Finding People

If you’ve never “googled” anyone, you should try it, as long as you do it responsibly. (ex-girlfriends not recommended…) I have had the most amazing night of it myself….

Back when I was but a wee lad, just about 19 or so, I went to Washington, DC to live and work and do an internship. The internship was a complete bust, a total waste of time, but some good did come of the trip. I stumbled into a music store near DuPont circle and met a young hellraiser, also from Georgia, that was needing a drummer that NIGHT for a gig. As luck would have it, I was free.

We went and played a blues gig up at Gee’s 4400 Club in Prince George’s County, a rough south-Maryland neighborhood just outside of DC proper. As I recall, there was one other white person in the bar, and she was this salty old bartender that could have passed for a retired sailor- she had the squint and the foul mouth, and she was 70-something (Or 60-something with hard living factored in) if she was a day, and I think she was about five feet tall standing on a milk crate.

The guy’s name was Rico Woltz- he was from the wrong side of the tracks in Lenox County, Georgia- he had done a short hitch in the army, bumped out in the Nation’s Capital, and lived hand to mouth in DC until his apartment burned and he was out on the street with nothing. In 1988, homelessness wasn’t a problem in DC, it was THE problem- it was an epidemic and the shelters were full. (They were horribly dangerous, too.) Rico lived on the streets for longer than he cared to talk about- he played blues guitar on street corners for spare change until one magic night he found the sweet corner where a bunch of yuppies where stuck waiting to get into a club. He played for them and made enough money to buy a room for a couple of days, a clean shirt and pair of pants and a razor. He went out and got a job the next day. I met him not too long after that.

We played together for the entire time that I was in DC. I was so, so green. I was from a hard rock/punk rock background, but I think I managed ok. (Trendsetter that I am, I made the jump from punk rock to playing blues while Jon Spencer was still in prep school spending his trust fund on greasy little bags of hash.)

I threw Rico’s name into google the other night, and I found him. We’ve exchanged a couple of emails. He mentioned that he played with John Lee Hooker for a while. Very cool…..

He also mentioned that he was maybe headed to France to do some playing this summer. Asked me if I wanted to come. I gave it a little thought, then tried to think of an approriate bass player…. threw another name into google, a guy that I grew up with that was playing with Bo Diddley the last time I heard from him, and *bang*, there he was. I just sent his band an email. I wonder if I’ll hear back from him.

This is too much fun. I’ll let you nice folks know how things come out.

  1. JO

    ANYONE WHO COMES ACROSS HEARING RICO PLAY IS SURELY INDEED FOR A NIGHT OF MUSIC SOOTHING YOUR SOUL! THAT IS WHERE HIS MUSIC COMES FROM (HIS SOUL) HE IS ONE OF THE BEST PROFORMER’S THAT I HAVE EVER
    WATCHED OR HEARD. UP THERE WITH STEVIE RAY VAUGHN. RICO LOVES AND STROKES HIS GUITAR LIKE A WOMAN:) WE ALL HAVE HARD TIMES IN LIFE, AND HE SURE HAS A STORY TO TELL. GO RICO FOR THE LIMITS!!!! MAY GOD BE WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!

  2. The Sierra Blues Society is proud to announce that the group R & B will be hosting their 8th Birthday Party Blues Jam & Goodtimes at Milestone Saloon located at 2968 Hwy. 49 in Cool, CA on Sunday February 27th, starting at 1 PM and going till about 6 PM.
    Rico Woltz and Jerry Banks are a powerful and versatile act with strong blues roots. They present the blues in its various styles because they understand that life is not always sugar coated or one tracked. Blues is made up of everyone’s life’s experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly.
    Hailing form the East Coast, singer, guitarist, Rico Woltz is one compelling performer. Formerly of Coast to Coast Blues Band which served as the backup band for the late grate Blues Legend John Lee Hooker. Rico bares a special distinction; he was personally hired by Mr. Hooker in 1996 as band leader for Mr. Hooker. his musical career over the past 30 plus years has presented him with many unique experiences some of which seem to be the stuff fairy tales are made of but its all true and his guitar prows and vocal ability’s are said to be captivating by many who’ve heard him.
    With a 30 year resume, Jerry Banks is considered one of the finest drummer/percussionist around. His credits include working with Little Milton, the Edwin Hawkins Singers and Andre Crouch to name a few. After migrating to the Central Valley area, Jerry held the drummer position with Mick Martin & The Blues Rockers for 13 years. Two tours of Europe and numerous recordings with the Blues Rockers earned him two Sammie awards. His talent is also a shining foundation for two other local production by Glenn Lane and Omar Shariff. He also received critical acclaim when he was voted Best West Coast Blues Drummer by West Cost Blues Revue and RealBlues, of Canada, two years running.
    In the past, we’ve discouraged bands from play as a unit, because we didn’t want to open the doors for complete equipment change-outs. But if you play blues and have a band, come on down and we’ll work you in on a couple of tunes. But please help us out by make as much use of the host band’s equipment (no complete kit changes). As always, individual artists are encouraged to come out for the jam. You never know who you might end up playing with…could be Terry Hiatt, Mick Martin or Screamin’ Dave!
    So grab your axe and head down to Milestone Saloon, 2968 Hwy. 49, Cool, CA on Sunday, February 27th. As always, admission is FREE! But donations are gratefully accepted. We’ll kick-off the event at 1 PM, so come and show your support for blues music in the foothills. For further information call the Milestone Saloon at 530/889-1768, or contact the Sierra Blues Society at 530/268-9166 or visit our website at http://www.sierrabluessociety.org. See Ya’ll There!

  3. Jodie:)

    HEY RICO AND JONNIE…GREAT TO READ THAT THINGS ARE GOING WELL WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!! WHEN ARE YOU COMING OUT WITH A C.D.????? HURRY UP!!! WE ARE ALL WAITING:):):)

    HUGS TO YOU …JODIE:)

  4. Jodie:)

    WELL I AM REALLY BUMMED I MISSED SEEING ANOTHER JAM WITH RICO AT THE MILESTONE…SHOOT!!! DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE HE WILL BE PLAING NEXT??? BEEN YEARS SINCE I HAVE HERARD HIM PLAY AND MY HEART ACHES!! HUGS TO YOU RICO AND JOANNIE….geminigirl55@sbcglobal.net………………………SO WHEN IS THE C.D. COMING OUT?????????????

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