Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women. Chapter I (Crazy Man Crazy) edited 10/18

When I learned that one of the pioneers of Rock&Roll Chuck Berry had passed, it got me thinking about some of the other Rock&Roll stars who exited the planet too early like David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, and Gregg Allman to name a few. I remember first being shocked by the news that Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valens had gone down in a small plane, but when I heard that Elvis had died, I was devastated. 
The first time I ever saw Elvis was on a big band TV show where he not only blew my mind but when the girls started screaming, that’s when I knew that I was gonna be a guitar man. Hell, even John Lennon said that it was Elvis who’d influenced him, and without Elvis he claimed, there’d be no Beatles.
Can you imagine what kind of show must be going on up in Rock & Roll heaven? Hey, when you’ve got Elvis, John, George, and Michael, along with Hank Williams, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Croce, Bobby Darin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbison, and Freddie Mercury, all waiting in the wings to go on, it’s almost worth dying or so you can to catch the concert live.
Unfortunately, I probably know more about all these folks than I do my own family. In fact, I know nothing about my great grand parents and what I know about my folk’s parents is that my grandfathers were English and my grandmothers were Scottish. On my Mom’s side, my grandfather who was an engineer, actually stopped his train to chat up my grandmother whom he’d spotted picking flowers in the middle of a field in Scotland.
On the paternal side of things, my Dad’s father (pictured above) married his 17-year-old piano player so she could tour europe with his band. However, when they weren’t busy playing, they must have been busy playing around because they managed six kids of which my father was the youngest. Speaking of my Dad who was orphaned as a child, what I wouldn’t give to be able to read a journal that he had written about his life. So with that in mind, may I present the story of mine.

It all began in Winnipeg
but we moved around a lot
Melbourne and Sydney
were the first of our many stops.

Two years in Australia
then we were off to Vancouver
Now it’s back to the prairies
to a town they called Swan River

Next it’s back to Winnipeg
for the birth of my baby brother
We lived in my grandpa’s house
’till my folks bought another.

Hooked up with a friend named Barry
and we played a little ball.
Loved his Sister’s strange music
plus she was a living doll.

Then there came that special day
when I began to scheme
About how make music and women
more than just a dream.

BillHaleyI can still see that day when my whole life turned upside down. I was at my friend Barry’s house practicing for the upcoming little league tryouts. My Dad thought that my trying out for a baseball team was a complete waste of my time. A couple of years earlier when he tried to play catch with me he finally gave up in disgust because I would just close my eyes and duck. However, not only did I make the team, but, I also made the elite “Dream Team” which played our final game of the season at the beautiful Goldeye Stadium where my Dad saw me play for the first time.
Anyway, enough of all that glory stuff, let’s get back to that warm spring day when I was about to discover that would have my undivided attention for the rest of my life. After Barry and I worked up quite a sweat, we decided to head inside for some water. Once inside, I couldn’t help but notice the blonde goddess standing next to the record player who was swaying her hips to some very strange music. I was completely mesmerized.
The goddess turned out to be Barry’s seventeen-year-old sister who was listening to one of the first Rock & Roll records ever made. The tune was called “Crazy Man Crazy” by Bill Haley and his Comets and as I watched her sway, I had no idea that women who looked like her and the music that she was listening to would soon rock my whole world.
In those days, radio didn’t play any Rock & Roll so when Patti Page decided to record, “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window,” my friends and I were done. We were so f**king ready to rock even though we had no idea what it was.
I recently found a rare copy of “Crazy Man Crazy,” and whenever I play it, I can still see Barry’s sister’s hips swaying back and forth, back and forth, back and …




8 thoughts on “Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women. Chapter I (Crazy Man Crazy) edited 10/18

  1. So you are descended from a Scottish Engineer. Well, then, Laddie, maybe ye can explain why KVIL Engineering in 1978 was such a disaster.
    Ye are of Clan Johunstone, I see, and fought at the Battle of Sark in 1448. How did that one turn out?

    • Actually Hollis, both my Grandfathers were English, Vince on my Mom’s side and Johns (Welsh) on my Dad’s. It’s my Grandmothers who were Scottish, Hunter, and Sutherland. Also, I’m a programmer and don’t know from engineering. Thanks for the read.

      • Ah, thanks for the clarification . KVIL still sticks out as having the worst politics of any place that I ever worked, and all of it was in Engineering, centered around fellows names Spence, Smart, and Crossno. Sadly, none of the politics was aimed at getting Ron and the guys the Engineering assistance that they needed – that always seemed to be a side-issue.

        • Sorry, you had a bad experience at KVIL Hollis. I heard my fair share of whining from the air staff but I don’t recall much of it being about engineering. Know this though, Ron could have anything he wanted, he chose spending most of the money on promotion.

          • Most of my time at KVIL was good. You always remember people who were a whole lot nicer to you than they had to be, and Ron, Larry Dixon, Ken Barnett, Dan Bell, Len Mailloux, Andy McCollum, and Mike Selden were among the really great people that I worked with. However, the studio at the Park Cities Bank was poorly wired with absolutely no backup for the studio or to either transmitter. At that time, Ron didn’t have control of the Engineering Budget and everything that I did for Ron would blow back on me because Crossno would become jealous and go running to Smart. I believe that my leaving caused Jerry Kablunde to come aboard as CE and I hope that he didn’t face the same situation. As an aside, I was hired by Crossno with instructions to never talk to Chapman because he was crazy. He was not. I am greatly enjoying your blog.

          • George:

            I learned volumes by reading about KVIL in the trades, and watching the results in the ratings. On the rare occasions I got to hear Ron Chapman, his enthusiasm and energy were very obvious and infectious to those of us listening! We wanted to keep listening to keep plugged into his outlet of fun!

            Thank YOU (and Reg) for spreading the gospel and recipe for great radio. I began learning in 1986 when we became a Fairwest station.

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