It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump down the 405, also known as the worst freeway in the world, but Torrance ain’t such a bad place to spend a sunny day. Little known fact, but The Perfect Hippie keeps a Hamptons-like swank-pad in Torrance, or as he endearingly refers to it, “Torrando.” This nickname is due to its relative nearness to Redondo Beach. However, it most certainly is not Redondo Beach, nor the beach at all. The PH will tell you otherwise, but it’s not, it’s really not.

Still one of the raddest things ever...

Still one of the raddest things ever…

It can be entertaining though. There are top notch go-carts to drive, never any lines at the bowling alley, and one of those trampoline gymnasiums, along with a variety of fun places to eat. Oh, and if you catch it on the right day, you’ll come accross The Van, rockin’ back-and-forth outside of the Perfect Hippie Pad with a killer band inside.

Sunshine happy day...

Sunshine happy day…

John approves... we think.

John approves… we think.

Front yard pickin'...

Front yard pickin’…

On the day in question, our first ever recording at the PHP (Perfect Hippie Pad), we had four such awesome bands join us. The very first of those was The Get Down Boys, a group we’d unfortunately overlooked for the past four years.  We  knew about them from social media, I guess they had twittered or commented to us, and we’ve always thought their sound was pleasant, something right in our wheelhouse, but we just never got a chance to meet up with them.  Now, the odds of a band staying together in Los Angeles for four years are pretty shaky, but these dudes have managed to stick together in the rough and tumble seas of the LA music scene.  So perhaps we let the wait percolate just the right amount before inviting them in. Because The Get Down Boys’ performance was excellent.  Maybe their staying power  is a result of there not being an overload of proper bluegrass musicians in the LA area.  Maybe it’s because these dudes are just really good pals and don’t want to give up the project.  Or maybe it’s just because they’re simply put, really good.  Whatever it may be, in a world that sees bands come and go, leaving  behind only recordings and videos, The Get Down Boys are still here, getting down, and we’re glad we finally got them to do it in The Van.

Gettin' ready to get down...

Gettin’ ready to get down…

The Clydes all tangled

This is what happens when The Clydes get down with the Get Downs! All tangled up in bluegrass!

Whites out...

Whites out…

No offense to any of the other three bands, but on the date in question The 14ers had the best back-stories as to how we got them to Jam in the Van.  It’s a story we’ve enjoyed telling for the past three-and-one-half years, all sans any knowledge that The 14ers or their frontman, Ryank Kirkpatrick, existed.

It’s crazy to say this, but we started Jam in the Van in 2011, and when we did we needed some guinea pigs to be the first ones to test out The Van’s accoustics.  At the time a musician named Wes Kirkpatrick was traveling through LA on tour from his home base of Colorado.  We stumbled across his tunes on the interwebs and decided to invite him to be a part of the first ever Jam in the Van Session shoots.  In 2011 we were an unknown entity.  We had no videos or even photos to share with musicians to give them a glimpse of what it was exactly that we were inviting them to come and do.  So Wes’ manager was understandably a little cautious when booking his artist for the session.  After some convincing he agreed to it, but only after saying “just so you know, you’re asking me to send my band to a back alley in Venice Beach, with all of their gear, to meet some guys with a van…”  We were very aware of it, it was our dream.  Luckily Wes found The Van in the alley in Venice and we were able to shoot some great videos and use them to entice future artists to Jam in the Van.  That quote from his manager is still one of our favorite memories.
The first Cuz's Corner to release in 2015.

The first Cuz’s Corner to release in 2015.

So here we are nearly four years later, and I opened up our Facebook page and there’s a message from a Ryan Kirkpatrick. He tells me he’s Wes Kirkpatrick’s brother and he had heard such great things from Wes and he loved the videos and he’s always wanted to do a Jam in the Van session.  Given how his brother did us such a solid back in the day, there was no way we were saying no.  As luck would have it, Ryan was coming into town right when we were shooting a session, so there wasn’t much of a wait for him to one-up his bro.  You see, Wes filmed in Jam Van 1.0 with a measly 2 cameras.  Ryan had no idea he was showing up to Jam Van 2.0 to film with three cameras!
Here fishy, fishy...

Here fishy, fishy…

Ryan had to piece together his band because he wasn’t on tour with his regular guys.  He was just traveling with a camera-man of his own making a little documentary film.  Well, it didn’t make much of a difference because dude has some pretty heady friends/fill-ins.  His bassist and guitarist are in Jamestown Revival, and his drummer plays with a guy by the name of Jack Johnson.  You know, regular fill-in types…
The band plays under the name of The 14ers, although I forgot to ask him what the deal with that was.  Band name aside, his music is similar to his brother’s, super chill, catchy, a little bit folky, a little bit fun.  It’s the perfect type of jams to sit in a lawn chair on a sunny day and vibe to.  It was sunny, and we have a bunch of lawn chairs, and it was pretty awesome to meet Ryan off of Facebook, he was just as cool in the flesh as in the type, and now he’s a homie of ours, not just a “Facebook friend.”
I believe in our final journal entry of 2014 I spoke on how rad it has been to have people coming up to us everywhere we park and telling us that they’re fans.  Well, it’s starting to happen everywhere we go.  One of the PH’s neighbors came over and was stoked to be able to watch the sessions and get a picture with Spudnik, whom he said he really admired.  We gave him a Lagunitas to never tell Spud that.  Can’t have Spudnik knowing that he’s getting famous, he’ll want a raise.
#Security

#Security

Back when we filmed Ryan’s brother, Wes, we were soliciting bands to Jam in the Van.  Nobody knew us, so we had to start small, had to invite the bands and hope some would say yes.  Nowadays we’ve got the inverse problem.  We get way too many submissions soliciting us to film their bands.  So many in fact that it’s getting hard for us to review them all (don’t worry, we do, it just takes us a minute).  However, some days are slower than others and we’re able to check out every band that hits us up in live time.  I believe in the case of Todo Mundo it was the name that caught my attention.  Regardless, I had a moment and I hit play as soon as the email got to me, and I kept it playing, every track, because it was so damn fun to listen to.  So right on the spot we invited them out to our next shoot.
Todo Mundo through the eye of a phish...

Todo Mundo through the eye of a phish…

These cats are a world music band that hails from San Diego, so they were able to come up to LA on a whim, no problems at all.  Let me tell you, their music is just as entertaining live as it was on the recordings.  I haven’t been to a Todo Mundo show yet, at a non-mobile venue, but if they come and play LA I’m grabbing my special-lady-friend and hitting that dance floor.  Spud was a big time fan too, once again not watching his word choice and telling the lead singer “boy you can blow!”  Jesus, Spud, how many times with the Freudian slips man, how many times?
Our last group of the day was The Diamond Light.  They’re one of the lucky handful of bands that have recorded multiple sessions in The Van.  For the most part we enjoy every band that Jams in the Van.  That’s why we let them jam.  It’s been a long standing policy that we only invite bands if we like their music.  So with that being said, we’d probably invite a majority of the bands we’ve filmed to hop back in and do it again, but we can’t go around giving out repeat slots to everyone, then we’d never get new jams in there.  So the stars or our touring schedules have to align to make it happen.  Or you have to be our homies, in which case we let you make magic whenever you’ve got some new magic to make.  Such was the case with our buddies The Diamond Light.
One of our favorites, they keep getting better...

One of our favorites, they keep getting better…

It’s been a couple of years since we trekked out to the desert with these dudes to film a Joshua Tree Session which includes one of my all-time favorite Jam Van recordings, “Strong Wind South.”  At the time they had a four piece band.  Fast-forward to Torrance and we’re looking at a three piece, but less one man does not equall less the sound, less the intensity, less the headiness, less the awesome.  No, on the contrary, they’ve only grown tighter as a band, their tunes headier, heavier, and just a tad bit more bad-ass.  Oh, and Griffin, the man on lead vocals is minus about two feet of hair now.  We think he’s looking sharp though.
So by the time The Diamond Light were done with their three song set we were just about worn out.  We’d been on a bit of a vacation, and I guess we forgot how intense it is to Jam in the Van all day.  Or perhaps how intense it is to drink Lagunitas and Jam in the Van all day.  Either way, we were ready to pack it in and hit the pillows, plus you’ve got to know when to turn the speakers off.  The Perfect Hippie wouldn’t be so perfect if his neighbors were pissed at him, and we can’t have our hippie being imperfect, now can we?
Gold mics up!

Gold mics up!