Goodbye, Eli Reyes

Fresno’s music scene was shaken this weekend as we learned of the passing of Eli Reyes.

I sadly had not seen Eli in some time. But I saw a lot of him when he was actively drumming for (what seemed like) every band in Fresno and when he would return from L.A., sometimes just to fill in for somebody’s band.

I want to be able to say things about Eli that would live up to my thoughts. It’s difficult. I’m not up to the task.

But I want to make sure to say that he was a wonderful man that was a joy to be around. Loved making music. He was one of the few Fresno musicians that could get me out of the house on a weeknight to see a show.

I miss the sweaty post-show bear hugs.

With that, really, I’d rather read what others have to say about Eli. So I pulled some things I found from the Fresno music community. Hope everyone is cool with it.

Rest easy, Eli, you were always so kind and so upbeat. I was always happy to see you setup a drum kit and then have multiple bands that you were apart of change out through the night. The ever so famous “Eli Fest” within FUSE will always hold a special place in Fresno music history.

Matt Nap

Sad to hear the news that my old friend Eli Reyes has passed away 🙁 He was such a kind soul… the kind of fellow you’d always love to bump into while you were out.

Paul Chesterson

“This really hurts. I want to say that Fresno lost a treasure, but we all know that Eli was so much more than that.

I challenge you to name a musician that crossed every stage in Fresno off his list whether it was CYC, Fulton 55, and tons more that probably don’t even exist anymore. Eli was the guy you could catch at an acoustic show and hang out with afterwards to talk about punk and hardcore.

When I was younger, I was in awe of Eli and I was very fortunate to have become friends with him over the years. He, like myself, would show up to shows by himself sometimes and we would hang out and catch up on whatever was going on in our lives.

I was always so excited when I would book one of his projects. I remember a few times, whether it was a Fay Wrays set with Touche Amore at CYC or at Catacomb Party, where I put someone else in charge and said “Keep an eye on things because I gotta see this.”What I would do to say that one more time.”

-John Esquivel

“I met Eli about 20 years ago and have been his friend and bandmate ever since. There were times when Eli was really easy to love. There were times when he was difficult to love but you loved him all the same because of who he was: a kind, loving, caring, and fiercely loyal friend.

He tattooed the Albert Camus quote: “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” That quote captures what it was like to be Eli’s friend. And Eli and I walked beside one another through a lot of life moments. He will be dearly missed. He is still dearly loved.

Eli played in countless bands (this is no hyperbole) in Fresno, all over the Central Valley of California, and Los Angeles, and really anywhere he could pummel a drum set. There will certainly be a lot of reminiscing of Eli playing music and those memories are wonderful and good, but they only scratch the surface of who he really was. Because at the end of the day people create music and Eli loved music because Eli loved people.

This is my friend Eli and I will miss him very much.”

-Benji McEntee

There was no one like Eli. Pure joy and positive energy. He was a driving force of the independent music community. An awesome drummer undoubtedly but most memorable to me is how Eli would selflessly go out his way to help others and advocate for the band and people he loved. His enthusiasm was infectious and he made you want to be a better person.

Warren Woodward

“Eli loved music more than anyone else I know. He was everybody’s drummer. My favorite memories of him are when we played in the Jumpbacks with Jacquie, and recording the last Soma Holidays record. He didn’t argue. He was kind. He was not prideful, even when he had every right to be.

When I picture him now, he’s frozen in time. Mid 20’s. Knee-length black jacket, black car. Beautiful white DW drumset, that was always in his backseat because he was always on his way to or from band practice or a show. Chain smoking Marlboro lights. Insisting that no one goes home. He wanted every night to last forever.

The last thing I said to him before the coma was “We will jam again someday”. I still believe that’s true.”

-Luke Deniston

“A guy who was a fixture in the scene for a real long time and someone I’ve know from a long time back. Lots of people felt what he was about. RIP.”

-Josh Tehee

“Gutted right now. LA’s music scene lost a tremendous performer and we’ve all lost a dear dear friend. Eli was the first to offer a helping hand and had an infectious positivity about the world. He worked his butt off and always did so with that huge smile. I’m going to miss you Eli. RIP”

-Ashley Wagner

“Eli Reyes was a fierce drummer and a good friend. We spent long hours at Livingstone’s musing over murder ballads and Nick Cave, rejoicing over each other and music we loved. He was the first person I ever met who fiercely celebrated the mere fact that his friends existed. He loved with everything he could give and it was always a gift to witness.

…every time he joined me on stage throughout the years I was always reminded about how important the heart of the drummer is to the drums themselves. He would take to them like Animal and it was the most glorious expression of self that I’ve seen nearly anyone commit to. He taught me the importance of getting every ounce of tone out of your kit and I selected every drummer I have ever worked with Eli as one of the blueprints.”

-Kat Jones

There are a lot more stories about Eli. Sorry if your thoughts are not here, this are just some I found and thought were relevant.

Continue reading “Goodbye, Eli Reyes”
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Don’t You People Have Homes To Go To?


I just came back from Fig Garden Village and there are a ton of freaking Fresnans out there!

Wassaaaabi’s? Packed. The patio was full and there were, like, eight people waiting for a table. THIS IS AT 2:45 on a Saturday!

Whole Foods? Packed. Long line to get in and very busy in the store. Like, so busy they might as well have not had a line to get in. It was near impossible to distance from people in there and I don’t think the line outside would have made it much worse. Fuck it, let all in.

I had not been inside Whole Foods since March and I was surprised to find it just as busy (if not more so) than Save Mart. At least Save Mart has more space to keep away from yahoos.

Jack’s Urban Eats? Busy too. wasn’t completely packed but busy and junk. Again, this is 2:45 in the afternoon.

To top it all off, it is smokey as hell. It wasn’t so bad in the morning, but the winds shifted or something and things got nasty.

BUT YOU ALL JUST PACKED OUT THE PARKING LOT PATIO AT OUT OF THE BARREL LIKE NOT A DAMN THING IS GOING ON!

Dude. All the tables at Out Of The Barrel were full. Mostly full of people that are not in a “bubble” together. You could not have fit more people out there. Since everyone is drinking, no masks.

I suppose that’s cool when it’s a handful of people, but this was too much for me brain to bare.

I was going to pick up some beer there but decided to skip it after seeing that.

Maybe a little part of me has respect for people saying, “Fuck it. I don’t care if it’s a Pandemic. I don’t care that the air is shit. I’m going to live my life and if I die, I die!”

But the rest of me? People. Is eating and drinking in a parking lot or smokey patio really all that?

We are never going to get out of this, are we?

Just go home, Fresno.

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Rest In Peace, Tom Seaver

A young Tom Seaver as a Met – picture available here

My first real sports hero was, Tom Seaver.

Even though I was (and still am) an Oakland A’s fan, how could Tom NOT be a hero to a Fresno kid?!

One of the greatest pitchers in baseball and he’s from the same place I am? All around considered to be a nice dude? Definitely Fresno Hero worthy.

When we had a few bucks in our pockets, my friends and I would ride our bikes to Fig Tree Liquor to buy some baseball cards. He had the best baseball cards outside of a card shop.

It just so happens the “he” was Tom Seaver’s Father-in-law.

He knew us as regulars and baseball fans, what with all the cards we bought. I’m not sure if it was my dad that told me or it was Tom Seaver’s Father-in-law himself that did, but we knew who he was.

We would occasionally ask him how Tom was and if he had come back to Fresno recently. Usually the answer was “No not lately. He stays pretty much at home up in Northern California.” But we would still ask.

Tom’s Father-in-law (I guess that’s his name now) would keep some pictures that he had Tom sign, underneath his counter. This is one he gave me:

It was a big deal for me at the time. I have it displayed on a shelf to this day.

Here is a piece of Tom’s Baseball Hall Of Fame speech. The only time I am aware of that Fresno is mentioned in a HOF speech:

Rest In Peace, Tom Terrific. Thanks for your contribution to Fresno.

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Fresno Fashion Isn’t Fair: Famous People – Joshua Tehee

One of the byproducts of the pandemic and sheltering-in-place is getting nostalgic for things. When you are an odd person like me, apparently the nostalgia rabbit hole goes down to old Fresno websites.

I randomly ran into my friend and podcast co-host, Joshua Tehee, while picking up beer at Zack’s Brewing in Downtown Fresno. I had to take a picture as I have not seen the dude in-person in a while and certainly not with his mask on.

It reminded me of a segment on the old Fresno Famous website called “Famous People”. A Fresnan is asked a series of fashion-related questions. Those questions would be turned into a blog post.

So I reenacted this segment on my Instagram page and Josh was nice enough to play along. These are exactly how the questions used to go:

Name: Famous Whitewater.
Spotted: Zack's Brewing.
Occupation: Writer at the Fresno Bee. Instructor at Aikido of Fresno. Local musician, It'll Grow Back, Strikingly Originals and more. Podcast host.
The Ensemble: Mask from Take Care Supply. Shirt from $crap$ Shoppe. Pants from Chrome Industries. Helmet from Explore Thousand. Watch by Timex and Engineered Garments.
Fashion Philosophy: Don't buy cheap clothes. Buy one thing that will last forever.
Place To Shop: (See shops above).
How Much Would You Pay For Shoes?: I haven't tested my upper limit but it would be a lot, I'm sure.

Thanks for playing along, Josh. And if I can revive any other old Fresno Famous things, I’ll let you guys know.

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A Guide To Finding the NEOWISE Comet In The Fresno Sky From A Dumb Dumb

From Space.com and NASA – How To Find NEOWISE

I know little to nothing about stars and stuff. But I do enjoy them. And pretending I know. And I really like starting at Space.

Thursday night my dumbass managed to find the NEOWISE Comet in the Fresno sky. If you’re like me and too lazy to drive out to the country to get a clean look, you can still give it a try in town.

Here is how:

  • Wait until dusk is giving way to night (9:15 ish?).
  • Look at the Northwest Sky. Like, as if you could see the Taco Bell at Herndon & Marks in the sky. If you live West of Herndon & Marks, look at Taco Bell in the sky then turn around.
  • Find the Big Dipper (it’s literally the only thing outside of the Moon I can ever identify quickly).
  • Point at the “bottom star” of the dipper.
  • Follow your pointer finger down to the tree line.
  • Hopefully, around there, you’ll see a star with a smoggy, dust-like tail.

It definitely helps to at least have some binoculars and an open view of the NW sky.

It’s not out very long. It lasted maybe an hour on Thursday and Friday.

For tips on photographing it and stuff, Space has some.

*If you’re reading this after July 23rd, NEOWISE is pretty much gone. Sorry, brah.

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5 Weird Places Fresnans Get Spam/Telemarking Calls From

Why does the 559 get the spam and telemarking calls from such weird-ass places?

Here are the top 5 I have gotten calls from:

  1. Badger, California.

Is this a real place? Do they mean Badger Pass? Is it Badger from Breaking Bad? It’s actually a spot in the woods that is East of Fresno but technically in Tulare County. The only thing there is a place called Seven Circles Retreat. I feel like I don’t want to REALLY know what goes on there so I’m going to leave this one alone. Still like to think it’s Badger though.

2. Loomis, California.

It sounds like a condition, not a place. It’s Northeast of Sacramento by Folsom Prison. Hey, that’s the place Johnny Cash shot a man just to watch him bleed, right? Wait … … no that’s right.

3. Moorpark, California.

Moorpark? More like ummmmm, MOORAFILL park!

4. Parlier, California.

Alright, well, this is not weird. We all know Parlier as the place on the way to Bakersfield where 99 curves a bit, wait no, that’s PIXLEY. I don’t know what goes on there. But I get a lot of random Parlier calls, okay.

5. Miramonte, California.

Isn’t that, like, an Air Force base or some shit? Where they blast rockets off into space and junk? No, that’s Miramar. Oh no, Miramar is the base in San Diego. Vandenberg is the Air Force base where they occasionally scare people with their launches:

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