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Sunday October 5th Derek will be on KPIG at 10:00am


Saturday, October 11th, 2014
The Haute Enchilada - MOSS LANDING
(between Monterey and Santa Cruz)
8:00pm (Doors 7:30pm)

More info here

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
The Safari Club - MONTEREY
With Michael Gaither
1425 Munras Avenue, Monterey, Ca
$10 (includes one drink) 7:00-9:00 pm

More info here


Bela Fleck's Big Country

Waltzing Matilda (Traditional)

Derek Bodkin's "Mojito"

Derek from Captiol Hill

Originally posted on ""

I was on the east coast and stopped into Washington DC for a few days. I happened to be there on OCTOBER 1st when the first official day of the shutdown commenced. It was sad. The whole city 'felt' like they were surprised there was such behavior coming from the elected folks that are supposed to be keeping things running instead of stubborn infighting amongst themselves. I had a tour of the Capitol scheduled that day. My congressman, Sam Farr, and his staff were great. After efficiently setting up my tour of the capitol, they were quick to contact me and let me know of the shutdown and that my tour was canceled. I had already planned to take my Gold Tone "BG-MINI" banjo and film a silly video for my friends... of the song "I'm Just A Bill" from Schoolhouse rock... and decided to follow through. The only difference is that I was compelled to quickly change the lyrics while on the spot because of the shutdown actually happening. Even if the Capitol was closed, the front of the capitol wasn't. And so I took the Metro to the "Capitol South" stop and was met by explosives dogs at the exit of said Metro. I had a payday candy bar and three granola bars in my backpack... but the dog didn't care. The pup was sniffing for something else. After finding my bearings, I wandered over to the capitol - the side lady liberty faces, and saw numerous Capitol Police in assorted types of pending riot gear (Assault rifles, Humvee type riot rigs, and numerous black SUV's). In my line of sight, there were numerous Police on the 'ramparts' of the Capitol keenly eyeing any outbursts, illegal demonstrations (you have to get a permit for over 19 people), dismayed 'staffers' taking class-type photos out in front of the capitol because they couldn't go to work, large groups forming for an organized protest, and random folk shouting their political agenda, including one guy dressed like Gentle Ben with an Afghan breed dog on a leash, yelling random political complaints from the capitol steps. Then there was me. Guy in a ball cap, banjo, and Hawaiian shirt from California. Let's just say - among the standard gathering of aforementioned protestors, staffers, and Gentile Ben and his Afghan pal... I still managed to stand out. I was met by one police officer who checked out my banjo, for safety. He kindly gave me the rundown of the rules of protesting and such - but I told him I was there to make a silly video for my friends. After that, I walked directly up to the steps, set my banjo case down, and took a photo of the capitol steps... then a picture of the capitol dome. It was then when I realized I was being watched by secret service, and two of the police officers on the ramparts had me in their binoculars. I figured this would happen, but I didn't even worry about it. An 'inner compass' thing. After taking a couple photos of the steps, the chain blocking the entry, and the building, I realized my silly video wasn't going to work very well RIGHT on the steps, so I strode to the seating wall where I got a nice little shot of my big Charlie Brown head and the capitol dome behind me. I set my banjo case down and was visited by another bomb sniffing dog and his handler. It was just after that when secret service sent four heavily armed officers over to me and one of them asked "could we please just see what's in your instrument case so we have no question?" I just said "Sure." Handed him my case, and even offered my backpack. That was the right thing to do. The officer opened the banjo case... chuckled mildly and said "Hey... there's a little banjo in here". Another officer peered in and asked "Will you play us a song?". And so I did. I'm a bluegrass banjo picker and this little Gold Tone BG-Mini is a pretty decent little instrument for its size and functionality. I played what most people have heard - "FOGGY MOUNTAIN BREAKDOWN". My brother later joked and called it "Foggy Mountain Shutdown". Wish I'd thought of that. Anyway... from that point on, and amidst new arrivals of grumpy people, dismayed tourists, throngs of people touring the capitol on "Segues", newspeople with cameras and eager reporters getting their clip, I became a friend of the police. I played some songs for them and they seemed to get a kick out of it. One of them said "I like the way that banjo adds positivity to the strangeness of the day". Me too. Then people started taking pictures of me, and with me, and so on. I wasn't exactly there for attention - but it was nice to get people laughing and joking and feeling 'light' in the light of this odd state of affairs. I set my banjo case upright... you know, on those four little 'nubs' that allow you to do so, and placed my iPhone on top, supported by my wallet. Filmed my silly little song a couple times. After getting one where I could remember the lyrics, a very attractive young woman approached me and asked... "Hey... can you send me a copy of that?" It wasn't all that funny... I mean - last minute lyrics sloppily tossed together to the tune of someone else's melody (written by Dave Frishberg and originally sung by Jack Sheldon) but this was just goofy fun. I said sure... and she said she's with the Huffington Post and it might be uploaded later. Neat. The news. Cool...

Here's the Huffington Post link

Then - ANOTHER beautiful reporter (I'm guessing this is a trend) approached me and said - "Hey... I want that too... but I want to film you singing it." I figured... "what the heck?" So... she filmed me with her gear... and then told me she's with the Washington Post. She suggested I 'check in later'. I wasn't near a tv or a computer - as I was on foot. Frankly... I never really thought I'd hear about it again. I was wrong.

Here's her post at

Though this one was posted a few days later, after I'd left Washington DC. And so it went. More cops, more folks, more people just kind of laughing at the ludicrous state of tourists not being able to walk inside a memorial - or more importantly - WORLD WAR II Veterans being barricaded from the WW2 Memorial. The latter is not so funny. Later I'd heard they pushed the barriers aside. Good. After baking in the Washington DC sun for awhile and goofing around, I walked to the Holocaust Museum - which I was keen to see because I'd prepared myself with years of study on World War 2. This was really important to me... and I was told it might be open by one of the police. It wasn't. Government shutdown. After my exciting morning, I was surprised to see how sad it made me. This museum was something I'd really wanted to see. I went back to my rented room in Adams Morgan to put my banjo away, shower off the morning sweat, and regroup. Took a nap and then headed out again, on foot, this time with just my daypack and a flashlight, as I was giving myself an evening walk amongst the Washington Mall and memorials. Even though they were barricaded, they were so beautiful. I wasn't going to give up. I saw the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Korean Memorial (which is exceptionally moving in the evening) Vietnam Memorial (women's and men's) Washington Memorial, and many more. I even hoofed it over to the Jefferson Memorial which was also barricaded... but I could stand at the base of the memorials and look up. It's beautiful. If I can impress on anybody actually reading this blog - I'd say that if you're visiting Washington DC... visit the Monuments at night. It's striking, even with the shutdown. During my walk around the monuments, friends started texting me from all over the US... that I was in the news and went 'viral'. It was a vaguely surreal feeling. As one friend put it - "Way to take the capitol by storm... with a banjo".