I’ve been playing music with my best friend, Jan, since we were in high school back in the early 1970′s. We’ve been through many adventures over the years and lots of characters have faded in-and-out during that time. My one solid continuous thread since high school has been my friendship with Jan and the music that has been the fruit of our ongoing labors. Back in the day (teenage, that is…), it was handy to know an older person when Friday night came around (wink-wink, nod-nod…). That was Jan’s older brother Jerry, who took us under his wing and tolerated our mostly feral ways. Jerry had a station wagon, and on Friday nights the whole gang would pile in and go down to the Tu-Vu Drive-In theatre for a double-feature.
As I recall it was $2 a car with no limit on how many people you could cram in you’re vehicle. And the movies… well, this was the golden era of exploitation films, and we enjoyed such classics as “Trip with the Teacher”, starring a very psychotic Zalman King,
and “The Pink Angels”, not your typical motorcycle gang,
and of course the amazing Jane Fonda in “Barbarella”, a film I’ve watched many times since.
Jerry always anticipated where I was going and where my interests were taking me. He turned me on to lots of life changing things, like amazing books for example. We had become enamored with everything Carlos Castaneda had written about the Yaqui brujo Don Juan Matus, and then Jerry slipped me a copy of “Black Elk Speaks”,
the incredible true story of the Oglaga Sioux medicine man who participated in Custer’s Last Stand as an 11-year old warrior wanna-be and was a later participant in the Wounded Knee Massacre. Black Elk’s doom vision for the end of his tribe and the passing of the old ways became chillingly real. As much as Carlos Castaneda resonated with me, I began slowly to realize that Black Elk was the real deal… and I became driven to find the real story behind these incredible personages.
Jerry also had some hard to find records to listen to. His range of likes was all over the map, which is really a very forward way of thinking… but quite out of style at the time. Most of us seemed preoccupied with our few special groups… and disdained any other influences. One of the most memorable players in Jerry’s record collection was the booze-driven Irish Blues rocker, Rory Gallagher. Rory’s live shows were legendary, and we were fortunate enough to see his show when he came to San Diego.
“Live in Europe” (1972), stands as one of the most iconic of all live albums. Songs like “Messin’ with the Kid” fairly oozed molten heat and many of us singed our eyebrows while listening.
Jerry was instrumental in introducing me to a couple of my favorite artists’. The surrealist Rene Magritte, and the graphic designer, M.C. Escher. Both continue to inspire me and loom large in my personal mythos.
Dr. Jerald Ault is Professor of Marine Biology and Fisheries at the University of Miami RSMAS. Jerry and his associates are deeply involved in quantitative methods for investigating responses of marine populations to exploitation, ecosystem modeling, and resource management decision-making under uncertainty. This vital information is critical to our understanding of world-wide fish populations and how they effect the health and well being of the earth’s food chain. Here is a link to Jerry’s website for more information; http://femar.rsmas.miami.edu/ .
Back in the day I always carried around a sketchbook (still do!). I guarded my sketchbook obsessively, and was quite shocked and angry one day to discover that someone had the temerity to draw in my book! Of course, that drawing has become one of my most cherished possessions. And here it is;
Much later I drew my own response to Jerry’s original, which leads to this “Drawing of the Day”.