My Favorite Road Trip Of 2011

Your intrepid crustacean/DJ took a week to travel between radio shows (Lobster’s Sunday Brunch Radio Show on 97.7 The River in Santa Rosa). Right after the Oakland Raiders game preempted my radio show at 12:30pm on recent Sunday, I headed out in my mid-life Chrysler along River Road, snaking along the Russian River clear down to the coast, then up Highway 1. My destination was Skibo, the coastside retreat of my old pal Herbie Herbert (a.k.a. Sy Klopps, when he is in his bluesman persona). I’d been previously invited to visit by Herbie and his wife Maya, but this is the first time our calendars were in sync.

The BAM Walk of Fame in front of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium has eight plaques embedded in the sidewalk. The most recent one, installed in 2003, is dedicated to the band Journey–the band Herbie, as their manager, helped ascend to incredibly successful heights. Besides the plaque honoring rock impresario Bill Graham, Herbie is the only band manager to have his name inscribed on one of the plaques.

Just before sunset, we took a walk around the Skibo grounds. As we climbed up through the woods, I had an epiphany about what is inside Herbie Herbert that has enabled him to chart a course to innovations and huge public acclaim: creative energy and drive. These qualities are possessed by many people we know as great achievers. During his decades with Journey, Herbie’s vision created a series of thematic one-word album titles and iconic scarab-themed album covers that took Journey on the Infinity trail from Departure to Arrival. These days, he applies the same hands-on energy that built the careers of the musicians in Journey and the success of his Nocturne Production Company to laboring on the good earth of California.

At Skibo, Herbie’s vision and drive have carved roads through his sustainable forest, felled trees, milled lumber, and made spiritual spaces of the “fairy circle” of redwood trees. He has planted gardens, built houses, and is now enjoying retired life in a most energetic way. The second day of my stay, we settled down in the chairs that face the sea and chatted awhile. You can eavesdrop on a few minutes of our conversation (including Herbie’s advice on how to rub elbows with the famous without fawning, and how he invented night-time outdoor stadium concerts) by watching the video on the LobsterTheDJ page on YouTube:

Have a great New Year, everyone!

Paul “Lobster” Wells
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