Saturday, April 11, 2009
(part 1) A Day In The Life Of Bobby Jameson...I Just Liked Music, that's All
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2007
I was born in Geneva Illinois in 1945. For the most part I grew up in Arizona and Calif. in the early fifties. I remember listening to the radio at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. I'd try and remember the words to all the songs I liked so I could sing them to myself. I didn't much care about anything else except maybe girls. They were a mystery. They always seem to pretend not to like me even though in the end I'd find out they did. I never did get that. I mean it seemed like a lot of trouble to go through considering it wasn't true anyway. Oh well, girls. Ladies. Women. It still hasn't changed all these years later.
By 1955 I was living in Tucson, Arizona and Rock N Roll was really getting going. My step father hated it, but my mom liked it. He blamed everything he didn't like about us on "that music" and "those people." Particularly the hair. He really hated the hair styles. You know, "duck tails" and the length. He used to tell us we looked like girls "always lookin at yourselves in the mirror."
My brother and I started watching American Bandstand every day so we could see how everybody looked and danced and then we'd copy them. I remember starting to make up songs instead of learning someone else's, so I guess that was the beginning of my song writing days. My brother and I both got guitars from Sears and started learning how to play them. Nothing real elaborate, just chords, so we could play songs. I'd already worked out some doo wop tunes on my mom's piano, so adding guitars just expanded my horizons.
By 1957 my brother and I started playing at talent shows and at a place called Kal Rueben's Furniture City on Speedway Blvd., in Tucson. People seemed to like us and said we were like the Everly Brothers. This was a big building full of furniture deals and in the middle of the place was a one story pedestal, from where you could see the whole store. We had a couple of mics set up and would sing songs while people broused for furniture deals. Their kids would stand around and watch us play for an hour or so, and the store just kept having us back.
As I wrote earlier, my brother Bill and I were rock n rollers from an early age and I was convinced in about 1957 that I was destined to be a "teen idol" after watching the likes of Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. Of course there were countless others, but I think you get the general idea of what I was inspired by. Some people liked science I liked rock n roll.
My mother and step father separated in 1958, and later divorced. It was the second failed marriage of my mother's and was a loss to me. What little adult supervision I'd had became at that point even more sparse. Like a boat without a rudder, I struggled to find my way, as did my brother Bill who, to make matters worse, suffered from mental and emotional problems. Looking back it's hard to believe that when you're living in that kind of confusion it almost gets to be normal. Of course later you can see clearly how difficult it made everything.
It wasn't all that long after my step father left that my mother moved us all to St. Johns AZ. where I was tossed into a small town environment of Mormons on one side and American Indians on the other. Man, what an unbelievable place to end up. Kinda like the deep south in the 50's. This town was split right down the middle and no one was going to give an inch. Of course my brother and I ended up on the line between the two warring parties and tilted a little bit towards the Indians. This pissed off the lily white Mormons to the bone.
We were immediate outcasts and wondered what kind of hell my mother had brought us to. She ended up marrying a Mormon named Francis Farr, who was also a quadriplegic. This town was in northern AZ west of Flagstaff and got bitter cold in the winter. We lived in an old house with no heat just a wood burning stove. You'd have to put wood in this thing the night before and then when you woke up in the morning you'd go light it and hall ass back into bed until the place warmed up enough to walk around in. No shit! It was so cold you could see your breath in the house in the morning.