Jeff Pike

Used Cars – Drive on Ric Ocasek

Posted by on Sep 16, 2019

          I was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Ric Ocasek. I handle these kinds of passings a lot better than I used to, but somehow this one got under my skin more than I thought it would. I remember very well when the first album by The Cars came out. I was 16 years old. It was highly successful, and of course, I bought it immediately. The album had a fresh and clean sound that was unlike a lot of what you heard on the radio. Being a huge Queen fan, I was also excited that Roy Thomas Baker had produced it. I liked The Cars a lot, but when their second album “Candy-O” came out in 1979 I was in love with them and totally hooked. I wore that 8-track out. I still have memories of my first summer out of high school, laying by the pool with my girlfriend and listening to it over and over. And it was a staple in my car stereo from 8-Track to cassette to CD. I remained a big fan and followed them until they disbanded. Last year I purchased all of the reissues on colored vinyl, and The Cars got a LOT of new spins on my turntable. It felt good to give their music a lot of attention again. Ric reminded me of Joey Ramone. If you had met them both before their success, and basing them only on the physical appearance you would have thought they would have been the last people in the world to become rock stars. But they were both brilliant, quirky songwriters who gave us some of the timeless rock and roll and pop music of their generation. Damn, where does the time go? To quote the late great Eddie Money, “I wanna go back…and do it all over.”...

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Doing Some Serious Catching Up – Part 1.

Posted by on Sep 4, 2019

Yep, it has been a long time since I let you know “what’s new” with me. I hate to apologize – so I won’t. Instead, I will tell you that like all of the rest of you I have been as busy as a three-legged beaver. So, the last time you heard from me here was back in March when I had just finished playing the Music On The Bay music festival in Tampa, Florida with A1A. When that incredible gig was over, I caught the next flight out to Idaho and hopped back into the last leg of the 2019 Abba Mania tour. Which once again finished up with two shows in Hollywood on March 17. Like every year the Abba Mania tour was a most enjoyable experience. I am very grateful to get the opportunity to tour across the country once a year in grand style with the most amazing musicians, entertainers and production people I know. To have the chance to perform in the most beautiful theaters and performing arts centers in the country and see a lot of my friends along the way who are spread out over the country is a blessing. The only downside I regularly experience while on this annual tour is that it takes a significant toll on my body. While I enjoy traveling on a big tour bus, I do not sleep very well at all in the beds we have. I toss and turn with insomnia. Hips hurt, feet hurt — backaches, etc. etc. Of course, right along with all that is the fact that it is so challenging to eat right and stay fit on the road. Every year I have come home weighing more than I did when I left, and it always takes me a few weeks to remotely start feeling myself again. So at the end of last years tour in 2018, I finally decided that enough was enough. I decided that I could not let this continue and that it was damn time I got in shape and learned to eat healthy again once and for all. I knew full well that I could not do this alone, so I set out to find a serious personal fitness and nutrition trainer so that I would be held accountable. I enlisted my very close long-time friend, business partner, and manager, Kathy Mullen to assist me...

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Working In The New Gino Vannelli Video

Posted by on Aug 30, 2019

Starting at a very early age like most young boys, I forever dreamed about being like and working with my heroes when I grew up. Never really thinking, of course, it could ever really happen. Through my life as a musician, I have been fortunate enough to meet many of my heroes. I have also had the chance to work with a handful of them. I placed the musical artistry, versatility, and brilliance of Gino Vannelli on an extraordinarily high pedestal not long after first hearing his music in 1975. For the serious musicians, scholars and dedicated fans who have consistently followed his career from 1973 until now no further explanation is needed. If you are only acquainted with Gino’s top 10 radio hits, then you owe it to yourself to catch up on all you have missed. It will be a road well worth traveling. Gino Vannelli tops the list of any musician living today who I ever had dreams, or fantasies if you will, of working with. When I had the chance to start studying with him several years back, it was like the sky had opened for me, and I was profoundly grateful and honored.  So imagine my delight when he recently asked me to be a background vocalist in his new video. Gino’s new video is a Spanish version of his beautiful song, “Road To Redemption” from his new CD, “Wilderness Road.”  To help him accurately translate and articulate his vocal performance, Gino brought in the famous and widely respected South American songwriter, pianist and recording artist, Alejandro Learner.  I was not familiar with Alejandro or his distinguished career at the start, but after the video shoot and dinner afterward, I found out how doubly blessed I was. He was a very genuine, friendly, and kind man. He even brought us all delicious South American chocolates! To round out the rest of the ensemble, Gino brought in local Portland musicians, vocalist Lauren Steele and stand up bassist Cary Miga. I had met Cary previously when Gino was auditioning musicians to perform on the album which he will be producing and recording for me in 2020. Cary is a great guy, a lot of fun and a fantastic bass player. Lauren Steele is a beautiful, talented young vocalist, and it was a joy to sing with her. We shot the entire video in one day on August 13,...

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Remembering Blue Jeans and Tom Petty

Posted by on Oct 3, 2017

  To me, the music of Tom Petty has always been like an old pair of my favorite Levi jeans. The kind I wore when I was a teenager and a young man. They always felt good, and the more you wore them, the better they felt. If you gained a little weight, then they would stretch with you. If you lost a pound or two, you could just tighten your belt and get on with the game. They never let you down. Of course, as time moved on, you might have taken them for granted when your Mom, Grandmother, girlfriend or wife had you try some brand new so-called designer Jeans. But you quickly learned the truth and went back to the real thing. As the good times and bad times moved on with life, they would hang right in there with you. A little worse for wear, showing some holes and a bit frayed at the bottom, but still fitting, hanging in there and keeping you cool. Or as cool as you thought you were, which was quite important, you know. They almost became a part of your body, a part of you. So much so that you could never dream of parting with them. You found comfort in knowing that you always had your favorite jeans to keep you comfortable through the day and that they would forever be there. Until one day either your Mom, Grandmother, girlfriend or wife throws them out, or they just finally fell apart with no warning. One day they are here. Next day they are gone. That is how I am feeling today about the sudden passing of Tom Petty. A daily comfort that I thought would always be with us is now gone forever, unannounced. Tom gave us pure and intelligent heartland rock and roll. He always delivered. He never stopped. He liked to play in jeans. Tom rolled with the changes like the coolest dude in school, man. For many like myself, he was a large part of the soundtrack of our youth, even if it was only on the perimeter, he was always there kicking serious ass with serious coolness. I got turned onto Tom Petty in 1978 with the release of ‘You’re Gonna Get It,’ but it wasn’t until the release of ‘Damn The Torpedos’ in 1979 that his music hit me right between the eyes...

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Headin’ out for the Labor Day Weekend Show…

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017

A1A at The Rock N’ Rails Music Festival Griffith, Indiana September 2, 2017 www.a1a-live.com   Another Labor Day Holiday Weekend is over, and I want to take a minute to thank everyone who came out and saw the band perform. We had three highly successful shows that were all extremely well attended. It was a fitting way to take out the season, although I am feeling a bit beat up today. The band played fantastic every night, and everyone had a great time. I have to say that after 26 years I am amazed at the huge number of people who continue to come to our shows and completely enjoy what we do. After so much time sometimes I forget just how much joy and happiness our performances give to so many people. I had a vast number of concert attendees talk to me this weekend. All of them expressing how long they have loved the band and how much our performances mean to them. It was quite humbling. I am very thankful and appreciative of everyone who has been part of A1A for so many years, both past, and present. I cannot stress to you how blessed I am to be able to play with the extraordinarily talented and world class musicians that I do. They give so much and push me to rise above my limitations which always make for a better show and sometimes a lot of laughs as well. I probably never thank them enough, but I want every one of them to know that what they have brought to A1A this year means more to me than I can say and that I would not have the incredible band I do without them. My 2017 A1A Heroes – every one a #1 in my life.   Audio Visual Production and Stage Management – Chad Stewart, Vance Kelly, Ansley Segraves and Mark Josephs   Band Management and Booking – Kathy Mullen and Vance Kelly Charts and Musical Director – Eric Baumgartner Background Vocals – Eric and Aretta Baumgartner and Taryn Carmona Drums – Wayne Viar, Adam Goodhue Steel Pan, Percussion, Madness, and Mayhem – Nico G. Bass – Rick Meeder Lead Guitar – Chris Blackwell, Jody Worrell, and Matt Alexander Keyboards – Eric Baumgartner and Dustin Cottrell Saxophone – Vance Kelly Trumpet – Todd Motter Trombone – Erik Kofoed The A1A Pirates – Tommy Morfoot and Joseph Foe Davis   Kathy Mullen – Band management, booking, merchandise management, plate Juggling, road manager, wardrobe, catering, transportation, stage decor and keeper of the flame. Ashton Pike – Social media, journalistic input, band blog, stage decor and merchandise management Rabun Hunziker and Jill Watson – Merchandise...

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August 13, 2017 – Celebrating the Life, Legacy, and Music of Dan Fogelberg

Posted by on Aug 13, 2017

  One warm spring evening in May of 1978, May 5 to be exact, I first heard the music of Dan Fogelberg.  I was on tour with my high school choir attending a mixer in Mobile, Alabama and I was 16 years old. I still remember vividly the house, the room, the moment, the turntable and the emotion I felt after hearing my first Dan Fogelberg song. The song was ‘There’s A Place In The World For A Gambler’ from his 1974 album ‘Souvenirs’. I immediately forgot about the party and sat down in front of the turntable for the rest of the evening playing ‘Souvenirs’ over and over until someone insisted that it was time to put on ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen.  I succumbed to ‘The Boss.’  No worries I thought because by now my life had already been permanently altered and I was in another mind space and musical world.  I had a new path and a new star to guide my way. Music has been my lifeblood as far back as my parents, and I can remember. Those who know and understand me are aware of how many musical artists have strongly affected and changed my life.  It is just a large part of who I am. Some are impressed, and some roll their eyes, but there is no denying that for better or for worse my soul is the amalgamation of many musical artists and styles.  I could list dozens upon dozens of musicians whose music is ingrained in me forever, but very few have given me serious life changing moments that forever affected my path, music, soul, and spirit. For the sake of keeping this short, I will share with you today that Dan Fogelberg, Gino Vannelli, The Beatles, Alice Cooper and David Cassidy top the list. When I returned home from that 1978 choir trip, I was a different young man. My vision of the musician and artist I wanted to be had now completely changed, much like it had in 1975 when I first heard the music of Gino Vannelli. The very next day I went out and bought every Dan Fogelberg album, cassette and 8-Track I could get my hands on, and they immediately became my Bible.  I asked my parents for an Ovation acoustic guitar for my Birthday that summer and my life changed forever. The first of...

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