THE LATEST FROM THE RANCHO
Thursday, May 29, 2003
friday night, after welcoming fred drake's parents jo and charles, and sister melanie, at the rancho, with the divine chrissie wilson at the helm of noah's mighty yacht, recent rancho alumnae shawn mafia kicked off the weekend at the beatnik, with opening band, the barking pupfish (nee howling coyotes) where the late arrivals - sorry, the wonderful cubans, ketty, melanie, carlos y dennis, made a feast for the drakes and immediate rancho kin - from the rancho begged for a smokey, late night set, which shawn provided. at midnight, i repeated my slide show presentation of rancho doorway portraits, with the added fun of having the barking/mafia trio of alan bergman, kerry rose and ray woods jazzing up my narration. by magic and fed-ex, my own new record ("help wanted") arrived that afternoon, a week ahead of schedule. hence, the release without the 'official' release party.
saturday night, the place was packed in front, back and throughout. i emceed that night, which began with artist adriene jenik doing my song for fred, "to smokey," the great old guy who was fred's, adriene's and
my landlord in hollywood - and a homesteader of adriene's place in 29 palms - who passed away just before we all headed to the desert in '93.that night also featured jules layne ( a brit living in vegas), low desert heavy punk band the stumblejunkies, golden buddha's billy stobo (getting ready to leave on lollapalooza tour), the return of the aliens?, whose great experimental space and surf rock graced the beatnik earlier this year, cracked eggs founder/performance artist linda carmelo sibio, who floored everybody with her mad chant and string wig, long tall
geoffrey long (san francisco), tony mason's awesome power trio, which featured a killer cover of eno's "baby's on fire." the night ended with wonderful improvisational by victoria williams, "liberated," joined by code blue/motels guitarist dean chamberlain ( a rancho partner) and the lovely carol ann, who seemed happy with the 24" x 36" blow-up of the rancho portrait i shot of her and kyoti watching over the room.
sunday, i wondered if we would get as big a crowd, but when i arrived i realized it was even bigger! the room was definitely right at capacity and, again, the patio and front were jammed with blissful souls. sunday
was hosted by marcus kuilland-nazario, a perfromance artist from l.a. future alumnae sue bradley opened with he sweet face, voice and songs. elia joined her for a riotous 'crazy under control.' i went up next
and did a song i wrote for fred's birthday and a couple of our songs from the old days. fred and my old partner from ministry of fools, robert floyd sang with his wife wendee. elia tore us up with a new poem about
women (including the fabulous tattoo'd girls who showed up with bones in their noses and a laying hen on one of their shoulders), accompanying herself on a $15 thrift store casio. joe city garcia played solo, with
elia and with author/journalist/songwriter ruben martinez. two great women singers, lisa marr and cathy cooper (devil's acre) and the amazing powerhouse that is chris goss (masters of reality) was joined by pete
and greg from lo-5 for a trio of amazing songs. ray woods sat in with chris on one of the tunes. a great new band from san francisco, the millionheirs rocked into the midnight hour. finally, a c-major jam featuring pupfish tom, on the beatles "tomorrow never knows" and "blue jay way" officially closed the night in an extended dream. thank you beatle george, beatle john & beatle fred. "please don't be long!!!"
then, the wonderful anarchistic drummers and guitar players, eric, father time, langele, rob & bira, who had been providing the back patio rhythm for hours, took over the stage and jammed loud and hard as the rancho revelers
escaped into the night.
all the while, michael and josh were recording the proceedings direct to hard drive. mike is such a techie! and linnea served the masses, quenching their thirsts and filling their tummies, with a smile. meanwhile, judith lewis of the l.a. weekly became a new rancho inductee. many big thanks to the drakes (thanks for the fabulous rancho 10 tcommemorative t-shirt, mel!), chrissie, fred burke, nurse linda, karen & michael, doug & meredith, hal hill, the country kitchen, the joshua tree inn and all the good people who came out to enjoy our little indulgence in excess, in honor of fred drake and the place he called home.
Sunday, May 18, 2003
RANCHO DE LA LUNA CELEBRATES TEN YEARS IN HIGH DESERT
by Ted Quinn
Ten years ago this week Fred Drake moved with his cat
Sunbear from Hollywood to Joshua Tree where he
founded, with his musical partner David Catching, the
Rancho de la Luna recording studio. Fred passed away
last spring at age 44. In the months since, several
of his friends (including Dave) have joined forces to
buy the studio from Fred's parents, as per his wish,
while attempting to stay true to his original vision.
('Keep the Rancho going the way Fred wanted it and
please don't ever quit watering the cottonwood,' the
mandate given the new partners by Fred's father,
Charles, serves as a kind of mission statement.) On
Memorial Day Weekend, friends of Fred's will celebrate
the anniversary with three solid nights of music at
Joshua Tree's Beatnik Cafe.
Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Josh Homme, who
recently returned to the Rancho to produce another
installment of Desert Sessions cd's, this time with
guest PJ Harvey, recalled to LA Weekly's Jay Babcock,
"The place was covered from floor to ceiling with this
amazing stuff Fred had bought at swap meets, and
filled with old keyboards and organs and little amps.
Little lights everywhere."
PJ Harvey used her time there to write and record
several songs, noticing "Fred's presence, even though
I never had a chance to meet him."
Brant Bjork, set to release his second solo recording
from the Rancho says, "The kitchen is five feet from
the mixing board, so Dave Catching would be in there
cookin' up an insane meal, you'd smell garlic and
herbs and spices, and you're sittin' there in the next
room tracking drums and the bass. Fire pit out front,
a hot tub up to the left, a huge view where you could
see for miles.
Victoria Williams personal favorite of her records,
"Musings of a Creekdipper," was done there. She once
improvised a song about not wanting to leave Fred's
house. Fred would love how much his place is loved by
everyone who experiences it.
Pete Davidson, recording with Dandy Brown's Orquesta
del Desierto, wrote to his father, "It was easily the
most comfortable studio I've ever worked in. Never
have I felt more welcome by a few rooms. The
creativity soared. But listen to this...
You know the Masters of Reality cd that I gave you for
your birthday? The one with Ginger Baker on drums. As
you know, that music is one of my favorites and yours
and it was a fluke that I found it.
Last week, while I sat alone on the porch of Rancho de
la Luna, waiting for the rest of the band, a fella
pulled up who I didn't recognize. He said, "Hi I'm
Chris Goss, who are you?" I introduced myself. He said
that yes, he was from Masters of Reality! I couldn't
believe it. I was hoping that something would happen
that might connect you to this place, since you are my
biggest fan and you're three thousand miles from here.
Well, the very first thing that happened in this
studio, feels to me as if you should have been here
with us. You would like this place. Rancho and it's
people are great, they would like you too, I'm sure.
So hopefully the music I helped to create will be
something you like also."
At the end of a session with Twiggy Ramirez, Chris
Goss wrote, "The Rancho once again hath bequeathed
it's kind mercy. Long live the house of the moon."
A horror filmmaker named Tammi, after spending a few
days at the Rancho, wrote: "I hold every single person
I met in Joshua Tree responsible for opening up my
heart and mind in that short weekend trip. I expected
nothing and was overwhelmed by the unconditional
acceptance of such an amazing group of inspiring
people. I am still amazed that I traveled to such a
seemingly barren and unfruitful place and found such
a flourishing oasis, a true sanctuary of life."
Even those who have experienced Fred's Rancho only
through the music have been moved by the experience.
"Over here we try to create the same "desert feeling"
in a very little undiscovered place called Belgium ...
the magical music from the desert is always on our
And then, there were the "wishful ramblings of a 17
year-old in England. I fell in love with the
Rancho...I'm a big fan of all those who have been able
to record there. Thanks for letting me...give my
dreams some air."
"Sadly and ironically," a fan of the Rancho writes,
"I was introduced to Fred's music while trying to find
Desert Sessions albums... I immediately knew he was
doing something very special. I can only hope that
what he set up in Joshua Tree is conducive to more
music of that type."
We hope so, too. And to keep the cottonwood watered.
(Ted Quinn, a partner at Rancho de la Luna, has a new
solo album, "Help Wanted," set for release in June.)
BEATNIK CAFE SCHEDULE FOR RANCHO DE LA LUNA
FRIDAY MAY 23RD, 8PM-2AM
RECORD LISTENING PARTY/PERFORMANCE. SHAWN MAFIA'S
'TALES FROM A STREET CORNER CONFESSIONAL' RECENTLY
RECORDED BY TONY MASON AT THE RANCHO DE LA LUNA
FEATURING THE WORLD FAMOUS RAY WOODS ON DRUMS. OPENING
ACT, THE BARKING PUPFISH, FORMERLY KNOWN AS HOWLING
PLUS, RANCHO PORTAL PHOTOS & SLIDE SHOW NARRATED BY
TED QUINN 12 MIDNIGHT.
SATURDAY MAY 24TH 8PM-2AM HOSTED BY TED QUINN
THE STUMBLE JUNKIES
LINDA CARMELA SIBIO
SUNDAY MAY 25TH 8PM- 2AM HOSTED BY MARCUS
JOE CITY GARCIA
MARTINEZ DEL RIO
make sure you're on the rancho mailing list, go to :
'you can be anything
- fred drake
Sunday, May 11, 2003
WE GET E-MAILS!!!
I wont say thank you so mutch for your invite for sunday 25th but i
just one PROBLEM...I'm Italian....and I'm here in Italy...you
But thanks thanks a BBBiiiGGG Kiss from me Erika
SHAWN MAFIA PRE-RELEASE CD LISTENING PARTY
BEATNIK CAFE FRIDAY MAY 23RD 8PM-12 MIDNIGHT
Joshua Tree Beatnik Cafe will present the high desert's hardest working entertainer, most musically original and lyrically dramatic Carnival barker, part Elvis, part Bukowski, Shawn Mafia Friday May 23rd in celebration of the completion of his first album, 'Tales From a Street Corner Confessional,' recorded at Rancho de la Luna in late 2002 and early 2003 by Tony Mason and featuring Ray Woods on drums.
With his silver glitter Gretsch and his theatrical hand gestures, Shawn Mafia will kick off a weekend of performances by alumnae of the Rancho as part of the tenth anniversary of the legendary underground high desert recording studio. Opening act is Barking Pupfish, known and loved by all forever as Howling Coyotes.
Joshua Tree Beatnik Cafe
61597 29 Palms Highway
Friday, May 02, 2003
"Come on out Little Doggies, and we'll sing by the light of the moon..."
a Celebration of the Life and Music of Kyoti King.
Friday, May 2, 2003
9pm to midnite
Friends and Musicians gather to pay tribute to the legendary folk musician/activist Kyoti King. Performers will include Alice and Albert, Elia Arce, Rojer Arnold, Gram Rabbit, Steve Lester, members of Kyoti's Wild Ass Ranchers and special guests returning from a lengthy world tour. The event will be hosted by Ted Quinn, with Joanne Carlysle's observations of Kyoti, as seen through Lakota eyes .
In honor of Kyoti's work on behalf of the homeless, please bring a can of food for the local food bank.
500 words or so...
Kyoti King was a national cultural icon, an unknown legend of Chocktaw Cherokee/Irish descent. Born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma on June 8, 1948, raised an itinerant cotton picker, Kyoti got his birth certificate at the age of 13, upon entering a boys ranch - for threatening the life of a step dad who was beating his mother - from which he escaped to begin his life of adventure and song.
When Kyoti died of congestive heart failure at 11:11pm on the night of April 22, 2003, he left behind an American history in which he hitch-hiked across the country, once spending time on the road with a woman calling herself Pearl, who he realized years later was Janis Joplin, hopped freight trains, fought for the homeless, and for the right to partake in his medicine - the San Diego police lost the case he brought and were forced to give him back his bag of weed. Once, to irk the mayor of Portland, Kyoti ran for his job. Legend has it that once when a police officer shot and killed Kyoti's dog, Kyoti blew up eight police cars in their storage garage, watching the whole scene from afar and later on the TV news. They say he once inadvertently brought down a police chopper with the string of a kite.
Kyoti helped establish the Hassle-Free Clinic in Berkeley and founded Home Aid, Inc. in Portland. In his trademark overalls and unruly hair, Kyoti went to Washington DC., sat down with senators and congressmen on Capitol Hill and fasted for 21 days until changes were made in affordable housing laws. His conviction and honesty impressed even the most jaded politicians.
Once, when Kyoti came across a house on fire, he grabbed a wet blanket and fought his way past the firefighters into the flames. He rescued a mother and her baby. He was burned so badly, doctors wanted to amputate his arm. His upside down/backwards style of guitar playing was due to his mangled left hand. His humility never allowed him to brag about his bravery, " It was as simple as God picking the right person for the job."
Called Kyoti for his love of singing and playing, he spelled his name phonetically because he believed kids could learn to read and write more easily without any extraneous letters. For 20 years, Kyoti sang on the streets from Seattle to San Diego, and from Missouri to Hawaii. His song 'Whippoorwill' is sung in medicine circles in Arizona and his distinctive wrapped stone jewelry is worn everywhere west of the Rockies. His sharp, truthful tongue took no prisoners and he always looked you straight in the eye. His warmth and his smile welcomed all, like a swing on an old front porch. His gift was the simple pleasure of hearing a true American voice, singing from a genuine heart.
Kyoti leaves a legacy of integrity and true grit, his beloved Carol Ann, and a musical community which will always be held to a higher standard for having had him in its presence.
Joshua Tree, CA
home | about
| news | views | extras
| friends | contact
dreambook | merchandise