Celebrity Travel: Go away with Jock Bartley
After touring and playing guitar for Firefall for just shy of 50 years, founding member Jock Bartley knows a thing or two about making travel more pleasant. “Don’t fight what’s going on, accept and deal with whatever comes on the road and be polite and mild-mannered – but have good boundaries,” Bartley said from his home in Westminster, Colorado. “Every place you go in the world is different, with different customs and what is or isn’t acceptable. Be cool, be smart and be safe. And go with the flow.” Currently on tour to promote Firefall’s new album “Friends & Family,” the veteran rocker, 73, stays in touch with fans on the group’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FIREFALLofficial) and their website (https://firefallofficial.com).
Q: What are some of your memories of touring with Firefall?
A: Firefall’s first album came out in 1976. It went gold in less than three months with saturation radio airplay. Suddenly the band was on tour with so many of the top rock ‘n’ roll acts of the day, including Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers, The Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, the Beach Boys, Chicago, Loggins & Messina, Heart and many others. Firefall's first few years of nonstop touring were fantastic – great shows with great bands. I attribute Firefall’s huge success to two things – how great the original songs were [that were] written and sung by Rick Roberts and Larry Burnett, and the unique style and sound of the band, which became known as the Colorado Sound. Some of our most memorable shows were with Fleetwood Mac. We also opened for The Band during their tour of 1976. Wow! Firefall’s first three years were a blur of recording albums and immediately going out on tour – amazing times to be sure. In later years, there were many memorable gigs. One that stands out was at a huge three-day concert in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, on the beach in 2014 [that featured] 20 to 25 big American bands, including Cheap Trick, America, Dave Mason, Poco, Ambrosia, Pure Prairie League and others.
Q: There's a lot of dialogue about fans throwing things on stage that end up hurting the artists. How do you deal with this kind of fan behavior?
A: That can be a problem, but usually that’s pretty harmless. I remember in the late ’70s where I was hit right between the eyes and under my Panama hat with a big Frisbee! The sunglasses I was wearing broke, but surprisingly it didn’t hurt me or do any damage. Yeah, sunglasses!
Q: Do you have any upcoming trips planned?
A: Lots of touring coming up out of my home state of Colorado. We’re going to Tacoma, Washington, Texas, Florida, Illinois and a few gigs in Southern California. Fly in and fly out!
Q: Have you visited places for work that were so nice that you traveled back there later for a personal trip?
A: After playing gigs in Hawaii, I’ve stayed there for vacations. Lots of times, if the tour destinations are really cool – like San Diego or Florida – I’ll either stay there after the gig for a few days or maybe even go into the destination a few days early. [Note: This interview was conducted prior to the Maui wildfires.]
Q: What was a trip you took as a child that stands out?
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