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If you have any connection to the San Francisco Bay Area music scene, Beserkley Records, Rather Ripped Records, KSAN, etc. during the 60s, 70s and 80s, you've probably heard of or met Gary Phillips, a.k.a. Gary Philippet.
Or you may have known Gary from Spokane or
Penrith Farms in Newport, Washington.
Your thoughts, memories, etc. are very welcome on this blog!
Please feel free to email your posts and any photos or audio clips to
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gratefully accepted as well.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I'm still numb. Still haven't been able to get
my head around it. Gary's gone.
Just like that. It wasn't "just like that" but it
sure seems like it this morning.
Gary didn't want me to know he was sick. I wish I
would have pressed him harder, maybe then I would
have had the chance to say goodbye. But he didn't
want to get into the details. I suspect it had
something to do with him not wanting to be
anything less than a good hang.
Above all, Gary was always a good hang. That's
the way I always remember Gary. As a great hang.
Never one to put anyone out.
Living the good life up there outside Newport Wa.
Working the land. Away from the glitz. His second
act was all service. He took care of people. He
grew vegetables. Helped people back into society
by showing how to bale hay. Until he got so sick
that he couldn't climb up on that tractor.
All he wanted to do was get well enough to feed
those animals. He'd say, "man there's a certain
feeling you get down in the stalls at 5 AM. The
animals need me. Those Lama's are happy to see
me. I just want to be of service. If I could
just get that well again!"
One of the first times we reconnected after so
many years, Gary drove four hours up to a gig I
was playing in Seattle. 3 Am and we're loading an
SVT amp head into the van off the loading dock.
And somehow I'm having more fun than I had the
whole tour! That's what I mean by a good hang.
We're hanging out for ten minutes and I feel like
I've known him my whole life. Which makes more
than a little sense.
We would send each other Mix CD's. We took it
very seriously. Gary would tap into a vein and
surprise me. My favorites were the 7 inch singles
that he'd gathered from his days working the
counter at Rather Ripped. Often times' the store
couldn't make the payroll each week, so the owner
would say, "just grab as many singles as you
Probably suited Gary just fine. He was never that materialistic.
All he wanted to do was get well enough to feed those animals.
I remember last year I had loaned a book to
Jonathan Richman who happens to be my neighbor
and was Gary's one time room-mate. We stood on
the porch shuffling our feet, talking about Gary
being sick. Jonathan raised his head opened his
eyes wide and said, "He might make it." And
somehow at that moment I believed he would make
it. Later when I told Jonathan that Gary was
slipping fast, I reminded him what he'd told me
and how I believed him.
Jonathan said, "I believed me too."
I have so many great memories of Gary.
Gary and I had electricity. Just two people when
we would start to talk it would flow. You touch
those two wires together and it sparks.
All those years ago, at the Keystone in Berkeley.
Playing pinball. I remember Gary showing me a
Yardbirds lick. One of the three licks that I
know. I play it every day.
Funnier than two motherfuckers he was. After the
surgery where they cut that massive tumor out of
him, he referred to it as "the baby".
Sure do miss the dude.
(((belle sound))) 61 noe St sf, ca 94114
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