Sunday, April 21, 2024

Jimmy Stadler Rocks

My friend photographer and videographer Terry Thompson asked if I would man the second camera on a prospective video of Taos’s favorite musician Jimmy Stadler, the man of a thousand instruments, or at least seven. Last week we all met for lunch to discuss the endeavor. I had met Jimmy in 2018 when I assisted Terry on another music video of Jimmy’s students at Taos Academy but didn’t really have a conversation.

At lunch I asked Jimmy if he started playing music in high school like I did in the fifties and our son did starting about 1980. He answered that, “I ‘d done five albums before I got out of grade school. I knew what I wanted to do by third grade.” He was already touring when he was still in high school. So, when he graduated, he was already a full-time professional musician. Now a youthful 65 he’s Taos’s number one performer whose dance card is muy lleno as in very full. And he’s still as excited as a rookie after fifty years in the business.

He described  that “I grew up in a musical family. My mother was a concert pianist. All nine kids played music.”

I asked him where he was born. He said Columbus, Ohio. I told him that I was born in Urbana, Ohio and that my dad graduated from Ohio State. He told me. “I think my dad did, too.”

Jimmy lived in LA for five years with his wife, Bunny. That’s what he calls her and damned if I know if that’s her given name. They gave the City of Angels and the so-called big time a real shot before moving to Taos full-time in 1984 as I recall our conversation. I told him I gave LA six months before we didn’t get signed by Capitol Records and my singing partner bailed to return to college and to marry Becky whatshername.

Jimmy’s a whirlwind of energy. It seems like he plays very gig he’s offered. He plays solo, in two bands and is heading to South by Southwest in Texas to perform with fellow Taoseño Michael Hearne in a few days. If anyone rivals Jimmy’s renown in Taos, it’s Hearne and his Big Barn Dance that’s the highlight of the Taos music scene every year. Of course, Jimmy plays that event, too. How could he not?

Plus, he gives private lessons on every string instrument in the western world. It’s clear that he loves to teach almost as much as he loves to perform.

He makes me need a nap.

That candid up top doesn't do Jimmy Stadler justice. I was fighting ferocious back light. I've asked for a more formal portrait session in his spanking new studio.


1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

Just cruised through Jimmy Stadler's website and he is one busy musician. It is great that Terry Thompson contacted you to be a second camera in his prospective video of Stadler. Now that we have the story and some background of Stadler, thanks to your blog, I look forward to seeing the results of your own more formal portrait session in his brand new studio. Rock on, Steve, Terry, and Jimmy S.