Mesquite has focused on the arts community for quite some time, and with the influx of new residents, snowbirds and visitors, the amount of talent that comes out of the woodwork is never-ending.
The same applies to a local group of older gentlemen. It wasn’t until they came to Mesquite and frequented the music jams sponsored by Guns and Guitars that they found how well they played together.
It’s four men who love to play. That’s all. They don’t do it for the glory, the groupies or the money. They do it for the love of music and the passion that it brings to their life.
“It’s all passion,” said guitarist and lead vocalist Rory “Kim” Thomsik, who was one of the original band members before it became Bottoms Up. “It’s not really a hobby, playing the music means so much more than that.” While Bottoms Up wasn’t officially formed until September 2015, Thomsik had played in a duo group known as the Mesquite Pickers up to that point.
Along with Thomsik are bass guitarist Dan Erickson, who is also a psychologist for the Clark County School District, guitarist Sam Calbraith, a retiree and drummer John Blandi, supervisor for a local casino’s food and beverage department.
The group plays different genres of music, from traditional bluegrass to country rock ranging from George Strait to Creedence Clearwater Revival.
“Between all of us, there’s about 100 years’ experience,” said Blandi. The four band mates range in age from 60 to 65, but that surely doesn‘t show when they‘re playing on stage. “60 is the new 40,” said Thomsik.
With that experience, they have a rolling song list of 40-60 songs that they will rotate through on a regular basis. “It’s not like we’re the Rolling Stones,” said Erickson, “we don’t have a ‘hit song’ but there are some songs that we play nearly every time.” He also noted that they usually gauge it by the response from the crowd which has a tendency to flood the dance floor during most of their sets.
For now, they can be seen on several Saturdays per month playing at Stateline Casino as well as still participating in the twice-monthly music jams that are now also held at Stateline. Recently, they entertained a wandering crowd of 500 plus at the third annual Donkey Jamboree held at the Golden West Casino earlier in March. Eventually, they’d like to expand their venues to other nearby areas such as Moapa Valley, St. George and beyond, and eventually record an album for their fans to enjoy when they’re not playing. “We really want to broaden our venues,” said Calbraith. “It’s really important to us.”
For a taste of what Bottoms Up sounds like, check out the video section of the MLN’s Facebook page.