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Warm Musical Goodbye for our Friend and Badass Bassist, Pat Campbell

Updated: Dec 11, 2022




On Sunday December 4 there was a very special event at HopMonk, Novato for friend and bass player extraordinaire, Patrick Campbell. Musicians of all calibers attended, played and shared their own personal stories about their friend Pat. People that have known and played with Pat for many decades were there sharing their love and their music with us all. It was something very special to be seen and felt.


The photo above showing Pat and Gene Parsons, was taken a few years ago at one of Pats dearest friends' Robin Zickels birthday party. I included it because Pat always told me this was one of his favourite photos. The other one is my signature shot of Tom Petty. He must have told me a hundred times how much he loved that one too! I had planned to deliver to Pat, hard copies of them both, but sadly he passed before I could get them to him, and he never held them in his hands before he died. I thought he had more time. I was wrong. So thats why they are pictured above. They are for Pat, from me. ❤️ Misjudging time that we have here on earth can be tricky and sometimes we get it wrong. I got this very wrong.


We live our lives hoping to be the best humans we can strive to be, treating others with respect, dignity and love. Someday when our time comes to leave our earthly body, and be an angel on the next plain, we can only hope that the people we leave behind, remember us with such kindness, warmth and love. A day like this one, that exuded a special warmth, from the very first minute of the event, we would all be lucky to receive from those who loved us whilst we were alive. We can only hope that the mark we leave can be as deep as the love and friendship that was experienced for Pat Campbell on this day.


When I walked in, I expected to be on the list, as my friend, one of Pats' dear friends' told me I would be. I told the guy at the desk my name and he said there was no list and the entry is $30. I told him I'm here to work the event and photograph it, he said, there is no list. And then he said its for a good cause, ELM, (Enriching Lives Through Music), and when he said that, I replied that I'll go get some cash...and before I could finish my sentence, the lovely man behind me said, "I got her" and paid my entry. I later learned after speaking to this kind man, that he happens to be one of my besties', Robin Zickels', childhood friends from Sacramento, William Mylar. A musician well known in the Sacramento area. Apparently, they've known each other since they were teens at High School together. Super nice, kind and generous guy, and thats what the flavour of the how the day went, throughout this event. Kindness and warmth was everywhere. Music was in the air and if you werent masked up all day like me, smiles abound! Pat would have been so proud. And I'm sure he was there, watching from above, commenting on time keeping, and listening to his friends tell great stories about their many decades together playing, fishing, and jamming at his yearly Yard Dogs jam in his backyard, each summer.


I knew Pat through Robin. And on a personal note, in the last year of Pats life what I witnessed of my friend Robin, is what a good friend to Pat he was. He went to Pats house for several days at a time. Stayed there with him, cooked and cleaned for Pat and took him to hospital visits. Robin was for Pat as good as a friend could be. It makes me so proud to have seen that Robin would have done anything for his friend Pat...and he did. He went above and beyond providing support for his buddy, especially in the last year or two of Pats life. Its really what I hope is what a normal loving freindship is or can be. But many people arent as lucky as Pat to have such good hearts surround him in his last days, months and years on the planet. Pat had that in Robin and I'm sure in many other friends. Some close to him for 50+ years. I was proud to have been included in this day of musical love at "The Tiki Bar"!


A bit about Pat....Pat lived life immersed in music. And he even died watching a music themed film, "Elvis". He died July 28 at a Novato movie theater after going out for a cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake, said his daughter, Remy Hennessee. For the last couple of years he had suffered with cancer, and during the "Elvis" film, he had experienced kidney failure and went into cardiac arrest and died. He was 74.


Pat Campbell was a self-taught musician. He played both acoustic and electric bass, backing Mike Bloomfield, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Big Joe Turner, among others. His legacy project was the Good Old Boys, formed in the early 1970s when bluegrass music enjoyed a revival. David Nelson of the New Riders of the Purple Sage was on guitar, and the eccentric virtuoso Frank Wakefield was on mandolin. For one famous two-night stand on Feb. 20 and 21, 1975, at Margarita’s Cantina in Santa Cruz, Jerry Garcia was on banjo and vocals.


A note from Robin: "Pat Campbell's, "Tiki Bar (thank God the tiki bar is open ) musical memorial"

On Sunday, December 4, 2022, a gathering of well over 100 musicians plus their fans showed up at Novato HopMonk’s session room to celebrate the musical life of Pat Campbell.

And what a celebration it was! To say I was overwhelmed by the amount of famous talent in that room that day, and into the evening would be a vast understatement. Luckily, I was somewhat prepared having attended a smaller gathering to rehearse for the event a few days earlier. With members of bands Jefferson Starship, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Ace of Cups, The Blues Project/Seatrain, Maria Muldaur, and Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. Country Joe and the Fish, Electric Flag, New riders of the Purple Sage, David Nelson, Barry Melton, David Freiberg, Linda, Imperial, Dave Getz, Roy Blumenfeld, Nick Gravenites, Grammy award nominated Roberta Donnay, Lorin Rowan , and many more amazing musicians. Propelled along by Hardly Strictly Bluegrass MC, Chuck Poling and the house band with musical Director, Dore Coller, Willow Van Den Hook, Steve Valverde, Marcus David, Jeanie Poling, Peter Harris, Diane Vitalich and Robin Zickel. Pat Campbell's family asked to donate the proceeds from this event to ELM, Enriching Lives Through Music. Jane Kramer, founder and Director of ELM was in happy attendance! The Pat Campbell, family and friends of family are thrilled that over $2000 was donated to ELM that night. The Pat Campbell Tiki Bar Musical Memorial, four hour celebration morphed into 6 1/2 hours. For those lucky enough to have been there, the evening was filled with phenomenal performances one after the other. Enhanced by the mind blowing sound design of Dan Healey, HopMonk Session Room's private bar, excellent security and staff and a room full of admiration and love for so many's musical compadre Pat Campbell."


Pats' annual summer Yard Jam in Pats' backyard on Friendly Lane in Novato was a date circled on the calendar of every bluegrass performer in the Bay Area. Guitar players and banjo pickers, fiddlers and mandolinists, even bongo drummers would form a half-dozen spontaneous circles with a different song building in each. The one player every circle wanted was Campbell, who had a cool stage presence and a light touch on his upright bass, holding the hootenanny together as it went from daylight deep into the night. I attended the last few Yard Dog Jams and it was musical fun on steroids! I even got to tell the first artist I had ever seen in concert that she was my first ever concert I got to attend! Maria Muldaur opened in 1974 at The Hollywood Bowl for The Grateful Dead. And at one of Pats' Yard Jams I got to tell her that she was my first ever conecert!!! Now who gets to do that? I have very fond memories of the surly, opinionated, and kind, Pat Campbell. Although I didnt know him for as long as many at this event, he was always kind to me and always gave me a smile.


The musicians in the photos include: Jim Strand, Robin Zickel, Jeanie and Chuck Poling, Peter Harris, David Nelson, Bill Cutler, Dave Getz, Joe New, Barry Melton, Nick Gravenitis, Roy Blumenfeld, Linda Imperial, Willow van den Hoek, David Frieberg, Craig Cafall, Lorin Rowan, Roberta Donnay, Diane Vitalich, Marcus David, Dore Coller, Jimbo Trout, Steve Valverde, Steve Shufton, Gary Kaye, Randy Rood, Tonee Norman, Ken Emerson, Dan Healy and more. (My apologies if i missed your name). Last photo (of me) shot by Bruce Forrester.


Please be kind, and treat each other with love. Always listen to music that moves you. And, tell those that you love..."I love you"....OFTEN. You may not get another chance. Above all...remember....LIFE IS SO DAMN SHORT! Dont do what I did with those two photos Pat wanted from me and wait. I didnt get them to him in time. Dont make that mistake with your loved ones. Make time for those you love, cause thats all we have to give is our time. ❤️


The music community will miss you, Pat Campbell! .... Keep on rockin! 🎵






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