11 Questions: Pace Rubadeau

interview by Brent Cole

photo by Cameron Cornell

In talking with Pace Rubadeau about music or different things happening in the community, it was obvious he was different from the normal band guy. Positive and appreciative, his love of people and playing is genuine and runs deep in his soul. Plus, he sends emails written with an odd formality that is both incredibly entertaining and respected. We’re excited to have him in the fabric of Bellingham’s art and music community.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce, Pace Rubadeau.


Who are you and where did you come from? Please tell us a bit about yourself. 

Thanks for having me. Name’s Pace Rubadeau. Am relatively new to the Bellingham area by way of Portland, Oregon. Have used trumpet as a conduit to befriend countless strangers over the course of the past two and a half decades. Played on four continents and all 50 states. Musician. Explorer. Producer. Storyteller. Friend. Bartender and Booker for Honey Moon Mead & Cider.


You’ve played trumpet all over the world, what country did you most enjoy, outside of the United States?

I was stationed in Germany with the Army Band from age 23 to 28. Those are crucial shaping years. Germany feels like home in many ways because that span of time made me the person I am today, having been married to a native notwithstanding. Three months after I got out my whole unit got deployed to Iraq which doesn’t have much to do with your question but sets the stage for the way chance paved the path to date. Some routes taken were far more fortuitous than others.

I’ve also been gifted time in historic places like Morocco, Japan, Egypt, and the Czech Republic. Guess it’s a generic answer but I’d have to go with there are no favorites. Each journey to a place where the foreign outweighed the familiar brought pivotal education in tow. If money was a plenty I’d be living overseas but for now dig learning locally.


What brought you to Bellingham?

Originally moved to Oregon from afar for collaborating with a Portland-based electronic musician named Deklun. With trumpet, a laptop, and minimal equipment to power our sound, we engaged serene performances in the wild for a landscape audience of nature alone.

Each set was one song. Emotional highs and lows often lasting ninety minutes or more. Always live and improvised. We parted ways for the most logical and humanistic of reasons, but our story remains out there online courtesy of Ed Jahn and Oregon Field Guide’s “Music in Nature” episode.

I then founded a trad jazz group with my bestest Alaskan friend Henrikas by the name of Inspirational Beets. Cut to a storybook five years later as the swing dance communities of Portland and Corvallis changed life for the better. Produced several vintage adventures to honor them even while the surrounding home base of PDX grew beyond my comfort zone. Took a year to make the decision but knew twas finally time to move on. Wanted to stay in the Pacific Northwest but live in a smaller city. Bellingham was the natural choice.


What was the last great book you read and why did you connect with it so much?

Canone Inverso by Paolo Maurensig. Full disclosure that was the first book read in quite a few years. Given to me as a birthday/goodbye present by gent/friend to the scene Sir Scot Casey. If you know him then you know why it needed to be opened.


As someone who has really embraced the music community, what is your favorite aspect of it?

The fact you know I’ve embraced it and we barely know each other proves what a welcoming place Bellingham is. I arrived here on November 1 of 2015 without a job or place to live and knowing only four people. Granted, three of them were Lucas Hicks, Thomas Deakin, and Jenny Rose; networking got off to a running start.

There’s no denying the positive energy Bellingham supplements and sustains if you allow it in. Have met some significant musicians and dancers in this town, but there aren’t many spaces that exist for them to learn from and contribute to each other. Working together we can change that, and make this place a sensory destination instead of just a scenic drivethru on the way to Seattle or Vancouver.


What are your top five all time favorite records? What about #1 made it your favorite?

Heidi Happy – Back Together

Melissa Kassab – Dog

Jeff and Joy – Dust Bowl Lounge

Tuba Skinny – Live at Melody Ballroom

Maren Morgan and Sabine – TBD


First two are two different Swiss artists discovered at two different points in my life but each helped through difficult times. Third is a fond collab between people who’d never played together before. Last two are milestone recordings currently not available online but remain treasured soundtracks hope to share one day.


It’s a Sunday morning in Bellingham, what are you doing?

Depends on what the cutoff for Morning in Bellingham is but I’m most likely en route to play outside somewheres. Find trumpet rather boring to play alone just sitting in a room or whatever. My practice occurs in places where the sound calls back. Closest I can get to chords as a guitar player trapped in the body of a trumpet player.


Where did the idea for the Hot House Jazz Band come from and how did you bring in the players?

See page 14 of last month’s issue as your swell journalist McKenna Cardwell summarized the story poifectly. Or find us on Facebook and watch what happens next.


What is your all time favorite piece of music to play and why?

Impromptu sit-ins with performers who’ve looked past the confines of my instrument and trusted in the chemistry shared between have taught me the most about music and life in general. The great unknown continues to be my preferred musical setting. In other words my favorite song would be the one I’ve yet to play if that makes any sense.


Do you have a current favorite local band? 

Deakin Hicks.


Any last thoughts?

Just to offer up appreciation for all the kind support alongside a parting PSA to all the available witty dames out there: I’m single and a good provider. Please help keep my life Tinder-free and visit me Thursdays behind the Honey Moon bar if a muted horn strikes your fancy.

Maybe early in the conversation say something like Hey have you ever listened to Francoise Hardy? just so it’s clear you read this and are keen to court. Because who knows how much time any of us have left so best get started. For the record I’ve a few personal references strategically placed around town. If you see someone wearing a custom trumpet pin talk to them.