A Musical Alternative to Reggae on the River
I know that many of you can’t wait to put on your wristbands and file into the the sun-baked meadow to breathe the dust-choked air for a weekend of drug-crazed revelry and shit-encrusted porta-potties at the world famous Reggae on the River, now returned to its original French’s Camp location. Like most SoHumers, I have many great memories of Reggae on the River at French’s Camp.
For instance, I remember having to grab a young man by the shoulders and point him in a different direction to prevent him from peeing on my tent, I remember blowing wads of French’s Camp out of my sinuses for a week after the festival was over, and I remember that it was at Reggae on the River at French’s Camp that I first learned to shit standing up.
When I moved to Humboldt County, about 15 years ago, I liked reggae music. I thought it was alright. As a long-haired vegetarian pot smoker, I respected the Rastafarian religion, even if I did not exactly identify with it, and I sympathized with the oppressed and impoverished people throughout the Caribbean, especially those who inhabit the “trench-town” around Kingston Jamaica. I still do. In fact, I sympathize with them more, now that I’ve seen firsthand how greedy drug dealers and concert promoters exploit them.
My experience in SoHum, however, has turned me off to our premier Summer festival, and the music it celebrates. Between the greed and ugliness exposed in the reggae wars, the bourgeois dope yuppies who blast it out of their giant diesel trucks, and the egotistical homophobic fundamentalism expressed by some Reggae artists, I’ve kind of ODed on Reggae. Like the rehabilitated “Alex” in A Clockwork Orange, the music I once enjoyed, now makes me sick to my stomach.
So I won’t be at Reggae on the River this year. Instead, I’ll be at another concert, a free concert, listening to an artist whose music means more to me than the music of everyone who has ever played at Reggae on the River combined. That artist would be me.
I will perform on electric didgeridoo on Saturday August 3, from 6:30-9:00pm at The Works Records in Eureka, as part of Arts Alive. It’s been more than 5yrs since I last performed in Eureka, and I sound better now than I ever have in the past. If you’ve never heard me play before, you’ve never heard anything like it. I play electric didgeridoo, and I have developed a sound that is totally original and that words cannot describe.
All I can say is that I have discovered the sound I was born to make, and on Saturday August 3, I’ll happily share it with anyone willing to listen. At this rare, free performance, I’ll celebrate the release of two new CDs of original music:
John Hardin, Live Electric Didgeridoo documents the birth of this new sound. Recorded at live gigs at The Hemp Connection in Garberville. Live Electric Didgeridoo captures the energy of those live performances where this new sound finally took form, after over a decade of gestation. Live Electric Didgeridoo contains 12 very different didgeridoo solos, both very different from anything you’ve ever heard before, and different from each other. You’ll hear many of them performed live at The Works Records in on August 3.
Tin Can Luminary, Um.. Uh… Gum Eh? is an album of music I composed over the past year, using a unique collection of circuit-bent toys and acoustic-electric instruments that I built myself. My partner Amy Gustin and I added vocals to this mix to create a very eclectic pop album that is both accessible and avant-garde. Recording Um… Uh… Gum Eh? involved multiple overdubs, computer manipulations and unpredictable instruments, making the music on it prohibitively difficult to recreate live.
I will bring a few of my homemade and circuit-bent creations to the event, and demonstrate them between sets of live didgeridoo music. Anyone interested, will have the opportunity to hear a few tracks from Um… Uh… Gum Eh? at the event on Saturday August 3 from 6:30-9:00pm at The Works Records in Eureka. Both CDs, Live Electric Didgeridoo and Um… Uh… Gum Eh? will be available at the event for $10 each. See you there.
BTW you can also find Live Electric Didgeridoo and Um… Uh… Gum Eh? at The Works Records in Old Town Eureka, People’s Records, on the square in Arcata, and at The Hemp Connection in downtown Garberville, anytime, in case you can’t resist Irie vibes at French’s Camp this weekend.