John Treadwell aka the Big Frog
"Thank God It's Frogville" photo by Teri Nolan
the short version
in late 2002 and early 2003 some of the most talented songwriters in the world gathered in Santa Fe to band together as Frogville Records. John Treadwell and Nathan Moore partnered the start up and Joe West, Hundred Year Flood and Goshen were the first bands on board with Aimee Curl's Furnace Mountain band and Surprise Me Mr. Davis soon to follow. in 2005 Boris McCutcheon joined then Taarka and Bill Hearne came along in 2006. John Courage joined us in 2009 and we also brought on Peacefield, a rock band from San Antonio, TX. We have recorded and released over 30 records, all limited editions, many are out of print and live on iTunes and other digital download stores. The work, the art stands for itself. many Frogville records stayed on the roots / americana radio charts for over 20 weeks and have been spun on over 125 radio stations. And Thanks to our devoted fans we are still here, bringing this great music to you 8 years into the 10 year plan.
Frogville is an idea. Frogville is a place. Frogville is a community of musicians and artists.
The idea of Frogville was to provide a creative space and all the tools necessary for the artist, musician, song writer, the thinker of new things, to bring those seeds into fruition in the hopes that the artist will be able to bring the fruit to market and through hard work and good performance, grow a market for their product and to survive and flourish through their art and hard work to build a life long career. Also we wanted to build the coolest studio / place in New Mexico, a veritable clubhouse or gathering space for artists, thinkers, and, well .... cool people.
Frogville the place is growing and expanding before our very eyes. Construction began August 26 2009 adding another 2200 square feet to the existing 900 sf of old adobe that was the heartbeat of the old Frogville studio. The new tracking room is 26' x 34' x 17' tall ceiling.... a big room, for big drums, or big enough for a third of an orchestra a huge string section, a choir or a giant mariachi band! We also have added 2 isolation rooms and a big listening room for mixing and mastering. We also added an office so we can conduct business while recording is going on, which we could not really do before upstairs from the old studio.
Frogville is NOT a non profit. We do not have 501c tax exempt status. Frogville DOES need an investor, a philanthropist, an angel. We need a miracle every day! Frogville needs to raise 500,000 to purchase gear for the studio and manufacture new cds, vinyl records, Tshirts and stickers and to market ONE album nationwide. We are confident we can not only put Frogville and Santa Fe on the map as a cool music scene, but as a destination studio for musicians around the world. We are also confident that if we actually had a marketing budget we could put one of our albums in the billboard top 200 and sell over 100,000 units of that record. Our overhead is low, prospects are high and we make real good music... good enough for worldwide export. We will take the pepsi challenge anytime, any day. People dig our stuff.
the longer version
work in progress.........actual timelines may vary.....fuzzy dark spaces...
John Treadwell has been a music fan since before he could stand on a chair and thread Beatles reel to reel tapes through his Dad's Teac tape deck in the 70s. In 1969, John was three years old, his Dad's brother moved down to Dallas to study film at SMU, uncle was his first babysitter, and would drag the big Sansui speakers into the crib and spin Sgt. Peppers, Revolver and other late 69-70 classics to the child-sponge in the next room. Thus began a long career of professional listening, from the formative childhood to the rebellion of teenage metal and punk to the wisdom learned as an adult following many major acts around this country from sea to shining sea, John has always had an ear for music and an eye for beauty.
John is not a musician, he is a painter, who graduated in 1994 from the College of Santa Fe's Art department with a BFA in studio arts. Being a music fan and record collector all his life, john has thousands of live shows/concerts under his belt, over 100 Grateful dead and Jerry Garcia band shows between 1988 and 1995. Other bands of interest were Phish, String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, and music festivals in the summertime consumed much of John's life. He discovered THAMUSEMEANT in 1998 and became an instant fan. After striking up a friendship with NATHAN MOORE, the band's songwriter, in 1999 proposed that he should be allowed on the old silver eagle tour bus and film/document the band in their travels. Filming during the dramatic 2000-2001 events blind to the fact the band members were increasingly drifting apart, John ended up with over 400 hours of tape and some lifelong friends. Unfortunately for the band, John was a first time film maker and editor, and unfortunately for John the band announced it's "final" farewell shows about the same time the movie was finished, "Movin' By Lovin'" never quite connected with the bands fan base and faded away.
In search of the Goddess of Music, the Muse, the band's entire quest was to find out "what the Muse meant?" in a wholly artistic philosophers quest to unravel the cryptic messages that live in-between the spaces, music by nature disappears as soon as you create it and sometimes the words just come to you on the wind as if the Muse herself was whispering in your ear.... what did Tha Muse Meant? The mythical and mystical jams ThaMuseMeant created could induce mad dancing across entire rooms and trance-like whirling dervishes and zen like revelations and awes of wonder. Nathan's song writing and gruff showman's voice combined with the angelic vox of Aimee Curl in unique duets that could bring a tear to one's eye, along with David Tiller's incredible and legendary mad Mandolin skills earned the band thousands of fans.
ThaMuseMeant, who formed as a trio in Austin in 1992-3 moved to Santa Fe in 1993 to seduce drummer Jeff Sussman into joining the 3 piece gypsy folk band, became the thread that tied together all the original Frogville artists. HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD, another Austin TX based band befriended ThaMuse in Austin and often made the golden road trip to Santa Fe throughout the 90's and befriended Grant Hayunga of GOSHEN, after NATHAN MOORE gave them a tape of the first GOSHEN record. JOE WEST, a local Santa Fe legend of epic proportions who also spent time in Austin TX as JOE WEST & THE SINNERS, and some acting time up in NYC, moved back to Santa Fe and had members of THAMUSEMEANT record on his 1999 release of "Trip to Roswell NM". Thamusemeant tour incessantly mostly from Texas Westward and up and down the Rocky Mountains through the year 2000. When they announced their farewell shows in 2001 fans flew in from all over the country to treasure the moments and the sounds.
2001-2 GOSHEN & HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD take over the VFW post on Monteczuma in Santa fe at the behalf of the AMVETS who needed a new roof and desperately wanted to get customers into the club. They called Nathan Moore who came down with his brother Daniel and with the Bill Palmer on Bass and Jim Palmer on drums and Felecia Ford on vox and percussion backing him up formed PERCY BOYD. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we slowly created a real scene, and before long we had 200 people a weekday night packing in the club, no cover .50 cent pool and 4.50 pitchers of 90 shilling beer fueled the events in which band members took turns donning the "tip pig" mask and would troll the crowd with the tip jug and being obnoxious until the tips came and then move along through the crowd. The scene became so popular the other clubs in the vicinity called foul and got the Alcohol board involved in shutting the scene down on account of their "club" liquor license.
Tuesdays was Percy Boyd - Nathan Moore with members of Hundred Year Flood backing him up.
Wednesdays was Hundred Year Flood and sometimes Joe West would open
Thursdays was Goshen - with Grant Hayunga and Jim Palmer on drums
Many other Santa Fe artists performed like the Willies, Jono Manson, Mike Campbell and others.
Anyhow it was a hippie fest up at frogville in the early days, a veritable shantytown of vans tarps and tents and music around the fire till the wee hours. October came to the mountains and it started to get too cold to camp. Nathan and his brother Daniel drove back home to the shenandoah valley in Virginia. Aimee Curl went back to Virginia too to play with Furnace Mountain and take care of her grandma. Hundred Year Flood went back to warm Austin Texas hill country.
October of 2002 the whole VFW thing ended, and from the ashes was born the idea of Frogville. The incredible talents of all these unsigned and under appreciated musicians chipping away at the giant stone all alone, wouldn't it be smart to band together under one umbrella so we could do more damage as a collective? Filmaker Lexie Shabel made a dvd documentary, a 30 minute short doc on the end of the scene we created around the vfw.
John Treadwell & Nathan Moore started Frogville records (originally named for Nathan's road dog "FRAWG") and with the help of 4-track savvy Bill Palmer as the engineer and heartbeat of the studio, they built just that, a studio that the clock wouldn't be an issue, and for the cost of two or three pro records in pro studios, they built a machine that they could exploit for a thousand records, all right in the living room of Treadwell's little adobe home on a little hill on the North side of Santa Fe. Frogville has become the underground hippie traveling musician buzz word, known for the coolest hippest people and vibe coupled with the ability to record fantastic performances at a great price, the calls now come from other states and countries and record labels who want their bands to record here as opposed to the local clientele who have been our bread and butter since Frogville's birth.
and we have been making records ever since.
check 'em out, they are pretty good.... we are getting better all the time too.
ROUGH RECORDING HISTORY OF FROGVILLE
2003 Bill & John talked Llewin Barringer into bringing all his gear up to the house and we began to record "Flutterstrut" with the HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD all on adat and borrowed gear. Nathan Moore went back to Virginia and set Aimee Curl up with the laptop and some microhones, she began recording with her childhood bluegrass band FURNACE MOUNTAIN in a tiny mountain shack she was living in at the time which became the 'Shack Album". Nathan Moore met up with the Slip and records the SURPRISE ME MR DAVIS experiment and brings back "Live at Black Friars Playhouse" and "Singlewide" his 1999 first solo album recorded with HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD and THAMUSEMEANT backing him up; and that was the first 5 albums Frogville released. Late in 03 THAMUSEMEANT re-converged in Portland OR where Dave Tiller and Enion Pelta had formed another band TAARKA. THAMUSEMEANT got back together and began building another buzz as a string quartet.
2003-04 John began shopping on ebay and hanging out at gear-head sites figuring out what we had to get and what we wanted to get and what we did not want to get for our own studio. Pretty soon Frogville had some good mics and some pre amps and compressors and a board and a tapedeck and we were on our way. Bill engineered and co produced JOE WEST's "South Dakota Hairdo" and Nathan Moore recorded "cans n cants" and "beggars must be choosers",, cans on the 1" 16 track Tascam ms 16 and beggars on his laptop, both highly un supervised. We found SETH & JACOB at 5 am tripping on mushrooms at the 3 sided whole festival and invited them up to the studio to record a demo or ep, Nathan ended up doing a lot of work on that one. All the while HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD were recording "Cavalier" and THAMUSEMEANT recorded "Silver Seed".
THAMUSEMEANT, HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD, SURPRISE ME MR DAVIS and NATHAN MOORE all played on stages at HIGH SIERRA MUSIC FESTIVAL in California. Sampler 1 was given away for free at the festival
2005 We recorded JOE WEST's "the Human Cannonball" and GOSHEN's "Circus Wife" and Boris McCutcheon's 1st Frogville record "Cactusman vs the blue demon" which we didn't release until 2006 which went up to #1 on the Euro Americana radio charts (Boris is HUGE in the Netherlands). We released more of Nathan's Back catalog and sampler 2. THAMUSEMEANT started a project that got shelved after a month or two called "yes and know". We also had the pleasure to meet and record MAX PELTA, Enion's brother. The First annual FROGFEST concert happened at the Santa Fe Brewing Co. SURPRISE ME MR DAVIS, NATHAN MOORE, THAMUSEMEANT and TAARKA all play stages at HIGH SIERRA MUSIC FESTIVAL. HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD opens for sold out SON VOLT and JAMES McMURTRY Concerts. We meet Jamie Cohen, multi major label A&R, LA retired, now a sculpter and collage artist and ranch hand at Eaves Movie Ranch.
2006 January 6 we get the news MAX PELTA died. THAMUSEMEANT recorded "Never Settle For Less" and then took another break. Nathan moore went home and got a job at the ymca. We recorded Bill Hearne and the Roadhouse Revue's "Heartaches + Honky-Tonks" and HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD's "Blue Angel" and GOSHEN's "Lioness" albums. We recorded NATHAN MOORE's "In His Own Worlds" . The second annual FROGFEST 2 happened over 2 rainy days, special guests, Texas Sapphires, Dave Insley and James McMurtry. SURPRISE ME MR DAVIS opens for MY MORNING JACKET at HIGH SIERRA MUSIC FESTIVAL, Nathan gets pulled over in THAMUSEMEANT's bus coming into Quincey CA and takes the rap for mushrooms and pot the cops find on the bus. Makes bail in time to play the shows. HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD's "Rich Man's War" video made it to #7 on NEIL YOUNG's "Living with War" website.
2007 Begin Frogville retail sales program with displays and place them in 7 retail outlets downtown, by September 5 have taken root. HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD plays ZOZOBRA. Jamie Cohen brings Producer Andy Kravitz down to produce and engineer a new HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD project and talks TAJ MAHAL into recording on both HYF + Boris's new albums. We record BORIS McCUTCHEN's second album at Frogville "Bad Road, Good People" and the SANTA FE ALL STARS ep, and some demos with VAL KILMER. HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD gets music in AMERICAN METH soundtrack and a track recorded at Val's house by BILL PALMER and ANDY KRAVITZ was featured on "Beauty Deep" a documentary about photographer Raphael Mazzucco.
Frogville Radio Show, began Jan 16 2008 - now, every Wednesday at 7pm on KBAC and podcast / gcast from this website here. The best music in the world, and according to some, the best hour on FM radio period spinning frogville artists and studio recordings for your pleasure. our own propaganda hour.
2008 Record NATHAN MOORE's "You yeah smokin hot" in 14 days late March early April. Nathan Moore makes the cover of "State of Mind" magazine and does his first solo tour across the North East. David Bindler Calls - Joe West + Nathan Moore have "needle drops" in the new Matthew McConaughey movie "Surfer Dude". Two weeks later Karen calls, David Bindler died of a ruptured ulcer. Movie status unknown.( David helped Boris get on the Frogville roster and was a teenage friend of John Treadwell back in deep ellum in Dallas in the 80s and Santa Fe in the 90's). Update - we were axed from the soundtrack which was actually fine because the movie sucked so bad. Nathan goes to Montreal to record and re-record re-mix "Only in Montreal" with SURPRISE ME MR DAVIS before a North East tour with SMMD. Update Nathan refused entry into Canada because of HSMF drug bust, band ends up recording in Vermont.
Nathan Moore wins the 2008 Telluride Bluegrass Fest Troubadour competition and a custom Shanti guitar worth 15k and 15 minutes on the mainstage in front of 10,000 people. He played High Sierra Music Festival 2008, 2 sets solo, 2 sets with the Slip as Surprise Me Mr. Davis and kicked arse to packed houses for each, I forget he is a rock star out there! Nathan was named "Mayor" of High Sierra after 2 all nighters leading up the kickball at dawn squad.
Nathan was a finalist in the Lyons Colorado bluegrass festival songwriter competition too.
Goshen kicked ass in Mississippi on the 4th and 5th of July, hopefully invited back for a third year in a row at the North Mississippi hill country blues picnic.
Santa Fe Reporter 2008 Best of Issue, Frogville sweeps the Alt. Country catagory; #1 the Santa Fe All Stars, #2 Bill Hearne, #3 Hundred Year Flood, SFAS on the cover!
Frogfest 3, August 23, 2008
Kicked Ass!, KBAC 98.1 fm sponsored us and the local rags reporter and pasatiempo wrote great lead up pieces about frogfest. Best performances ever by everyone!
a sad note our friend, confidant and heavy emotional supporter Jamie Cohen died of a heart attack down in Austin, we haven't stopped crying about it yet. Jamie was a retired Music industry a & r bigwig, known in many musician circles as the white knight of the industry, who discovered us in 2005 and became a huge fan and ally and even came out of retirement with his little black book trying to make some of the right connections for us. He loved us, and what we were doing and we loved him with his warm soothing gravel voice giving the nod of confidence as another professional listener who knew we had something special at frogville.
Jamie used to look up at our hill from his apartment and tell people "there's gold and diamonds up on that thar hill," and point up at frogville. He loved hanging out here and bringing his friends up to check it out, his girlfriend and love, Donna Love has moved here to continue Jamie's dreams and art and ideas, and also is trying to help frogville.
Grant Hayunga went to Como Mississippi sans band and hooked up with blues musician Jimbo Mathus to record his new Goshen blues album.
The studio has been growing in leaps and bounds.
2008 we recorded a lot of Joe West for various projects, and a bunch of non frogville acts local/statewide. including actor Gary Farmer and his blues band and with drummer Andy Kravitz and Beaver, a badass guitarist gun for hire from San Antonio. Bill also mixed a project for actor Val Kilmer. We had Fellix y los Gatos come in one day and whip out 18 songs in a 12 hour session.
late 2008 we began a major studio overhaul, sold our analog console and a ton of gear, bought a ton of better gear, Neve, Api, Helios, some great microphones and we are still working on it. Architect is working on Frogville expansion plans right now.
2009 recording Melanie Zipin, Stephanie Hatfield, Paula Rhae McDonald, Terry Diers, Naiz Denae rhythm and 53rd, John Courage, Nathan Moore, John Popper stopped in to play on some tracks.
We started new construction in August of 2009 and recorded right thru all the construction until December when we shut down as we broke thru from the old to the new and cleaned up and treated the place acoustically painted and broke it in in April. the big room sounds fabulous and every artist who works in there comes out smiling, it is very special! The rest of the place is raring to go, still tweaking the vocal booth and the iso under the stairs and the bunk house needs to be built out still. The new control room sounds 100% better than before, we have a big amp room stocked with rare tube amps from the 40s 50s n 60s. We upgraded the whole control room, PTHD2, aurora 16 ch converters, dsub tt patchbays, all new mogami cable looms running throughout the whole complex, upgraded pre amps, compressors and microphones, new headphone system plus we scored a wurlitzer and a rhodes.
Frogville is very busy with musicians of all sorts booked almost every day, which is good because the bottom dropped out of the music business and nobody buys cds anymore.
we are trying to become a non profit 501c3 so that we can continue to help struggling talented musicians and we are contemplating gofundme and kickstarter programs to raise the dough we need to make stuff happen... until somebody super rich can toss us 250-500K to run a record business and take the studio to the next level, or we hit the lotto...... we will continue to strive for excelence. The music never stops. Musicians from all over the country seek us out to help them record the best product possible for the best price bar none.
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