STORIES

What in our corporeal universe began as a 6 day visit with Al's "functional family", in my mind, became a lifetime; one amazing discovery, personal experience, or interaction after another. Corresponding with the time warping power of this annual event, my watch stopped the day I arrived.

My arrival in Tucson was a shuttle drop-off point behind AZ football stadium. I called Al's house and was answered by Rio, one of Al's closest friends. Karl Sacksteder picked me up in Elizabeth's new car - new to her but quite the opposite of NEW -smashed in on one whole

side. So, neither passenger doors open, nor the driver's side rear door. My travel bag, filled with recording equipment, clothing, and an enormous sleeping bag, wouldn't even fit through the only functional door - the driver's front. So, Karl and I mashed it through the sun roof opening. The interior was filled with love, trash, dirt, and the abuse of never having a body repair. Meditatively smoking a carefully hand rolled cigarette, Karl informed me of his previous week at Al's and his need and happiness in being back in Tucson. I love Karl like he's a brother and thoroughly enjoy every minute

I spend with him, so was thankful that he again honored me by being the first to greet me. Elizabeth,  her friends Ariana and Nebuli, Rio and his wife Arrow, and Susan, a long time friend of Al's from Portland, and Al sporting a new goatee were all glowing from concluding the night's sauna. We were all tired, myself from the trip, and they from the sauna, so we went to bed early that evening.

The next day began with a little sunshine in the morning and ended with the arrivals of Randy Graves and his beautiful girlfriend Monica - a middle school teacher, and the

  •  page one
founding members of the Seattle based band Merkaba - Wayo, Alana, and their flutist Geton. I didn't really get a chance to spend quality time with the members of Merkaba until Tuesday when we went on a hike into Pima Canyon after Randy, Monica, Brandi, left to make their flights. At one point, Wayo suggested that we all separate and spend some time alone with nature. We did that for a short while, then I spent time talking with Karl about our views on how getting to Tucson changes us and how we might better our next year's performance. Later, I spent some time with Wayo talking about the history of humanity. He brought up an interesting point about karma that I had never considered. What if the original consciousness had been without flaw, so the creators decided that what was needed for growth and experience was something other than perfect order - Karma. So, life was created so that entities of consciousness could experience imperfectness. This would, in kind, allow these entities paths of potential growth and enlightenment. Therefore, a being's very existence would necessitate "falling off the path". So, one should embrace their own samsara and not worry and fret so much about

Wayo & Karl 
  •  page two

Joanne & her husband

members and friends - Ron sill, Bill Hudson, Tall Ted and Tim Whittmore of Big Blow, Scott Fishbach, Joanne Busse and her husband, Rev. Robbin Roy Palmer, Kristan, Stone, and his girlfriend all became part of our troop for various moments; some for days.

Ron Sill, does didjeridu dot art of animals that is so realistic that one must pause and look closely to see the dots! Everyone that saw his lizards and snakes stood and gazed in amazement. His friend Bill Hudson, seemed to latch on to tall Ted's demonstration of "Bones". These are musical sticks that Irish and folk bands

"staying on their path". In a sense, one never really gets off the path, because by being alive, one is by default acting out that need to grow and experience. There would be no need to exist, otherwise. That was an unexpected deep

philosophy coming from this mostly carefree individual enabling me to reflect on karma in a more positive light.

Saturday, the "unsinkable" Brandi Chase, most of Randy's Didjinus band, and the list

  •  page three
sometimes use as percussion. He was able to immediately pick up this incredibly difficult technique in minutes. Ted was shocked because he said most people require days or years to reach this level of adequacy, and more often than not, the pupil will quit soon after learning the basics. Bill just kept soaking it up and seemed to visibly get better in the short time we stood there. His wife said that Bill also picked up circular breathing in just a day! Tim Whittmore stopped and talked a short while at the party about his CD "Liquid Didj" and gave me one to check out. I've been listening to it for a few days, and will say that no one has yet, until Liquid Didj, made a didj CD with so much contemporary style music. Onesong features gospel music. Another features deep voiced folk singing, and the didj playing is technically precise. Joanne Busse made a great salad that was an integral part of Sunday night's potluck, and her husband retired airforce officer and non-didj player was a real trooper for hanging with the crowd as much as he did. I asked him which music he most preferred from the Sat. night concert and he indicated that Dick Saggio's flute was closest to his wavelength. Joanne carried a warm rosy smile the entire time she was there.

Robbin, like Joanne, is a healer. He had some amazing stories to tell, like living to his present age - just under 50 - with a terminal disease that he knew about as a young kid. Apparently he still carries the virus, but feels and looks just fine! He could easily pass for a man in his early 30s, so whatever this guy does, it works! An added testimonial is the healing he did with Karl Sacksteder which visibly created a gleam in Karl's eyes for the remaining few days that I saw him.

Kristan and Stone both seemed to spend more time with Steve Roach and continuously raved about his ambience and energy. I hope to meet this guy in the

  •  page four
future, and was disappointed to have missed him Saturday night. I first met Kristan last year at Al's party, then saw her at the Oregon Country Fair last summer. I've seen a progression in her playing that indicates a real love for the instrument. Sheplays it with male-like power and her eyes glow as if being transformed into a lioness. She bought a new dreampipe from Al that suits her. Stone and his girlfriend, who also plays amazingly well for a beginner, both bought new dreampipes painted by Bumble.These folks are in their 20s but are mature well beyond their years. I'm sure they will remain Tucson perennials for

years to come.

Brandi - Wow what a woman! - Brandi, If you ever break up with Chris, no offense to Chris who I think is wonderful, I'm available!

She came into Al's harem with no reservations and a resolve that indicated an incredible inner power. She dismissed this power as just a side-effect of being a Leo. Well, believe me she's special! She jammed with us one night by vocalizing with the other femmes bringing an extremely humorous addition to our otherwise serious approach. Her dancing Saturday night was feline and mesmerizing. I was honored

to dance with her for a while, between her photo breaks. Expect some great photos from Brandi. She weaved in and out of the crowd to get some positions directly in front of the stage where the performers were only a few feet away!

The Saturday night concert was of high enough caliber that apparently there may be a live CD forthcoming. I will say that, in my biased opinion, this was the best concert ever! The thingsthat stick out in my mind are: Brandi's dancing, Randy's didj solo (I think this is the best didj playing I've heard or seen to this date! He was screaming DURING his

  •  page five

bounce-breaths!), the second duet I did with Karl where we jelled as well as we ever have, Scott Huckaby's more than guitar performance (Brandi said she was witnessing the next Jimi Hendrix - I must agree!), Dane's light show (he uses the ancient 60's type water and oil immersion projection system), and Phil's amazingly quick sound system set-up and take-down.

I'll end it with Al.

Allan Shockley is the most spiritual man I've ever met. He's an American Indian who suffered an abusive father alongside the obvious societal abuse that all native

Randy Graves
aboriginals must face. He has used his past to strengthen his conviction that the power of love will conquer all problems be they large or small and he lives this love with every cell of his body. He accepts everyone that comes to his house with open arms and a hug. He often can be seen teary eyed as he spends time with his closest friends. Before our Sunday evening dinner, Al said one of his typical prayers where he thanked the great spirit for his dream and our collective dream that brought all of us together at that one spot. He talked of his realization that we all create our own realities, that if we have inner demons that
  •  page six
haunt us, then we will see and notice horrible people who do things that we can't accept. In other words great spirit for his dream and our collective dream that brought all of us together at that one spot. He talked of his realization that we all create our own realities, that if we have inner demons that haunt us, then we will see and notice horrible people who do things that we can't accept. . In other words, our outer or external realities are reflections of our inner nature. He noticed that his own inner peace had matured since last year, and he saw it reflected in our faces. We were all pure in this setting, and no one present was negative. Al reflected on something that happened to him while delivering Gaton to the airport Monday. He had parked outside in that zone where cars left unattended receive tickets. Al, being the habit forming sort, is compelled to do this same illegal routine even after repeated warnings.

Allen Shockley
  •  page seven
 So, as he walked Gaton to her terminal, he sensed a problem brewing outside. It kept nagging at him all the way to the terminal and on his way back to the truck. He saw the truck unencumbered walking out of the airport and felt a sense of relief as he sat in the driver's seat and turned the key. Instantly, a large hand smacked onto the windshield and a deep commanding voice proclaimed to get out of the car with his hands behind his back. As he got out, he noticed the officer wouldn't look him straight in the face. The officer said, "Did you know this vehicle has an expired registration?" Al said yes, that he  was extremely busy with the goings-on of this previous week, setting up the party. He held nothing back as is Al's way and offered peaceful loving intent. The officer continued with a belligerent tone stating that Al didn't have convincing proof that he actually owned the vehicle, but continued to avoid direct eye contact. Finally, when the officer came to point where he had to make a decision on whether to handcuff him, he finally looked into Al's eyes and of course saw loving intent. He let him off with a warning.

Happy Birthday Al ... And may you have many more!

Dave Crowder--
Shape a limb into a didjeridu..
It is the space within that makes it useful...

 

  •  page eight