The Crew

Who runs this show?

Tree Williams

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Tree began studying music at age 15 with his first guitar fresh out of the Sears department store. He attended Western Nebraska Community College doubling on bass and The University of Northern Colorado as a classical guitar performance major. After college he began performing with various bands on both guitar and bass. His first CD, Under A Fuchsia Sky was released in 1992 with the rock fusion trio Fuchsia Sky. After spending years as a semi-pro musician and attending the sound-man school of hard knocks Tree left his day job for a career in music. Splitting his time (about evenly) between mixing live bands, playing bass in bands and performing solo guitar shows Tree began life as a full time musician 2002.

 

 

 

Richie Thompson Square 3stampedeTree has played with many Colorado bands like: American Idol’s Richie Law, Union Gray, 11th Hour, The Jess Redmond Band, Slick Machine, Kelly J, Fatt Catt Freddie, 69 Times and Ben Wah and the Blue balls.

 

 

 

nelsonjohn adamsThese days Tree spends his nights mixing bands and his days mixing down the live show from the night before. Tree has mixed great bands including: Mötley Crüe’s John Corabi, Lola Black, Thumpin’, Moses Jones, The Cowboy Dave Band, Flipside, Romeo Delight, Counterfeit Music Company, Judge Roughneck, Bob Door Blues Band, In-2-Wishin, and many more.

Tree joined Open Stage Denver in 2011 and became the owner in 2015. He is our primary host at open mic nights and also writes our newsletter.

 

David Widlund

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Dave started Open Stage Denver somewhat by accident. He has always had a love of music and entertaining. His dad started a mobile DJ company in the late 70’s with some of the best gear available. Dave got to follow along on his dad’s shows when he was just 10 years old, and within a few shows he was learning how to wrap cables, balance the tone arm of the turntables, how to plug lights into controllers and how to lift very heavy things. By 6th grade, he had joined the school band and even DJ’d his first show – for his own 6th grade class. He had great teachers along the way, both in band, and in entertainment. He was DJ’ing his own shows by the time he was 16, and did this on and off until 1998 when he made the move to the big city – Denver. He studied music and theatre in college, where he also met Chris “Tree” Williams.

When Dave left school, he sold his trombone, and bought a guitar. After playing for about a year, he went to his first open mic at a coffee shop in Rapid City, South Dakota. It was a stark white place, and it was filled with 60 or 70 people. None of which were people he knew. They were all talking and laughing and enjoying their caffeine buzz. He thought this was going to be great, they weren’t paying attention at all. Then 7 PM hit. The host informed him he was the only act. Suddenly, nerves shot, he went to the microphone, and strummed a nervous chord. That’s when the nightmare began. Everyone stopped talking, drinking, laughing. They turned their chairs to the stage and gave THEIR FULL ATTENTION! It was the worst thing they could do. He played through his 3 songs, losing the pick inside his guitar hole, it was so slippery from the sweaty fingers. When it was over, no caffeine buzz could have matched the adrenaline rush still coursing through his veins. It was over. Finally.

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Over the next few years, his singing and playing got much better, and the occasional open mic night became a thrill and a place to meet new friends and players. After moving to Denver in 1998, he attended the open mic in his new neighborhood, the Highlands. It was and is still called Meade Street Station. The same host still runs the show there on the same night every week. It was so cool. There were tons of people in there who were around his age, and who really appreciated live music. Since then, open mics were his main outlet for playing.

He decided to check with other venues to see if they would let him host an open mic night. This went on for two years before finally, a place in his own neighborhood said “sure, let’s give it a shot”. The Barking Goat in Castle Pines became his first open mic night. He barely had enough gear to make it work, but it started to grow. The place sold, and the new ownership didn’t have the fortunes that the original did, and it became apparent that the place was going to close. He was sad to see it ending. So he built a primitive website and gave it the name “Open Stage Denver”, hoping that giving it a virtual presence and a name would make it easier to sell to another venue. It worked. The Columbine Lounge in Littleton agreed to have us. Then it was the Tailgate Lounge, then it was Bistro Al Vino, then it was Slam Bar, then Sweetwater, then Pizza Street, and even a couple of short engagements including Bannock Street Garage.

Over time, the crew grew and the equipment got better, and he became a real live sound man. Now he spends 4 times as much time doing sound for events than hosting open mic nights. He loves working in the music industry and has a special place in his heart for Barry Fey.

Steve Wilson

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Steve “Doc” Wilson joined Open Stage Denver as a host in summer 2010. He was a long-time host of our open mic at McMullen’s and Clavin’s.

In 2000 Carl Jones & Steve “Doc” Wilson “started CJ&S Sound & Lighting Co. They’ve done just about any kind of venue, and style of music. Some of the people Steve has worked with include: Albert Lee, Johnny Winter, Rory Block, Ricky Skaggs, Britney Fox, Earle Scruggs, Tab Benoit, Subdudes, Tommy Castro, Curtis Salgado and Bernard Allison to name a few. It has been his honor to work with them and he enjoyed them all.

Steve Believes that when doing sound, that he works with the musicians – whatever he can do to assist the musicians to perform at their best. If he can get the sound they want on the stage system, they have a better opportunity to produce the music they feel. As far as the audience, goes he likes them to experience a good clean balanced blend of all the musicians.

Steve’s dad began teaching him guitar & lap Steel in 1956. He switched to bass around 1958 when he was at a Cajun jam session at John Voisan’s home in Plaquemine La. It has been his instrument of choice ever since. His professional career began in Illinois playing in local R&R garage bands until 1967 when he joined a established touring R&R band (Loose Endz) and toured the Great Lakes area until 1969. Joined Mark Andrews and The Jet Tones (Country) in 1969 and toured the same areas. In 1970 he formed Silver City Review (Outlaw Country) with Tim Morris and began working the Fair Circuit in Illinois until 1972. From 1972 until 1990 Steve gave up music as a career and went to work for the Railroad. He continued playing as a sit-in bassist with many bands during this period. In Sheridan, WY. Steve formed the Buffalo Boys (Bluegrass) with Gary Peterson in 1991 and played the Wyoming area for about a year. Steve Moved to Casper, Wyoming in 1992 and worked with many different bands including The Grease Monkeys. He moved to Denver, Colorado in 2005. In 2007 he began playing with Side of the Road (Acoustic Rock, Blues, Americana, and Irish) and is still playing with them. He joined Kate LeRoux Band for about a year and still sits in with them when needed. Steve also plays with The FTP band (Rock, Country & Blues), Chinook Wind (Acoustic Rock & Country) and with the John Adams John Denver tribute band.

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Steve’s dad is his greatest musical influence. Not only his talents as a guitarist & pedal steel player, but his philosophy about music itself. His teachings on how to think about music is the mainstay of how Steve plays today. To quote a one of his many philosophical approaches “Don’t learn to play like me, learn to play what you hear and feel, make the music yours. For example. If Johnny Cash is playing across the street from your band and his venue is hot and uncomfortable and your place is cool and plush. You are playing Johnny Cash better than he ever did. Where is the crowd going to be? Watching Johnny, because he is doing it his original way. One of his many other influences is Paul McCartney because his playing always seems to be just the right thing at the right time. If you change Paul’s bass line and you change the song itself. Steve’s guitar influences are Chet Atkins and Doc Watson. They incorporate the best of the guitar and bass working together to produce a sweet flow to their music.