"Top of the Morning," the 1966 single by Phoenix garage rockers The Hobbit starts off with a simple rhythm, the sound of a clamped high-hat tapping out a simple 4/4 beat. Then it blows up: white boy soul vocals, bobbing and weaving organ, clanging guitars, and racing bass, all the while anchored by forceful, dead simple drums.
Harold Aceves was the guy behind the kit, and on Monday, February 27, he passed away. But not before living a life full of music -- after his garage rock days in Phoenix he made his way out to San Francisco, where he played with Country Joe & The Fish and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Eventually he found his way back to the Valley, and where he was a staple at downtown Tempe hangout the Sail Inn.
That's where his friends will gather on Sunday, April 15, to remember him and raise money for his mother Olivia. Restless Natives, Steve Larson, Ruth Wilson, Mansaray Blue Pony, Charles and Dylan Bond, legendary Phoenix bluesman Hans Olson, and The Noodles featuring Country Joe and the Fish guitarist Barry "The Fish" Melton will perform in Aceves' honor.
"The Tempe music community lost one of it's great music artists," says Aceves' friend and "imaginary roadie" Kevin Marks. "[He was] known as a mentor of late 60's San Francisco rock music, he also was a master of the 'Bo Diddley' beat, and [the kind of] drum styles played by [Gene] Krupa, Charlie Watts, or anyone who played rudiments. He will be deeply missed by his friends at the Sail Inn bar for his funny jokes, music performances, and Barry Melton shows."
"Harold was a very good friend, a gentle soul," says John "Johnny D" Dixon, unofficial Arizona music historian and host of KWSS' Mostly Vinyl and Totally Jazzed. "He (we) went to Tempe High and was the drummer for The Hearsemen who became The Hobbit and made two very cool 45s in 1966."
Marks says that Aceves attended a show by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart at the Compound Grill in December. "I hope it gave him lasting direction!"
Restless Natives, Steve Larson, Ruth Wilson, Mansaray Blue Pony, and Charles and Dylan Bond, Hans Olson, and The Noodles featuring Country Joe and the Fish guitarist Barry "The Fish" Melton are scheduled to perform Sunday, April 15, at Sail Inn in Tempe.