Thursday, August 14, 2008

(part 100) FROM OHIO TO LONDON FROM LONDON TO OHIO



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You may wonder why I am posting this particular picture, which is from London in 1964. This is what I looked like then, but it is also what I looked like in Cleveland in 64 when I was there with a number 1 record. As you may recall, I said I had shaved my head before I left Los Angeles in 1970.

When I got to Ohio my hair was growing out. As I came out of my fog, I thought back to the past when I had been a successful artist, but in 1970 I was nobody but a has been. As my hair grew back I tried to recapture how I had been six years earlier.

I called it the Bobby Sherman look. I thought if I could appear as I was when I'd had a hit record, it would imply something other than what I feared, which was it was over. I had come to Cleveland with a lot of scar tissue from the previous six years, and the most recent of catastrophes, the three suicides.

I can't tell my story unless I convey to you what was happening below the surface to me during this time in Cleveland with the band Rastus. I didn't stay in Ohio, so there must have been a reason I left eventually, and that is what I'm working toward, as I continue to write.

I had no plan. I was the same Bobby Jameson who didn't know where to go, or where I belonged. I'd gone to Ohio by the same means as I had gone to London in 1964. I was trying to get away from Tony Alamo in L.A., so I went to London. I was trying to get away from the tragedy in L.A. in 1970, so I went to Ohio.

In both cases, I was offered an opportunity to leave a place by another person, without really knowing what I would encounter when I got to the new place. In the case of London, in 64, it was a letter from Andrew Loog Oldham. In the case of Cleveland, it was an invitation from John Rhys in 1970.

Because I wanted to get away from where I was, I went to other places. I had no real idea, or knowledge, at the time, about what would, or wouldn't transpire once I got to the new place. This was true in spades regarding Cleveland. I was there for nearly a year, and went from fellow musician/songwriter, to Jim Cantale's helper, carrying and setting up the band equipment, before and after their gigs.

There was nothing wrong with the job, except it wasn't my job. It became my job, as a result of time spent with Rastus in Ohio. The part of me who was a musician, singer, and songwriter was beginning to resent where and what I'd become, from where and what I was when I'd started some six years earlier.

I was no longer pursuing my own destiny, but that of others, who had similar dreams and ambitions to mine. Over time, this began to weigh on my heart and mind deep down inside me. I had rejected this reality for as long as I could, but it was only a matter of time before Bobby Jameson would come blasting out of his sleep and begin to assert himself on the world.

I lived in 3 different houses in Cleveland when I was there. I posted a picture of the first house. The second was Angelo Crimi's mother's house in Cleveland, and the third was the new band house back in Chardon. Getting punched in the mouth by the lead singer of the band happened at the third house, and is where the old/new Bobby Jameson began to fully reemerge.

It was in the kitchen of that house, where I'd been up all night on uppers, that I wrote the lyrics to "Junkie Jesus." It was my way of saying "Hey Man, look what I can do." I always wrote, when I didn't know how to accept my lot in life, whatever it may have been at the time.

("JUNKIE JESUS" lyrics)

JESUS SAID TO MARY MY CONNECTION GOT LOST
I BEEN HANGIN ROUND HERE WAITIN FOR A FIX ON THE CROSS
MARRY COULD YOU GET ME JUST A LINE OF COCAINE
ANYTHING TO GET ME OFF CAUSE HONEY I'M GOING INSANE
DADDY DIG THE NAILS IN MY HANDS AND MY FEET
JUDAS WAS A NARC AND TURNED ME IN TO THE HEAT

WELL MARY SAID TO JESUS YOU'RE A MAIN LININ FOOL
I'M TRYIN TO SCORE YOU SOMETHIN HONEY BUT PEOPLE AIN'T COOL
EVER SINCE YOU GOT BUSTED EVERYBODY'S TERRIFIED
THEY SAY THEY DON'T KNOW THE JUNKIE WHO GOT CRUCIFIED
DADDY DIG THE NAILS IN MY HANDS AND MY FEET
JUDAS WAS A NARC AND TURNED ME IN TO THE HEAT

WELL JESUS SAID TO MARRY MY CONNECTION IS HERE
IT'S BETTER LATE THAN NEVER WITH A FIX FOR ME DEAR
I'M TIRED OF THESE NAILS I HOPE THAT DEATH WILL COME SOON
BUT TILL IT DOES BE AN ANGEL MARY AND HEAT UP THE SPOON
DADDY DIG THE NAILS IN MY HANDS AND MY FEET
JUDAS WAS A NARC AND TURNED ME INTO THE HEAT

WELL MARY SMILED AT JESUS WHILE SHE OPENED HIS VEIN
WITH A NEEDLE WHILE HE MURMURED FATHER AM I INSANE
IS THIS HEAVEN IS IT HELL OR AM I JUST LOST
FOREVER AS THE JUNKIE SON OF GOD ON A CROSS
DADDY DIG THE NAILS IN MY HANDS AND MY FEET
JUDAS WAS A NARC AND TURNED ME INTO THE HEAT
Bobby Jameson 1970

"Junkie Jesus" was one of those signature moments for me, when I created something I didn't think anyone but me could have created. It was my way of saying, "This is me Goddamn it. Can't you see what I can do?" As important a moment as this was for me, at the time it was also a wedge driven between me and everybody else in Ohio.

It was an angry, frustrated writing of power and independence, asserted by me, as a marker that I was turning away from Rastus and Ohio, and back to Bobby Jameson and L.A. The picture I posted here is my beginning in 1964. The lyrics to "Junkie Jesus" was where I was headed in 1970-71.

The fact that I cannot post a single picture of myself, because there are none, with anyone in Ohio, in 1970, is another telling point about this episode of my life. There may be a picture of me with Rastus, or with John, or Jim Cantale somewhere, but I don't have it, and no one else has come up with one yet.

I have pictures of the band, of John, and Jim, and even the house, but strangely absent is a single picture of me in Ohio for almost a year of my life. If you think about it, that says a whole lot about me in Ohio. I don't say this to make anyone feel bad, I just noticed it myself. There aren't any pictures of me being there, even though I was there......

Although there are no pictures of me in Ohio, there are songs that I wrote and recorded there, and in Wisconsin in 1970. "Junkie Jesus" was written in Ohio, but recorded in Los Angeles sometime later. "Mary Please Forgive Me," the first of three songs similar in subject to "Junkie Jesus," was recorded in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin in 1970, along with two other songs written in Ohio.



This recording is a live piece featuring myself and Hummingbird in 1970. John engineered it and played piano. I wrote it and John and I arranged and produced it. Until a short time ago I didn't even know this existed.

This is pre "Junkie Jesus" and one of my many lost masters until now. I am extremely grateful to John Rhys Eddins for making this available to me after all these years.

"Mary Please Forgive Me" was recorded live at the closing of Sonad Studios in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, in 1970, along with two other songs I will post.

Hummingbird consisted of myself vocals and guitar, John Rhys piano, vocals, and recording engineer, Gerald Smith on lead guitar, vocals, and slide guitar overdub. Percussion was a microphone inside John's guitar case.

(part 99) RASTUS IN OHIO





This is the cover of the second Rastus album which contains 2 songs that I helped write, Lucey Bluebird, B. Jameson, V.Walkus and G. Sopuch. The second is Big City Let Down Blues, J. Rhys and B. Jameson. They were arranged by Rastus, and engineered by John Rhys. This band, if you are not familiar with them is similar to Chicago and Blood Sweat And Tears.

The members of the band are Dave Miles keyboard and vocals, Marc Spirou trumpet/ valve trombone/ conga and vocals, Don Nagy bass, Mike "the frist" Geraci tenor and baritone sax, and background vocals, Vic Waukus tenor and alto sax, George Sopuch guitar, John Taylor trombone, Dave "Smokey" Smelko drums and background vocals. Manager Angelo Crimi, and the main roadie "Dude" James Cantale supported by Tony and Robin. Collectively all these people saved my life in 1970, and I have the deepest feelings for all of them.



Angelo Crimi Manager


Rastus, John Rhys, and James Cantale at Sonad Studios

In the beginning I was glad to be out of L.A. and to be anywhere but where I'd been. But being Bobby Jameson still left me with all the problems I'd become used to. I was me. There was no getting around it, and that had become my main problem in life, being me.

I had strong opinions, and was not smart enough to keep my mouth shut at times when it would have made sense to do so. Because I had been on GRT Records, as was Rastus, I had negative opinions about the label, and would express them around the guys in the band. Sometimes being right is not the best way to approach others whose dreams are still in tact.

I was not sensitive enough about the feelings of those around me, who still believed that they were on their way to fulfilling their dreams, which meant GRT Records would treat them right. I knew that was not to be the case. At one point I was mouthing off after one of their gigs, while getting off the band bus, and Marc Spirou, who was a very decent guy, got fed up with my never ending trashing of GRT and punched me in the mouth out of frustration.

He knocked me to the ground and I was stunned, and then angry that he had hit me. Looking back on it now, knowing how important his belief in GRT was at the time, I don't blame him a bit for nailing me, I had pushed it too far. This of course at the time, set me in motion like a mad man, and I grabbed a kitchen knife and went out to the barn, telling anyone who could hear me, that I would be waiting for Marc to meet me. He was smart enough to just let me chill out.


John Rhys Eddins

video
This is a song I wrote for Rastus in 1970 while I was in Ohio. This song is unfinished and never made the second Rastus album, I thought it might be interesting to post it so you could get an idea of what I was doing there, at least in part.