Author: Thomasson, Ron

Quarterly Rants
Editor’s Note--Because of the nature of our respective careers, (she applications programmer, me team leader of a Internet development business), my wife and I have side-by-side computers set up on a wall-length counter in our study. And that’s where, most mornings, you can find us sitting side-by-side, sipping lattes, reading mail, checking the news, updating the web site, etc., etc. And it was thusly engaged day before yesterday that my efforts to compose the Almost Daily News were continually being interrupted by her giggles and, periodically, out-and-out belly laughing. “What’s so funny,” I finally asked, less out of curiosity than annoyance. “Oh,” Lynn said between chortles, “it’s Ron Thomasson. His ‘Quarterly Rant’ showed up in my in-box this morning. You gotta read this stuff. Ron is a very funny guy.” So I read it. And she’s right, and so now I say to you, fellow CBA’ers….you gotta read this stuff. I communicated with Ron yesterday and he’s given his permission to re-post his rants right here at We’re going to do one quarterly installment per week till we run all the past installments, then you’ll get them as Lynn gets them, once every four months. (Oh, who is Ron Thomasson? He’s the founder and leader of the nationally-touring Dry Branch Fire Squad bluegrass band who’s known as much for his satirical wit as he is for his lead singing and mandolin playing.) And finally, let me hasten to add….the views and opinions expressed by the guest Welcome columnist are not necessarily those of the California Bluegrass Association. RC)

FIRST INSTALLMENT: My Favorite Bluegrass Sound Memories
Ron Thomasson

This will be the first installment in my lifetime obligation to write quarterly “Humorous Anecdotes.” The idea to do this came about at a promotional/marketing meeting at Rounder Records, Inc., the first one such that I had ever attended. The plan was for Dry Branch Fire Squad to develop an email list of folks that the band would want to communicate with—for some reason which was clear to me at the time, but escapes me now. You can expect to receive as many as two or three of these per year.

This brings me to the words humorous anecdote. The last sentence of the first paragraph is the funniest thing I’ve ever written. I doubt that I’ll ever exceed it in pure humor. I tell you this so you don’t get your hopes up. Or mine.

In fact, I thought someone at the meeting had said, “Humorous Anticdote (and I think it was me, so I should know what I said—or, at least what I’m saying I said, since I wouldn’t have said anything if I’d have thought for a second that anyone of those professional marketers and promoters were going to take an idea of mine seriously). Ah, yes, Humorous Anticdote! Now that would have been something I could have gotten my teeth into.

Having propagated this misconception to trick almost everyone who will be receiving this into signing up for our list, I feel it’s only right to set the record straight. You may sometime in the future actually receive a humorous anecdote. You may also be receiving some humorous anticdotes. In addition I intend to try my hand at writing some serious anecdotes and even some serious anticdotes. I have always thought that serious humor is the best kind, if for no other reason than I never feel compelled to explain it to those who don’t get it. So just remember, if I write something in one of these quarterlies which you will only receive bi- or tri-annually, that’s the whole joke. And if you feel let down you can also take comfort in remembering that it was Nietzsche who said that the explanation of a joke is the death of an idea. (Can anyone even remember nowadays, with the possible exception of Eddie Stubbs, what band Nietzsche played in—and what instrument?)

Now I’m aware that I wrote something above which has already upset a few people. Those are the people who did not sign up to be on the list of folks who will receive this. They are probably wondering, “What did I ever do to………”

You see, the folks who signed up had some choice in the matter. I know they did it out of sympathy, and the whole band appreciates it. Rounder Records appreciates it. Of course, by now the folks whose sympathy got the best of them are already thinking, “Why did I do it?” “How do I get off of this list?” “Oh, delete button, don’t fail me now.” But the real joke is on Rounder Records, Inc.

Those poor folks expected this to be some sort of marketing tool. They expected me to make announcements of where the band will be playing (so you can buy our records), how to find the link on website to Rounder Records (so you can buy our records), even where DBFS eats, sleeps, plays, hangs out, and so on (so you can buy our records). I would have added practices to the list above, but who would have been fooled.

Now anyone who knows DBFS well enough to sign up for this thing, knows full well that we come down somewhere between Zen Marketing and Hardly At All Salesmanship. Folks who see us at festivals know we only keep our little table open for the bare minimum of time to move products. Some of you have even “hunted us down” to try to extract some records from us, while others have had to interrupt our high-pressure sales-talks with statements like, “Have you already put everything away?” and “Is it too late for me to get something, if I can tell you exactly what I want?”

So let me say right here and now that the folks at Rounder Records, Inc., have made some of the best recordings ever. You should really get some of their records. Many of the top artists in every “niche” field of music record for Rounder Records. The discs are well-made and have been through much fine quality control. The liner notes are the best in the world. The pictures on the covers are very attractive—especially considering that many of the pictures are of the actual performers who make the music on their products. Satisfaction is unavoidable. If you’re only going to buy one record this year (or in your life), make sure it is a Rounder Record. There.

And, if you can’t think of any particular Rounder Record right at the moment, but the above sales pitch has you sweating-at-the-jowls, frothing-at-the-mouth, and foaming-at-the-wallet to buy one, why, why not visit our website: and see the wonderful random selection of Rounder Records there—available for your immediate purchase.

But I was talking about those poor souls who did not sign up to get this. Who are they? A few were selected from my very short list (big surprise) of long-time, trusted good friends. These are people I know will tell me where to “get off.” They are, in fact, well-practiced. A few others are people that I have been in the bluegrass business with. They can also perform the where-to-get-off service. Others still are people who are my friends and neighbors that I see frequently and that I would not wish to cause any discomfort or consternation, a few of which actually asked to be included on the list, and since I have so little space in which to carry information, I have been unable to remember which ones. Therefore, I have selected many, hoping not to miss the ones who made the request, without regard to the feelings of the others.

One person was selected for particular punishment. He is the person who gave me my first computer. You know the old saying: The first one’s free.

And one was selected because of what I like to think of as courage. (See what you think.) It is my erstwhile college professor of Satire from many years ago. Knowing, or at least suspecting, what’s coming, as I do; I put this selection in the same realm as going down one of those recently identified Double Black Diamonds. (Remember Nietzsche.)

Rest easy; I’m about done.

However, before I quit, I’d like to say what I hope will happen here.

I would like for these “mus
Posted:  1/4/2007

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