8-28-65 – the Beatles: For the Beatles' one and only local appearance, at Balboa Stadium, radio station KCBQ declared that Saturday "Beatle Day" and gave out pins saying so to attendees. Four local teenagers won a contest to present ceremonial keys to the city to the band at an afternoon press conference.
(The Beatles being awarded the key to San Diego - hey, wake up, George!)
Area DJ "Happy Hare" (aka Harry Martin) recalled for Kicks Magazine that "Joan Baez was going to visit John Lennon [backstage], and she was caught up in the human riptide, because she was on the outside of the fence with all the kids. I literally lifted her up and pushed her over the fence. She eventually got backstage, but she came close to being crushed to death."
Local headlines the next day read "Beatles Quip at a Fast Clip" and "Ecstasy and Emotion: Beatles and Beatlemania Erupt." The band played around 40 minutes, with some of the show surreptitiously recorded by KGTV chief photographer Lee Louis, who smuggled in a 16mm film camera (a portion of his footage is posted on YouTube). Around 28,000 tickets were printed, priced at $3.50 and $5.50, though only about 18,000 were sold. The Beatles were reportedly paid $50,000, while promoters said their cut was around $6000.
The night before the San Diego gig, August 27th, the Beatles met Elvis Presley for the first time, spending around an hour in his Bel Air mansion. According to Disc Weekly at the time (9-4-65), Elvis jammed with the Beatles to a tune played on his jukebox. A member of Elvis' Memphic Mafia talked the Beatles into signing a piece of Elvis stationary, which was auctioned with an opening bid of $50,000.
Helen Halmay interviewed the Beatles before their only San Diego concert. Halmay, who was 20 at the time, says she has a few regrets.
"Nobody who interviewed them asked for their autograph.... I had never been to a press conference before. I didn't know I didn't need tickets since I was with the press. After the press conference, we went out and went in through the gates. I thought, 'By God, if I bought tickets, I'm going to use them.' Do you know how much those tickets would be worth if I had saved them?"
What questions did reporters ask the Beatles? "People tended to ask them what they thought of San Diego. That was really dumb. They had never been here before, and they had just gotten off the bus. My one question was 'What's your favorite American TV show?' I think they said The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
Halmay, who was the society editor for the weekly La Mesa Scout, says she "asked my owner/editor/publisher if I could cover it. He said, 'None of our readers are interested in the Beatles.' " Halmay got permission to go (off the job) and bought her own film to take pictures.
"They are not very exciting. It just shows them sitting in a row at a table." She says all four were heavy smokers. "I guess I've forgotten how much people used to smoke in those days."
As it was with Balboa Stadium, Halmay says the La Mesa Scout "...never made it out of the '70s." (Some material for this capsule written by Ken Leighton)
(Beatles at San Diego press conference)
The Beatles: 8-28-65, Balboa Stadium
For the Beatles’ one and only local appearance, the band played around forty minutes, with some of the show surreptitiously recorded by KGTV chief photographer Lee Louis, who smuggled in a 16mm film camera.
(Several Blurt writers contributed to above)
6-16-76 – Paul McCartney and Wings at San Diego Sports Arena: McCartney brought his Wings Over America tour to the Sports Arena just as Wings at the Speed of Sound was topping the U.S. charts. "They flew in on a private jet, [and] people literally wept when McCartney hit the stage," recalls local music historian and Shambles front man Bart Mendoza. "He played a hit-filled show, lasting just over two hours, and included a few Beatles tunes -- 'I've Just Seen a Face,' 'Lady Madonna,' etc. -- but stuck heavily to his solo tunes." Mendoza says that a high point came with "a pyrotechnic-laden 'Live and Let Die.' But the defining moment was likely those first two seconds as the crowd realized that, yes, he was about to play 'Yesterday.' It was pandemonium."
Several songs from this show appear on the bootleg album Oriental Nightfish, produced in 1977 by Reading Railroad Records (aka Hoffman Avenue Industries, Inc.). A double LP on colored vinyl, San Diego cuts include "Jet," "Magneto and Titanium Man," "My Love," "Soily," and "Beware My Love."
(Beatle at birthday bash)
2-22-03 – Paul McCartney plays a private party in Rancho Santa Fe: When Ralph Whitworth threw his wife a 50th birthday party at Delicias restaurant, he forked out a million bucks (for charity) to have McCartney perform for the crowd of around 150. Macca and band (including guitarist Rusty Anderson) did 19 songs, as well as the Beatles' rarely performed "Birthday" (which was later added to the tour's setlist).
In a press release, McCartney said, "Normally I don't do this sort of gig, but I was chuffed to do it because it was a 'win-win' show. Ralph gets to be the great husband for organizing the surprise, his wife gets a rocking party, I get to rehearse the band for the tour, and most important, Adopt-A-Minefield gets one million dollars."
"Crasher" columnist Josh Board knows Rusty Anderson's sister, who lives in San Diego. "The day after the Rancho Santa Fe concert, I called to ask if she was there. She said, 'No, I didn't make it. Rusty left a few messages on my machine, but I got them too late. I can't believe it. For them to be so close like that. And I went all the way to Russia to see them.'"
Less than a year later, the Whitworths filed for divorce.
THE DREAM IS OVER
(Above: SS Crompton)
Along with many vidiots my age, television was the teat that nurtured us all, and I was less weaned than most. I recall "discovering" the Beatles on a Smothers Brothers show from October 1968 (which I recently re-watched, spotting a then-unknown Steve Martin). I immediately bought any and every magazine that featured their likenesses -- no small stack of reading material -- and immersed myself for the first time in abject fandom (well, aside from my short-lived obsession with the Banana Splits).
At first, I was a Ringo fan -- I think I related to the fact that he'd been small and sickly as a child -- and for Christmas 1970 my folks got me a drum kit. Just a little three-piece with a saucer-sized cymbal, a foot-shaped drum pedal, and a photo of three very Brady kids fronting the bass drum. (Temporary madness on my parents' part.) There are photos of me "playing" these '70s skins that day...
... as well as pics of me dressed in an army suit with a net-covered combat helmet, destined to wind up on A Current Affair or Court TV after I become famous or notorious for Lord knows what.
By Christmas '71, I was into rock, and I was into the counterculture (my unfortunate candy-striped pants and black dickie notwithstanding). I may not have actually smoked pot or had sex or flipped off a pig yet, but I'd been reading about all that stuff in subversive magazines like Mad, National Lampoon, Playboy, among others that probably shouldn't have been so easy for me to get my 11-year-old hands on.
The Beatles provided the sound track to that Christmas, with my gifts comprising a collection of Fab Four albums and 45s I didn't already own. The band had split up, and that was all we talked about among my many Beatleholic friends (this was the first time my family had lived in one place long enough for me to accumulate something as exotic as friends!).
I remember tears in my eyes listening to "The End" on Abbey Road, knowing it was probably the last new Beatles song I'd ever hear. I felt swept up in emotions when I first heard John and Yoko sing "Merry Xmas, War Is Over (If You Want It)." The next holiday, when I received Lennon-style eyeglasses under the tree, I wore them with the faux army gear (snug, but still a fit), so I'd look just like John's character in How I Won the War (which I knew of but didn't see until the early-'80s advent of home video).
At 20, I was off on my own, 3000 miles away in San Diego, when the holidays rolled around. In early December 1980, I went to a showing of Fantasia, which I (an aspiring animator) had never seen. Sitting there in the big old Cinerama widescreen in Mission Valley, I was awed by the incredible achievement of the animators and blown away by the symphonic sound.
It was as if I was seeing magic unfold right before my eyes, a handmade creation birthed in the minds of the artists, musicians, and magicians and brought directly to life through the animators' fingers and onto the movie screen.
It almost seemed a Christmas miracle to my jaded sensibilities, to be so enthralled, to catch a passing wisp of magic. I wanted to go on holding it, if for just a short while. I sat through two showings.
After daylight broke over Bald Mountain, with my imagination still reeling and my mind most definitely f-cked, I walked out of the theater, and the magic fell away.
Everyone in the parking lot had their radios turned up and were walking around as if dazed, talking and crying. The DJ was saying that John Lennon had been shot and killed. Nothing I found under the tree that Christmas could cheer me up.
Every year since, I dream of John Lennon on Christmas Eve. Sometimes we jam, once in a while he performs just for me or for a handful of people (a few times reunited with you know who). On occasion I interview him -- Everything I Ever Wanted to Know About Lennon but He Was Too Dead to Ask -- and once we hung out together at a Pink Floyd concert (John thought Dave Gilmour looked "like a fookin' well-fed wanker!").
No doubt, this Christmas Eve, I'll dream about that most influential of dreamers again. Every time this happens, I find myself rediscovering the humanity, insight, and morality/mortality that he represents to me. Part of the reason I sleep late on Christmas morning is that I'm reluctant to say goodbye to him; I don't WANT the dream to be over, and I'm desperate to keep my hands wrapped around that wisp of magic, for -- just -- a -- few -- moments -- longer.
-- Jay Allen Sanford, cartoonist ("Overheard in San Diego," "Rock 'N' Roll Comics")
THE RETURN OF ROCK 'N' ROLL COMICS!
The Beatles are bigger than ever, now available online for the first time digitally, on the Vegas stage in “Love,” and in the new Beatles: Rock Band video game. Now comes the most comprehensive and encyclopedic illustrated Beatles story ever, the Beatles Experience! Over 240 pages, dramatizing one of the most compelling tales in pop culture history, drawn from thousands of photos and interviews, meticulously researched and featuring stunning art by Mike Sagara (Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics) and Stuart Immonen (Legion of Super Heroes, Ultimate X-Men).
Covering the Beatles’ lives from birth and beyond their breakup, dramatized in dialogue and scene recreations more akin to a film bio than a mere documentary, the Beatles Experience also includes a Chronolog timeline going down each page, with encyclopedia background and footnotes detailing related events happening at the same time in the world, in music, and in the Beatles’ own tumultuous and extraordinary lives.
The Beatles Experience ships from Bluewater Productions in December.
Here's a sneak peek at the first promo art for Rock 'N' Roll Comics: Hard Rock Heroes, a 400 page graphic novel shipping from Bluewater Productions in January.
(colors: Christie MacConnell)
What goes together better than comics and rock ‘n’ roll? 400 pages of Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics, going beyond Behind the Music in order to tell the real life, behind-the-scenes stories of rock’s greatest Hard Rock Heroes. With art by Stuart Immonen (Superman: End of the Century), Mike Sagara (Carnal Comics) and others, the cinematic stories are realistically drawn and researched from countless photo and video archives, with an encyclopedic eye toward visual and journalistic accuracy and featuring dramatic flair rarely seen in most biographical comics.
Hard Rock Heroes is a book-length pictorial history covering rock’s heavy hitters, with stories featuring Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Rush, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Poison, Megadeth, Pantera, Anthrax, and more.
"Great ideas, like the marriage of rock 'n' roll and comics, have the half-life of Uranium and will always be popular," says series co-creator Jay Allen Sanford, who has worked on over 200 reality-based comic books and thousands of similar cartoon strips for the San Diego Reader, as well as for magazines like Rip, Spin, and Oui. "The folks at Bluewater clearly have their fingers on the same pop culture pulse that enabled the original Rock 'N' Roll Comics to become one of the top-selling indie comics of the '90s. Truth is often stranger than fiction...and certainly much more interesting!"
JOHN LENNON: A LIFE IN THE DAY
MAHARISHI COMIX & STORIES: MEATLESS MAHARISHI MEETS THE BEATLES, or YOGI MAKES A BOO-BOO
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is dead.
BBC reports: The Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who is credited with setting the Beatles and other stars on the path to spiritual enlightenment, has died. The Maharishi, thought to have been 91 years old, died in his sleep on Tuesday evening, February 5th, at his home in the Netherlands.
Sometimes called the Giggling Guru and the Meatless Maharishi, he introduced the Transcendental Meditation movement to the West in 1959, with the intention of creating individual peace and enlightenment. By the time of his death, it had grown into a multi-million dollar empire.
Here are some Maharishi Comics & Stories from the locally-produced Beatles Experience comic book series, with caption narration paraphrased from published John Lennon interviews.
YOKO COMIX: WHEN JOHNNY MET YOKO (caption dialogue paraphrased from various Lennon interview transcripts)
KING TET SAYS BEWARE OF BEATLES GUITAR STRAPS CLAIMING TO BE VEGAN-FRIENDLY - THEY'RE ACTUALLY LEATHER!!
And, boy, is vegan Paul McCartney gonna be pissed when he finds out!
A message from local string player King Tet: When I heard Planet Waves was going to release officials Beatles Guitar Straps with album cover artwork I got excited. When they were available I ordered two from MusiciansFriend.com. One "Abbey Road" strap for my son's Beatles style violin bass and one "Yellow Submarine" strap for my electric banjo.
When they arrived I was shocked by the smell when I opened the box. They smelled like leather. (dead cows) I looked them over very carefully and discovered they were clearly labeled "Genuine Leather." (I am vegan and I almost threw up when I smelled them)
At this point I came to the conclusion that the product description of Vinyl 2.5" Beatles Guitar Strap must be a reference to artwork based on vinyl album covers. So I submitted a review to MusiciansFriend that was a positive review but warned vegans these straps aren't made of vinyl, they are leather. Here is my review rescued from google cache. (click on the image for full size)
Well, Planet Waves made MusiciansFriend take down the review and MusiciansFriend sent me the following message:
We are emailing you regarding the product review you left on the Planet Waves Vinyl 2.5" Beatles Guitar Strap. You stated that this item is made out of leather. This is not true. The strap is actually a vinyl material. Planet Waves is contractually obligated to Sir Paul McCartney to make a vegan-friendly strap. Because of this, we are removing the product review from our site. We apologize for any inconvenience.
I was pretty upset when I read this realizing there must be some kind of cover-up going on here. There is no question these straps were leather. Faux/leather does not smell like a dead cow and nobody stamps "Genuine Leather" on a faux/leather product, do they?
So I did a little more research online and found these straps are being marketed as leather. Take a look at the following ad:
This ad clearly calls these straps "Beatles Leather Strap Collection" At the bottom of the ad it clearly states "All straps are 2.5" and made of high quality leather." Now look in the body of the ad - it also says they are "vegan friendly."
I contacted Planet Waves and spoke with a gentleman who made alot of calls and was told that the first 1500 straps were mislabeled and that they are all made from vinyl. I am a vegan and I know leather from vinyl, my straps were leather. I believe the actual mistake was they made them out of leather and are trying to pretend they were only mismarked, not mis-manufactured.
“I heard about the Tenori-On when it was being test-marketed in the U.K. in 2007,” says Eric Van der Wyk, aka King Tet, reportedly the ninth person in the U.S. to obtain the experimental Japanese ... More
MY BRUNCH WITH YOKO
Yoko's personal secretary called me early on a Friday afternoon.
"Miss Ono and her companion will be arriving in Dalton Georgia around 3pm tomorrow. She regrets that she won't be able to accompany you to your residence, the demands on her time during this trip are overwhelming. She would, however, like to meet with you for brunch. Do you know a suitable establishment where the three of you might be guaranteed a modicum of privacy?" I gave the name of the fanciest restaurant I know within driving distance, so the secretary could call ahead and make reservations for Yoko Ono and her two companions.
How did an obscure underemployed writer-cartoonist end up having a brunch date with Yoko? An old friend of mine, Rickey, a rock memorabilia buyer and appraiser, did some work for a law firm hired by Yoko several years ago, when she was suing a company called the International Collector's Society. He gave expert testimony about the value of items Yoko claimed the firm had sold and owed her money for (more than $160,000 worth) and ended up befriending the diminutive pop culture icon, continuing to advise her about the art resale and collector's market to this day.
It turned out that he was traveling with Yoko to look at potential exhibition sites for the Art Of John Lennon gallery tours, and they'd be passing near where I was staying in rural Georgia. He offered to "drop by" my house with Yoko on their way to the city and I said "why not?" thinking he was surely joking. A week before they were due to arrive in Atlanta, he called to say "It's on, me and Yoko will be there Saturday."
I spent the next week maniacally cleaning and re-arranging my home. I became obsessive over my typically unspeakable bachelor-pad bathroom, experiencing something akin to waking nightmares at the thought of Yoko Ono using my toilet for reasons I still can't (or would rather not) understand or explain. I'm talking bugfk crazy, I was scrubbing chrome-like sparkle onto all the surfaces with Lysol every quarter hour at least, nearly 'round the clock, and even went so far as to price having a new toilet installed the day before Yoko's arrival. My plan was to relieve myself in the woods behind my house (bears do it) until AFTER Yoko's visit, to insure a pristine seat for her mind-bogglingly famous ass cheeks (dude, her house has white walls and carpets! My bathroom USED to be white…)
Luckily, since Yoko's secretary informed that we'd be meeting at a restaurant instead of my house, I could finally use my toilet again without stressing over whether my careless aim could end up being Yoko Ono's predominant memory of meeting the guy who worked on the UNofficial Beatles comic book series.
About that comic, Yoko knew about it and had graciously neglected to sue our Hillcrest-based publishing company, Revolutionary Comics. We'd been targeted in another of her lawsuit roundups because our comic covering the Beatles' lives together and apart was published without her authorization.
Luckily, Rickey intervened and provided Yoko with copies of all eight issues, along with an entreaty to read them before pursuing litigation. I'm told she was impressed with the research and effort that went into the comics, as well as the obvious love and affection shown for its subjects and for her (writer Todd Loren liked Yoko second-best among the fab-five, ranking her in adoration just behind her late husband). Yoko instructed her lawyers not to press against us, that there was nothing libelous, inflammatory or even copyright-infringing in our comics, so I was already feeling pretty indebted to Rickey long before he set up this informal meeting between the three of us.
Our brunch was arranged for 1pm Saturday at the Dalton Depot, an upscale place about 45 minutes down the mountain from where I rented a cabin while on sabbatical from San Diego, working on some writing projects. The restaurant is built in an old train depot which dates back to 1847, with the railroad theme extending as far as little model trains that circle the interior of the restaurant on a scale track lined with miniature trees and zooming thru tiny tunnels. Its historic pedigree and blue chip atmosphere made it seem the perfect place for an informal meeting with one of the world's richest women.
At about 9AM, I got a call from Rickey on his cell phone. "Hey, Jay! We're in the car right now! Wanna say hi to Yoko?"
"Herro, Jay! Richard has told me a lot about you! I understand we'll be eating at an authentic Joe-jahhh railroad depot?"
I was vastly unprepared for her humorous/ghastly attempt to fake a southern accent on the word "Georgia" and I have no idea what I said in response. Probably "Er, uh, well, um, errrrr…."
She said something like "Well, we'll see you soon," and put Rickey [Richard?] back on the phone so I could give him directions for their driver. I told him I'd be waiting out front and to look for the guy who appears to be seconds away from actually crapping an actual brick.
I don't even want to dwell on why I then scrubbed my toilet down one more time before leaving for Dalton, despite the fact that Yoko (thank whatever gods watch over lunatics like me) would not be squatting within thirty miles of my hermetically sealed commode.
My watch said exactly one minute before one o'clock when a sleek towncar (not a limo) pulled into the driveway in front of the restaurant. I started walking up to the car to open the back door for them but their driver beat me to it, getting out and stepping around to open it. Rickey got out first, nodded in my direction and then bent over to hold his arm out and help a teeny tiny Asian woman out of the car.
Yoko has fairly short hair, upswept, and she was wearing a pair of tinted glasses that covered approximately half her face. She had on black slacks and a kinda glittery blouse that I think was purply-black, short sleeved.
Not at all flashy or "odd" looking, except maybe the giant glasses tinted so black under the sun that her thin mouth looked like the horizon of a darkening night.
I was struck by how small she was – like a child, really. Rickey, standing next to her (who knows or cares what HE was wearing), isn't exactly a giant, but she still looked like a schoolgirl next to him.
I stepped up, I'm sure looking as nervous as I felt. I was glad I hadn't overdressed – just my nice gray Polo short, dress gray pants, a stone necklace with a white onyx elephant (John and Yoko's first band was Elephant's Memory) and a new pair of black Italian loafers I'd bought just for this occasion.
Rickey shook my hand and introduced Yoko. She reached out to offer her own handshake, saying "Nice to meet you, Mr. Sanford." That's when I first became aware she was wearing membrane-thin clear surgical gloves, almost invisible to the eye. I only noticed because her hand crinkled as I shook it. I must have looked down at her hand with the evident fear that I'd cracked her fragile flesh or something. "Oh, I wear these everywhere. I hope you don't mind."
Why she thought I'd mind, I don't know. Maybe some people get offended and assume Yoko considers us all germ-infested untouchables. Me, if I had the entire world reaching out to shake my hand everywhere I went, I'd probably wear burlap gardening gloves every time I leave the house.
To my surprise, she crooked out her arm as if expecting me to take it. I looked at Rickey, he nodded again and I linked my arm around hers - the next thing I knew, I was squiring Yoko Ono into the Depot.
There was an unusual amount of people in there for lunchtime, nearly a full house. The staff was clearly expecting us. I suspect they spent the night and morning before our arrival notifying everyone they knew that Yoko was coming for brunch, that's how uncharacteristically large the crowd was. We were escorted to a nicely placed table at the rear of the restaurant (boy, I never got to sit at that great table on the other two occasions I'd been there…).
Yoko ordered unsweetened tea, Rich and I ordered sweet tea and we made small talk while looking over the menus. Yoko was asking me about the area, how long I'd lived there, what it's like, were there a lot of restaurants like this. Rickey said my torso-length hair had grown even longer since he'd last seen me (I wore it down that day) and suddenly Yoko was reaching out to stroke my hair! Indoors, her glasses had cleared so I could see her eyes and, even though they were Asian-thin, I could see she was looking at me really intently. Staring, even, as she ran her fingers lightly up and down the length of my hair.
I had a split second thought - "Jeez, is Yoko Ono coming ON to me?!?!" – but then I could tell the little 70-something-year-old lady wasn't thinking at all along those lines. "Why do you wear your hair over your face like this? I'm sure he and everyone else here would rather see what you look like!"
That's when it dawned on me that, to her knowledge, since our mutual friend Rickey was gay, she assumed I must also be gay. I doubt she ever would have stroked the hair of such an epically heterosexual male, especially one she'd just met, in such an intimate studying manner, though I can't say for sure why I feel this way.
I think I "ummed" and "errrred" and "ahemmmed" a bit more but I somehow managed to crack a little joke and said "My ears get cold real easy," and she let out a little hiccupping giggle. Somehow, having made Yoko giggle put me immensely more at ease than I had been up until that particular moment. My back unstiffened, my toes uncurled (I hadn't realized how tightly they were clenched in the grip of my too-tight new shoes) and I managed to sip the iced tea our waitress dropped at the table without choking or spilling anything down the front of my most (and only) expensive shirt.
We talked about the menu. I told her I'd chosen the place because I knew she was vegetarian and they had a great selection of specialty salads. She mentioned a restaurant they'd found the previous day that specialized in gourmet vegetarian food and I sort of regretted not having done more research before recommending the Depot as the ideal place for us to eat.
On reflection, it was probably fine – she ordered a vegetable plate, I ordered pasta primavera, Rickey asked for one of the specialty salads and we were left to nibble on our rolls amidst a mildly awkward silence for a moment before Yoko looked me straight in the eye again with that unnerving look of hers.
"So, you're an Aquarian?"
I should have expected this, having read about her fixation with astrology (and having been asked my astrological orientation when first contacted by her assistant). She said "That explains your creativity. Did you draw the comic books I saw?" This took me by surprise, I didn't think it would come up, Rickey having given her that set of Beatles comics quite a few years previously.
"No, I only edited those. I was still teaching myself to draw then." This seemed to fascinate her, to discover that I learned illustration only AFTER getting into the comic biz, and this became the topic of our discussion until dinner salads arrived a few minutes (seemed like hours) later.
Rickey told her about the comic strip I do for the Reader's music section and she said "Well, you know, nobody ever encouraged John to draw either, not even the other boys in the Beatles, and it wasn't until we started meeting art gallery people that he realized his art actually meant something, that it wasn't just John scribbling again."
I'm not sure why this sentence literally took my breath away. I couldn't breathe for a moment, it felt like my blood entirely stopped circulating.
I'd been instructing myself all week to NOT bring up John, to NOT mention the Beatles. I wanted to congratulate her on her #1 single she had at the time, "Walking On Thin Ice" (the dance remix), to talk about her own music, her own career, thinking this would surely be more rewarding for her than the endless discussions people want to have about her husband, dead twenty three years, and the band she was not only never a part of but that the world had long accused her of ruining.
And here she was, mentioning John and the Beatles in the same sentence, all the while staring into my eyes as if my reaction would be the basis of whether she likes or dislikes me from that moment onward.
I'm not positive exactly what I said when I was finally able to breathe again, but it was something like "If great artists aren't recognized for their art until late in life, then there may be hope for me as an artist after all!"
Yoko's entire body seemed to smile at this, not just the perfect white teeth she fleetingly flashed (dentures? Why was I suddenly picturing Yoko's teeth in a glass of fizzy water and sitting atop a Romanesque white pedastal?!). I think I heard another of those disarmingly girly chuckles, just barely audible, with the slightest shudder of her shoulders as the only proof I can offer that the chuckle really happened.
I was awash with marvel at how surprising my brunch with Yoko was already turning out to be.
Our dishes were served and I finally did get to congratulate her on that #1 single. Neither John nor the Beatles ever came up again, I suspect to everyone's relief.
We talked a bit more about self-taught musicians and artists and I mentioned being close to a young woman in prison who's using her time to followup on her own artistic aspirations, like writing short fiction, poetry and children's books. This brought a raised eyebrow and Yoko said "Is that your sister?"
"No, she's, uh, well, we talked about getting married, but she got in trouble and she's going to be in prison for, well, a long time."
"Why? What did she do?"
"She was involved in a robbery and things went really bad so she ended up in a lot of trouble."
Yoko nodded and didn't seem to want to pry, but she still stared at me with a curious expression (possibly trying to decide if I was gay after all). I took out my wallet to show her the photo I always carry around of the young lady in question, along with her lipstick-print on a piece of paper I keep in the same photo slot.
"She's very beautiful," Yoko said softly. "Tell her I said that, and that her life can always be as beautiful as she is, if she wishes it."
I rambled on for a few minutes about the young lady's accomplishments, how she's keeping her head together and remaining true to herself and her ideals even in the midst of so much sociopathic, aggressive humanity. Yoko listened and nodded, seeming to be genuinely interested.
"We have many friends who end up in jail for wrong reasons," she said (making me wonder who she meant by "we" – surely not her and Rickey, they're only casual acquaintances…does she still refer to "we" as in her and John Lennon, I wonder?). "That doesn't make them any less our friends, and we look at them for who they are, not where they are, and for what they are doing rather than what they've done." I think I'm quoting her fairly closely here, if I'm off it's only by a few words.
Her wisdom and warmth, the words she said and the way she said it, filled my heart with appreciation for the tiny little Asian woman with the giant glasses who was once accused of breaking up the world's biggest rock group. I felt renewed respect for this most singular of artists, one who's always held her head up high in the face of indifference or outright ridicule, who followed her own muse and screeched to a different drummer and maintained extraordinary dignity through and beyond the assassination of the love of her own life, John Lennon.
I can honestly say that, at that moment, I decided I loved Yoko Ono. Loved who and what she was. Yeah, I'll never be able to listen to her caterwauling "Don't Worry Kyoko, It's Only Mummy's Hand Bleeding In The Snow" without blowing chunks, and you couldn't force me to listen to "Baby's Heartbeat" again with a gun to my head, but just because I don't "get" her art, doesn't mean I don't love and respect the artist.
We all passed on dessert and Rickey said they had to head back down to Atlanta. Yoko didn't say another word the whole time we packed up to go, while I paid the check and chatted loosely with Rickey. She just watched us and took it all in, not speaking again until we were all outside and their car was pulling back into the driveway (where had it and the driver been while we ate, I wondered, and how did the driver know precisely when to pull up?). Rickey thanked me for brunch and then the driver was coming around to open the car door for them.
Yoko reached out both her crinkly hands (she'd changed gloves twice that I noticed – once before eating and once after) and took both my hands into hers. "Thank you for the lovely time, I very much enjoyed meeting you," she said, I'm sure giving me that penetrating gaze even if I couldn't see her eyes now that we were outside and her glasses had darkened again. "Perhaps we can do this again sometime."
"Next time," Rickey piped in, "maybe we'll make it up to your mountain cabin."
Unlikely, I know, but I'll start hording a few extra shekels anyways, just in case I suddenly need to buy a new toilet.
LOCAL LENNON DOCUMENTARY: JOHN LENNON: WHY WE LISTEN
A locally-produced documentary about Lennon has been created in association with Southwestern College. It’s told through the insights of four local musicians known for making music highly influenced by the Beatles in general, and by Lennon in particular: Peter Bolland (of the Coyote Problem), Bart Mendoza (the Shambles, Manual Scan), producer Sven-Erik Seaholm and singer/songwriter Michael Tiernan. Broken here into four parts, it includes audio and video footage of Lennon. Part 1:
ROOKIE CARD BACK IN THE USSR, HARGO CRIES FOR LENNON
Awhile back, somebody filmed Rookie Card's record-release party at the Casbah, where they took to the sidewalk in front of the club to perform the Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R." for an encore. Though some instruments are inaudible due to the amps being inside the club, there's enough acoustic headbanging to get the small crowd singing along.
The whole crew nearly falls over in amazement when, on cue, a jet soars overhead on its way to land at the airport, its roaring engine drowning out the final notes, identical to the original Beatles recording. The camera catches a shot of the jet and then swings back to everyone losing their minds over the supersonic synchronicity.
Also, here’s “Crying For John Lennon,” by local singer/songwriter Hargo and produced by none other than “Let It Be” producer and accused murderer Phil Spector.
Dave Humphries and Tony Sheridan
BEATLE REJECT: Dave Humphries VS Apple Records
February 1964: the Beatles taught the world to play. “Do You Wanna Know A Secret” and “Love Me Do” dominated the U.S. charts in the wake of the group’s U.S. landing. British songwriter Dave Humphries remembers it well – he was there. Humphries moved to San Diego in 1996, but at one time the native of Durham City in northeast England was known as someone on the periphery of the Beatles story and as “the man rejected by Apple Records [four times] more than anyone else alive.”
Humphries’ appearance at the 2003 Beatlefair allowed him to meet and play with another figure from the Beatles’ past, Tony Sheridan, for whom the fab four played on their first-ever recording “My Bonnie,” credited to Tony Sheridan And the Silver Beetles. While Sheridan was at BeatleFair, Humphries talked him into co-writing and recording a song in Mission Hills, “38 Days,” which appears on a CD self-released by Humphries. This recording was made easier due to Sheridan’s longtime keyboard player Wolfgang Grasekamp living in La Mesa, another recent transplant to San Diego.
Humphries also tried to get one-time Beatles drummer Pete Best to participate in the “38 Days” recording, since Best was in town at the same time for a BeatleFair. Local rumor has reported Best’s reaction to the invitation to be “Show me the money.” Pete Best’s agent reports that he’s paid $4,000 to appear anywhere and upwards of $6,000 to $10,000 if he’s to actually perform. Being booted from the Beatles seems to finally be paying off.
Dave Humphries' album 38 Days earned him a nomination at the 2006 San Diego Music Awards. The disc includes two tracks featuring Tony Sheridan on guitar.
His newest record, And So It Goes..., from Blindspot Records, was produced by Mike Kamoo (the Stereotypes) and Wolfgang Grasekamp at Kamoo's Earthling Studios. Kamoo makes a guest appearance on the album, as do Bart Mendoza (the Shambles), Todd Hidden (ex-Rockola member), and Tony Sheridan on 5 of the 11 tracks.
The album was chosen to receive airplay on BBC Radio Merseyside's Juke Box Jury on March 29, 2008, in a show hosted by Spencer Leigh, documentary writer and author of the Merseybeat book Let's Go Down to the Cellar.
I remember my next-door neighbor Bernard crying one day. I kept asking him what was wrong, and he finally told me, through sobs, "Elvis died." His mom had a shrine to Elvis in her living room, and they took it hard.
When I was 11, John Lennon was shot. I thought of Bernard, whom I hadn't seen in years.
What I remember about that day is Howard Cosell, who at that time was just as famous in my eyes. I would hear people talk about the Beatles as "mop tops," but it was Cosell's toupee that my dad made fun of.
I remember Cosell, during that Monday Night Football game, saying something like, "This has just been handed to me..." You knew he wasn't going to tell you about the quarterback, it was his "this just in" newscaster voice.
My parents were shocked, and when you are a child, that is powerful. The next day at school, we were all talking about it on the playground. It was strange to discuss in class; the teacher didn't seem angry and wanted to talk about the shooting with us. I remember, in line at the cafeteria, the school bully came up to me and said, "Do you know what it will take to reunite the Beatles?" I shook my head and he said, "Three more bullets."
President Reagan was shot soon after. He lived, which made me question why that was news (a kid's logic is sometimes odd).
Five months after Lennon was shot, Pope John Paul II was shot in the arm and abdomen. I thought two things: when the newscaster said "Pope John Paul..." I thought it didn't sound complete without "George and Ringo" after it. I also wondered how often people got shot. My parents tried to calm me down, saying it didn't happen often. Then on October 6, my birthday in 1981, Anwar Sadat, the President of Egypt, was assassinated on live TV.
It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized how tragic Lennon's death was. The Beatles had become one of my favorite groups. I would read the lyrics and think about other musicians who died young. Usually it was from drug overdoses or a plane crash. They didn't get shot. And the ones who did, there were reasons behind it. Sam Cooke was in a hotel with a prostitute who tried to rip him off. Marvin Gaye was shot by his dad, angry about his son's drug addiction. And in the rap world, well, you get shot for wearing the wrong color or for being West Coast instead of East.
Lennon was shot by a guy who was insane. A guy who had him autograph a Double Fantasy album earlier that same day (it went on to sell for $500,000, touted as "one of the last autographs Lennon signed"). A guy who tried to kill himself in Hawaii but was saved by a man who now wishes he hadn't.
A story I once read about the history of Monday Night Football said that John Lennon and Ronald Reagan were once visiting the booth at the same time. Cosell turned around to see the Gipper explaining the game to Lennon. To think they would both be shot within 90 days of each other. And that most of the United States heard the news about Lennon during the football game...
It wasn't until about five years ago that football stopped causing me sad memories. Now it's about my fantasy football team, the Chargers continuing to frustrate me, and my hatred of the Raiders.
However, football is relegated to Sunday and Monday. Not a day goes by that I don't listen to some Beatles tunes.
-- Josh Board, staff writer, professional party crasher
* * *
I can remember where I was that night. It was almost like the day I heard President Kennedy had been shot, although this memory is much more vivid. Kennedy happened when I was just 12. This was like hearing a family member had been killed. I had just gotten off the George Washington Bridge and was on the West Side Highway in NYC, heading downtown in my 1976 Triumph TR6 convertible when the radio DJ interrupted the music. "John Lennon has been shot," he said. I remember how the air smelled, the sounds of the city outside my car window, the feeling of lightheadedness as I tried to comprehend what I'd just heard. I was alone. I started to cry. I don't think I could have kept from crying even if there had been people in the car with me.
Like a film flashback, I was seeing memories of the Beatles and how they took me through my youth in a stream of consciousness that began when I was 12 or 13 years old. How I'd seen them on The Ed Sullivan Show, my sister screaming her head off while I was completely hypnotized by the whole spectacle. How they influenced me in the deepest manner possible, from my thinking to my love for music and the guitar.
As I approached my exit on the West Side Highway, more news came over the radio. "John Lennon is dead," the announcer said in a trembling voice. How could this all happen so quickly, and why? When the details started to become clear, I realized I was only a few blocks from the scene when it happened. The shooting occurred around 8 p.m. At that time I was on the West Side Highway, somewhere around 80th Street West. The Dakota is right there. In earlier times, I used to argue with my dad about how the Beatles were sure to change the world. On this dreadful night, it became painfully clear that the world would certainly never be the same again.
Everything had changed.
-- Charlie Dominici, La Mesa entrepreneur, founding lead singer of Dream Theater
* * *
In December 1980, I had a job in a warehouse in National City, packing and shipping velvet paintings from Mexico. I had also begun earlier that year putting on punk rock shows at the Skeleton Club in downtown San Diego. Even though I was really getting into all the punk rock and new wave bands of the day -- bands such as Dead Kennedys, X, Gang of Four, etc. -- I had grown up listening to all the great rock bands and was still a big fan of the Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Bowie, etc.
I remember being at work on Monday; it was a busy time of year, and I was working late as we were trying to get everything shipped out for the holidays. I was listening to KGB, which at the time used to play a great variety of music, everything from the Ramones and Sex Pistols to Rolling Stones and Beatles. The DJ broke from the music and announced that John Lennon had been shot and killed. I turned the radio up to hear what he was saying. I was unable to finish my work that night. I went and told the owners, a nice older couple from NYC, what had happened. One of them began to cry. We all sat there for a couple minutes, and then I said I had to go home.
-- Tim Mays, longtime area concert promoter, owner of the Casbah
* * *
The day John Lennon died, my 9-year-old son A.J. and I were in New York City. We were in town dealing with the never-ending litigation related to my late husband, Jim Croce. Jim had died in a plane crash in 1973, but the litigation lived on. We had returned to our hotel after another long day of mean-spirited depositions. Our room overlooked Central Park, and A.J. was looking out the window when he noticed people acting strangely down below. From our window we could see people crying and embracing, while others had dropped to their knees weeping.
We thought that the President had been shot, and immediately I thought of John Kennedy. We turned on the TV and learned the terrible news. Both A.J. and I were fans of the Beatles, and I was fortunate to have met John Lennon in Los Angeles in the late '70s. It seemed like such a personal loss, and I was flooded with the memories of when Jim had died. We spent a very sad night watching the news and thought about going over to the Dakota, but it all seemed too overwhelming. Every December, I am reminded of that sad night and how much the world needs John Lennon today.
-- Ingrid Croce, owner, Croce's Top Hat Bar & Grill
* * *
The loss of Lennon was one that had me caught between two eras. I was in fourth grade when he was shot, attending an inner-city school. If we had been told that Marvin Gaye had been shot (a news flash still a few years in the offing), I think we all would have been struck more dramatically. As it was, there was much more shrugging than wailing. At the same time, my parents were too old to have been Beatles fans, so I'm not sure the subject even came up at home. But one of my classmates was pretty worked up about it, and this got me interested.
I decided that it was some kind of double-digit-aged rite of passage, to be a Beatles fan, so I began getting books and magazines on the Beatles...without actually listening to any of the music. There were no Beatle records at my home, and while my uncle owned many, all he wanted to talk about was the Lovin' Spoonful. I knew snatches of songs, but that was it. Because I only had books and magazines to rely on, I ended up having less interest in the Beatles than in '60s marketing and media.
A year or so later (an eternity in kid-time), I ended up getting rewarded by my begrudging father with a copy of Rubber Soul, which interested me because of the cover. As much as I tried to like the Beatles, something about my genetic disposition made it a lost cause. My heart had been won by the Ink Spots; their records were in abundance in my mother's home. Luckily, she hung out with middle-aged lawyers, and while I continually found myself out of step on playgrounds and at dances, I held court at piano bars from age 11 onward.
But Ringo? Now, as a huge fan of Caveman, that loss would have shattered me.
-- Patrick McCray, theater director, Objectivist author of Elvis Shrugged
* * *
"The dope-smoking commie fag is dead" was the secondhand newscast that announced Lennon's death to me. The words came from my stepfather when I asked why people were crying on the news.
I was 13 years old and knew of Lennon mostly as the Beatle who wasn't in Wings.
My stepfather's description was a treasure map to some undiscovered cool, as cool was defined as anything he hated.
He had analyzed my idols as "fags" (Kiss and Queen, one out of eight members), "Commies" (that included Richard Pryor and George C. Scott -- I guess he couldn't come up with a better category), and "dope smokers" (Cheech and Chong, in a rare moment of accuracy). To have someone be called all three was a hat trick I couldn't resist.
I never felt I missed out on anything by realizing his contributions so late. Paying closer attention to his Beatles material in contrast to Paul's made him my favorite Beatle after a few spins of Revolver.
There was a bounce in my step as I walked past my stepfather with Double Fantasy in plain view, daring him to say anything.
The lightness of youth was forever replaced with sadness at the unfairness of the universe when I listened to it. I realized in horror that, though Lennon had been silenced, Yoko's nails-on-chalkboard sonic blitzkrieg could go on forever.
-- Spike Steffenhagen, Santee author, cocreator of Kiss's official bio KISStory
* * *
I was 15 years old the day Elvis Presley died. It was August 16, 1977. We were on summer vacation in Virginia Beach. Dad was driving, Mom rode shotgun, and I was in the back seat with my younger siblings. Somebody on the radio announced that Elvis had died, and my mother started crying. I remember thinking how weird that was. How strange that someone could actually mourn the death of a person they didn't even know. I kept asking her what the big deal was, and she kept waving me off from behind her tears. I figured it was probably some silly female thing.
At 15, one doesn't realize the degree to which the right music can affect a person. At 15, one cannot hear a song that brings him back to when he was 17. At 15, I was still listening to the Monkees and the Partridge Family and a good four or five months away from being turned on to the Beatles, my first true obsession.
It was probably "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" or "Please, Please Me" that got me started on the mop tops. Then I went and bought the red album, the blue album, every album I could get my hands on. For each birthday, I requested Beatles albums. Every Christmas I demanded, "More Beatles." After I exhausted the entire Beatles library, I dove into the solo stuff.
Paul and Ringo and George's music were fine, but Lennon was different. Lennon infected me. His lyrics, his composition, his delivery, his politics -- it all just made you feel like you knew him personally, that he was a great friend who was too busy saving the world to return your phone calls.
It was fitting that I learned about John Lennon's death the same way Mom heard about Elvis -- on the radio, in the car. I was riding shotgun with my metalhead friend Paul driving. Paul didn't give a flying V about John Lennon or the Beatles. He couldn't understand why I was getting all sloppy and moist about it. (It would be years before his metal heroes would start dying off.) I thought of my mother then, thought about what she was really crying over when Elvis died, thought about what a twerp I was to her, thought, "Man, 15-year-old sons can be such jackasses to their moms." I hope when she reads this she realizes how sorry I am for that.
Anyway, we held a wake in his honor that weekend. It was me and some friends drinking beer and smoking pot, listening to Lennon records and pointing out his brilliance, and I can honestly say it wasn't just an excuse to get drunk. We were eight or so friends commiserating over the loss of someone we never met but who we knew quite well. How peculiar. How awesome. How rock and roll.
-- Edwin Decker, local newspaper columnist, bartender in heat
* * *
I was at Morin Heights, a recording studio an hour north of Montreal, working on the song "Witch Hunt" for the Moving Pictures album the night he was shot. It was a very heavy moment, I recall. I think we were all just stunned. I remember constantly going back and forth, from working to the TV, to try to get some news. If I remember the environment, looking around the room, my memory just shows me a lot of pale faces staring at the tube.
-- Geddy Lee, Rush bassist and singer, on www.salon.com
* * *
I was 18, a few months out of high school. It's odd that this was before CDs, iPods, cell phones, commercial space travel, and $3 gallons of gas. Sometimes 18 still feels like just the other day.
Growing up, I was a music fan and, therefore, a Beatles fan. Paul was my fave, but John, George, and Ringo were right behind. A local TV showing of A Hard Day's Night I caught as a ten-year-old in 1972 (thanks, Bob Dale!) inspired me to form a band. How could anyone watch the closing segment and not want to be a musician?
The night Lennon was killed I was in the dining room at my parents' house when I overheard the news. For me, it's a moment frozen in time, as clearly recalled as this morning. I wasn't paying attention to the TV in the background, but I caught his name among the football hoopla. The report seemed surreal, impossible. The phone started ringing from friends wondering if I'd heard. I was such a big fan of Lennon's music that even friends' parents called.
That night, I just sort of lay in bed and thought about the murder and what a waste it was. Like everybody else, I listened to his songs. It was very depressing. I pulled out a guitar and absently played every half-remembered Lennon-related guitar lick I could recall. Every so often something happens when you think to yourself, "The world just changed."
I was working at the Licorice Pizza record store in Chula Vista, and it had been a big deal when John released Double Fantasy just a few weeks earlier. The Ono-less tracks, particularly "I'm Losing You," were getting a lot of in-store turntable play among the XTC and Wire platters. A label contact had let us know that a Lennon tour was being considered, so my friend Paul F. and I had engaged in an ongoing debate over how the tour might compare to the "Wings Over America" show a few years prior.
The next morning, I headed to work a bit early, just antsy to get out of the house. I was surprised to find a long line of people waiting at the door to buy anything with the voice, face, or guitar of John Lennon. People were in shock; a few were in tears. We opened up early and within the hour had sold every last Lennon-related item: albums, singles, tapes, buttons, posters, the works. This was back in the day when record stores were everywhere, and each store would stock two or more bins of Beatles LPs and an equal amount of their solo works. The chain sent a truck around to replenish all the stores, but we were sold out again instantly. Commerce in death, but people truly wanted it, even the horrible experimental stuff like Two Virgins. Somebody joked that this was probably its only chance to go gold.
As a teenager, this was the first time I'd dealt with mortality. Always iconic, Lennon seemed like one of the "forever people" (as comic book kingpin Jack Kirby might say) -- always been around and always will be, part of the fabric of society. And if he can go, just like that, what does that mean for the rest of us?
-- Bart Mendoza, guitarist/singer of the Shambles, San Diego Union-Tribune columnist
* * *
It was just like another normal December morning in Durham, northeast England, cloudy and a little cold. I heard my dad go off to work and before long would hear my mother shout up the stairs, "Are you getting up?" But today she didn't do that, today it was "John Lennon has been shot."
I can't believe it, this cannot be right, John is there on the bedroom wall, and he looks fine, no, she must be wrong. I went downstairs; my mother said all she knew was that he'd been shot, nothing else. I tuned the radio to the BBC News and heard the newsman report that John had been shot and had died at the hospital. Didn't hear what else they'd said.
A sick feeling consumed me. I didn't know how to handle this. Of course we'd had deaths in the family, but this was different, it felt as if my youth had been torn away. My hero was gone, a man whom I felt I had known personally since 1963, a man I admired, a man who together with his three mates inspired me, made me laugh out loud, made me pick up the guitar, a man murdered by a bastard with a gun.
I recall the BBC showed Help! that night. I didn't watch, didn't see any of the news reports, couldn't; I don't know now how I got through the days or nights. I tried to avoid friends, couldn't discuss it -- just felt raw. It was months before I could listen to John's voice without filling up and breaking down. John, who gave so much to the world, murdered for what?
Over the past few years, I've been able to visit the scene of his murder as well as Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York. I still miss him, miss his humor, miss his music, miss what he might have to say about the world today -- we can only imagine.
Lennon fans know that during his life, John had a thing about the number 9 ("One After 909," "Revolution 9," "#9 Dream," etc.). Though he died on December 8 in New York, keep in mind that because of the time difference, in England, where John Lennon was born, it was December 9.
-- Dave Humphries, singer/songwriter, former Brit, current San Diegan
* * *
I was a freshman in high school, and I may have been in love with Laura or Carla or maybe it was Melissa; I couldn't keep track of my infatuations. I hadn't started growing my hair long, or playing guitar, or listening to Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin, but I did like the Beatles, and I knew who John Lennon was.
It was bone-chilling cold at school, and the news about Lennon's murder spread as if it was JFK all over again -- at least among my teachers, who all grew up on Beatles music as my parents had. "This is horrible," my math teacher, a guy with long hair in a ponytail, said. "This can't be possible." He asked for a moment of silence in the class.
We 14-year-old kids all looked at each other.
On TV, on the radio, all I heard was the song "Imagine." It became an anthem of the moment. Whenever I hear it today, I remember December 1980.
People still write about the man. In 2000, Robert Rosen published a book with Soft Skull Press called Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon. Rosen had acquired Lennon's handwritten journals from a disgruntled ex-employee of Yoko Ono's. Ono filed a lawsuit and got the journals back, threatening legal action if they were ever published. Undaunted, Rosen wrote Nowhere Man based on his memories of the journals, calling his book "both investigative journalism and imagination" -- fiction, immune from litigation. The publisher sold foreign rights that they didn't own. There was a lawsuit over royalties, and the book was pulled and then re-released by Last Gasp in 2002.
Even in death, Lennon causes controversy.
-- Michael Hemmingson, theater director, writer
* * *
From the time I was five years old I was spinning Elvis 45s on my all-in-one phonograph. It was the '50s, and my parents encouraged me to listen to the rockabilly kid out of Memphis with the rebel attitude and the voice of a black man. I don't know if I agree with what John Lennon said -- "There was nothing before Elvis" -- but I do know there was something after him. When I saw three cool-looking, smiling, mop-headed guys slinging guitars and a fourth one bopping and banging on the drums, all playing and singing together, I was witnessing a whole new kind of camaraderie that my friends and I could emulate. Who cared if none of us had ever held a guitar or beat a drum in our lives? We could pretend and, in our minds, we were the Beatles. I thought, this is the kind of fun I want to be involved in forever, I never want it to stop. And that's exactly what happened.
In December 1980, I was in my first marriage, a young father of my first child. I was preparing bottles or changing a diaper as the news about Lennon came on the TV. I didn't know how to feel about it. I guess I was in shock, but I couldn't fix an emotion to the event. It made me feel bad that I didn't feel worse about it. Everyone was talking about how awful it was and how it was affecting their lives, but I had my own life and family to think about, and all was not well in my world. I was a struggling musician, with a wife and a baby who I was not emotionally or financially prepared to take care of.
Up until John Lennon's death, I'd held on to the hope of a Beatles reunion. They were a large part of my musical palette in terms of what I listened to and how I wrote songs. Outside of Imagine, Walls and Bridges, and Rock 'n' Roll, John's solo work with Yoko didn't excite me that much. It had been five years since his last release, and it wasn't as if I was anticipating the new Lennon album. Still, with Double Fantasy, I could understand where John was coming from, and I felt a connection to him that was more than musical. He was a family man making music, and those two things, in my mind, didn't easily go together. Yet, here he was doing it, and I drew strength and inspiration from it in my own situation.
"(Just Like) Starting Over" was a catchy pop song, kind of retro with the Elvis vocal echo and a percussive, pumping piano. But it was the hopeful sentiments of the lyrics that spoke to me. I'd been hearing the song on the radio, but I didn't have the album until Christmas when it came as a gift from my mom to my wife and me. She hoped it would provide some marital therapy (John and Yoko kissing on the front cover) for our disintegrating relationship.
That's when it hit me -- the combination of holiday stress, trying to hold my family together, and John's death were just too much. Here was one of my heroes, a Beatle, who had gone astray, conquered his demons, and come back to his family and his music, a true rock 'n' role model for rock 'n' family guys like me, needlessly torn from his own domestic bliss and from all of us. He had achieved an impossible dream, for too short a time. That dream was now just a memory.
-- Mark DeCerbo, singer/guitarist of Four Eyes
* * *
[I was] working in a club in Athens, Georgia. I was behind the counter and someone came in crying. He said, "John Lennon's just been assassinated." I went home. My next-door neighbor had cable TV, so we kept watching it, [waiting] for somebody to say, "This didn't really happen. He's not dead." I have relatives who died who didn't mean as much to me as [Lennon] did. It was...jolting. You wanted Lennon to hang around, to see what he was going to do ten years down the line. For me it was one of those things where it was, like, "Well, I'm not a kid anymore." That was the first big death that really hit me.
-- Peter Buck, REM guitarist, on www.murmers.com
* * *
Because of my age I was a backwards Beatles fan, discovering them via John's solo career. My first album was 1974's Walls and Bridges. I would listen to that album over and over. From there I picked up more of John's work and then discovered the Beatles, while everyone else my age was listening to Cheap Trick and ABBA.
I was at home the night it happened. A friend called me. "Steve, did you see the news? John Lennon was shot!" At first I thought he was joking, and I told him it wasn't funny. Soon, I realized the awful truth.
That week I shut down. Didn't go to work; didn't talk to anyone. I sat at home with the curtains drawn, listening to his albums and checking the news. I cried in the dark and screamed at Mark David Chapman. At 17, this was the first time I had ever faced the death of someone I cared about. It felt like I knew John, through his music. More than any other rocker before or since, John poured his deepest fears and pains into his work, and I think that's one of the main reasons that his death touched so many of us. We all felt as if we knew John Lennon.
-- SS Crompton, comic book artist/publisher, creator of Demi the Demoness
* * *
I was born an insomniac. Tests later revealed that when I did fall asleep, I would descend into the deepest sleep there is, one that takes normal folks three to six hours to reach -- the filet mignon of bedtime. I sleep two to four hours each evening.
On the evening of December 8, I was living in London, and I had just returned from George Harrison's home where I was helping him record Somewhere in England. I had a nap on the two-hour drive home in fellow musician Ray Cooper's Rolls-Royce, so I was up for the night. The TV went blank at midnight, and I would switch the radio on so I had company in the wee hours.
The news came to London about 2:30 a.m. -- John Lennon had been shot.
I was aghast. News followed that he was dead. Stunned, I thought about calling George, as I'm sure I was one of a handful of Brits who had this info. I couldn't be the one to tell him, I reasoned, and he's going to need that sleep he's getting now, knowing the British media.
At 9 a.m., I called Ray Cooper, who was co-producer of George's album, and after a lengthy chat we decided to go ahead with the session...it might keep George from dwelling in sadness. Armed with a few bottles of wine, we arrived at George's about noon. Reporters greeted us at the main gate, standing in the rain. We sidestepped their inquiries, locked the gate, and drove up to the house.
George was white. He hugged us both and we began the day's work. We stopped three times during the next ten hours -- phone calls from Ringo, Paul, and Yoko. He began rewriting lyrics to a track we had just cut the day before. In ensuing days, Paul McCartney put backing vocals on, joining George and Ringo on that track, as well as myself, the insomniac Wurlitzer pianist from New York who was one of the first to purchase "She Loves You" 16 years before.
That track -- "All Those Years Ago" -- soon evolved into a musical tribute to John and became a #1 single in the U.S. some months later. By 10 p.m., George was exhausted and a bit inebriated. He thanked us for coming and headed for the arms of Morpheus. Ray and I headed back to London, glad we had done what we could for George that day.
I shall never forget that 24 hours as long as I live.
-- Al Kooper, keyboardist on Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," etc.
* * *
I had been living in America for four weeks. At 18, I flew to San Diego from England with a suitcase, a bass guitar, and about $250 to join the Crawdaddys, a retro '60s band. We lived and breathed 1964-'65 vintage clothes, vintage guitars, vintage amps, vintage songs. Musically, we were more fixated on the Stones and Them, but the early Beatles were a big part of the daily soundtrack of our lives. John Lennon in A Hard Day's Night was the epitome of cool to us: his quick wit, that hard-faced sarcasm in the face of authority.
At the time I was living with Ron Silva, the Crawdaddys' leader, and his girlfriend Mindy in a small apartment on Fifth Avenue, close to downtown. Ron and I arrived home early that evening after another day of walking around the city. We'd walked as far as 30th and Meade, where Ron had dropped a jacket off at a tailor he used there. Later, we figured out that's where we must have been when Lennon had been shot. I can't drive by that block now without thinking of Lennon. When we got home, Mindy blurted out between sobs that John Lennon had been shot. We were stunned, speechless. She and Ron disappeared into the bedroom and I was left alone, reeling in disbelief. It wasn't until a few minutes later when Ron reemerged that I learned that Lennon had not only been shot, he was dead. Mindy was inconsolable, fixated on a line Lennon sung years before: "The way things are going, they're gonna crucify me."
Later that night and over the next few days, we, like the rest of the world, watched as the story unfurled on television. None of it made sense: the killer, the motive, the media canonization. I was gutted but felt completely detached from the public displays of grief, the constant soundtrack of "Imagine" on every TV set or radio. These people seemed to be mourning a different John Lennon than we were. Did they even know him? I remember one grieving "fan" on TV sobbing to a reporter that she loved John so much because he'd written two of her favorite songs, "Yesterday" and "Hey Jude" [both by McCartney]. You had to laugh to keep from puking.
A few months later, Reagan was shot, not by a political revolutionary but by another delusional loner with an unhealthy celebrity fixation.
So this was America, I thought, a land where any disaffected loser can grab a weapon, select his target, and blast himself a small perch in history. I seemed to have arrived in a very strange place, a long way from home. Maybe John had a similar revelation as he lay dying on the cold pavement in front of the Dakota. Maybe we all did.
-- Mike Stax, cofounder the Tell-Tale Hearts and the Loons, publisher of Ugly Things magazine
* * *
John Lennon's death annoyed me. Well, not the murder of his person; anyone's death is sad and I'm against murder, by the state or by a crazed fan. And I wasn't bothered by the death of Lennon's celebrity -- that, as Yoko and her accountants know, is immortal. Lennon is proof of that old saw: "Death is a great career move."
What annoyed me was the response to his death. The radio and TV kept playing one of his songs, reducing his varied musical expressions into just one nonrepresentative piece.
Far more aggravating was the way that song, "Imagine," was used by hordes of mourners. They absorbed its music and ignored the lyrics. The atheistic ("no heaven," etc.) and communistic ("no possessions") words were utilized in religious rituals -- the swaying circles, the lit candles, the sacred spot ("Strawberry Fields") near his home in the Dakota -- a monument to materialism in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods on earth. They weren't the only ones to disregard the lyrics -- the song was sung by the Conservative Party in London in 1987 as a greeting to arch-capitalist Margaret Thatcher.
-- Deena Weinstein, author of Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology, professor at DePaul University
* * *
I was driving my husband to work so I could have the car for the day. I planned to pick up a friend who was flying in from New York City. We were three blocks from the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and 190th in Torrance when I turned on the radio and heard, "John Lennon has been assassinated." My first thought: of course he was. First Kennedy, then Malcolm X, then Martin Luther King Jr., then another Kennedy, Medgar Evers...the list goes on.
I spent the day listening to the radio, which kept playing the single "Starting Over" from Lennon's new album. To this day I cannot stand hearing that song. Fortunately, my New York friend, Harvey Goldberg, got a taxi from the L.A. airport to Hollywood, so after I picked up my husband Paul, we went up to the city to have dinner with him. Harvey is a well-known recording engineer and was in L.A. on business. He had always wanted to go to the Whiskey, so after we ate at Old World, we walked down to the club for beers. They were playing Beatles songs, and everyone was depressed. Some smartass decided it would be clever to play "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," and Harvey went ballistic, yelling, "Take it off, you A--HOLE!" We started yelling too, and then all the other patrons started yelling. Harvey said, "Screw this place. Let's get out of here." Not that I boycotted the joint, but that was the last time I was at the Whiskey.
Days later, KROC and several other stations announced that at 11 a.m. they would play no music and observe one minute of silence to honor Lennon. I drove down to the beach and parked and waited for the DJ to start the memorial. There were many cars, apparently there for the same reason I was, as everyone was crying. It was such a beautiful day -- the ocean was aglitter, and I felt I was in a silent world of empathy. It was a powerful moment.
On the way home, it seemed as if no one else knew about the moment of silence or cared. To me, too many people were laughing or staring at my red eyes and the look on my face. Then I saw some guy throw a beer bottle out of his car, and it smashed against a tree. It was a rotten day.
-- Mary Fleener, cartoonist and musician (with Cindy Lee Berryhill, etc.)
* * *
I don't remember what I was doing, but I was not one of those informed of Lennon's death by Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football. I was playing college at Eastern Washington State that winter and thought, "Piss, no more Beatles songs or reunions." I didn't especially care that Lennon was dead; there were lots of smarter, more experienced people than him whom I could learn from (though he never really bragged he was smarter than anyone). I liked many of his songs, and they evoked good feelings in me, but what mattered most to me was how the value of his records and paraphernalia would rise in price.
During that week and for about a month after, I would be able to trade Beatles and Lennon stuff for other types of records and music items I wanted. Then, after the prices went down, I could get most of the Lennon stuff back at cheaper prices. I watched what had happened to Elvis memorabilia after his death three years earlier. That's what happened again, though I didn't make a killing. I later got back all the Lennon stuff I traded away. It amused me, the reactions of people to someone's death. There's always enough of an artist's items out there, but for some reason, people don't want them until after the person dies.
I was getting ready for work with the civil service when my wife called to say, "Pete, you'd better come and listen to this." It was about 6 a.m., and I was getting ready for work at the job centre at the time. Kathy had been listening to the news and shouted upstairs that John had been murdered. It didn't enter my head it was John Lennon, and I asked, "John who?" Did she mean John, the neighbor, or someone I worked with? I initially thought it was a sick joke, but as the news flashed on and on, I realized it was true. John, who I had played with and been friends with for three years, was dead. My first thoughts were, "Why? What had this guy done to anyone?"
-- Pete Best, to the Liverpool Echo, December 2000
* * *
I had not seen John for years, but when he died, it was like having an arm cut off. I can't explain my feelings, even to myself. During the following week, I avoided the radio and television, although I could manage newspapers. They weren't as emotionally demanding as a voice or picture going over John's life or, even worse, a rerun of an interview with John looking out from the television as if he was really still there. As for listening to any of his records, the very thought made me wince with pain.
-- Julia Baird, John's half-sister, from the book John Lennon, My Brother
* * *
He was dangerous to the government. If he had said, "Bomb the White House tomorrow," there would have been 10,000 people who would have done it. These pacifist revolutionaries are historically killed by the government...anybody who thinks that Mark David Chapman was just some crazy guy who killed my dad for his personal interests is insane. Or very naïve. Or hasn't thought about it clearly. It was in the best interests of the United States to have my dad killed. Definitely. And, you know, that worked against them, because once he died, his powers grew...they didn't get what they wanted.
-- Sean Ono Lennon, to the New Yorker magazine in early 1998
* * *
Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.
-- Yoko Ono, from "Season of Glass"
* * *
After all we went through together, I had and still have great love and respect for him. I am shocked and stunned. To rob life is ultimate robbery. This perpetual encroachment on other people's space is taken to the limit with the use of a gun. It is an outrage that people can take other people's lives when they obviously haven't got their own lives in order.
-- George Harrison, December 1980 press statement
* * *
I feel shattered, angry, and very sad. It's just ridiculous. He was pretty rude about me sometimes, but I secretly admired him for it, and I always managed to stay in touch with him. There was no question that we weren't friends, I really loved the guy. I think that what has happened will in years to come make people realize that John was an international statesman. He often looked a loony to many people. He made enemies, but he was fantastic. He was a warm man who cared a lot and with the record "Give Peace a Chance" helped stop the Vietnam War. He made a lot of sense.
-- Paul McCartney, December 1980 press statement
* * *
I would like to say how terribly upset we are at the sudden death of John Lennon. I have always had the deepest affection for John since the divorce and have always encouraged his relationship with Julian, which I thought was best. It came so suddenly. Julian remained very close to his father in recent years and is hoping to follow a career in music. He was looking to his father for guidance. Julian was hoping to see his father shortly.
-- Cynthia Lennon, Lennon's ex-wife, December 1980 press statement
* * *
John Lennon was brought to the emergency room of the St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital this evening, shortly before 11 p.m. He was dead on arrival. Extensive resuscitative efforts were made but, in spite of transfusions and many procedures, he could not be resuscitated. He had multiple gunshot wounds in his chest, in his left arm, and in his back. There were seven wounds in his body. I don't know exactly how many bullets there were. There was a significant injury of the major vessels inside the chest, which caused a massive amount of blood loss, which probably resulted in his death. I'm certain that he was dead at the moment that the first shots hit his body.
-- Dr. Stephan Lynn, to reporters outside Roosevelt Hospital, December 8, 1980
* * *
Probably, I thought, he wouldn't be an attainable type of thing, and I did think of harming some people...I took it upon myself to judge him falsely for being something other than, you know, in a lotus position with a flower, and I got angry in my stupidity...I grabbed the album I had leaning against the rail and I said, "John, would you sign my album?" He said, "Sure," and wrote his name and he handed it back to me. He looked at me and nodded his head down and said, "Is that all you want?" It was a ruse. I really didn't want his signature; I wanted his life. And I ended up taking both...I believe once you take a person's life, there's no way you can make up for that. Period.
-- Mark David Chapman, murderer, speaking at October 2000 parole hearing
* * *
What worries me is that one day a loony will come up and God knows what will happen then...you never know in America. They're always running around with guns like a lot of cowboys. They think guns are extensions of their arms.
-- John Lennon, 1965 Daily Mirror interview
BANDS WANTED FOR FILM SOUNDTRACKS
SNOW PRODUCTIONS is looking for local bands looking to sell music for film soundtracks. We don't have the info RE pay and other details, but bands can submit songs for Grazia or other film and TV productions to [email protected].
"We will be filming next month and editing Grazia from October to November," says Snow Productions. "We also have industrial and misc. short films coming up."
VIDEOS WANTED FOR SCREENINGS - SKOPE & ICN WANT TO FEATURE YOUR MUSIC VIDEOS
Skope has partnered with the Independent Coffee Network and we are currently looking for music videos for airplay. The Independent Coffee Network consists of 42" flat screen TVs placed in independent coffee shops around the country that are programmed with video content, news, music, and much more. We are looking for a diverse line up of indie coffee shop friendly music to rotate all day and weekends on this ad-supported network.
Independently owned coffee shops across the country outnumber the chain stores 3-1. This is a great opportunity to have your artist seen and heard in a growing digital out of home market.
If you are interested in having your video featured contact Gary Jacobs at [email protected] for">target="_blank">[email protected] for selection process info, release form, and video mailing instructions.
LOCAL BUSINESS PROFILE: KING TET PRODUCTIONS, AUDIO RESTORATION
“Although I started on the banjo as a child I am a multi-instrumentalist today,” says Eric Van der Wyk, aka King Tet. “I also play jazz/blues guitar and guitar synthesizer. I play hand percussion including the Roland HandSonic hand-controlled drum sets which I use with a looper to create what I call the one man drum circle. One instrument isn't favored over another - the challenge is keeping in practice on all instruments while running a full-time home business.”
Banjo is his first love, however, and recently Van der Wyk landed an endorsement deal with Goldtone Banjos. “This month, they selected me as their Artist of the Month and if you visit www.MySpace.com/goldtoneinstrumentsthey are featuring some of my music and videos. One of the videos you'll see there is my electric banjo/tenori-on duet called ‘Eric's Breakdown.’"
In addition to performing, Van der Wyk’s home business King Tet Productions is enjoying its 12th year providing audio restoration services online at www.CustomAudioCDs.com“I provide professional quality vinyl, cassette and reel to reel to CD conversion services,” he says. “This business which started as an idea 30 years ago when I was a street musician and began 12 years ago with one computer and one tape deck has been growing every year.”
“The work is very interesting as I receive rare and unusual recordings daily. Of course much of the work I do consists of personal family recordings, interviews, weddings etc. Much of it is live and studio music recordings from amateurs and professionals. The most challenging work would be the 60+ year old 78rpm acetates that people used to record for their loved ones. There are many institutions with libraries of tapes that I am currently working with to preserve their priceless recordings for the 21st century.”
Tape to CD services start at $25. 78s are $7.50 per side, 45s are $4 per track. LPs are $40. All prices include full cleanup services. Every customer gets a sampler CD of Van der Wyk’s Sounds of Our Planet series of pure nature recordings. www.SoundsOfOurPlanet.com (featured on NPR)
Here’s a King Tet performance video from a recent Friday night at Ladera Ranch.
“I heard about the Tenori-On when it was being test-marketed in the U.K. in 2007,” says Eric Van der Wyk, aka King Tet, reportedly the ninth person in the U.S. to obtain the experimental Japanese ... More
“I'm currently recording my first full length album with the extremely talented producer Alex Zander,” says Lindsay White. “He plays keys for local band Echo Revolution. He is helping bring my songs to life in the way I would envision playing them with a full band. I'm hoping to have it ready for release by next summer.”
(I.am.lost.photography)Given the influx of comments after Lindsay’s recent Lists article (Musician Interview), we decided to do a full length interview with the shoe-crazy chantreuse:
SDR: Perhaps you could tell us a bit about your current sound and your band?
LW: Even though I've been singing and playing music so long, I never had proper guitar or vocal training, so I kind of just think out a song in my head and then try to find it by ear on the guitar. The sound really just depends what kind of phase I'm in mentally. Sometimes it's pop/rock, sometimes it's blues, sometimes it's so folk it almost turns into old school country. Lately I've been through a hurricane of family problems, so I've been writing one gut-wrencher after another. I'm looking forward to my next "fun" stage.
Joel Mendoza started playing percussion for me about two years ago. He is the bee's knees, as a performer and as a friend. When we play out, people are always amazed by his talent. They come up really close to the stage to try and figure out how he's making all those different sounds. On top of his music skills, he is the nicest and most positive person I've ever met; I feel so lucky to be his friend. He recently celebrated 1000 days of remission from Leukemia with a trip to Ireland! Suck it, cancer!
I do envision adding more members to my band when the time is right, but I don't want to force anything. I need to make sure I have the time and energy to put into a full band first. Until then, Joel and I will continue to be a pretty bad ass duo.
SDR: Do you see San Diego as kind of a hotbed for "chick rock" right now?
What other local female performers inspire you?
LW: I see San Diego as a hotbed of musical talent, male and female alike, and we all support each other. I think it's great to be a part of a music scene where women are admired because of their talent, not because of their sex appeal (although sex appeal never hurts). There are so many local female performers whose music I love. Off the top of my head, some of my faves are Allegra, Cathryn Beeks, Jasmine Commerce, Veronica May, Anna Troy, and Brenda Xu.
SDR: Who do you peg as the best bet for a career surge in the near future (and why)?
LW: I wish I had the self-promotion skills to lie and say my music is the best bet for a career surge in the near future. But I have no desire to "make it" in a household name kind of way. I hope that my music career will surge in the sense that I can actually call it my only career. If I could make a modest living writing music, that would be the ultimate career surge for me.
Someone who I do see going "all the way" is Nova. I saw her perform a few weeks ago, and she blew the roof off the place. I have never witnessed a more polished local act. She has everything the major music leaguers are looking for: amazing voice, musical ability, very talented band, radio-friendly tunes, great following, and gorgeous to top it off.
What's the first thing you'd do if you could suddenly read minds?
Wouldn't that be awful? I think I'd lock myself in a room alone. I have a hard enough time reading my own mind!
Worst movie you've seen (and why was it so bad)?
Mr. Magoo. I used to love the cartoon, but the movie was AWFUL! When I watched it, there were only three other people in the theatre. I should have taken that as a cue to leave.
Magazine subscription you always renew?
Do you workout in a gym or at home (no, that’s not a pickup line)
I have a home gym, kind of. I use a video workout called Wii Fit. It's silly and fun, and an easy way to get in a little workout if I'm too lazy to go on a run.
2. facebook.com (although I hate the way they keep changing everything around, this networking site has allowed me to keep in contact with distant friends and relatives) 3. myspace.com (this site is definitely more user-friendly for musicians).
4. wamu.com (this is where i go every day and pray that i didn't overdraft)
5. perezhilton.com (I know, it's so trashy but i have a weird obsession with all things pop culture)
Mac or PC (and why)?
Mac, although sometimes mine outsmarts me and it takes me a million years to do what would take me 2 seconds to do on a PC.
Favorite quote from Spinal Tap?
"It's like, how much more black could this be?...And the answer is none...None more black."
What’s the best thing you’ve ever won?
Once I was so broke and desperate for cash I entered my sob story to KGB's "Grand A Day Everday Giveaway." And much to my surprise, I actually won! I wish that would happened to me on a monthly basis!
What’s your drink of choice?
Widmer with Lemon. Get in my mouth.
First book you remember reading?
When I was 4, my parents taught me to read using Dick & Jane books. Then I moved on to deeper literature, like Dr. Suess and Shel Silverstein. I still read Shel Silverstein to this day.
“When people ask what I’m like onstage,” says Lindsay White, “I tell them to imagine Bob Dylan with a skirt.” The soulful singer-songwriter got her local start playing open mikes around town at venues like ...MoreComments (16)
EX-PLAYMATE/EX-WIFE CALLS THE COPS ON TRAVIS BARKER - but he has an explanation....
antiMusic reports: You may have read some trash media reports on Tuesday that Blink-182's Travis Barker was threatened with arrest outside his ex-wife's home on Monday night. These reports of course were based on sensational "insider" testimonials from unnamed sources. But a quick read of a report from a real news outlet, who based their story on the police report, tells quite a different tale: Barker was just being a concerned dad to his kids.
The gist of the story was that Barker was dropping off his two kids with his ex-wife, (former Miss USA/ reality show star, Shanna Moakler), but he refused to leave the kids with her without a certified nanny present because the car of someone he says is a pedophile was parked at her house. Apparently this person is in fact barred by court order from being near the children, according to WPRI's report (see below). An argument ensued and she called the cops.
According to WPRI, who obtained the police report from the Barrington RI. Police department, "Moakler provided the officers with the couple's court order that explained the children's visitation schedule. That order did not require that a nanny be certified, but did state that a particular person was not allowed near the children. The person's name is redacted from the police report. The report says that a vehicle registered to that person was parked outside the building. The officers said that person wasn't there at the time, but his wife was."
Blink-182 has teamed with an artist by the name of Acorn (http://www.myspace.com/5035061) to create this limited edition blink 182 toy bunny which will be available on the band’s upcoming tour. The bunny is 3 inches tall and full of fury. There will also be a 40cm tall version to follow, limited to only 250 pieces. http://pickrset.com/bands/blink182/
ComicsAlliance.com reports: Fictional murders and detective stories have become increasingly popular in comic books, yet at least one new comic is addressing a very real unsolved murder. In the upcoming comic "Amber Hagerman Deserves Justice," 14-year-old Jake Tinsley writes about a murder that captured the attention of the nation and spurred the creation of a new program to rescue abducted children.
Although the kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Amber Hagerman in 1996 lead to the creation of the national Amber alert system for abducted children, her murderer was never caught. When Tinsley recently learned that the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute was reexamining Hagerman's murder, he decided to bring attention back to the unsolved crime by featuring it in a self-published comic.
"Amber Hagerman Deserves Justice," which comes out in October from Tinsley's own Wham Bang press, revisits the details of Amber's disappearance in a superhero comic featuring Tinsley's superhero Night Owl (not to be confused with the Nite Owl of "Watchmen" fame), a defender of justice devoted to protecting children.
Like most comics today, however, Tinsley's book is not intended specifically for children, but rather to inform a broader audience about the crime. Even Sheryl McCollum, the Executive Director of the Cold Case Investigate Research Institute, has hopes that it may spark new leads in the case, telling NBC that "a number of people are going to pick that up and go, 'Oh yeah, what did happen to her?' We're going to start this conversation that's not going on right now. Somebody knows something."
In an official statement Corgan released on the band's site, he shares the details. "Some exciting news to add as well, as Dave Navarro and Mark Weitz have joined the tour. Dave sadly can't play San Diego with us, so hopefully we can find an Ace up our sleeve somewhere to fill in. It's gonna be crowded onstage, that's for sure with Mike and Kerry on drums, Mark on bass, Dave and I on guitar, and Mark #2 on keys. Whoa..." Corgan wrote.
Navarro began expressing his enthusiasm for the Pumpkins' song "Superchrist" via Twitter, tweeting that it is "awesome on so many levels." That message clearly stuck with Corgan, who has invited Navarro out on the road for a set of intimate club dates, taking place at the end of August in Southern California.
Could this meeting of two alt-rock icons usher in a full-on early '90s nostalgia trip? We'll have to wait and see. One thing is for sure: Corgan seems to have a lot of tricks up his sleeve. It will be interesting to see what's next for this musical three-ring circus — and whether or not those two famously cantankerous performers can actually share the same stage.
(Sleeve design for a single for local punk rockers The Bugs)
“It's our 30th anniversary and it's rumored of a possible Swollen Monkeys regrouping. If so, I would like Nelson Bragg (of Brian Wilson, Big Noise) and Hal Wilner in it. If Hal, Ralph Carney (of Swollen Monkeys, Tom Waits, B52s, etc) and/or an other Swollen Monkey(s) join, I will match 50% of the travel expenses. Then, I m willing to put up for a studio CD as well as a live DVD.”
Okay, former Monkeys, the (swollen)ball’s in your court ----
Mindcontrole also recently discovered the music of kindred forebearer, Larry “Wild Man" Fischer, one-time Frank Zappa protégé and a former San Diego street figure. “Just found Larry Fischer's MySpace" and Zappa radio, nice. Larry's songs are the best mood elevators one could buy for a dime. I wish him well.”
Mindcontrole cites Zappa himself as one of his main influences - he says he got to know Zappa through his "mentor," former Zappa sideman Jimmy Carl Black.
"Jimmy couldn't even use his own name for a while, due to litigation with Frank over the Mothers of Invention characters. Frank and I didn't get along at all.... One day, before the recording of Zappa's Bongo Fury LP with Captain Beefheart -- around '75, '76 -- I sparked up a doob as Frank and his band rehearsed, and he stopped the song mid-tune, spun around, aimed his guitar at me, and snarled. I love his music, but it sure was hate at first sight with me and him. He hated pot and I hate cigarettes."
Metal Blade reports: An update from Cattle Decapitation front man, Travis Ryan: "It is time to announce a few things that have been going on in the Cattle Decapitation camp. First off, we have officially parted ways with bassist Troy Oftedal due to musical and personal differences. There is no bad blood and we wish him the best of luck. Filling in on upcoming tours will be our friend Rahsaan Davis. You may have seen him on our recent tour as Troy left tour early due to a physical ailment."
Cattle Decapitation has been keeping busy throughout 2009 supporting what has been unanimously declared by press and fans as their best record, The Harvest Floor. This fall will be no exception. San Diego's finest death/grind torch bearers have just confirmed an October tour with legendary metal acts, Soulfly and Prong.
Travis Ryan comments, "We'll be hitting the road in late September with Soulfly, Prong and Mutiny Within for a US tour! Starting in our neck of the woods, the tour will lead us across the country, along the east coast and back home. We have a handful of dates already and there are more on the way! We here at Cattle Decapitation are all about diversity. So when we were asked to do the Soulfly/Prong tour we said "why not!?" I for one am very excited to see Prong. I've never seen them live and when I was in 7th and 8th grade they were one of my favorite bands! True, a very interesting lineup, but that's awesome as our last couple albums have proved we definitely like to switch things up to keep things interesting. - more on this story
The HarvestFloor also contains an enhanced portion which sports an iPod-ready documentary titled “Pandemic: The Damnation Epic - The Making of The Harvest Floor,” which pretty much makes the new production an apocalyptic multimedia epic.
The new CD features guest vocal appearances by Ross Sewage (Impaled) and Dino Sommese (Dystopia). There is also a special appearance by Jarboe of Swans, lending her haunting voice to the death-dirge title track. Jackie Perez Gratz (Amber Asylum) graces a couple tracks with her electric cello.
The final installment in Heath Ledger's career, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, won't make it to U.S. theatres until Christmas, but you can score a peek at the trailer for director Terry Gilliam's hotly-anticipated film here. The film also stars Tom Waits who plays the Devil.
SAN DIEGANS ON SWEDISH POP COMP
Sweden's, Wall of Noise Records, has just released Souvenirs - Little Gems of Pop - a compilation featuring 21 Rickenbacker packed power pop and jangle tracks, taken from rare vinyl.
"After the success with the three volumes of "Home Runs", we´re back with another powerpop compilation in pretty much the same style, "Souvenirs - Little Gems of Pop." It´s great North American pop from 1975-95."
Two San Diego artists, circa the mid eighties, appear on the album. Just in time for The Zeros to recieve thier Lifetime Achievement Award on Sept. 10, bassist Hector Penalosa has two tracks included, one with Flying Color; "Through Different Eyes" and a solo song, "Hurt So Bad." Also included is Manual Scan with "She Said It's Late."
THE DAY BIG JAY McNEELY GOT ARRESTED IN SAN DIEGO FOR PLAYING SAX IN THE STREET
Jazz sax symbol Big Jay McNeely shares this tale in the new issue of All About Jazz - after being asked about his wildman stage theatrics, he says "It felt incredible. One time it got out of control, and I got locked up."
AAJ: Where? Big Jay: In San Diego [circa mid-'50s]. I didn't have a wireless microphone for my sax. So I walked up the aisle playing but then kept going straight out the door onto the sidewalk with everyone following me. I was outside the club blowing my horn the way I was inside. A cop saw this and called the station house. More cops came and arrested me. They had some law that said you couldn't play outside like that.
AAJ: Was your exit something new? Big Jay: Nah. I had done that at Birdland in Seattle and the Band Box. But it wasn't allowed in San Diego. The funny thing was the band inside on the stage was waiting for me to come back into the club. But I was in jail. So someone in the band came running down and bailed me out so I could finish the set [laughs]. The kids went nuts.
MOWER VIDEOTAPES BACKSTAGE PARTIES (DON'T WORRY, SCOTT STAPP AND KID ROCK WEREN'T THERE)
(www.antimusic.com reports) Mower have taken the insanity of their backstage antics and captured it on film for their new video "The Party", which can be seen online.
The video features two elements that are synonymous with the band; wild women and outrageous parties. "The Party" is the lead track on Mower's new album Make It a Double, which hit stores on July 28th through Suburban Noize.
"The video shoot for 'The Party' was the most fun out of all our videos. We had one night to call a bunch of girls and invite them to the shoot. We bought as much booze as we could, threw a party and filmed it. No script, no acting, just a bunch of people getting drunk, singing and listening to the same song 100 times and we had a blast," says Mower frontman Brian Sheerin. "It's a whiskey drinkin', Jager shooting rock n' roll song about the good times we've had partying up the coast in Los Angele, and a great way to kick off our new album Make It A Double."
Mower's Make It A Double is the group's third studio album for Suburban Noize Records and features guest appearances by Rob Caggiano (Anthrax), Mikey Doling (Snot), Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour) and Fernando Apodaca (Mad Juana). The effort was recorded in Los Angeles, CA with producer Eddie Wohl (Anthrax, 36 Crazyfists) and includes nine new Mower tracks that harness the band's explosive live energy and six songs by Mower's jazz lounge alter-ego, Slower, that experiment with creepy riffs and hazy, mellow tones. The album is available for pre-order at www.SubNoizeStore.com and comes with a limited edition autographed.
THE DAY BEACH BOY BRIAN WILSON GOT BUSTED IN BALBOA PARK: In June 1978, Brian Wilson - without telling his wife or fellow bandmembers - decided (inexplicably) to escape his life entirely and hitchhike to Mexico. He wound up in San Diego a few days later, mentally fogged, barefoot, and unwashed. “He was on a binge," according to Stephen Love, brother of Beach Boy Mike Love and sometime-band manager..... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/18/the-day-beach-boy-brian-wilson-got-busted
WHY MEXICANS HATED ELVIS: May 1959: While Elvis Presley’s popularity in the U.S. was arguably at its all-time peak, Mexico was in the midst of a huge anti-Elvis backlash. Tijuana tabloids called him a racist and homosexual, after the singer reportedly told gossip columnist Federico de León "I'd rather kiss three black girls than a Mexican." A Mexican woman in the same column was quoted saying "I'd rather kiss three dogs than one Elvis Presley”..... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/13/why-mexicans-hated-elvis-plus-celeb-sighting/