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viola-tor 10-18-2008 10:30 AM

VIOLA-TING AMERICA - Chasing the dream of music and motos
VIOLA-TING AMERICA - Chasing the dream of music and motos

Hello inmates! I’d like to formally introduce myself to the Asylum: I’ll be “viola-tor“ to YFFs. I’ve been lurking for a while, moderately active for a time, and this is my first ride report. It’s gonna be a doozy, one of those long journals I hope, though I can’t claim that mine will be as entertaining or as good of a read as some of the round-the-world riders’ reports, we just have to see how the adventure pans out, eh? I’d be really pleased if as many chicks are featured in my reports as there are in the Viking’s, but statistically I’m not sure that’s even possible! :lol3 I’m taking some turns (literally and figuratively) in my life that could bring everything together in a sublime way, or it could turn out the other way, the dark way, but I don’t think so. It’s just crazy enough to work! I keep thinking there will be defining moment to start the report, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen, since the wheels are already in motion (pun intended). There’s no sense in putting it off any longer, that would just mean more reflecting and catching up on what’s happening at an already fast pace.

Here’s the pitch: A talented but struggling musical artist defies tradition and combines his passion for motorcycle travel with the art of classical music to chase his dreams across the country (and beyond?). I know, I know, it probably doesn’t sound so grand to the ADVRIDER community here, but in the realm of classical music this is pretty crazy talk! I have a very real chance of combining my quest for a major symphony orchestra position with adventure motorcycling into a whole lifestyle, and THAT to me is very exciting indeed!

“Outside?!? What if there’s a spider? OMG!”

“Ride a motorcycle? What if it rains? OMG!”

Over the course this ride report I also hope to bring a little culture to YFFs. I know a lot of the motorcycle community isn’t into classical music, and anything I can do to bring more fans to this great genre one inmate at a time can only help the cause. I’m exploring the idea of a parallel report geared more towards non-riders and musicians which will expose them to the trials and tribulations of the motorcyclist, for many of THOSE lofty artists are ignorant of the dark arts of adventure motorcycling. I’m working on some blog webspace for the non-FF’s civilians.

In case you hadn’t guessed from my name, I play the viola (get it? Viola, Violator, VIOLA-TOR!!!). For you ignorant FF’s it’s like a violin in appearance and is played up on the shoulder, but it’s considerably bigger and sounds a fifth lower than a violin. It’s pronounced VEE-OH-LA, which doesn’t really make sense when you think about it, but that’s the way it is. Violas typically have a more mellow sound, darker tone, and have a rich resonance that fills the role between the more well known cellos and the violins in the orchestra and in string quartets (which have two violins, a viola, and cello). Violas and violists are also the butt of many musical jokes, more so than probably any other instrument, kinda like blond jokes! It’s part of the tradition and all in good fun.

Q: What’s the difference between a viola and a chain-saw?
A: You can tune a chain-saw.

Q: How do you know when there’s a violist at your door?
A: You know because they can’t find the key and don’t know when to come in.

Q: What’s the difference between a violin and a viola?
A: The viola is bigger, so it holds more beer! (Alternative answer: It burns longer.)

There are hundreds if not thousands of these jokes...

All the rest of the details and back-story should become clear in the first few posts. Some of the motorcycle related subjects will seem redundant or self explanatory, but I hope that there will be non-riders reading my reports too. Likewise some of the musical content will be elementary for a musician, but I’ll try to make this educational and entertaining for everyone. I’d say I play music very well (pro for 10 yrs), I’m an experienced rider (fast approaching 100,000 mi), a decent writer, a decent photographer, and my video skills are growing too, so put it all together and it should be a good ride!

Whatcha think?

Highlights of what’s to come:





9Dave 10-18-2008 11:08 AM


Originally Posted by viola-tor
There are hundreds if not thousands of these jokes...

q. Why are a viola player's fingers like lightning?
a. Because they never hit the same place twice!

You were at WF08, weren't you?

Hope your ride report is as good as your playing.


Ratty2austin 10-18-2008 12:31 PM


Originally Posted by 9Dave
You were at WF08, weren't you?

If this is the same guy, I have a few good photos of him from WF :evil


GB 10-18-2008 12:36 PM

That's some intro :thumb

Now let's get the ride report under way! :lurk

viola-tor 10-18-2008 12:55 PM


Originally Posted by Ratty2austin
If this is the same guy, I have a few good photos of him from WF :evil


Yesiree, that's me!

windburn 10-18-2008 12:56 PM

Well the tuning of the instrument has been done Now get on with the music :D

WSikorski 10-18-2008 02:25 PM

You've got at least one inmate here that listens to classical music.

We recently attended a salon style concert played by three members of the Philomel Baroque Orchestra. The instruments, recorders, cello and gamba, harpsicord.

The weather was was unseasonably warm and humid, the venue was a Fairmount Park mansion. The cello and gamba needed constant re-tuning.

Looking forward to your report.

in closing:

<DT>Why do people tremble with fear when someone comes into a bank carrying a violin case? <DD> </DD>They think he's carrying a machine gun and might be about to use it.
<DT> <DT>Why do people tremble with fear when someone comes into a bank carrying a viola case? </DT>
They think he's carrying a viola and might be about to use it.

viola-tor 10-19-2008 08:55 PM

Here we go...

I’m about to undertake a journey of personal growth. It sounds crazy, maybe even like a bad idea, but sometimes one has to trust that gut feeling that motivates a person to DO. Shake the status quo, stick it to the man, march to the beat of your own drummer... These little catch phrases are a convenient way to package a crazy idea and validate it. I guess only hindsight will show if the idea was worth the cost and/or risk. Either way I’ll have some great stories!

I’m a violist, I play the viola. I was a violist before I even knew it. My sister, brother and I all had violin lessons as children growing up. Life gets moving along and things happen, all kinds of wonderful and terrible things. Somehow I kept playing through it all while my siblings moved onwards and upwards in life. I eventually found myself in college majoring in music. I wasn’t really all that good, but there I was, so roll with it. At my school all violin majors have to take a semester of viola (for a dose of perspective perhaps? Or maybe a glimpse of how bad things could be? [that’s a viola joke, BTW]). I was “persuaded” (read: forced) by both my violin and viola teachers to purge the violin toxins from my body and become a pure violist. Within two weeks of giving up the violin I could feel a distinct shift. Suddenly everything made sense, I could move, I could navigate around the instrument confidently, I could express my musical ideas better. Kinda like finding the right motorcycle that just fits. I was home.

viola-tor 10-20-2008 01:38 PM

Flash forward to present day: Iím a moderately successful young professional violist. Iíve never had a ďrealĒ job other than a paper route in high school and working for my uncle in a machine shop for a summer when I was sixteen for the ďlearning experience.Ē All I really learned was that I wasnít wired for that type of work, and Iím pretty sure I ended up costing him more money than saving him. Oh well, sorry Uncle Bill! It was useful in hindsight, but it seemed at the time that all I was accomplishing was making a fool of myself in front of grown men that I had nothing in common with. Other than that ďlife shapingĒ experience of sweeping up metal shavings Iíve been able to pay my own way by playing the viola, first with string quartet gigs for weddings and receptions, and then gradually subbing in orchestras and eventually winning auditions for ever bigger and better groups. The scholarships helped to get some pieces of paper saying how artsey I am (three in all) so it didnít cost me much, if anything. I figure I broke even on the education, much better off than most young musicians I know. I donít want to make it sound like my success is chance or luck because there was lots of hard work, long hours of practice and many incredible musicians and family along the way to guide me, so Iím well aware that Iíve been given many gifts, but the past always seems so fast. How is it that I can condense over twenty years of learning to play an instrument into two paragraphs?

When I was getting my Masterís degree at the University of Oklahoma the motorcycle bug bit and bit hard. I was performing a 4th of July concert with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic at an outdoor event in Yukon, Oklahoma (the home town of Garth Brooks). I-40 westbound from OKC to Yukon takes you past a waterpark and more importantly a BMW motorcycle dealership. Curiosity led me to peek in the darkened windows after the concert. Iíd only noticed one BMW bike before (a ivory R1200C when I was at the Aspen Music Festival, and I remember being shocked at how quiet it hummed and how elegant it was visually), and my only riding experience was the summer I worked for my Uncle riding a teeny old Yamaha trail bike (70cc? 90cc? Canít remember the model), but in a family of fishermen I remember having more fun riding up and down the Colorado mountain trails to the fishing spots then the actually fishing (which is still true for me today!). When I looked in the windows of that BMW dealer I felt like I was seeing the hangar of the Death Star! So many glistening powerful machines calling out to me... It had been years since my experience with the trail bikes; honestly Iíd forgotten all about it. Seeing those bikes in the darkened interior stirred something inside me. I had to look into this! To make a long story short (well, to slightly shorten my long story!) I bought a used BMW ivory R1200C for my first motorcycle (!?! I've learned a lot since then! :evil). I was unlicensed and was damn lucky I didnít tip the thing over on my ďtest rideĒ in which I never left the parking lot. At least I had the sense to have them deliver my bike to my sisterís garage, saving me from becoming one of the riders who crashes leaving the dealership.

E900Vadar 10-20-2008 01:46 PM

Ride report, pics?
Maybe soon we get to see the pics?

ADK 10-20-2008 01:50 PM

an R1200C is elegant? :loco

viola-tor 10-20-2008 03:22 PM


Originally Posted by E900Vadar
Maybe soon we get to see the pics?

Oh yeah, plenty coming! :evil

viola-tor 10-20-2008 03:24 PM


Originally Posted by ADK
an R1200C is elegant? :loco

Yeah, silly me... Good thing I'm all learned now! KLR's are even starting to look good! :lol3

GS Bones 10-20-2008 06:28 PM

Here is what I know..........

Well played, the Viola can offer some of the most haunting and moving music on the planet. And they are hard to play well. And they are hard to tune. And good ones are a lot more expensive than high end motorcycles.

SO, how do you carry a good quality Viola on a motorcycle tour (rain and terrain being of concern)?

Let's see pics....

Can't wait for the report.


cyclebabble 10-20-2008 06:35 PM

Looking forward to this report!! And...ahem, I am a fan of classical music as well, but just as happy listening to Slipknot.

Bring on the pics!


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