The band in 1990
Photo by Ed Lawless

Original Band Logo from 1984
Designed by Scott Anthony


The Golden Gate Rhythm Machine is a small band with a big, swinging, fun loving sound, produced by some of the best traditional jazz musicians in the country. We are celebrating our 24th anniversary together this year. We love to play a wide range of music, from the standard Dixieland favorites, through the West Coast originals of Lou Watters and Turk Murphy, to more recent standards and novelties played in a traditional style. We are particularly pleased when we're are able to fill the dance floor.

In 1984, I was asked to get a band together to fill in for Sunday afternoon sessions at Earthquake McGoon's. The original band consisted of me on banjo and "pedal" bass, Bob Neighbor on trumpet, and Jack Frost on guitar. In addition to the bass, we used an electronic drum machine which I used in my intermission solo act for the Turk Murphy Jazz Band at Earthquake McGoon's. (Most people think that the name Golden Gate Rhythm Machine emerged from the use of the electronic drum machine; however, the original intent was really to convey a meaning similar to a political "machine"- having lots of drive and power). So we werereally a sort of 5-piece band packaged into 3.

As a soloist using 2 supporting electronic instruments, I had occasionally sensed some hostility from other musicians, especially drummers and bass players, but the GGRM simply could not continue appearing at Traditional Jazz festivals using all this new-fangled stuff. We soon asked Mike Starr to join us on trombone and then Jim Rothermel on reeds. Within a year, we had filled out the "front line" and gotten rid of both the bass pedals and the electronic drums, with the addition of John Moore on tuba and "Buffalo" Bill Maginnis on drums.

Except for a couple of instances, the band has remained remarkably stable (not counting the state of mind of some of its members that will remain unnamed!) In 1987 we lost two of its founding members when Bob Neighbor moved to Chicago and Jack Frost relocated to Sedona, Arizona. Luckily, one Bob was replaced with another - the great Bob Schulz, and we were off and running again. Then, around 1999, because of many local commitments, John Moore was unable to do many GGRM jobs and festivals, so Jim Maihack switched to tuba and the great Bob Hirsch joined us on piano.

Since its beginning we have played at many premier jazz festivals including The Sacramento Dixieland Jubilee, The San Diego Dixieland Festival, Pismo Beach, Friday Harbor, Whidbey Island, Seaside Oregon, and many others. We performed on 20 of the 21 Dixieland Jazz Festivals At Sea. At every festival we attend, we continue to surprise and delight both new and old fans alike with danceable tempos, wonderful solo and ensemble work, and the genuine warmth and appreciation we feel toward our audiences.

Photo by Donna Courtney