A note from the site developer:
I’ve been a student of Jim’s for 30 years. Our friendship began in 1986, when I met Jim through a group of friends who were working with Dave Shogren at Atomic Audio, the studio that used to occupy the ground floor of Jim’s Showcase Music Institute in Campbell, California. I was young and a bit arrogant, but thankfully, my ears told me that I had a lot to learn about singing, and fortuitously, help was just a stairway’s climb away.
Learning to sing is a trying experience when you start out, as you know your vocal instructor is enduring horrible audio atrocities as you try to learn the fundamentals of controlling your voice. It takes a level of trust from the student and patient kindness from the instructor. In Jim, I found not only a foil for my learning, but a lifelong friend, and a musical mentor beyond reckon; he is a Master Musician and a skilled and talented teacher.
There have been long periods where I did not work with Jim regularly, either for geographic reasons or time constraints, but even after long absences, he’s always met me with welcoming words and a positive demeanor, even when he was going through some of the more difficult of life’s experiences; I can only hope that my presence has been a positive for him during those times.
In 2016, Jim asked me to help him build a series of websites to chronicle his musical life. We started with the Nitecaps, his first band, which received accolades in the mid 60’s. When Jim asked me to help him build the site, I imagined a small site with a few pages and old photographs – a vanity site of sorts. What we actually built is far more than that. It’s a rare snapshot of a musical era gone by, told by those who experienced it firsthand. We shot video on some 720p video cameras Jim had laying around, and took some photos with my iPhone. The results were adequate to tell the story.
We took a six month break during which Jim started gathering information for this site. The Stickband era is Jim at his peak performing power; it didn’t hurt that he surrounded himself with amazing musicians that he culled from the pool of talented teachers along with a naturally gifted student at his music school. Stickband is a bit of a legend here in San Jose, California, as their base of operations was Guitar Showcase, which was THE place to check out and buy music gear at the time, and there are few people in my circle of friends who didn’t take lessons there at one time or another. Jim warned me repeatedly that the Stickband site was going to be a much deeper dive into his past than the Nitecaps site was, and that was true.
We kicked things off in March of 2017, and for the most part, it’s been a smooth build. We upped the ante on video and photos; I asked Mark Sebastian, a good friend and extremely talented videographer and photographer to do the interview shoot and photos, and the results speak for themselves. We have a well of old VHS tapes that we’re digitizing and will be adding over time, and we’ve added social media channels on multiple platforms to get the word out.
As with the Nitecaps’ site, it’s been really nice to get to know some of the people involved. I did all of the video editing myself; initial casual encounters always turn into a deeper understanding after looking into each person’s eyes for hours on end as I piece together their interviews into cohesive stories. To a person, everyone involved has a wealth of fond memories and a genuine sense of pride in what the band was and accomplished.
A side effect of the work on this site is that the founding members are reuniting to play a show in Canoga Park, California, and I’m looking forward not only to watching them play, but also meeting Emmett Chapman and the circle of folks at Stick Enterprises. Emmett is indeed a musical legend, if only in a niche market, but it’s a niche where the level of musicianship is insanely high, and I’m a bit honored to be invited into the fold a bit, even if it’s just for an evening.
I hope that people from all eras enjoy this site. Even for those too young to be there, or those who simply missed the experience during their youth, there is much to be learned and enjoyed by reliving the history of one of San Jose’s historic bands. The Stickband is poised to reunite and to (hopefully) do another run of shows. If you get a chance to see these guys perform, do it. I’ve been deep into the Stickband waters and can tell you truthfully – these guys can really play.
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I’ve been producing and developing websites since 1995, and in the past 20 years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with some of the world’s best-known brands and artists while working with some of the best developers in the Silicon Valley.
But here’s the thing – it’s projects like this one that really bring personal enjoyment to my professional life. A lifetime of memories, relationships and music have been captured, catalogued and presented for those who wish to take a look…the images and sounds no longer trapped in limbo, sitting in a forgotten folder on a hard drive or worse yet, relegated to the top shelf of a closet.
Shameless Plug time….
I am always looking for meaningful and fun Web projects like this. Did you or your friends or a family member do something really special? Something worth sharing and archiving on the Web? Fill out the form on the right and let me know about it, and I’ll get back to you to talk about it.