I first started living in Oregon about 1975. I first lived in the Columbia River George, in a tiny town called Coopey Falls. Then in a couple of years, I moved to Lincoln City, which is where I first heard about the Weiser Idaho Old Time Fiddlers Contest. Being a multi- instrumentalist that I was, along with the raring to go on any road trip, at the drop of a hat, propelled me into sacrificing my normal comfort zone by traveling as a passenger, with my lady friend in her VW van. I was so used to the height of my Chevy van's doors, that I banged my head on the top of the VW door frame, way too many times. You could say I took my lumps on this trip.
Upon arriving in Weiser, it was certain that the party was on. People were in the streets, the bars were overflowing, tons of bikes were parked along the streets and the whole town was a buzz. We immediately went to find a place to set up camp. This place was called Mortimer's Island. There were campers, converted school buses, tents and vans everywhere. We settled in and took a well needed break from the very long drive we had just taken, when I noticed that one of my close neighbors was getting his fiddle out. I immediately grabbed my guitar and we started to jam. Holy smoke and I do mean smoke, this guy was taring up the fiddle like no one I had ever heard or played with before. He was able to ad-lib and embellish notes and moves to my compositions as if we had played together all of our lives. We became musical soul mates within minutes. For the next week we partied and jammed so much, that my fingers were bleeding from the hours of torturous abuse. My right thumb was shredded from the constant friction I had put it through. When your playing and you can't stop playing, because the music is so fuckin awesome and you are willingly suffering through it, so as to complete the tune perfectly, well.....,this is masochistic surrender. The music outweighs the pain and takes precedence over anything that can possibly interrupt it. This initial meeting, was the foundation of the story I am about to tell you. My new friend's name that he went by was Fingers The Fiddler. I came from the Oregon coast and he, from Utah, only to meet for the first time at Weiser, Idaho. By chance, our first meeting.
After partying and preforming in some incredible jams and taking my music to new heights, it was time to go back to the Oregon coast. Sadly we parted ways but left each other our addresses so we could meet again. I was even invited to his wedding, but was never able to make it to Utah, to attend. We lost track of each other and for years all I could think about, was how I had finally found that person that was a perfect match for my musical style and that now, I had no idea where he lived, or if I would ever see, or join forces playing music with him again. After the tank had been filled, would the vehicle ever start again? Time marches on.
During the next five years, I traveled all over the west and was in Santa Cruz, California for the very first time. I cruised downtown for a while and noticed that allot of young people were carousing about the storefronts and playing music and dancing colorfully, in this college town full of hippie types. Lots of tie-dyes. This was my style of action, so I randomly grabbed a T-shirt and was off to seek out and enjoy. I came upon a group of pickers and strummers, just getting down, on their prospective instruments. I stopped and listened with open ears and was impressed with the talent of this red headed mandolin player. The song that they were playing came to a crescendo and as the music stopped, this red headed stranger looked up at me and said these incredible words, " Do you know Fingers?..... "A bright light came on in my mind. I asked him, "You mean Fingers? Fingers the fiddler? You bet I know him." My mind was racing with memories of Weiser. Could this possibly be? His response blew my mind so wide open, that my brains were temporarily scattered all over the universe. Upon collecting my thoughts back together, he then said, that Fingers lived just down the street and was having a birthday party. Apparently, when I had randomly chose a T-shit to wear, I chose my Weiser Idaho, Old Time Fiddlers Contest T-shirt and this is what he stared at while he was playing. The art design of guitars, fiddles and mandolins, displayed on the front of the shirt, propelled him into asking me the question, did I know Fingers? Over the years, Fingers had talked largely and told stories of our musical interlude in Weiser, Idaho and Woody, the mandolin player, was one of the interested recipients, of one of these stories. So putting all of these coincidences together, is what lead him to speaking the magic words that reunited me and my long lost musical soul-mate. ( Do you know Fingers? )
We took off immediately and arrived at the house where Fingers was having his 26th birthday party. "Happy birthday!" I spoke with my eyes wide and my face aglow. What a shock to find me at his door, a supernova of excitement was bursting on the scene. The reuniting of two wizzzing asteroids in the same galaxy, retroactively seeking to burst into space and go play our musical hearts out. We shook off the shock and were ready to rock! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! We grabbed our instruments and were off to the plaza to blow minds. We played and played and played some more in celebration of our cosmic reunification. A complete stranger, in a place that I had never been, asking me an amazing question, that I'll never forget, "( Do you know Fingers? )" This incredible moment in time, would change our lives forever. Two musical entities, colliding in space and time, only to create an amazing array of musical power, stretching out like a supernova of beautiful musical melodies, throughout the universe. This was an amazing moment in time, but there is another amazing moment that lye ahead, that would blow minds even further, into an infinitesimal place where our minds cannot fathom reality, one far beyond the grasp of our imagination. One that defies the odds.
To be continued, my friends, stay tuned Wizzzmo