Tony Sedito, and The Building of Bongo Boy Studio

 

When Susie and I moved to Humboldt County in 2001, we knew only one person in the Area. That was our good friend Tony Sedito. Susie and I met Tony while camping on a beach on the Russian river in 1972. Tony and I shared a birthday, he being a few years older than me. Tony was a real character, and fun to be around. He had worked on a boat, had traveled with a circus, had served a "life" sentence (7 years) for murdering a cop, keeping a woodpecker he rescued as a pet on the California prisoner forest fire line, was a master wood carver, a professional furniture refinisher, and a great friend for 35 years.

     The original Bongo Boy Studio was under our rented house in San Francisco. The house we bought in Mckinleyville had a big yard, but no structure for a studio, so we had the opportunity to build the studio from scratch. My friend Tom Threlkell, a master carpenter, came up from San Francisco to frame the building on the foundation we had poured. Tony and I worked under him. Joe Kieney (aka Joe King from KINGFOOT) donated a number of hours helping with the framing. Framing in place after about 3 days, Tom had to get back to San Francisco and Joe had Carpal Tunnel issues. For the next 9 months, it was me and Tony, putting on the roof, siding, walls, floating walls and ceiling (using resilient channeling), paint, doors, acoustic panels, ducting and fans, bathroom plumbing; pretty much everything in the design that I came up with and what the studio building still is today. Our good friend and recording engineer Ashley Brigdale drove here from Stockton and installed the electrical wiring and panel, and we had the carpet installed by a local floor company. Susie (Foot) helped with painting and kept everything else going during the build. Tony and I did the rest, working 7 days a week starting in the coldest, wettest winter I think we've experienced here and working for 9 months. Tony drove here from Rio Dell for the last few months, an 80-mile round-trip every day! Tony lived very simply with his dog Bart Simpson, a black McNab, collected SSI, and bristled when I tried to pay him for his 50 hours of work every week and refused payment, (with the exception of a few dank buds). Tony was very proud of the studio we built and he got to see Bongo Boy Studio become a success before his passing about 5 years after we finished building. Bart Simpson did his best to distract us, incessantly bringing us the tennis ball that I taught him to retrieve, not knowing he would become obsessive! Bart stayed at Bongo Boy and was Chief of Security for another 6 years after Tony passed. Ashley is gone now, too, but the loving care we all took in building this very musical space lives on, and is appreciated every day by the artists who work here. I can hear Tony in my head every time I build anything now, saying "Measure twice, cut once!"

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©2019 by Jimmy Foot