Rhan Wilson first performed with "The Paisley Pudding", a "power-rock" trio, when he was 10. Forty years later he continues to create, perform, and explore the way we hear and interpret music.
His "Altared" shows: An Altared Christmas, An Altared Valentine's Day, and An Altared 420 which often sell out in advance, have provided him an opportunity to work with some truly fine musicians such as Jerry Martini (Sly and the Family Stone, Woodstock, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Joe Craven (Jerry Garcia, David Grisman), Dale Ockerman and Richard Bryant (both of the Doobie Brothers and The White Album Ensemble), and Grammy Nominee Tammi Brown.
These "Altared" shows have also provided Rhan with the canvas with which to paint a musical scene depicting familiar songs rendered in minor keys - lighted only with blues and blacks.
His work with Tammi Brown has also included opening for Dr. Maya Angelou at the Santa Cruz Civic as well as Santa Barbara's Arlington Theater.
Rhan has been active in teaching music, with a focus on rhythm, to the many beginning ukulele players in town - encouraging their confidence and assisting in performance techniques.
He has recorded and produced several CDs; three of his own, as well as with "pray-formance" artist THOTH and singer-songwriter Celina Gutierrez.
Rhan finished editing and producing the full length DVD of the 2010 Altared Christmas show.
He finished the production of "An Altared Christmas 2011" at the Rio Theatre on December 10, 2011 to nearly standing room only crowds.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel's Wallace Baine wrote this feature piece:
The Santa Cruz Weekly said it quite nicely here:
And The Santa Cruz Weekly wrote this:
For information about the "Altared" shows, please visit: www.altared.com
When asked to perform at the Crepe Place, he quickly put together the band "ROMP" (click here for a really great photo by Paul Schraub), a quirky mix of some of the best musicians around town.
To quote Santa Cruz Sentinel writer Wallace Baine: "Rhan Wilson does nothing ordinary. The creator of "An Altared Christmas," the live show and album that reframes common Christmas tunes in a minor key, has put together a new band, and there's nothing ho-hum about it.
ROMP is an anagram of the first names of the four members of the band : Wilson, Olaf Schiappacasse, Matt Bohn and Patti Maxine. All in the new band have played in Wilson's "Christmas" extravaganza; three of the four ROM have been part of the house band at the "Planet Cruz Comedy Hour."
The band is unusual not only for its instrumentation " it will use everything from the baritone ukulele to the lap-steel guitar " but for its off-beat treatment of beloved old songs. Chuck Berry's already bizarre "My Ding-a-Ling" performed in a minor key and sang in a Russian accent. The 1960s chestnut "Ode to Billie Joe," about the day "Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge," is combined with the beat of the late Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" to create the "Ode to Billie Jean."
"We're not trying to make every song we do be odd or weird," he said. "We're just looking to have fun. I've been in a lot of bands, and all I want now is to play music and have some fun."
Rhan hopes that each ROMP show will be just a bit different than the last one - often bringing in guests to perform such as Grammy Award Nominee Tammi Brown (Sista Monica, Stanley Jordan, An Altared Christmas), Celina Gutierrez (The CMonkeys, An Altared Christmas), and comedian Richard Stockton of "The Planet Cruz Comedy Hour."
"An Altared Christmas LIVE 2008" was blessed with a band consisting of some of the best local and Bay Area talent, namely: Grammy Award nominee Tammi Brown (Stanley Jordan, Spyro Gyra, Sista Monica), Peter Cor (composer for Bernie Mac Show, Earth Wind & Fire, Lee Ritenour, Lenny White), Matt Bohn (Hot Club Pacific), Patti Maxine (Eddie Kamae, John Cruz, Patrick Landeza), Jimmy Norris (Snail, Lacy J. Dalton), Richard Stockton (Planet Cruz Comedy Hour), The Great Morgani, Ukulele Dick, Celina Gutierrez, and others. (Please see www.altared.com for complete show information.)
He was the band leader for the wildly successful "The Planet Cruz Comedy Hour" which was produced monthly by comedian Richard Stockton for radio and television at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.
Earlier projects have allowed Rhan to share the stage with THOTH (subject of Oscar winning documentary), Land of The Blind, Haunted By Waters, Pipa Piñon, Daniel V. Lewis, Gary Regina, Erin Schwartz, Bob Burnett, Pete Coates and Max Drake to name but just a few.
BACK IN TIME...
In 1989 he started the publication MASC (Music and Art Santa Cruz), a monthly which covered local music and art and featured interviews with local groups. The October earthquake brought about the end of the publication, but not before a noticeable shift took place in local music coverage. (At least one MASC knock-off briefly surfaced, but fell short in it's commitment to local arts and music.)
In 1992 Rhan made the short move to San Francisco where he began playing percussion with the group Haunted By Waters, which featured other Santa Cruz locals including David Hannibal, Cait McWhir and Greg Stone. The group's CD, "Like The Dust" achieved national distribution and widespread air play.
Soon establishing himself in the SF music scene, Rhan appeared by invitation with Zakir Hussain, Pete and Sheila Escovedo, Michael Shrieve, Baba Olatunji, Mickey Hart and the rest of the surviving members of the Grateful Dead for the Polo Field Memorial for Jerry Garcia. People Magazine, The Grateful Dead Almanac, Rolling Stone Magazine, and the hardback book "Garcia" were among those publishing photos of Rhan's performance. David Gans' book entitled, "The Online World Remembers Jerry Garcia" included Rhan's written account of the event entitled, "My View From The Stage".
Shortly thereafter, Rhan began working with the group THOTH as the principal percussionist, playing a "kit" comprised of djembes, bongos, kick drum, misc cymbals, shakers, a tympani-style rototom, and assorted noisemakers.Together, Rhan and violinist THOTH toured the West coast to a loyal following before eventually parting ways to allow THOTH to move to New York. They continue to collaborate, together producing the CD, "Space Gypsies" and consulting each other on their respective new works.
Continuing his role as producer, Rhan completed the CD "Little Lanikai" (2007) for California based singer-songwriter Celina Gutierrez, and completed the new recording by San Jose based songwriter John Walters.
And if all that isnt enough to keep one busy, he is currently offering private lessons and workshops on a variety of instruments, with a primary focus on rhythm and basics.