Memories

But when I think of summer it is what has happened to me recently, because the Juneteenth parade is coming up and my mother passed in June and the last thing she saw me do was be in the Juneteenth parade. She had a massive heart attack at the house. Quinton Scott, a volunteer with the Elks Drum and Bugle Corps and also a volunteer at KMOJ, the same day they found out my mother had passed, and all my family was there at the house, they came and played the drums right there in the street outside, like "Taps." It was a spiritual thing, with things very quiet. It made me realize how much love and respect I have in the community, both black and white--much respect to them. Sometimes you hide pain and sometimes you have to deal with it. My mother was the greatest woman ever to live in this world.

--Walter Q-Bear Banks,
KMOJ radio

The memory when I think of summer is of my Latin gigs and my first gig was in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in 1973. It was for a Cuban social club that was going downhill and it was a benefit. We took in $1,100 and everybody thought we had won the lottery. I thought I was going to die; that we'd lose our pants. I was a young kid then, just out of the military. I did the Joe Cuba Sextet; you know the song that went, "bang bang, ah peep peep"? And they'd have that disco whistle. I think I paid like $650. In those days the Latin bands would do like five or six gigs in the same night. They'd drive around in a big car; these Latin guys would go to Queens for an hour and then over to Manhattan for an hour, then maybe to the Bronx, maybe come do an hour for me in Jersey, and end up at 5 in the morning in Harlem. Willie Colon, Eddie Palmieri, all the guys would do this. In Perth Amboy, you had the oil refineries and it was always hot with all those torches going on. This was a hot summer night. The gig was upstairs, no elevators. And they'd pull up in this big car and haul everything up the stairs. Joe Cuba. Summer makes me think of these things.

--Victor Valens,
promoter of the Twin Cities
Latin Jazz Festival


The summer I graduated from Walt Whitman High School in New York, the Stones put out Some Girls and that was our soundtrack to the last month of school. "Shattered" was everybody's favorite because of the New York references; we thought it was very inside. It was one of those funnel things; it crystallized us. The closest the Stones were playing that summer was in Philly and so we had to take a train down there. The train just started collecting Stones fans, beginning with me and 15 of my buddies, and at each stop there was more and more high school kids, so that by 50 miles out of New York there was like four train cars full of kids. It was 1978, a big time for weed. One of my friends rolled 21 doobies for the three-day trip; another had 18; I was the pussy with 10. Foreigner came on first and they got booed off the stage after two songs. Then Peter Tosh comes out and Jagger joins him for "Legalize It" and everyone is smoking pot. I still have the ticket stub.

True story: About two weeks later, we were driving in Long Island in a 1967 Delta 88, a blue-grey convertible, ugly but huge; it took three people to put the top down. I swear to God, while we were listening to the Stones' "When The Whip Comes Down," five of us saw this UFO. It zig-zagged across the sky like nothing else could; it would go forward like three inches in the sky and then back one inch, like it was recapturing energy. It was like this very very very bright star. It took about five minutes to go across the whole sky. True story.

--John Eric Theide,
musician

There is a song called "In the Good Old Summertime" that on the surface might sound trite and overdone, but I think it is a reflection of a larger issue and that is the commonly held belief that at any given time, music and art reflect the overall consciousness of the society; what the society values, and what its morals are. And when you look at a song from 1903 that says you go walking hand in hand with your tootsie-wootsie, it to me reflects a bygone era: [He starts singing.] "In the good old summertime/In the good old summertime/Strolling through the shady lanes with your baby-mine/You hold her hand and she holds yours/And that's a very good sign/For she's your tootsie-wootsie in the good old summertime." It reflects kind of an innocence of an era, frankly, that I almost long for. There was another song of the era that was called "Turn Back The Universe and Give Me Yesterday," and that's kind of how I feel about a lot of the music that's going on today.

--"Diamond Jim" Dandy,
old time music performer

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