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October 8-16, 2010 BALI INDONESIA
 
  The Hunt
  Steve and Gary search the magical island for the famous Balinese Kecak and Gamelon. Of course, along the way they meet new friends, human and animal alike.
 
 
  Recording with the Gamelon "Everything Matters"
  Steve and Gary meet with a Balinese Gamelon Crew to record an original song fusing contemporary beats, strings and traditional Gamelon sounds.
 
 
I Want to Bang On My Drum All Day
  Join Steve as he tours a local Drum and Percussion factory outside Ubud. Steve discovers a job where you don't need to take a break to play some music.
 
 
Just a Part of the Scene, Man
  Join Steve and Gary as they meet some of Bali's unique musicians and also manage to locate the secret WOLFMOTHER show.
 
 
Oceanside Muppet Session  
This episode's Muppet Session is staged on Bali's famed Kuta Beach, and happens to be the shortest for reasons worth mentioning, but can't.  
Recorded on Kuta Beach, October 16, 2010

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Bali: 5-Star Week  
Gary and I both have fond memories of Bali.  Combined we have traveled to the Island of Gods about 20 times, which is rather ridiculous. We feel like snowbirds heading down to Florida to play shuffleboard every time we board the plane from Malaysia.  Of course, we don’t play shuffleboard we play Killer B.  Killer B is a "sport" that requires less physical energy than shuffleboard and allows a group of ‘mature men’ to through Frisbees at each other with the stunning backdrop of Kuta Beach looking on.  Gary has also had his wallet stolen in Bali.  Fond memories.

But this was a work trip.  To our former colleagues, they still have a hard time wrapping their head around the idea of our version of work but it is indeed that: long days carrying a heavy camera around, playing music, always being "on."  It isn’t the easiest of jobs, but rest assured, it may be the most enjoyable, especially the mandatory wrap party that occurs post Muppet Sessions.
When we research countries, make contacts and set up our shoots, we traditionally organize each day into three filming segments: morning, afternoon and evening.  So in six shooting days in Bali, we had the potential of 18 filming segments to fill.  We filled 15 of them.

Rarely do we have the opportunity to dive right in and get amazing footage on the first day of shooting (In Laos we didn’t get gold footage until the last day) but Day One in Bali was amazing.  We had arranged through the Conrad Hotel in Nusa Dua, Bali a meeting with Karsten Schroeer.  Karsten, a North Carolina native, had been living in South East Asia for several years, originally working at YAHOO in Singapore.  Music was always a passion for him and he eventually put together a band that fused elements of hip-hop beats with traditional Gamelon.  His unique sound afforded him travel throughout South East Asia before planting some roots in Bali.  Karsten had a recording studio set up in his home and invited us in to record a song.

Gary and I had written a song called ‘Everything Matters’ a few months back.  A song noting that no matter what one does in their life, use it, and allow it to help you move forward.  Stating and believe that everything you do matters, it’s a stepping-stone to get where you want to be.  Take the lesson whether it be positive or negative.  We played the song for the Gamelon Crew, which consisted of five other musicians.  As they listened, their minds continued to create complementary sounds for the song.  It was only a matter of time before we discovered ways for our guitar and ukulele to meld with the Gamelon.

Day Two was a travel day.  After two nights in Nusa Dua, we headed to the art centre of Bali, Ubud.  Ubud is a wonderful place but is ultimately doomed to repeat the same fate as Kuta (albeit to a smaller extent) as Starbucks has reared it’s ugly head and sidewalks aren’t wide enough to handle the tourist traffic.  You can hear the grumbles of dedicated yogis as you stroll past every Circle K.  We’ll let downward dog soothe their soul.  I was in Ubud for music.

As we settled into our lodgings, a peaceful villa provided by Gayatri, we enjoyed our surrounding rice fields and prepared for our evening shoot with Balawan.  Balawan was one of Bali, nay Indonesia’s most revered guitarists.  He has the ability to play two guitars at the same time with ridiculous, Millennium Falcon-like speed.  Tourists and locals alike have heard of Balawan and we met many people who arrange their travel itinerary around when Balawan is playing next.

Day three was destined to be a little unique with a tour through the Drum Factory in Ubud. Arcana, the manager of the drum factory was held responsible for showing us around. He was polite, ambitious and hoped to study in Australia one day.

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The factory manufactures about 300 drums per day as well as some other percussive instruments like the didgeridoo - all mostly for export. The workers appeared to be a happy sort, especially the folks in charge of quality control, as their main job was essentially to bang on their drums all day. The factory has two different facilities. The first creates the drum shells by hollowing out logs (process called Bebut), which then get carved cosmetically, painted, or otherwise decorated. The second facility fastens the heads (drum surface), whether it be animal skin or plastic.
 
Bonus Scenes
 
  Knock Knock Knockin' on Bali's Door
  Join Steve as he cruises through the Ubud markets looking for musicians and finds that he is able to earn some additional cash from an enthusiastic audience.
 
 
  Hangin' With the Models of QHeart
 

For Steve and Gary, it's just another day at the office as they film a photo shoot of designer Mai Q. What's more rock and roll than models? As Mick Jagger said, "nothing".

 
 
  Behind the Scenes Making of "Everything Matters"
  Here's a behind the scenes look at the recording of "Everything Matters," recorded at Karsten Schroeer's Soulflip Studio.
 
 
  Silliness Post Drum Tour
  After Gary and Steve's tour of the Drum Factory, they go back to the main store and decide to get a little playful with the finished products.
 
 
  Steve's Fifth Favorite Hobby
  Steve spends some time with his guitar.
 
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There were sections of the factory we could visit, but not film, and there were sections we couldn't visit at all due to patent pending processes. But Arcana and his crew were very gracious in showing us around.

After the Drum Factory, we traveled to the Elephant Safari Park, the largest safe haven for Sumatran Elephants in South East Asia.  A sad thought really.  Shouldn’t their natural habitat be the safest and best place for the elephants to hang?  Grow?  Play?  Obviously, the answer is yes.  “Progress” has another idea.  So the Elephant Sanctuary does what they can to give the elephants a home as close as possible to their original habitat.  Of course, I am not sure how basketball hoops make the elephants feel like home.  The entertainment portion of their day is a result of the government not helping as much as it should.  It is through merchandise and entrance proceeds that allow the sanctuary to do what it does.  A necessary evil?  Perhaps, but you can make your own decision.  Elephant footage appears throughout our clips.  Even a harmonica-playing elephant decided to jam with me.  Clever.  For what’s its worth, the elephants looked very happy.  I’ve seen sad elephants before.

Day four started with a traditional activity for On The Beat and Path: we did a little hunt for music.  We cruised the streets of Ubud looking for musicians, music stores, taxi drivers who whistle … whatever.

We found Moari Music, which is a great, comprehensive music shop on Ubud’s main drag.  It had everything from Gamelon to gongs.  Every house needs a gong.  It’s a judgement call and I just made it but it also happens to be true.  Regrettably, I flew Air Asia to Bali and the extra baggage penalty alone would allow Fernandez to retire early.  So with regrets, I don’t have a gong in my home.  Yet.

Moari provided a great backdrop to do some context scenes and segues, but there happened to be an annoying lady who, even though she saw us rocking the camera and doing some dialogue, she continued to follow us around the store banging on anything she could get her hands on.  In all fairness, she could have been creating her own travel show where she travels around the world annoying as many people as she can.  If that is the case, her shoot was more successful than ours and in our parallel worlds, she is currently writing a blog about how successful she was in annoying some musical travel host.  Damn.

The hunt was somewhat successful while not as integral as in previous shoots. Afterwards we headed back to Kuta  as we had arranged to spend the day at a QHeart Model shoot.  Mai Qheart, as she is known, is a Japanese designer now based in Bali who creates fashion that she, and all the ladies who adorn it, call “sexy & cute.”  No disagreement from this travel host, as we were witness to a creative shoot with two beautiful models in a rural landscape.

After the model shoot, we got wind of a secret Wolfmother show somewhere in Bali.  Originally, it was slated to be a mellow acoustic affair in a small space in the backyard of Deus ex Machina, a bike shop/museum/art colony/bar run by a fine Australian chap named Dustin.  Of course, word gets out as it always does and what was once a small acoustic gathering turned into a crazy electric affair with Wolfmother guitarist Aidan Nemeth heading to the stage saying to me, “they [opening band] were trying to show us up.  We’re gonna blow them out the water.” They did. Oh, and they even kindly handled a simple plug for our show.  What gentlemen.

Throughout our trip, we had been looking forward to Day Five.  Local Ubud spa, Taksu, had agreed to give all of the production crew a free session at their spa and a delightful organic lunch afterwards.  I am not one who enjoys a massage as much as Gary or Hannah, but it was fantastic.  I rocked (pun intended) a hot stone massage and may have a new compulsory weekly activity.

We had to run again to another location in Bali at this stage of our trip.  We spent our last three nights in Kuta enjoying the surf, sand and some Kecak.

Kecak is a traditional Balinese performance that does not rely on the Gamelon but instead a choir of men chanting “kecak-kecak-kecak” throughout the performance.  The hour-long production was set atop a cliff at the gorgeous Uluwatu Temple.  As the sun goes down on the story and the monkey army defeats the Ogre, tourists are treated to an incredible performance with stunning costumes, imagery and hypnotic rhythms.

Finally, on our last day, we were able to enjoy some time on the beach hanging with the locals, riding the waves (with body, not boards) and enjoying some cold Bintang.  Don’t be under the impression that we went six days in Bali and only drank beer on the last day.  We feasted while in Bali: delicious pork ribs, pizzas, local cuisine, and local drinks.  We waddled our bodies home with hours of incredible footage, new friends, new songs and on an all time creative high.


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Peace
Steve
 
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Mission: On the Beat and Path provides a window into the planet's love and longing for music, using music as the primary language of global communication in order to develop a multi-media outlet for the sharing of music, travel and friendship.
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