Monday, June 28, 2010

Blues Jam at the La Quinta, Old Town

We spent a few hours doing a huge Blues Jam at the La Quinta Hotel in Old Town. It was fun, and we made a giant $11 in tips for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. That means our guitar thermometer just went up 1/114th of an inch. YAY!

I dressed up as a Rock Desperado...

...and Curly Max dressed up as Curly Max!

We decided to try playing 'Crossroads' together for the first time:

Here we are doing a slow, down & dirty blues jam -

And whipping out the electric guitars for 'Sweet Home Alabama' -

Thanx for watching, catch you later cats!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nikbeats at the Green Jazz Fest 2010

Here we are playing the Green Jazz Fest at the Embarcadero in downtown San Diego, beginning of summer 2010. This is the first Environmental Awareness and Recycling event held here, next to Seaport Village so we had a lot of jazz lovers and tourists attending. Thanks to Smooth Jazz 98.1,  Recon Recycling, and the Unified Port of San Diego for inviting us. Diana McCaskill at Recon did a great job organizing a really unique event, and Greg McKinney set up a nice sound system for us in the middle of a park!

Max & Max - Guitars
Alex - Jazz Guitar Supreme
Declan - Drums of Unlimited Power
Valentine - Beatnik Bongos and Vocals

Welcome to the Green Jazz Fest!

Bossa Dorado - First song of the whole festival. I play the first chord! Alex at the corner of the stage is entering a 7th degree deep meditative state in preparing himself for his song. He is a High Master of The Zen School of Transcendental Jazz.

Night and Day - Valentine and Alex practiced this together for the first time 15 minutes before our set began!

And check out Declan's perfect jazz drumming here, it carries the song and is always working perfectly with the mood...

Summertime - One of our favorites, probably because we just got out of school.

Bron-Y-Aur Stomp - There is always room for Zeppelin.

Red River Blues - Our set closer - from the applause we finally realized people enjoyed our funk more than our jazz! We play the music, but again, Declan's drums direct and anticipate exactly where we're going.

Is Declan psychic? Are all drummers mind-readers????

Hey Joe - We were worried we would be kicked offstage for not playing "REAL JAZZ".

Wait for Declan's opening beat, he comes in right on the money, honey....

Stay "tuned" for the next exciting adventure of Varsity Strings!

Friday, June 25, 2010

the Nikbeats Practice

Well, everybody but me and Valentine are at the UCSD Jazz Camp right now. They actually spend seven days and nights there playing jazz, and sleep overnight in the dorms dreaming about jazz too so Curly Max, Alex and Ben had better be PRETTY SMOKIN' GOOD when they get out tomorrow!

Meanwhile, Valentine and I have been working hard.

We've had to work out the arrangements and practice all by ourselves for the Green Jazz Fest coming up. Here's what it sounds like so far . . .

And the classic "All of Me" -

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Toys for the RADY Kids!

We cleaned up at the Fair today collecting toys for Rady Children's Hospital.
Jordan came today -

Here's our haul:

The Big Purple Dog was dropped off a few days ago, somebody won this and couldn't get it in their car! I don't know if Nancy Stoke from Torrey Pines Rotary can get him in her car either. We may need to helicopter lift him out:

But he's cute!

Anyway, here we are, Jordan is picking up mandolin real fast:

And here's our booth:

We're collecting toys for Rady Children's Hospital -

We have two collection bins, one here and one at the exit of the fair.
They get filled up pretty fast.

The sick kids at the hospital LOVE these!

We get to talk about Varsity Strings, hand out cards,

And our booth got a Blue Ribbon from the Fair;

Here's the current vote on the Top Ten Favorite Foods at the Fair. We've had some strong winners so far, July 4th is the last day of our contest but these top 10 are looking real good after today's voting:

1. Strawberry Funnel Cake
2. Roasted Corn
3. Corn dogs
4. Hot dogs
5. Fried Zucchini
6. Turkey legs
7. Candy
8. Tasty Chips
9. Lemonade
10. Mini Donuts

As you'll notice, #3 and #4 are merging into a giant third place "Hot Dog" category. Even if we put their votes together into a single "Dogs" vote they wouldn't beat the Funnel Cakes and Roasted Corn, though...

This has nothing to do with the Fair but watch this drummer.
He's so good he makes the other guys look weak, it's really funny!

Thanks for watching, see you soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What's the YUM?

Let's go to the Fair again!

Today is Sketchy Food Day at the Fair, today everybody gets in for only $3.00 and you can sample food all day for $2.00 per snack.

So - we've invented a contest at our Fair booth - since the Fair's theme this year is FOOD, we're having people vote for their Favorite Fair Food,
in other words, "What's The YUM?"

People have been voting all day, we didn't know if they would like to do it, but everybody LOVES VOTING for FOOD!!!!! The voting jar was filled at the end of the day, and it's a big jar!

We'll keep you informed about what's winning - and here's the top ten so far:

1. Strawberry Funnel Cake
2. Roasted Corn on the Cob
3. Fried Zucchini
4. Pickles (!)
5. Fettucini Alfredo
6. Corn Dogs
7. Cotton Candy
8. Lemonade
9. Kettle Corn
10. Ice Cream

You'll notice that 3 of the above are corn based. I don't know what that means.

This guy had to listen to us playing for  three hours. He is one lucky dude.

Two new members of Varsity Strings!

This is Cool-eyed Christian,

And this is Jelly-bellied Jake.

What's YOUR favorite food at the Fair? -

This guy won a Flying V Guitar at the fair to perfect his clothing ensemble!

It was a pretty busy day, with the usual mix of tourists, locals, families, and just plain dirty people:

Stay tuned for part 3 in our Del Mar Fair Saga!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Varsity Strings Swag

Support Varsity Strings by buying our SWAG! 100% of profits goes to our charities, and we've got some pretty cool stuff.

Sunburst 1950's Poster Style T-Shirts
Varsity Strings, Est. 2008
"If you aren't playing any bad notes,
you aren't trying hard enough."

T-Shirts in 100% Natural Organic Cotton, $22.50.
Price includes shipping.
Sizes; Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-L.
(Ordering info at bottom.)

Giant Nikbeats Poster, "Feet"
Black & White 25"x 37", $14.00

Giant Nikbeats Poster, "The Band"
Black & White 25"x 37", $14.00

All prices include shipping, mail your return address
and a check made payable to Cam MacMillan at:

Varsity Strings
367 North Hwy. 101
Solana Beach, CA USA 92075

Saturday, June 12, 2010


We were invited by Nancy Stoke of the Torrey Pines Rotary Club to play and run their booth at the San Diego County Fair. They're doing a toy drive for the Rady Children's Hospital and love our Varsity Strings program, so here we are the first Saturday, early in the morning getting our guitar bags security checked at
the exhibitor entrance to the Fair:

No problem!

A long walk to the booth, and nobody's there but us - our exhibitor passes get us in before the public.


These girls were up earlier than us.

Now this is the basic blues jam. Add three chords, unlimited solos, stir, and you've got hours of entertainment.

Here's our acoustic version of Little Wing by Mr. Jimi Hendrix.

And in a little guitar slappin and you've got a whole new realm of possibilities!

"Don't wiz on the rhubarb"

This is our home away from home...

Check out Sam's guitar - Koa wood top!

So there's lots of other charity booths around us, these people are dedicated to PSITTACINE knowledge.



And this is the biggest food booth at the Fair; JUICY'S. These guys use a 16-wheel semi truck to BBQ on. I'm not kidding.

So in honor of Curly Max, we had Juicy's Mountain of Curly Fries:

The Many Faces of Sam;




The funny thing is (look close) the people from this booth were asleep all day! -

Monkey business -

Max, Curly Max, Sam:

Then I started seeing guitars everywhere. That's a half-eaten guitar the monkey is hitting the alligator with:

This kid looks like a Nikbeat:

And here is the coolest charity booth at the Fair.

This is it.




It's the Racers Against Drugs people, they have racers come to your school for free, talk about how bad drugs are and they BRING THEIR CARS!


Look at Marcos Ambrose:

And finally, time for the Deep Fried Butter.

On the way home,

We met our La Jolla High School Robotics Team!

And more guitars on the way out - that's Bo Diddeley:

ZZ Top:

Somebody playing a nice blue Gibson:

A tractor playing an archtop sunburst:

And on the way out these tempting guitars and congo drums all lined up nice and pretty for us. These are real Flying V's. I think we should test all of these as a community service to the Fair:

Man, we're tired! See you next time!