Bus gets paint job for Port Angeles band’s trek to Grateful Dead fest in California

PORT ANGELES — The Olympic Mountains are on the front end. Sky and more mountains, plus some groovy shapes, splash across one flank.

And soon, the artists say, a seascape will materialize on the other side.

This is the Deadwood Revival California bus, a former school bus that will soon drive south for a good, old-fashioned Grateful Dead party.

Deadwood Revival has been supplying “old-time string band meets acoustic Grateful Dead” music for Western Washington and Oregon for the past six years or so.

And early in August, the group will go to Uncle John’s Camp near Willits, Calif., to play Dead on the Creek, a four-day festival celebrating the Grateful Dead’s legacy.

Then the band — singer-guitarist Kim Trenerry, clawhammer banjo man Jason Mogi, ukulele bassist Ches Ferguson and fiddler Julie Campbell — will come back home to play through summer and into fall; after October it will take an extended hiatus.

Farewell-for-now concert

The four will separate following a farewell-for-now concert with Abby Mae & the Homeschool Boys on Oct. 29 at the Vern Burton Community Center, Trenerry has announced.

As for California, Deadwood Revival has been to Dead on the Creek once before, in 2010. They drove down in a regular car.

This summer, though, is a different story, for the band and its wheels.

“We were out taking our dog for a walk” recently, Trenerry begins.

On this walk, she beheld a big blue bus, and inquiries around the neighborhood revealed the owner: John Lesh, Trenerry and Mogi’s neighbor.

It just so happens that Lesh shares the surname of the Grateful Dead’s bass player, Phil Lesh.

Trenerry said John Lesh believes they’re related, but has yet to contact the bassist to verify it.

So onward: Trenerry and Mogi thought what a beautiful ride this bus could be, down to Uncle John’s.

John Lesh, who bought the bus to go to music festivals in the first place, agreed to be their driver, setting an art project in motion.

“We could make this a spectacular bus,” Trenerry thought.

“We called our artist friends, and they called their artist friends,” and one of them, Jeff Tocher, got the city’s permission to pull the thing up beside the City Pier stage last Wednesday night.

While the Starlings, a country-folk band from Seattle, played the weekly Concert on the Pier, Tocher and a small flock of other artists got busy painting.

Tocher and Doug Parent, both of Port Angeles, added mountains; Trenerry’s longtime friend Heather Buehner, visiting from their hometown of Marietta, Ga., painted a daisy behind the driver’s door.

Painting on Wednesday

The bus and the artists will come together again this Wednesday on City Pier, Tocher said; more Olympic Peninsula scenery will be added while Abby Mae & the Homeschool Boys, another Port Angeles-born old-time music outfit, plays.

As with all summer Concerts on the Pier, the band will perform from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Deadwood Revival will depart for Dead on the Creek by the end of next week; the festival runs from Aug. 5-8.

Then the band will be back for free concerts in Sequim on Aug. 16 and Port Townsend on Aug. 18.

For details, watch the Peninsula Daily News or check www.DeadwoodRevival.com.

Trenerry has moved out of the house she’s shared with Mogi since 1998, and plans to begin a new musical project with her longtime friend Katie Page.

Before stepping away to dance to the Starlings last Wednesday, Trenerry said she’s riding a wave of creativity these days.

“I’m writing songs again,” she added with a giddy smile.

Tocher, meanwhile, is just as inspired as he wields palette and paintbrushes.

“This bus,” he said, “is going to represent Port Angeles,” especially its “peace, love and beauty.”


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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