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It’s the 10th post of the new local music blog I’m producing in collaboration with AM 1220 KHTS and the Santa Clarita Valley’s award-winning, No. 1 website, www.hometownstation.com.
We’re online every Friday morning with hot SCV music news, reviews, features and photos right here at www.peeplesplace.com, with an on-air preview on the KHTS morning show each Thursday at 8:10.
This week, we have news about an exciting free concert at the PAC Sunday night by a group of musicians and dancers from the South Pacific; Smile Empty Soul’s progress in the studio; the upcoming musical comedy “The Drowsy Chaperone”; The Feaver in the studio and onstage; and an update on the memorial gathering marking the 40th anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Gene Vincent’s death and burial in Newhall, which yours truly has been invited by its organizers to emcee.
We’ll get a preview of Flavia & The RedTempt’s and Gussie Miller’s premieres on “House Blend” on SCVTV Saturday night, find out what new music is hot at our local record store, and see who’s playing live this weekend around town and nearby.
But first, we’re going to try something different. We’re going to lead off with our current trivia question, which still needs an answer.
SCV MUSIC TRIVIA: KELLY’S MYSTERY AXEMAN — What local guitarist toured with singer Kelly Osbourne early in his career? Big fat hint: He went on to play in Avril Lavigne’s touring band. If you know the answer, email firstname.lastname@example.org (KHTS employees past and present are not eligible, sorry!). We’ll toss all the correct entries into a hat and randomly choose a winner who’ll receive TWO free Restaurant Row certificates to a great local eatery, plus a free CD from the Peeples Place swag vault. This week’s answer and winner will be announced when there is one.
OK, now Peeples Place at KHTS rocks the SCV music news.
TE VAKA: FEEL THE HEARTBEAT OF POLYNESIA FREE AT THE PAC SUNDAY — A vaca to the South Pacific isn’t in the budget right now, so it’s really cool Te Vaka is bringing Polynesia to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons in a free concert Sunday night starting at 7 p.m.
Led by singer, songwriter and choreographer Opetaia Foa’i, Te Vaka has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. Inspired by Foa’i’s multicultural upbringing (Tokelauan and Tuvaluan in descent, born in Samoa and raised in New Zealand), the group’s music is both traditional and contemporary, combining rhythms of the pate, an indigenous log drum, with guitars, keyboards and percussion.
This performance is presented by the PAC, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, and the L.A. County Arts Commission in association with Levitt Pavilions. Find the PAC at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd., Valencia 91355.
This is one of the PAC performances that will be repeated the next day for students bused in from local schools. Local educators can still include your class in this exciting cultural experience; call (661) 362-3041 or 3061 now for more info.
SMILE EMPTY SOUL STUDIO UPDATE — After recording most of August and September, SCV alt-rock trio Smile Empty Soul is wrapping up sessions for the first four tracks slated for their fifth studio album.
During the last week of September, SES co-founder Sean Danielsen (vocals, guitars, center) wrapped up tracking his lead and backing vocals at the San Fernando Valley studio owned by the band’s producer, Eddie Wohl (Jesse Malin/Anthrax/Ill Nino).
Now, Danielsen and bandmates Ryan Martin (bass, left) and Jake Kilmer (drums, right) are now putting the finishing touches on the four songs they’re going to shop for record deals with in the next few weeks — “Greensleeves,” “Medleys,” “Afterlife” and ‘Ugly is a Gift,” according to Kilmer.
Meanwhile, out just this week is Smile Empty Soul’s new “Home Movie Winter 2010 Tour” DVD, featuring footage from last year’ s road rampage plus an unreleased song titled “Landslide.” It’s the second SES home movie DVD Kilmer has produced, and the band’s indie label, MRAfia Records, has a deal on it through Sunday — $11.99. With your purchase, you can also get a free download of another unreleased song, “Mechanical Rationality.” It’s available at www.mrafiarecords.com. For more info, visit the band’s website.
COC’s Theatre Department will celebrate opening night with a raffle — come dressed up in your best Roaring ’20s costume for a chance to win a door prize.
Performances are set for 8 p.m. Oct. 21-22 and 28-29, and 2 p.m. Oct. 23 and 30.
Tickets cost $12 for adults and $6 for COC students and seniors. To purchase tickets, call the PAC box office at (661)- 362-5304 or click here.
FEAVER-ISH AT CANYON CLUB SUNDAY — The Feaver, pictured last summer rocking the big stage at Citywalk, played a few songs at Route 66 last Sunday during the final show of the current six-week Gigmasterz session. The band — Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, Zack Mendenhall and Cole Preston — are alumni of the school-of-rock program at Keyboard Galleria Music Center in Canyon Country.
That was a warmup for this Sunday night’s gig at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, playing on the bill with Jetstream, Bad Suns, Blowing Up the Moon and others. It’s also Feaver drummer Cole Preston’s 15th birthday (sharing it with John Lennon and John’s son Sean, BTW). Tickets are $20 at the door, but if you email email@example.com before Sunday with your name and number of guests, you’ll get a discount.
The band spent time during summer working with Kevin Cloud and the crew at Hubbadaddy’s, tightening up their act before going into the studio to record tracks for an upcoming EP. I checked in with Lemasters and Mendenhall for the latest.
Braeden Lemasters: The band all picked what we wanted to record, so we have five of our original songs. We actually just finished, except for some percussion and stuff, and final mixing.
Peeples: Where were you recording and who were you working with?
Lemasters: Mike Schutten. We hooked up with him just because he loved our music and wanted to record us. He’s a big-time guy. He’s done Neon Trees and a lot of cool people. We worked at his studio in the (San Fernando) Valley. He’s a really cool guy.
Peeples: What are the song titles?
Lemasters: Actually, we’re going make it a surprise!
Peeples: Aw, c’mon, give me at least one!
Lemasters: OK, you’re going to hear “What Goes on at Night” for sure.
Peeples: All right. So five tunes — is this going to be a full album or another EP?
Lemasters: It’s going to be our official EP, ’cause the other one (from summer 2010) was just like a demo thing we put together for fun, in three days. This is going to be a real EP, like the ones by the Kings of Leon or The Strokes, before our real album comes out.
Peeples: Do you have a title? Last word from you a few weeks ago it would be out in October…
Lemasters: No title yet. We’re going to discuss that pretty soon. It’ll be out maybe this month, maybe next. Keep your fingers crossed.
Peeples: OK, to the live stuff. Tell us about your gig on Sunday. What’s cool about it, aside from it being Cole’s 15th birthday?
Lemasters: It’s at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, and it’s going to be a fantastic show. It’s gonna be one sick show. We’re going to play stuff we’ve always played that the fans will enjoy hearing, and some new stuff I think is really going to blow people away.
Peeples: I understand one of the guys from Rage (Against the Machine) might come Sunday, and you guys were working up something by them to include in your set. What tune is that?
Lemasters: That’s another surprise. We’re really surprising people lately.
Peeples: You’re killin’ me ovah heah, Braeden!
Lemasters: I know, I know! (laughs). I can say it’s from their first album.
Peeples: OK, so how did Rage get interested in The Feaver?
Lemasters: Yes. Timmy C. actually bought a car from Tim (Mendenhall, father of bassist Zack, and a sales rep at Galpin Motors) and they started becoming friends. He would come in to get his truck fixed or something and they just hung out sometimes. So we got invited to see Rage at L.A. Live and were on-stage watching them. They were tight with Tim the whole time. And Timmy C. asked, “Hey, where are you playing next?” We said, “Canyon Club, Oct. 9,” and he said, “I’ll come check you guys out. Do a Rage cover for me.” So we’re excited.
Peeples: OK, let’s segue to “Bleeding Man,” one of the band’s originals. The song’s being used in a promo spot for R.L. Stine’s “The Haunting Hour — The Series.” How did that come about?
Lemasters: Well, Dylan and I (acted in) “Haunting Hour” episodes — he was in a different one than I was — and in Vancouver, where we shot it, I started becoming very [close] with the creator, Dan Angel, and his family. And his son Matt loved the band so much he asked his dad if they could put our song in the promo. It’s the one (new) song that we had (finished) at the time. And they loved it, said it was amazing and used it. We’re very happy about that.
Peeples: Tell me about the episode that you acted in, the part you played, and maybe a little bit about the storyline and how you fit into it.
Lemasters: The episode’s called “The Hole,” but I can’t say anything more about it until it’s ready to air.
Peeples: When will that be?
Lemasters: Not sure….
Peeples: And Dylan’s episode?
Lemasters: Yeah, we all watched the episode at his house ’cause it was ready, so I know exactly what it’s about…but I can’t talk about it until it’s ready to air. Not sure when that is, either…
Peeples: Eeeeeyaaaahhhh! (laughs) OK, then — what else do you guys have going on after the Canyon Club? More live dates?
Lemasters: Nothing yet. We’re really just focusing on (finishing) the EP.
Peeples: OK, thanks for your time! Hope to see you Sunday.
Lemasters: OK, great. Bye!
Stephen K. Peeples: Just about finished with the five songs for the new EP, yeah?
Zack Mendenhall: Yeah, they sound pretty amazing, so I’m actually really excited about it.
Peeples: Now, how would you say the new stuff sounds compared to the old? What’s better about the new stuff?
Mendenhall: Well, in my opinion, a lot of our older riffs have a classic (rock) sound to them. The songs we’re writing right now still have that classic sound, but have a lot of newer twists.
Peeples: How do you think that came about? Was that a natural evolution for you guys?
Mendenhall: I think it’s something that came over time. We all love classic (rock) music, but we also love a lot of bands out today and have other influences as well. Like the writing — we all love bands like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys. They’ve also had a big impact on us, I think.
Peeples: Now, you guys played Gigmasterz’ latest final session last Sunday. Is that like going back and playing your old school in a way?
Mendenhall: Yeah, that’s where it all started, it’s where the band came from, and we’re glad because the people at Galleria are great. I’ve been going there since I was 10, not even doing the band thing, just taking lessons, and they’re great people. I would say to people, if you’ve never been there, check out Keyboard Galleria, they’re really cool. And the new Stage Door (performance space) is really cool, too.
Peeples: So, you think the EP is going to drop soon?
Mendenhall: We still have the mixing and mastering, and then we have to do the packaging. It’ll probably be done this month or the next.
Peeples: All right, thanks for your time. We’ll hopefully see you Sunday.
Mendenhall: Cool. Later, Stephen!
Catch more of The Feaver on Facebook.
SCV LOCAL MUSIC ROUNDUP — For the latest on what’s new and hot in local music, we checked in with our friends at Rock Candy Music & More, the Santa Clarita Valley’s only retail record store, at Bouquet and Plum Canyon in Saugus. Staffer David Green gave us the update on what’s hot in the store.
“A Basement Rendezvous’ CD, ‘The Negro Spiritual’ EP, sells really well,” Green said. “It’s been out for a little while.”
We also asked him what’s new on the non-local shelves.
“We just got in the reissue of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind,’ that just got reissued like a week or two ago,” Green said. “It’s their 20th anniversary.”
Rock Candy Music & More presents live shows by local artists on most weekend nights; tomorrow at 8, catch Elephant Stilts, an acid rock band from Saugus.
And next Saturday, Oct. 15, Moonraker will kick off their first coast-to-coast tour with a free show at 8 p.m.
SCV MUSIC ON TV: FLAVIA & THE REDTEMPT, GUSSIE MILLER DEBUT ON ‘HOUSE BLEND’ — The second show of the second season of SCVTV’s WAVE-nominated “House Blend” music and interview series hosted and co-produced by yours truly features spirited pop/funk singer/songwriter Gussie Miller and sultry pop/soul/jazz singer Flavia Watson & The RedTempt on Saturday night at 10 p.m.
Watson, California-born but raised mainly in Ireland and Italy, landed at CalArts to study music a couple of years ago, and started putting together a band. A few iterations later, it now features Chris Pucher (guitar), Nick Baker (drums), Rich Brown (keyboards) and Caroline Cirone (bass). In their first TV appearance, The RedTempt taped their segment of “House Blend” at the SCVTV Media Center in Newhall on Sept. 24, premiering “Too Late to Cry” and “I Wish I Could Tell You,” both originals the band’s recorded for their forthcoming album.
Miller, whose background includes acting, performing, writing and producing songs for TV, film and stage, is now stepping into the foreground as a solo recording artist with his first album, “Forever Plan,” now in progress. With fully produced backing tracks and live accompaniment by keyboardist Ric Mandell and guitarist Brian Price, Miller sang his new single, “What More Can I Say,” and “Arms of Love,” both from the forthcoming album and performed for the first time on TV on “House Blend.” Miller and his players also taped their segment Sept. 24 at SCVTV.
“House Blend” airs Saturdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. Pacific Time on SCVTV (Time Warner Cable Channel 20 in the Santa Clarita Valley, and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99 in Los Angeles and Orange counties), and streams live everywhere via the Web at www.scvtv.com. The show’s archives are also available 24/7 on demand at www.scvtv.com/html/housebl end-current.html and www.scvhouseblend.com.
And we’ll find out tomorrow if “House Blend” wins a WAVE award in San Jose!
MORE SCV MUSIC LIVE — Who else is playing in the Santa Clarita Valley this weekend, or spreading the local musical love outside the valley?
Musician and singer/songwriter Melissa Kaye plays free sets every Friday at La Toscana Trattoria Grill in Valencia. Catch her tonight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Acoustic Soul plays rock covers at Valencia Wine Co. and Jay Bolan performs at Salt Creek Grille tonight, both starting at 9 p.m.
Local ska band PapaFish celebrates the 22nd birthday of its sax player, Tony Sangiacomo, at Rusty’s Surf Ranch in Santa Monica. They’ll play an hour-long set of originals and covers at 9:30 p.m. Costs $7 for all ages; if you’re under 21 it’s $12, unless you’re with someone 21+.
Keyboard Galleria Music Center on Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country/Saugus hosts an open mic/mike night in its Stage Door studio room on Saturday at 6 p.m. It’s a great little room, nicely soundproofed, and a place to show off, enjoy the refreshments and hang out with other musicians. It’s free. Register to play by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Route 66 Classic Grill hosts its final classic car show of 2011, and the Surfin’ Safaris will play a free Beach Boys tribute show starting at 5 p.m.
The Skinny Little Twits (pictured, from left: Paul Standel, Rich Mortlock, Mike Pieper and Theo Mordey) plays a free set of classic rock covers and originals at The Cellar in Centre Pointe starting at 9 p.m.
Bedford Park rocks at Valencia Wine Co. and Jay Bolan plays again at Salt Creek Grille at 9 p.m.
Kounterfeit Change returns to Newhall to play a set at The Vu with Hollywood hip-hop group SB#HooliganZ. KC will preview songs from the band’s imminent “American Dreadlock” album. Doors open at 9 p.m., show starts at 9:30, and it costs $5 for ages 21 and older.
And The Grateful Dudes keep traditional bluegrass alive and pickin’ in the SCV at Vincenzo’s Pizza on Lyons in Newhall on Saturday nights from 7:30 to 10:30.
The Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society hosts its monthly pro blues jam from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Vincenzo’s Newhall. The Bluez Express will kick off the night, then local musicians are welcome to jump in for free (but must provide their own instruments).
The Babylon Social Club — featuring Herman Matthews, Sara Niemietz, Bennett Salvay, Leslie Smith, W.G. Snuffy Walden and Terry Wilson — performs at Cafe Cordiale in Sherman Oaks on Oct. 9, 16 and 28. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and it’s free.
If you happen to be in San Diego Sunday, be sure to jump, jive an’ wail with Louis Prima Jr. & The Witnesses, featuring vocalist Sarah Spiegel. They’re the headlining act at the Little Italy Festa, and play on the City National Bank Stage at 4:30 p.m. The show is free.
Thursday, Oct. 13
Newhall Church of the Nazarene hosts its free “Hope ‘n’ Mic” jam at 7 p.m. Bring an instrument and join other musicians; all styles of music are welcome. Refreshments and snacks provided. Register at the door.
theTRIBE Productions hosts a fundraiser night at the Repertory East Playhouse in Newhall. There’s live music, a silent auction, raffle and refreshments. Tickets cost $60 and the proceeds will go toward producing a musical in 2012. Email email@example.com for ticket info.
Friday, Nov. 4
“The Music of Dirk Fischer,” a special tribute to the musical dynamo who headed the jazz department for 27 years before retiring (sort of) in early 2005 and the age of 81, will be presented by the COC Music Department at the Performing Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are now on sale at the PAC box office for just $10, or $5 for students and seniors.
UPDATED: GENE VINCENT MEMORIAL GATHERING THIS WEDNESDAY — The talent lineup is set for this Wednesday’ s gathering of Gene Vincent fans at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill in Burbank, marking the 40th anniversary of the first-generation rock ‘n’ roller’s death and burial in Newhall at age 36.
The “Gene Vincent 40th Anniversary Get-Together” at Joe’s, 4311 W. Magnolia, Burbank 91505, starts at 6 p.m., and there’s no admission fee, but you do have to pay for your own food and beverages.
Vincent’s the guy who made “Be-Bop-A-Lula” a household phrase in 1956, and with his greased-up curls, black leathers, gimp from a motorcycle accident, and manic onstage performances, he was even scarier to teenagers’ parents than Elvis. Vincent was rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll’s original bad boy with a bad attitude, and his influence on the next generation of rock ‘n’ rollers, especially in Britain, was profound and pervasive.
The Oct. 12 tribute’s lineup of performers includes Rip Masters, who played piano on “Rose of Love,” one of Vincent’s last recordings; Ray Campi, the rockabilly legend who shared a stage with Vincent in 1958 and recorded the tribute album “Forever Gene”; Ronnie Mack, L.A. rockabilly pioneer and mentor as host of his “Barn Dance”; Joe Finkle & Johnny “Spazz” Hatton, whose band rocks like Vincent’s group The Blue Caps did 55 years ago; and singer-songwriter Karen Tobin, a veteran of the L.A. country music scene who’s recorded for Arista Records and Atlantic Records Nashville.
Tina Craddock, Vincent’s sister, and Brandi Vincent, his daughter, will also attend, according to Christian Bouyer, a Newhall resident originally from France and a longtime Vincent fan who’s co-organizing the event. Bouyer’s co-conspirator is Lee Loo, another die-hard fan who runs the Gene Vincent Lonely Street international fan club, and is traveling from her home, in France, to visit Vincent’s burial site and attend the gathering.
Last week, I was honored to accept Bouyer’s invitation to emcee the gathering. It’s a great opportunity for me to join in the celebration of Vincent’s life and legacy.
When Bouyer and I met in September at Plot 91 in the Garden of Repose at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary, he and his daughter Melanie, a student at Hart High, drove up in his late-model pink Thunderbird covertible; “Pink Thunderbird” was a Vincent track recorded in October 1956. Bouyer’s personalized California license plate was “B BPLULA,” an homage to “Be-Bop-A-Lula.” Like, who could tell he’s a major fan?
Stephen K. Peeples: We’re here at Eternal Valley in Newhall, speaking with Christian Bouyer and his daughter, Melanie. And we’re at the gravesite of Gene Vincent, who’s buried here at Eternal Valley in Newhall, and he passed away 40 years ago, Oct. 12…
Christian Bouyer: 1971.
Peeples: This is a pretty neat thing, I suppose, for a rock star of Gene Vincent’s magnitude to be buried here in Newhall. Now, what did he mean to rock ‘n’ roll? He was one of the original first-generation rock ‘n’ roll artists…
Bouyer: He was one of the very first pioneers. He invented a certain way of doing music, not like the likes of Elvis, but even if he were somehow influenced by Elvis, Gene had a certain energy that was out of this world. He was very much known for that. Especially when you know that Gene was handicapped — he had almost lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, and didn’t care about the pain. The energy was always taking over, and he was sucked into the music. He had an incredible talent. He had the voice, he had the personality, he had the charisma, soul — he literally is the first rock ‘n’ roll artist that had so many people trying to emulate him in the decade that followed.
Peeples: His popularity in the United States was one thing, but overseas it was even greater.
Peeples: Why do you think that was?
Bouyer: Back in the late ’50s there was a lot of Puritanism going on. People were scared by this wild music, so they started to literally demonize the music. By 1958, even guys like Elvis on the advice of (his manager) Colonel Parker had to let go of that, and just go into the Army and be forgotten for a little while. But Gene didn’t give up (laughs), Gene was not the type of guy that was just going to (go) away. So he kept going, but unfortunately had less and less shows going on, less and less hits, so the reality is, he looked (finished) back in 1959.
Peeples: 1959 was a real kind of change in the music.
Bouyer: Yes, the real rock ‘n’ roll was slowly going under the carpet, pretending in this country it never existed. But interestingly enough, at the same time, in England there were young, future artists who were completely passionate about that music that was created here. We’re talking about the British (Invasion) in this country (in the mid’60s) — that is almost nothing to compare with what I call the “American Revolution,” when Gene and Eddie Cochran (“Summertime Blues,” “Twenty Flight Rock”) went to England (in winter/spring 1959-1960), it was huge. Because of the wildness. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the young cats there being blown away by what Gene was doing. So, the whole music that was dying here was reborn in England, through Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. They just started something that came back here, and then we started to listen to that music again here (in the Brish Invasion), saying “What great music!” But guess what? It was created here in America almost 10 years before. So, that’s an interesting story.
Peeples: Artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, for instance, in the mid-’60s could hardly get a gig here, but he could go over to England, play the Star Club in Hamburg, and just blow ’em away. And I think that kind of kept rock ‘n’ roll alive.
Bouyer: More than kept it alive. I think it was a complete rebirth. ‘Cause here in America (rock ‘n’ roll) was spinning its wheels; nobody knew what to do with it. They’d created a monster but nobody had the guts for really going the whole way, to fight the (scared) citizens and be able to make that music. Rock ‘n’ roll became what it became because it happened over in Europe, where maybe there was less Puritanism and the music was seen as an art form, not something devilish (laughs). So (it spread) through Germany, England and some of France.
I (first heard about) Gene Vincent when I was 12-13 years old, through a French artist who was singing some of Gene’s songs. I said, “That sounded great! Who created it?” and (he told me) it was Gene Vincent. That is how I discovered Gene.
Peeples: Of all of the music he created — aside from “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” which is probably his most famous song, the one he’s best known for — what are some of the other songs you think are really important in the Gene Vincent catalog? “Woman Love”? “Race With the Devil”? “Lonely Street”? “Cruisin’”?
Bouyer: When you talk about Gene Vincent’s music on the records, there was an evolution of that music, so there is not one more important than another. “Be-Bop-A-Lula” was very, very successful because it was the right music at the right time, plus he had an unbelievable guitar player named Cliff Gallup. So between Gene’s raw energy that he created himself, his soul as a young teenager, and Cliff Gallup was one of the greatest guitar players ever, and he was so humble at the same time. Same as Gene — one of the greatest singers we’ve ever had, but also the most humble man you can find. So, all those guys together created an art form that really all connected together in “Be-Bop-A-Lula.” So, that being said, after that, they’d done a lot of different music. Jerry Reed composed “Crazy Legs” for Gene. But…those are the records.
What made Gene so famous around the world, though, was his presence onstage. People had never seen a show like that. Everybody you can read who went to a Gene Vincent show said, “It was tense.” There was that energy — never knowing what was going to happen next. You had this presence, this raw energy, you find later in The Who or The Rolling Stones, for example. But all of that started with one person — Gene Vincent. He literally invented that rock ‘n’ roll attitude.
So, which song is more important than one another? I’m not sure; they are all good, in my opinion. But the way he was interpreting them onstage — whoever saw him at the time had an imprint for life. That’s what I can say. This is what John Lennon said, what Paul McCartney said, a lot of the greatest artists today say.
Jeff Beck paid homage to Gene Vincent with an album called “Crazy Legs” back in 1993 because that’s what pushed him. The first time he heard Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup, it was a revelation for him (at age 15). He goes, “Oh, now I know what I’m gonna do with my life.”
(“(The album) is intended as a salute to Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps and especially Cliff Gallup, the original guitarist of that amazing group,” Beck wrote in the liner notes of his “Crazy Legs” album. “I started to play guitar after hearing the album ‘Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps’ back in ’56. The desire to make sounds like Cliff G. took hold of me and would never let go. Every solo he played was a blast of energy that helped me through my dreadful school days. I was attempting to play Cliff G. solos when I was 15 in a local group called The Del-Tones. Even if we were playing Elvis Presley songs!”)
Peeples: Well, Gene is buried here in Newhall. A lot happened between his reinventing of rock ‘n’ roll, if you will, over in the U.K. in the early ’60s, and his passing in 1971. What happened in that time?
Bouyer: Oh, my goodness.
Peeples: The short version.
Bouyer: Well, Gene was a man of passion, a very loving man, a very trusting person. So, to make it simple, I would say he put his trust in people (he) shouldn’t have. So, his career went down. His manager was not what we would expect from a manager, so there were internal conflicts, things like that. His life started to be complicated, let’s say, on a personal level and on a professional level.
England was moving on with new bands like The Beatles. His career started to stall a little bit in England, so he tried to restart it in the United States. And at the time, he was known as a rockabilly artist and it was hard for him to find the right musicians, the right recording label. He really was a fighter, like I said.
And he still had this huge pain in his leg that was getting worse and worse. Every time he was having a concert, most of the time his leg was bleeding after the concert. He forgot completely about the pain during the concert, giving 100 percent to the audience, but after it was another story. So, he had to take painkillers. Alcohol got a curse on him, also. So he was age 36, but let’s say his body was probably much older than 36 years old, because of that leg injury back in 1955, the medication he had to take for that… so yes, at age 36, he unfortunately passed away on Oct. 12, 1971.
Peeples: And how did he come to be buried here in Newhall?
Bouyer: Some of his family was living in Saugus. Gene, at the time, was living in Simi Valley, interestingly enough on Cochran Avenue. The last time he came back from London, he was down, spiritually, morally and physically. I think the man was really discouraged. It was a hard time for him. He had been a fighter all his life, but I think this (time) — there had been so many things going on at the time, that when he came back home, he found an empty house. His (parents) were living in Saugus, and they (asked) him to come here, so he came here. And when he entered the house of his parents, he started to get really sick. So for the first time, after family trying to push him to go to the hospital, he finally accepted to be taken to the Inter-Valley Hospital here in Newhall, and he didn’t survive, basically. So, he passed away here in Newhall at the Inter-Valley Hospital.
Peeples: And he is interred here at Eternal Valley. Now, we’re at the 40th anniversary of his passing, and the international Gene Vincent fan club is putting together a gathering of fans to mark the event on Oct. 12. Can you tell us a little about that?
Bouyer: Yes, we started with a passionate lady in France named Lee Loo, and she started a fan club. There has never been, in these 40 years, a fan with a passion about Gene Vincent like hers. So with all her energy, she started a website, and the website (included) everything that was done about Gene Vincent. Then the Gene Vincent fan club moved to Facebook, and suddenly we struck 10,000 fans from all around the world — from Japan, England of course, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, from literally everywhere.
People started to think about his 40th anniversary. People were sending messages, so sad — “40 years ago, Gene left us on Tuesday, Oct. 12.” So, I (said to) Lee Loo, “Why don’t we ask people if they are planning to come in the Newhall area to pay respects to Gene?” And we were surprised to get many answers from people willing to come. Almost right away, we had more than 50 people saying, “We are coming,” more than 200 people saying “We might come, we’re gonna try our best to come.” Singers like [Rick Masters,] who played the piano on the very last recording of Gene, said, “If there’s anything going on about Gene, I want to be there.” Then his friend, Ray Campi, who used to play with Gene back in 1958 in Texas and knew the guy at a very early stage, said, “I don’t want to miss anything that would be about Gene.”
So, organically, it seemed to grow from “Let’s see how many people are coming,” “Why don’t we have a beer at the end of the day all together and talk about Gene?” to it becoming something a little bit more elaborate.
So at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill in Burbank on Oct. 12, the fans are going to gather together. Whoever wants to share their memories or stories that they had with Gene are very welcome. Yes, this is how we started. It’s really the fans together that really created that opportunity.
Peeples: That’s fantastic. Now, Gene’s gravesite here, is very nice, but it’s not really of the sizeor scale or scope that you would expect for someone of his stature.
Bouyer: I think you just touched a very sensitive point, Stephen. With the Internet, more and more people now can see what we see — they don’t need to be here. I’ve been providing pictures for events such as birthdays, bringing flowers, so people have seen that from all around the world. And yes, everybody’s in shock by seeing something that is not relevant to the status of Gene around the world. We tried, some attempts have been made. There are some legal problems, that’s all I can say about it. But as far as the idea, to have a statue about him here, or something that would really show the spot to the world, yes. People are very aware about it; we are just waiting for some kind of breakthrough on the legal aspect of it, that’s what I can say.
Peeples: OK. Now, if people want to find out more about the fan club, where do they go?
Bouyer: They go to the Internet. The name is Lonely Street — which is (the title of) one of Gene’s songs — the Lonely Street Gene Vincent International Fan Club. Go to Google, iPhone it, you’ll find it, it’s everywhere.
Peeples: Thank you very much, Chris. It’s very nice talking to you today.
Bouyer: You’re welcome.
Peeples: So Melanie, your dad is quite the Gene Vincent fan.
M. Bouyer: Definitely, yes, he is.
Peeples: Now, what do you think about that? Do you ever get tired of hearing about Gene Vincent?
M. Bouyer: (laughs) We definitely hear a lot about Gene Vincent, him being a fan. But it’s great — I actually like the music. I got used to it. At first, I wasn’t too sure about it, but we play it all the time in the car. We have a nice pink car. So, yeah, it’s great.
Peeples: Well, I think a Thunderbird is the perfect kind of car to be listening to Gene Vincent music in, particularly a Thunderbird convertible…
M. Bouyer: Definitely. A pink Thunderbird convertible. Perfect.
Peeples: What do you and other people your age think about Gene Vincent’s music? Do your peers share your interest? Do they even know about him, do they care? Are they interested in first-generation rock ‘n’ roll or not?
M. Bouyer: I’m sure I could probably find people who are, but most I would think not. But, I’m pretty sure nobody really knows about it. So, I guess if they heard it, maybe.
Peeples: Now, is that something you talk about with your friends? “My dad’s a Gene Vincent fan…listen to this!”?
M. Bouyer: (laughs) Well, my best friends definitely know. My close friends definitely know he is a huge Gene Vincent fan.
Peeples: Very good. Well, thanks for talking with us, both of you guys. We’ll see you next time.
C. Bouyer: Thank you, Stephen.
THE WRAP — Hope you enjoyed the 10th journey through Peeples Place at KHTS! You can always visit us right here at www.peeplesplace.com, and at our under-construction Peeples Place Facebook page. Please share the posts and “like” the page and help us build our online community of SCV music-makers and music-lovers. We also invite you to sign up for the weekly newsletter.
If you have a new album to review or music news you’d like us to include in an upcoming post, shoot an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks this week to all the artists, managers, media relations reps, families, friends and fans. Extra special thanks to Raine Poranski for her invaluable production assistance, and to Nadine A. Peeples for her invaluable encouragement and support.
With a face perfect for radio, I’ll see you on SCVTV Wednesday evening at 6:04-ish with the weekly SCV Entertainment Minute, and on AM 1220 KHTS Thursday morning at 8:10 when I preview the NEXT edition of…Peeples Place at KHTS.
Stephen K. Peeples is a Grammy-nominated record producer (“Monterey International Pop Festival,” MIPF/Rhino, 1992), an award-winning radio producer (“The Lost Lennon Tapes,” Westwood One, 1988-1990), an award-winning online editor (The Signal website, 2007-2011) and former music and entertainment columnist (The Signal, 2004-2011). He is host, writer and co-producer of the “House Blend” music and interview show on SCVTV (www.scvhouseblend.com), and drummer with SCV jazz group RainTree (www.raintreejazz.com). For more information, visit www.stephenkpeeples.com or email email@example.com.