In his song “Graduate,” Gilbert “Gibby” Greenway sang, “If you couldn’t fail, what would you do?”
Four years ago, Gibby died in his early 40s. It sent shockwaves through the local music scene and the Wood River Valley in general. This weekend, a music festival will pay homage to his legacy.
On April 16, Greenway’s birthday, Ketchum’s Argyros will host “Live Like Gib Fest” at 7:30 p.m. The rock group Rothchild will perform. Alternative country-western band Pisten Bullys will be the opening act.
Rothchild is a hodgepodge of musicians from other bands, like Avenged Sevenfold and Tenacious D. Drummer Brooks Wackerman used to play with Bad Religion. They’ll rock the house with covers of songs from Muse, The Strokes, Sparks, Queen, King Crimson and more. Gibby jammed with them while in Los Angeles
“[Greenway] had a no-frills approach that translated musically,” Wackerman said.
Before the Pisten Bullys even had a name, James Tautkus and company were just a bunch of guys who got together to play music. Gibby was a staple, playing guitar and bass at any jam.
“He was a good friend, to say the least, and an equally good player,” Tautkus said. “He was the kind of guy we knew we wanted, regardless of ability, because he was caring and had great energy. More importantly, he had a lot of integrity and empathy for those who challenged him. surrounded.
Tautkus saw him at just about every gig – at Ketchum, Bellevue, Twin Falls and in between.
“It looked like he still had time to hang on,” Tautkus said. “He had a great ability to be a good friend in all the important ways that matter. There are dozens of people throughout his life who all considered him their best friend, and that includes more than a few people here in town. I certainly thought of him in that regard.
For organizer JD McDonnell, music is a perfect way to remember those we’ve lost.
“[Greenway’s] the passion was rock ‘n’ roll, good times and making people laugh,” McDonnell said. “Music does the job of opening your whole mind at the right times. When we lose gifted people too young, it’s important to recognize how lucky we were to have them during the time they were with us. What a blessing, right?
Originally in finance, Gibby moved to Los Angeles to follow music. For McDonnell, “Live Like Gib” means pursuing his passions despite anyone’s opinions.
“He was fiercely loyal to those he loved,” McDonnell said.
Gibby and McDonnell grew up together. When they were kids, they were bullied by angry bulls, chased by bobcats, buried from trucks in the Coldwater River north of Mississippi, and camped out in northern Wisconsin.
“Our businesses have crossed the country,” McDonnell said. “His companies have traveled the world.”
By the time McDonnell met Gibby backstage at a Tenacious D gig in Chicago circa 2010, everyone knew his name. When he asked if McDonnell could believe it was his life, McDonnell told him he could.
“Outside of those stories, he was the friend who adapted with me as I grew and my family grew,” McDonnell said. “The thing I remember most about Gibby is that he was always there.”
Although they separated as they got older, their friendship never waned. McDonnell moved to Ketchum over a year ago and saw the impact Gibby left on the people he met in Idaho.
“He was really good and 100% honest with his time here,” McDonnell said. “His approach to music and life has left an imprint on every musician here who has played with him and loved him.”
For fellow organizer Luc McCann, “Live Like Gib” means living life to the fullest.
“He’s someone who’s accomplished a lot in a short life,” McCann said.
McCann met Greenway when Gibby came from Los Angeles to the Wood River Valley
“He moved here and immediately immersed himself in the community,” McCann said.
To that end, Greenway built his own home in West Ketchum. In no time, he made friends.
“Gibby was just someone who was infectious and got along with everyone,” McCann said. “As we all know, it’s a pretty tough community to break into, and he did it very quickly.”
About a month before Greenway passed, McCann brought Gibby to Winterfest in Stanley to see the snowy Sawtooth for the first time. Throughout the trip, Gibby smiled from ear to ear.
“He was blown away by where he had moved to,” McCann said. “That was one of the moments when he really understood how special the place we live is.”
More than anything, the organizers just want people to remember that we’re still in the good old days.
“These days we would be so worried about the change that’s happening in our city, the change that’s happening in the world,” McCann said. “Keeping a great sense of humor was what he embodied at all times, no matter what was going on in his life.”
The event is free, with organizers raising funds for Cohen Veterans Bioscience, which studies PTSD and other brain disorders. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required to attend.
“So many have lost loved ones,” McDonnell said. “What a way to welcome them with open doors! ￼