Geo’s Media Blog (Strat Me Up) Part I

Bought me a Stratocaster
put it in tune

Started singing with the “Devines”
the next afternoon.

Became “Shayne and The Rebel Raiders.”
a real rockin’ band

But when we morphed to the Phantoms
we had a lot more fans

Elvis turned me on to guitars, but Buddy Holly played the one I wanted. (pictured above) When Lowe’s Music in Winnipeg told me that it was called a Fender Stratocaster, and said that they could have one for me in about two weeks, my heart soared. When they told me though that it cost $473.00, that was the end of that magic moment. Man, I wanted that guitar, but where the hell was a kid like me gonna come up with that kinda dough?
However, Lowe’s saved the day by taking my trumpet in on trade and putting me on their $14 a month payment plan. Geos-FenderYou have no idea how excited I was when the music store called to say that my Fender Stratocaster was in. Before long, there I was at Lowe’s in front of a mirror strapping on my new Strat and staring back at me from that same mirror, was a “Rock Star.”
The next thing I did was buy a couple of guitar books and spend hours and hours down on my basement bedroom, trying to learn a few chords. However, I soon learned that dreaming about becoming a “guitar man” was a lot easier than learning how to be one because so far, all I had to show for my efforts were bleeding fingers.

While toiling away for hours in my bedroom struggling with my new guitar, out of the blue, I received a surprise phone call from a singer named Shayne, of Shayne and the Devines. He invited me to join his group, and within weeks of becoming one of the “Divines”, there I was on stage in a talent show and a Cam Winders dance, where even though I still couldn’t play my guitar, I became a professional musician, because they paid us.
I was unplugged at the beginning of my musical career as I was when it ended at the Winnipeg Convention Center some 30 years later. I had returned to Winnipeg for a reunion with my band The Jury along with The Guess Who, BTO, and Neil Young, but that is another story for another time.

When I bought my Fender Stratocaster in 1958, (pictured above) I had no idea that it would turn out to be one of my better investments. Upon hearing that you should rid yourself of anything you haven’t used in six months, I realized that I hadn’t even seen my guitar, let alone played it in ten years, so I sold it to Randy Bachman. (The Guess Who & BTO).
While putting the deal together with Randy, he mentioned that Neil Young had recently told him when they were touring together, “George had one of the first cool guitars in Winnipeg.” Seeing as the value of a ’58 “Strat” is all over the place, Randy and I settled on a price somewhere in the middle.
Unfortunately, though Randy is now pissed at me because when he bought my guitar he didn’t realize that I had it refurbished in 1965 which he claims diminishes the value. I guess like a car, you should never sell a guitar to a friend.

GEO’S LIFE-LINES

The reason I became a fairly successful AC programmer was because I didn’t like the music.

Mickey Mouse was the first non-human to win an Oscar.

Why do the people who attack President Trump get so outraged when he attacks them back? All Americans have been given the freedom of speech.

Did you know that one out of every two hundred people is a descendant of Genghis Khan?

Millennials expect to be forgiven.

Be kind, almost everyone is fighting some kind of adversity.

Good luck with gender cleansing in France and Quebec.

For a moment, you were once the youngest person on earth. 

Am I just getting old or is the new Vette just f**king beautiful?

Single women give birth to 40% of the children born in America.

Don’t you hate it when a movie company, trying to save a few bucks, put junk music in a movie and the actors have to pretend they’re singing along to some big hits?

COMMENTS

 

Jarry Bobo: CBS’ only concern is always “shareholder value”………bottom line. (Sales Promotions)

Doug Herman: George, most of those engineers have either retired or been canned in the ongoing purge of radio people from the industry. And, because the industry has become such an employment trainwreck, smart technical people are staying away in droves.  Also, fewer engineers are needed now.  What they did in the old days was keep the radio on the radio.  Some of it was FCC mandated; some of it was that thinks used to be a lot more fragile than a computer that plays music, spots and voice tracks.  Remember carts?  And cart machines?  Remember equipment, especially transmitters, with lots of white-hot tubes?  All very maintenance, heavy and prone to failure.  And, in every station I worked at back in the day, the engineers were also responsible for the phone system, the station cars, the field where the tower(s) stood, changing light bulbs, setting up remotes, etc.  A lot of this work is no longer needed, and the rest has been pawned off on somebody else, who works cheaper.

Tim Moore: George:
Playing not to lose ensures you will. Why then is this the over-arching strategy of so many groups?
As some coaches say, “the ‘prevent defense’ accomplishes only one thing: it prevents you from winning.” (The Mythicals)

Jim Wood: For a kid from Dayton Ohio, who was just hired from Chattanooga Tennessee to be the Ops Manager and PD for a set of ABC Stations in LA…(George..remember Peter Newell the GM …He was overwhelmed by the group of us but saw the magic) …These sorts of nuisances at the outside edge of the entire event were and still are powerful images in my brain. I have a million of these stories but I will wait until someone writes “The Book.” (Comments About Jack McCoy)

Nascar Jeff: I remember Jerry St.James and Jim Harper on WNIC and when the news hit that they had split up and Jerry was going to WMJC. From what I recall, they both where to go to WMJC and Jerry had already singed and Jim said he wanted to be either the Program Director or Music Director and the station said no. So, both started looking for new on-air partners and Harper/Gannon and You hit the air first on WNIC followed a few months later by Jerry St.James and Elliott on WMJC.
Jim and Steve had the funnier show by far but somehow it all fell apart and Steve left only to return when I think when Jim Harper and Mike Bradley bought WABX and renaming it WDTX. Jeff and Jer left for Chicago then San Diego and were a team for thirty-three years when Jerry then going by his real name, Jerry Cecek, retired from the show leaving Jeff Detrow (Elliott) still with the program. (Chelsea Never Had Sex)
Geo: Jeff, I had the privilege of working with Harper and Gannon in Detroit and Jeff & Jer in San Diego. All of them were very gifted and fun to work with. My part was to figure out how they liked their coffee, and then serve it to them just that way.

Jim Harper: Nascar Jeff: Your story about the St. James and Harper breakup is not accurate. Also, the part about Mike Bradley being a partner in the buying of WABX is totally wrong. But, you saying Harper & Gannon were funnier…I liked that part. Thanks for keeping my name top-of-mind on Geo’s Blog, though. (Under Construction)

Bob Glasco: Making us think while you made us laugh…that’s why you’re the best George! Thanks. (Time To Wake Up America)

Bob Christy: Tom Cochrun and I were sitting with our wives on the beach in Cambria and the conversation turned to Fred Heckman while Lana and Cakes were discussing their gardens. Fred shared so much of his knowledge with both of us that we could later put to good use. Tom said things he learned from Fred as a kid in the WIBC newsroom translated seamlessly to his career in TV news. Things Fred taught me about news and writing I was able to pass on and share with some outstanding news people over the years. I remember Ed Bell, the head of the AP in Washington DC saying to me, “How the hell do you know so much about news?” I told him, Fred Heckman. Eddie smiled and said, “Okay then.” (Shoot The Chicken)

Pat O’Day: George.
As you yourself proclaim, and you’ve experienced with Hilliard, who experienced with me, and me who under The Late Lester Smith enjoyed total freedom to do with KJR and KISW what I pleased, is the secret to creating successful radio stations.  Find people with wisdom combined with talent, and TURN THEM LOOSE!  Rewards will be great!  No matter how large your company may be, (iheart) the formula remains the same. (The Greater Good)

Ivan Braiker: George, I believe looking at deregulation as the killer of radio is surprising, especially for you. Radio was slow to adapt to new tech and opportunities and most importantly, not fully understanding that their only way to survive was with TALENT and by creating compelling content. Radio was crippled by short sited and cheap operators, not deregulation! My vent. 🙂 (Sales Promotions)

Bob Richards Foster: “Radio sounds like it is in black and white” nailed the reason I seldom listen to the radio, anymore.  I was listening to a particular station this morning – for the first time in 6 months – when they played one of those phony “your station is incredible” telephone liners/segues. Somebody in the car dropped an F-bomb. Oh. It was me. As the Guess Who once said, “No time.” (Oh God, Oh)

Tom Cochrun: George I really enjoyed hearing the aircheck with Bob. He was a real trooper and loved radio right up to his last day. The composite brought back a lot of fond memories of that era. (WNAP 1974)

Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs or to see some that you may have missed, go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.

 

2 thoughts on “Geo’s Media Blog (Strat Me Up) Part I

  1. Nascar Jeff: Your story about the St. James and Harper breakup is not accurate. Also the part about Mike Bradley being a partner in the buying of WABX is totally wrong. But, you saying Harper & Gannon were funnier….I liked that part. Thanks for keeping my name top-of-mind on Geo’s Blog, though.

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