Memphis Belle
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Memphis Belle

Band Rock


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The best kept secret in music


"Memphis Belle Survives Road Accident"

Memphis Belle had been on tour with The Extreme Tour for some dates, and had just finished TomFest. They were leaving for home a bit early - on Saturday, August 6 - so they could be home for a friend's wedding on Sunday afternoon.

Daniel (21), Edwin (24), and J.R. (19) had been talking about giving Tim (16) some experience driving the Aerostar van with the trailer attached that had their gear. They had mentioned possibly having him drive on Interstate 5 in California after they got past Redding. The road is flat and straight from there all the way to Los Angeles. Instead, they decided to give Tim a turn at driving while they were still in Oregon.

They were in Southern Oregon when they decided to let Tim take the wheel. It was evening time - around 5:00 p.m. or so. J.R. went to sleep in the rear seat, while Edwin went to sleep in the middle seat. Daniel was up front with Tim. While they were approaching Canyonville, the rear tire on the driver's side suddenly blew out. Daniel and Tim both saw pieces of tire tread flying out from the car in their rear view mirrors. Tim slowed down and was starting to pull over to the side when the trailer suddenly "fish-tailed" on him. He tried to maintain control, but could not. The van suddenly jerked to the right, and they ran right off of Interstate 5 onto the shoulder and slammed into an embankment. The van went up the embankment, tipped over, rolled over completely two times, and came to rest on it's side. The trailer also went up the embankment, snapping the trailer hitch cleanly in two at the same time, moved ahead of the van, rolled over, and came to rest in an upright postion in front of the van.

Tim, Daniel, and J.R. had their seat belts on. Edwin did not. While the van was slamming into the embankment and rolling, Edwin went flying out of his seat, slammed partially into J.R. in the back seat, and went partially through the rear window of the van. The van actually rolled on to Edwin's head while he was hanging out the window. The van bounced up once before coming to rest on the pavement again, and during that time Edwin somehow was able to pull himself partially back into the van so that the van would not hit his head again. Still, he was pinned under the van, was bleeding all over the place, and was in excruciating pain. Obviously, he was screaming.

Tim, Daniel, and J.R. somehow managed to free themselves from their seatbelts and climb out of the van, which was resting on it's side in the right lane of Interstate 5. They immediately grabbed the van and tried to pick it up so that Edwin could be freed, but they were unable to do so. While they are doing this, there is blood flowing out from under the van where Edwin is.

Two friends of the band, Sara Burt and Jessie (not sure of her last name) had driven up to TomFest to see Memphis Belle and Dizmas. Jessie is the girlfriend of Nick Aranda (bass player) in Dizmas. Sara had helped Memphis Belle book a few shows. Anyway, Sara and Jessie had left to go back home to Lancaster about the same time as Memphis Belle, but neither party knew about the other's plan. Sara and Jessie just happened to be about two to three minutes behind the guys on Interstate 5. They drove around the bend on the freeway where the accident occured, and came upon the scene. They immediately recognized the van and trailer, and pulled over to help. Sara was very shook up and stayed in the car. Jessie got out and tried to help the guys lift the van up off of Edwin.

Interstate 5 is a busy freeway, and there were several motorists who pulled over immediately to help out when they saw the accident scene. Someone called 911. Several others rushed to the van and helped the guys (and Jessie) pick up the van and get Edwin out from under it. One of the initial cars that stopped was a couple from Colorado who were on vacation. The husband was in law enforcement, and the wife was a registered nurse. She immediately began to administer first aid to Edwin, while her husband directed traffic. Some of the motorists had flares and put them out on the freeway.

The emergency medical personnel arrived in about ten minutes time and took Daniel and Edwin to Mercy Medical center in Roseburg - about twenty minutes North of the accident scene. Just before they left, Daniel called me on his cell phone. Linda (my wife) and I had just stopped for dinner about thirty minutes North of where the accident took place. We had not arranged our departure for home in synch with the guys. We just happened to be that close. The waitress had just served our meal when I got the call. We went to the cashier, told her what happened, and paid the bill. The waitresses packed up our meal very quickly for us, gave it to us, and told us they would be praying for us.

When we got there, the Oregon State Police were there taking statements and writing up their report. Tim, J.R., Jessie, and Sara were attempting to pick up some of the band's stuff that had been strewn al - HM magazine


June 2005-Released "Faith,Hope, Rock "N" Roll independently


Feeling a bit camera shy


Memphis Belle is a rock and roll band hailing from the southern California desert, striving to return the heart and soul from days of old to today’s music. The band was formed in early 2003 when Jeremiah Johns and Edwin Ortiz began to play music together. Daniel Schaaff, formerly of Dizmas and Custom Deluxe, joined them shortly thereafter on guitar. After auditioning several drummers the band elected Randy Baranofski for the role and started booking their first shows. Randy, however, was burning his candle at both ends between his job and the band, so it was decided it would be the best thing for his life to leave the band. Randy’s slot was quickly filled by John Blanchard, also formerly of Custom Deluxe. At this time the band began playing out regularly and building a local fan base. John, however, had decided it was time for him to move on, so the band added Montana Dennis as their drummer. Unfortunately, Jeremiah and the band had begun to grow in different directions and he parted ways with the band at this time. Jeff Unander, a friend of the band, quickly stepped in to fill Jeremiah’s spot. Montana was also burning himself out playing in two bands and going to school full time in Moorpark, so the group decided it was best to part ways. Daniel’s little brother Tim Schaaff, who remarkably had only begun playing drums a year and a half earlier, was then recruited for the position.
Shortly after Tim joined the band in March of 2005, the opportunity to tour came up and Memphis Belle decided to pursue their dreams full force. Daniel and Edwin quit their jobs and prepared to leave, but Jeff didn’t feel that this was the right path for his life to take and he moved on to focus on school. JR Goleno was then recruited to play bass for the tour. The band played two weeks of shows on their own and then planned to meet up with the Extreme Tour in mid August.
As it turned out, the road had a very un-expected trial in store for the band. Two weeks into the tour, while driving home from Tomfest in Washington to attend a friends wedding in California , tragedy struck. On Saturday, August 6 one of their van’s tires blew out causing their trailer to fish tail. Tim, who was driving, lost control due to the trailer and the van slammed into the mountain on the side of the road, rolling several times. Edwin, who was sleeping in the back of the van and did not have a seat belt on, smashed his head out of the van’s side window hitting it on the asphalt. The van then rolled again and came to rest directly on top of his head. Miraculously, he survived with only a large gash above his eye (leaving him with only half of his eyebrow) and two compressed discs in his back. Daniel, JR, and Tim left with only minor cuts, sore muscles, and rattled nerves. The accident put the band in a tight spot, they had lost their van and trailer, all of their money, and JR had to return to college. Daniel, Tim, and Edwin decided not to let the accident stop them and decided to try and finish the tour with nothing other than their faith that it would work out. A fill in bassist was arranged and plans to resume the tour were set in place. A loaner vehicle finally fell into place the night before they had to leave. So, two weeks after the accident the band crammed into an extended cab truck and finished the tour broken backs and all.
After returning from the tour the band continued to play while searching for a permanent bass player. While discussing the situation the band kept coming back to their original bass player and founding member, Jeremiah Johns. The band sat down with Jeremiah and after much thought and prayer he rejoined the band on bass. Memphis Belle now had four solid and committed members and was determined to move forward more than ever before. The band will be hitting the road for an extensive 10 months of touring in 2006, putting their strong work ethic to use.