The QuickTurtle® Band, The QuickTurtle Fiddle

QuickTurtle Violin
QuickTurtle Fiddle

     The QuickTurtle Band had stopped over in Cabo San Lucas to let Robbie get in a little surf casting before their concert in San Diego.  TBone sometimes joined him in the rolling waves but decided to forego the fishing fun for the opportunity to design and build QT Magnolia a new fiddle.  He had been struggling with what to get her for birthday and this was the perfect opportunity for creating and giving her something meaningful.

     Her original fiddle had been recently misplaced or stolen while on their major-city tour in South America.  QT was by no means devastated by its loss but the fiddle did have memories of younger days associated with it.  TBone knew it was his chance to replace it.

     He tipped his hat to Robbie and headed down the beach.

     He scored even before he arrived at the first cove.  He found some great pieces of driftwood in a rocky area that was seldom touched except by the highest of tides.  The right pieces of wood always seemed to speak to him and several pieces jumped out and spoke very eloquently.  If they didn’t talk, they wouldn’t sing and he didn’t compromise when it came to instrument building.  He hauled them back to the beach area near the hotel and went to work.

     TBone loved the craft of woodworking.  He went about the the task of building his instruments as if he were possessed.  He lived on coffee and didn’t stop tinkering until the fiddle was strung and ready to be tuned.  His nerves were standing on edge as he tightened the first string.  When he plucked it, it resonated all the way to his toes and he knew immediately that he had created something very special for QT.  He smiled an laid back in the warm sand completely satisfied and exhausted.

     QT found him that way, fast asleep with the fiddle cradled in his arms.  When she reached out and put her hand on the instrument it felt almost alive.  She couldn’t resist the temptation and gingerly extracted it from TBone’s grasp.  She found Robbie and they headed for her bungalow to get her bow.  Robbie brought along his guitar and they fiddled with creating their new hit song, “The Anchor’s Chain”.

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®     http://www.quickturtlebooks.com

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The QuickTurtle® Band, The 3 String Wheezer

IMG_0972

`      Howie Burn from CCB’s Radio Show “Tune In, Not Out” was scheduled to pick up the band at the airport.  The QuickTurtles had just left the Philippines and Howie was to meet them when they touched down in Seoul.  They had an interview set up at the restaurant in the hotel.

Unfortunately TBone was in one of his more meditative moods when they debarked.  He commandeered Howie to drop QT and Robbie off at the hotel and then directed Howie to head for the ocean minus a camera man.  Howie really didn’t mind, if he could get a few questions answered on the drive.  He could then write his article in the air-conditioned rental car while TBone traipsed around in the heat.

“I heard your new song, The Blue Guitar.”  Howie remarked.

“Creepy,” TBone replied as he looked out the window at Seoul.

When nothing further was offered, Howie plowed ahead.  “Are you having Alcohol issues, TBone?”

“See that pagoda with the green roof?” TBone asked, “I think that is the place QT and I ate the last time we were in town.  They have great Korean Barbecue.”

“You hungry?”  Howie asked.

“Not now.  I want to get to the beach and look for materials for this instrument that is rattling around in my head.”

“That song, TBone, are you doing okay?”

“Howie, I’m doing great.  It was just a song.  It was at the end of our tour.  We were stuck at the Limbo airport with nothing to do.  I wasn’t drinking or standing at urinals all night except in my imagination.  That’s what song writing is about.  We make it up.  We create something that’s not there.”

“Art imitates life,” Howie said.

“No, life imitates art,” TBone replied and set out to build an instrument that mimicked the chirp of the yellow birds that had been hanging around the hotel courtyard while the band was in Manilla.

TBone built what he dubbed “The 3 String Wheezer”.   After several aborted attempts he was able to pick the bird’s notes almost perfectly on it’s strings.  Now those damn birds keep showing up in strange hotels in places like Norway or Iceland.  Makes you want to chuck a handful of sunflower seeds just to appease them.

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®

The QuickTurtle® Band

image     The Little Pinky

While on tour in Japan, the instrument maker and bassist for The QuickTurtle Band, TBone Ditty was inspired by an instrument he saw being played by a youthful Geisha Girl in the hotel where the band was holed up.  The sound was very delicate and ethereal.  When QT Magnolia began to hum along and dance sensually to the melody, TBone had to cool down and vacated the premises.  He went for a stroll along the rocky shore of the Pacific Ocean and gathered an array of magical driftwood to construct what he called his Little Pinky.

The instrument showed up unexpectedly in their final show in Nagasaki along with the cute little Geisha Girl who played a lovely rendition of The QuickTurtle’s song “Heaven’s Day”.  With The Turtlettes singing backup and with QT’s convincing lead vocals they brought the house down.  Since this song was originally recorded as a punk song, it was a drastic deviation from what the young Japanese audience had been expecting.  To TBone’s credit, it turned into an overwhelming success.

As for the Japanese press, there’s a rumor going around that the beautiful Geisha Girl was stowed away on the plane for the band’s flight back to the British Isles.  Can we expect to see this young Asian lassie as part of their upcoming show at the Albert Hall?  Would they be so bold?  God save the Queen.

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®

PineApple Ukulele

image      The QuickTurtle Band’s PineApple Ukulele

Howie Burn of CCB Radio caught up with Robbie Slade, guitarist for The QuickTurtle Band while surf fishing in Hawaii.

Robbie is an avid surf caster and not that hard to locate if you know where to look.  You just need a fishing pole and some patience.

Robbie was enthused and happy to share a fish story and answer a question or two regarding the band.

“Last week I hooked an albacore right there off that outcrop and the sharks went crazy.  Almost lost her but managed to weave her in through a maze of those hungry buggers.  That’s what I’m hoping to hook into today.  Nothing like a nice shark on the other end of the rod for a worthy battle.”

“Not too sure about the shark business,” Howie remarked and looked around suspiciously.

“Never seen one try to take a bite out of me,” Robbie chided, “suppose there could be a first time though.”  He shrugged his shoulders and made another cast.

Howie took one more anxious look around and asked, “How many instruments do you own and play, Robbie?”

“As many as I am given,” he joked.  “Really.  Over the last few years at least a couple of dozen for our shows and another couple of dozen when we’re just messing around.”

“I noticed you had something new on stage last night.  Will you be pulling it out of the bag soon?”

“As a matter of fact, yes.  Tonight.  We’ve been working on a new version of “All of That”.  It will feature The PineApple Ukulele.  That was what you were looking at.  It’s a great little Uke that TBone recently put together on the North Shore.  I…Whoa!  Fish on!”

“Wow!  Is that a shark?”

“Hammerhead!”  Robbie exclaimed and grinned.

The reel screamed as the shark made a run for deeper water.  Robbie laughed and played her like his guitar.  A real virtuoso.

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Book®

The QuickTurtle™ Band

IMG_0033           The QuickTurtle Electric Bass

Built by the famed instrument maker and Stand Up Bassist of The QuickTurtle Band, TBone Ditty.  This bass made it’s first appearance in the initial recording of The Diagnostic Symptoms Blues.  It is now a part of Robbie Slades arsenal of instruments.  TBone built the bass at the St. Andrews Estuary while picnicking with QT Magnolia the band’s lead singer.

QT in a recent interview with Howie Burn from CCB Radio talked about TBone and his music making prowess.

“That was truly a glorious weekend,” QT recalls, “we had just finished our European Tour and needed to get out from under our road weariness.  We were having a nice little picnic when TBone spotted the bass’s soundboard calling out to him from a pile of sea strewn debris.  After a little more searching he had his little pile of gems all laid out on our blanket.  Not only did TBone build the bass right there on the spot, he wrote the lyrics to The Diagnostic Symptoms Blues after hearing from one of our fans that there was an epidemic of ADHD drugging of young QuickTurtles at his alma mater WestBank Elementary School.”

“Right into create mode!”  Howie exclaimed.

“It was.  We arranged and wrote the music that same day.  It was recorded the very next weekend.”

“I understand TBone builds all of his instruments by hand?”

“Yes he’s a naturalist.  He has great hands and an abundance of patience.  He also has a fabulous ear.  It’s a good thing because he needs it when it comes to me.”

“Thank you, QT.  Anything new on the horizon?”

“I’d just say, hold on to your toupee there Howie!”