Silver King Rocking Co. is a motherlode of musical experience

Band plays Friday at The Cabin

Silver King Rocking Co.

Silver King Rocking Co., from left: Doug Worthen, Mark Schumacher, Dana Williams. Nathan Wilmarth and Chip Jenkins will perform Friday at The Cabin.
Scott Iwasaki/Park Record

Dana Williams has hit a golden musical vein with the Silver King Rocking Co.

The band, which rose out of the ashes of the Motherlode Canyon Band, a group Williams fronted for nearly 30 years, has been tuning up to play Friday at The Cabin.

“We usually have played outdoors, so this will be one of our few indoor shows,” Williams said. “It will be interesting to start at 9 p.m. rather than earlier in the evening.”

The Silver King Rocking Co. band name was inspired by the Silver King Mining Company, according to Williams.

The level of musicianship in Silver King is something I don’t think I’ve had in any of my other bands.” Nathan Wilmarth, Silver King Rocking Co. keyboardist and vocalist

“I saw the stock certificate of the mining company from the 1860s and thought what if we named a band the Silver King Rocking Company,” he said. “So, my son redid the certificate to the Silver King Rocking Company certificate.”

One day, while Williams was wearing a hat that sported the Silver King Rocking Co. logo, he met Midge Bernolfo, the widow of Hank Rothwell, the late president of United Park City Mines. 

“She saw the hat that had the logo, and said, ‘Did you steal our stock certificate for the logo?’ and I said, “I totally did,'” Williams said. “I asked if she was mad,  and she said, ‘I want a hat.’ So I gave her mine.”

Williams began piecing together Silver King in 2020 after Williams was contacted during the early phase of the coronavirus pandemic by Brian Richards, the executive director of Mountain Town Music, a local live music nonprofit.  

“Brian called me to do some socially distanced street concerts,” Williams said. “So I called some people to see if they would like to play.”

One of the first people on Williams’ list was guitarist Chip Jenkins, who is also a commercial jingle composer and known for his work in the band Mokie.

“I had known Chip by reputation, although he did sit in with Motherlode for a couple of New Year’s Eve gigs,” Williams said. 

Two other Motherlode vets — bassist Robert Dow and drummer Mark Schumacher  — then joined the throng.

Schumacher, a founding member of Sin City Soul and longtime drummer of another local band, Lisa Marie & The Codependents, started his musical journey at home with a Hammond organ during the 1960s.

“My mom would play Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and I would play the Royal Guardsman’s ‘Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron’ and things like that,” he said.

Schumacher discovered the drums while he was in school.

“My mom talked with the band teacher who said I could start playing the drums,” he said. “I was hooked, and immediately got into Alice Cooper.”

While living in Kansas City, Missouri, Schumacher began playing local clubs, a career that followed him when he moved to Breckenridge and Vail.

“There was a band in Vail whose drummer was killed in a skiing accident, and they needed a drummer,” he said. “So I started playing country music by playing square dances. After eight years of that, I moved to Park City and met Dana and played in Motherlode on and off.”

After Dow bowed out, Williams reached out to Doug Worthen, who had made a name for himself playing with The Pranksters, Kaleb Austin, Gina Osmond and the Bone Band, Cosmic Possum, and Pamela Lind. 

“I started playing music because my dad was a band director and my mother was a dance teacher,” Worthen said. “I started on trumpet and switched to French horn and toured the Western United States for several years.”

Worthen moved on from the horn to guitar, and played the musical-theater circuit.

“For many years I did ‘Grease,’ ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,'” he said. “Once that fizzled out, I got into playing clubs. And from there I started getting calls from people who asked if I was available to play or to ask me why I was in a band that sucked.”

Worthen, who also played with Boots Randolph, known for the hit “Yakety Sax,” began playing bass while working with a musician named Nyk Fry.

“We could never find a bass player, and one night he said, ‘Just play my bass for tonight,'” Worthen said. “At the end of the practice he said I was the bass player.”

Silver King’s newest member is keyboardist Nathan Wilmarth, who first saw Silver King playing an outdoor gig at the Park’s Edge in Kamas.

Wilmarth, a professional musician who plays with the surviving members of The Doors and writes music for television, originally didn’t want to go see Silver King play.

“They were playing on a grassy knoll, and I was invited by some friends to hang out on the grass, drink and listen to music,” he said. “I went and found out quickly that this wasn’t a typical concert-in-the-park band. These guys were really good.”

After the show, Wilmarth struck up a conversation with Schumacher and asked if the band was interested in including the keys. 

The band invited him to sit in during a gig at the Boneyard Saloon.

“I officially got inaugurated into the band by getting a Silver King hat,” said Wilmarth, whose main gig has been playing with Robbie Krieger since 2015. “The level of musicianship in Silver King is something I don’t think I’ve had in any of my other bands. It’s the level I need. And this is the most fun I’ve had in music to this point of my life.”

While Silver King, whose setlists include a couple of originals as well as covers from the Grateful Dead to Pearl Jam and The Band to Willie Nelson, is currently preparing for The Cabin gig, Williams is working on booking summer gigs.

“We’re actually being more discerning in what gigs we take,” he said. “We hope to branch out and play more in the area and down in Salt Lake.”

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