2012-09-27 / On the Town
Local grads pay homage to their hometown with Old Agoura band
The Agoura High School graduates are well into adulthood and now live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but their childhood homes still beckon, both for sentimental and professional reasons.
Jorgensen and Bowers have formed a band, Old Agoura, which will perform at The Canyon in Agoura Hills on Oct. 11. Old Agoura will open for John Sebastian, founder of The Lovin’ Spoonful, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
Jorgensen, a producer for House of Blues Radio Hour with Dan Aykroyd (hosting as Elwood Blues), said he took up guitar at the age of 22 to gain credibility with the artists he interviewed each week.
“I decided I needed to learn an instrument if I was going to schmooze with the legends,” Jorgensen said.
Now 38, he has interviewed more than 500 professional musicians, including blues artists B.B. King, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker, and is as ingrained in the music scene as if he had been playing all his life.
He also worked in audio production with Metallica for many years.
Jorgensen said Bowers was his brother’s buddy while he was growing up, but when they both landed in the Bay Area, the men found they had more in common than their hometown.
They reconnected as musicians and formed the Old Agoura band in 2005. Since then, the band has been gaining momentum in the Northern California music scene and, because of the Agoura connection, is becoming known in the Southland.
The trip home in October is special to both men. The band played at The Canyon earlier in the year and was so well received that they were asked back for an encore performance.
Bowers, 34, has been ensconced in music since he was 12. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, bass and steel guitar in musical genres as diverse as rock, blues, jazz, bluegrass, Brazilian, Cuban Americana, Hawaiian and funk. Jorgensen said Bowers is a gifted musician who is fast becoming the “go-to guy” for lap steel guitar.
“Old Agoura is a great musical vehicle. . . .” Bowers said. “The Hawaiian influences are easily distinguished and enjoyed by anyone listening. ‘Music for humans’ is what I like to call it.”
Neither Jorgensen nor Bowers lived in the Old Agoura neighborhood, but they both remember hanging out there as boys.
“We spent countless hours in that neighborhood,” said Jorgensen, who lived in the Hillrise area of Agoura. “Old Agoura is the Agoura I remember,” he said.
Jorgensen fondly remembers the skateboard park on Kanan Road and Canwood Street, called Aloha Skateland. He also recalls being bused to Lupin Elementary School in Calabasas. Willow Elementary School was part of the Lupin Hill campus at that time.
“Growing up there was no SavOn, no Ralphs,” Jorgensen said. “There were cow pastures. I understand progress, but in some respects when I go home it’s a little heartbreaking. Where I used to ride my bikes there are stores now. It kind of bums me out.”
The Canyon club wasn’t the entertainment venue it is today.
“We did our grocery shopping in that room. Not all progress is bad,” Jorgensen said. The Canyon as a place to perform has been a wonderful addition to the area, he said.
Jorgensen and Bowers have some original songs in their set that pay homage to Agoura Hills, including “Hillrise” and “Willow.”
Bowers moved north in 1996 to attend San Francisco State University, where he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. Now living in San Rafael, Bowers has dual careers. He works in the solar-electric industry in project development and engineering, but his passion lies in music.
“I play music every day and play shows anywhere from once a month to six times a month,” Bowers said. “That would be a full-time musician for a lot of people I know.”
For ticket information, visit www.canyonclub.net.