The Story of Treehouse
Treehouse was a popular and unusual Colorado band in the late 90’s. I played guitar and keyboard, Dan Sheridan dansheridan.com played acoustic and electric guitar, Paul Kuhn played guitar, violin and cellocaster, a hybrid cello/electric guitar that can be bowed or picked. See it in action at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taRiGLy6C9Q.
Billy Conn, bass; Eliah, lead guitar (see him on the Chapman Stick at http://www.eliahmusic.com/); Paul Valentine, drums; and Todd Skarda (drums) were also dues-paying members of Treehouse. Treehouse put out 3 CDs, all of which are represented in the tracks here. The newest one, Blend, didn’t kill the band, but it was released just as the band evaporated, peddled from stages as the remaining members played out the calendar of Treehouse commitments. We all hoped club managers wouldn’t count the band members in the cover photo as we dwindles to a four-piece, a three-piece, arrived with un-rehearsed drummers who promised that they had listened to our records…. Finally, we were done!
Aspen Times Entertainment Editor Stewart Oksenhorn kind of shamed us into putting Treehouse together in the first place. He was friends with all of us individually, and perhaps sick of some of us complaining about the drama in our band situations. He told Dan, Paul, and me (Larry) that if we put a band together with the 3 of us, he would loan us whatever funds we needed to put out our first CD. We were full-time broke, working musicians and this was a deal we couldn’t refuse so we quit our bands (Dan was a solo performer so he broke up with his girlfriend instead!) and started Treehouse.
Except for the drummer(s), we all insisted on singing, and so our presentation was a little inconsistent, un-centered, ill-defined. The more positive spin here is that we had too much talent to be contained in your usual presentation – guitars/bass/drums with a rock star lead vocalist! No, Treehouse was more like the Beatles. We had a Paul. Or maybe we were like the Eagles, or Crosby, Still and Nash and Kuhn. We had a neo-folk setlist and a whole lot of harmony – the gratuitous ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ that don’t play as well through a live rock sound system as they do in the studio. I should have shut up more – more frequently and for longer periods of time. But, egghead performer that I was, I thought singing on pitch while playing two instruments simultaneously with all ten fingers amounted to a riveting stage presence. And it was. I was riveted to my spot because my face and hands were triangulated between my microphone and keyboard. I like to think I embodied the complicated sophistication of our music, while the other guys took care of the joy and party attitudes. Isn’t that why we had so many lead singers?
Well, Treehouse was fun. Dan and Paul are hands-down the two funniest people I ever played in a band with. The Treehouse epicenter was Aspen, Colorado, but we played the mountain resort circuit with occasional stops in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Salt Lake, and even an appearance at the High Sierra Festival in Angel’s Camp, California. We were truly big in Grand Junction, Colorado! (hello-oo Junction!) and we played the Jazz Aspen Festival one year. We were also booked into a celebrity golf tournament in…(wait for it!) Battlement Mesa. Only two of us had ever played golf before so we brought along Dead Bob from Interruptus.Eight years after Treehouse some random fellow recognized and approached me for an autograph in a Grand Junction eatery. I thought he was goofing on me, but he seemed so sincere that I signed, casually, and my dining companions were impressed!
Eventually, Treehouse just couldn’t stay on the road any longer. There were personnel changes, maturity issues, too much Jerky Boy talk, attempted marriage, divorce, kids – it got too hard to continue and the band just…stopped. I think everyone was relieved. But, it was a good ride with good guys. I should write a book!
Like these guys did: