From the Aspen Times, March, 2000
Ask Tom Ressel how he likes Los Angeles, his home for the last six months, and he answers with an indifferent shrug.
"It's exactly what I thought it would be tough. Tough town," said Ressel, the singer-songwriter who was a fixture in the Aspen music scene for some three years. "I had March all booked, right on the beach at Hennessey's, on Hermosa Beach. And it all got pulled; they decided they didn't want any music."
Still, Ressel doesn't see himself returning to a town that favored him with as many gigs as he wanted, including plum jobs like opening for Little Feat at the Wheeler Opera House and for a variety of top bands at the Double Diamond. Even spending the last 10 days in Aspen, playing a gig a day and enjoying the Colorado sunshine, hasn't quite swayed him.
"I had just wanted to do something different," said Ressel, who does just enough work as a production assistant on commercials and videos to get by. "And I had an affordable room, one block from the beach. I can hear the ocean crashing when I go to sleep. But the gigs come and go. It's not as consistent as it was here."
There is promise for Ressel's musical aspirations in Los Angeles. He recently hooked up with Grimace, a band that counts another one-time Aspenite, former Doublewide singer-guitarist Dale Carey, among its members. Ressel and Carey do duos together as Big Slim Grimace; Ressel also does solo gigs when he can.
Ressel misses the people and the mountains and the abundance of gigs in Aspen, but for the moment, he's giving Los Angeles his full attention.
"I'm just gonna hang tough and take the town on," he said.
From the Aspen Times, August, 1999
By the end of next week, local singer-guitarist Tom Ressel will have played his 300th gig in the Roaring Fork Valley. And thats enough for him.
Ressel, who has squeezed those 300 gigs into a productive three years as an Aspenite, is moving on. After one last gig at his home away from home, Cooper Street Pier, on Sept. 6, the young man is going West, bringing his music, his gas-pumping skills and his good attitude to Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Its just to try a new thing in California, said Ressel, who moved to Aspen from Massachusetts and quickly became an integral part of the Aspen music scene. The offer of a cheap room a block from the water, that was the deciding factor. And bikinis in November.
But the main reason is to further my career. Its time to move on and try to get to that next level. I guess Ive gotten too comfortable here. Life is a little more interesting when you throw a little chaos in there.
As successful as Ressel was in getting gigs including opening slots for the likes of Steel Pulse, A.J. Croce, Cracker and Edwin McCain at the Double Diamond, and for Little Feat at the Wheeler Opera House, his musical highlight to date he never accomplished his ultimate musical goal of assembling a band. (His most notable non-musical non-achievement was never having seen a movie at the old Isis Theatre.) Otherwise, he looks at his stay in Aspen as a near-complete success.
I couldnt ask for anything more, except maybe to get the right band for me, said Ressel, who plans on answering ads for auditions as soon as he hits California. The work here, the ability to work, has been great, and the response to it. I feel like I was accepted remarkably early here. Im thankful for that.
Ressel goes out with a typical bang. He performs Friday, Aug. 27, at noon on the Snowmass Village Mall, and in the evening at Cowboys. On Saturday, Aug. 28, Ressel plays at 5 p.m. with Mike the mandolin player at Basalts Two Rivers Cafe, and later that night at Cooper Street Pier.
On Wednesday, Sept. 1, Ressel opens at the Double Diamond for Fred Green; Ressel will be taping his performance, so hed like lots of people to come out so there will be crowd noise on the recording. On Monday, Sept. 6, Ressel plays his final Cooper Street gig, and he wants lots of people to come sit in with him.
Ressel has just two parting wishes as he leaves Aspen: He would like whoever took the photograph of the topless chick in the boat off the wall at Cooper Street to return same. And, as Ray Charles would say, Please dont forget me, said Ressel.
Not to worry. We wouldnt want to.