December 2001 (12/7/01)

"Check the balls on the big brown collie
Fa la la la la, la la la la
They're so big that you'll say 'Golly!'
Fa la la la la, dee dum dum dum"

Season's Cretins, everyone! Yep, it's that time of year again. Time to get out there and impoverish yourself. If you have kids, like I know I do, then you know the special joy of paying off your credit cards all year just in time for Christmas and then digging yourself into a financial hole big enough to swallow a team of reindeer. Right about now I know you're nagged by the annual poser, "What the hell am I gonna get my husband/wife/significant other/mistress/dominatrix/sex slave this year?" I'll tell you what: SIDEMEN, the new John Troy and David Brown CD. Let's say you're a quarterback looking for a receiver, i.e., a great gift idea. Well, I'm all alone in the end zone, jumping up and down, hollering "Over here! I'm open!" You throw me an order and you'll score with 60 minutes of good music at about a dollar per song. Go to the Music page, order the album, and get ready to groove your ass off, impress your friends, and exponentially increase your chances of getting laid.

OK I'm gonna go take a shower now after degrading myself with that crass pitch but let me remind you that we are funded by you, our listeners.

John Troy and David Brown appearing at:

163 Main Street
Maynard MA
978 897 7232
Friday 7 December
9:00 PM

That's this Friday, Pearl Harbor Day. Please come. After that there's nothing on the books for awhile. David's going to work on a project in England. Gigs are going to start up again in February. Our drummer Friday night will be the great Joey Scrima. Here's a cat with whom I've had the honor to play several times. Every time I do I try not to think of his résumé because I get scared. Check this out: Joey's played with Steven Bishop, Rick Derringer, Bennie Maupin, Taylor Dane, Leon Russel, Mickey Dolan (hey hey he's a Monkee!), Johnny Rivers, Marylin McCoo (hubba hubba!), the Artie Shaw Orchestra, and............(drum roll)..........Frank Sinatra! Wow! Do I play with the hippest cats or what? So if you're not planning on coming I seriously think you should reconsider.

The gig last month with Toni Lynn Washington was great. It's nice playing with the real deal. Cliff Goodwin (Shaboo All Stars) was on the gig, too. He was the musical director with Joe Cocker when I played with Joe back in the 80's. And sure enough, he took charge again and whipped us all into a funky lather. It's a good thing he's such a great guitar player and charismatic tall guy.

The gig with Fly Amero was great, too. The club was like a Snickers bar: packed with nuts. I'm glad I looked up in time to see a backward falling drunk before he hit me. I was able to catch him under the arms and propel him back onto the dance floor where he resumed having some kind of seizure which I suppose was dancing. Missed a couple of bars on my bass, though. But you don't mind the occasional flailing, bellowing Caucasian when you play with someone like Fly Amero. I wish he'd hurry up and ask me to play again.

David and I did our own show also last month. It was great fun. It felt really good. I wasn't nervous at all. I just got into the music and had fun. People say "Whaddya mean, nervous?" Well, our album is called Sidemen because that's just what we are. That's what I've been doing for 30 years. Hard to believe it's been that long. So I can be on a big stage in a stadium playing behind some big shot and be perfectly at ease. But in a small club playing and singing my own music?...Mama! I want my Mama! So it was nice to think, "You know what, I'm good and goshdarn it, people like me."

Do you like food? Do you like sex? If so, then yotta check out

Every Saturday Morning from 10 AM to 12 noon
WBNW 1120 AM and WPLM 1390 AM

It's food with attitude.


I'd like to share a couple thoughts on the Beatles' guitar player who recently left us. Years of work as a sideman imbued me with a certain affinity for George because his role in the band was primarily supportive. As such, in my opinion, he performed perfectly. His focus was always on the music, i.e., he never intruded. He fleshed the songs out with great rhythm playing that had a beautiful, rockabilly tone. His harmonies were invisible in the sense that you don't notice them; just like you don't notice the chair until it's pulled out from under you. His solos were finely crafted pieces. They each had a beginning, a middle, and an end. They endure to this day because they do not consist of random assortments of licks. Each one was a well-thought out composition within the composition of the song. Truly the combined talents of McCartney and Lennon were an awesome force but the Beatles would not have been the Beatles without George Harrison.

The other thing I wanted to say is that I felt the ground shift under my feet when he died. What I mean is I was shaken into introspection. I remember listening to I Wanna Hold Your Hand on the radio a few years back. When the song ended the DJ told about how hearing that song always brought back memories of his youth in Long Island. I found the remark somewhat upsetting because it conflicted with my memory of my youth in California. I was walking up Cassidy Street in Oceanside, California in 1964 with a transistor radio in my hand. That's where I Wanna Hold Your Hand was first heard; not Long Island. The Beatles were my band. All through high school I couldn't wait till the next record came out and when it did I would play it until I knew every song like I knew the Lord's Prayer. Better. The amazing thing is they still sound good.

When John Lennon was killed it was shocking and terrible. But as I think about it, if I had to pick the Beatle most likely to be the target of violence it would be John. His message of peace was somewhat at odds with his confrontational style. Remember his sleep-in and the album cover with him and Yoko in full frontal nudity? It's as though he was trying to thwack the world awake. He was impatient and angry with a world that wasn't ready for his dream. "Give peace a chance or I'll moon you!" he seemed to be saying. When he was killed I was horrified but I think on some level I thought 'crazy guy, crazy death.' Plus I was still young! I was only 30 years old.

But now I'm at an age where most likely there's more time behind me than there is ahead of me. George was only a few years older than me. He wasn't cut down like John but brought down by the mundane reality of inevitable disintegration and death. I have no doubt that there are many of you out there, Beatles fans of a certain age, who have had similar ruminations since the passing of one of our favorite musicians.

That boy walking up Cassidy Street seems a lot farther away now. I miss him. I'm going to miss George, too.

That's all for this month. Check in with the website now & then. There's gonna be a photo album going back to the 70's. Also if any sideman gigs come along they'll be in there too. As always, feel free to respond to this newsletter. Write to I will answer all email.

Boogity boogity shoop,
John Troy John

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