Special Report by Fat City Central Senior Peoples' Republic Correspondent Cuz Jojo
- Santa Cruz, CA
This is one of those worst of nites for being a photographer...the shits...par cans of 1960's Red & Blue...Oh, Yeah...OK, well then, what else could happen with no straight white light?? My camera starts acting up (batteries).
So, this is the best I could do and let me just say that the Bichin Tour with the Great Bill Champlin Band was in a very Raw State of Mind -- half the band is sick, and Tamara just flew in today from being sick and staying in LA. These photos are raw with the emotion that was flowing as Jerry Lopez said around the 4th tune: "We're a little under the weather, yet your energy is making us feel real good"...and then kind of looked over at me and said 'let the healing begin' with a wink.
I drove up with 6 old brothers, all professional musicians and all of us have played together for over 30 years and outside of me, they have been into Bill Champlin, from the Sons of Champlin, since they've been in HS, in Monterey and Salinas. (they tell me the stories of yore from those days). And me with my cousin BobbyG having a Sons Band years ago.
So, we be in BC Territory.
Moe's Alley is a long time Rhythm and Blues Club, set in an industrial district in So. Santa Cruz. It's a funny laid out room with weird acoustics. The first time I've ever been there. But, Santa Cruz, CA for those that don't know is still NoCal old hippie country and have always had a strong alliegance for the Sons of Champlin and tonight It was funny as hell -- 95% Guys and I'm talking Grey Haired, over 55 guys and I laffed, hey these are old Fans from way back...Cool.
I'm walking from the parking lot and I see somebody I recognize; it's Jerry Lopez. He sees me and we both start smiling at each other. He says with a Fist Punch shake. 'You don't want what I have' (he was very pale and feeling a little sick). We talked and I introduced him to some friends. Then as I walked in the door, there was Mr. Champlin himself. I introduced myself and he says 'Hey, Jojo, Bobby told me to get you the best seat in the house.'
?...We look into the room and there are no tables! And we both start cracking up laffing. And then he goes into total joke mode and really funny as hell. You give him one name, one thing to dwell on and he's off to the races of making you laff within two minutes. Later, when I am forturnate to actually talk with Bill Champlin..how can I say this and I mean it very, very positively with a lot of LOVE: I don't cry anymore but I do still pinch myself!! I've been a Fan and Sung and Played his music since I was in the US Air Force in the late 60's. Yet, I've talked to him in the oddest of circumstances in my life and then even once when I've tried to give him a tape of my original music, He remembers me, all thru the years..
So, tonight in a small club in the greater South Monterey Bay, in Santa Cruz the band began to throw down and blow thru the colds and feelin' shitty and they played the new CD with conviction. The sound system was not up to par and even Bill had problems with his mic. I was upfront the whole time and I could hear all of the harmonies. Tamara really stayed strong and drank alot of hot lemon tea.
The show stopper of the night was to me Mr. Eddie Garcia. More peeps that I knew (and it was a very heavy musicians' crowd), said "Jojo: Who the Hell is the Drummer?" Eddie was so into the arrangements, Bobby -- it was like he never left Jerry and Rochon. And speaking of Rochon, he was in his groove but in another bag that I've not seen him before but as usual the most musical cat I know! I got to get Jamie aside as he took the stage and was tuning a guitar, that he never actually played. We laffed and he remembered me. He sang great as usual and friends of mine wanted to know more about him too. (What else is new, lol.)
I kept being my New Jersey self and yelling for shit, one of my Fav's, "Take It Too The Top" and Jerry would look at me and say..not yet....But, that was the pre-encore and then I realized. Oh Yeah..Eddie and Rochon, the Solo Section and then out, as they went into "Gold Mine" and then did a hard fought "Satisfaction." It was a to-the-tee 2 hour show. The crowd was small but mighty and very appreciative, and like I said earlier, BC afficienados for sure.
Some of the band hung out in the crowd afterwards. I got to talk to Rochon. I hope that they get some rest tonight, as they were going back up to Marin, across the Golden Gate Bridge into Bill's old stompin' grounds and back to their motel. They play the Throckmorton Theater, on Wed night, kind of Hometown Homecoming.
I also told Roch that we have a lot of Peeps in Seattle, that Bobby and I have roots there and they will come out to support BC and his Mates. So listen folks, I was the designated driver tonight and a good boy, but now the whiskey is kickin' in, so I'm gonna say g'nite and again, I had a terrible nite with the lights and the camera. It ain't like me. I still got an Eye. So look at these (out of phase..) as Artsy and Raw in that the Energy in the photos is what was transpiring for Real.
I love You Much..Jojo Coco :-)
Jamie shot this at Moe's Alley with his phone:
SOMETIMES, THINGS DO GO TOTALLY RIGHT, WITHOUT A HITCH
Today, I went to see my Ma at the nursing home, hoping to get her out on a short excursion in the new van I'd bought for that purpose. I was gonna do this one day last week, but when I got there that day, she had an I.V. in her arm. Deyhration, brought on, they tell me, by her antibiotic Rx for her recurrent UTI and her recent flu shot.
I've finally gotten all the seat belt / wheelchair harness rigging safely worked out, so I can just wheel her in and lock her down. The van has "Stow 'n Go" seats that fold into the floor, leaving strong floor eyehooks visible, to which I've attached several 500 lb-test chains with snap-lock carabiner loops. I use the mid seat belts from both sides to go around her wheelchair front and back, and lock the wheelchair frame down to the van floor with the 3rd chain underneath.
It worked like a charm! Just rolled her up on the "suitcase ramp" I'd bought, and pretty quickly secured her in. And, so, we cruised across town, stylin' baby! I put the classical music station on, and we ambled smoothly across town to The Caring Place cancer support center on S. Jones to deliver a stash of our Christmas CDs that Lenny, Dave, and I are donating to them.
I even got her to smile. You have no idea what that means to me. She's gotten so feeble and morose in the past few months (she'll be 88 in January).
Next up: I've talked her into letting me bring her to the house this weekend so I can cook pasta for her, and so she can see my mentally ill dogs and diabetic cat (she asks about them from time to time). Maybe I'll drive her down to see the dam and bypass construction one day soon, too.
This is all very tiring, but all so very worth it.
It occurs to me that this may be due...