The John Dough Boys are band in the Rogue Valley who I met through some guys I worked with last year. I got to know Aaron, the drummer, really well as he came around to help with work on the ganja grow quite often. He was there just about every day for a couple of months during harvest season, and he's a solid worker. He gave me a copy of one of their CDs, which I listened to a few times and enjoyed.
The band is a rowdy, fast-playing string quartet with that really gets the feet stomping. Their songs are about women, beer, and bad decisions, to quote their website. It isn't the kind of music I usually listen to, but I liked it, noticing definite talent. So when I got into Medford about a week ago and I met up with Aaron, I was delighted to learn that they were doing a show, and that I was invited. I didn't just get to go, but to ride out there with them in their bus. VIP!
They've had the bus for over a year now, and they toured the country last year in it. They also play shows all around southern Oregon and elsewhere in the Northwest. The show we would be going to was in Jacksonville, a nice town not far from Medford.
I spent two nights in Medford, as Aaron was kind enough to offer me a couch at his house. Before the show, we hung out there with his girlfriend Brittany and their roommate Courtney. We had lots of good conversations, and they were obliging when I got to running through my whole story and idea. It's a big vision, and it takes time to convey it, but whenever I have the time to talk with people and share what it is I have in mind, I always get good feedback and general agreement that it's a good idea.
More on that later. On this night, I was stepping into a world I haven't frequented in many years - a rowdy bar. On Saint Patrick's Day, at that. We drove first to the house where the bus was, and after hanging out in the yard for a while, we all piled into the bus. There were lots of us, but bus holds nine or ten comfortably.
I knew Aaron and the lead singer Adam already, but the other members of the band I only met that night. There was Steve, the bassist, Julian the fiddle player, and Jeremy the banjo/guitar player, who also sings. We hung around in Steve's front yard for a while before Aaron started herding people to the bus. We filled it up with instruments and people and hit the road. It was entertaining listening to them all talk along the ride. They were funny.
It took them a while to get set up, and while they worked on it I went across the street to get a bite to eat. Jacksonville is a nice town, with an old west-themed main strip, filled with boutique shops and restaurants. Plenty of tourists come through, especially during the summer when the Britt Festival is going on. The Britt theater is a venue that hosts all sorts of awesome musicians and performers, many from the general indie genre. I saw Andrew Bird there when I first moved to Oregon, and groups like Michael Franti and Spearhead, Rising Appalachia, Ben Folds, Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Decemberists, and G Love and Special Sauce have all played there in recent years, though I didn't make it to any of those shows.
When The John Dough Boys finally came on, I was quite impressed. I'd heard their CD, and I had a sense of how their songs sounded, but that opening jam was really tight, and more melodic than I was expecting. As they made their way through their set list, I came to conclude that they were almost a jam band. Really great solos, and super high energy. It always makes a difference when the band members are actually having fun, and it was obvious that they were.
I took a several videos, though not of any full songs. I wasn't officially doing any media for the guys, but I can't help myself... I tend to record and photograph most of what I do, compiling material that could eventually be used in a story or video.
I got to meet more of Aaron's friends, and a few folks who just happened to be there. I'm not really into drinking, but I had a local craft beer and got into the energy of the place. It was a really nice evening.
We all hung out in the parking lot out back afterwards, and eventually we piled into the bus. Even more people this time. Not sure who the extra bodies were or where they came from, but such is the way of it, I suppose, when you've got a band and a bus.
Much thanks to the John Dough Boys for taking me along, and to Aaron, Brittany, and Courtney for hosting me in their home. It was a nice time.
The next day I packed up my stuff and said goodbye, heading up to Wolf Creek to spend some time with William, whom I've written about on a couple of occasions. (Final Empire, Gardening Days) I've been enjoying my time in Oregon, glad to have the opportunity to reconnect with people and keep abreast of all that's going on around here. This is truly a great place to live and be, especially for someone with the kinds of interests that I have. Even though we're looking to set something up in Mexico, I'm not done being active and involved up here either. I'm not sure how it will play out, but I'm sure that I've got plenty more work to be doing here in Southern Oregon.
May we all continue with our work so we can hasten the end of our destructive era and move ahead with shaping a healthier world!