Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Stix Band History



We are who we are because of the choices we made, the paths we choose and the ways in which we have recovered after our failures. To be successful takes the experience and or a collection of experiences.
I've had what I consider to be multiple careers as a musician that have span more than 3 decades. Not everyone can  have the same resume. I am sure unless you have lived and or gone out in and around St. Louis and Jefferson County in the late 70's and 80's the majority ot the following won't make much difference to you.



STIX BANDS


1972 Stillwater (hic)

          Gods Gospel Group

1973 Jones Creek Electrical Three Man Band

1975 – 1976 Creek Water Special – 1st official High School Band

1977 Bob Hammer & The Good Night Specials 1st paid group

1977 Terry Lewis & the Nite Lites

         Jan Smith & Middle of the Road

         Tommy Fritz and the Down-home Express

1978 Earl Clark and the Clarksville Express

         The Tommy Fritz Band

         Larry Dale & the Good Times

         Dusty Roads 

          Ray Davis and the Desperados 

1979 Midnite Oasis (Cedars Palace House Band)

         The Nashville Bound

          The Nashville Bound Show NBS 

1979 – 1981 WILDFIRE

1981 J R Trapper

         Silver Bullet Band

         Wild Country

1981 The Belle Starr House Band

1982 Jamie Bock  & the Sundance Band

1982 Yesterdays Gold

         Rick Waters & the Silver Dollar Band

1983 Fayron Fritz & the Music Makers

        Jan Smith & The Middle of the Road

1984 –1987 The Fayron Fritz Band

1987 – 1990 Michelle & the Burners

1991 –1993 Studio recording   (Originals Only w/ Jere Austin & Tom Cruise

               Studio Recording 1994 – 1997 with Bitch Kitty

1995   The Missouri Valley Boys         

1999 June –2002 May JOYBONE  (original group)

2001 Nov – Feb 2002 Missouri Valley Boys

2003 – 2007 Studio Time with Sneaky Keys

2004 Warning / Dangerous (rehearsal only)

2009 Feb – Aug   Rags & Friends

2009 Aug –Sept Broken (auditioned & was hired & fired)

2010 Feb – Aug JOYBONE  (the 2nd)

         Sept –Jan 2010 Medicaid (rehearsal only)

2010 Sept-Nov,  Retrolux

2010 Who’s Drivin’  (auditioned as a front man)

2010 Sept – Dec Stiff Richard  (rehearsed only)

2011 Stump Masters (basement band)

2011 Feb – Aug South Side Johnny (rehearsed only)

2011 Aug- Switch (basement band)

2011 Sept – Oct JOYBONE (with me as a front man rehearsed only)

2013 Jan – April 2014 Alibi

2013 May 2013 –Jan 2016 Tessa Folk & COMPANY

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Annual First Ride

(by Stix Douglas)

I could see my breath as I took my first few steps outside, heading towards the polebarn. At least the wind was calm were my thoughts, as I took a firm grasp of the hand-grips.  I squeezed the front brake lever and threw my leg over to mount the old Harley. Slowly bending down to turning on the petcock and pulled on the choke before reaching to flip the switch on the ignition. Pausing for a moment before touching the starter button.

It is at that very instant, that very moment that I was caught in a deja' vu'.

I had been doing this for so many years now and yet there were so few others that would even know today's importance and even fewer to be following in my footsteps.

This was more than just a tradition. The anticipation and anxieties had been building for months as I had waited savoring the moment to take this first all-important ride. It wasn't just another trip down to the local grocery store. Nope, it was something more, much more significant.
Today would be that special day when I would take my motorcycle out for its annual non-sanctioned event known as the First Ride of the Year.

Why would that be so special? You might ask? What is it that makes experienced and traditional bikers solemn and refer to it as the most important ride of the year with such a reverence? It’s because they know the importance of it and know it’s a ritual.

Just then my thumb pressed the starter button. The engine roars to life. Thunder echoed inside the metal building. But it was like music to my ears as I sat there enjoying the sound for a moment. Quickly giving the throttle another twist, my mind lost all consciences of any problems as my mind cleared of other thoughts.

After carefully backing the bike out of the building and waiting a few minutes I pushed the choke back in allowing the engine to idled down into its putting mode. The low RPM lobbing was pleasant. It was the sound that once you heard it you knew it was the work of a finely tuned machine.


Releasing the grips, I pulled my sunglasses out of  my leather coat, and put them on. The skies were clear and it was bright and sunny, making for a beautiful day for this years first ride..

Pulling out from my gravel drive onto the highway.  I enjoyed twisting the throttle a little further to feel the acceleration.  The power and wind thrust me backwards into the seat. I couldn't help it as my face nearly froze with a smile.  I enjoyed running the bike through its gears, taking full advantage of it.

Braving the elements for a ride is very refreshing and exhilarating. I even find it very rewarding at times. Plus it does wonders for my outlook as well as for my own mental sanity, and well-being.

Nowadays organized rides like Polar Bear Runs seem to have taken precedence from some of the impact and previous years popularity by confusing many. But those events have different reasons for their existence then the underlying principle for this annual ride.

I have always participated in the traditions that I have grown up with especially those concerning "old school and riding".   I am reminded why so many motorcyclists are out riding so early in the year usually without the best of riding conditions.


Many years ago I vaguely remember a event that took place on a very cold and snowing day, long before I had even started riding. I overheard a wise crack made from a non-riding store clerk to a biker who had just come in from riding in the freezing cold. Sarcastically he asked him how he enjoyed his ride. The biker upstaged him by his response as he paused for a moment, gathered his composure, and very calmly answered:” Well… I didn't have to take out my tool kit so I guess that’s a good thing.”  The Biker then cracked a crooked smile, having said all that needed to be.

Moments like that were what got me to want to ride. You would just have had to of been there to have understood the impact and what it meant. That kind of passion for riding any day, whether it was cold or not was better than to not have rode any at all.

The majority of new two wheeled riding enthusiasts won’t have any idea what this ride is, or what it is all about. Many of them will never experienced it. Instead they continue to keep their bikes in storage, hibernating. But not me, I enjoy an occasional winter ride even if it’s only for a few miles.

Rolling on down the highway as I was making my way to the store I began thinking of all the others who would NOT be so lucky. Those that wait miss out on the thrill.

Those who are serious about motorcycling as I am know that it’s NOT about what brand or whatever make or model you have. It’s NOT the distance you ride that day or how cold it is, or even if you ride by yourself or with a group of others.
It is that first ride of the year that gives everyone the opportunity to start their bikes up and at least check off some of their maintenance concerns.
What it IS about is the connection between you and your bike. Its  the time to take notes and to arrange what it might need.  It is the time to plan ahead . Perhaps order parts and to take care of what may have been overlooked or that's been put off to have worked on.

Leaving the store after putting the groceries in the saddlebag I began thinking to myself…. Its not superstition to know your machine well enough to feel you are one with it. Your life and others depend on it. It’s a responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly.

I enjoyed leaning into the turns but I was also saddened as I slowly pulled back into my driveway. I might have to wait a long time before there would be any decent warmer weather for a longer ride.

Pulling the motorcycle carefully back into it's resting place, I flipped out its side-stand, while quickly running through its shutdown procedure before stepping off it. After removing the groceries from the saddlebags I assessed the ride.

The first ride after the New Year is always magical if not memorable. The satisfaction of getting out there riding this early in the year made me feel as if there is a lot of hope and optimism for an even longer riding season.

“I had really enjoyed my ride and I knew I will have a tremendous year ahead of me.” I can’t remember when that it had gone any better. I was elated by the facts, my riding skills were still intact, and I was feeling even more confident, looking forward to the challenges of the New Year. .But more importantly, I will not have to worry about getting out a tool bag when the "Prime Riding Season"  comes, because my motorcycle will be ready to ride.

Best of luck to all of you on your, “Years First Ride”. According to mine, I’ll be out on the road trouble free this year, will you?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Old & New Horizon's

I've had the pleasure of being able to spread my horizons by starting to playing guitar not long ago. With my previous studio experience some help and support of using Custom Backing Tracs and my percussion skills I have been fortunate in being able to perform for a number of places in a relatively  short about of time.
I was relishing in this fact during some of the peak riding weather earlier this summer.  I had just   booked all of the Wednesdays of August with  the Action Riders doing their Meet n Greets at a place called the Dew Bolt In , sort of in my back yard so to speak.
When all of a sudden I was bombarded with the same question.
Aren't you going to Sturgis?

I had been so impressed with the fact that I was booked to play music  that I hadn't given Sturgis any  thought or consideration .

This would be my Twenty Third year if I were to go out of the past Twenty Five or since 1992.
My O1 Eagle (a.k.a. 2001 Electra-Glide Classic) was needing a few things done to it .  I started a check list of what it had to have done to it before I could go. Giving the fact that if it were too much to accomplish or if I couldn't finish the list then  I'd  have to skip going this year.

The Four Thief's 




As time went on I took care of the things my "O1 Eagle needed. Including replacing a front brake disk with a new chrome one and adding new front brake pads. Doing a complete servicing along with adding a new tire on the rear wheel. 
I had a rear brake light spoiler that had been on the tour pac several years ago.   I wanted to add it back on for safety sake if nothing else. Had to borrow my sons drill and made  several trips to get it but finally did manage to get the rear brake light spoiler on and got it working.

Next was the music. I had my hands full and wanted two separate nights worth of material set up and ready to go along with the song lyric sheets in the order and completed that task

Last but not least was to have the bike packed and road ready the night before the gig so I could virtually take off on it once I got home.

The original plan was to leave after the second Wednesday on the night of August 9th. I had even planned  to have laid down and tried to get some sleep in the early afternoon before the gig but failed at it miserably. I could not sleep a wink. Instead after playing that night and unloading the equipment I was exhausted. Falling to sleep without a second thought.

Waking up early I had my doubts and feared what might happen along the way if the bike broke down. Reluctant but I denied my fears.  It was 6:15am when the tires rolled onto the pavement, it was also a bit cooler than normal for a ride in early August.

There were only two things that I really wanted to do if I did decide to go to Sturgis. I would have to make up my mind. One was to ride the Harley Davidson Demo's and get a much better idea of what my next bike might be. I would be planning on asking a lot of questions.

The 2017 Road 'Glide "Special" with Stage 1 kit 
The other thing I had wanted to do was to return to the place formerly known as Harney Peak but
recently renamed  Black Elk Peak. It is the highest point in the Black Hills and a significant place where Crazy Horse had spent much of his time.  It had been more than 20 years since I had hiked it and felt the need to do it again especially because there had been a fire since my last time there.

Along the way of what ended up being a SEVEN MILE hike through a washout gulley of a trail.


.
I had a lot of concerns about taking it to Sturgis this summer, especially during the triple digit days and when the temperatures were 95*f and above, It was then I would hear more upper end rattle. I even thought it might be internal piston slap especially while stopped at a light or stop sign.
Those concerns were wiped away when my mechanic buddy Butch had demonstrated to me with the engine running. By using a hammer pressed the handle against the exhaust pipe which revealed it was nothing more than a broken hose clamp tab.  A new hose clamp over the heat shield made for a easy fix.
  

 Once out on the Interstate the O1 Eagle seemed to want to speed up and take off on its own. It was running faster than I was comfortable with. It was my intention to be taking a slower and perhaps longer trip getting to Sturgis because of this but the bike and my schedule both had other plans.

Because of the unusually cooler temps the motor continued to run noticeably quieter and without the excessive rattles. It seemed to be unaffected by its own high mileage wear as well.

As I travelled I remembered and missed my brother in the wind Butch Clayton.  Besides being my mechanic he had also been a riding companion for many years on these trips. He hadn't made it to Sturgis with me for the past three years now. Riding alone you do make better time, however there is something to be said about having someone else with you and all its benefits.

Little by little the O1 kept creeping up its speed and as I listened to it in the cool morning the motor sounded as strong as ever, so I went ahead and let it run its own pace.   It was as if it wanted to go faster, as if it wanted to show me or to prove it to being just as strong as it ever had been. Thinking back it had never let me down. It was stronger and could keep going longer than I could.

There were moments along the way when semi-tractor trailer trucks would jump out to pass one another once they seen my headlights in their rear view mirrors. It was about the only thing that really slowed me down any at all but only for that moment. It were as if to let the Harley's motor catch its breath and then whoosh back to its increasing break neck pace. 

When I reached the state line of South Dakota it was then that I started noticing I wasn't passing quite as many vehicles as before . But then it accord to me once I seen the speed limit posted at  80mph .

Realizing it could be late before I would be rolling into Sturgis I decided to reach out to Larry the buddy who I would be staying while in Sturgis. Knowing he'd be working the Rally  I left him a text message thinking he would respond back before I would have to stop for fuel the next time.

It was a long time between piss breaks awaiting the next gas stop. I finally got a call back from Larry
while refueling in the town of Wasta, South Dakota about an hour from Sturgis.
There was still some daylight as I pulled into town  9:15 pm St. Louis time.

The next morning.




It hadn't dawned to me at the time but I had done 983 miles in 15 hours flat. It was the quickest I had ever ridden there before.

The next morning I headed for the Harley Davidson Demo rides and took out a 2017 Road Glide Ultra very similar to the one in the photo below  but in Blue.  I had gone through the required paper work on the computer and stayed the course on the Demo route but was very discouraged with the radio since it wouldn't lock in on any of the other stations that I wanted it to play.
Once back I called the techs over who still couldn't get it to play correctly.
In the mean time I had spoke with several of the workers there while waiting , telling them of the miles on my O1 and how I was determining what would be my next ride. When one of them said I would be a candidate for a  VIP Ride.

The 2017 Road Glide Ultra water & oil cooled


                                        


I was sent to speak with one of top Harley Davidson Techs and after a short discussion was told I could ride whatever bike I would desire. That they would take me out into the Black Hills and allow me to ride it the way I ride.
 The VIP Ride would be about a 100 miles and that they would pick up the tab for dinner, and answer any and all questions I might have. When they mentioned food I knew then I was in.

I hadn't ever ridden a Limited before and had questions about it also since I was keeping an open mind it was my choice for the VIP ride.

The 2017 Limited  while out on the VIP Ride.


The VIP Ride was to start about 11am with having to do some additional paper work over the computer. I really didn't have time to go back to Larry's for any additional riding gear other than what I was wearing at the time.
We went down into a section of the Black Hills I had NOT ever ridden and it was one of the very best rides I can ever remember. We had a few slower bikes and even a Trike that slowed our group for a few miles but when the roads cleared we opened them up and the ride was incredible.

We made a pit stop took a few photos and then went right back to riding.  It was just started to rain as we got behind a logging truck coming down into Deadwood. We parked the bikes and walked about a block to a casino that had a restaurant upstairs.

We had Steak Tips for an appetizer and each of us ordered the half a rack of BBQ Ribs that virtually fell off the bone. It was  very fine and I know it had to be a very expensive meal.
I knew the Limited wasn't for Me. Although similar to what I currently have, there was just not enough of the new  of what I wanted . I was more impressed with the Road Glide Special the Tech was riding and our discussion was more of the comparisons between it and the Road Glide Ultra.

We spent about an hour in the restaurant/casino and could see from the lights dimming that it stormed and rained hard for a good while there before the sky lightened up.  When we decided to head out  it was still raining as we walked back to the parking lot.
Everyone else started putting on their rain gear. Alligators over their shoes, Rain pants and rain suits. All I had was My vest my sleeveless gloves and my modular full face helmet.
What I thought was rather ironic was as soon as we got on the bikes and even before we had left that parking lot it didn't rain another drop from there at Deadwood all the way back to Sturgis.

Similar to my  Dream Machine minus the tour pac


Still not convinced I returned back to the Harley Davidson Demo rides the next morning. Taking out a Road Glide Special with a stage 1 kit. This time the radio worked just fine and I enjoyed the extra performance feature.
It was Sunday morning when I got up early and rode way deep into the Black Hills to and area called Black Elk Wilderness just inside Custer State Park/ There was a 10 dollar fee to be able enter where I then parked and hiked the trail to  Black Elk Peak.

Up top on the Fire tower look out platform at Black Elk Peak

I met up with a guy named Steve Cribbs who was an avid cyclist and hiker who helped me with keeping pace or I don't think I could of made it to the top and or back with him

I took a good fall roughly a mile away from the parking lot on the way back and done some damage to my right wrist left thumb and banged up my right knee.  All I know is, I don't think I will be doing this again.
According the GPS that Steve wore it was a total of 7 miles round trip. I have to say it was the worst washed out gulley of a trail I can ever remember being on.  Erosion from the fire might of contributed to it but I wouldn't wish this hike on anyone.

It was Monday morning when I started packing up and I said my goodbyes to Larry and left out about 10 am St Louis time. Stopping down town at the Harley Dealership to buy a Quart of Syn 3 and noticed I had snapped off the dip stick. I added about half the quart and started the trek homeward.

It wasn't too far outsided of Sturgis when I hit another milestone ...

I refuse to believe its over its always been cheaper to keep her



It didn't seem to register with me on the way back as I locked the throttle once more at 80mph. I was running it even harder than I had on the way up. Doing the same stops for fuel and being more time conscience.
I had made it into Missouri but was too tired to continue on through the darkness of the night and felt it best to sack out and finish the ride the next morning.


 When I awoke and got up starting home the bike acted up. It had a miss and wouldn't stay running when at an idle. The oil indicator light had stayed on and the oil pressure was down, so I added the last of the Quart I had bought for it and limped it in on home.
It was a few days later after  before I took the O1 Eagle over to my buddy Butch .  He  had gone to get the tools and had handed Me a cable tool to fish for the broken dipstick and I caught it after only a few try's .
We done a compression test on it.  But it only confirmed to us what we already knew. The motor was tired. It would need a major top end overhaul. Butch had several otther bikes to work on ahead of mine and I dreaded having to stop riding this early in the season even though I had another motorcycle a
O6 Night Rod .  It just wasn't the same.
There were too many miles and too many memories as well as too many spare parts to be letting the O1 go. But the diagnosis's was depressing to say the least.
I heard talk from others who said and I quote. "Cut your losses and get a new bike"
The more I thought about it the more it made sense to me. It was time and it just hadn't made itself apparent until now.
Having completed the Sturgis trip the O1 had completed its task and it done exceptional. I'm thankful to have made it back but feared this may be a premature  ending of an era.
Change is always hard, but easier to accept when you know its change for the better. the O1 let me know it was done, at least for now.

.



We are all given choices in life, I truly have been blessed. May you all be at peace with your choices  and may the wind blow the cobwebs from any of  your troubled minds.
I don't believe this is the end for my O1 Eagle. But there is changes brewing.
Until the next time may the Great Spirit be with you...


The before picture of my DREAM MACHINE changes are still coming....

Thursday, August 3, 2017

AUGUST Meet n Greets / Bike Nites with STIX


,
Every Wednesday in August Vocal Percussionist Musical Entertainer front man STIX Douglas will be hosting the Action Riders Meet n Greets on the Dew Bolt In's  Bike Nite. 

Drink and food specials along with the Action Riders gear, raffles and cash prizes make for a fun filled evening. Music starts at 6 pm.  Let those who ride decide where to go on a Wednesday evening. 
To give you a little back ground  Stix has been performing for more than 40 years off and on with 
just as many bands but as a Vocal Drummer and or a Vocal Percussionist. Having had some success with His own party band JOYBONE and has stepped out on his own to doing a Solo.

Having spent extensive amounts of time in a recording studio and playing music with so many other musicians lends to a well rounded and very seasoned performer.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

AMERICAN DREAM LLC





I had a Great time performing at the AMERICAN DREAM LLC doing an All Classic Rock show. I enjoyed playing high on the stages Crows Nest to watch the audience participation
I will be looking forward to returning to performing there again soon .
www.stixdouglas.com

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rods n Rides / Bike Car & Truck Show


by STIX Douglas

There is nothing like blurring the lines of combining two of my passions. One for riding and the other being performing my music. 
This was the Sixth year that the Action Riders  had put on this Rods n Ride event. I was just fortunate to be the musical entertainment for it. Had a great time kicking out the tunes without being told to TURN DOWN...lol

Saturday, April 29, 2017

NOT FINISHED YET

By Sterling Bradly

 
They say all good things must come to an end, but not in this case.  Stix Douglas who is a long way from being "Finished" . However he is just beginning with the Finish Line CafĂ© in Londell, Missouri.
Starting on Tuesday May 9th , 2017 and every second and fourth Tuesday Stix will be performing for the Finish Line for its dinner crowds from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

www.stixdouglas.com

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Celebration of Gordon Cox Life



The Train Track Troubadours performed for the event.


The Celebration of Gordon Cox Life was a musical wake. Musicians who Gordon had played with throughout the years came out in his honor for this fitting and final farewell. 

Bill from the group Killer Whales done a fine job of hosting



The turn out was spectacular.




Gordon had performed a lot with Terry Beck over the years
Terry Beck far left had the crowd cheering

Many thanks to Gordons family, and the crew at 612 Kitchen & Cocktails for such a successful and memorable afternoon.


On a personal note. 
Gordon and I had several things in common. Besides performing with Congas, and also working with the Train Track Troubadours, we both had diabetes.  
It wasn't until recently that I also learnt of his motorcycle interest. Although he rode a Ducati I wouldn't of held that against him because he was such a free spirit and I am sure he will be missed by many.

We should all be so well loved and well thought of....











Friday, February 3, 2017

Stix Douglas - 12 String Session



The term "Sessions" is for when there are songs put together in sort of a musical group or theme.
This is just one of the better videos to be able to showcase in combination  with a 12 String Guitar. along with  some of the mellower song choices  that still hold up well over time .

Already Gone Clip



One small clip of many songs I have sung and now play as a Solo Performer by my favorite group the Eagles. I enjoy using it as the last song of the evening a lot of times...thus the reason....I'm Already Gone.....www.stixdouglas.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Stix Douglas - Silver Wings



A older country standard that many performers have done over the years. A favorite of mine from Merle that touches my life in ways that can now be explained.
Written about a love that is planning on leaving on the "Silver Wings"  I feel compelled to mention the fact that I am such a backwards person and so different from many that I have never flown in a Commercial plane and don't intend to.. Although this is just a shortened version you get an idea of what I sound like doing it..
www.stixdouglas.com

Stix Douglas - Peaceful

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2016 STIX Year in Pictures




They say a good picture is worth a thousand words. Well rather then filling this with junk no one would take the time to read, I thought it best to fill it with a little of what  couldn't be done in long hand.


My first Public performance/ Open Mic @ Michelle's


Glad that's over.



Remembering Glenn Fry









Jamming @ Old Friends Vintage Guitar



Monday Nights with the Train Track Troubadours
My First Open Mic at Old Friends Vintage Guitar Wentzville





Stepping out of my comfort zone for another Open Mic

Turning Dew Bolts Open Mic into a Jam Session











Hamming it up with Platoon 2 officials on the "Run For The Wall"


Doing a performance for the Desoto VFW over Memorial Day Week end









Right after leaving Pensacola HD after having to wait an hour to purchase a Harley Battery. because of No Internet. I got trapped on Highway 10 for more than another hour awaiting Thundershowers to slow to head back to Biloxi, MS



723 miles and over eleven & 1/2 hours on the rd only to come home to several downed trees blocking my driveway, caused by the storms while on vacation. But I am blessed & Thankful I have a Son, the tools, equipment and the God given know how to clear the obstruction.

If its not one thing its another. First it was several fallen trees across the driveway. Next a broken water line. But I thank God for the challenges, I am also thankful for having a Son and his help after having had several failed attempts to repair the leak,& three days without water. It was his determination as to why we were finally successful. Happiness is a much needed shower...










Rode up alone once again this my 23rd year




Bear Butte just outside Sturgis, SD
Along the way to the Observation deck



A soul cleansing at the peak of Bear Butte's Observation Deck 



I thought it looked good but it just wasn't My style


I was Very Impressed with this Indian Road Master,  test ride

Down Town on Main Street in Sturgis, SD






Sunrise on my way home



Acoustic jam with the Train Track Troubadours Mike Bohror





Sometimes you got to combine business with pleasure.





Playing the JUMBO at Michelle's


Performing for the Cedar Hill Community Days





Fellow Acoustic Musicians

Who every heard of a Singing Percussionist ?



Tin metal ceiling makes for interesting Acoustics






Another performance at S.O.P

Playing the Alvarez 12 String @ Michelle's

My buddy Ted aka TC RIVERS




A milestone of sorts, waiting for 250,000 before its retired









Doing another performance at Barrens Winery





I hope next year is just as interesting.  Thank you , GOD Bless you
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.