6 dollars in 1994. Oh, crap, did I just date myself? Jason Hunter: Taking narcissism to the next level? jason hunter: Very funny, well that was then. I’ve played with a lot of different people since I tore up my fingers on that poor Gibson, but I’ve still got it. Someday I’ll get around to replacing the soundboard and the bridge and she’ll sing again. Jason Hunter: You do a lot of work on instruments. Do you have a favorite? jason hunter: A favorite? Whatever I have the opportunity to be working on,
I guess. I’ve been way into the drums lately. Our drummer quit the band in May, and all of a sudden I find myself listening to the drums more than I ever have before, listening to rhythms and tempos and overtones. I found a cheap drum kit at a yard sale and decided to turn it into an “alto” drum kit to suit the smaller size of my friend, Al. I did a bunch of reading and tinkering, and a lot of listening…. An unexpected side effect is that I’ve gotten better at playing the trap set, I even know where the term “trap set” comes from. Jason Hunter: You also did work on the guitars you play, right? jason hunter: I have, mostly I play “Bad Wolf ”, the red one which started as an $80 pawn shop purchase. I really liked the neck on it. It was just going to be a test piece for these pickups I’d bought on ebay. But after I stripped it and shaped it up a little bit, I discovered I had found an uncommonly nice guitar body too. I’ve put a lot of love into that one. I play a couple of other electrics, both of which have made some fairly major modifications. Some purists might cringe, but I replaced the tremolo on my ‘65 Fender Mustang with a hard tail and a decorative resin inlay, but I play the guitar in the real world, not the vintage guitar world, so I’m happy to have it play better.
Jason Hunter: You call the red one “Bad Wolf ”? jason hunter: Yeah, and the blue one, the Mustang, I’ve named “Wise One”. Bad Wolf is a Doctor Who reference to Rose Tyler. We’ve taken some delight in peppering sci-fi references into the jason hunter band. Anyways, Rose Tyler touched the heart of the TARDIS and became intertwined in all of time, and Bad Wolf, my guitar has all these different pieces from different points in time, literally, and so I thought it was a fitting name for it. Jason Hunter: Why do people hate the jason hunter band? jason hunter: Because we told them to. Jason Hunter: Why would you do that? jason hunter: Seemed like a good idea at the time. We were coming up with slogans, and that one sort of resonated. “the jason hunter band: I hate those guys”. I think it’s solid, Primus pulled it off. We’re not as hill-billy weird as Primus, but you know, if people want to take it literally, that’s their prerogative. They’re missing out on all that beautiful irony, but whatever. You can’t please all the people. Jason Hunter: Any other slogans? jason hunter: “jason hunter eats the cookie.” “Music up in your face”. “In truth, PBR is a shitty beer”. “Who cares? It’s almost 2012.” “If you don’t like it, at least you didn’t pay to get in.” “Yes Officer, we’ll keep it down”. “the jason hunter band plays music” “the jason hunter band is quitting smoking (cigarettes)”.
)”. “the jason hunter band are alien invaders.” “Free Bird!” “And YOU can do better?” “Try us, you might enjoy what it is that you experience while you are trying us.” “the jason hunter band craves slogans”… or tattoos of rainbows and clouds that say “Somewhere Under the Rainbow” …. Actually, in a perfect world, each of our shows has a slogan, or theme, if that makes it sound more profound. Jason Hunter: You mentioned earlier that your drummer, Joe Clark, quit in May. Was that hard? jason hunter: Wow. That’s a can of worms. Yes, it was very hard. I was very disappointed and so were the guys. Gloom and doom and all that, Joe’s a genius. It’s hard to lose someone with such a unique talent. Plus we had expanded to include Joe’s wife, Lanae and all six of us were on the same page. We were starting to sound above average and shit. No, really, it was amazing, So losing them was kind of a shock. It was definitely an inconvenience, and a bunch of other human stuff too, but we’re incredibly fortunate, our auxiliary percussionist, Warren Newman, is brilliant too and stepped right in on the kit. He’s been tearing it up just as well in his own fashion, it’s a good fit. Jason Hunter: Do you have any hard feelings? jason hunter: Not any more, I was pretty angry and frustrated, we had put in a year’s worth of work to get the band to where it was. Now my worries are gone and I can [makes finger quotes] “forgive” Joe for leaving us. I miss him though, I do miss Joe.
Jason Hunter: Your brother plays bass with you. Have you guys always played together? I mean, since you were kids? jason hunter: No, not really. Geoff started out on the french horn of all things, then he played drums for a short bit. It wasn’t until our friend Joel Waller (from Sons of the Addicted) hooked him up with an old bass guitar that Geoff started playing it. I was already off to college by then. We started playing together more regularly when we were both living on the Front Range. Jason Hunter: Guerrilla Jam Squad? jason hunter: Oh yeah. You remember Guerrilla Jam Squad? We just kind of showed up at this party one night with all of our gear and threw a concert. I’m not sure if we were any good, but I’m in love with the concept. The name stuck for a while, as did the party invasions. Jason Hunter: Is that the band that came before the jason hunter band? jason hunter: Basically, I ended up back in Montrose, and there weren’t a lot of opportunities to play at that point. I met a girl, Veronica, and played a lot for her at first, but ended up giving up playing for about a year. Heartbreak is a great motivator, especially to the bar and in this case to open mic night. Jason Hunter: Open Mic Nights… any thoughts? jason hunter: On open mics? Many, and I’ve played many. Honestly, one of my great musical anxieties is that the band will break up and I’ll have to go back to playing open mics. Of course, I’m grateful for the opportunity that open mic provides, that’s how the jason hunter band was
born. It’s different with musicians than with your average music lover. It’s harder not to hear the little things. On the flip side though, when you’re an original artist, it’s the musicians who pay attention first. So to be a musician’s musician is the best compliment. Jason Hunter: Would you say you’re a musician’s musician? jason hunter: [pause] Probably not at the top levels, but I’ve made friends with a lot of musicians who I consider to be extremely talented who return the compliment. Jason Hunter: You seemed a little uncomfortable with that last question. jason hunter: Well, everyone who plays has to have faith in what they do. Even the most laughable band in Garage-o-topia thinks they’re great. Or at least have promise. Otherwise they wouldn’t keep doing it. Jason Hunter: Are you saying that you think you might be king of Garage-o-topia? jason hunter: No, no, no, it’s just difficult to balance optimism and confidence against arrogance and dissociate disorder. Jason Hunter: That’s not too far from the truth though. You, yourself, have bipolar disorder, correct? jason hunter: I do, and it sucks. You won’t understand. Jason Hunter: Oh, I think I would. jason hunter: Whatever, lots of cool geniuses have had it too, so there’s hope I guess. Jason Hunter: Do you think that making music helps or comes from your disorder? jason hunter: What the fuck? I don’t know. Sometimes songs come because I’m sad, and I’d say that bipolar can contribute to that, but so does heartbreak and the reflection of puddles with raindrops
raindrops falling in them, and normal stuff too…. My music tended to be more melancholy when it was just me and the acoustic, but with the jason hunter band, I’ve made a conscious decision to have a happy, upbeat project that focused on dancing and a message of love. Jason Hunter: That sounds kind of cheesy. jason hunter: It is, maybe the baggage that goes with the language of it, but the concept of love is a powerful thing. It’s fundamentally the most important missing piece in our communities, precisely because the [air quotes] “cool kids” don’t wanna embrace a loving attitude. It’s not cool or something. I don’t know, there’s a lot of bullshit out there. Groups of people who claim to stand for this but actually do that. I don’t like group identity much at all. [beat] That’s why I have a band, heh. Jason Hunter: We’ve talked about the slogans and about the message, is the jason hunter band a marketing ploy? jason hunter: I wish, I do love gimmicks. We did a show called Free Candy, and I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of candy to hand out at the show. At the end I went around and tried to force what was left over on the people who were still left at the bar. If they didn’t want it, I told them to put it in their pocket and give it to someone else later, because someone else will want candy for sure. Who doesn’t want free candy? Jason Hunter: Do you have a formal marketing strategy? jason hunter: Yes, I’m interviewing myself in an unpaid article that has no editorial review. Jason Hunter: LOL. Wait, did I just say that out loud? jason hunter: You did
Jason Hunter: So, obviously, you don’t have a problem with selfpromotion then? jason hunter: i have a big problem with it. It’s hard because nice people don’t want to be that douche-bag who’s always asking people to look at him and give him stuff, but obviously, there’s no way to succeed without risking a little of that. I’ve always been good at communicating, and I just hope that people can understand that there’s a real person in here as well as the carnival barker. Jason Hunter: Speaking of barkers, how did you and Jon “PZ” Phillips come to meet? jason hunter: Well, it was an open mic night. He was all jazzy and cool and aloof, and i was worried he’d think I was cheesy or boring. But I dug his Miles Davis trumpet stylings with the wah and the delay. I was trying to read his response to me, but I couldn’t tell if we were gonna end up being friends. Turns out, now that I know him, he’s just half-deaf, off-balance, and stoned all the time. Jason Hunter: That’s legal in the State of Colorado, right? jason hunter: Sort of, the half-deaf part anyhow. Anyways, I had been having a blast doing a project with some amateur friends of mine, The Rainbow Oyster Butterhouse Band, and we had this one song called “The Laughing Song” it was screaming for some No’leans style horn on it, Jon happened to be there that night and jumped up with us, that was a blast. The next show I played, about a month later, was the first jason hunter band show and Jon was up on it on the keys and the horn, it was Earth Day. I love it that our birthday is Earth Day.
Jason Hunter: So what’s the plan? jason hunter: That’s a secret too. Jason Hunter: Really? jason hunter: No. Not really. We just wanna play for people. We absolutely love all the people we get to play for. Right now, we know a lot of them, and that’s pretty cool, because we can harass them on Facebook if they don’t show up for a gig. I guess the plan is to try to land some festival appearances next year. Scheduling is tough when families and children are involved. Touring is troublesome. But I’m okay with that. I’m really not interested in the vagabond safari lifestyle. I just want to be good, professional, and meet the people I need to so we can all realize our dreams, I guess. Mostly just keep having fun. Jason Hunter: Can’t argue with that. Any last comments? jason hunter: Are you going to be here all night? Jason Hunter: Ummm… jason hunter: Sigh. jason hunter sings songs, plays guitar, and even makes stuff up with the jason hunter band. He is a contributor to The Spot Magazine, and is frequently found trying to sew sanity amongst the blogosphere. You can find out more and stay in touch through Facebook: http://facebook.com/thejasonhunterband or just go to their website: http://thejasonhunterband. com. You all know how to do a web search, right?
Movie: The Breakfast Club Year: 1985 Director: John Hughes Writer: John Hughes Cast: Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, And Ally Sheedy. Plot: A group of high school students are forced to spend a whole Saturday in detention. Each of the students are from different social groups and in the coarse of the day not only become friends but find out who each of them really are.