One of my all-time favorites! RIP.
One of my all-time favorites! RIP.
Know any other musicians that did the splits during their performance?
"The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
--Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."
"The days tell, the years speak, the centuries decide . . ."
"You're never appreciated in your own country." --Joan Bennett, "Scarlet Street."
I don't know if it's true, but it was in the movie "Great Balls of Fire".I read an anecdote that one time way back in the day ('50s), JLL opened a show for Chuck and was a little miffed about it (the opening spot), so he threw everything he had into his number and ended by setting the piano on fire. Then he sauntered backstage where Chuck was waiting in the wings to come on and said nonchalantly, "follow that, sir!" or words to that effect.
One of my earliest memories is riding in the car with my Dad and hearing "Maybelline"for the first time. I knew at the tender age of five that I was hearing something unique.
I read his auto bio. He wasn't perfect, but he was a heck of a guitar player and entertainer. Hard to believe his only #1 hit was "My Ding-a-Ling."
Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...
I lived in that central Ill. area where Chuck used to tour. He would roll in with only Johnny Johnson the piano man in a big Caddy. If there was an opening act he would practice them and keep them on stage for his show. If not, he would get musicians through the musicians union hall and pay scale for a bass and drums. I can't tell you how many guys were later. introduced as "having backed up the legend Chuck Berry." Great man and may he RIP. MMc
Heard today that his last album will be released this June - he was still rockin' at 90! Once a rocker, always a rocker, I guess...
Jerry Lee was quoted as saying how much he'll miss the times the two had together on the road. I can't imagine the trouble those two would be able to get into! I once interviewed Chuck on the phone. Not a bad guy. A bit jaded, but he was honest and told me some things I wouldn't dare repeat (and Scott wouldn't appreciate me posting them here). One friend wrote on Facebook that he saw Chuck at Studio 54 years ago, from the VIP room, and Keith Richards was sitting in the corner intently figuring out exactly what Chuck was playing and how he was doing it. It wasn't just talk, he was a devoted student of Chuck's work.
A couple of Chuck Berry recordings that go especially well on mandolin for playing along:
"You Never Can Tell (C'est la Vie)" is in C. The piano melody between verses makes for a good double stop run in C.
"Promised Land" - also in C.
I used to play "Memphis Tennessee" in a band - Chuck did this in Eb which is not so mando friendly but I think we played it in A.
You might wanna try Johnny Rivers recording in E , Lonnie Mack's in G or (my favourite) The Faces in C.
Here’s my Chuck Berry story:
For a while I was in an independent back-up band – a promoter putting on an oldies show would hire us to play behind the famous ’50s & ’60s vocal acts. Chuck Berry was on a few of these shows, but I never got to play with him because he needed a separate back-up band just for him (so the promoter would have to hire two back-up bands). We’d play with, say, Brian Hyland, Shirley Austin Reeves of the Shirelles, and Little Anthony, and then Chuck would headline the show, with the other band behind him.
So, we’re all having lunch together, and I don’t recognize the guy sitting across from me, so I asked him what he does. He was there to rent the Fender amp that Chuck was going to use that night to the promoter. (Chuck was picky about his amp – at that same concert he walked onstage right before the show, full audience watching, pulled out a tape measure and measured the amp to make sure it was legit.) Turns out, this guy was spending his whole summers doing this, going from venue to venue, following Chuck around, and renting the same amp to different promoters. He told me that he’d won the amp in a poker game.
And yes, I got to see and hear some great legendary music, from the side of the stage.
Yes I play Chuck on my mandolin. Good music is good music whatever it's played on.
Its not a backwards guitar.