Trout Ball History

The article below is dated Dec.13, 1990. Among other things it describes how Greg met Gearman (David Behr) who is the producer and distributor of TROUTBALL the music CD..

Bozeman Daily Chronicle article by Parker Heinlein, Photo By Linda BestNewspaper Headline Small.GIF (109913 bytes)

Article Text - Local Yokel Greg Keeler is shooting for national yokeldom on New Year's Eve. The Montana State University English professor, humorist, and musician will appear on ESPN Monday, December 31 bedecked with live salmon flies in an outdoor-oriented video. If the video is a hit, two others, also filmed last summer, will follow. If the video bombs Keeler has collected $800 for his trouble and, like he says,"That's 800 Bitch Creeks if I buy seconds."

    An ardent angler who fishes year round, Keeler was approached about the television spot by his neighbor, David Behr.

    "You don't think in Bozeman, Mont., that the guy across the alley would ask you if you want a show on national TV," Keeler says.

     However Behr, the "guy across the alley,"   happens to be a local promoter who had hired Keeler as the opening act for a John Prine concert a couple of years ago. Behr and veteran New York television sports producer Larry Lindberg, a native of Froid, conceived the idea of the Keeler videos.

     They just asked Keeler to be himself. With salmon flies crawling all over him, Keeler sings a sentimental ballad about his old pal Pteronarchis Californica (The scientific name for the salmon fly), "who crawls up onto the bank grass and hardly has time to dry his wings before he falls into the water and a Madison brown trout sucks him down."

     The video, which will air between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec 31, also allows Keeler to pass on a subtle message.

     "People are insignificant in the face of nature," he says. "They (the videos) have an environmental bent to them, but it doesn't hit you over the head."

     The 44-year-old English professor prefers a more off-the-wall approach. That's probably why Lindberg decided to use the most conventional of the three videos for the premier.

     National television audiences may not be quite ready for Keeler's catch-and-release sucker fishing video. Introduced as "our man in the Rockies," Keeler kisses a sucker on the lips in the video and puts a party hat on one before he lets it go.

     "We not only know how to release our suckers, but we give them a little party when they leave," Keeler says in the video.

     hardly an elitist angler, Keeler is not adverse to catching fish by any legal means - fly, bait, or through the ice. Fishing, after all, is one of his most popular themes. It's what ties his first three books together.

     "The best fisherman are those who enjoy it the most,"  Keeler says. " The kid fishing with worms on the river may be having the most fun."

     Although fishing is not the focus of his latest book, the humor is as bizarre as ever. Keeler describes "New, Improved Coyote" as a beautifully illustrated handmade book full of goofy poems. It includes "Four Hamsters of the Apocalypse."

    Keeler plans on spending New Year's Eve with friends at his mothers home in Oklahoma.

    "I'll be casual and say 'Let's check this outdoor show out," he says.

    No big deal. It's just another local yokel going big time.

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