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Category Archives: Clarion Rock
WHO RESCUED WHOM?
By Lynne Koen
It’s the day before Halloween, but I’m not going to candy coat anything. Yes, I am that “Dog Lady”.
I’m not over the top PETA queen, but I do consider my dogs as very much a part of the family. It’s always been that way as far back as I can remember. I was maybe three years old when I figured out my Mom loved the dog more than she did me. It didn’t bother me, it just was. During my first 17 years of life, we had several dogs at home. Only one at a time though. These dogs were from circumstances beyond our comprehension — abandoned, abused, neglected, left to starve.
I never knew it was possible to just go out and BUY a dog. I thought they showed up mysteriously in the night and then we took care of them for the rest of their lives!
When I was in college and living on my own, I got a dog and named him “JD” (just a dog). Oh, how I loved that boy! He was a shaggy, black-and-white mutt with the sweetest disposition. My tiny back yard had an alley behind it. One day as JD and I were playing in the yard, I heard some commotion in the alley — rummaging of some sort and then a crash! I flew out to the alley to see what happened. There I found the skinniest little dog. She could barely walk. Upon closer inspection, I saw she had a badly broken leg. She had probably been hit by a car — no tags or collar. I got some blankets, wrapped her up, and gently put her in the car. She was so frightened. She was shaking uncontrollably. The vet said I should have her put down because she probably had numerous problems aside from her obvious malnutrition and busted leg. I told him to do whatever it took to make her well enough so I could care for her at home. He looked at me like I had three heads but agreed to treat her. A week later, I had two dogs in my little yard on I Avenue! I decided to name my new girl dog “Rosie” after the wildly popular Saturday Night Live character Roseanne Rosanna Danna (played by Gilda Radnor). Rosie and JD got along great. They were best friends from day one!
This was back in the 1970s. That’s when I started the “Noah’s Ark” theory. From that time on, I always had two dogs in residence. When I had my babies and didn’t have as much time for the dogs, JD and Rosie had each other. They both lived long, happy lives and eventually passed away of old age. They were so special to me as they were my very first fur-babies. Since then we’ve had more dogs, cats, birds, horses, and even goats join the family! The interesting thing is that since the Rosie rescue, the animals have come to me much like they did to my Mom when I lived at home. I’ve always rooted for the underdog, pun intended!
Our animals were special in that they seemed to choose us rather than the other way around. Not one pure breed in the bunch. Just sweet, simple creatures who needed a loving home. Most had special needs that some people would not have tolerated or bothered with. To me, having a pet is like having a child. If there’s something wrong, you handle it. Plain and simple. I was in it for the long haul no matter what. This is the way God intended it to be. In my book anyway!
I’ve always treated my critters with love and respect. They return that affection 100+ fold in most cases. Only twice have I had to find other homes for my dogs. Both cases were because the dogs presented a danger to my children. The first case was Norman named after Norman Bates in Psycho. I knew Norman was odd, but I did my very best to accommodate him. However, it turned out he wasn’t a family-type dog at all. One Christmas, he bit just about everyone in the family. Norman had to go. Luckily, I found him a good home with an older couple who lived by themselves. Happy ending.
The other dog “Wendy” did not like children. As I had four kids in residence at the time, Wendy couldn’t stay. I tried so hard to find her a home, but everyone I knew had young kids like I did. Everyone except my Mom that is. Mom was “dogless” at the time. She really liked Wendy and Wendy liked her. However, Mom swore she’d never have another dog. Hard sell. I tried for months to convince Mom that Wendy was perfect for her. I begged and pleaded. The answer wasn’t just “no” but it was HELL NO. So the sad day came when I was going to take Wendy to the shelter. I was crying and so depressed. I thought what do I have to lose, so I tried asking Mom just one more time. She resounded with a very grouchy “Oh, alright.” I was overjoyed! Wendy was treated like a queen, living a life of luxury at Mom’s. It was truly a perfect match. One that God Himself had made to be sure.
I’ve always loved my dogs with all my heart. My single complaint is that they don’t live long enough. There comes a time when their quality of life slowly descends. Putting a dog to rest is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, hands down. Each time I literally thought I’d die from the grief. It never gets any easier, no matter what people may say. Now I have dog rescues that I help support. I usually stick to the smaller ones. That way I actually know where my money goes! I’ve taken to fostering dogs from time to time. That can be pretty tricky when there are resident dogs who get a bit jealous. Each time I’ve fostered, it’s been in pairs. Dogs who have been together all their lives who are up for adoption. The only criteria I’ve insisted upon is that the dogs are adopted together. Not everyone wants to take on two strange dogs at once. However, there are people who will. I know this to be true as they’ve all gone to great families. It just sometimes takes longer to make the right match.
Last year, a friend of mine went to a local estate sale. She mentioned to me that the matriarch of this family had passed away and left two animals behind — a dog and a cat. Turned out nobody in this family wanted the animals because they were both quite elderly. The dog “Peaches” was 14 and the cat was 12. This story made me so sad. I already had my hands full with our resident dog “Rockit” and our newly adopted dog “Boomer”, but I somehow HAD to meet Peaches! I just couldn’t ignore the circumstances. So my husband and I took our dogs over to Peaches’ house for a meet-and-greet session. Everybody did just fine! So Peaches came to live with us later that same day.
She was surprisingly fit for such an elderly lady. She was almost blind and completely deaf, but she got around amazingly well. She’d follow me everywhere. I loved her instantly. My husband thought I was nuts taking on such an old gal. He was just trying to protect me from the inevitable, Peaches being called to Heaven. For the next six months, Peaches was very much a part of the family. Our boy dogs readily accepted her, and everybody who met her loved her at first sight. She brought such joy to me. Sometimes I think I can still hear her tiny paws clicking on the tile floors! If my friend hadn’t have gone to that estate sale, I never would have known that Peaches needed a home. As with all the others, Divine Intervention. No doubt about it!
There are cute little puppies at every pet store. I don’t deny the fact they need good homes, but there are literally thousands upon thousands unwanted dogs at shelters and rescues. It’s heartbreaking beyond belief. These dogs’ days are numbered as there are very few “no kill” shelters. The majority of these dogs are there because of human error. Someone gets a cute puppy then that puppy grows up. Maybe that pup hasn’t been trained correctly so it acts badly and ends up in a shelter. Like children, dogs don’t naturally know how to behave. They must be taught. Training takes time. If you don’t have the time, then don’t get a dog — especially a puppy! Adopting an older dog can have it’s challenges, but it’s so worthwhile.
In a perfect world, all dogs would have happy, loving forever homes. No dog would be mistreated, cold, lonely, or hungry. However, life can be cruel; so it’s up to us as humans to help as much as we possibly can. I know that having a dog isn’t for everyone, but we can still help out by donating to a local shelter, and/or rescue. If you do decide to adopt, make it stick. Think about it like you would as if you were adopting a child. You don’t just throw a child away because he/she misbehaves! Adopting a dog is a permanent commitment. Not to be taken lightly or done on impulse. If done correctly, a decision to adopt can change your life for the greater good. The love of a dog is like nothing else in life. Dogs are not judgemental. Their love is unconditional. Dogs are loyal, furry blessings with cold noses. People can learn much from dogs!
By Lynne Koen
Janis Lyn Joplin was born to loving parents Seth and Dorothy Joplin in Port Arthur,Texas on January 19, 1943. Janis had a happy family life, yet she was very shy when it came to relating to others outside the home. She never seemed to quite fit in with the other girls at school. Janis wasn’t pretty enough to be one of the “popular girls”. She was awkward and different. At Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, Janis tried fitting in by joining various clubs on campus. As a result, she joined Future Teachers of America Art Club and the Math Club. Janis thought she’d finally become popular and likable, but her superior intellect far outshone that of her fellow students further alienating Janis from her biggest desires to belong, to be liked, and maybe even to be loved.
In those early days, Janis took out her sadness and frustration out in her art. She was always drawing or painting. Janis also loved music only not the type of music her classmates enjoyed. Janis went for the Blues. She loved the black singers’ songs about hard work, loss, and pain. As she got more and more into the Blues Sound, Janis’ appearance began to change radically. She teased her frizzy hair up high and wore all dark clothing. Janis was being led to the “Beat Scene”.
She found friendship with five smart, intellectual-type boys at school. Though highly intellectual, these boys were also major non-conformists. They marched to a different beat, and Janis fit right in. Janis finally had some confidence, and she started speaking up in class about equality for blacks and civil rights in general. Boys at school would follow her around throwing pennies at her and shouting “nigger lover”, but Janis didn’t care. She had her tightly knit group now. Janis and the boys would travel all over — hanging out in coffee houses and going to concerts. They drank heavily and even dabbled in drugs (mostly speed). One day they were returning home to Port Arthur and Janis was singing along with the car radio. One of the boys remarked, “Damn, you can SING!” Janis giggled and said, “Yeah, I guess I can!”
Janis graduated from high school in June 1960. In the fall, she attended a technical college and learned “keypunch” an early cousin to computer programming. Janis’ mother, Dorothy, knew Janis wanted a life outside Port Arthur, outside Texas, and thought Janis could get a good job just about anywhere with her technical skills.
Janis went to live in Los Angeles under the watchful eyes of her mother’s two sisters. She got a job as a keypunch operator for the telephone company in L.A. Soon the 9-5 grind got tedious for Janis who longed to live the total Beat life on her own even if it meant struggling to make ends meet.
One day while traveling on the bus, Janis struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler. She learned this man lived in Venice Beach. On a lark, Janis passed her stop and went with him to Venice. There Janis found the artistic freedom she craved. Creativity and expression of freedom not to mention drugs and alcohol were seen as portals to heightened experience and deeper understanding of life. In Venice, Janis found a ramshackle place she could afford on her own, and there she settled in happily singing and playing guitar at local coffee houses. This lasted only a short while though as Janis felt stifled in L.A. She’d heard of a larger Beat community in San Francisco’s North Beach area. So she went up there to check out the scene. There she befriended a fellow artist who was a doorman at the Fox and Hound Coffee House.
The first time Janis showed up to sing there she wore a WWII bomber jacket, Levis, and a blue work shirt. She had a cigar dangling from her mouth. Janis went from not fitting in to standing OUT in a big way!
Janis wasn’t making enough money to support herself so she went back to Port Arthur in December, 1961. She shocked everyone with her clothing style — newfound “California Swagger” and aggressive ways. In retrospect, this was Janis’ way of covering for the fact that she didn’t make it on her own in California and also to mask her massive insecurities.
Restless, Janis soon discovered that she couldn’t stay home for long so she followed a few friends to Austin and the University of Texas in the summer of 1962. There she was voted “ugliest man on campus”. Janis treated this as a joke, but in a letter home to her parents, she asked how people could be so cruel. Austin had a very strong music scene — mostly country, bluegrass, and folk. Janis joined a band and became very popular in Austin.
Janis bragged to friends about her many sexual escapades in California, but truth be told, this was much exaggerated as part of the whole Janis’ character she was trying so hard to convey. One night while Janis performed at an Austin club, a music promoter from San Francisco approached her and talked her into trying the San Francisco scene once again. She was promised an enthusiastic audience as the scene there evolved into a pre-hippie mode. Back in San Francisco, Janis became hugely popular as promised.
Musicians didn’t make much money, but they were allowed to “pass the hat” at the end of each performance. Janis’ hat always filled to the brim each and every night. A fan offered Janis a free place to live — a basement apartment Janis shared with a friend, fellow artist, and kindred spirit, Linda Gottfried. It was at this point that Janis began drinking heavily. She considered drunkenness as an aid to personal spontaneity and total freedom. She also began taking a large amount of speed because it was cheap and seemed to counter balance the alcohol effects. Janis was functioning but never sober.
By 1965, Janis was in love with a speed freak named Peter de Blanc. Shortly after they became engaged, Peter was hospitalized for speed-induced psychosis. This was enough to scare Janis straight for the time being. Once released from the hospital, Peter helped Janis buy a bus ticket back to Port Arthur promising to join her there shortly. Janis went home and began planning her wedding. She gave up the radical look and seemed to embrace the traditional lifestyle she’d rejected for so long. She even enrolled in a “poise” class in summer school. Janis also began seeing a therapist to whom she admitted trying various drugs while in California.
In addition to the constant use of alcohol and speed, she also experimented with Quaaludes and Demerol to help come down off the speed. During this time, as Janis waited for de Blanc, she didn’t even take a drink. Peter de Blanc wrote to Janis and even visited Port Arthur once. It gradually became clear that de Blanc was seeing other women. So Janis called the marriage off and began seeing other men.
In the summer of 1966, Janice was asked to sing for a San Francisco band called “Big Brother and the Holding Company”. Janis had been sober for 12 months and was confident she now could withstand the California drug culture. The San Francisco scene had changed markedly while Janis was away. The Beats had paved the way for the new Bohemians, the hipsters now known as “hippies”. Free Love was all the rage along with mass quantities of drugs and alcohol. Janis was known to enjoy the sexual company of both men and women. She was comfortable with her bi-sexuality and communal living. LSD or Acid was fairly new on the scene and was still legal until possession became a misdemeanor in October 1966. In the music scene, folk and blues had given way to psychedelic rock.
Big Brother and the Holding Company were known for their “freak rock” music. Loud and raunchy, Janis fit right in. It was a perfect fit for all, and six days later, Janis was in the band. At this point, Janis was simply one of the guys not yet touted as a star.
The band along with their extended families all moved to a large hunting lodge in Lagunitas, north of San Francisco in Marin County. There the band could rehearse any time they wanted without bothering anybody else except maybe the Grateful Dead who had a lodge down the road. They were unlikely to mind!
Those were very happy times for Janis. She began seeing Joe McDonald of Country Joe and the Fish. Janis took Joe to her apartment in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood — the Mecca of hip in those days. There, Joe saw a softer side to Janis. Her apartment was warm and welcoming filled with Victorian “fru fru”, velvet couches, and ornate antiques. From there, Janis and Joe would call local radio stations and request their bands’ songs be played. Then they’d sit back and listen, basking in their newfound fame.
However, with fame came pressure from fans for Janis to get wilder and louder on stage. She started doing drugs again — this time heroin, always mixing with alcohol, her favorite being Southern Comfort. With this combination Janis felt she was invincible — whatever inhibitions she once had no longer existed. Janis fed off her fans’ feeding frenzy. They wanted to see her get crazy on stage– the wilder the better. Janis gave them what they wanted and then some.
Big Brother and the Holding Company were known primarily for their concerts and not their record albums. It was the visual of Janis doing her thing that attracted the fans. By 1967, thousands of young people were pouring into San Francisco. The vibes of peace, love, and harmony were alluring to young folks in an uncertain world. The highlight of the year was the “Summer of Love” which officially began in June with Big Brother and the Holding Company among the acts at the Monterey Pop Festival. As she skipped onto the stage, Janis looked like any other hippie chick: Peasant top, blue jeans, long frizzy hair framing her face. But when she started singing, she blew everyone away with her voice that concurrently purred and wailed sending shivers through the crowd.
Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas sat in the front row. After hearing Janis sing “Down On Me”, Cass sat stunned mouthing one word over and over again: “WOW!” With this performance, Janis Lyn Joplin became a mega star. For Janis, Monterey was a harbinger of fame and fortune changing the history of women in Rock and Roll forever. When the festival was over, Janis partied with members of the Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix. Everybody was drinking whiskey, smoking pot, and dropping acid — Hendrix more than anyone.
As her band’s fame grew to epic proportions so did their checkbooks. Janis began a life of outlandish opulence and luxury. She drove a psychedelic Porsche around San Francisco where fans and friends would always leave notes under the windshield wipers wherever the car was parked. Janis wore the finest “threads”: silk, satin, feather boas, beads, and bangles.
While touring with the band, Janis would hang out in the streets and park with fans. She also began partying with members of the Hells’Angels — a motorcycle gang that often provided “security” for concerts. While music was her life force, audience’ adulation fed Janis’ restless spirit. Peter Albin was leader of Big Brother and the Holding Company and also the band’s spokesperson. Janis started vying for that role which caused discord among the band members. Suddenly, the band took a back burner to the sensational chick singer, Janis Joplin. Interviewers and media were only interested in talking to Janis not to the band as a whole.
Riding high on the band’s strong reviews, manager Albert Grossman scheduled a U.S. tour that began in February of 1968. Right before the tour began, he changed billing. From now on the band was to be known as Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin. Janis was the big draw and everybody knew it. Later that year, while in the studio working on the album, “Cheap Thrills”, the whole ethic of the band began to unravel. Trying to wedge their experimental sound into a tight album format was failing. As Janis was dead-on every take, the increasingly unhappy band members kept making mistakes. Out on the road, the world had turned ugly. The ideals and values of the “Summer of Love” were badly shaken as the war in Viet Nam raged on, and the civil rights movement reached a fevered pitch, but the band played on. Now known as Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, the whole band was so unhappy at this point that they all started shooting heroin just so they could stand to be on stage together.
Janis had outgrown Big Brother. Janis was torn as she’d been with the same band for so long and became famous with this group. Sadly, Janis knew she had to move on. Rolling Stone magazine described Big Brother as “messy and a general musical disgrace”. The album, “Cheap Thrills”, was certified gold before it was even sold on the market. The pre-order sales were off the charts. Unfortunately, it was already too late as Janis announced she was leaving the band in the summer of 1968.
Janis formed a new band called the Kozmic Blues. With only 3 weeks to prepare for their debut, the group didn’t have enough practice or time to get to know each other. They failed to work well as a group. This pushed Janice even deeper into drugs and alcohol. She became very depressed, and she missed the camaraderie she had with her bandmates in Big Brother. In the year that Janis toured with Kozmic Blues, the band received cool welcomes at U.S. concert venues. The reviews were a bit kinder in Europe, but not much. It was obvious that Janis was unhappy, and the band was mechanical in backing her up. During this time, Janis was constantly high. She became cocky and rude, completely out of control in public on a regular basis. With her outrageous rock-star antics, it was hard to believe that Janis was actually a very intelligent, well-read person. However, those in the know-knew. Janis actually had her own production company, Strong Arm Music. She’d performed over a hundred live concerts in three years and had the forethought to create a corporation, “Fantality” to merchandise fan memorabilia.
Then came Woodstock. The days of August 15-17, 1969 would go down in history as the biggest musical extravaganza ever. Janis was right there, seemingly happy for the first time in a long while amidst a slew of fellow rock stars such as Jimi Hendrix and Joe Cocker. Kozmic Blues toured heavily throughout the rest of the year. Janis pushed herself harder and harder begging her fans to get up and dance with her. As she poured her soul out to the crowd, they rewarded her with the adulation she so badly needed. By the end of 1969, it was a year marked by profound highs and devastating lows.
Janis knew she needed a break. She found it in a new home in the mountain community of Larkspur, California where she moved in December of 1969. Janis decorated her new home much in the same fashion as her Haight-Ashbury apartment — Victorian knick knacks, velvet furnishings, lots of stained glass, and Oriental rugs. Kozmic Blues disbanded at the beginning of 1970.
Worn out, Janis began to plan her first real vacation with a friend. They decided to go to the Carnival in Rio. Janis kicked heroin cold turkey and fell in love with a man named David Neihaus. Her plan was to return home with Neihaus, but he was detained due to a lapsed visa. Janis let her upset become an excuse to use heroin again, and when Neihaus showed up two days later, Janis was high and planning another tour. The couple agreed they each wanted different things from life so they parted ways.
Janis connected with singer and movie star, Kris Kristofferson, at a party one night which became a three-week, drinking-drugging binge. Janis had formed a new band called “Full Tilt Boogie”. This band had a stripped-down, sound design to showcase Janis vocals. Janis continued to see Kristofferson, who even moved in with her for a brief period of time. One night, he sang her a song he’d written called, “Me and Bobby McGee”. Janis included the song on the playlist for her new album, “Pearl”. Though their romance fizzled, Kristofferson had unknowingly given Janis what would become her most famous song. Janis loved the idea of being in love, but her drive to perform and insatiable need to connect with her fans far outweighed any one personal love affair.
In June 1970, Janis appeared on the Dick Cavett Show with Full Tilt Boogie. Janis announced on the show that she was going back to Port Arthur for her ten-year high school reunion. Janis’ career was at an all-time high though her alcohol and drug abuse was starting to show. Her face became muddled and puffy. She’d gained weight, which she tried to cover up with ever more flamboyant costumes.
In September of 1970, Janis and Full Tilt Boogie began studio rehearsals for the new album, “Pearl”, named after African-American singer and actress, Pearl Bailey. In what was to become one of her last interviews, Janis was asked why she worked so hard. She replied: “It sure as hell isn’t for the money.” She went on to say: “At first it was to get love from the audience, but now it’s to be able to go as far as I can go — to reach my full potential.” Sadly, Janis had her demons. They lurked right out of sight waiting in the wings to pounce.
Janis had been rehearsing a song called, “Buried Alive in the Blues”. She planned to record it the next morning. Tired, drunk, and alone in her room on the night of October 3rd at the Landmark Hotel, Janis shot her last dose of heroin. Right after, she went to the lobby and bought a pack of cigarettes, went back to her room, and sat down on the bed. A few minutes later, shortly before two in the morning, Janis slumped over, wedging herself between the bed and the nightstand. When she failed to show up for rehearsal that morning, John Byrne Cooke drove to the Landmark and found Janis dead of an accidental overdose of heroin mixed with alcohol. Janis Joplin was 27 years old. Her obituary in Time Magazine reported: “She died on the lowest and saddest of notes.”
A stage play “Love, Janis” (based on the book of the same name) written by Janis’ sister Laura Joplin, features some of Janis’ iconic performances and also excerpts from some of the letters she wrote home to her family over the years. It’s a revealing look at the different sides of Janis Joplin. The wild-eyed rock star versus the sweet, loving sister and daughter. Janis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 12, 1995.
THE FAB FOUR
(Excerpt from upcoming The London Dialogues, by Alan Graham)
I worked at Jackson’s Tailor Shop in Liverpool, England. It was nineteen sixty-two, and I was seventeen years old. Lunch time was the most exciting part of my day. My lunch was always the same and never lost its wonderful taste — an ice cold coke in the old-fashioned glass bottle and a hot dog with onions. I would make a short walk to a narrow back street in the busy fruit market area. Most of the buildings were storage warehouses save for a single pub. One of these warehouses had been converted into a cramped basement nightclub.
Monday through Friday were dedicated to matinee performances by up-and-coming rock ‘n’ roll groups who played American rhythm and blues as well as rock ‘n’ roll music from the likes of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke, Joe Tex, and a fabulous never ending host of other greats. Included in these would-be rockers were Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Searchers, Cilla Black, and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes — all of whom would become part of the great new “Mersey Beat”. As my lunch hour ended, I had heard “Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Long Tall Sally”, “Tallahassee Lassie”, “Three Cool Cats”, “Rip It Up”, and many more.
Among all of these rockers in the making, one group stood out showing much promise. Clothed in black leather jackets, Levis, high-heeled boots with silly haircuts, these lads were cool, cheeky, and gave it their all. Very soon, this group, my favorite, would become famous, seemingly overnight. They transformed the City of Liverpool, Rock ‘N’ Roll, and the Liverpudlians themselves.
The Beatles would leave Liverpool and head for “The Smoke” (London – the Big City). I never saw them perform live again, but marvel at their meteoric rise. They were now singing their own compositions. Suddenly, the old music was left behind in the dust as a new paradigm shifted.
We all sang the new material with home-grown pride. Their first hit was “Love Me Do” followed by “Please, Please Me”. What followed was nothing less than an avalanche of creative energy not seen since the 1920’s renaissance in Paris.
When the Beatles left the City of Liverpool, my lunch time was not the same. Even though the new music raged on, for me something was missing. So, I too left following my “Fab Four” to the Smoke. I took the midnight mail train out of the Liverpool Central Station, the cheapest fare you could find. It was a six-hour journey as the train stopped to deliver mail at each city down the line.
At six a.m., I stood outside of Euston Station surveying my new surroundings and wondering where the Beatles might be. I took a tube train to Marble Arch. I picked the biggest hotel I could find and went in to ask for a job. There weren’t any, but a sweet old lady in the personnel office gave me a lead to a construction site in a beautiful rural town on the outskirts of the city. The work was grueling, yet the pay was three times more than I ever would have gotten in Liverpool.
One morning, I was digging a ditch for a gas main when two Rolls Royce Silver Clouds passed by. The fellow working with me said, “You know who that was, don’t you?” I said, “No, who?” “That was the Beatles. They live just across the street at St. George’s Hills.” St. George’s Hills was a luxurious gated community where only the very wealthy resided. It now included the world-famous Beatles. Of all the places I would land for work, it would be right where my beloved Beatles dwelled. Although, I never saw them in the flesh or did those Silver Clouds ever pass by again, it was a quiet thrill that I had followed them unknowingly to precisely where they lived.
When that job ended, it was onto the next which would be a stint working in the Helena Rubenstein Cosmetics factory. After that, I worked in a factory that produced fiber glass materials such as mannequins and retail displays. I then went to work with British Railways as a night porter. Eventually, I landed in Earl’s Court aka Bed-Sit-Land, a bustling, upscale West London borough populated by mostly single, young people. The 1860’s era terraced housing was now converted into single rooms and two-bedroom flats – hence, Bed-Sit-Land, short for bed sitter flats. Bed-Sit-Land was also a cosmopolitan tourist hub that attracted students from all across the globe.
“Michelle, ma belle, these are words that go together well, ma Michelle…” My favorite group was now world famous and their songs dominated the air waves. It was wall-to-wall Beatles music in addition to fabulous groups like the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Pink Floyd. My favorite perfume at the time, was girls. I liked them very much, and they liked me just as much. I had two girlfriends from Sweden, one from New Zealand, one from France, one from Germany, and several from Earl’s Court who just happened to be from England. The number would eventually grow to ten. I now worked as a fry cook at the local Wimpy Bar, the equivalent of the American burger joint named for the hamburger-gulping character from the Popeye cartoons.
Since the Beatles’ phenomenon, England had shed its dreary bounds. It was now awash with an explosion of music, art, and fashion – outrageous fashion, bizarre art, and super cool music. I was in paradise and I was as free as a bird. At the drop of a hat, I would hitch-hike to France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Norway, or anywhere else that took my fancy.
One summer evening, I stood in front of Earl’s Court Station watching/studying people, another one of my favorite pastimes. A strikingly beautiful girl with long brown hair and blue eyes came out of the station. She looked at me and kept on walking. I followed her asking if I could walk with her. She said, “Well, I’m going home.” So, I volunteered to escort her. “Where do you live?” I asked. “In Vasagatan” “I have never heard of Vasagartan. Is it around here?” “No,” she said, “it is in Stockholm. I am from Sweden.” She stopped and laughed at my surprise. “This could be a very long walk”, I thought to myself.
Tanya explained that she had been working in London for the summer and was about to leave hitch-hiking her way back home. That very evening, she was taking the midnight ferry from Dover to France. I volunteered to escort her all the way to Sweden. It was now she who was surprised, “You would? You would?” I would and I did.
I went directly home, packed a few things in a knapsack, and off we went. We had a wonderful adventure crossing Europe through France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and all the way home to Vasser Garten (Water Gardens) in Stockholm.
I stayed with her for a couple of weeks. Although she was lovely and fun to be with, Sweden was dull and so were the people. I was used to gregarious, outgoing, friendly people. The Swedes were decidedly reticent and emotionless. The night before I left, I sat in a small club, where a local guitarist played Beatles’ music, if you can believe that. He was struggling with the lyrics as he translated, “Yellow Submarine”. When it came to the part, “We all live in a yellow submarine”, the musician was having difficulty finding the word for “submarine”. Submarine as a single word is nonexistent in Swedish. He simply replaced it with “under vasser buss” (underwater bus). No matter where I went, the Beatles had been there ahead of me and had left their magic mark.
Back in London, Earl’s Court was as groovy as ever. Hordes of tourists and students came flooding into the community to see and hear the English music scene. The Liverpool accent was now a major asset. Excited American girls would sit and listen to my every word trying to mimic me as they giggled with delight. “Please come and meet my friends” was a common request. As surely as a celebrity “without portfolio”, I was the next best thing to a Beatle. “Talk like John Lennon. Talk like Paul McCartney. Can you sound like Ringo?” I spoke as I usually do in a thick Liverpool brogue, but to my audience it was as magical as hearing an English rock star. I was the only Liverpudlian (scouser) in town which set me apart from everybody else. I was a very singular fellow indeed. I was untethered to anyone or anything. I was floating in the land of milk and honey surrounded by beautiful girlfriends.
Rock ‘N’ Roll ruled the world. A massive upheaval in a once-stuffy society had now blossomed into a wild, hippie culture. Young people were very close and friendly, sharing and caring for each other in a near fantasy world. The new music kept on coming, so did the college kids. I was at a magical crossroads and each new face presented a fresh, new adventure.
American kids were friendly, generous, and intelligent. They were bringing their culture to ours. We shared each other’s customs like gleeful children. A decade earlier, it was the Americans who ruled the roost. Elvis was king of the world and English musicians mimicked American rock ‘n’ roll.
Now, the Beatles were king. They had simply taken Rock ‘N’ Roll and transformed it into a sort of early punk rock, just four kids and their instruments. The original was ladened with brass backup – sax, trombone, trumpet, and big bass drums — but now, anyone who could play guitar or a set of drums could form a band. Very soon, there were hundreds of new groups as the Mersey Beat and the English Sound set off to conquer the world.
ALL THINGS BRIGHT & BRITISH
by Alan Graham
It was nine a.m., and the little town of La Mesa was awakened by the sound of John Lennon’s voice belting out “She Loves You Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” He was not alone: Paul, George, and Ringo were singing along with him.
The Fab Four had not aged in all these years and looked like they were ready to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show as they chatted with customers outside of “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, a little British shop.
A news crew was setting up for an interview. So the lads went inside and stood before the cameras. They were innocent, cheeky, cute, and contagiously funny as they answered questions.
A reporter asked “How do you find America?” John Lennon answered, “Turn left at Greenland.”
I suppose I should also say that although it really was not the Beatles, it might as well have been. It was a tribute band called “Britain’s Finest”. Not only did all of them look very much like the lads themselves, which was good enough for me, they sang just like them, and they actually captured the true essence of the original band.
All in black right down to the Beatles’ boots, they tapped their pointed toes to the beat as they stood singing, “Falling, yes, I am falling, and she keeps calling me back again”. I have seen many look-a-like acts over the years, and in each case, there was always something missing. The voices were good but did not look the part or looked good but sounded awful. Britain’s Finest rules. They have it all: the look. the sound, the mannerisms, and the very spirit of those four lads from Liverpool.
CONTACT INFO: (858) 598-7311 www.BeatlesTributeBand.net
CORONADO’S ROCK ‘N’ ROLL – THE PAST:
A Look Back at the Great Bands, Musicians, and Times of Coronado Island As Compiled by Dean Atkinson:
“One of the great things about Coronado, California was the music scene during the 50s, 60s, 70s, and on. Great musicians developed through the Coronado school music programs, through private lessons, or learning to play by ear and jamming with friends.
Some really great talents developed at an early age. We were all aspiring to grow our talents, develop our skills, and experiment with new sounds that we heard on the radio, or someone found in the record bin at Perkins Book Worm. There was nothing better then getting a new record and
working on how to play it, or catching one of the other bands in Coronado at a party or function that already had figured it out, and was playing it.
There was at times a bit of competitiveness between players and bands, but it was more a sense of community of musicians, learning, growing, playing, and having fun. Camaraderie was built between the bands as bands were formed and evolved over time. Many friendships from these bands have been lifelong relationships.” – Dean Atkinson
Original Members: Cliff Lenz: keyboards, lead guitar
Rick Thomas: lead guitar Doug Johnson: bass Pat Coleman: drums
“The Centaurs” by Cliff Lenz: Funny how a love affair with rock and roll and a seven year odyssey of performing, recording, road trips, and opening for some of the biggest names in rock can begin with just a casual meeting between two high school kids. In the fall of 1962, a classmate and friend of mine at Coronado High, Doug Johnson, said there was a new student named Rick Thomas who played electric guitar and that we should meet. I had a Les Paul Jr. and a breadbox size amp and thought that two guys could sound a lot more like the Ventures than just one guy. So I called Rick and we got together at Doug’s house with our guitars for a jam session. Miracle of miracles, we could actually play something together that didn’t sound half bad, the Venture’s tune “The McCoy”, E, A, and B7th and lots of open string melody notes, but what the hell it was a start and it was a thrill. I’m sure that it’s a thrill for all young musicians who, never having played with someone else, experience for the first time what collaborative music making can be.
We started practicing on a weekly basis putting a repertoire together. Pat Coleman became our first drummer and we enlisted Doug Johnson to play bass. Having no prior musical experience, it was a little too much for Doug and he politely resigned from the band after a few weeks. Not long thereafter the (now) trio was asked about playing for an after-football game dance. Assistant Principal, Mr. Oliver, wanted to make an announcement over the school PA that a band would be performing but we didn’t have a name. He actually suggested we call ourselves Rick and the Shaws or Cliff and the Dwellers!We had been thinking about possible names. At the time, the Air Force had rolled out its new ballistic missile, the Atlas Centaur – That’s It! Call ourselves the Centaurs and every time they fire one of those babies off, we get free publicity. It was decision time in the principal’s office, and so the group was officially launched with Mr. Oliver’s announcement that the “Centaurs” would be playing that night. I think we had maybe fifteen tunes and played everyone of them three times, but we made it through the gig without a single tomato flying toward the stage. Another thrill and we were hooked.
The new venture would include the frequent addition and deletion of personnel. (This is not necessarily in chronological order).We added a girl singer, Clair Carlson, and saxophonist, Randy Chilton. Kenny Brown became our new drummer with the prettiest pearl Ludwig drum set in San Diego. Drew Gallahar (a guitarist and trumpet player in the CHS stage band) joined us on bass. I got a Fender Strat and Bandmaster amp. Not to be outdone, Rick got a Fender Jaguar and Showman 15 amp and a Fender reverb unit! We got the gig as the house band at what would become the legendary Downwind Club – the Junior Officer’s Club on North Island where we played for six years barely keeping our heads above the oceans of beer served every Sunday. A wonderful saxophonist from La Jolla, Bill Lamden, replaced Chilton. For a time, Janie Seiner was our vocalist. There were dances, concerts, and car shows all over San Diego, and we even played for a change-of-command party at North Island with more captains and admirals than you could count. A major thrill was recording a couple of surf tunes in the United Artists Studio in Hollywood, a session that was produced by Joe Saracino, who had been the producer of the Ventures. We also played on the Sunset Strip in the summer of ’66 in the same club where the Doors became famous.
Rick left the group late in ’66 and was replaced by Danny Orlino. The rest of us were now at San Diego State and Danny was still at CHS. He was a truly gifted player. Bob Demmon, longtime CHS band director and rock guitarist with the famous surf group, the Astronauts, once told me that Danny was maybe the finest guitarist he had ever known personally. I now doubled on guitar and organ. I think we were the first rock group in San Diego to use a cut down Hammond. The keyboards were in one box and the guts in another for portability. I also invested in a Leslie speaker, which really enhanced our sound.
From ’62 to ’67, the music had morphed from Pop to Surf to R&B to Psychedelic. We now had a new chick singer, Linda Morrison (she lived in San Diego), a great talent who became a real driving force with her powerful vocals. Not bad to look at either. She later became Miss San Diego. Steve Kilajanski took over on sax for awhile. We also now had an agency booking engagements for us, Allied Artists of San Diego, and we joined the musicians’ union. Kenny Brown became our manager giving way to several new drummers, all excellent players – Kenny Pernicano, Rick Cutler, the late Paul Bleifuss (formerly with the great S.D. band, the Impalas), Carl Spiron (who played with one of San Diego’s all time great groups, Sandi and the Accents/Classics), and later Terry Thomas.
With great reluctance in 1969, I left my last band (Bright Morning) and my long-time guitar buddy Danny Orlino to head north to go to graduate school at the University of Washington. Danny left San Diego and has been a famous guitarist and singer in Guam for many years. Kenny Brown converted his band manager skills and keen business sense into a successful real estate and property management career in the Los Angeles area. Bill Lamden became a dentist. Drew Gallahar still has his hands all over guitars but now he makes them. He’s a guitar builder at the Blue Guitar in Mission Valley. I had a 20-year career as a television producer and the host of “Seattle Today” on the NBC affiliate in Seattle, but I was also composing and performing music at the same time. Along the way I received an Emmy for composing the theme music for the Phil Donahue Show. I have returned to music as a guitar and piano teacher in the Seattle area. Sadly, Rick Thomas died of cancer in 2004 after a career as an electrical systems maintenance engineer. I visited him in Chico, CA a few months before he passed away. We got out the guitars and played and reminisced. A few months after he died, his parents sent me his guitar, which I will always treasure. It’s an uncommon Fender model called the Coronado.
Thanks to all those of you who listened and danced to our music over the years. It was a great party! (Cliff Lenz, co-founder/leader- the Centaurs)
“The Centaurs” by Ken Brown: The Centaurs rock ‘n’ roll band from Coronado during the 60s meant something special because “The Centaurs” were part of the 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution. I can remember an article in the Coronado Islander, our high school paper, which pictured the Centaurs success on par with the Beatles. They were riding high and so were we. When you are young, talented, and restless, the imagination becomes your reality. We were on top of the world, our world, and it was great fun for all who participated. We went from playing at Sea World to the Downwind Club to All Night High School Parties to our own Dance concerts. A highlight was the Centaurs opening for ‘The Doors’ at Balboa Stadium. The participants had their own special role for they too were part of the 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution.
I can safely say that I would not trade a moment of this musical bonanza for any other. We were living life at a fast pace with all the trimmings. Local people knew we were the Centaurs. We carried it wherever we went. We were young talented musicians (all in the local musicians’ union) who had set a new stage and pace for rock and roll. We had the 62 + 64 Chevy 327 Impalas, the Delorean, the Lotus ,and Hemi engines, and a bunch of other hot cars of the time. The Centaurs were sexy with strapping lads and foxy singers. If you were not in the ‘mood’ before our event inevitably you left in the ‘mood’. And that’s my point.
During our 25th Centaur Reunion at the Coronado Women’s Club, we had an array of people, some family, others were supporters with their special memories of what “The Centaurs” did for them. We brought the new 60s sound to Coronado and all its surroundings. We opened the musical doors for our generation. We may have never competed with the Beatles, but we sure promoted their music, along with the Rolling Stones, and a whole lot more Legendary Rock Bands of our time. Can’t have much more fun than that because ”We lived the Dream”. (Ken Brown, Drummer and Business Manager of “The Centaurs” and “Framework” from Coronado)
After publishing we received this great comment from Cliff Lenz, original member of The Centaurs:
Thanks for putting the Centaurs in the Rock ‘n’ Roll issue of the Coronado Clarion. (And first up no less!) A side note to the article I thought you’d be interested in- my father was a navy officer- graduated in the same class as Admiral Stephen Morrison from the Naval Academy (class of ’41). They were life long friends and ended up retiring together in Coronado. When I found out that he was the father of Jim….I was excited about the opportunity to ask him about his superstar son. However, my mother warned me to never bring the subject up with his parents as he was persona non grata within the family. The picture of the Admiral in the Academy ’41 Yearbook looks like Jim with a flat-top!
Another sidebar- We opened for the Doors in the old Balboa Stadium in July ’68. Amazing concert- 25,000 stoned/screaming fans. Years later Oliver Stone comes out with “The Doors” with Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison. My stock went up with my two sons when I told them that their dad’s band opened for a Doors concert in San Diego. A few years later my son, at the University of Oregon, told me that he was walking to class with a girl friend and the movie came up in the conversation.
Trying to impress her he reported that his dad had a band that opened for the Doors at a big stadium concert. She said: “Cool, My dad was actually in the Doors!” Turns out she (believe her first name was Kelly) was the daughter of drummer John Densmore!
As they say- small world.
Thanks again for the inclusion of my old band in your magazine- I dearly miss those days……… Coronado and the music of the ’60′s.
Robert Mansueto: lead guitar, vocals John Chambers: keyboards, vocals Dean Atkinson: drums, vocals Richie Heinz: bass guitar, vocals
The Cubic Feet stayed together for five months. Dean dropped out after a car accident in Nov ’66 that left him in a cast for six months. Richie, Robert, and John renamed the Band ‘The Towne Cryers’ and added Eric MacKnight on drums and Danny Orlino on guitar. After Eric left, Charlie Wilhoit joined. The Town Criers would merge with the Bachs, (Art Battson, Gary Maltby) to form the West Coast Iron Works. Charlie went to the Family Jewels with Dave Young and David Matsouwaka.
Original Members: Bruce Christensen: rhythm guitar, vocals
Doug Christensen: lead guitar, vocals Gerry Rahill: bass, vocals Art Battson: drums, vocals
From Art Battson: “The first group I helped form was ‘The Null Set’ with Bruce and Doug Christensen in 1965. Dad had just brought home a set of Pearl drums from Japan in June of 1965, so I spent the summer banging on them pretending I was Ringo. In the fall of ’65, Bruce was doing some bitchen air guitar work in Mr. Burgess’s English class, so we got to talking. Then we got to playing (an instrumental version of “We Can Work It Out”) and finally to singing (“Surfer Bird” – assuming you can call that singing). We were so bad that I was actually the lead singer for what seemed like years (it was actually months, but the neighbors still swear it was years). Bruce Christensen was a great rhythm guitarist and Doug managed a good lead guitar. Bruce was also excellent on backup harmonies. Gary Maltby joined us in late 1965 or early 1966. Gerry Rahill later joined us on bass although I’m not sure we ever played in the same key together. (Gerry re-emerged as part of the Pre-Fab Four for our 40th Reunion Tour down Orange Avenue in 2006.) I have some video of the Bachs if you are interested. The Bachs were literally the new packaging container for the Null Set. Back in those days we had to continually change our name to get another gig.
By the time of summer of 1966, Bruce and Doug left the band and were replaced with Robert Mansueto and Richie Heinz. That’s when we became the West Coast Iron Works. By this time, I was delegated to singing Ringo songs and told to come up with a name for the group while they plotted to have me learn some Pete Best tunes. (OK. I made that last part up.) Actually, I was the one who found the name West Coast Iron Works in the GTE White Pages. This was no small task since I started with A’s and worked down to the end of the alphabet. Had I not been so patient we might have been called Art’s Auto Supply. (I toyed with the idea of changing Gary’s name and calling ourselves Rusty and the Iron Works, but it never worked out.) The West Coast Iron Works just seemed perfect for the time and place.” (Art and Gary were original members of the West Coast Iron Works.)
Original Members: Gary Maltby: lead vocals
Robert Mansueto: lead guitar
Gary Carter: guitar
Rich Heinz: bass Art Battson: drums
Later Members: John Chambers: keyboards
Charlie Wilhoit: drums
Dave Vaughan: drums
WE WERE THERE
AND WE REMEMBER…”
– THE WEST COAST IRONWORKS
As any generation will attest, music plays an integral part in the make-up of their youth. In the early 1960s, when the British invasion swept our shores, a new era of rock ‘n’ roll emerged. With the birth of this new music, a group of five young men from Coronado, California got together to form a rock ‘n’ roll band. It was June 1967, three weeks before graduation, when Gary Carter was sitting in his car listening to the radio. Grooving to the tunes, he heard a tap at his window. Standing there was his good friend, Gary Maltby. Gary asked him if he would like to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Carter thought for a moment, had visions of fame, women chasing him, and the opportunity to play music; and without hesitation, Carter said, “I’m in.” The first practice was held at Artie Battson’s (class of ‘66) parents’ garage. The band at that time consisted of Richie Heinz (class of ‘69), Gary Carter (class of ’67), Gary Maltby (class of ‘69) and for a short time Dugan Richardson, who was replaced later by Bob Mansueto (class of ‘70).
Practicing every day after school, the group began brainstorming on a name. With less than inspirational ideas i.e., Gary and the Playboys, Artie Battson picked up the phonebook. Thumbing through the yellow pages, he stumbled across a business called the West Coast Ironworks and with only X, Y, and Z left the Xylophonics wouldn’t do and neither would the Yellow Zebras. With heavy rock metal becoming popular i.e., Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Steppenwolf, why not the West Coast Ironworks? The band now had a name, members, and songs; and they were eager to play. Over the months, the band members changed when Artie Battson had to return to college at UCSB. Fortunately, for the West Coast Ironworks they found a drummer to replace Artie named Charlie Wilhoit (class of ‘68). During this time, they acquired a keyboard player named John Chambers (class of ‘68 from Chula Vista) since the band John was playing in, the Rubber Band, split up.
The band went through another change with a drummer when Charlie got married. Dave Vaughan (class of ‘67) became the third drummer for the West Coast Ironworks. The band was very popular during this time playing for many school dances and private functions. In 1967, the West Coast Ironworks organized and played in the first annual “Be There” concert, which was held at the old city dump in Coronado. This area was formerly Rancho Carrillo, the pig farm. Now this area is the Coronado Cays. Teens from all over San Diego crammed into their cars for a night of dancing and drinking. The final and fourth annual “Be There” was in the summer of 1970. Organized by Carter, it was held at the old reservation, which is right next to the Amphib Base, and now the sight of the park and boat landing. Unfortunately, the West Coast Ironworks did not play at this event.
When I interviewed the West Coast Ironworks, I asked them, “What funny things happened when you were together?” Heinz, recalled the time the group played for a nudist colony, a.k.a. American Sunbathers Association. They were greeted at the venue by a group of overweight, dark-tanned, naked adults, and were directed to the staging area. By the time the band was ending their last set, the nudists announced that it was time for the band to take off their clothes and swim. Gary Maltby quickly announced that there would be one more song,”We Gotta Get Out of These Clothes, I Mean Place”; and when the song was done, the band were down to their boxers except for Heinz who wore a pair of briefs with a lovingly hand-stitched peace symbol, by Cindy Grant, on them. Vaughan recalls the time the West Coast Ironworks, for the second time, entered the Battle of the Bands contest. We wanted to do something different and go against the flow. The band members all switched instruments and won the contest for the “Best Song”. This led to an appearance on a local television show. Dressed in their colorful Nehru shirts, they lip-synced their song on live television.
The West Coast Ironworks had dreams of playing music forever.They all agreed that they would get together once a year for the annual All Class Reunion that is held every year on the 4th of July in Coronado.They have gone their different ways and some live in different states, but the one common bond that brought them together, music, has never escaped them.
What have they been up to? Drummers: Artie Battson, retired as Director of Instructional Technology at UCSB, and is currently working on classroom design for the UC as well as producing online media for the Veritas Forum www.Veritas.org. In 1978, he joined a group called Reverie.This band split up when three of the members went to join Mike Love (formerly of the Beach Boys) to form the band Endless Summer. In 1985, Artie played with a band called the Staff Infection until they split up in 2005.Charlie Wilhoit, his whereabouts are unknown. Dave Vaughan lives in Boise, Idaho and works in commercial real estate. He is in a rock ‘n’ roll band called the Fabulous Chancellors. When in town, he will play with the West Coast Ironworks. Guitarists: Gary Carter is the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Chabot College in Hayward, California. With his many arts-related disciplines, he oversees the Department of Music, where he is often asked by his students to jam with various college ensembles. He also is known to settle ongoing questions about 1960′s rock ‘n’ roll trivia. He continues to play with the West Coast Ironworks. Bob Mansueto is a San Diego dentist. He continues to play jazz and sits in with the West Coast Ironworks from time to time. Richie Heinz lives in Ocean Beach, California. He
Richie Heinz lives in Ocean Beach, California. He is a piano technician/tuner along with playing in a Celtic band www.highlandway.us. He continues to play with the West Coast Ironworks. Keyboards: John Chambers lives in San Diego and has been playing rock ‘n’ roll all his life. After college, he did the urban cowboy thing and played country music. But 12 years ago, he became hooked to the accordion sound. It was only natural for him to pick up the squeeze box again as that was the first instrument he played when he was eight years old. He has formed the Bayou Brothers and they play all over town. He also continues to play with the West Coast Ironworks. Lead Singer: Gary Maltby lives in San Clemente and works for Lexus, Inc. He keeps his vocals tuned by being a regular at the Karaoke scene and occasionally sings with bands in the area. He still sings with the West Coast Ironworks.
SPECIAL NOTE: Hope you can catch the original Iron Works at the All Class Reunion on July 3rd when we do a tribute to Sgt. Pepper and on the 4th of July when the Class of ’66 parades down Orange Avenue on the “America Rocks” float with the “Pre-Fab Four” doing American Pie and a medley of Buddy Holly/Richie Valens/Big Bopper tunes. Although there’s no guarantee that we’ll hit all the notes all the time, a splendid time is guaranteed for all. – Art Battson
July 3, 2011 from 8pm to 11:30pm – Coronado Golf Course Clubhouse for graduates of Coronado High School and their friends, must be 21 years old to attend. Proceeds help support the Coronado Schools Foundation. Cost: $10 at the door
CHECK OUT WEST COAST IRONWORKS PLUS FRIENDS IN PAST ALL STAR REUNIONS:
Original Members: Dave Shoudy: guitar, vocals
Alex Agundez: guitar, vocals Lane Carter: bass, vocals Randy Seol: drums
Later Members: Chris Butterworth, drums, vocals
“Man Mountain” Mike Mangette: bass
Kevin Milner: bass
In 1986, new band ideas were planned by Dave Shoudy and Lane Carter. A phone call was made to old Tryax member, Alex Agundez, requesting his presence in the new group.The final member, Randy Seol (original member of the Strawberry Alarm Clock), was a weekly Reader find. Starting out slow, later, the Brewdogs turned up to 10 gigs per month.The Brewdogs gig’d heavily on the pub scene along with some of the larger venues: the Bacchanal, the Hop, Chillers, Sand Bar, the Grant Hotel. Brewdogs also performed at many benefits and special events: Special Olympics, Multiple Sclerosis Society, multiple weddings, and holiday parties. Coronado gigs included the Island Saloon, Mexican Village, McPs, and Hotel Del Coronado.
Original Members: Steve Oder: guitar
Chuck Newby: guitar Jim Smith: vocals Dean Atkinson: drums
Later Members: Jim Moran: rhythm guitar, vocals
Tom Moran: bass guitar, vocals
Robert Mansueto: lead guitar, vocals
The Coachmen Story
Like most of the bands that came out of Coronado, the Coachmen began as a group of guys jamming in someone’s garage just for the fun of it. The composition of the jam session players was always very fluid. But, of course, that was the whole idea – we each learned from one another whether it was a complete song or just a cool new riff, drum sequence, or chord pattern. The important thing was to have fun making rock ‘n’ roll music together!
But back to the Coachmen story. Steve Oder begins by recalling,“Chuck Newby and I were passing notes back and forth in a class one day in the late spring of 1966 and ended up writing a song together. So we thought it would be a good idea to start a band. I remember coming up with the name for the band in a conversation with Chuck, because like everybody, we wanted something British-sounding.That version of the Coachmen with Dean Atkinson on drums and Jim Smith on vocals did a gig at the VFW hall soon thereafter. I didn’t stay in the band long because I had a crappy electric guitar and no amplifier of my own. I did have a really good acoustic and was perfectly happy playing acoustic stuff already.”
Thinking back on those days, Chuck Newby continues, “I remember that in those days it seemed that just about everyone was into playing either rock ‘n’ roll or folk music, so jamming at someone’s house was a common occurrence. I remember playing my 1965 Harmony, a fairly good Stratocaster knock-off, through an assortment of Fender amplifiers – including a Bandmaster, Showman, and Bassman as well as others, I’m sure – until I was able to buy my own Super Reverb. Now that was a very sweet amplifier! Although the memories are faded, like Steve and Dean, I also remember playing at all of the usual places around the island that spring and summer including several pool parties, the VFW, the Women’s Club, and the Mexican Village. I recall quite vividly how Dean was always hustling gigs for us. And the price was always right – in many cases, just free beer between sets!”
Dean Atkinson adds, “I remember that it was Steve and Chuck’s idea to organize a new band named the Coachmen. They were the original guitar players with various bass players including Chuck Tesh and others filling in whenever we had a gig. (I had just left the Rogues.) I was the original drummer for the Coachmen and, as I recall, Jim Smith on vocals joined right after Steve Oder left. Jim Smith stayed only a short time and was replaced by Jim Moran on guitar and vocals and his younger brother, Tom, as one of our bass players. Tom left the band to join the London Beats in the early summer of ’66. So Chuck and I were the only members to stay ‘til the final gig at the Women’s Club dance in August of ‘66.”
Dean continues, “After one gig at the VFW, Steve quit because in his own words, his electric guitar was a piece of crap and because there were too many guitar players, and nobody on bass.The Coachmen, in various forms, played at EM clubs around San Diego for six months before calling it quits in August of ’66. Their final gig was the first half of a Women’s Club dance that they had booked in May.
Since Tom Moran had already left the band for the London Beats and Robert and I had just started the Cubic Feet with Richie Heinz and John Chambers, the remaining members of the Coachmen decided that they wanted to go out with a bang. So Jim, Robert, Chuck, and I, along with Richie on bass and John playing his ‘new’ Vox organ, played the first two hours of the Women’s Club dance – it was more like an organized jam session – then turned the stage over to the Cubic Feet who played out the rest of the night. There isn’t much more to tell except to say that that is the true story of the Coachmen – a great group of Coronado guys who had a lot of fun playing rock ‘n’ roll music for their friends and anyone else who wanted to rock out to the music of the late ’60s.”
Original Members: George Sanger: guitar
Paul Ephrom: bass
Ron Michelson: keyboards
David Sanger: drums
by Alessandra Selgi-Harrigan
When he was 11 years old, David Sanger was in a band called Etcetera Rock Revival. By the time he was 13, the band went on tour for two months across the U.S. Etcetera Rock Revival’s other members included his older brother George, who was 16, and two 17-year-olds.They traveled in a van, performed at friends’ houses, stayed with family, friends, or campgrounds along the way. The music hasn’t stopped for Sanger. Since 1986, he has played the drums for Asleep at the Wheel, a band that has won nine Grammy Awards.
Like his three siblings, Sanger chose his instrument in fourth grade, and still remembers the name of his drum instructor, Bruce Sharp.The Coronado-based Etcetera Rock Revival performed at pep rallies and high school dances.”We would’ve liked to play more but we weren’t playing popular music. We were playing oldies when people didn’t want to hear oldies,” he said. Sanger also played in the Coronado High School marching band and was recruited when he was in seventh grade. “Back in those days, the high school band was so small they recruited three from my junior class to fill up the ranks,” he recalled. At 14 years old, he left Coronado to attend a private school in Los Angeles and stayed there until he graduated from Occidental College with a degree in history. Throughout his high school and college years, he kept playing in a band with his brother George, who also lived in Los Angeles.
Playing the drums was something that came easy for Sanger. “I didn’t have to work on it very much. It was fun to do all the time,” he said. But Sanger didn’t think making a career out of playing music was a possibility. As a child, he remembers knowing only one person in Coronado that was a musician for a living and his job title was listed next to his name in the phonebook. “Now, kids literally grow up around professional musicians. It was an alien planet for me. I couldn’t imagine … I couldn’t think I could go and do it,” he said.
In 1984, Sanger, now 45, moved to Austin, Texas, considered the live music capital of the world, and started playing with W.C. Clark band. Two years later, he was the drummer for Asleep at the Wheel.
Asleep at the Wheel plays big band music from the ‘30s and ‘50s using the fiddle, steel guitar, and western instruments, and is known for reviving the genre. “It’s western swing. It’s cowboys playing jazz,” he said. The band has performed in Europe, Brazil, Japan, and still tours regularly in the U.S. The bread and butter of Asleep at the Wheel is reinterpreting older music. Last November, the band released four new records. Recently the band wrote a musical play on Bob Wills, who was the inspiration for the band, called, “A Ride with Bob”. Apart from working as a musician, Sanger owns Texas Music Roundup, a record and music distribution company.
The early Coronado influences have stayed with Sanger through the years. People like Joey Harris, Bruce Sharp, Rick Lee, and high school band director, Bob Demmon. played a role in shaping his musical career. “They were guys older than me that played music. These guys had a huge influence on me,” he said. Demmon was the first person that recorded Sanger’s music.
What did his parents, who were both physicians, think about his music career? Sanger recalls the moment when his dad thought it might be okay after all. It was when he was talking to a nurse and he told her his son was in a band called Asleep at the Wheel and she exclaimed, “I love that band!”
For more information on the band, visit: www.asleepatthewheel.com
Original Members: Nanson (Chops): drums (first band); Dave Kruger: baritone sax (first band); Gary Hawthorne: organ, guitar; Gary Cobbs: tenor sax; Pat Romero: alto Sax; Dale: guitar; Lee Barnes: guitar; J.W. Langham: bass; Buddy Brown: trumpet; Mike Fay: trumpet; Rene Martinez: trumpet; Leonard Snowden: vocals; Dave Johnson: vocals; Dorothy Williams: vocals; Little Eddie Gross: vocals;
Nanson “Chops” Hwa writes: “In junior and senior high, I was one of the founding members of a band called the “Nobles”. We started with two guitars and drums playing music at junior and senior high school dances (Ventures and Duane Eddie). With changes in popular music, we began playing other forms of rock, r&b, jazz, and old-time favorites. The Nobles quickly became one of the best bands in San Diego during the Sixties. In 1965, the Annual Auto Show held a Battle of the Bands at the Community Concourse in downtown San Diego. Seventy bands throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties participated. The Nobles took 1st place playing songs by the Supremes, and James Brown, and Ray Charles. Prizes consisted of cash awards, a trophy, and a sense of joy.”
Original Members: Dave Shoudy: guitar, vocals
Alex Agundez: guitar, vocals
Bo West: bass, vocals
Marty Scott: drums
After CHS, the college era begins, and Dave Shoudy spots musical opportunities beyond Coronado’s surrounding moat. Free SD Reader ads come in handy for the starving student musician; and Shoudy joins Tryax. Tryax performed covers and originals at all kinds of parties, the Poway Mine Company, weddings, and other special events. And even won 1st in North County’s Battle of the Bands. Although the group never performed locally in Coronado, a four-cut-recording was distributed widely among Islanders (Brian Mealy says he still has his). Recorded at Circle Sound it was a first timer for all. It was also Shoudy’s first round as a paid performer.
Original Members: JB (nado-native): vocals, percussion; Dave Shoudy: lead guitar, vocals; Al Cosgrove: bass, vocals; Dave Maggiora: guitars, vocals; Gregg Miller: drums, vocals; Later Members: Alex Agundez: guitars, vocals; Alan Neff: drums; Steve Patrick: rhythm guitar, vocals; Becky Russell: drums;
Jumpstart introduces “Steve Patrick” on rhythm Guitar and vocals. Steve is a very well known 5th grade teacher in Coronado and lives on Palm with his wife Libby, who was Dave Shoudy’s son’s kindergarten teacher back in the mid-90s. Steve replaced Alex Agundez, who sings lead vocals and plays lead guitar with his own group, Slight Return.
Dave Shoudy comments, “It was in front of my face all the while as I’ve known Steve for ages. However, it never dawned on me until I walked down Orange Avenue on Open House Night, 2009. Across the street and upstairs from the Village Theater, I heard a band and thought ‘oh well, not my party’ and walked on. About an hour later, I ran into Steve and his gang in front of Danny’s. It was his band that was doing that gig. We went to the Brigantine and celebrated the start of the new Holiday Season after that.” A month later, Steve performed his first Jumpstart gig at the Hotel Del Coronado for the Coronado Realtor’s Association.
When Becky was nine years old, her big brother brought home a pair of drum sticks from school. She took those sticks from his room into her room and began banging on the furniture. He later said, “Keep them, they’re yours.” And that was the start of it. Soon after, Becky’s mom bought the toy snare, then the junior drum kit.For a short time, Becky was with “The Stiletto’s” entertaining crowds in San Diego’s Gas Lamp, Coronado’s Island Sports & Spirits, and McP’s. She was soon to do similar with “Big Rig Deluxe” for years. Later, joined with Coronado grad Dave Paseman’s band, “Hoosier Daddy” playing private parties and having a whole lot of fun. Often, Becky would set with “The Robin Hinkel Band” performing all over So Cal. Robin’s shows used a variety of musical talent, always changing.
After relocating to Nashville in sixth grade, she joined up with the school band. The first day at the chair challenge, she tied for first chair. All jealousy broke loose as the last chair boy began to heckle. Becky beat him up. Becky was very fond of the Junior High Band situation. Many of the kids’ parents were musicians as well. Her stepfather, Kenneth Hunt, was a songwriter in Nashville. And, today, her younger stepsister, Amanda Hunt-Taylor, is a songwriter as well.
Soon it was time to move again. This time to Dallas –Dallas, Georgia. A new town and a new school, but by this time she was diversified performing in the marching band, the concert band, and for school dances, and a jazz band. Becky was also in the “Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps”. In the middle of her sophomore year, she moved to Coronado. It was like going from the sticks to paradise. She played in the concert band in Coronado, then decided to keep her drumming at home. She switched interests and it was all about cross-country running.
In June 1980, Becky, a CHS grad, jumped back into the music scene. This time a garage band, “New Toys” and performed local casual scenes. Years later, she would join “Solstice” who performed in San Diego night clubs. Other bands followed: “Bonneville 7” — a psycho-billy band with two billy brats and Pip Hancock and Johnny Bowler from well known UK group called “Guana Batz”.
Becky is currently performing shows with fellow 1980 CHS grad, Dave Shoudy, and the group, “JumpStart”. The group “JumpStart” also consists of Coronado native JB Cosgrove (vocals), husband Al (bass), and Coronado teacher, Steve Patrick (guitar), entertaining most all of Coronado.
SPECIAL NOTE: JumpStart will be playing live along with Luv Nutz at the After the Coronado 4th of July Parade Party from 12:00-4:00 p.m., Monday, July 4, at the VFW Post 2422, located at 557 Orange Avenue. Stop by for some fun music, snacks & celebration! Happy 4th!
Original Members: Danny Orlino
Bill Lyons: guitar
Joey Simpson: lead vocals
Tuck Lyons: guitar
Tom Moran: bass
Later Members: Nick Garrett: lead guitar
Charlie Cates: lead guitar
Bobby Pickford: drums
The London Beats formed in February, 1966, about three years after Coronado and the rest of the U.S. were rocked by the British Invasion. Inspired by the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman’s Hermits, Them, and especially the Rolling Stones, the members of the band collectively decided to emulate the look as well as the sound. Upon seeing a photo of the band in a news clipping from an article in the Coronado Journal, the late Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio once contended that they didn’t look scruffy enough, a kind of confirmation that the London Beats had achieved the deliberately “packaged” look of British pop acts of the time.
The music was something else. Because the founding band members sought to emulate Rolling Stones’ aggressive, R&B driven sound, the London Beats weren’t as slick as they looked, opting instead for an imposing lead vocalist and the vibrant sound of not one or two but three guitars plus bass and drums. The band began when Joey Simpson, Bill and Tuck Lyons, and Tom Moran got together with Danny Orlino and Howie Clark.
Shortly after the formation, Bob Pickford replaced Howie on drums and Danny Orlino left to be replaced by Nick Garrett as lead guitar. The band achieved moderate success in playing the usual high school dances, pool parties, and car shows around Southern California. Nick Garrett was later replaced by Charlie Cates on lead guitar.
During the summer of 1967, Jay Traylor replaced Charlie Cates and Glen Stock replaced Bill Lyons and the name changed to the Louisiana Fish and Poultry. By the summer of 1968, college and the draft had become a preoccupation and the members went their own directions.
Bill Lyons became a building contractor in Coronado. Joey Simpson went on to become a painting contractor and astrologer. Jay Traylor continued playing and attended Berkley College of Music (only to later pursue a successful career in real estate). Bob Pickford continued playing and is now a college professor. Tom Moran went on to college and medical school before settling in Coronado as an MD. Charlie Cates left for the Navy and returned to San Diego for a medical career. Glen Stock finished college at UCSD and then took a job with the government, only to pass away at an early age. Tuck Lyons finished SDSU and took a job in law enforcement.
Original Members: Dan Hervey: vocals, guitar
Ed Olmos: vocals, guitar
Dave Paseman: vocals, bass, sax
Bob Pickford: drums
From Ed Olmos: “Texas Chainsaw Band was a rockabilly cover band that played often at the Island Saloon (years before it was renovated), McPs, and hosted amateur nights at Krishna Mulvaney’s. We only played locally so we could get sh**faced drunk and not have to worry about getting home!”
Original Members: Jim Hobbs: vocals
Bob Wilson: guitar
Doug Robinson: bass
Will Beecham (Beauchamp): drums
Bobby Pickford: drums
“Will Beauchamp’s contribution included the band name: I Don’t Know. The band gigged poolside for a few weeks at the Hotel Del and played its farewell performance at Bruce Johnson’s infamous summer of ’71 pool party. Then we pooled our money, bought an old school bus, and moved to Northern California, a great story, too good not to tell (later)”–Bob Pickford
A Man in His Own Right
Billy, having grown up as an army brat, has lived all over the U.S including our Coronado, where he played in local bands. He started playing music in his late teens and developed his early musical stylings through his San Diego-based bands such as, Johnnie Cook, The Fingers (with Joey Harris), and The Mighty Penguins. The crafting of his blues work was heavily influenced by his touring and time spent with Larry “Arkansas” Davis, who stated, “Bill, you’re writin’ the blues of the future.” Vintage Blues magazine has said of Billy, “He sings with no boundaries and literally picks his a–s off.”
Billy’s major influences include the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Duane Allman, Buddy Guy, Albert King, BB King, and many more. He has performed live with: Little Milton, Albert King, Art Neville, Earl King, Larry “Arkansas” Davis, Elvin Bishop, Chuck Berry, Sir Harry Bowens, Billy Branch, Leslie Uggams, Ivan Neville, Daryl Johnson, and Gary Puckett. He has opened for: BB King, Buddy Guy, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Boz Skaggs, The Neville Brothers, Dickey Betts, Joe Cocker, Sonny Landreth, Robert Cray, Taj Mahal, John Hammond, Jr., Bobby Womack, Robben Ford, Junior Walker and the Allstars, Lee Roy Parnell, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Albert Lee, Joe Louis Walker, War, Jimmie Vaughan and Gallactic – Is that just to name a few?
Theater performances include: 2009-European tour as featured guitarist with Queen Esther Marrow and the Harlem Gospel Singers; 2004 – Guitarist / Songwriter / Musical Supervisor for the Keith Glover play entitled, “The Rose of Corazon”; 2002 – Lead guitarist for Tony Award winning playwright Keith Glover’s critically acclaimed, “Bluesical”; “Thunder Knocking On The Door” featuring original music by Keb Mo and Anderson Edwards; 2001 – Lead guitarist for the Broadway musical, “It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues” directed by Randal Mylar (Love Janis) and musical direction: Dan Wheatman. Discography — Original Albums: Coat of many Colors – The Mighty Penguins 1994; Tangerine Sky – Billy Thompson 1998; Area 51 – Billy Thompson 2005; Remixed and Remastered- Billy Thompson – 2009; & A Better Man – Billy Thompson- Papa Lee Records 2011.
The fifth CD “A Better Man” was produced by Grammy Award winning producer Tony Braunagel. Braunagel, currently drummer forThe Robert Cray Band, enlisted a strong lineup of former band mates and friends to play on the CD. Braunagel, who played drums on the project, describes Billy as “a funky mofo with a soulful vocal style and songs that draw you in.”
Musicians on the CD include some of the industry’s most experienced including members of Little Feat, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joe Cocker, and the Phantom Blues Band. In addition to Thompson on guitar and vocals and Braunagel on drums, Johnny Lee Schell adds guitar and sings background vocals and is joined by bassists Hutch Hutchinson and Kenny Gradney, keyboard player Mike Finnigan, percussionist Lenny Castro, trumpeter Darrell Leonard, and saxophonist Joe Sublett from the Texicali Horns. The lineup is rounded out by San Diego standout Michael Leroy Peed on piano and clavinet as well as background vocalist Niki Morrissette.
Billy Thompson — A Better Man
“Pardon the cliché, but Billy Thompson is a force of nature. Funky gospel infused Memphis-style soul oozes from his very being. His husky soulful voice wrapped up in a blues-hipster delivery is hard to resist, especially when it’s propped up by a grooving band of A-list musicians such as Mike Finnigan, Kenny Gradney, Hutch Hutchinson, Johnny Lee Schell, Lenny Castro, The Texacali Horns and producer-drummer Tony Braunagel. The blues part of the equation is delivered by Billy’s slithering electric slide work, that at times is so locked in with his voice that it’s coming from one place. Finnigan’s organ provides a groove-filled cushion for Billy’s workouts to float atop. The percussion one-two punch of Braunagel and Castro beef-up the attack. The music possesses such freshness that it comes off as always being there. Nothing sounds forced. Billy’s slide moves the tunes along effortlessly.
I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite here, as brilliant touches abound at every turn. The lyrics in this batch of originals are of the reflective, positive and spiritual type. After a listen, you feel as if you’ve been to a funky-soul church. The revival feel of the opener “Are You Ready” is a gospel-drenched affair, which quickly displays the power of the snaky slide work. It sounds churchy, but it’s a profession of love to a woman. This song slips right into the cool-groove jazzy-boogie shuffle of “A Better Man” that benefits from Finnigan’s jazzy organ. Thompson also shows he is no slouch at playing regular guitar on this tune and others. A herky-jerky rhythm brew of slide and percussion make “Noreen” fit like a glove. “Just like a ballgame and a hotdog” is one of the many analogies used to describe the muse of “Met My Match”, which puts the punchy Texacali Horns to good use. The slide-master once again comes to the rescue as it skips along in the brisk “Downside Up”. The band is just as adept at a more relaxed pace, as witnessed on the R&B-gospel inflected love song “Born Again” and the soulful “Oneness”. A harsher tone is applied to his slide playing on the ominous “Bleed” which speaks to the world’s dire state. The haunting background vocal of Niki Morrissette completes the atmosphere. The device of playing what he sings is used here, owing a debt to the old school country-blues masters. “As If” has the feel of a cool day chillin’ in the park. “Up In The Morning” the only real blues song wraps things up with acoustic slide and harmonica propelling this easy country blues.
Music as uplifting, life reassuring and seamless as this is a gift that deserves to be enjoyed by the masses. It sounds as fresh at each additional listening as it does the first time around. Musical or lyrical gems continue to jump out at you. If this music experience doesn’t move your feet and soul, seek help NOW!” Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at http://bluesdog61.multiply.com.
“Billy Thompson’s music bristles with the infectious, syncopated sounds of New Orleans, the electricity of great rock ‘n’ roll, the punchy verve of Memphis soul and the heartfelt power of blues, funk and jazz.”
–George Varga, music critic San Diego Union-Tribune
Billy moved from the Wind ‘n’ Sea area of La Jolla to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, 1.5 hours out of D.C., and says, “So, I’m in WV…haha…I never would’ve thought that I’d move here in a million years, but I’m quite happy, actually!”
“For someone so seemingly headed to hell in a hand cart, I was lucky enough to pull things together! Case in point…and I don’t know how I rated this gift, but my son, Michael, now 24, and a Washington and Lee University graduate, was President of La Jolla High School (2004) as well as President of all San Diego City Schools. www.wlu.edu/x27151.xml
In a large part, thanks to his mother, Rebecca, her family and a handful of other friends, I found many a positive influence, and though seemingly taking much of the credit for Michael’s success, such is not the case! I’m just saying, I am thankful for how things have turned out! I consider myself lucky to have played a part in making a positive contribution to this, ever changing, wild and crazy, world!
I was quite the opposite at his age, as many would remember! — deepest apologies to all I may have offended in my dysfunctional youth, sincerely! I was quite the opposite at his age, as many would remember! — deepest apologies to all I may have offended in my dysfunctional youth, sincerely!
Though, fairly recently divorced, the woman I’m with now is a college professor and co-wrote five of the songs on the new album, A Better Man.
Growth and change came knockin’ on my door, but once again! Life is good.
Best wishes to all.” –BT–
Billy will be back in San Diego performing at Humphrey’s BackStage on August 18, 2011 and very possibly opening for his friend Keb Mo at Humphrey’s Open Air Concerts on August 11. Do yourselves a favor and check our Coronado musician friend out. Guaranteed enjoyment!
Check out more of Billy Thompson on Facebook or at: http://www.reverbnation.com/billythompson
Joey Harris began his musical career in the late 70s playing lead guitar for proto-Americana songwriter John Stewart. In 1983, MCA records released Joey Harris and the Speedsters, which showcased Harris’ skill as songwriter, vocalist, and guitar virtuoso. In January 1985, Joey joined the Beat Farmers, perpetually touring the United States and Canada, and visiting England, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. Harris wrote, sang, and played on five Beat Farmer LPs released by Curb/MCA, and indie label, Sector 2. Joey also toured and recorded with Country Dick Montana, Dave Alvin, and Mojo Nixon as a member of their Las Vegas-style review band, the Pleasure Barons, releasing a live CD on Hightone Records in 1993. Harris was on hand when Montana recorded another project featuring Mojo, Rosie Flores, Katy Moffett, John Doe, Candye Kane, Dave Gonzales, and Dave Alvin titled the “Devil Lied to Me” posthumously released by Bar/None in 1996. Country Dick Montana died onstage at the Longbranch Saloon in Whistler, British Columbia, November 11th, 1995. The Beat Farmers soon disbanded and Joey toured with his own band, worked with songwriter Paul Kamanski, (author of several Beat Farmer tunes), and Mojo Nixon. Harris joined forces with Beat Farmer Jerry Raney and his band Powerthud and released a CD in 2002 called “Wide”. In June 2009, a new CD titled “Joey Harris and the Mentals” was released by San Diego-based, Double Barrel Records. The CD, with ten tracks written by Harris, features Joey on vocals and guitar, backed by San Diego musicians, Mighty Joe Longa, Jeff and Joel Kmak, and Josh Mader. Recorded and produced by Mississippi Mudshark, Scottie Mad Dog Blinn, the new CD is the first solo project for Harris since 1983’s “Joey Harris and the Speedsters”.
Original Members: Joey Harris: lead guitar, vocals
Paul Kamanski: guitar, vocals
Bill Thompson: guitar, vocals
Paul “Vic” Vicena: bass
Chris Sams: drums
Original Members: Joey Harris: guitar, vocals
Paul Kamanski: guitar, vocals Paul “Vic” Vicena: bass Frank “Hoop” Hailey: drums
Dave Fobes: Sax
Original Members: Joey Harris: lead guitar, vocals
Lee Knight: bass
Bruce Donnelly: keyboards Mark Spriggs: drums
Members: Joey Harris: guitar, vocals
Jeff Kmak: bass
Mighty Joe Longa: organ, piano
Josh Mader: drums
Arguably one of the finest singers, guitar pickers, and songwriters to come out of Southern California, Joey Harris is undoubtably San Diego music royalty. His latest CD, “Joey Harris and the Mentals”, is a gem that has taken him into the next phase of an already long and successful career. This is Joey’s first solo CD since his legendary days in the Beat Farmers and is a perfect example of someone at the top of their game. The ten-song CD is Joey at his best, both irreverent and introspective, and simply put…Rockin’! Backed by his outstanding band, the Mentals, Joey tears through the CD like a man on a mission. Songs like “Little Boy”, “Brother Of The Grape”, and “I Haven’t Been Cryin’” show off Joey’s blues chops, and “Don‘t Go”, “Get Out Of My Way”, and “She’s On The Pill” will rock your face off with huge vocals and guitar tones. “Apologies To R. Newman” gets the funk out, while “Baby You’re A Star”, “Don‘t Seem Like Love”, and “Miguelita” show a mature side to Joey’s writing. Adding to the main ingredients of vocal, guitar, drum, bass, piano, and Hammond B3, Joey has peppered the CD with killer harmonies, percussion, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and an angelic choir of angels. “Having been a huge fan of Joey’s (and the Beat Farmers) since the age of 16, it has been an honor co-producing this CD with him. The drive, focus, and fun he injected into every cut were truly inspirational. From the blistering guitar volumes, beers, smokes, and laughs, I’m just now regaining feeling to the right side of my face!”
~~Scottie “Mad Dog” Blinn/ Double Barrel Records
Quoting Joey himself: “I’m a local Coronado boy. My family are all musical — my mother, Jane Meade, sisters, brothers, and my Uncle Nick Reynolds of Kingston Trio fame.” Joey Harris has added to the family tradition in a very successful way and he continues to make the whole town proud with his musical prowess. Thanks Joey for years of great Coronado Rock!
You can find more information on Joey Harris & the Mentals at www.reverbnation.com/joeyharristhementals
Original Members: Joey Harris: guitar, vocals
Paul Kamanski: guitar
Caren Campbell-Kamanski: vocals
SPECIAL NOTE: ROCK TRIO (Joey, Paul & Caren Kamanski) will be performing at McP’s Irish Pub once a month starting May 29th on the patio from 4 to 7 p.m.
For more information and entertainment on these featured bands as well as other great bands of Coronado’s Past, Present, and Future, visit Dean Atkinson’s website at: www.coronadobands.com
Members: Eric Castellanos: Vocals
Keniff Mors: Bass
Tito Valentino: Guitar
Austin Graham: Guitar
Joshua Charfauros: Drums
MUSIC HIGH is not just another high school musical. In the treatment, the story centers on a high school campus in the San Diego Unified School District which nobody wants to work at let alone attend. A teacher, who has recently ended up joining the faculty, comes up with an idea to give the kids a way to become unified and to improve the morale of not only the students but the staff as well. He decides to put on a music competition, but it’s really more of a “Band Off”. Hell High, as it is nicknamed, rallies the student body to perform eight musical genres with all the kids rallying behind their heroes. The producers of this upcoming major motion picture have selected one of Okay Okay’s songs from their upcoming CD as part of the performances for Music High’s Band Off. Not only will their song be featured in the film, but they are getting musical credits and financial incentives. Our Coronado band will have spots as extras in the crowd rallying behind their own song and maybe even roles.
Okay Okay performs locally with a strong following. One of their favorite spots to play is the Ruby Room in North Park. The band also plays at stores like Hot Topic, high school auditoriums, and private house parties. When not all plugged in, their songs arranged acoustically are very rhythmic with a lot of jazz-infused riffs. The lead singer writes most of the lyrics for their songs and has visions of writing a rock opera to feature the band. They have just finished recording their first CD to be released in the near future. Austin Graham, one of the two lead guitarists is born & raised in Coronado. Before joining Okay Okay last summer, he was a member of the popular “screamer” band, Casino Madrid, who rose to great popularity in the youthful population of San Diego playing mostly at Soma, a venue devoted to their genre. Okay Okay are staged and ready for a very promising career in Rock ‘N’ Roll. We are very proud of them!
You can visit their site, book them, or contact them at: www.facebook.com/okayokay619
www.reverbnation.com/okayokay and www.coronadoclarion.net
As Reported by Lynne & George Harpst-Koen, daughter, Jeanette, & the Graham Family (Albert, Kimberley, Ariel, & Austin)
Our roving Rock ‘N’ Roll reporters have been quite busy of late. Not only have we been attending local performances from the likes of Joey Harris and Okay Okay, we also rocked out to the cool sounds of Robby Krieger at the stunning Anthology Dinner Club in downtown San Diego. Following that extraordinary evening was a blues rock out with the legendary Eric Clapton at the former Sports Arena. Not getting enough rock yet, we headed for the Hollywood Bowl to enjoy one of the best performances any of us had ever witnessed: Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart. Well, we also had to get a bit of old fashioned funky rhythm & blues in there, so the Grahams headed to the Forum for a night with Prince. We were all so thrilled with Rod Stewart’s performance at the Bowl that we are heading for Las Vegas to see him again this summer.
Huge Doors fan & huge fan of Robby Krieger & all things Rock ‘N’ Roll from the bygone era of the 60s, Jeanette poses atop Robby Krieger’s prized possession
In January, we witnessed one of the best jazz concerts ever by Robbie Krieger and his jazz quintet. Robby is best known as the lead guitarist of the Doors and wrote some of the band’s best known songs including “Light My Fire”, “Love Me Two Times”, “Touch Me”, and “Love Her Madly”. He is listed as number 91 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, and he is also a Grammy nominee this year for “Best Pop Instrumental” for his album, “Singularity”.
The Doors with Jim Morrison as their lead singer sold some 80 million albums in the decade they played together. As a result, Robby has definitely earned rock cred to do whatever the heck he wants. And love it or hate it, what Robby wants to do is play jazz. It also doesn’t hurt that the jazz Krieger likes to play takes him down roads paved by greats like Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery and is born from his deep respect for some of jazz’s heaviest hitters. The rock ‘n’ roll purists don’t sweat it as his current band always throws in tribute songs of the Doors. Evan Marshall, a local musician and vocalist, sat in to belt out these tunes including “LA Woman” sending the crowd into a frenzy of singing and shouting along. Robby not only tours with his jazz rock ensemble but also collaborates with Ray Manzarek, the prolific organist of the Doors, in international tours.
Posing with lead singer, Evan Marshall, who rocked out some Doors tunes with Jim Morrison bravado
Jeanette’s photo op with Robbie Krieger as he signs her I-phone & collector LPs: It was an evening she will never forget & will go down in her Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame experiences
So, we gave our rockin’ & a-rovin’ a bit of a break after swinging to the sounds of Robby Krieger’s jazz and classic Doors rock for a month. Then we jumped back on our rockin’ wagon to attend legendary Eric Clapton at Valley View Casino Center. After having a scrumptious local Italian dinner at Il Fornaio, we headed for yet another evening of screaming, dancing, and singing with our teenage representation in Jeanette. Together we represented the young and the not-so-old or so we do think because our ages never stop us from having a great time and you would have to stop us to remind us that we weren’t teens of the 60s still.
Eric belted out some of his greatest hits, and of course, we all helped him “shoot the sheriff” as if we were rock legends ourselves. And who doesn’t love “Hoochie Coochie Man” as well as “Layla”, “Crossroads”, and without incriminating ourselves, belting out, “Cocaine”.
Eric Clapton is a three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. He enjoys the status as one of the greatest and most imitated guitarists of the past four decades. During his two-hour-long concert, he demonstrated his finely honed craftsmanship and effortless instrumental mastery. Now, 65-years-old, Clapton has mellowed and transcended into being a quiet and unassuming legend. He may have mellowed and transcended, but no one in the audience young or not has. If you ever get a chance to attend one of his shows, you will be exuberantly entertained. Now, we must go rest up for our next experience at the Hollywood Bowl! Enjoy video of the concert on our website: www.coronadoclarion.net
By Cheryl Schou
For as long as I can remember my life’s journey has had rocking, soulful Rod Stewart as a companion, a friend, and one who ignites old memories and continues to create new ones. As I hit the milestone of 56 this month, how incredible it is to see Rod still so full of life and passion, he is one serious inspiration.
My life with Rod began decades ago when he was with Faces. My high school friends and I would travel by car, plane, train, or bus to see him in concert. Yup, full-on groupies without knowing it at the time. When my best friend, Nancy Sparadeo, got her first dog, she was of course named – Maggie May! Could there have been a different name? We made our way through the junior and high school years inundated with floods of great bands from here and abroad. Ah, but when you have Rod as your true north, you flirt, but remain forever loyal and forever young.
I could bore one with pages of Rod memories, but I think it is better to keep moving forward at this juncture in time as he continues onward. I recently bought his “Songbook” CD that is Rod slipping into his Sinatra suave. It makes me crave a martini with two olives! How can a man be so sexy and so full of life at age 65? Doesn’t really matter; let’s just enjoy the memories and continue making new ones. I envy all who saw him with Stevie Nicks at the Bowl last week and I shall not miss another opportunity in the future. Rocking Rod is the music of life. Keep “sailing” and stay “forever young” Rod.
By A. R. Graham
When some dear friends invited me to go to a rock concert at the Hollywood Bowl, my memories of the Sixties floated back like a band of affectionate ghosts. My days of large venue rock concerts had long since passed, and I felt that those days were simply memories, that were difficult, if not impossible to relive.
We walked from the hotel to the event on a warm Saturday night and stood amidst a crowd of 18,000 fans. It was a sold-out show, and as the sun went down, a full moon began peeping through the tall trees on the surrounding hillsides.
A sixty-five year old man grabbed the microphone and proceeded to transport me back in time. The performance was flawless and the songs never more vibrant. I stood under a full moon rockin’ my old bones and got lost in the sweet memories of my youth. The songs were somehow new all over again. The musicians were superb. The light show and the new sound technology were overwhelming and Rod Stewart never sounded so good.
“The First Cut is the Deepest” knocked me out. Stewart sang it with a heartbreaking melancholy invoking in me, sadness and happiness simultaneously.
Stewart gave it everything he had! We had such a good time, we are following his road show to Las Vegas in August!
By Kimberley Graham
Having been a Prince fan for decades, not for his diminutive, weird appearance or behavior, but for his charging rhythm ‘n’ blues-rock combination as well as prolific songwriting capabilities. With this in mind, I dragged my youthful children up to the Forum in Inglewood to live the Prince experience with me. I was a bit nervous whether or not they would enjoy themselves, and thanks to this artist, I was not ashamed or disappointed. I am not sure who enjoyed the show more myself, or Ariel and Austin, my young adult children. It was certainly a thrill to “boogie” the night away with them as it is hard to find events that we can all enjoy together with such enthusiasm. At one point, we were opting for a Disneyland experience instead, and at the last minute, we chose to do rock ‘n’ roll – what else? We were not the only ones having such a great time. Prince has been playing three shows a night at the Forum for a month and all are sold out. Each night, celebrities join him on stage to dance to his frenetic funk. On our evening, Halle Berry, Robin Wright Penn, and Susan Sarandon were up there amongst many others we couldn’t even keep track of. Well, I must say, I never thought I would still be dancing after 1999, yet I sure am. I think it is what keeps me “forever young”. One more note, I am 55 and Prince is 53. He put on a two-and-a-half hour show followed by three encores surrounded by a frenzied dancing auditorium of fans with an ocean of lighter flames which no “purple rain” could have extinguished. Who does this at our age? The Prince of Rock ‘n’ Roll, of course!
Where the heck were our parents? At the parties, where else? 1132 Glorietta Boulevard holds its own claim to fame as one of the ultimate Rock ‘n’ Roll destination spots for parties in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Whose house was it? The Dill’s house, infamously and fondly held in many Coronado citizens of those times as the place to be. We had a lot of great fun in this memorable residence as well as many “spooky” Halloweens with Janet Dill, being a very scary witch with great trick or treats as well as cauldrons of smoking dry ice. But the funnest part were the Rock ‘n’ Roll parties behind our parents’ backs or with and sponsored by them. The local police even tried to attend but we always threw them out. Long live these legendary events. We hope the kids of Coronado these days are having as much fun!
George Koen is a prolific songwriter and soulful lead vocalist, who records with the band, the Hammers, from time to time. George, known as George K, was born in Norman, Oklahoma, but was moved to Southern California at the tender age of two. As a kid who loved music, George grew up listening to a diverse selection of musical styles. His favorites were artists such as the Beatles, the Doobie Brothers, the Eagles, and Eric Clapton among others. He knew he wanted to be a singer and started his first band in high school with two of his best friends, Steve Simmons and Sherwood Ball. With big dreams and playing at all the local and high school events, they were quickly noticed and offered a record deal, but like your basic rock and roll story, band member personalities didn’t let it happen. George’s next band was Moxie which recorded three songs and included Eddie Bertrand, from Eddie and the Showmen and the BelAirs, on guitar. Eddie had several surf hits in the 60s. George and Eddie wrote and recorded for 20 years on and off and are still good friends today. George K’s next band project was Pax who were a regular at Busch Gardens and Orange County night clubs. His good friend, Sherwood Ball, worked with him in this band. Sherwood is the eldest son of the late Ernie Ball, musician and founder of Ernie Ball Strings. George and Sherwood grew up together and played in several bands from high school on and off for about four years. Sherwood is also one of the writers of “Flag of Freedom.” (featured in the Military edition of the Coronado Clarion www.coronadoclarion.net) His performing credits include Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, and many other great bands.
Never one to sit still, George moved forward with a band called Diamondback, a country rock band based out of Southern California. Ben Arrington, the bass player for the group, and George quickly became friends. Diamondback opened for artists like Billy Preston, Paul Williams, Leon Russell, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank Williams Jr., and many more. George sang lead on the band’s first single, “King Cotton”, which was a moderate hit with airplay from over 300 radio stations. But, like all good things; this too did pass. George and Ben went their respective ways but stayed in touch often. In 2007, George and Ben met in Las Vegas where George had recently relocated. George played several songs for Ben he’d written such as, “When You Wake” and “Running With the Wind”. Ben told George about the band he was in called Jerry McCoy & the Hammers and they began recording George’s songs soon after: first with some holiday songs, then with some good old rock & roll.
George said he got the idea to write “Flag of Freedom” from Ben who said “Hey, why don’t you write a song about freedom, independence, you know, the Fourth of July.” George thought about it for a while, thinking fire crackers and hot dogs. Then it came to him. Write the song about our founding fathers and how they gave everything for freedom, and how the heroes of yesterday and today should be honored every day, not only on patriotic holidays. Hence, “The Flag of Freedom was born. “Then we started on the circle of friends CD recorded in Arkansas, Nashville, and Hollywood. This took about a year to get the CD finished, but it came out great. It was the same cast of characters but this time, everyone got to sing lead on a couple of songs. This gave the CD a little different sound and something for everyone to enjoy with different styles of music and different styles of singers. Johnny Neel, Kim Morrison, Jerry McCoy, and myself each sang at least two songs and the others played there instruments and sang background. It came out wonderful. All but two of the songs were written by me. I am now recording ten more songs with the same musicians and will add them to the “Circle of Friends” CD as they are finished including a few sung by my daughter, Melinda.” – George K
According to George, what comes next no one knows, but there is a feeling the Hammers and George K will be writing and recording for a long time to come. The new Hammers CD, was released in November 2008 and is one we hope everyone has a chance to give a listen to. Our message is one of hope, and how if you truly believe in yourself, and don’t give up…anything is possible!
COMING TO AMERICA
Beginnings: I met Anne Robin Morrison in London in the summer of 1966. Her father, Captain George Stephen Morrison, was recently promoted to rear admiral and was stationed at the Navy building next to the American Embassy. At that time, Anne did not know her brother was famous. He had disappeared in 1964 after attending UCLA.
Soon after we met, the Admiral was called back to Washington D.C to begin his new assignment at the Pentagon. Anne stayed behind in London and a few months later, we married. When Anne gave birth to our first child, Dylan, we left England to live in America: the Land of Opportunity.
THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW GOES UP IN FLAMES
When we arrived in America in the summer of 1968, we lived in the plush suburb of Arlington, Virginia. The Admiral was stationed at the Pentagon as the Vietnam War raged on. We were introduced to the top ranks of military society. We attended the formal naval functions and sat in V.I.P. boxes at military ceremonies.
One of Clara Morrison’s nephews was about to be married and was set for deployment to Vietnam. We attended a giant celebration at the family home in Silver Springs, Maryland on the day of the wedding. On this auspicious occasion, another dramatic and most incongruous event would intersect creating profound consternation amongst the guests. The event in question was that family institution, The Ed Sullivan Show.
The wedding and the reception were formal ceremonies. Top rank and highly decorated military officials in full dress uniform accompanied by impeccably coiffed and bejeweled wives consumed copious amounts of delicious hors d’oeuvres and pink champagne.
At the end of the day, everyone gathered around television sets to watch The Ed Sullivan Show, which only presented clean-cut, all American entertainment. Not long before, Ed had presented the world-famous Singing Nun, and her number-one-in-the-nation hit, “Dominique”.
What followed was nothing less than jaw dropping. As the show commenced this very special evening, the stone-faced Sullivan stepped forward and made his proud introduction: “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the wonderful Topo Gigio!” Topo Gigio was the lead character of a children’s puppet show on Italian television in the 1960’s and a very popular visitor to the program. Next came a violently patriotic men’s college quartet. They were followed by acrobats, jugglers, and all sorts of generic entertainment for the extremely traditional audience.
The show, or so we thought, culminated with Kate Smith, a mountain of a woman, who belted out “God Bless America” with such force it blew people’s hair back. She ended with a bang, but there was an even bigger bang, locked, loaded, and waiting in the wings.
Someone said, “Hey, this is a rerun.” Very soon after that, a cabal of women surrounded Clara Morrison and rushed her into the kitchen. The Admiral followed. He inquired, “What the Sam Hell is going on in here?” Clara’s sister was hissing and looking out at the most prestigious guests. Clara gave the Admiral the news and his jaw locked like a bear trap.
Before anyone had a chance to take action, Ed Sullivan announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, from Los Angeles, California – THE DOORS!” OH, MY GOD!! — the guests sat frozen like a paused movie. Glasses were in midair and the only thing moving was cigarette smoke. A woman emptied a bottle of champagne into her goblet, which spilled out onto the counter and down onto the floor tiles. She stood there like a statue in an overflowing fountain of pink bubbles.
Jim Morrison stepped onto the stage at the world famous Ed Sullivan Theater dressed head-to-foot in black leather (pants, jacket, and boots) with a pure silver Concho belt and a white Mexican peasant shirt. He had the long, dark hair of an outlaw. He started singing “Light My Fire”, which was still on the top of the play list of the nation’s charts.
Ed Sullivan had warned Jim that he was forbidden to use suggestive words such as higher on a live show. Jim Morrison sang the song with cool precision. When he got to the forbidden words, he didn’t yell them. Instead, he spat them out as loud and as hard as he could.
The military guests had all known Jim since he was a boy. So, to see him transformed from a well-mannered, well-dressed bookworm to a long-haired, commie, pinko, traitor, draft dodger, Rasputin monster in black leather was impossible for them to process.
Uncle Howard, Clara’s brother-in-law, was the first to react. He wiped the condensation from his steamed-up, golden horn-rimmed glasses and blurted out, “Look at those filthy cuffs on his shirt!”
Morrison ended the song with: “TRY TO SET THE NIGHT ON F-I-R-E!!!”
Everyone looked at each other again. It was as if they had all experienced a UFO incident and the frightening alien in black leather had disappeared.
A vice-admiral, who strongly resembled the great actor, Lee J. Cobb, and wore enough medals and citations to fill a trophy shop, slowly closed his eyes and started a silent belly laugh. It got louder and louder until everyone joined in. The whole crowd was laughing and laughing and laughing. Admiral Morrison laughed too. The crowd was doubled up not knowing quite why we were doing so. It was almost like a collective sigh of relief.
The marriage celebration and festivities that day were utterly usurped by another celebration. To this group, it was a polar opposite, and an altogether disturbing celebration. For it was: the Celebration of the Lizard King.
Admiral Morrison accompanied by his wife, Clara, drove to Dulles Airport to pick up their daughter, Anne, her husband, Alan Graham, and their new grandchild, Dylan.
For six weeks, the newlyweds lived with the family in the posh suburb just a few miles across from the Potomac River. A retired secretary of defense, a retired admiral, and a Pentagon intelligence official were among their neighbors – a veritable who’s who of Washington’s elite.
On the sixth day of the sixth week, the Admiral received orders to immediately fly to Coronado, California, in order to assume command of Carrier Division Nine Battle Group. He left the next day. Clara was left behind to pack up all of their belongings and have them shipped along with the rest of the family to their new home, wherever that might be. For military families, this is commonplace. These families are similar to a nomadic tribe who can pack up their tents in the night. By next morning, they have left no trace of their presence.
Anne, Alan, and Dylan flew on ahead to stay in San Diego, California with the Morrison’s lifelong friend, Commander Andy Richards. Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood were all just a two-hour ride away. So, the Graham tribe set off to find Anne’s once-disappeared and now-rediscovered older brother, Jim Morrison of the Doors. They rented a car and headed off for the megalopolis — Los Angeles.
On the way, Alan stopped to call information for the listing of Elektra Records in West Hollywood. He got the number, called the recording company telling them who he was in relation to their hottest artist, and that he wanted to contact Jim. They gave him The Doors’ office number. He called and repeated the request. The receptionist, after a shell shocked, ten-second silence, said, “Could you repeat that, please?”
She informed Alan that Jim was returning from a big concert in Texas and that he would be on the eleven a.m. flight from Houston to LAX. The Graham tribe arrived at 10:50. The following is a true life account of that meeting.
When Jim Morrison stepped off a jet at LAX in the summer of 1968, he was wearing an original World War II bomber jacket. Followed by Manzarek, Krieger, then Densmore, he sauntered through the terminal carrying an antique but cool-looking leather briefcase filled with his notebooks and pages of poetry and songs.
The Lizard King was wearing naval aviator glasses and black leather cowboy boots which rendered him utterly ridiculous and ultra cool in the same instant. He was ultra cool to any teenager back then, but equally repulsive to people like Art Linkletter, the famous television pitchman. As he strode along, Linkletter had crossed directly in front of Jim causing him to stop abruptly so as not to be bowled over by the obvious disdain the pitchman harbored for all things hippie.
Morrison watched as the rude, angry personality elbowed his way through the crowd. Jim adjusted his military/hippie outfit and said out loud but to no one in particular, “That was Art Linkletter. What an asshole. Ahh, never mind. I never liked him anyway.”
Linkletter had a colossal hatred for all druggies or radicals and was estranged from his eldest daughter, Dianne. Like so many millions of young people of that time, they were considered by their parents to be morally bankrupt.
His daughter had joined the ranks of acid dropping teens and was out of her father’s control just like Jim Morrison was. The very next year, Dianne Linkletter jumped to her death from her sixth floor apartment. Linkletter immediately blamed The Beatles for turning her onto LSD through their evil music.
Morrison grabbed his bag from the luggage carousel. As he turned to leave the terminal, a young woman with a babe in arms approached him saying, “Hi, Jim.” Manzarek, Krieger, and Densmore kept on walking for they had witnessed this same ritual a thousand times before. A young fan would spot the group and would come over to meet Jim.
Often the others would be ignored or thought of as secondary because Jim loomed larger than the mere Doors. He was a Rock-God-Idol and the others were his assistants. At least it was that way to millions of star struck teenage girls all over the world who would, and often did, throw their knickers at him and would have made love to him on the spot in front of God and all.
Morrison slowly put down his briefcase and was poised to sign another autograph, right? Not so. Not this time. Even though this beautiful young woman with long flowing hair and an adoring smile had presented herself before Jim, she was not offering him her autograph book. Instead, she was offering her baby for him to hold.
Jim Morrison had never autographed a baby before and he certainly had not held one recently, if ever. So, he was utterly flummoxed.
Morrison took off his sunglasses and blinked twice still wondering why there was no pen or request for the usual autograph. He looked again at the baby, and then, at the woman. He blinked again and again and again.
The Doors were now looking back to see if this woman was showing Jim Morrison the result of yet another romantic liaison from a one-night stand she and he had engaged in. Was she now demanding child support? In fact, this very same thought was starting to seep into Jim’s mind. The Doors decided that they would keep on ahead after all. As they left, they saw Jim holding the baby in his arms looking very confused. Jim looked at them helplessly as Ray, Robby, and John, disappeared like snow in August.
Jim’s eyes slowly returned to the woman, studying her face closely, and then, gingerly offering, “You wouldn’t happen to be my sister, would you?” Anne smiled from ear to ear. Speaking in an excited gush, she blurted out, “Yes, I am and say hello to your nephew. His name is Dylan Stephen and this is my husband, Alan.” Jim looked at the three of them for a long time before he spoke. This Rock-God-Idol was speechless. He could only stand there looking at Anne, whom he had not seen since he disappeared three years earlier.
Jim Morrison, Rock-God-Idol, was actually returning to a reality that he had abruptly abandoned when he decided to erase all connections with his family.
Now that very same reality, in the form of his sister as a married woman with a child (whom she had just physically thrust into her brother’s arms) was standing before him.
We all stood looking at each other. After what seemed an eternity, Jim shifted the baby to his hip and it was as if he had never been away from his sister at all. As he marched proudly through the terminal, he said, “Come on. I want you to meet everyone.”
We were in L’America: Los Angeles — Hollywood, California –standing with Jim Morrison in the summer of 1968 just before all hell broke loose and the whole shit house went up in flames.
We drove from the airport on a glorious summer day. Jim sat up front talking excitedly to Anne as if she was the one who had disappeared and he was trying to catch up on the news of her life. He never once mentioned his father or mother during the conversation, but focused instead on his sister and his little brother, Andy, and their lives. It was as if he needed several missing pieces to complete some sort of visceral jigsaw puzzle.
We took the San Diego Freeway north for a few miles, then west on the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway (Santa Monica Freeway) to the City of Santa Monica.
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