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CESAREO GARASA: The Walking Man’s last walk in Bakersfield

Anyone who frequented downtown in the last 40 years or so might have been privy to the sight of an older man, usually wearing his wool-lined sherpa denim jacket, going from one bar to another through the entirety of the night. As far as I can tell, he did so every night. That was “Walking Man”: our unofficial patron saint of downtown bar hoppers.

Although not active in our local music scene, John “Walking Man” Kintzi, who passed away on March 31 at age 83. was a fixture of downtown bars and venues.

“'Walking Man' was just an icon downtown,” said Kenny Reed, the owner of Guthrie’s Alley Cat, a bar Kintzi frequented since the days he was known as “Walking John” (Kintzi's nickname changed to “Walking Man” in the 1990s).

“He’d been there since the early years of my tenure, and I’ve been there 45 years.”

Kintzi was surly — his middle finger always at the ready for salute — as well as funny, cordial, sharp and told some great stories. He once mentioned to me that he used to play stand-up bass after seeing bassist Alex “AJ” Lopez playing one in a performance with The Iron Outlaws. Also, I never saw anyone ever charge him for a beer. Ever.

“He always drank his 'free Budweisers’ because he would always kinda hang out and help out and whatnot,” Reed said. “He was an unofficial hired hand.”

Kintzi was a Navy veteran whom I only recently discovered has a twin sister, Joan. He was quite fond of his nieces and nephews. I also found out he loved German chocolate cake from Shawna Haddad-Byers, former co-owner of the defunct Fishlips restaurant and current owner of Two Goats & The Goose.

Haddad-Byers posted on her Facebook page, “I really got to know John at Fishlips in the Old Padre. For 15 years John would have dinner twice a week. He always paid for dinner, never paid for beer.”

When I spoke to her on the phone, she told me, “That man knew everything. He was a fountain of wonderful downtown information. If you wanted to know anything, you went to John.”

And up until the time he was injured in a hit-and-run accident in December 2015, which landed him in the Kingston Healthcare Center until his passing, I saw him at just about every show I played downtown.

That accident may have waylaid his walking days, but his passing only made it possible for him to walk further even though his road here ended. Walk on, John. Your bar-hopping just went celestial. I hope you’re enjoying the music.

Soaking up the 'Vibes'

The name of Kali Sol’s latest EP “West Coast Vibes” says it all; evoking pictures of effortless, golden, mellow, good times. The band itself pretty much seals the deal.

“We love the Bakersfield music scene and are passionate about creating good music with good vibes,” said bassist Jesse Coronado via email. “We love live music and hanging out with the Bakersfield community. I would say our original style is rock and reggae. Best way I’d describe us is you never know what we’re going to play next because we love all genres and throw in a bit of everything.”

The EP was released for streaming on April 14 and it’s an easy, breezy almost-19-minutes, four-song collection of modern beach reggae a la Sublime and Iration. The intro to the song “Baby, I Don’t Know” has audio of Kali Sol indulging in a "five-second chug" that’s such a band tradition it was once the band’s name.

My favorite song on the release is the bouncy track “Give It Up.” It's vocalist Wayne Provencio’s strongest performance and evocative of the soul hinted at in the band’s name. That soul is also apparent in the guitar intro to the song “Twisted," featuring a nifty saxophone solo by band member David Diaz.

“We met (David) through Madai (Contreras, the band’s drummer),” Coronado said. “They both work for the school district and Madai was wearing a Kali Sol shirt at work that caught David’s attention. Dave really liked the logo and thought maybe Kali Sol was a local brewery.”

“That struck up a conversation about music and a few days later Dave was at my house practicing with the rest of us. In a little over a year as a full band, we learned almost three hours of music including covers and originals.”

The band is planning an EP release party on Friday at 2nd Phase Brewing, 1004 19th St. According to Coronado, the show will be outdoors so please take and follow any necessary safety precautions.

Contributing columnist Cesareo Garasa brings you The Lowdown on local music and entertainment every other Thursday.