Jerrold Ridenour, a Hesperia-based musician generally known as King No person, has realized the way to be an artist beneath any circumstances.
His newest album, “Area Cactus,” contains the music “Three Birds,” which is predicated on a poem from a set of his personal writing. In it, he describes three strategies of dwelling, the final being his personal.
“The poem was this allegory for the three — from my perspective — fundamental forms of approaches that individuals need to their migratory patterns in life,” Ridenour stated in a current interview. “Both they assume they comprehend it, they’re asking individuals for recommendation, or they’re going with the movement, so every chook form of suffers or expertise the optimistic consequence or reward of their migratory path.”
Ridenour’s resume is a testomony to his dedication to working with destiny. His IMDb credit are legion. He has photographed, edited, produced, written, composed, animated, and directed; a few of his most notable accolades embrace two Emmys, one for modifying and one for documentary work. He additionally has a steampunk rap album and a cookbook.
As King No person, Ridenour makes music impressed by the Excessive Desert, a area that has each examined and catalyzed his life as a inventive.
So lengthy, house cactus
Ridenour stated the cigar field guitar and tin can microphone he makes use of all through “Area Cactus” had been key to its Southwestern stylings.
“The cigar field guitar was recorded with a (cassette) tape recorder to provide it a uncooked gritty sound … after which I laid bass on high of that, sang by way of a tin can microphone, and actually simply tried to succeed in out and seize roots Americana music,” Ridenour stated. “We had to make use of all these digital instruments to attempt to get behind and beneath this very baked-in analog sound.”
Aaron Baker and Daniel Gutierrez, the album’s producers, have labored with Ridenour for 5 years. On the brand new work, Gutierrez performs a saguaro cactus skeleton that Ridenour retains in his studio by tapping it with drumsticks.
“Jerrold’s at all times constructing his personal devices out of stuff he discovered and upcycled,” Baker stated. “He made a guitar out of a shovel, and that’s used on the album.”
Ridenour stated the “Three Birds” poem turned the precise match for “Area Cactus” when he realized it wanted to be spoken, within the type of Beat poetry.
“The primary album (“Desert Life”) was form of desert rock … a few of these songs had been written perhaps 15 years in the past, so it wasn’t a brilliant contemporary album, extra like a time capsule of the rock-and-roll scene of the desert,” Ridenour stated. “The place the primary album was actually … angst-fueled, actually good for driving, this music is unquestionably extra introspective.”
“Three Birds” and its music video had been composed over six weeks in the summertime of 2020. A lot of the filming passed off within the mattress of the Mojave River and at a ranch owned by Ridenour’s pal in Apple Valley.
“(The desert) is as ingrained in me because the visage of looking and seeing cactuses and large mountaintops,” Ridenour stated. “It’s all relative to me within the storytelling sense, it’s huge, it’s open.”
A desert life
Ridenour’s household moved from Florida to the Excessive Desert when he was a 12 months outdated. In comparison with late-1970’s Miami, Ridenour’s father, Jerrold Ridenour Sr. — a blues harmonica participant and follower of the 1960’s counterculture — was unimpressed with Apple Valley.
“Once I obtained out right here to Apple Valley in 1977, it was darkish, no lights, no vehicles, the milky means was a stream throughout the evening sky, and I used to be so disillusioned,” Ridenour Sr. stated. “However you realize, I yearn for that day.”
However his household rapidly built-in right into a group of Excessive Desert artists and performers.
“The youngsters would get collectively and play. (The) Huck Finn Jubilee … and Powwow Days (had been) the factor to do,” Ridenour stated. “I’m nonetheless reminded by among the elders within the group that I used to be the wild card.”
After he stated he was kicked out of Hesperia Excessive Faculty within the Nineties for smoking weed, Ridenour went to Mojave Excessive Faculty and accomplished a Regional Occupation Program for video manufacturing.
However being primarily based within the desert pre-internet, Ridenour stated he hit a wall. The three-hour drive to Los Angeles made getting video manufacturing work practically unattainable. He opened a classic clothes retailer known as The Basement and invested in rental properties till he broke his again and was pressured to file chapter. In 2001, he went again to highschool at Victor Valley Faculty to check digital animation.
Six months into his diploma, Ridenour based the Excessive Desert Scholar Movie Competition. It has since disbanded, however different scholar movie festivals adopted in its footsteps, together with Hesperia Unified Faculty District’s I Can Movie Competition.
“It wasn’t a cash maker, it was nearly making a group,” Ridenour stated. “Type of selfishly, I’ll completely admit, I used to be looking for the most effective individuals within the desert to work with and get impressed by … I ended up hiring two of the individuals who got here by way of the very first pageant.”
Whereas at VVC, Ridenour began cold-calling places of work and inventive business heads in Hollywood utilizing a handbook owned by the college that contained their cellphone numbers. At an internship he snagged with the stop-motion animation specialists the Chiodo Brothers, he met co-workers who he would later work with on his Emmy-winning animated film, “Ahoy! Captain Sid”, which was launched in 2003. He’s had regular work in Hollywood ever since.
A multifaceted method
For the previous 10 years, he’s raised his two sons independently.
“Via this endeavor as being a single father … and after I broke my again, I needed to discover a technique to work and do one thing that I beloved, not simply work for cash,” Ridenour stated.
Proper now, he hosts the YouTube sequence, “Vacation spot Overland,” the place he excursions out of the way in which locations within the U.S. by way of a modified Subaru. He created the multimedia animation that opens the present, in addition to its soundtrack.
Within the first episode, Ridenour visits the Trona Pinnacles located about 23 miles east of Ridgecrest. The distinctive tufa spires there — greater than 500 in whole, based on the Bureau of Land Administration — rise from the mattress of the Searles Dry Lake basin to create a really surreal panorama.
The Trona Pinnacles have served as backdrop in dozens of movies and TV exhibits since no less than the Sixties. Notable amongst them are director Tim Burton’s 2001 reimagining of “Planet of the Apes” and “Star Trek V: The Last Frontier,” from 1989.
Ridenour’s focus, nonetheless, is on the pure fantastic thing about the seemingly otherworldly locale.
“What’s particular about this place, that at one level this was all underwater, and it drained out actually, actually quickly — we don’t know the way, when or why — so left behind all these pinnacles, he says within the episode. “Fairly wonderful place to drive round to, take a day journey…”
“Vacation spot Overland” serves to develop Ridenour’s creativity, which retains him working — and not solely for a paycheck.
“I needed to diversify,” he stated. “The one means as an artist to do that is to be multifaceted.”
Susan Monaghan is a contract journalist for the Each day Press and different Southern California information shops.