News From The Woods.02

NEWS FROM THE WOODS

By Bob Ketchum

Originally Published September 19, 1995


"The WHIZZ Reunion"


EDITOR'S NOTE: DUE TO THE FACT THAT NIGHTFLYING AND CEDAR CREST STUDIO HAVE BOTH BEEN IN THE PROCESS OF MOVING TO NEW LOCATIONS, NEWS FROM THE WOODS HAS BEEN CONSPICUOUSLY ABSENT FROM THESE PAGES FOR THE PAST FEW ISSUES. NOW THAT THE DUST HAS FINALLY SETTLED, WE WILL PICK UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF IN SEPTEMBER OF 1995...............

Some of you readers might remember a year or so ago when one of my columns dealt on a reunion of the VIPERS, a rock n' roll band I was in back in the 60's. Well, the studio recently was host of another R n' R band reunion. This time it was WHIZZ, another one of "my" bands from the 70's. We were a 5-piece group based in Fort Smith. 3 of the 5 of us were disc jockeys. I was working at KWHN/KMAG, Mel Myers worked at KFSA, and Dave Hopkins was at KISR. Eric Dennis, who was just getting into TV at KFSM and Jimmy Watson were the only non-dj types.

On August 26th, 1995, after almost a year of preperation, WHIZZ got back together (with the exception of Jimmy) for a weekend of fellowship and playing.... all after more than 17 years since we had last seen each other. Mel and Dave are still dj's in Tulsa. Eric works for ABC-TV in New York. Our road manager Bob Swofford drove over from Roland, Oklahoma to help celebrate. Eric had the farthest distance to travel and also the most catching up to do, as he is the only member not regularly playing music. We sat the gear up Friday night and had a jam session. After spending Saturday afternoon on the lake, we settled down to record some tracks. Along with "Coast To Coast" by Trapeze, "Little Sister" by Elvis, and "All Along The Watchtower" by Dave Mason, we also recorded two of our original tracks, "Watch Your Step" and "Long Lasting".

One of the high points of the WHIZZ era was opening for STYX at the Logan Theater in Paris (Arkansas). It was right at the time of on of their biggest (and first) hits, "Lady"... and the place was absolutely packed !! (EDITORS NOTE: For more on this concert, go HERE). Another reason that WHIZZ is still so strong in my memory banks is because it was while I was in that group that I was the unfortunate recipient of a bullet accidently fired from the pistol of a security guard hired by a fraternity in Tulsa. We were to play a frat rush party at the Hilton Inn on that fateful night in 1972, but because of negligence on the part of the security guard (who was showing off his firearm) I wound up at St. Francis hospital for over 7 weeks trying to get my life back in order. We talked a lot about that night at the reunion. It was strange hearing from each band member how they remembered that night's events. All in all though, everyone agreed that we have all aged very gracefully. They all looked pretty much the same to me as well. We've all had our problems (health, divorces, etc.) but I think we're all holding up quite well considering the punishment we've all put our bodies and minds through in the past 20 years.

Back to the session, I must say we were all quite surprised that it went so smoothly. The original tracks had that old WHIZZ feel (minus Jimmy's organ parts). We had such a great time that we agreed to try any do this next year if at all possible. I would highly recommend that if you've never bothered to keep up with old band mates, you might give this reunion thing a shot. Some really great and close friendships might be rekindled, as was the case with us.

Well, the studio has certainly been busy since the move to our new facility. Besides the WHIZZ reunion in August, we did sessions with "DANDELION WINE", "SOL", and the "SCREAMING MIMES". During the months of November and December we recorded "BLOODSHOT i" and more rhythm tracks for the next "WHIPLASH GUMBO" CD project. Other sessions slated for December was a new project by "RAIN", and we are in the midst of an album session with songwriter/performer DANNY WHITE, which should take us through the first quarter of 1996 to complete.

In the video production department no less than 10 projects have been completed since the move. The client list includes HODGES MANUFACTURING, BAXTER HEALTHCARE CORPORATION, BARTZ PHOTOGRAPHY, CIRCLE H RANCH, GILBERT REALTY, OZARK SPINE AND ORTHOPAEDIC SPECIALISTS, PEOPLES BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, SCUBA DOO DIVE SHOP, GUY KING AND SONS, VACS, ETC., and WILLIAMS GROUP INTERNATIONAL. Incidently, the WILLIAMS GROUP is our first National account. The company specializes in herbal supplements such as T-SLUMBER, T-LITE, and T-CHARGE . Ten 30-second National TV spots were produced by Steve Beeson for the Florida-based company. "Our" ads will be seen on over 240 TV stations across the country, as well as numerous cable franchises and in Canada, Hawaii, and European markets.

Our legal video department has been very busy as well, slating over 20 video depositions in the past 3 months alone. Inquiries have been coming in from various law offices about our 3D Lightwave modeling program to be used in re-creating accident scenes for courtroom purposes.

It's been a little tough trying to schedule all this audio/video work and still finish with all the moving and remodeling but I think we've got a handle on it. The construction part is at least dying down. There's still a little rock work to be done around the hot tub outside, and the yard is still littered with building debris, but I think it will all be cleared out within the next couple of weeks.

As I sit here at the keyboard finishing this article, a light misty rain is settling in over the surrounding countryside. I can see a few fishing boats making their way homeward and I realize that this view will never get old. It will remind me every time I look out the studio windows just why I choose to call this place home. And now that my home and studio and one and the same I honestly feel like I have finally achieved something that will last me the rest of my life. I feel satisfied and content and extremely fortunate. I guess all that hard work and sacrifice did pay off after all.

NEVER stop dreaming........


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