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Photo: Jock Bartley | By Jae-Ha Kim, New York Times | After touring and playing guitar for Firefall for just shy of 50 years, founding member Jock Bartley knows a thing or two about making travel more pleasant. “Don’t fight what’s going on, accept and deal with whatever comes on the road and be polite and mild-mannered – but have good boundaries,” Bartley said from his home in Westminster, Colorado. “Every place you go in the world is different, with different customs and what is or isn’t acceptable. Be cool, be smart and be safe. And go with the flow.” Currently on tour to promote Firefall’s new album “Friends & Family,” the veteran rocker, 73, stays in touch with fans on the group’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FIREFALLofficial) and their website (https://firefallofficial.com).

Q: What are some of your memories of touring with Firefall?
A: Firefall’s first album came out in 1976. It went gold in less than three months with saturation radio airplay. Suddenly the band was on tour with so many of the top rock ‘n’ roll acts of the day, including Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers, The Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, the Beach Boys, Chicago, Loggins & Messina, Heart and many others. Firefall’s first few years of nonstop touring were fantastic – great shows with great bands. I attribute Firefall’s huge success to two things – how great the original songs were [that were] written and sung by Rick Roberts and Larry Burnett, and the unique style and sound of the band, which became known as the Colorado Sound. Some of our most memorable shows were with Fleetwood Mac. We also opened for The Band during their tour of 1976. Wow! Firefall’s first three years were a blur of recording albums and immediately going out on tour – amazing times to be sure. In later years, there were many memorable gigs. One that stands out was at a huge three-day concert in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, on the beach in 2014 [that featured] 20 to 25 big American bands, including Cheap Trick, America, Dave Mason, Poco, Ambrosia, Pure Prairie League and others.

Q: There’s a lot of dialogue about fans throwing things on stage that end up hurting the artists. How do you deal with this kind of fan behavior?
A: That can be a problem, but usually that’s pretty harmless. I remember in the late ’70s where I was hit right between the eyes and under my Panama hat with a big Frisbee! The sunglasses I was wearing broke, but surprisingly it didn’t hurt me or do any damage. Yeah, sunglasses!

Q: Do you have any upcoming trips planned?
A: Lots of touring coming up out of my home state of Colorado. We’re going to Tacoma, Washington, Texas, Florida, Illinois and a few gigs in Southern California. Fly in and fly out!
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Want to know more about Colorado’s “local guitarist” Jock? Read the full article here:

(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow “Go Away With…” on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)

©2023 Jae-Ha Kim. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Jock Bartley & artwork | https://www.facebook.com/Jock.Bartley/photos
Here I am, Jock Bartley, holding up a giclee print of my painting “COMET”, standing in front of the original painting. I had a hand in designing FIREFALL’s first album cover in early 1976, with a few drawing ideas and me saying “think Maxfield Parrish” blues and big visual impact. Atlantic Records basically said ‘great idea, kid, we’ll take it from here’. �� and they did, having a fantastic air brush artist do the first FIREFALL cover. … Well about 15 years ago I decided to do my own painting of that striking album cover that I helped conceptualize & design – And here’s my painting of ‘COMET’. Giclee prints in 2-3 different sizes of this image are available for sale and shipping to you. PM me if you’re interested. Peace & love.

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