Mark 'Spanky' Gutierrez's Blog

It's Me.. Honest Its Me!!

Day at the Shop!! and so much more

Our band just got back from San Francisco where we were honored by an invitation from Mike Da’Silva to come out and be a part of his first “Day at the Shop”. It was a great weekend  and we had such a great time.

This musical journey I started a few years ago, is blooming into something I never would have dreamed of. I have always been interested in music but back in 2000 I happened across an ‘ukulele and I just could not put it down. It wasn’t but a year later and I found myself on the east coast at my first ‘ukulele festival. Thats where I met Mike Da’Silva, Rick Russo, Byron Yasui, Brian Tolentino and Asa Young. They took me in and showed me the ropes. Rick Russo even got me on stage for the first time in 15 years or better. I got my first music theory lesson from Byron Yasui, it sparked a desire to rededicate myself to music. Ten years go by and now I am playing with a great ‘ukulele swing band and have a brand new music degree.

Mike Da’Silva was pretty dang busy over the last 10 years too, somewhere along the line he decided to go into ‘ukulele building full time. His work is unbelievable, I know many of you know that Mike and I are close and you might think of my testimony as a bit “suspect” but if you haven’t tried one of Mike’s … you need to.

The ‘ukulele and it’s group of followers are amazing. The ‘ukulele is an instrument that can be used in the humblest of music to the most complex. If the ‘ukulele is interesting, then its players are incredible. I have never met so many wonderful people in my life. It is so much fun to attend ‘ukulele festivals and meet so many folks dedicated to having fun.

This new chapter, the one with 4 strings of swing has brought forth great friendships and  group that is so much fun to hang out with. I feel like I should write a book about the exploits of the 4 strings of swing. JD, Heather and I are always laughing. Let me give you a quick example: On one of our long road trips, we figure out that if Yoda was to say “thats what she said” it would come out like “mmmmm, said that she did”. Its the goofy stuff that seems to keep us in stitches. Between goofing around, our love for music and photography the conversations and laughter never end.

At this point I have to give thanks to the my maker for a great wife and a wonderful son that support me through all this. Two and a half years to finish a music degree and 3 years away from work. It seemed like a long time to get through school but looking back, it went way too fast but now new chapters are opening and I am grateful to be ready.


Mark ‘Spanky’ Gutierrez





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