Ten years ago, Jake Wolf very nearly died. This week marked the 10th anniversary of a bike accident that almost killed him.
"They said I would lose my leg," said Wolf, who with his big hair and happy smile is a fixture at local music events. "They said I would never walk again. Certainly never bike, ski, snowboard, drum, etc ... I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to say I'm walking, riding and rocking harder than ever."
The experience left Wolf, a local musician and the music director at Avon Elementary school, with a spirit of gratefulness. And it taught him an important lesson.
"Cherish the ones who hold you up, and (don't) dwell on those that let you down," he said. "Treasure each moment in time, even if it isn't the perfect moment, It's better than no moment at all."
He calls his life now "bonus time."
"Looking back on the last 10 years with scrutiny, I can honestly say I have done more good with my bonus time than not good," he said. "I'm no angel and I am certainly no Mother Theresa. I am proud of the things I have given back, and thankful I was given the ability to continue 'enjoying the ride.'"
Wolf is the drummer in the Rocky Mountain Grateful Dead Revue, a band that's been around since 2005. It was formed with the top players from Grateful Dead tribute bands in the Rocky Mountain region. The band is only performing seven shows this year, and Saturday night's concert at State Bridge marks the third show of 2012. Wolf took the time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily.
Vail Daily: What can people expect from your show at State Bridge?
Jake Wolf: The band's forte lies in its faithful rendering of Grateful Dead material, both originals and covers, and the Grateful Dead's trademark style of improvisation. Achieved through a careful balance of comprehension and execution of the more defined musical elements of the material with a fearless passion to connect with the elusive 'X factor' that Jerry Garcia affectionately spoke of, Rocky Mountain Grateful Dead Revue remains aligned with the Dead's creed of playing off the energy of the audience and making them an integral component of the overall dynamic.
VD: You have a new keyboardist on the lineup. Tell me about what Ted Tilton brings to the band.
JW: Ted Tilton brings a delightful new twist on some of our favorite songs. His energy on the stage and his sharp ear allow the band to twist and turn down the road of improvisation with greater ease than ever before. Ted is a veteran in the scene and is a welcomed new element for this particular lineup. He is all about the love and it shows.
VD: The show is an instrument drive for the Avon Elementary School of Rock. Tell me more about that program and what is does for kids.
JW: As music director at Avon Elementary School of Rock, I have brought instruments into the hands and hope into the hearts of these students. From Yo-Yo Ma and Keller Williams, to Vince Herman and DJ Logic, I have exposed these students to a variety of talented and famous musicians, which in this day and age, children desperately need. I have creatively and positively changed the lives of these kids by helping them believe that they are talented and deserving of learning and being exposed to new experiences. Their success in the music room has undoubtedly carried over to their success in the classroom. The elementary school itself is sometimes referred to as "The Little School that Could." On Sept. 7th we'll find out if we won the National Blue Ribbon Award. The National Blue Ribbon Award is the highest honor a public school can receive. I know in my heart, and would bet everything I own, that we will win. The administrator, staff and building support give 132 percent to these kids, and it will show when we go to D.C. to get that award. So, if you have an old instrument hanging around the house, put it to some good use and donate it to the program.
VD: Tell me about three of the songs people will for sure hear on Saturday night.
JW: We never write setlists. We have a general idea of what we know and might pick a couple to start with. I bet you will hear "One More Saturday Night," "Drums" and "Space" ... But who really knows.
VD: What's your favorite, recent State Bridge memory?
JW: I would have to say Campout for the Cause over Memorial Day weekend. It's hard to get out and see your fellow musicians.