The marquee at Whisky a Go Go touts Bend's Eric Tollefson
Late last week, local blues-rock singer-songwriter guy Eric Tollefson sent along the picture at right.
It’s not the world’s greatest photograph, but it’s the content that matters: On Oct. 20, Tollefson and Tim Schroeder (a local guitarist and employee of The Bulletin) traveled to Southern California to perform at the world-famous Whisky a Go Go nightclub in West Hollywood. “Driving up and seeing the Whisky for the first time in person and having this on the marquee was too cool,” Tollefson said. It was, he said, “the time of our lives.”
The Whisky has occupied the same corner in West Hollywood since early 1964, and it has hosted most of rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest names, including The Byrds, The Who, Van Halen, the Ramones, Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana. The Doors were the club’s house band for a while.
Tollefson got the gig after his sister saw a Whisky ad calling for acoustic acts to play the club and submitted a link to his MySpace page and his cell number. “I was going to follow up and send them our new electronic press kit, and they ended up calling me the next week to offer me some dates,” Tollefson said. “(I) was shocked and excited.”
After playing the legendary club with Schroeder, Tollefson called to thank the Whisky staff and was offered more dates, he said. Next time, he hopes to take his entire band — which includes Pat Pearsall and Lindsey Elias of Empty Space Orchestra — down to L.A. “The good news is, they want us as a steady gig,” he said.
Tollefson is also working on other out-of-town dates in Idaho, Colorado and Nevada, he said.
Only six months ago, Tollefson was a relative unknown when he burst onto Bend’s music scene with his album “The Sum of Parts.” Maybe you knew who the guy was, but I pay pretty close attention to local music, and I had never heard of him before I wrote this article in advance of his CD-release gig at Silver Moon Brewing in April.
In the months since, though, Tollefson has done very well for himself, regularly headlining Silver Moon and scoring spots opening for Jackie Greene and G. Love & Special Sauce. That’s no shock, really. From the first time I listened to “The Sum of Parts,” I thought this guy had an opportunity to find an audience outside Central Oregon, thanks primarily to his catchy songs and easygoing vibe, like Jack Johnson if he were from the mountains instead of the beach.
If you haven’t seen Tollefson live, your next chance locally is at Nov. 7 at Silver Moon. Rumors of a Tollefson/Empty Space gig at the Domino Room in December are floating around, too, so let’s hope that comes to fruition.