Media Life: Talk radio star brings movie, band for State Theater premiere

By: Gus Thomson/Media Life
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Fans of twangy rockers Joe Getty & The Dead Flowers will get a double-shot of the band May 14 in Auburn.
The band, which includes talk radio wonder Joe Getty and Auburn’s own Ritch Shefke, will be appearing at the State Theatre for the big-screen debut of the documentary “Tear the Whole Thing Down.” It’s a full-length film, with plenty of concert footage from a performance by Getty and crew at Folsom’s Powerhouse Pub.
And the movie will serve as a warm-up for the real thing, with Getty & The Dead Flowers moving from seat to stage to play a set.
When he’s not singing and playing guitar in a rock band – or playing the other important role in his life as husband and dad – Getty is paying the bills as one half of Northern California’s wildly popular Armstrong & Getty radio team. The Armstrong & Getty Show has been a part of Sacramento commuters’ morning drive routine for 13 years with Talk 650 KSTE. And their show is also beamed to San Francisco Bay Area listeners via 910 KNEW and into the Stockton area at 1280 KWSX.

More than Getty
While Getty is the front man in the band, he’s ably aided by a lineup that includes bass player and Gulf War combat veteran Shefke, Mark Martinez on drums, keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Matt Holland and guitar player Richard Austin.
Why a movie of a band that plays just the North State?
Getty said Folsom filmmaker Matt Gray came to him with the concept.
“I’m almost embarrassed about it but this is a really good band – the best I’ve ever played in,” Getty said. “And the movie isn’t about the band. It’s about people who really love music.”
Gray captured Getty & The Dead Flowers as they worked to complete and promote their debut CD “Low Expectations.” As well as the concert footage, the camera follows the band through practices, studio sessions and candid interviews.
Getty said the most cringe-worthy moment for him is when he tells the camera some stories behind self-penned songs that revolve around his own stupidity and reckless behavior.
“My kids have seen parts of it,” the father of three said.
The best bits?
“To me it’s just playing the music,” Getty said. “When the band sounds right and the harmonies are there, it’s magic.”
And why Auburn?

Local favorites
The band has played Newcastle’s Constable Jack’s and Pistol Pete’s in Auburn but has really found a home at the Club Car on Lincoln Way, Getty said.
“It’s almost become a homecoming feeling,” he said. “And whether it’s Newcastle or Auburn, folks seem really receptive to the band and the music. Rootsy rock ‘n’ roll with a twang is well-received in the foothills.”
The State Theatre was chosen as the venue by guitar player Austin. Getty said he’s driven by it dozens of times but never gone into the venue, which has a reputation for excellent acoustics.
“Everyone’s raving about it,” Getty said.
It’s another one of those unique events at the State Theatre. The show starts at 7 p.m. May 14. Tickets are $12.