I started playing music in 1994. It wasn't until later that I started bringing bands to audiences.
To put much of this in context, I'll briefly mention my day job. In 1994 I moved from Stockton to Eureka, for college. In 2000 I moved back to Stockton to start a garden supply store. In 2005, I started a garden design and consultation service. By 2007 I had found that many of my most interested clients were in Humboldt and Mendocino, so I commuted a lot. When I was not working, I would be back in Stockton with my family, and doing entertainment as a hobby.
Around 2011, I started hosting a jam at my garden shop, in Stockton. We had some space in the back where I could set up gear, and the neighboring businesses were closed so we could make a lot of noise. There were a few folks who were there nearly every time, and we broke off to form a band. The name Greenhouse seemed appropriate for a band that was started in the back of a garden supply warehouse. We put a together a playlist of popular classic rock and country covers with a few songs I wrote, and took Greenhouse out to play shows in Stockton, Lodi, and surrounding areas.
Greenhouse was good at music but even better at the business of music. The San Joaquin Valley is full of talent, and there are some amazing bands doing shows that don't seem to be well attended. All those bands seemed to share the characteristic of playing too often for the same audience. When Greenhouse got offered several gigs in the same month and location, the band decided that hiring different openers would help keep the show fresh week to week, and help bands and audiences connect. It was a very successful idea.
Greenhouse was hired so frequently in the area, that we began adding other acts to the bill at every show. For several seasons, Greenhouse hosted the Tuesday Musical Variety Show at the Whisky Barrel, in Stockton. Each show would include a set from Greenhouse, as well as sets from at least two other groups. Eventually the group had repeatedly hosted for most of the active talent in the area, had helped bands and venue owners connect, and had seen the benefit of exchanging audiences with so many bands.
In December of 2013, Greenhouse took a hiatus, and Grateful Dead tribute band Hardly Deadly was born from a few casual Dead jams.
In 2014, Greenhouse was still playing frequently, and Hardly Deadly had begun to tighten up and put a set together.
In 2015, Greenhouse had slowed down, but Hardly Deadly was adding new songs to the playlist, and new towns and venues to the calendar.
By 2016, Hardly Deadly was returning to favored venues, joining festivals, and supporting many of the well known artists in the Dead tribute world.
By 2017, Hardly Deadly was digging deep into the Grateful Dead's playlist, and traveling frequently. Back in Stockton, I was hosting an open mic when Dragons With Matches popped in for a jam. They play Dead, and they came ready to go. The chemistry drove it together, and I joined the Dragons.
Hardly Deadly had changed members over the years. By late 2018, Hardly Deadly had been 14 different full members, and had over 40 guest performers. (Check out the graphic)
Hardly Deadly co-founder Stanly Raquel had handed the torch to Kyle Hoffman in 2016, but Stanly and I would still meet up at Red's in downtown Stockton to jam. We called it Stanly Dan. In 2018, Stanly Dan became Mudville Dead, which was a rotating crew of musicians backing us as an electric band.
In 2019, Mudville Dead assembled all star jams for the monthly Grateful Thursday series. Frequent guests David Molina on bass, and Dax Compise on drums, were added to the lineup in 2020, and Mudville Dead became a 4 piece.
In 2020, I founded the Stockton Jam Club. The club members gathered monthly at a private location for a meeting and a jam.
In 2020, everything changed...
We can still make shows if we can figure out how. I want people to be safe, and feel safe about entertainment. Let's work something out.