|photo by L. Gorman
|“Get me some food or I’ll kill you!” I moaned. Aaron Rutledge had just woken me up from a drunken daze. I was
about 19 and he was about 15. I was lying on a couch at his bands rehearsal room. Earlier that day I helped
Aaron install a pickup in his telecaster and so to celebrate our buddy’s went out and bought gallons of the
cheapest wine that you could find. It knocked me out and the fella’s thought it would be funny to mess with me. I
was not amused, I knew I needed to eat.
This back room where they rehearsed was owned by Dan Johnson’s mom. Dan was also a teenaged guitar
player and The Back Room became the place were all the under aged kids would party. It was located in
Boronda, California and it wasn’t strange to walk in there any afternoon and find them listening to some weird
bootlegged Johnny Winter record whacked out on something watching their smoke swirl in a ray of light shining
into the dark room through a crack in the wall.
This was in the 1980’s when all the local kids were playing really bad Heavy Metal or New Wave. It impressed
me that these young kids were playing really loud blues. I instantly liked them.
Around this same time I went to a party drinking cheap wine again, (Thunderbird to be exact). A fight broke out
and I ended up taking sides and yelling at some guy and he ended up getting in my face, but I think we both
realized that if we got into it we both would have woken up the next day damaged from our battle and the two
assholes that we were sticking up for weren’t worth any discomfort. This guy who was going to pound me was
Jon Gorman. I didn’t realize at the time that this was the best singer around. We soon started making
recordings with each other.
Through different bands breeding and inbreeding Jon and Aaron started played together. A perfect compliment
to each other. Jon’s powerful blues voiced poetry over Aaron’s sometimes loud, sometimes subtle blues,
country, rock n roll telecaster.
Almost twenty years later Aaron and Jon contacted me to help them mix an album that they had just finished
recording. I took it as an excuse to get away from Los Angeles and to go back to the Salinas Valley where some
of my family is still living.
I jumped on highway 5 south, over the Grape Vine, made a left at Lost Hills onto Highway 46, drove over the
pavement of James Dean’s last minutes on earth, made a right in Paso Robles onto the 101 and ended up at
Aaron and Kandle’s house in Soledad, California. (Kandle is Aaron’s beautiful wife) They took me out and
bought me a Steak dinner at La Fuente Mexican Restaurant.
The next morning Aaron and I loaded my portable Hydraulic recording gear into his Chevy pickup and drove
through the lettuce fields into Sand City. There is a little studio called Real to Reel and is set up where Mike
Nesmith had his Pacific Arts company years ago.
They had tracked every thing on an analog 1 inch 16 track and the studio was funky in all the right ways. When
I was plugging in the Hydraulics I got shocked a few times.
We mixed the whole record in two days then we drug the mixes and the Hydraulics back to Soledad and
mastered the record. This was done at Smoking Dog Studios, which is located within a gunshot of Soledad
Prison and the Salinas Valley Maximum Security Prison. Aaron and I would jump in a car and drive through the
Salinas Valley ending up at the Pinnacles listening to our mixes.
It felt good to be back in the Salinas Valley working with my old friends.
I just realized that I lent Aaron a bootleg album that was recorded live in a small club with Jimi Hendrix and
Johnny Winter playing with a drunk Jim Morrison. I still haven’t gotten that record back from Aaron and I lent it to
him almost twenty years ago.
(In the lettuce fields below Mount Toro) Salinas Valley
September 23, 2005
|CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
|THE TANGLED ROOTS
Jon Gorman - lead vocals, harmonica, backing vocals
Aaron Rutledge - electric and acoustic guitars, lapsteel
and backing vocals
Fred Rautmann - drums, percussion, backing vocals
Jack Cannon - bass guitar on tracks 1,2,4,7 & 9
Mark Lopez Jr. – bass guitar on tracks 3,5,8,10 & 11
Laura Chavez – rhythm guitar on tracks 1,2 & 7
Lead guitar on track 1
2nd lead on track 7
Gary Souza – bass guitar on track 6, bongos
Charles Hernandez – saxophone
This album was recorded using 16 track analog technology.
Every effort has been made to preserve the integrity of the
original analog recordings.
|visit us at