Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women Chapter VII (Tuff Enough!) 2/27/22 (7)

10300021_10153179881429307_883176787123604884_n

Born in Winnipeg
and educated at TCI.
But school wasn’t my thing
cuz I was a music guy

Most of what I know
I learned while shooting pool
But all I ever cared about learing, 
was how to be cool

As I was saying , music was dominating my life but then I also start driving and dating so School was a train wreck.
Noticing my disinterest, a few of the teachers were already hinting that perhaps intellectual pursuits may not be my cup of tea and some of them were even suggesting that I should consider becoming an apprentice at the CNR.

13240684_10154841975744307_1919584820128590081_nThe only teacher at TCI who appeared to give a damn about me was George Derenchuk. (pictured above)
Mr. Derenchuk who was a rookie teacher, said to us in his first class, “Ok, I want the brains to the back, and I want Johns, Quail, and Ringach, up front here with me.”

We knew nothing about him, but it was apparent that he’d done his homework on us.
Once up there, he said to us, “Ok, if you jokers will give me 20 minutes of your undivided attention at the beginning of each class, we’ll spend the rest of the time talkin’ football.”

Not only was his class fun because of all the football talk, but the first twenty minutes were pretty interesting too.
Hell, I even ended up with an ‘A’ in his class which was the only A I ever gotHowever, my daughter Candis claims he was probably the only teacher smart enough to give me one. 

A few years ago when I was back in Winnipeg for an overdue reunion at CKY, my good friend Jim Quail arranged a surprise lunch for us with Mr. Darrenchuk.
Once again, he knew everything about the both of us so we spent the whole time talking about him. Candis had gotten it right about his smarts because too long after both Jim and I had left school, he went on to become the principal and then the Superintendent of Schools. RIP, sir.
 
374325_10151896007859307_1113160735_nWhile growing up, I spent a lot of my time playing baseball and hockey but the sport I loved the most was football.
Unfortunately, there was no football team in Transcona so even though I’d quit baseball because I was more into music, when I heard that they were starting a team up in the fall, I was very excited.

The new team was called the Transcona Nationals and Mr. Cockburn was our coach.
Coby as he was known, didn’t have any problem handling a bunch of Transcona “tuffs” with authority issues, but the one he rode the hardest was his son Huey who was our Quarterback

Hugh had a gun for an arm and consistently threw 60-yard touchdown passes to our “Touchdown Twins,” Jimmy Harrison and Ermanno Barone.
Before long, not only were we one of the best teams in the league, we were also the most penalized.

I have no idea why the referees always had problems with us?
I think Lo Lo explained it best after throwing his helmet at a guy’s head which brought him to his knees when he said, “Hey, what was I supposed to do? He’s a track star; there was no way I was going to catch him.”

Was it our fault that the uppity prep school team we were leading 53 – 0 at halftime refused to come out for the second half?
It was just as well; I guess because they were taking so many timeouts so they could drag their injured players off the field, the game was taking forever.

I also think it showed very poor sportsmanship like conduct when their parents booed us as we were getting back on our bus.

Unfortunately, when the championship game rolled around, the referees were waiting for us.
They had grown weary of our antics all season and took their revenge out on us early. They penalized us on almost every play, and they even went as far as to eject some of our best players.

Being a Transcona National was a great experience, not only was I proud of being one, but it also gave me my first taste of fame.
The fame came about when Bill Burdeyny, the sports editor for the Transcona News, began writing about us. Bill was a great writer, but I suspect that we may have given him some exciting stuff to write about.

One of my favorite things that Bill wrote was, “Not only are the Transcona Nationals, a good football team, they’re also great Canadians. They’ve figured out how to bring a little hockey to the game.”

The Transcona News came out every Thursday, and every Thursday, there we were lined up waiting for the paper to come off the press. (and yes, some 60 years later, I do still have all the clippings)
What with Bill’s writing and our swagger, we were beginning to create a small buzz in Transcona, and before long, we had lots of folks at our games.

Even though the refs put an end to our unbeaten season, we didn’t go down without a fight, but then again, fighting was why this story doesn’t have a better ending.
10441321_10152874022804307_4682468662134316117_nEven though we were disappointed, the arrival of our team jackets lifted our spirits, and we wore them like badges of honor.
Even at our 50th team reunion, a few of the guys were still wearing theirs with pride. Mine had disappeared long ago, but my good friend Jim Quail surprised me with a brand new one which I proudly wore as we discussed that final game, perhaps for the last time.

(Sadly, of the four Transcona Nationals shown in the team jackets above, I’m the only one left standing. RIP guys.) 

 

Bob & Geo Hit The Road.

The Trip, preplanning…

George is not a camper, George has seldom communed with nature unless you count sitting poolside, occasional trips to the beach or opening the fucking sunroof on his car. The plan is to remedy that this spring or early summer. There’s been so much snow in the Sierra, it’s screwing up my trip planning.

The rough plan so far is Death Valley, Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite, a brief break and a free lunch from Hilliard in San Jose. Then south down Highway One through Big Sur, a stop at Kirk Creek, then San Simeon and Cambria, hit a few Central Coast Wineries and then back to the Canyon. The trip will take a week, roughly a 1,000 miles of driving, a 100 or so off road. No hotels, tent camping every night. Given Geo’s level of experience, this will be like taking a 9-year-old, unruly boy along. A nine-year-old boy who drinks.

The plan is for rock and roll music, the blues and country music. We’ll drink whiskey, eat steak, hot dogs, eggs and bacon cooked in an iron frying pan over an open fire (if possible) Geo says he isn’t going to shave, I’ll be doing my shaving in the side mirror of the Jeep. Geo snores, so I may be sleeping in the Jeep.

Anze the Dog is coming with us, giving me another mouth to feed. I’ll be busy, Anze and Geo will be asking for dinner, cold drinks, and constant attention. I won’t be scratching Geo’s ear or giving him belly rubs. Like Anze, he may need brushing.

If we weren’t so old, I’d suggest climbing Mt. Whitney, be neat to stand on the top of the highest peak in the lower 48, right? But, I know of a great view of it from Highway 395.

We can look at it from the road and eat pastry from the Danish Bakery in Bishop, CA  or we could camp at Whitney Portal or  Portogee (there’s an ethnic slur) Campground in Lone Pine and let the younger folks tell us about their climb, while we drink whiskey.

Mammoth Lakes will be great if the snow is gone by then. The plan has been to drive on 4X4 forest service roads to Yosemite. Snow could be a problem, if it is, I’ll figure something out. A few days at Yosemite will round out that first part of the trip.

We’ll see Big Jim in San Jose for a fine lunch on his nickel, of course. Then see my grandkids in Santa Cruz and head south down Highway 1.

We may camp a night in Big Sur or beat it to Kirk Creek, maybe Lime Kiln. The last night we’ll stay at San Simeon State Park and have dinner with the Cochruns and Griffins. On the way home stop at Windward Winery and get Cakes a bottle or two of good wine, we’ll admire Lana Cochrun’s artwork while we’re there…

When we get home, Anze will be ready for his own bed,

Geo’s Media Blog. (My Friend Jack) New 2/18/19 #3

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of radio legends during my years in radio, but the most memorable has to be Jack McCoy.(pictured with me above) I’ve known Jack since 1972 when I was with CFTR in Toronto and bought his “Last Contest” which necessitated that my counterpart from Hamilton, Chuck Camroux and I having to travel to San Diego in the middle of winter. (oh darn)

Upon our arrival at our hotel in Mission Beach located right on San Diego Bay where Jack had booked us a two-bedroom suite it was warm and sunny and I remember thinking, “Man, I gotta live here someday.”
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the air conditioner so I called the front desk to ask for help, they said, “Walk over to the sliding glass doors, open them, and then let God do his thing.

Bright and early the next morning, Chuck and I excitedly headed to the KCBQ studios which were located in Santee to meet Jack and get our promos cut. What I remember the most about that meeting was how much Jack reminded me of Clint Eastwood. He wore a leather cowboy hat, boots, and a Mexican a poncho. Hell, he even smoked those small cigarillos as Clint had in those spaghetti westerns. However, his voice though sounded more like Rod Serling’s than it did Clint’s.
Now here’s where it gets a little crazy because after interviewing Chuck and me for a little while about our stations, he completely ad-libbed the promos which blew me away.

A couple of years later when I moved to Indianapolis to become the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting, Jack now owned a research company called Ram Research but before buying any of his stuff, I insisted that he cut me some promos.

Taking no notes, he would begin our sessions by interviewing out of me, just what it was that I was trying to communicate to my listeners? Then he’d have me bring him all movie soundtrack albums I had and after listening to a few cuts he’d say, “Ok, I’m ready … Roll tape.”

As I said, Jack never took any notes, because as he explained to me, “If you take notes, you’re not the consultant, the client is.
It was amazing to sit there and listen to him describe poetically what I wanted to say in the promo. He’s always claimed that the words came to him from the music and even though I’ve seen him do it so many times, I’m still amazed by it to this day.

Jack, since I’ve known him has always been more comfortable inventing things like green yachts, or coming up with some form of new research than he is doing promos which is unfortunate because it’s what he does best. Hey, our industry could use a few great promos right about now don’t you think?
 
Jack is ambivalent about things that would scare the hell out of most people, but like all gifted people, he is also very vulnerable. This vulnerability may be the reason that he’s always insisted that I stay in the studio with him when he’s recording my promos. He likes to watch my eyes as he ad-libs his way through our sessions because he could tell how the session was going from the look in my eyes.

Almost ten years after our first meeting, I got to live my dream when I moved to San Diego to start my own company. Hell, I even lived in Coronado which was where Jack lived so I got to hang out with him aboard his 65ft ocean-going yacht which was docked near the Hotel Del.
Here’s to Jack McCoy, the best I’ve ever worked with. Love Ya Man!
 
(To hear Jack adlibbing his way through some promos back in the day, click on the links at the bottom of the page.)
 
Geo’s Life-Liners

It’s bad enough that radio executives today get to pay themselves exorbitant salaries, but the worse part is that they also get to decide how much the rest of us make.

When Sputnik went up into the sky years ago, it changed the way we lived because we realized that we were now on the world stage.

I may be a little liberal but I sure ain’t a socialist.
Other than politicians, do you know anyone else who thinks that we need more people to move to America?
 
Why is it that when a man starts making decent money all of a sudden he needs more women? However, when a woman starts making big bucks, she usually thinks the opposite. 

Are addicts the best liars in the world or what?

Being a so-called privileged old white guy, I’m wondering when all those privileges are gonna show up?

Had Germany and Japan had won the war, do you think the same wealthy people would be running America that runs it today?

Why do they call it “sleeping around” when sleeps not involved?

Why do women feel safe saying things that a man would be deathly afraid to say to another man?

Do the Pats refer to themselves as being from New England or Boston?

If white people are responsible for all the bad things that have happened, then they must be responsible for good things too?

Unhappiness is the result of your expectations exceeding your talent.

You never tire of reliving a happy memory.

You usually have to take a detour around failure on your way to success.

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

Geo’s Media Blog. (Do You Wanna Dance?) New 2/25/19

My folks bought a new home
in a suburb called Transcona
That’s where I started High School
and began dating Lana

Even though I couldn’t dance, I spent my first summer in Transcona going to every dance I could find. Once there though, I would just stand in front of the speakers listening to the music and could actually feel myself going through some sort of metamorphosis. My parents never realized that the guy who left home that hot night in July for his first dance, never returned.
When I started high school at TCI that fall it was already too late, the music had got to me which meant that any educational aspirations my folks may have held for me were done for. However, I must admit that even though I was only at the dance to hear the music, I did notice all the “pretty things” out on the dance floor. Back in those days, other than trying to sneak in a slow grinder in now and then, none of the guys knew how to dance so the girls had no choice but to dance with each other.
My friend Rolly Blaquiere and I soon figured out that if we ever hoped to capture the hearts of some sweet things, we needed to learn how to dance. However, learning to dance required that we do it hidden in my basement because when you’re from Transcona, there’s no way we could be seen dancing with each other. We spent many a night down there stumbling around to Elvis and Fats Domino records before finally becoming dancin’ fools.
Our learning to dance worked like magic and soon all the young ladies were asking us to dance so we took our act on the road. I don’t know what we were thinking but we were lucky the locals didn’t beat the sh*t beat out of us when the girls all over Winnipeg, lined up to dance with us.
Rolly and I spent the whole summer just dancing our asses off with no idea that in a few years the folks would be dancing their asses off to our music when we formed The Jury.
Even though I was really into music and dancing, I still loved baseball and remember the day when even that began to change. Our coach gathered us around him at baseball practice one day and then pointed his bat out to centerfield where some pretty girls were hanging out. In no uncertain terms, he said, “You stay away from the likes of them because they’ll ruin your baseball career.” Even though we had no idea what the hell he was talking about, sure enough, about halfway through the season, most of us were out in the field chatting them up instead of taking batting practice. Our coach wasn’t a brilliant man, but he was right about one thing, I never played baseball again.
Being fifteen was a terrible age, you’re too old to ride a bike and too young to drive so you had to walk everywhere. One late afternoon near the end of the school year, I popped into the Oxford Grill to load up on some fries for my long walk home. While standing there waiting for my chips, once again my destiny showed up. However this time it was in the form of a girl who I spotted in the adjoining banquet hall celebrating her graduation from middle school with her classmates.
After finding out that her name was Lana, I decided right then and there that I would stay another year in the ninth grade so that I could help guide her through her year in High School. Hey, it was the least I could do for the girl who would become my wife and eventually present me with the precious little thing who would cause me to dream yet another dream. Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Geo’s Life-Liners.

Philosophical
Thinking you know something is what keeps you from learning anything.

You can’t start life over, but you can change the ending. 

Hearing good advice requires more smarts than giving advice does.

A good friend is somebody who laughs at your bad jokes and sympathizes with you even when your problems add up to nothing.

The only thing that’s limitless is our imagination.

Political And Politically Incorrect.

If we could get politicians to stop dry humping Big Business, America could be great again.

I love women which may make me sexist because not all women are not worthy of love.
 
Reality
Not having sex isn’t a big deal. However, being told by someone that they’re never going to have sex with you, is.
 
When adversity strikes lots of friends turn into acquaintances. 
 
Using the American standard of what constitutes being poor, at least 80% of the world is poor.
 
A man is much better at business than he is at relationships because he plans business.
 
It is much easier to figure out what true love is than find it. 
 
In Britain, if the press reports a news story about you that’s not true, they have to print a retraction plus pay damages. That would be so cool if it worked that way in the US too because it would probably do away with most of the fake news.
 
Not all Cops are bad, not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Blacks are thugs or Hispanics all gang members, but some are. 
 
I hear white people using racist accusations more often than black people do. 
 
“Bad Girls” don’t have time to keep a diary. 
 
Being gifted doesn’t come with aguarantee. 
 
Only half as many people in New Orleans watched the Superbowl this year. 
 
Questions?
I wonder why they charge so much for those rooms you never use at Casino Hotels?
 
Has anyone checked the bank accounts of the refs from the no-call game in New Orleans? 
 
Are you getting the feeling that the NFL is dirty? 
 
Who wrote more meaningful words, the Dylans, Thomas & Bob or the Williams, Hank & Tennessee? 
 
Who determines what risk is worth?
 
Has any town gotten better? 
Why are footballs called pigskins if they are made from cowhides? 
Are there any nice stories about the people who run the record and publishing business?
 
What did Jesus ever say that we disagree with?
 
I wonder if the protests about the war in Viet Nam were more about the draft than the war? Maybe that’s why there are no protests today even though we are still warring? 

Why do people who never listen to advice always insist on giving it?

Is it true that Robert Kraft was caught enjoying a happy ending?

Radio.
The holiday rating books are out, and once again it proves that Christmas music is the most popular music on earth. 

Why do radio executives now make much more money than the successful ones that came before them?

Tony Romo may not make it to the Football HOF, but he’ll be in the Broadcasting Hall Of Fame for sure.

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

Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women. (Free Bird) Chapter VI 4/01/22 (6)

In the previous chapter, (Wild Women Don’t Get The Blues) I was discussing how I’d discovered that “He who walks into the room with the most beautiful woman on his arm, owns the room.”
Unfortunately, many of these beautiful women were broken, and not only did they tear up my life, but they were also costly.

Oh, and did I mention that not only was I attracted to broken women, but they were also attracted to me?
Shortly after discovering the power of beautiful women, I also discovered what freedom felt like and saw my future.
Ok, here it comes, here comes my 16th birthday, the one I’ve been dreaming about for oh so long!
It’s almost driver’s license day baby, and soon, I’ll be getting my ticket to ride!

I’ve been a car freak since the day my Dad put me on his lap and let me steer.
While we rode around, he used to talk about how much fun it would be for the two of us to drive across Canada in some kind of Car Rally.

Sadly, we never did but it’s still on my bucket list. Hey, maybe I’ll get to do it with my Brother, my Son, or my Grandson?
Unfortunately though, like my Dad, I’m also running out of time.

Alright, the big day has finally arrived, I excitedly headed to the DMV with Mom and Dad, but I was a nervous wreck.
I planned on taking the written test first, and then while driving, I would memorize the route so I could come back later and practice.

I aced the test and had the driving route down cold but when we parked, the inspector handed me a piece of paper and told me to give it to the cashier.
When I looked at him quizzically, he said, “When you give that to her, she’ll give you your driver’s license.”

Are you f**king sh*ting me? I couldn’t help but break into a couple of choruses of “Free Bird” even though it hadn’t even been written let alone recorded yet.

The stars were aligned; it was my birthday, I had my brand new driver’s license, it was Friday night, and now all I needed now was my Mother’s car.
After begging her for it for over an hour, she reluctantly gave in.

You should have seen us; I looked like I was driving the clown car at the circus.
How we loaded so many of my buddies in my Mom’s small car is a mystery, but we did it, and we had a ball.

We spent most of the night just driving around laughing and honking at all the girls.
My favorite part of the evening though was pulling into the A&W and ordering up burgers and fries just like the big kids do.
(Me pictured above wearing shades and on top driving my new wheels)

Not only was it a night that I’ll never forget, it was also a very late one.
When I finally got home around 2:00 AM, both of my parents were waiting up for me, and I was double grounded.

Surprisingly, spending two weekends at home turned out to be another life-changer.
Not only did I become the first of my friends to see the King, but it also changed my life.

I just remember how bummed I was sitting there watching some big band show with my folks.
Then, when Jimmy Dorsey said, “Let’s welcome back to our stage the young man who caused so much controversy last week.” my ears perked up.

However, when my Mom said, “Sandy, surely they’re not going to have that disgusting young man on again, are they?” The TV now had my undivided attention.
Then when this guy named Elvis Presley hit the stage, I was spellbound.