Here is a recording that was recently sent to me of Jimbo, Tommy, and myself performing 'Crystal Ball' live at the Montgomery Civic Center when T.S. came back for a solo 'Homecoming Concert' sometime during the 20th century (might have '42 during the war).
If your browser won't let you listen and read or look at the pictures simultaneously, open another Explorer window (or whatever your internet looker-atter thing is) and try that.
PERSONAL: About Tommy Shaw, we have had a lot of history together. He is probably
the one person to which I was the closest for the longest time, off and on,
in my life (until 1997). Tommy was one of my best (and sometimes THE best) friends many different times in my life and he has
sincerely tried, over and over, to help me make the 'big time'. People ask, 'why
hasn't he helped you?', and I guess they think he should just hand me a pile of
cash but, that would only
be a temporary help and I think that was something Tommy knew. Instead, he
introduced me to a lot of people who could have signed me to recording labels
and management deals, he tried to get me with STYX at times when Dennis DeYoung
was going to leave the band, he had the video producer - who
did videos for him and others (including Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video) -
videotape my performance at the 'Homecoming concert' that Tommy did in
, and he tried to get STYX to record songs that he and
I wrote together. The biggest thing he did to give me a chance in the big time
was that, when he could have asked all kinds of successful, proven, moneymaking
songwriters to co-write with him on his first solo album, he asked me. We just didn't have a
hit off the album. One of the songs we co-wrote, 'Free to Love You', was even a 'World Premier Video'
on MTV. Tommy also arranged for me to play at 'The House of Blues' in L.A. on a
showcase night. You know what, I just don't think my writing is the kind that
people in the business think they can get rich on. Also, if I had made the big
time, I might not be as close as I am to my children. A lot of people choose
career and money over their families and a lot of them wind up regretting it. If
I had become rich and famous I might have drank and drugged myself to death,
too, you never can tell. I
appreciate all of Tommy's efforts to help me, but I'm real, real thankful I
haven't missed too much of my kids growing up. I stayed with him and Jeanne, who
he has since married, for the most part of a year or so, around 1996, while I
flew back and forth from his house, underneath the HOLLYWOOD sign in L.A., to
Montgomery to be with my children and to help take care of my father when he was
Our history includes; meeting when we were teenagers, writing either of our first songs together (I have it on tape from '66 or '67), my 1st daughter Robin's 1st B'day party (also on a tape which includes his dad and mine rambling on about our long hair and bad habits), playing together in an 'older' band called ROD HENLEY AND THE IN CROWD, the ELECTRIC SAMMICH, THE WOLFE BROTHERS (when we went to find Wimpy Jones on the night he died), JABBO STOKES AND THE JIVE ROCKETS, and HARVEST, a dozen different Montgomery clubs, sordid tales, Kegler's Kove, many trips to visit him in Chicago, at his farm in Michigan(that's Richie Canata with me and Tommy, he played that sax part on "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel), and in New York City, my auditions to replace Dennis DeYoung (when STYX would threaten to split with him more than once and then their manager would call and patch things up), his first 'solo' project - 'Girls With Guns' - when he invited me to write with him again, Jimbo and I singing background vocals on that CD, recording at studios in Chicago, N.Y.C., and L.A., his trips back to Montgomery to visit, a 'homecoming concert' at the Montgomery Civic Center, 'Grand-Opening' of the New Kove in 1990, my first day without alcohol (which is a drug) and other drugs, recovery groups in New York, Atlanta, Tucson, Santa Rosa, Montgomery, and Los Angeles, road trips with 'DAMN YANKEES' and Ted Nugent , 'solo TOMMY SHAW', and 'STYX', four different homes in L.A., yard sales at half of them, moving from one to the other, the remodeling of the one they're in now, which is underneath the 'H' of the 'HOLLYWOOD' sign (where Tommy, Jeanne, and I did the first clearing of the hilltop cactus and stuff), running in to Bob Barker in Burbank , a reception for Magic Johnson's HIV/Aids Foundation (where I met Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Kevin Costner, Magic Johnson, Paula Abdul and others), the American Cinema Awards (where I introduced myself to Gregory Peck and introduced him to Jeanne because she said he was always her idol [at the awards ceremony we sat close to Chaka Khan and I ran into Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Gerald Ford, Shirley McClain, and a bunch of other people who had no idea that Eddie from Montgomery was there]), a helicopter trip to Catalina Island to board a 127 ft. Yacht, P'zazz, (where we spent the day riding jet-skis and eating and then sailing back to the California coastline), meeting Mira Sorvino in line at a coffee shop on Sunset Blvd. and introducing her to 'my friend' Tommy, playing at the House Of Blues on Sunset Blvd. on a showcase night, a benefit concert for the 'House of Ruth' at the Beverly Hills Country Club (Jeff Conaway , who was Kiniki in 'Grease', sang the third parts), deep-sea fishing from Orange Beach with Capt. Mike, a 'STYX' concert with the Atlanta Symphony - at The Greek Theater in Hollywood where I met Angie Dickenson, my daughter Katie's sixteenth birthday at a concert in Pensacola (where Tommy had the whole audience sing Happy Birthday to her), and between each event in this list there are other important and memorable happenings that, maybe, I can tell stories about, later, on this web site for anyone who might find them interesting.
The Hollywood Hills Yard Sale Story: I didn't imagine that people in Beverly Hills had yard sales, but they do and they're serious about it. Yard sales in Beverly Hills are strange. Half the people who go are Mexicans and the other half are people like us who are curious or just want to find a good deal.
During the week, Los Angeles has a used stuff publication, like the Bulletin Board in Montgomery, called the Recycler. We would get one and Tommy's sweetheart Jeanne would spend an appropriate amount of time finding and circling the yard sales that were in the high-dollar neighborhoods of the Hollywood Hills: Laurel Canyon, Benedict Canyon, Beechwood Canyon, and the other Beverly Hills sections where there were multi-million dollar homes.
On Saturday mornings we would get up pretty early, clean up enough, go to the market down the hill, get designer coffee, and strike out for the hills. Tommy's house is in those hills, so it didn't take long for us to get to some signs that led us to fabulous homes with unbelievable clothes and stuff laying on blankets in the yards or lined up on tables on fabulous driveways. Really cool jeans, sweaters, coats, shirts, suits, and dresses for 50 cents, a dollar, two dollars. I thought everything would be very nice and chic but priced kind of high. I thought they just must be having a good time with it because it sure didn't look like they needed the money in those fine houses.
On this particular morning Jeanne had the Hollywood map take us up into Benedict Canyon, I believe, and soon we wound our way up to what looked like a modest one story house with white columns out front. However, in the hills, the homes would be built on the side of a hill like that with two or three stories in back of and under the first level. We walked up and a lady told us that this was the home of Rodney Peete, who was the starting quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles, and his wife Holly Robinson, who was on the long-running TV sitcom 'Hanging With Mr. Cooper' as well as movies. She said that they were moving and went through all their stuff before the move and left the stuff they didn't want to move. There were blankets covered with sports clothes; shoes, sweats, and dozens of t-shirts. There were racks of hanging clothes that were obviously very nice, so I began pulling off men's clothes that might be my size and stashing them out on the deck where I could try them on all at once. Tommy helped me pick out the good-looking stuff, including tailored suits and jackets and dress shirts that were made with beautiful fabrics.
We had no idea what the girl having the sale would be wanting for these clothes because they weren't marked, but we got what fit or nearly fit and went to the desk where she was taking money. It was Holly Robinson who was taking the money, without the makeup and wearing just everyday stuff like we were. When it came our turn to wheel and deal, Tommy told her that I was 'Eddie from Alabama' and that I was in L.A. preparing for some music jobs and church ministry and she should give me a good deal. I got 15 or 20 t-shirts ( brand new or clean from NFL teams) for 25 or 50 cents apiece, Reebok shoes with the tags still on them (for some of my boys because they were too big or too small for me) for $1, beautiful full-cut silk dress shirts in 4 or 5 colors for $2 each, but the kicker was the suits and jackets. Later, I had to get the sleeves and pants altered to be a little shorter on some of it, but listen to this; a dark colored Linea Domizia sport coat from Malibu Clothes- $10, a military green, satin lined David Rickey dress jacket complete with an inside label that said 'Custom Tailored for Rodney Peete' - $10, another custom tailored David Rickey forest green double breasted suit with pants - $20, and, most unbelievable, a Giorgio Armani, Black Label, Italian made, 3 button suit - $25. Holly was very sweet to me and seemed to enjoy giving us this deal. When we left, we were giddy laughing - couldn't believe it.
We talked about that day for weeks, it was the yard sale jackpot. Later, Jeanne took me to a Hollywood tailor to fit the suits. I found a serial number in the Giorgio Armani suit so I called the Armani store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills where they looked it up and told me they sold it for $1,795. We figured I got about $4,000 worth of clothes that day for $147. I wore the David Rickey suit at a concert I did at a church on Ventura boulevard and I wore the Armani suit to the American Cinema Awards in Los Angeles. My son, Jonathan, wore the Armani to a Senior Dance. He looked excellent.
The Day I met Ronald Reagan
While I was staying with Tommy and Jeanne, in 1996, we went with some of the 'STYX' group to see and meet Ronald Reagan. It's something I never even thought about doing, but a friend in Los Angeles knew Reagan's personal secretary/assistant so we went to Century City, which is part of L.A., to see him. We went to an upper floor of a huge, modern office building where Ronald Reagan's post-Presidency business was done and then through some security. Everyone was very nice and we went into his own office to meet him and take pictures.
I have to admit I was a little nervous and had no idea what to expect from this meeting. While he was President, during the '80s, I was wrapped up in myself so much that I don't really remember much about what happened in the world outside myself. The girl to whom I was married for 8 1/2 years died, I married for the third time and had 2 sons, I was divorced and then married for the fourth time, and had my sixth child.
Now as I look at history of the time, I have found out that during Ronald Reagan's time as President of the United States; taxes went down, the National economy went good and stayed that way until the late Nineties, the communist Soviet Union fell apart, the Berlin wall was destroyed, and the American military became stronger.
One of the guys in 'Styx' refused to even go with us because he hated Reagan's Presidency. I never asked him about it, but I guess he preferred communist Russia, the Berlin wall, not much of a military, and paying higher taxes. As a protest to lower taxes, I hope he continued to pay the higher rates. If all the folks who think taxes should be higher would go ahead and pay higher taxes, then the rest of us might be able to go to movies more often.
We all stood in Reagan's office while taking turns meeting him and taking pictures and then it was my turn. He was gracious and generally just a sweet man. He was already being affected by Alzheimer's disease but he didn't seem to care in that he didn't seem self-conscious. Behind us on the bookshelves there were some pictures of himself and other Presidents, so, because I wanted to have a short conversation with him, I nervously asked him about one of the pictures where he was pictured with Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter playing golf. I said, "That looks like a good day at the golf course." He turned to look at the picture and then looked back at me with kind of a blank look as if he didn't remember. It was no problem, though, he just shook my hand and posed with a smile for the camera.
I actually had the urge to hug him because he was so nice and, silly as it sounds, he was just loveable and kind while he took the time to make us comfortable for pictures. I choked and didn't try the hug. A few weeks later we received envelopes with autographed pictures of each of us with President Ronald Reagan. I felt honored and it was a good memory.
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