Chico transitions and milestones

David Guzzetti

David Guzzetti

That endless skyway Anniversaries, hellos, goodbyes. Aside from all the ramblings about his own discoveries, fetishes and adventures in Chicoland, Arts DEVO enjoys devoting the space in this column to recording the various milestones and transitions of our arts/music community. And this week brings a doozy: After more than two decades of hosting “a musical journey in the tradition of Woody Guthrie” on KZFR, local caterer and former City Councilman David Guzzetti is retiring his Woody and Friends radio show. In an announcement on the station’s Facebook page, Guzzetti said, “[N]o tears here, just smiles for KZFR staff, volunteers and KZFR members and listeners for allowing me to play my favorite songs and invite guests for more than 1,100 shows over 22 years, every Monday morning!! Thanks so much!”

Station GM Rick Anderson said that, while there hasn’t been any specific replacement show booked yet, the timeslot will remain devoted to roots/Americana music. Take the journey one last time, Monday, March 16, 9 a.m.-noon, at 90.1 FM.

Dan Corbin at work in his Los Molinos studio.

And speaking of Woody Guthrie, this year marks the 75th anniversary of his signature song, “This Land Is Your Land.” On Feb. 23, 1940, Guthrie penned the original lyrics—his irritated response to Kate Smith’s popular version of the patriotic “God Bless America”—in a New York hotel room. It remains one of the most enduring songs ever, and it perfectly expresses Guthrie’s populist ideals and egalitarian vision of freedom for people of all walks of life—though some of his most pointed lyrics to that effect are often left out of campfire versions: “Was a high wall there that tried to stop me/A sign was painted said: Private Property/But on the back side it didn’t say nothing.”

And speaking of KZFR, this summer, Chico’s eclectic “people-powered” radio station will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Exact party plans haven’t been announced yet, but word is that there are “big plans” for multiple community celebations between May 19 and June 13. Stay tuned to 90.1 FM for more info, and for more great music and information from one of the pillars of the Chico community.

And, also celebrating a 25-year milestone this year is Chico’s Godfather of Jamming, Doug Stein. This Friday, March 13, at Lost on Main, the sleepy-eyed guitarist/vocalist will be playing with, well, everybody to commemorate his 25 years of rocking local clubs. Stein will be on stage all night, with two of his bands—Swamp Zen and Low Flying Birds—and also will join Electric Circus, GravyBrain and all of the gathered musicians for a closing monster jam.

Portrait of the artist at work This week’s photo essay (page 18) by CN&R’s badass photography intern Brittany Waterstradt has brought back one of my favorite Chico memories. Back in the late-1980s, shortly after moving to town, I was working at Chico State’s Meriam Library. A fellow book-shelver—an eccentric starving sculptor (now an eccentric, successful sculptor who sells his work to the likes of Sir Elton John) named Dan Corbin—“hired” me to assist him in his studio. In a sweatbox of a shop on a typical Chico summer day, my job was to stir some mystery goo while Corbin prepared casts for molds. Despite the nearly unbearable heat, it was thrilling to contribute some sweat (a lot of sweat) to the artist’s work. Plus, I got paid: one giant Tacos Cortez burrito and a 40-ouncer of domestic lager. It was pretty great day!