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Meet the Projections

Garbaz screen (at left) during the Doheny Blues Festival

Video artist Jeff Garbaz works with big names

Locally based video artist Jeff Garbaz will be showcasing his specialized skills again at this year’s Exile on Allen Street tribute to the Rolling Stones, Friday, June 26, at Nietzsche’s. The Artvoice/Channel 7-sponsored event will feature a slew of performers offering their own takes on classic tunes by the World’s Greatest Rock-n-Roll Band. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Women and Children’s Hospital.

By Garbaz’s current standards, Nietzsche’s is a tiny gig. Over the past eight years, his live concert video projections have grown from little events where his equipment included a projector throwing images onto the back of an old Marlboro billboard suspended from a PVC pipe frame, to huge concerts all over the country and overseas featuring some of the biggest names in music, including Widespread Panic, the Black Crowes, Primus, Ween, Buddy Guy, Al Green, the Killers, and Flaming Lips, among many others.

eff Garbaz, flanked by Derek Trucks and Elvin Bishop

What’s remarkable is that he’s been able to land these high-profile shows without the aid of a booking agent. Persistence, and a growing ability to enhance the concert experience for audiences at big events through the use of video screens, LED boards (think Jumbotrons), and plasmas has proven to be a marketable skill. That’s not to say it’s always been easy.

Especially when he recently found himself flat on his back in the hospital with acute appendicitis the day before he was scheduled to fly to California to mix images at the Doheny Blues Festival.

“I told the doctor I bid on this thing for 5 years. I worked the contract like a pro, landed it, and I couldn’t wait to show the fellow “vid-e-its” in La La land what a guy from Buffalo, NY could do with their jumbotron and plasmas,” he recalls. “She said there was no way I could go. The doctor had amazing bedside manner, and comforted me a bit by saying how lucky I was that I didn’t get on that plane. It would have been disastrous.”

Even as the operating room was being prepared, Garbaz was making an alternate plan that would enlist the help of his brother. He began drawing some schematics in his wife’s notebook as she sat at his bedside. His brother could use them to help set up for the show. Despite the doctor’s blunt warnings, he didn’t view cancelling this big event as much of an option.

Just sixteen hours after having his appendix removed, he was on a plane for Orange County. There, as he’d promised the physicians, his wife, and kids, he would stand at the board and mix the various camera shots live while the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Elvin Bishop, Derek Trucks, and B.B. King tore it up for the huge crowd. In between sets, he would rest.

The show went on without a hitch. Headliner B.B. King, at 82 years old, closed the day-long event with an extended set as Garbaz, wincing in pain, wowed fans with intimate close-ups of King’s trademark vibrato licks. The moment the blues legend left the stage, a 4.7 earthquake struck just down the road, shaking the ground in Biblical fashion.

But the gig was done, and promoter Rich Sherman complimented Garbaz on the great mix. The conversation then turned to talk of next year’s event. To a traveling artist making a living on the road, that kind of talk is often the very best medicine, indeed.

Visit to learn more about his work.

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