Davisville Archives

Davisville, Sept. 5, 2016: The Byrds and After with Gene Parsons (part 2)

Today we conclude our interview with Gene Parsons, 72, who was part of The Byrds from 1968 to 1972 and performs with David Hayes in Davis this Saturday, Sept. 10 (here's part 1 of the interview). We hear more about his songs, The Byrds, the note-bending Stringbender device he invented in the 1960s, a steam engine he built in his shop, new music he’s recording with Hayes and the Mendocino Quartet, a long-ago trick in a Yucca Valley bar & grill that tapped his skills with an acetylene torch, and what's coming next. “We have a few other performances that are on the books. We don’t do a lot. We’re kind of basically semi-retired in the music biz,” he says. “We’re kind of just letting it unfold.”

Davisville, Aug. 22, 2016: From the Desert, to the Byrds, to a Concert in Davis (part 1)

Gene Parsons, son of a classical pianist, grew up in the Mojave desert, practicing banjo and guitar in an empty 10,000-gallon water tank on his father’s homesteaded ranch. One day, as a teenager playing banjo in a music shop, he was invited to join a recording session by Gib Guilbeau—a Cajun fiddle player who would later play with Parsons in at least three bands. The experience set Parsons on a path that led to him playing in The Byrds from 1968 to 1972. On Sept. 10 he joins David Hayes, an equally accomplished musician, in concert at the Davis Odd Fellows Hall (that's Hayes on the left in the photo, with Parsons), and today we present the first of a two-part interview with Parsons (here's part 2). The conversation includes memories of fellow Byrd Clarence White, Gram Parsons, and Sneaky Pete Kleinow; his songs Gunga Din and Yesterday's Train; and the “oddball story” about how a kid who had wanted to play fiddle grew up to play drums for one of the top bands of the 1960s, contributing to its revival after most of its original members had left.

Davisville, July 25, 2016: New Rules for Rentals in Davis

Most people in Davis live in rentals, the vacancy rate is well below 1 percent, and enrollment at UC Davis keeps growing, further stoking the demand for places to live. That’s the context for a new rental ordinance Davis is developing this summer, and today we talk with Brett Lee and Lucas Frerichs, City Council members working on this project, about what the new ordinance would do, why it treats apartments differently than rented houses or granny flats, and why they're pursuing this change.

Davisville, July 11, 2016: Managing the Last Record Store in Town

Paul Wilbur manages Armadillo Music downtown. Not too many years ago it would have been one of several record stores in our college town, but the big shift to downloads and streaming has decimated the ranks of traditional record shops. On today’s show Paul (shown here holding a Ramones LP at KDRT) talks about how they make the store work, why people still buy CDs and vinyl, types of music that sell well in Davis, and why the Scorpions are his favorite band. “Music makes us feel good,” he says. “Any bad day [for me] can be instantly corrected if I just put on Love at First Sting.”

Davisville, June 27, 2016: Kindling a Startup Culture That Would Make Sense for Davis

Kari Rundquist is the new chief executive of Davis Roots, a 4-year-old nonprofit that helps fledgling companies get started in Davis—it's a Silicon Valley kind of ambition, except based here. The idea is that if these companies emerge and grow in Davis, they will add jobs, opportunity, money, and variety to the local economy. 

"We have an opportunity to create commerce for entrepreneurs, and for innovation, and for economic development, sort of on our own terms," she says. The opportunity is often based on research that emerges from UC Davis. "So much of the science coming out of the university is really inspiring, altruistic kinds of science," she adds, "[and] is very aligned with our kind of community values." On today’s program she talks about the possibilities ahead.

Davisville, June 13, 2016: Brett Lee, Voters’ Top Choice Last Week, Talks About Nishi, Election, More

Brett Lee won a second term on the Davis City Council June 7. On today’s post-election interview, recorded June 11, we talk about whether Davis is likely to see a revised version of the Nishi development that voters narrowly rejected last week, the revived Mace Ranch Innovation Center, growth, and why only four people ran for the council when there were three open seats—the cost and time required, he says, are just part of the reason.

Davisville, May 23, 2016: Guitar Mac Plays the Blues

“Guitar Mac” MacKnally has played dozens of times in Davis since the 1980s—if you go often to the Farmers Market, you've probably seen him there. On today's show we talk about different kinds of blues, playing in Davis, the sounds he gets from his 1930s steel guitar, and more. "The blues is truth, you know," he says after talking about his sad love song I'm Guilty. "From everyday in life."

Davisville, 5/9/16: First he was an Aggie. Then he photographed the Beatles

Ethan Russell was a student at UC Davis in the 1960s. Then he left for England, where he met Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and began photographing many of the biggest rock stars of the era. On May 20 he’ll speak at the Harris Center in Folsom, where he’ll present and talk about his photos and the stories behind them. We get a preview today on Davisville, including how he got this photo that became the cover of the classic Who’s Next—you’re looking at the CD version, with the campus in the background—as well as his memories of Davis.

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