Paul was the drummer in the Smoking Wood Peckers band and a surfer. Rodney was a friend I surfed and played music with. In this post I combine two stories about them that cross over.

Paul Holcomb
Rodney Millican

When I was growing up I had a best friend named Rodney. We were surf buddies and both played music. I bought a new Jacobs surfboard and Rodney bought one too. We both had them custom made to our specs and they had creative applications of the Jacobs logo. Old school longboards. Mine had three wood stringers and Rod’s was a nose rider.

I sold my Jacob eventually as I had moved from California and wasn’t surfing anymore. Then one day I moved back to Oceanside. Rod still had his Jacobs and sold it to me as he wasn’t surfing any more.

I road Rod’s board now and then until I moved to Montana. I donated the board to the California Surf Museum in Oceanside, California. They were delighted to get it as it had become a classic and was in good condition. It also featured a rare surf license sticker on the underside that was once required by law in Newport Beach.

One day Rod strolled into the Surf Museum and was surprised to find his Jacob on display. He asked me about it and sent me some photos they took of him at the Museum.

I had taken a bunch of photos when I  donated the board and put together this short video. The soundtrack features the Smoking Wood Peckers live at one of the Blue Jam Festivals, recorded and mixed by Eric Schwartz, second guitarist in the band.

You’ve heard of how musicians sometimes have moments when everything comes together and the magic happens. This was one of those moments for me. The band, Herb French, Eric Schwartz, David Klatt, Paul Holcomb and me were in sync and Paul locked in his drumming with me on lead guitar and we riffed back and forth together. I will never forget it! It was a special moment for me.

Paul was an amazing drummer, a beautiful soul, a great surfer, and a dear friend.

California Surf Museum and Rodney’s Jacobs surfboard video.

Europa (full song) performed live by the Smoking Wood Peckers. This song was such a special moment for me… not just one special moment within a song which happened frequently… but with this one the whole song was special from beginning to end!

Pay attention to Paul’s drumming throughout the song and you will hear how he makes subtle changes or dramatic changes as the song morphs that perfectly fit the song. This song epitomizes the level of tightness we had achieved from over twenty years of playing together.

Down By The River performed live by the Smoking Wood Peckers.

The Sky Is Crying performed live by the Smoking Wood Peckers.

See You Again (David Klatt original) performed live by the Smoking Wood Peckers.

Loving Cup Jam performed live by the Smoking Wood Peckers.

Take A Break instrumental (John Raymond Webster original) performed by the Smoking Wood Peckers.

Never Fall (David Klatt original) performed by the Smoking Wood Peckers.

Heard it through the Grapevine performed by the Smoking Wood Peckers.

Little Red Rooster performed by the Smoking Wood Peckers.

Here’s some pics of the Smoking Wood Peckers band.