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The Big Huerta Explains “Clouds Are Moving” A Song By Rockford

History Lesson: Rockford is a California based band of four guys…3 of us went to the same high school in Westminster. Yes, the same high school that spawned serial killer Randy Kraft and Motley Crue singer Vince Neil. Jon Melkerson (lead guitar) wrote this song in high school probably on a ditch day. Jeff Beals ( guitar) and Jon were in a band called Eggplant (Doctor Dream Records) that was quite acclaimed in the SoCal area. This was where this song originally made its’ appearance.

Fast forward a good 20 years: Rockford forms strictly for the love of playing music and local gigs. No dreams of stardom or contracts. We all went through that competitive thresher with various degrees of success. Four dudes, having fun, playing in the back of a pawnshop. One day Jeff is goofing around before practice and Marty Beal (engineer/producer/bassist/ studio rat) and I fall in. Jon just laughs it off….after much cajoling we play it about 4 times.

A month later, with a collection of tunes in pocket, Rockford records at The Compound Studio in Long Beach, owned and operated by Antoine Arvizu, an incredible drummer and person. Many well-known musicians have recorded there in that hallowed, yet very comfortable, room. So dig, between sessions, I fall out of a car ( Brian Wilson’s fault) break my ankle and do ligament damage…but we have session time booked! So the show must go on. I am a left handed drummer and of course, I broke my left ankle. On about 4 songs, I am playing drums right handed, including “Clouds Are Moving”. I am probably the only one that will notice this. Marty told me I am a better time keeper when I play right handed. Marty is a smart ass but he may be right. Anyways, this was recorded, basically, in one take if I recall correctly. To me, this song has a magic to it. From only playing the song about 4 times before we ever laid it down, to one take, in studio.

You can hear the many influences that make up our sound. Dig the vocal harmony and interplay that Jon and Jeff have honed through the years. They are the Simon and Garfunkel of the group. They do have a history of being high school buddies that continue to play a part in each other’s lives, much like S & G. Throw in Marty’s pedal steel and a nod to The Flying Burrito Brothers come to mind. I can also hear Neil Young in some guitar parts…especially when it sounds like it is going to the edge of psychedelia. Some Dylan era harmonica and throw in some Al Jackson or some Muscle Shoals (Roger Hawkins) laidback basic but driving drumming and you got Rockford in a nutshell.

The video was put together splendidly by Jeff… albeit stolen from an old skater movie. But it goes incredibly perfect with the song. From the California lifestyle of skateboarding and playing music with pals in the garage to the point in most of our lives when we fall in love for the first time. Where we have to make a decision between friends or the girl…yet now as we wallow in middle age, we look back and wonder how we lost the innocence and how all of a sudden we have mortgages and jobs we hate and kids and lost relationships. Sometimes thoughts of that first sweetheart creeps back into one’s mind and you find yourself wishing you could go back in time and be just a little bit wiser and treasure and bask in the innocence of youth…yet the clouds keep moving…much too fast, to catch a ride…and make it last. Life, folks…Enjoy the moments. Treasure love…Peace to you all.

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