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All Stars playing Tommy’s Beach Bar & Grill

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All Stars playing Tommy’s Beach Bar & Grill

Tim Helbling leads the rest of the 209 All Stars in a performance at the Beach Hut Deli in Downtown Stockton.

Photo contributed/


POSTED June 3, 2010 2:53 a.m.
LATHROP – Tim Helbling just wants to entertain every time he gets up on stage.

The lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the 209 All Stars – a local rock, reggae, and a jam band that includes guitarist Justin Jones, bassist Brandon Michael, sax player Rudy Edcajeda, and drummer Jim Ayala – spends his week lining up as many live shows as possible for the group, from regular performances at restaurants to private parties and weddings.

And with a catalog that includes everything from 90s alternative groups like Blind Melon, 311, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to traditional jam bands like the Grateful Dead and even Johnny Cash, it isn’t uncommon to find those in attendance singing along.

“We try to play a little bit of everything, but stay away from the typical bar band songs – you’re not going to hear us playing Mustang Sally or Play That Funky Music,” Helbling said. “And I don’t really think of myself as the band leader or anything like that. We all bring out unique style to the table, and that really comes out when we play. If we can look out and see people singing along, then we know that we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

On Friday, Helbling and company will once again be playing Tommy’s Beach Bar and Grill – providing ambient music for both the dining and the bar crowd – which has become a somewhat regular stop for them on their extended performance schedule.

And in two weeks, the 209 All Stars will be featured on the side stage on the opening night of the San Joaquin County Fair – giving them all a chance to share their unique blend of music with a whole new audience they wouldn’t likely get playing Central Valley clubs like the Blackwater Café or Windmill Cove.

But while he gives the rest of the band credit  for bringing their own respective flavor to the band – including occasional guests like guitarist Chris Heanes (Group W) and bassist Alan Mehlhaff (Blues a Fuse) – he admits that his love for music dominates just about every day of his life.

“This is pretty much my only job and what I do to pay the bills, so if I hear a bass line somewhere or a horn section that I like, I tuck that away and see if it’s something that we can incorporate,” he said. “Getting to entertain people is one of the best jobs that you can possibly have, and I’m just glad that I’m able to do it.”

For more information about the 209 All Stars, or to hear a sample of some of their music, visit Helbling’s website at www.myspace.com/funkytim.

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