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02/06/2011 Let there be Rock! It was a heavy metal winning year.
Oh my, oh dear. Its been over a year! Sorry, folks, for being so remiss in keeping you updated on the comings and goings of Mr. Volkaert. Ive been busy trying to learn how to keep Dick out of jail. So much has happened since last we spoke, I dont even know where to begin! So I suppose well start with January 2010. It was a very good year...

Thinking they may reinvent themselves in the new year, on January 15 the Redd Volkaert Band headed on over to rocker row and opened for Austins esteemed dirty rock band Honky at the Red Eyed Fly. Seems the Red River Street scene is a little different from South Congress Ave. The boys made it out alive, not too corrupted by all the screaming rock & roll, and Redd decided not to trade in his Tele for a Flying V, just a gold top Les Paul.

Ever on a quest for knowledge, on February 10 Redd rubbed elbows with some educators, playing a private party for a teachers convention at the ACL film sight & stage. Maybe things are different in Canada, but Redd says those teachers looked and acted a whole lot different than when he was a kid.

The rest of February was full of clubs, a few wedding gigs and the usual routine for Mr. V.

Then on March 16, Redd again took his place in the house band for Ray Bensons Birthday Bash at La Zona Rosa. Im not really sure what went on there or who came out, ol Redd would only say the usual suspects were all there. Very mysterious. This year Im going to have to get myself an invitation so I can see what all the secrecy is about. Must be something good! And I like birthday bashes since they tend to have cake. I like cake.

The rest of the month was pretty quiet with the boys all behaving and saving up to pay their taxes. Wait, taxes? Musicians pay taxes? Well, I guess when you are a world-famous grammy-winning guitar picker, the IRS notices when you dont send em their cut.

April 3 saw the Redd Volkaert Band headline the kick off to the Kyle Market Days season, complete with a fajita fiesta and a BBQ cookoff. The first Saturday of each month from April to November, the party happens down in City Square Park in Kyle. Go check it out and you may just see Mr. V and his furry son Dick hanging on to the back of the caboose. (Just so you know, the Kyle Chamber of Commerce is housed in an old train depot. The Volkaert boys arent hobos or anything. But I bet Dick would look pretty cute carrying all his doggie toys around in a red hankie on a stick).

The next week all the hot rods rolled into Austin for the Custom Car & Hot Rod Show. The RVB played their regular matinee at the Continental Club on April 10, then the boys headed across the street to play a gig that evening at Jos. Turns out Redds set sounds great with the accent of revving engines and the squeal of whitewall tires in the background. Too bad Mr. Vs Vette and Valiant are too young to get him into the Kontinentals, or Dick couldve been out there doing burnouts on South Congress too.

The next weekend our buddy Redd ran on up to Dallas for the Vintage Guitar Show. When they could get him to take a break from toy shopping, Redd got to play with Buggs Henderson and do some serious metal shredding with George Lynch of Dokken. All of this went down on the Paul Reed Smith stage. Yep. You got it. Redd played a PRS in public. Another high note for the weekend was seeing Ted Nugent playing guitar (while he talked politics, of course). I dont care what Redd says, the Nuge rocks! I understand why hed feel threatened by him, but not politically.

Although its hard to top that April, May looked pretty good for our pal too. On May 3rd Redd was in the studio to start recording a new album with the Lucky Tomblin Band. Then on May 15, Mr. V. jetted off to Northern California where he played a couple gigs and taught some lucky guitar geeks some lessons and did a clinic for his friend Dean Titus. Redd finished up his trip to the left coast in Santa Cruz. He did a big favor for his old pal Ginny Mitchell and did a taping for her show Santa Cruz Live. Redds a TV star!

Then June came around and, as usual, Heybale headed north for their annual gig at the birthday for Hill Country BBQ in New York City. The boys in the band decided to make a little tour of it and spent a full week on the road, playing in Buffalo too and eating some hot wings.

Back in Texas, Redd got all rock & roll again. Since the hot rod folks were such a great crowd, he thought hed try his hand at rocking some bikers. June 11, for the R.O.T. Rally motorcycle extravaganza, Redd played with Grady backing up Dee Snider. Yep, I said Dee Snider, as in Were Not Going to Take It Twisted Sister Dee Snider. How did Redd get so lucky? Bobby Rock must have already been booked up. All this hard rocking activity seems to have left Redd unfazed. Hes still not switching over to an Ibanez and Marshall stack.

June 15 found Mr. Volkaert on a long plane ride way down under to visit all of his pals in Australia for a week or so. He played some gigs, taught a couple guitar clinics, and rumor has it he swam with some great whites. No, not the rock band Great White, though given his previous activity for the year, I could see how youd think that.

July was, well, July. Fireworks and hotdogs and hot hot weather. No word on if Redd got Dick all dressed up like Uncle Sam for the 4th. Other than that, just regular residency gigs around Austin. The usual.

Then in August the RVB hit the big time and headlined the Catfish Festival in Conroe, TX. Its pretty hard to top that excitement. But, August 23 is a very special day. Its the birthday of fearless band leader Chris Gilson. Its was wild! Big party, booze, strippers, trashed hotel rooms, tattoos, some story involving a goat, floating drum kits... Oh, wait, that was Mötley Crüe. While the RVB is a rather motley crew, they are much more respectable than that.

Then the last two weeks of July, RV flew to Canada to Birch Hills Saskatchewan, to teach with several other teachers at the Pelletier Guitar Camp for two full weeks. I think hes going again this year as well cause he says he had such a great time with all the great folks up there.

Home for only a week, Redd made a pilgrimage north of the border again, to Edmonton, Alberta on Sept 12 for Canadian Country Music Week. It seems two folks that Redd played with back in the day were inducted into Canadas Country Music Hall of Honor:
Joyce Smith from Edmonton had a big hit with Leavin On Your Mind before Patsy Cline got her hands on it,
and Donna and Leroy Anderson were performers on the Tommy Hunter Show which ran in Canada for 35 years.

Since he cant just take a vacation and do nothing, of course Redd did some picking while he was in Edmonton, just a little bit though. Hed been asked to play in the backing band for a Legends of Canadian Country Music Show, which featured 40 artists for two songs each. Since the show started at 1:00 PM and lasted until 11:00 PM, they had two backing bands alternating out. Well, being the stage hog that he is, Mr. Telehog played with them both. Back when he lived in Canada (eh) Redd had played with both bands. He played about 5 years with each of them, so it was just like going home. He was so excited to be there playing with all his old pals, backing all of his old singing friends, he just played his little fingers to the bone.

That was on September 12. On the 13th, Redd jet-set back to Austin, flexing his fingers all the way so he could go right to One World Theater to play with Tommy Emanuel that night. The theater had called Redd about a month before to say that they were having Tommy there for a couple days of shows. Since it was the 10th anniversary of Tommy playing there, they wanted to do something special, and having a few guests show up and sit in at the end of his concert seemed like a fun thing to do.

They had Eric Johnson, Larry Carlton and Rhett Butler all signed on to do it when they called up Redd to see if hed come out and play. Redd said S*%# no! He was all for going to hear the show and wish Mr. Emanuel well, but he didnt want any part of being on the stage with him. Well, those folks were not willing to take no for an answer. They pestered and called and asked and tried to talk him into it saying that all those other guys were going to do it, but RV said those fellas are all crazy and playing guitar with Tommy Emanuel would be like following a bulldozer with a teaspoon. Redd claims Tommy is the best all around guitar player hes ever seen. (I think he must not have been looking when the Nuge was playing at the Dallas Vintage Guitar Show).

Well I guess they finally wore ol Redd down, and he agreed to do it. He didnt tell a soul, though, not wanting anyone to show up and watch what he was certain to be a total guitar slaughter. All that pressure started getting to Mr. V, and he was making himself sick with worry that he might forget how to play once he got up on stage or that he might just die of a heart attack or something. Turns out he was worried for no reason. (Of course, WE all know he was worried for no reason, but, well, sometimes you just cant tell em).

The night of the show, Redd showed up despite his nerves. Tommy was great, really a genuinely nice guy, accommodating and easy, no pressure, just fantastic. Toward the end of the concert, each guest artist played two songs with him. Seems they saved the best for last, and Redd was the final guest up. So, Volkaert got up there, did his two songs, unplugged real quick and started hustling off stage when Tommy stopped him, told him to plug back in and play another one. The crowd ate it up, and always one to please the crowd, Tommy insisted that they play another one too. Way I hear it, Mr. V wields a pretty mean teaspoon when hes following a bulldozer.

Because RV is a sucker for jet-lag, he decided to take another long flight back down under. September 29 our buddy went to Australia for the A.I.M.S. show, Australias version of a N.A.M.M music trade show. Redd got to hang out and do a little pickin with some rock and blues folks, including Robben Ford. Redd and Robben went out eating chinese food and talking shit. Pretty cool, eh? And in keeping with his 2010 theme of hard rocking, you can add to Redds list Bruce Kulick from KISS. Yes!

Back Stateside, the RVB put their rock shoes to good use when they played the Kyle Fair. Rumor has it that someone lost their cotton candy on the ferris wheel. Personally, Ive always gone a little green on the swings.

Remember back in May when recording began for the Lucky Tomblin Bands new album? Well on October 22 they had a great big ol party for the CD release, and a slew of gigs that week to get it all launched.

The rest of October and November were pretty tame, local gigs, parties, and Redd putting on his schooling hat for a whole bunch of lessons. Have you had a guitar lesson with Professor Volkaert? You should! Thanks to Redd I know how to play a G. Its my favorite string. In fact, the Professor got so caught up in his desire to educate that he helped give a class on country music history at Texas State University in San Marcos. Now those were some lucky kids!

The end of November and beginning of December, Redd spent a bunch of time in the studio. He did some guitar work for a record produced by Kevin Welch and Lloyd Maines, and Heybale! cut a new studio album too.

The band played some Christmas parties in December, always traveling with their own mistletoe, Im sure. Then Mr. V. headed up to Vancouver to spend a lovely cold Christmas with his momma. As usual, Redd brother booked a few gigs for him, while he was back home. He played with some guys that he and his brother went to school with back in the day, and they all had a ball. He says it was just like skipping high school again! Now that IS fun.
In addition to that and a few other local gigs, Redd also spent some time in the studio, recording for some pals that own studios around Vancouver. After a nice holiday break and good quality time back in the home country, Redd had to be happy to be back in Texas where the weather was sunny and warm and little Dick had been missing his pop.

After ringing in a happy new year of 2011, Redd and most of Austin, got some devastating news. Gary Claxton, country crooner extraordinaire, long-time friend, and lead-singer of Heybale! took his own life on January 6. Redd and Gary shared more than 10 years of regular Sunday night gigs at the Continental Club, played parties, European music festivals, and travels around the states. We were all so sad to hear that Gary was gone, and he will be sorely missed.

For the last couple weeks Dallas Wayne, of XM radios Willies Place, has been singing with Heybale! and is doing a fantastic job. Redd says Dallas is a real jewel to work with, but its too bad he doesnt look like Jewel. Im sure there are many that would agree.

January 16 - 18 Heybale! tried to keep their fingers from freezing in Green Bay, 5 below, Wisconsin. They play the Onieda Casino in Green Bay every year, but the fellas are usually there in December when its not quite so cold. Like, maybe just 3 below. Believe me, those 2 degrees really do make a difference Brrrr!

Well, folks, thats a whirlwind catch-up on the happenings of 2010, the year of the rock. Well try to stay more on top of things in 2011, and Ill let you know how the heavy metal influence plays out. You know, when we have these little dishes more often, and there is not so much news to tell you, then we get to focus on the good stuff. The gossip! I mean, we hardly got to talk at all about the exploits of RVB boys. Not even a single story about Nate Rowe. Now thats just not acceptable. I know it cant possibly be because the boys have been behaving. And what about Dick, you ask? Well I just dont know. Is the little guy growing up and too mature to give us any good fodder these days? Well just have to wait and see.

Until next time.

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