Friday, January 16, 2004

Back from Kansas

A belated Happy New Year to all! I'm finally catching my breath after last week's trip to Kansas. Why would anyone take a vacation in Kansas in January? The simple answer is, family, friends, and music.

First, and most important, I went to visit my sister. She's a very talented and creative person, and I spent a wonderful couple of days with her in her art-filled house in Leonardville, near Manhattan. Then I spent three days with my old buddy Dave Zerfas (aka Zerf) and his family (Kim and Karl) at their home -- "the K Z Ranche" -- near Manhattan. They are terrific folks and made me feel very welcome. Zerf and I ate at some of our old haunts like Taco Hut and Vista Burger, and took in a K-State women's basketball game.

On Friday, we drove to Kansas City for a CD release party and concert by the band "Proto-Kaw." This was a night to remember! Proto-Kaw is the band that was called Kansas in the '70s. Go to their website to read the whole story. A couple of old bandmates of mine are in that group, and the evening was a bit of a musician's class reunion. I saw folks there that I had not seen in more than 30 years. I'll get some pictures up as soon as I can scan them.

Oh, yeah...I even got a chance to crawl up on stage and do a set (on guitar!) with Zerf, Tom Bolton, and Derek, as a reconstituted version of Zerf's band Plastique. And as a bonus, Lynn Meredith from Proto-Kaw got up and did a couple of numbers with us! Lynn is still one of the most soulful singers I've ever heard.

It was an exciting week. Of course, the weather helped with the excitement. Blizzards in Oregon just as I was getting ready to leave threatened the trip, ice storms and extreme cold in Kansas made travel somewhat of an adventure, and more snow and ice back in Portland kept the airport closed until just before I returned. I was very fortunate through the whole trip that nothing bad happened.