Flutterby™! : Michael Klapholz

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Michael Klapholz

2003-08-14 18:12:51.337225+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Last night we were at the Fairfax Farmer's Market, and the guitarist playing for tips was awesome. Classical music that sounded like hammered dulcimer, but more. Dropped a buck in the box, then went back and bought his CD. This morning after my dentist appointment I dropped into San Anselmo Coffee Roasters[Wiki], and the same guy, Michael Klapholz[Wiki], was playing. So I sat and listened for a bit, and dropped a few more bucks in the tip jar, but just now I was sitting here waiting for some operation to complete and I looked over at my guitar in its case and I realized...

There are some artists who inspire; who make me want to practice at what they do, because what they do is so cool. There are other artists who don't inspire, they just awe; when I'm exposed to their art I realize that it occurs on another plane, and the only way to be that good is to dedicate a life to it. I have a pretty high opinion of myself, there aren't too many artists whose work falls into the latter category.

Klapholz is there. There is no question when listening to this man work that he's spent a lifetime getting to where he is, and there's no illusion that even if I were to start now and practice hours a day for a decade I could ever come close to being judged on the same scale as his mastery. Apparently he played with a band called "Chumbi", which seems to have been a metal band (I find a few references with web searches), but his style nowadays is all acoustic guitar. Last night he was doing some classical pieces, this morning he was doing Queen's Bohemian Rapsody on guitar, and both were just amazing. I don't see a place you can buy his work on the web, perhaps we should see if we can carry his Coffehouse Classical CD as Charlene's new business comes online.

Anyway, highly recommended, and I think I've signed up for his mailing list so that I can pass along gigs he's playing. Especially since you're most likely to run into him in intimate performances where it's you and a few other people and a tip jar.

[ related topics: Music Coyote Grits Bay Area Art & Culture San Anselmo Michael Klapholz ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Em Kay made: 2005-08-23 06:18:44.410385+00 by: Susannah

Hi Dan,

I may have written to you before. This is in response to one of your past postings, not this one, so I hope it is OK.

Sometimes I search the web for old friends and "past lives". This is the second time I searched for Gary Albright and Em Kay (aka Michael Klapholz) from the band Chumbi and found your postings. My ex-husband was that Chumbi's sound engineer and we were heavily involved with them from about 1979 until 1982.

Everybody in Chumbi and their families had all known each other for years in Pennsylvania and moved out to California together. Em Kay was the most promising guitarist to come along since Eric Clapton. Baldie Ray (aka Gary Albright) was the long-haired, red-headed front man. What a stage presense he had! Em Kay would do a bit at the eand of the show where the lights would go out, he'd toss his guitar up in the air about 10 feet and a firework would shoot out of it, then it would drop and he'd catch it! Amazing music, amazing performers. Bill Graham was interested in them and sent a couple of his reps to watch them play at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco. I think they were too unusual or maybe they thought that type of band was on its way out. In fact, they could have blown the socks off stupid bands that had their chance in the 80's such as Cinderella.

At some point we heard that Em Kay had a breakdown of sorts. He was annorexic we heard. Gary got saved and left the band. Shawn, (the female lead singer sometimes other times she was just one of the wives) left her husband Bob (the bass player) for the doctor she worked for (I think they are still happily married). Anyway, they just disbanded.

In 1994 I dated a crazy guy from New York who owned a pizzeria in San Rafael. He had recently taken up the guitar and was eager to play with anyone who had some experience. He asked me to come over to his place one night to hear him "jam" with a guy he'd just hired to deliver pizzas a couple of evenings a week. He said the guy's name was Mike.

That evening when I walked into his house I met Mike. We looked at each other like we knew each other. I saw his guitar and said, "Oh my gosh, you're Em Kay, aren't you?!" He said "Yes, and you're Susie, right, Warren's wife!" I turned to the pizza guy and said, "You're jamming with HIM?!" He casually said, "Yeah" and I said, "Just wait till you hear him!!!"

Well, you know how it turned out.

Anyway, I just know how you feel about Michael's music and thought I would try to fill in some of the gap that I know he left in his story of his past and Chumbi. You really should have been there, you would have been a fan too. There were hundreds of faithful Chumbi followers.

Take care, Susannah Perri


#Comment Re: made: 2005-08-23 14:52:29.506019+00 by: Dan Lyke

Hey, Susannah! Thanks for the note. I've moved your comment from over there to here just 'cause it fit the subject matter better. For future reference, you can leave comments on older entries if you've logged in, but I cut off comments for new users after a while because we were getting a lot of older "fire and forget" commenters.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-07 23:45:46.475573+00 by: Dan Lyke

Because the Wiki's broken right now: Michael Klapholz.