When I heard of bassist Ron Trip Edwards’ passing, I called his friend and bandmate, Nate Coffey, who has spent the last seven years playing the open jam at Murph’s in Irondequoit with Trip.
Born Sept. 17, 1960, Trip was one of those ever-present chaps on the Rochester scene, at shows and innumerable open jams where as a bass player he filled in the bottom end admirably. He died of a heart attack last Thursday at 60.
According to Coffey, Trip had a rough start. After he lost his father when he was 13 years old, he lived in several different group homes. He would often tell Coffey stories about living on a farm and how it was hard work.
Trip went to many, many concerts, mostly rock and metal. It was rare to be at one of those shows and not see Trip there. He had a knack for getting in, mostly for free, as he would invariably know someone, and end up in front of the stage. Trip was a huge supporter of local bands.
He started playing bass later in life. Trip took lessons at Hochstein, studying theory. He loved his lessons and played in many bands like Liquid Magic and assorted projects including those with Don Anonymous and Suzi Willpower.
Coffey first met Trip at the open mic at Friends and Players, now called Angry Goat, a local dive on the corner of Goodman and Clinton. Some 25 years later, he and Coffey met up again and Trip was invited to come to the new open mic at Murph’s.
He fit right in, supporting all the acts with an easy-going vibe that rocked. So, he was invited to come with Coffey every week. Trip started learning Coffey’s material, which led to gigs outside of the Murph’s jams at bars and festivals such as the Honeoye Hootenanny and Beaver’s Barn Bash. They would play for five or six hours—until the sun came up.
Later in life, Trip lived right below his mom’s apartment. He loved that they were reconnected and he cherished his time with her. He took her to many concerts and to the Jazz Fest every year for 15 years, always looking out for her and others. Trip’s mother said that he spoiled her, cooking for her, going shopping and being a protective son.
Trip and Coffey played every Wednesday for seven years at Murph’s.That’s something like 350 gigs. They became real tight. Laughing in the car on the way to and from all those gigs.
Coffey fondly remembers his friend as “always peaceful and funny. A great talker and friend. R.I.P.”
Record review: Violet Mary
Living on the edge for its latest long player, “Kensington Green” may just be what
Violet Mary needs to push it over that proverbial edge. Don’t fret, if you dig the band’s largess and don’t want to be left out; they’re taking you along with them on ride.
This five-piece Rochester has always flirted with the abyss and the edge that encircles it. Violet Mary has consistently stared into the void for five albums so far. The heavy ’90s pop and grunge aftermath they dig resides there, after all. This time the abyss stared back … and answered. It isn’t just living in the unknown for this band; this time, they’re gonna enjoy the freefall just like their fans.
In a time of bands releasing abbreviated music, for financial limitations or music concerns, “Kensington Green” is refreshingly cool as it rolls out complete with 11 songs in the clip. Folks rave about lead guitarist Mike Muscarella’s flash twang and bang, and I could too. But the man has got a great voice as well.
Just dig as he nonchalantly comes from behind singing seriously and salaciously out of the slide guitar’s minimality, before the thunder of the organ swells in “Sarah’s Song.” It would sound a little like Alice In Chains, if not for front-lady Mel Muscarella wailin’ throughout. She’s the lead singer, for the most part.
Spin the disc and you’ll hear it and see what I mean. Those ’90s rock songs that obviously inspire Violet Mary had hooks and strong melodies. So does Violet Mary and so does “Kensington Green.” Homemade, and homegrown, Violet Mary is a Flour City original.
Violet Mary is slated to celebrate the release of “Kensington Green” with guests at 8 p.m., July 16, at Iron Smoke Distillery in Fairport.
Tommy Stinson is comin’ to town
When you’re a working musician racking up clicks on the odometer, spending your nights in motels that smell like whatever went on the night before, you tend to make concessions, you tend to make compromises. Yes, you lower your expectations.
For example, the last time Replacements founding member Tommy Stinson was playing an in-store show at the Bop Shop, the PA was getting uppity. It was a little frustrating. There were maybe 50 people crowded into the joint, ebbing around miles and miles of records and assorted ephemera and Stinson took matters into his own hands, diving right into the crowd. It looked like he was leading a campfire sing-along on a bus.
Speaking of campfires—Stinson’s new Fat Possum outfit, Cowboys in the Campfire with fellow songwriter Chip Roberts—finds the man diving into more of a rootsy strain than before. His previous work includes Grammy-nominated legends, the Replacements, and then the Stinson-lead Bash & Pop and Perfect. Stinson was also on retainer as bassist with Guns ’n’ Roses.
The Replacements, who Stinson joined when he was 11, were a beautiful disaster that wrote beautiful songs in spite of themselves. Stinson carries on the tradition. I kinda hope the PA acts up again.
Stinson plays Tuesday, July 13, at Abilene Bar & Lounge
Here’s a comprehensive list of live shows in and around Rochester: Get Your Gig On
Frank DeBlase is Rochester Beacon music writer.