Where Do You Meet These People?
by Dr. Derek Lamar
Johnny Forever (my punk rock/new wave musician friend, Carl Carlyle) and I found out many things the first day we met. I mentioned that my wife Nancy and I had gone to a Fourth Way School together and that our Teacher had been a student of G. I. Gurdjieff. Carl’s mouth dropped open and then he pulled back: “No. really? That’s wild.” I studied with a Fourth Way Teacher named Alex Horn and here I meet you on Horn Ave.” We shared a good laugh over that. Carl’s disclosure of the “Fourth Way” group he had been a member of in San Francisco sounded like so many unfortunate attempts at pseudo-therapy where members are intimidated by “teachers” whose ego is more in control than their liberated Self.
(Left: G. I. Gurdjieff, Fourth Way Teacher. Above right: New Wave magazine of the 80's era.).
But for the “nothingness” of that “coincidence” it still somehow clicked for us and we both sensed that this meeting had, in some way, been ordained by something greater than
the ghost of Buddy Holly. We both discovered that we equally shared a disdain for boorish love songs and though each of us attempted to knock out a boy/girl tune, now and again, our strengths were not in that area. We wrote about almost anything but. For Carl, this resurgence of raw rock and roll manifesting as punk and new wave was the perfect vehicle for him to unleash his angst and confused hostility whereas for me, it meant that my insecurity about my guitar playing and lack of musical experience could hide behind my song-writing.
At this time Carl was working for Dr. Josef P. Hrachovec. Hrachovec was working with the experimental drug GH3 (Gerovital H3) along with his studies on genetic engineering and what became a household term years later as: “Life Extension”. He was giving Carl injections of this drug as a side benefit to their work together but other than the excitement of getting to participate in this threshold-to-the-future experiment, I am not sure Carl ever saw any evidence that immortality was appearing in his life. However it gave birth to “Johnny GH3”.
(Right: Book authored by Dr. Josef P. Hrachovec and medical supplement GH3 he did research on.).
One of the first things we did together was go out for lunch at a small eatery called The Yellow Submarine on Santa Monica Blvd. I remember the Cars playing on the jukebox. It was “Just What I Needed”: a great song, a great time to be alive. It was like Beatlemania all over again. So there we sat in this cramped booth, which was actually a shell of fused metal creating this submarine sculpture that housed this small avant-garde diner that served submarine sandwiches and pizza. We ordered a pepperoni pizza and as we ate Nancy and I noticed that Carl was not “eating” the pizza in the normal fashion. He was scraping all of his topping off to eat and discarding the carbohydrate crust. “Pinch An Inch” was the diet slogan of the day and Carl was hard pressed to find that much. Most of the time his diet consisted of yogurt and peanuts.
(Above Left: Yellow Submarine archetype. Above right: The Cars first album with "Just What I Needed.).
Two months after I met Carl, I went with him to a studio in the San Fernando Valley. The production engineer and everyone went into another room where the drum tracks were being laid down and Nancy and I stayed in the lounge area. I decided to sit in a modern chrome Italian chair that was shaped like an “S” and as soon as I sat down it collapsed. The metal arms bent and it sank right to the floor. Nancy and I panicked. I thought: “Oh my gawd! I can’t believe I crushed that chair!!!” I weighed 232 lbs at the time and blamed everything on my weight. However, I got up out of the chair and proceeded to bend it back to its original shape and then sat in a different chair on the other side of the room. Soon the door opened and Melissa Mayo, a punk artist at the time doing her own tunes like “Sunglass Solar Plating”, walked in wearing her skin tight leopard outfit and Elton John sunglasses and sat in that chair. Shloooooop!!! Down goes the chair right to the floor. Nancy and I are speechless, dumbfounded and at a loss at what to say. I was sure I had ruined the chair forever. Melissa calmly gets up, all 110 lbs of her, and says: “That damn chair, that happens all the time.” Finally Nancy and I could breathe again.
(Left: Similar chair to one in the studio. Above right: Johnny Forever and the Tweenagers.).
By July 22, 1979 Carl (Johnny Forever and The Tweenagers) and myself did a charity concert at United Cerebral Palsy (Spastic Children’s Foundation) in Sylmar, CA. The kids at the facility seemed to enjoy the whole experience. I guess we weren’t TOO LOUD because we were invited back a month later. Carl was singing his stuff from his musical: “Johnny Forever and the Tweenagers” a sort of 80’s version of “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” while I did my “Cellarful of Noise”: a musical biography of The Beatles. It seemed an odd time for rock musicals but everything had a theme at that time and as long as the songs were good it worked.
(Left: United Cerebral Palsy logo. Above right: David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars lp.).
That was the last time we performed at the same venue. By now Carl was working feverishly with The Tweenagers and they were doing gigs at Blackie’s in Hollywood along with appearances at the Hong Kong Café and Club 88. I don’t think The Tweenagers played Madame Wong’s. It became the Whiskey A Go Go of punk rock and only top of the line “players” were getting booked there. Carl used to eat nearby at The Atomic Café and he told us about this woman he met there named Patrice. That was weird. She used to live with the owner of the All American Food and Beverage Co. in Santa Monica. Carl and I often joke about:
“Where Do You Meet These People?” except in this case she turned out to be someone we knew from the Fourth Way School we went to. While he was busy eating these peculiar noodles that were rather rubbery and I think they glowed in the dark, or something, a conversation ensued with her. Patrice was always wearing this waist length fur coat and blonde hair with that high sort of Goldie Hawn voice she had. That in itself conjures up images.
Check out Johnny Forever on YouTube
(Above Left: Flyer from Hong Kong Cafe Above right: Flyers from Blackie's and Madame Wong's.).
A few Fourth Way students had jobs at the “Food and Beverage Co.” and as waiters and waitresses they sang and played guitar there and did musical performances throughout the evening. I remember Jimmy Lott from
The Group With No Name and his song: “There’s A Moon Over Brooklyn” for one. He had performed that song one night in our apartment back in Santa Monica for a Mentor that was visiting. The weird thing is that I had just written a song that I did that night called “Journey To The Center of the Moon.” Everywhere a reflection just as the moon reflects the light of the sun.
(Above right: "The Group with No Name" with Jimmy Lott and also Katey Sagal* on the far right:).
Carl had this proclivity for attracting “odd personalities” into his life. I was speaking with Carl on the phone the other night and he said: “Well, you don’t meet these kind of strange people.” I said, “Yes I do, I met you.” He laughed but I’m not sure he understood I was making a joke. Carl had been a cartoonist “back in the day” in San Francisco and he and his girlfriend had a son named Elijah around 1970. Carl was busy doing his art and she would make burritos and sell them around town. That sounds like a cartoon but also very Sixties. Carl’s life could very well be written in little boxes with bubble dialogue. I don’t mean that disapprovingly. I simply think that his version of it unfolds like a series of comical artist caricatures. An artist who does caricatures will take the prominent features of their subjects and exaggerate them. But with Carl, nothing needs to be exaggerated. It already is extreme and wild and crazy and in conclusion: a
“Where Do You Meet These People?” kinda thing.
(Above left: A burrito. Above right: Magazine of cartoons from the 60's era.).
There was this friend of Carl’s named Bill Everone.** It first came up because Carl had a huge painting on canvas in his Doheny apartment that had been painted by Everone. To quote from a website I just searched: “Bill Everone, …had done personal research on the Pleiades case.” Another friend of Carl’s was named Randy Johnston. Her mother had been a disc jockey for years in the Seattle area. Randy herself was a bit of an eclectic occult rock enthusiast with interests in immortality, music, UFO’s and metaphysics. She was always making “connections” to this, that and the other thing and saying: “See? See?” To which I found amusing because I enjoy seeing connections but these were not always as apparent on the surface as having significance but then again, who is to say? To this day anytime we talk about weird coincidences we will make a reference to Randy.
(Above: A rendition of the UFO concept. Above right: A symbol for "infinity".).
Shortly after I met Carl he started dating a woman named Susan Catherine. It turned out she was a stripper in Hollywood at the Kit Kat Club. Susan introduced him to Andi Hayes who wanted to be a punk rock singer at the time. Carl and Andi went to see a movie about the punk band Black Flag. She was upset about her cat being in heat and then got mad at Carl for using humor in poetry and finally told him to “get the fuck out of her car!” Carl got down on the ground and insisted that he was going to put his head under her wheel and she could prove she no longer wanted to be his friend by running over him. She didn't. I told him recently he wouldn't want to try that today. Later Carl was introduced to Genea (Jen-nay) of whom he said: “She is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.” He met her at some party where the new wave band, the Triggers, was performing. The wife of Steve Tussey (leader of the Triggers) told Carl that Genea wrote a lot of good songs but also that: “She’s a guy… but she’s pre-op.”
(Above left: The Kit Kat Club. Above right: Andi Hayes, new wave musician, still out there today.).
I had already met Rat Boy at Carl’s apartment who ended up being Rat Girl. And then there was Lorna Bentley. I loved her name. I think she was a publicist in the new wave scene at the time. But she had this odd lisp. When a woman has a lisp you never quite know what they are trying to communicate. If she would say: “Hello… I’m Lorna Bentley”, it would sound like a screen test for an English movie. Carl also had a girlfriend named Leah who ended up dating his son Elijah. That’s not weird, that’s just bad taste. But more recently Carl met a guy named Karl who probably should have met Rat Boy because Karl, with a “K”, has an alter ego: “Miss Kookie” who sings “My Little Pink Dress” in a musical he/she has written to sympathize with any self-respecting cross-dresser. I have heard the tapes and actually she is quite good. All of this should have been filmed by Ed Wood.
I mean, “Where Do You Meet These People?”
(Above left: A transgender individual. Above right: Ed Wood, film director and early transvestite in Hollywood folklore. Also famous for grade b movies and keeping Bela Lugosi in work when his career had reached a low level.).
Saga continues: Rock The Cemetery
© Copyright Derek Lamar 2006
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