Mountain Rain

In the early days right after college, or it might have been during the latter days of college -it was towards the end of Summer, possibly August- axamaxa was visiting some of his good college friends, and he was staying in a spare room in the back of a small house that they were renting. The house was located on the Southeastern end of a small knoll towards the back-side of Howard’s Knob; secluded and adjacent to the wild-wood. This location suited axamaxa because of its mysteriousness. We know that it was in late August because Virgin’s Bower was a-blooming ‘neath the open window to axamaxa’s room.

Axamaxa had already been staying on a site way, way back on the back-side of Rich Mountain near Tater hill. He had a motorcycle that he got around on in those days and he had met a Hippie Chick who drove her dirt-bike up the mountain to thehippie chick site. She was quite an Earth-People type of woman and they had a lot in common at the time. Boy, those were fun times. The Earth-People Community was a rich resource of interesting characters and inspiration for the arts and music.

There was a Co-Op (called The Mountain Food Conspiracy) down in Boone, NC which also served as the headquarters of Bean Mountain Soy Dairy. Bean Mountain made a lot of tofu and distributed it throughout the Southeast to places like Charlotte, NC and Atlanta, Georgia. Counter Culture types could often get a paying job at Bean Mountain that fit well with their membership duties at the Co-Op. It was a great meeting-place for the Earth People, some of whom lived in abandoned places such as Erosion Canyon, usually in large old houses that they could swap maintenance for in lieu of too much rent money. These were tiny functioning Communes (or kibbutzes) where the residents worked together to tend the bees and orchards and practice organic gardening methods such as French Intensive, and the like. From such a heritage grew Appalachian State University’s Watauga College Program (and here) which has of late grown into a regional sustainable energy initiative. Axamaxa lived in East Dorm (Watauga College) for a while, where he met many later residents of Erosion Canyon.

At any rate, it was while staying at the home of friends on Howard’s Knob, that he decided to form a small Musical combo with them. Axamaxa had an old Harmony Electric Guitar (the kind that Sears sold) which he had obtained from one of the friends, in exchange for axa’s old Electric Bass. And the Bass Player’s high-school sweetheart (later; wife) played the keyboards. They did not have a proper keyboard stand on which to put the keyboard, so they improvised by employing an ironing board instead. They thought this looked pretty cool, so the ironing board idea stuck.

Many of the Hippies of that era did Fabric Arts, whether Batik or Weaving, and of course the ubiquitous tie-dye; and axamaxa was certainly one of them: a little bit famous for his weird tapestries. So he worked up a Banner Tapestry to hang behind the band when they played. The Banner featured Nootka, Tsim-tsiam, or Kwakiutl Iconography and is quite striking. The name of the band was written boldly across the banner in Tsalagi script (Cherokee): DOh-duh-LANH a-GAANH-sskanh. It seemed like it had been raining in the mountains for a long time (as it often does in the Southern Appalachians), so, like, the new name was really apropos!

Ironically, this banner art has served as the basis of Musicosophy’s T-Shirt and Logo design artwork, to this very day.

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