This day couldn’t have started any better. The plan was flawless, meet at a Safeway, take a van up a mountain, set up, record three songs while we watch the sun set, and head back down. The execution was not as flawless.
We met at Safeway and played frisbee off the roof of a van while more and more people showed up. A whole gang of people we’re coming out to help film our first performance for Mountain Made Music. We had borrowed Roland’s van for the perfect backdrop, gotten six guys together to film, and of course had our guest artist My Friend Michael. The last people showed up as the sun was beginning to make way for the horizon, we piled into two cars to save some time and took off.
The ride up the mountain was rough. I had never driven a car bigger than a Honda CRV so the van felt like a school bus. I was constantly sticking my head out of the window to check my turns. Slow and steady, we chased the setting sun up the mountain. After driving around for a while we found a prime location, a big pull out with flat ground and a perfect view, it was time to set up.
Energy levels were high as everyone was trying to get themselves organized with the world’s biggest clock counting down in the background. I was constantly checking my phone to update people on the time we had left before we missed our moment. Naturally, having an abundance of cameras and only one guy who knew a lick about music, we asked Rick if he could help Michael to set up. In a flash it was done, mics were set, levels were checked, lights were on, and cameras were rolling.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. As we started to film, the orange and red hues provided warmth for the first of Michael’s nostalgically somber songs. The colors slowly faded and started to change through his second song, The sky settled down during the last song, vibrant oranges changed to mellow purples and pinks, as Michaels quick fingers danced on his guitar and his raspy voice sang the sun into the horizon. When the camera’s stopped it was officially dark, our big timer in the sky had ended and another began.
Knowing that it was only a matter of time before the rangers came to rush people off the mountain we began packing our stuff. I tossed my camera in a bag and headed to Rick to ask how it had sounded. He said good and I asked if we could listen to a part of it, only having just been taught how to handle a 16 track recorder he didn’t know the answer. I quickly asked Michael how to play it back and as he came over to help a scary thought went through my head. I turned to Michael and asked, “when did you show Rick how to record?”. With all the pressure and commotion we had done everything right except one major detail, the sound. Just as we began to express our dismay floodlights appeared, Ranger danger.
Sensing an inevitable conversation upon seeing our gear I approached the car. Our talk was short and simple. The ranger asked a couple questions before promptly informing me that filming in the state park required a permit and without one there’s a 3,000 dollar fine. She told me “I’m coming back in three minutes, if you’re not gone, i’m writing that ticket.” before kicking up dirt driving away. I quickly turned around and yelled three words, “we gotta dip!”.
With our nights last timer’s quiet click we finished packing and left. We began our descent down the mountain, laughing at the situation, driving even more slow than before, and planning for next time.
In the end it worked out that no sound was recorded, we didn’t get a ticket, and we got some dope pictures. You can’t make a video without shooting some bloopers, you can’t print a shirt without making a few misprints, and you can’t be a human without a handful of mistakes. Until next time.