Thu, May 23

Singing the Blues!<br><i>It's not a living, just a way of life for Obsidian Blues</i>

Obsidian Blues plays locally in Clarkdale and Cottonwood in many of the summer concerts and private parties.

The band has played together as Obsidian Blues for over a year now, playing a variety of rock and blues.

Guitarist Chris Vernosky came up with the name Obsidian Blues when he found an obsidian arrowhead in the desert. The arrowhead was symbolic of the Southwest and the name stuck.

The band has played together off and on for five years.

The band has grown in recent years, first with the addition of Chris Livas, who adds vocals and also plays the harmonica. Les Lyman singer/bass player, is the newest member and has completed the "big sound" that has rounded out the band.

Obsidian Blues plays locally in Clarkdale and Cottonwood, playing many of the summer concerts and private parties. In March, the band will take the stage at Clark's 10-12 Lounge in Clarkdale.

Vernosky and Gehlert have co-written some of their own songs such as A Thousand Years Ago, The Man and Going down the Highway. The band is working on creating its own CD with some of Vernosky/Gehlert's original songs.

During the day, Vernosky is an architect. Livas works for Cottonwood Public Works. Deb Schafner designs jewelry. Lyman is a full-time dad, and Gehlert works for the Cottonwood Planning and Zoning Department.

They all started playing music as youngsters. Lyman adds with a smirk, "We all dreamt of being rock stars." Vernosky picked up the guitar at 12. Deb Schafner began her drumming career on pots and pans on the kitchen floor.

"I remember when my cousin went to Vietnam he left his drum set in our family's garage. When my parents weren't home, I would sneak and play. Before my cousin left he told me, 'If you can play better than me when I get back you can have it.'"

When he returned from Vietnam, she sat behind his drum set and broke out into a solo. Impressed, her cousin said, "You can have it!" The rest is history.

Livas' passion for playing music began when his father took the family camping at Big Sur. "We were sitting around the camp fire and Dad was playing the harmonica. He gave it to me and from that moment I started playing. I learned by playing by ear listening to J. Geils and an Alice Cooper record."

Les Lyman learned to play the guitar at 15.

"My best friend played guitar and it attracted a lot of girls. I thought, 'three chords, lots of chicks, I can do that.' So here I am three decades and thousands of dollars worth of equipment later."

He doesn't have a lot of chicks, but he is happy having one good wife. He also spent some time playing with a band in the Navy, rocking the shores from Hong Kong to the Persian Gulf.

At the moment, the band is having a good time playing together. Their sound is solid and they know how to rock the house.

For more information on Obsidian Blues, call Chris Vernosky at 634-8318.