Camp MMW 2011: Part I

I just awoke to a serene morning in a dewy field here at the Full Moon resort. As I got up and made my way towards the shower, it was as if the entire resort was still asleep (and they probably are.) I walked towards the end of the open meadow and spotted a young buck chewing leaves of a tree. He spotted me and eyed me warily but did not stir. As I walked by him I probably got within ten feet of the deer but he didn’t jump, he didn’t run. The beauty and tranquility of this place has already permeated my psyche and I feel at peace. 11:15am yesterday seems like a week ago already.

I received a text from Hurricane at about 11:15 letting me know that he had just left his apartment in Jackson Heights Queens and would be arriving to pick me up in about a half hour. I tied up all my loose ends around the apartment and anxiously awaited the next text that said simply “I’m here.” I grabbed all my gear, my bass, and my bag of clothes, my tent, my old comforter and a pillow. I loaded everything into the car and with no further ado we were off. After a 2.5 hours drive and a quick stop to buy beer and ice, we arrived at the Full Moon Resort.

The grounds were just as beautiful as I remembered them. All spacious, lush and green I marveled at their beauty before getting checked in. Upon leaving the lodge after signing in I bumped into Chris Wood as we exited the main lodge. He recognized me but couldn’t quite remember how.

“What year were you here before?” He inquired.

“2009.” I responded.

“Oh yeah.” He said. “We have a lot of returning campers this year. We better come up with something new to teach you.”

A big smile lit up on my face and with a chuckle I said, “Somehow I don’t think that will be a problem Chris.”

After checking in, the next order of business was to find a nice spot to set up my tent. I walked down towards the campfire pit and followed the flow of the creek into the wide-open field where we all go to throw the Frisbee or football around after lunch. I found a nice flat piece of land next to the creek with an electrical outlet on a post right next to it.

“I think this spot here is calling my name.” I said to Hurricane. I found the flattest spot I could void of any rocks and began setting up my tent. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get it finished and erected. Walking away from my home for the week, I felt very proud of myself.

I then proceeded up to the main lodge after meeting a few of my fellow campers and attended the “meet and greet” on the main lawn. I got acquainted with several of my campers while having some snacks before the wait-staff summoned us to the tent for dinner.

A dinner of Spinach fettuccine with Sea bass was served to us and it was delicious as I expected. I followed my meal with 2 cups of coffee (as I was already starting to fade) and a plate of delicious peach cobbler.

After dinner we all made our way to the newly renovated barn for the opening address by MMW. The band took this opportunity to address the basic rules of camp as well as the overall message they are trying to convey throughout the week. The phrase that sticks out to me is “Listen to one another.” Here are a few more quotes I jotted down during the address:

 “It’s all about the whole” JM

“If you realize you have it more together than someone else, play to their level, get underneath them and make them sound better.”

“This is the time for us to explore something new.”

“You learn more from your failures so don’t be afraid to fail.”

“I want to really know what you know, ya know?”

 After the opening address we all broke, changed into some warmer clothes (as it gets chilly here once the sun goes down) and headed down to the fire pit to watch the “sacred fire” get lit (sans matches or a lighter.) After the fire, the only place to go was to watch MMW play at the performance hall for an hour. Their performance was the typical brilliance you come to expect from MMW. Jazzy and un-predictable, it really brought to the surface what these guys are all about and what I can expect to learn from them over the course of the next four days.

After the performance, I bided my time between jamming at the café and jamming around the campfire. I’m fortunate enough to be one of only 5 bass players at camp this year so I know my services will be in high demand. I really got into a couple of the jams and it felt so great to play music from my soul once again and to get such positive feedback from my fellow musicians about my level of play.

Now I sit in the main lodge with a cup of this delicious coffee while typing away at my laptop. It’s nearly 7am and soon the camp will begin to stir from its slumber. New York City seems like it may as well be a million miles from here and I only left it yesterday!

I can’t wait to see what the day brings. Two things I know are for sure. One, Vernon Reid is set to arrive today and jam with MMW at their performance tonight. Two, Beauty surrounds everything here and that beauty will bring a wonderful day with it. Until tomorrow morning y’all, I got some learning to do!

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About campmmwblog

I've been playing electric bass for just over 17 years now. I live in Greenpoint Brooklyn and have so for the last 5 years. My musical fervor and inspiration have slowed a little (which is one of the reasons I'm sooooo looking forward to Camp MMW) but since the New Year I have been experimenting heavily with writing, specifically blogging. I had the idea to document the events leading up to Camp MMW 2011. Once I found out the team at MMW Headquarters was cool with it, I set up this blog. Enjoy
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