July 2020 VOL.9 # 98 ON THE COVER...
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TEXAS MASKUERADE PARTY BY JACK TERRY PUBLISHER RUSTY HICKS EDITOR TAMMA HICKS COMICS EDITOR ALLENE HICKS STAFF WRITERS TAMMA HICKS, RUSTY HICKS STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS ALLENE HICKS, RUSTY HICKS, HARRISON FUNK CONTRIBUTING WRITERS J MICHAEL DOLAN, ROB DICKENS, DEREK SIGNORE, TONY NICKLIN, RICK J BOWEN, KEITH “MUZIKMAN” HANNALECK DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR TERRY MITCHELL
Alternative Weekly Network
4 COMICS 5 QUICK READ 6 ALBUM COVER OF THE MONTH 7 CD REVIEWS 8 GARY P NUNN’S TEXAS MASKUERADE PARTY 9 JACK TERRY: COVER ARTIST 11 A N D R EW B E A M & J O E T A YL O R : WAITING ON THE BUS TOUR 12 B D R U MM E R O B B Y D O N A HO : THE STORIES HE CAN TELL
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LUNARBABOON.COM LIFEISCOFFEECOMIC.COM THEAWKWARDYETI.COM
It’s Independence day, wear a f#cking mask! J. Michael Dolan Wear a F#cking Mask because it’s the right thing to do. Wear a F#cking Mask because you have a right to. Wear a F#cking Mask because you’re a creative artist, a visionary thinker, and it’s your responsibility to lead the way and inspire us with every stand you take and move you make. Change your name to Zorro, Spiderman, or the Lone Ranger and Wear a F#cking Mask, as you leap from tall buildings and save humanity. Don’t refuse to wear a F#cking Mask because it isn’t cool (or masculine), huh? Rather, insist on wearing a F#cking Mask because it is cool (and masculine). Wear a F#cking Mask as if your life depended on it. Wear a F#cking Mask as if MY life depends on it! Just Wear a F#cking mask…that’s it…nothing else…just the F#cking mask! Important because Wearing a F#cking Mask and staying far away from human beings could add years to your life!
prompts J. Michael Dolan — Take a look around and get to work on fixing what is broken. You can do this. You have the intelligence to do this. You have the inner wisdom to figure this out. You have the ability to “create” a way to fix what is broken; in your career and in your life. Not like wishful thinking, more like taking a profound stand that “enough is enough!” — In gathering collaborators, investors and support, focus on “what’s in it for them.” This will garner their attention, and inspire their intention to respond to your call to action. — We do our best work when we’re on the court calling the next play and moving the ball forward. Not sitting on the sidelines wishing and wondering how to get back in the game. Stop being afraid of making the wrong move and start moving things around. That alone will get the balling rolling to the winning side of the court. — Remain aware, mindful and conscious! Have your thoughts, words, actions, heart and wallet all going in the same direction. — Truth is, having too many irons in the fire becomes fuel for distraction and food for resistance. The only iron you should have in the fire is the one that will bring you closer to the dreams and goals that are most important to you. The rest of those irons are just a great excuse for why you haven’t arrived yet. — Be generous. Your scarcest resource is your time and when you spend it helping other people, you reward yourself, others and your business. “Gimme your heart make it real, or let’s forget about it!” — The deeper we dig to find the truth in our art and commerce, the greater it will be, and the more people will relate and respond to it. Why? Because great art has zero competition. — Remain vigilant and aware of those signs that tell you when it’s time to change direction, and be willing to proudly toss in the towel. While “never quit” may be our mantra, there are times when changing course is the only real intelligent thing to do—so you can recover, regroup, reorganize and reinvent a new game. — Having something at stake is the greatest of all motivators. It gives purpose, grants meaning and provides reason. It also sharpens focus, validates intention, beefs up resolve and pumps adrenalin through your veins. Not to mention it brings doubt to its knees and knocks the wind out of procrastination! Not having anything at stake provokes the question: Why are you doing it? Important because every choice we make, every step we take, every move we make, and every bond we break provokes a domino effect that will ultimately end at the foot of our fate. STEAMMAGAZINE.NET JULY 2020 STEAM MAGAZINE
ROY ORBISON BLACK & WHITE NIGHT 30 SONY MUSIC/ ROY’S BOYS LLC
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Roy Orbison’s renowned televised comeback concert at the Cocoanut Grove night club in Los Angeles Black & White Night 30 is a 2LP vinyl set, including three tracks omitted from the original 1989 A Black and White Night Live album. I had the pleasure of covering the DVD of that legendary evening. Information From Roy’s Estate: The film version of Black & White Night 30 is now available in its entirety on the Roy Orbison YouTube channel (provided here with this review). This is a re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the original television special which was released as both as a CD/DVD set and as a CD/Blu-ray set in 2017 by Roy’s Boys and Legacy It should come as no surprise how good it was going to be. Being already familiar with the concert and all the songs, only had me placing high expectations on the overall sound quality of the wax. The set comes in gatefold LP sleeves with pictures and there are also pics on the inner sleeves, and to top it off you get a download card.
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Genre: Rock-Pop Original Release 1989 Re-release: Oct-2019 The sound is amazing of course, no surprise there for me. If only Roy could be with us to enjoy all this tremendous success and reworked and remastered versions of the film and soundtrack. He would be very pleased with the music and immensely proud of his family that has been protecting his legacy and recorded works. The respect and admiration Roy had from is fellow musicians was beyond words. Some celebrity admirers in the audience that night included Billy Idol, Patrick Swayze, Sandra Bernhard, and Kris Kristofferson. The backing band was the TCB Band, which accompanied Elvis Presley from 1969 until his death in 1977. The male background vocalists, some of whom also joined in on guitar with Roy, were significant such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, and Steven Soles. The female background vocalists were also a star studded group which included K.D. Lang, Jennifer Warnes, Cindy Bullens and Bonnie Raitt.
You get all the big hits everyone loves including a very appreciative audience validating that fact. There is an alternate version of “Pretty Woman” included as well. And yes, it is different and quite good. Music was never better and The Big O had one of the most distinctive voices in rock-pop history. Everyone loved him and respected him for the person he was and the great music he brought the world. I loved the way the album closed out with that song. It was just electric live, and it creates that magical goosebumps time. The guitar playing is excellent and Roy’s voice, as always, is spot on. Black & White Night 30 is a celebration of Roy’s life, music, and now his legend that continues to carry on through the fantastic releases that have been coming out over the last few years. Unchained Melodies was a beautiful release on vinyl as well. That is one example of many fine releases that have we have been graced with. There was nobody like Roy and there never will be again. Enjoy the music people!
JOE SATRIANI SHAPESHIFTING (SONY/LEGACY) BY KEITH “MUZIKMAN” HANNALECK
I always wonder what Satch will come up with next when he releases another album. You have to be a very creative guitar player to constantly come up with something new and exciting for your listeners. He manages to do that consistently and when Shapeshifting released on April 10, 2020 and he did not disappoint. There are thirteen tracks of instrumental ear candy to consume on this latest recording. Joe’s sound is distinct and very familiar to millions of rockers worldwide. I am among the longtime fans that stretch back to the 80s. When I was first turned on to his music, I could not forget it and wanted more. Joe has served us instrumental rock freaks well in his long and successful career. Some notes from the press release FYI: Shapeshifting was co-produced by Satriani and Jim Scott (Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) with longtime associate John Cuniberti onboard handling the mastering duties. Satriani enlisted a wide range of collaborators, both old and new, to help him bring the songs to life. Legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty), bassist Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction) and keyboardist Eric Caudieux were the core musicians on the new album with additional contributions coming from Lisa Coleman (The Revolution) and Christopher Guest. So, there is no surprise that so many names in the industry are part of this. Just remember he is the guy that taught Steve Vai a few things, who is no slouch on the six-string either. The production values of Shapeshifting are superb and what you would expect. Every song has a different style and pace to it, making sure every listener gets the variety they need to stay interested from beginning to end. Joe delivers the goods track to track. The album leads off with the title track and a high energy blast of some guitar magic that sets the right tone right from the start. The vinyl version is killer, of course, what else would one expect? Rock, excellent rock, like Joe serves up, sounds best on vinyl. One of the more eclectic and interesting tracks is “Ali Farka, Dick Dale, an Alien and Me.” It gives thanks to those artists that Joe has admired and you certainly can hear the Dick Dale reference. Surf instrumental is so recognizable and Dale was one of the first innovators of the genre. I am not familiar with Farka’s work but because of that song I will have to do some investigating. If Joe likes him, chances are his work will be of great value to his listeners. As far as the Alien, I think it was that silver dude he was surfing with back in the early
years of his career. The first single “Nineteen Eighty” has some Eddie Van Halen types of riffs running through and it packs a punch through to the end, it is pure energy and excitement. After that explosion of six-string virtuosity, Joe slows things down a bit with “All My Friends Are Here.” It’s not slow but in terms of the way he plays, it is a few notches down from the previous track. It has some great hooks that are hard to ignore. It sounds like the kind of track you may hear sound bites of accompanying a sporting video, albeit in a sport that has plenty of movement. All that energy and creativeness Joe has in his soul never subsides during this instrumental treasure trove of masterful six-string displays. This is vintage Satriani doing what he does best, just flat out jamming and bending those strings with a fluidness and command that few players can muster. He is and has been one of the premier rock guitarists for a long time and this recording takes its place alongside one of the great releases such as Surfing With The Alien for consistency of quality. I must reiterate, with the level of difficulty involved in putting out yet another all-instrumental album, this sets the bar extremely high for an artist like Joe. He is up for the challenge and plays like a man that is recording his swan song. Diversity is the key to success. Tracks like the beautiful “Falling Stars” step away from the hard-charging rockers to show that he can do tasteful slower paced tracks with some funky licks interspersed between the rhythm section action. “Waiting” is even more expressive and a nice ballad that relates to the title with its slow start and pensive build-up that intimates some impatience but in a very nice way. It is one of the shorter jaunts clocking in at 2:37. Now if that wasn’t enough of a change, he kicks into high gear with some reggae chops on “Here The Blue River.” He also mixes in the rockin’ side of his playing to the blend with the reggae back beat which continues as the foundation. The multi-layered tracking is amazing with some great effects, making the track the most varied sounding on the entire album. And just when you thought you heard just about every style imaginable he closes out with “Yesterday’s Yesterday,” a countryfried journey that rings true with the jangling strings and the old western atmosphere it hints at. In many ways, if you played this for long time fans, they may be hardpressed to peg Joe as the artist. In the end, the curtain closes and Joe Satriani wins you over again with the superior quality and all the incredible guitar playing on display on this fine album. His ongoing maturity is evident with each subsequent release and he surely is the ultimate Shapeshifting guitar !
JOESATRIANI.COM KEITH “MUZIKMAN” HANNALECK : THEFINALONVINYL.COM
DARRELL SCOTT SINGS THE BLUES OF HANK WILLIAMS (FULL LIGHT) BY ROB DICKENS
We all know Hank Williams‘s place as a music great of the twentieth century. His importance to country music, in particular, is impossible to overstate. In only five years, he recorded over two hundred songs and had eleven number one hits. Add to the commercial success, his tragic health issues, his early and lonesome death, as well as the emotional outpourings at his massive funeral and you have the stuff of legends. We are used to hearing Williams’s songs through a country music lens – plenty of skip and twang, videos in black and white with a sort-of-ganglingsmiling singer – all this despite the often incredibly sad lyrics. Darrell Scott knows a thing or two more though. Inspired by his late father Wayne’s love of Williams’s work, Darrell delves into the songs and
draws about the emotion – the hea break, the lost loves, the compl relationships with women and, abo all, the sheer poetry. Scott breathes new life into nine cla sic songs, rejuvenating them with blues sensibility, a full-band sou and electric urgency. Scott has enlisted veteran musician Hammond B3 player Reese Wynan drummer Marco Giovino and bass Danny Thompson as the core stud band, with additional contributio from Todd Phillips, Shad Cobb a Steve Conn. An especially movi moment is “When God Comes A Gathers His Jewels” performed Wayne Scott. “I heard Hank, I heard my dad, and heard the blues that was only a gui grab away for me,” Darrell Scott sa “It did not occur to me to play or si it like Hank; but, I strive to be true the spirit and throw my version of t blues towards Hank songs. This cording is that.” Darrell Scott Sings The Blues O Hank Williams is a gift from a wo derful artist, a timely invitation for all to re-evaluate the mastery of Ha Williams .
DARRELLSCOTT.COM ROB DICKENS: LISTENING
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Gary P Nunn Promotional Photo
Party fit with all the musicians that can't perform, or the bars, venues, and other entertainment businesses that can't open? GPN: well obviously we can't play until they open up. And if and when they do open up, our goal is to set rules that everybody has to wear a mask, everybody has to practice social distancing, and everybody has to wash/sanitize their hands. When you walk to the front door those are the only conditions we should be required to and it's what we need to consent to for live performances. DF: Think about it if everyone were to wear a mask we could keep shows going, we can keep artist going, we can keep bars open, we can keep everyone and everything alive. Things will move on in a semi normal way. The science says if everyone would just wear a mask, we could absolutely do away with this virus. We're not trying to do this in a selfish way; we want to do this in a way that will keep the whole state running in a robust way, so people don't lose their livelihood and what they love. Right now we are losing the culture that we love and the Heritage that we love.
new material all related to COVID-19 and the lockdown. Have you been working on a new album that could go along with the Texas Masquerade Party? GPN: Not with all the studios basically shut down right now; there’s just too much exposure for musicians and studios to maintain. However, I am currently working on a record that is a lost project that I had done in 1979. It's going to be called “Lost and Found 79” and so that's what I've been working on. We plan to release it via iTunes you’ll be able to find it in my catalog. Anyway, we discovered these unfinished tapes and we got to listening to them and they sounded real good. We took them down to Tommy Detamore in Floresville TX (Cherry Ridge Studio) to have them mastered to enhance the quality, which was actually pretty good already. This is not a record that's been overdubbed or remixed; these tracks are basically live performances. You know I came out of the Lost Gonzo Band and a rock and roll background that was winding down at that point so to me this is really like a time capsule of where I was at musically and emotionally. It’s like I told someone the other day… I’m just trying to stay calm and meditate because we need to see this thing through.
You are so right. The physical and mental
~ Continued from Page 8 ~
Okay, so how does the Texas Maskuerade
well put! It's doing something and that's what I like about you or idea and you are bringing it out by showing people that we look up to wearing masks. Because if they (Gary, Joe Ely, Willie Nelson, Mark Cuban, etc) can wear masks then yeah we can too! DF: We can fight an invisible enemy and still throw a party at the same time and that's what Texas is all about!
is it most definitely is. I have heard of many artists and musicians working on 10 STEAM MAGAZINE JULY 2020 STEAMMAGAZINE.NET
toll the virus has taken on everyone is heartbreaking. I feel that how you're putting this plan forward and getting the word out, that you're going to be able to convince people that they can step up and follow the rules. Let's talk about this amazing painting by Jack Terry. Jack is an extremely talented artist and we are looking forward to featuring him in an upcoming issue DF: Jack did such a fantastic job in creating a timeless piece of artwork; it's a true Rock Norman Rockwell moment! The painting is a snapshot of where we're at and representative
of what the Texas Maskuerade Party is all about.
going to figure it out. They need to do it safely for all of us.
What are your plans with the painting?
DF: First, we have for sale on the website 500 giclee canvas prints, each signed and numbered by Jack. Eventually Rob Burley (Burley Auction Gallery of New Braunfels) will be auctioning off the original. Rob is a well renowned Texas Auctioneer. Rob has been a huge force in Texas memorabilia from auctioning off the relics from the Alamo to the upcoming Threadgill's Number 1. He's donating his services and time to auction off this painting.
wonderful! Are you thinking that this will be a National party? DF: Well as one person is told us, “it's not just a good idea, it's a great idea!” Texas has its own way of doing things and I'm really hoping that this will catch on nationally but the reason we are talking to you today is because at the start of this they felt that the virus would subside in the warmer days of June, July, and August but it seems that it's doing the opposite. Now, when it gets cooler and people start moving back inside every single venue is going to have to have some type of plan to move forward and mandate the, mask wearing, hand washing social distance rules. The bottom line is if every single person is wearing a mask that covers their mouth and nose we’ll be able to stop this virus and get back to a semi-normal way of being.
here's the big question on everyone’s mind… How do you drink a beer when you're wearing a mask? DF: Well, you lift your mask you take a sip and you cover your mouth back up. It's not rocket science, there's no way that somebody can't figure out how to drink a beer while wearing a mask because if you tell somebody they can't do something, you know they're
I know that you went to UT as a pharmacology student and we’ve already mentioned the science behind wearing a mask, so what kind of an interest has this virus been for you? GPN: Well you know because of my studies and my background from day one I was very conscious, aware, and concerned of the potential danger that lay ahead. We studied about the pathogens, contagions, antibiotic reactions, and so on, so as soon as this thing popped out I was conscious of the fact that it is not something to be taken lightly and there's a possibility that these new strains, that are resistant to all medications, could possibly sweep through the world. You know it takes time for the medical and the scientific communities to catch up with the virus and find ways to control and contain it, so really my background has made me very aware since the start.
you. That's pretty much how we have felt about this and I wanted to hear how someone with a background like yours was feeling, especially since it ties in with your masquerade party. Well the party has been kicked off, what's the next step? DF: Our next step is to make sure people go to the website and make a donation or buy a print. All contributions will be used to continue to encourage Texans to protect themselves and encourage them to come out.
a great point because sitting at home has caused many, many people to get sick, angry, and stressed so getting people out to enjoy themselves and protect themselves and fellow Texans is a wonderful thing! DF: Exactly, we can move forward and keep our great state very robust in culture, business, and life. I mean really the folks that know how to party and fight enemies are Texans!
By Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine Curtesy Photo
Andrew Beam is on his way to
for two years now.
Texas and, with his Carolina twang, he’ll be performing and winning over crowds in Bastrop and College Station and everywhere else.
When do you think you'll have your album released? We are working on having the album done right now, but because of the pandemic we're waiting for everything to get back to normal to release it.
What gave you the idea to tour Texas? I'm an old-school country music player, only 28 years old, and today's country is really geared towards kids and not towards the people that really love country music. Texas country is a lot more traditional than what Nashville has out.
And what is the title of the album? Well, we don’t have a name for it yet, but we’ll have one soon for sure.
Yes, we do love our country music and we’re looking forward to having you here. Have you been the Texas before? I've never been to Texas. I'm from North Carolina, but I'm based out of Charleston South Carolina. Have you always been into country? Pretty much, I grew up playing bluegrass in North Carolina where my Dad's a preacher. I started playing guitar at 11 years old and in high school I played a lot of Southern rock as a guitar player. I started songwriting when I was 17. Which do you prefer, writing ballads or rockers? Just a good combination of both. And have you been recording with Joe Taylor? Yes ma'am. I'll have been working with Joe
Is there a theme to album, like heartbreak or divorce or is it more of a collection of songs that just flow together? To create this first, debut album we started out with probably 30 songs I’d written and we took two or three that have really good potential. Once we started doing our parts together we ended up writing more songs and they just went together real well. I know during the pandemic touring has been out of the question, but the restrictions are beginning to lift so are you planning to tour or stay pretty much in your area just in case? Well, we play a little bit of everywhere. I've been in a few years now professionally, so Texas will be as far as I’ve gone from Charleston. And you said you’ve been playing guitar since you were 11. Do you prefer electric or acoustic? Yes, ma'am. I do some solo shows but for the most part I do rhythm.
Who else is playing with you on this tour? We have a four piece band. Besides my rhythm guitar and lead vocals we have bassist Brian Stanley (Bryan Adams, Loudon Wainwright), and drummer Bryan Compton ( Billy ‘Crash' Craddock). And of course Guitarist Joe Taylor (Grammy-nom/RCA Victor artist). Who influenced you to pick the guitar? My dad was a huge influence on my guitar playing. I was five when I first picked it up and at 11 I was able to put all the pieces together. So your dad is a guitar player? He has in the past but he's a preacher. Do you play some bluegrass in your shows? No ma’am, it's all country now. So tell me a little more about the album. Do you have any special guests and which tracks are your top picks? We have Gary Morse playing pedal still on a couple of songs (Brooks & Dunn, Luke Combs. He's a really cool guy to have play on several tracks. My favorite track on the record is actually one that I did not write, “Sunup And Sundown”. Joe actually wrote it and it's a great song. As far as a song that I feel is going to be a hit off this record it's "The Other Guy". Joe and I wrote that one. And you started writing at 17? Yes ma'am and I wrote most of the ones on this album.
Since this is your first album, how’s your recording experience been? It was 100% great. I was really impressed. Are you playing in any other places before you get to Texas? That was the plan but with everything going on right now, with all the restrictions, it's hard to tell so we're still working on that. So once you're through with Texas are you going to head straight back or go a different route? That's kind of what we're talking about but I might not want to come back. Yes, Texas has that effect on people! Have you been the Nashville? I've never been to Nashville. I've had trips planned to go and two hurricanes later I still haven't been there. Did you have a band while you were in school? I had a couple bands in high school that I played guitar for and I played through college. It was just for fun and I never thought I would be doing it full-time, but it's definitely a life experience. And what was it that you went to school for so you could have a real job for mom and dad? I majored in Wildlife Biology and I was actually a Game Warden.
STEAMMAGAZINE.NET JULY 2020 STEAM MAGAZINE 11
obby Donaho grew up in Corpus Christi and became one
of the “great rock drummers of the 1960s.” We first met Bobby at a jam night with Tony Saracene at the Aransas Music Emporium. When Bobbby’s set was up he walked to the back of the room, sat down at a table full of notebooks and began writing. I remember thinking he was such a quiet guy. He’s not, but he is very focused. He’s a talented drummer with a jazz flair and a rockin’ history that includes pushing the genre limits with the Bad Seeds to studio drumming for the Monkeys to being a highly sought after session drummer. Truly, Bobby Donaho has played it all and seen the world. Bobby’s uncle was a local drummer playing in Corpus Christi’s jazz scene. Although he never got to play those drums he was fascinated by them. We sat down to talk about how music made Bobby’s life.
By Tamma Hicks & Rusty Hicks, STEAM Magazine Photos By Rusty Hicks, STEAM Magazine
How did you know you’d be a drum-
mer? I've always liked drums. I had an uncle that was a drummer. Mom got tired of me playing on pots and pans and bought me a snare drum one day. I built a little set with the bass drum first, then a cymbal, and so on; no instructions or anything.
And you are currently writing a book?
What was the first kit that you
about your life as a musician or the adventures that you have had? Music is responsible for most of my life experiences. Political and scary stuff, the riots, and the horrible things humanity demands. I've witnessed a lot of it. I was brought up in this little cocoon here in Corpus Christi. I moved here when I was 7 and I was 17 when I left. I did a lot of openings for bands here in Corpus Christi with the Bad Seeds band.
bought? I bought a Ludwig Hollywood set out of the catalog. It was sparkle gold with a 14” by 22” bass drum, two 8” by 12” toms and a 16” by 16” floor tom.
Do you still have them? No I lost them in a flood. I was moving out of a place and I put all my stuff in the storeroom when the Trinity River overflowed and stayed that way for four weeks. I had a 55-year-old grand piano along with everything else that was completely destroyed.
Oh, you play piano? I let the piano accompany me (laughter).
Do you play guitar? Yeah, I used to play guitar a lot. Then I lost part of my index finger in a fan blade working on a truck. It broke my heart and I felt like it took away my spirit.
Do you write music? Yes, but it's always taken a backseat to everything. I’ve got probably a hundred
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Yes, I'm writing a book but I'm not a writer. It's been quite an undertaking to figure out how to write a book, because I like to ramble.
Well that would make it difficult. Is it
Where did you head off to? It was in ‘66 that I went to see Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars in San Antonio and Mike Nesmith, who was with the Monkeys, was there. Being from Corpus and playing music I had met Mike before. Anyway, he told me that I needed to go to LA, so he gave me his brand new GTO that he driven to San Antonio and didn't want to take back. So I showed up in Los Angeles with a GTO convertible at 17. Pontiac gave all the guys in the Monkeys GTO's because the Monkey Mobile was a Pontiac. The funny part is that Mike’s car had manufactures plates, which are only
good from the factory to the delivery point, and somehow he had driven it all the way to Texas without being stopped. So the first thing they do when I hit the California border is arrest me for Grand Theft Auto and I go straight to jail. The next day they told me that everything was fine and that I, and the GTO, was free to go.
You had to have been freaking out when they arrested you and then when they let you go. Well, I’d had it too good, because I never had the heartache you see people going through to get to where they want to be and that was the first close call I’d had. I really did have it too good in Corpus when I was a kid and by 18 I was in LA playing with the Monkeys and making $165 an hour whether I played or not, because I was on their payroll. We really didn't have a clue how hard it was supposed to be.
OK, I need to back up to the Bad Seeds for just a second. This group was on the cusp of the rock genre, right? Well, Rod (Prince) was in another band before he joined us, the Titans. We were together for five or so months and then we formed the Bad Seeds with Mike Taylor and Henry Edgington. The British invasion had just happened and we were playing music like the Beatles, Animals, and Yardbirds. So when we started playing music around Corpus Christi, we were “the” pioneers in this rock genre and we pretty much wrote our own ticket. The group broke up in ’66.
Which takes us back to LA , right? Yeah, Rod and I went to LA together and we hired Roy Cox as the organ player for
our new band, The New Seeds. After about 2 months Roy switched from the organ to playing bass. What happened was that when we got to LA; we were given a five bedroom house to stay in. The Monkeys had been given all these gifts like amplifiers, guitars, basses, and so on and they didn't know what to do with it so they just brought it over to the house. We had all this equipment and no bass player, so Roy stayed up all night playing on one of the basses and by the next evening he was a bass player. Rod and Roy went on to form Bubble Puppy, you know.
Were you still in school when you took off for LA? No, I graduated early at 17, but I was in the Titans while in high school. I went to Delmar for a year, but I really didn't make the whole year. I had such a distorted vision of what the world was like because I was making money and looking at the opportunities college was going to give me it didn't really make sense because I was making twice that already.
How long were you in LA? Not long really. I came back in ’68. I was married at the time and she wanted to have our daughter in Texas so I did that for them. I got called back to LA a couple times though. When the Buffalo Springfield’s tour broke up in ’69 the drummer called and asked me to play drums, but I didn't want to do that. So we got a band together here in Corpus called the Blue Bus which we changed the name to Ginger Valley. We played feel good music and these guys were talented cats. We moved to Houston so we could to do something with it.
So from LA you moved back to Corpus and then to Houston for the music scene? Yes, Ginger Valley was really good and we signed with International Artists in Houston. International Artists actually had a house set up for the 13th Floor Elevators that was sitting empty. It was a two-story house on two or 3 acres in South Houston that we moved into and didn't pay a dime.
But you didn’t stay in Houston for very long, did you? I think I left Houston in late 71 or something like that and went back to LA. I just felt I needed to go back there because I knew more people there than I did in Texas and I needed to get a job. I got a job at Cerwin Vega Speakers and was fortunate enough to rise to quality control engineer. But after 2 years I was ready to play music again! I joined England Dan (Seals, whose brother was Jim Seals’ of Seals & Crofts) and John Ford Coley as they were getting ready to tour with Seals & Crofts. For the budget’s sake Jimmy told them to use his band.
Wow, what a heartbreak that had to have been. After that I got to play with so many other bands and then I came back to Corpus Christi. I wanted to play music but right then, I wasn't on anybody's A-list. I had a lot of fun playing here and at some point I got tired of it and decided I needed to go on the road. Somebody from Dallas called me and asked if I wanted to go on the road with Steve Tilford & Tobacco Road. It was the show band that played down here a couple times and it was a new kind of music for me and we did shows all over the world. In the band was one of the
best keyboard players I ever met in my life, Jimmy Ward. I'd been playing with this guy for two years when all of a sudden he quit just before we went to Canada. Anyway, after Tobacco Road I came back to Corpus for a couple weeks when I got a call from Dallas saying I need to come up to play drums; so I went up there and stayed there for about 13 years. I ended up playing with the Dallas Rhythm Section, but it’s also where I really got into doing commercials and jingles. Talk about some stressful work; there were times when I would walk in, set up, and have X number of minutes till first note. In those few minutes I had to read over a dry drum chart where I hadn't heard the music yet.
How long did you do jingles? For about eight years. It was good easy money, but it wasn't without the stress.
I remember you saying that you really got into Jazz while you were in Dallas What is it about Jazz that gives you that “wow”? I never really thought about it much but looking back, and talking to musicians that I used to jam with, evidently I always had a thing for Jazz. My uncle was a drummer and played a lot of jazz and I somehow picked it up. Jazz is wonderful and it draws the classy musicians. I love it, but nobody down here plays it much.
Was the rest of your family musically inclined? Mother didn't play anything. My father played a little organ and violin. I lost my father when I was 12 so we didn't have a lot of time to play together. Both of my siblings are musical. My brother is 3 1/2 years older than I am, so he helped push me through school which was kind of good because he was so good at what he did. He played guitar and majored in music. My sister Barbara dabbled and dibbled in it a little. She was in Houston and got with a band called The Dishes playing keyboards, guitar and singing. They were a popular band but the front man Jimmy Raycraft was the main attraction.
Did your uncle give you lessons? No. He would let me touch those drums but I would sit there and listen to and practice and that's the only education I got.
While you were in LA weren’t you in a band called Penny Arkade? The pilot for the 30 minute The Monkeys show was just slotted and in New York about the same time, Craig Smith, Chris Ducey, and Susannah Jordan starred in a an hour long musical-drama, “The Happeners”. Nobody bought their pilot so Craig and Chris came to LA with a bunch of songs they’d written and took them to Mike (Nesmith). He produced the whole thing; putting everything together including me and a bass player named Don, and the four of us became the Penny Arkade. Craig is a wonderful, wonderful songwriter. He was friends with the Beach boys and many others because he wrote so much. We did his music as the Penny Arkade and at some point Mike wanted to sell it to Elektra
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Records for $80,000 but they wanted to put a bunch of electronic stuff to the tracks, so Mike said no. So it sat in the can. Last time I talked to Craig, I was in Houston and he was in LA. I wanted to do a song of his called “Country girl” and he told me I could have at it. It turned out that Glen Campbell had recorded that song that same year and it was on his album. There’s a book out about Craig and it gives you an insight into some of people we rubbed shoulders with. There was always an opportunity. I think somebody was looking out for you. Somebody said you have the talent and you need to go places, so they gave you some options. It’s a good thing you were smart enough to act on those chances. I lost a lot of money by not taking some jobs. At the time my heart was not there and the money didn't mean anything. There are a lot of things that I could've done, but what I did I think is good enough. I saw a lot of the world, but I came all the way back from Corpus Christi to find her (Karol) in my backyard. Are you playing now? I play occasionally and do a lot of record-
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ing. There's still a lot of stuff I want to do. What's your goal? My goal is to at least have some sort of legacy for my kids, or for anybody, with a combination of all my experiences, good and bad. That’s why I decided to write a book.
Do you have any advice for people that think they have “it”? The only advice I have for people who think they have "it" is if your goal is making a lot of money then I have no advice for you because you're going to sell your soul. At some point you're going to lose touch with who you are and you'll think it’s necessary, but it's not and you'll feel better down the road if you don’t. There are plenty of opportunities to write meaningless tunes to make a lot of money and that just kind of soils it for me; because to me, music is still a precious thing, it's a great vehicle to express yourself. Great Rock Drummers of the Sixties, By Bob Cianci, page 195. Swim Through the Darkness: My Search for Craig Smith and the Mystery of Maitreya Kali, By Mike Stax.
STEAM Magazine - South Texas Entertainment Art Music, July 2020 features Gary P. Nunn- Texas, Texas Maskuerade Party - Texas - USA, Bobby Do...
Published on Jul 9, 2020
STEAM Magazine - South Texas Entertainment Art Music, July 2020 features Gary P. Nunn- Texas, Texas Maskuerade Party - Texas - USA, Bobby Do...