This is the pilot for my new column. Hope you like it.
Its a short focus on the Analog Cafe, I will be doing short videos on various things in Portland’s music community. If you would like to be part of this let me know.
Special thanks to Donnie Rife and Smoochknob for letting use “Meet Me Half the Way” from their CD Drive By High Five.
Billy Triplett died of a heart attack on Sunday, August 11th. Anyone who knew Billy knew him to be in every way a gentle giant of a man. He was physically massive—tall and very heavy. But he was the friendliest guy you are ever likely to meet. Exceptionally helpful. Incredibly kind. A real sweet man.
Billy was a sound engineer of the highest order. He was so good at his craft that he wasn’t around Portland very much after the mid-90s. He ended up touring with the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls, Prince, Paul McCartney, Pat Benatar and Joe Walsh and the James Gang, as well as working on projects with countless other musical acts over the years.
But pretty much any musician playing in town prior to the mid-90s has a Billy Triplett tale to tell.
The first time I met Billy was at Luis’ La Bamba club in 1982, when my band opened for Billy Rancher and the Unreal Gods during the height of the Rose Festival. That was our very first gig and we were excited to be opening for the Unreal Gods, the city’s most popular band, but completely disorganized. Billy was the first person I met when we were setting up. His aura of unruffled tranquility becalmed those around him. He calmed us right down and got us set-up on stage in front of the Gods’ gear and all mic’ed up, hooked up and dialed in without a care.
He handled the main soundboard at the back of the room, while Mick Boyt manned the monitor board. Billy and Mick made doing a sound check seem so simple that we naively assumed it was how all sound checks were supposed to go. Ha! A musician should be so lucky. By all accounts our gig that night was the best sounding we ever had. That was the only time Billy Triplett was our man at the board. It was three years downhill from there. And we had a damn good sound man of our own.
Billy and the Gods were that lucky. They had Billy Triplett doing their sound for every one of their gigs. Most certainly he was a key component in the Gods’ success. He played the board and the attending rack of effects as expertly as any musician plays his instrument. He was an artist. And that was thirty years ago! He only got better at his craft with every one of the thousands of gigs he engineered since that time.
He often did sound at Key Largo in the late ‘80s and into the ‘90s. I played there with two different bands with him doing the sound, and the whole gig was like butter. Everything was just warm and toasty and copacetic. It was Billy Triplett’s world of sound engineering and we were welcome to it.
Billy began working with Troy Williver and his band Bombay when they played at Key Largo around 1995. Not long after that he signed a contract with Williver, and headed with Bombay to LA in search of gigs that would lead to a recording contract. Williver is a true professional musician, and while in LA, he introduced Billy to many influential musicians, technicians and industry contacts.
Billy ended up staying in LA circa 1997 and he lived there for over ten years. In 2009 he moved to Sturgeon Bay,Wisconsin, where he stayed at the Holiday Music Motel—Jackson Browne’s recording studio/motel complex—working on numerous projects from there. By the end of 2010 his health had begun to deteriorate and he was hospitalized for a time, in critical condition.
Unbeknownst to most local musicians, Billy returned to Portland at Christmas 2010, staying with Troy Williver and his family. Billy convalesced there for many months. He returned to Sturgeon Bay where he worked at the annual Steel Bridge Songfest last June.
Every time I met with Billy over the years I was continually struck by his benign demeanor, his reverential humility. I will always remember those qualities in him. But most of all I will remember the countless live music gigs I attended around town where the sound was absolutely perfect. You’d look around to see who was doing sound—and sure enough—it would be Billy Triplett. Hopefully Billy is even now reunited with his old friend Billy Rancher, creating music in the great hereafter.
by SP Clarke
Wednesday, August 14th, 8:00 p.m.
INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW/PORTLAND
Alhambra Theatre, 4811 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, 97214
(Full lineup at International Pop Overthrow)
Thursday, August 15th, 7:00 p.m.
HOUSE CONCERT/featuring Ivan Pyzow!
Historic Irvington, Portland
(seating is limited – please RSVP to email@example.com
with the number in your party & for the address)
Saturday, August 17th, 3:00 p.m.
3158 E. Burnside St., Portland, 97214
January – produced by Anny Celsi & Kevin Jarvis (Ragazza Music, 2013)
Featuring Carl Byron, Jason Chesney, Kirk Swan, Ivan Pyzow, Doug Freeman, Adam Marsland, Teresa Cowles, Evie Sands, Nelson Bragg, Stan Behrens, Rich McCulley, Kiara Perico, Paul Lacques, Bobby MacDonald and Kevin Jarvis
“These are pop songs for which the phrase ‘perfect pop song’ was invented.” – Freddy Celis, Rootstime
“…familiar styles -sunshine pop, country flavored rock -but done with a fresh approach and melodies that sound like instant hits.” – Cabin Essence
“Fans of Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams, Suzanne Vega and Jackie DeShannon will find much to enjoy … the tracks on January turn back the clock to a time when pop music was taken seriously” – Kevin Mathews, Today Online
“Anny Celsi…has been churning out first-class handmade music with songs that run deep enough to appeal to the folk & roots crowd while the arrangements are a far cry from morose traditionalism. With her mellifluous, well-tempered voice with a subtle hint of melancholia, Celsi draws us in while her poetic lyrics touch upon travel experiences, relationships and personal matters…What I’m trying to say: Anny Celsi is an original artist with a unique sound.” – Chill@Blue Rose
“A classy and enduring slice of laid-back pop” – Steve Ferra, Absolute Powerpop
PORTLAND, OREGON — In the fast-paced world of independent music video production things can go from major to minor in a heartbeat. Soon after completing a music video for a New York-based artist, filmmakers Glenn Scott Lacey and Steven Dempsey of Portland-based Americonic Films got word that the musician had decided to go in a different direction, leaving them with a beautiful video and poignant story, but no music.
“It was devastating because this was some of the most meaningful and personal footage I had ever shot,” said Dempsey, Americonic Films’ director of photography. ” The idea that it might never be seen was heartbreaking.”
Determined not to let the project go by the wayside Lacey and Dempsey turned their attention to Portland’s up-and-coming musicians, conducting an exhaustive search in hopes of finding the perfect partner to complete their project.
They found that person in Tyler Stenson, a musician with a song in search of a video.
Twice-named Portland’s “Performing Songwriter of the Year” by the Portland Songwriters Association and named “Best Male Artist” at the 2011 Portland Music Awards, Stenson’s song “This Too Shall Pass” perfectly complimented the story told in the Americonic video.
“Tyler’s song not only fit the imagery in the video, but it carried the same message.” said Lacey, Americonic Films’ director.
Lacey made contact with Stenson, and the next day, they met. “Glenn just rough-synced my song to the existing video and it was unbelievable how well it visually aligned with the lyrics and music” said Stenson. “I try to take big issues and ideas and personalize them, and it was amazing to see the story I was telling with music come to life on the screen.”
After a one-day shoot of Stenson’s scenes and a late night of editing, the video was completed just in time for Stenson to release it to his fans. This was crucial, as he was entered in a national contest sponsored by Zazoo, in which fan votes pared down 3,594 entries to just ten. Stenson made the cut.
Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz would review the top ten and pick the winner, who would open for the band at the Outlaw Road Show, part of the prestigious South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas on March 9th. Once again, Stenson won.
“Steven and I couldn’t be more thrilled, especially because we may have played a small part in getting this amazing artist’s music noticed.” said Lacey. Like the message of Tyler’s song, “this too shall pass”, there are happy endings.