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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


Your requests or suggestions for improvement are
gratefully accepted as well.
- Thanks!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Great memories from Joanne Blake


My name is Joanne Blake. My husband Reb and I have known and loved Gary for over 40 years.

I first met him I believe, in 1966. He was in the band The Front Line. They had just toured with Sonny and Cher. The band moved into the house next door to my parents house on Blossom Court in San Rafael.

Being 14 at the time, you can imagine how exciting it was to have a "famous" rock band move into the house next door. After a few months of living it up and spending all the money they made on tour, they had the electricity and water shut off for non-payment. My parents had fallen in love with Gary and Dennis Lanigan and allowed them to run an extension cord to our house to power the amps and a few lights in the house. Also allowed them to shower at our house... and I think they even had a hose running from our backyard into their house to flush the toilet. In exchange, Gary cooked wonderful meals for us, and Dennis and Gary both gave my younger brother guitar lessons.

From day one I loved Gary. He was the big brother I never had, my best friend, and my savior when my 12 year old brother died very suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage when I was 15. I am not sure I would have survived that experience, except for that fact that Gary was at my side day and night for a week or more.

Over the years we were in and out of touch but I always talked to him around his birthday (Reb's birthday is the day before Gary's, same age).

About 2 years ago he came to the Bay Area to do some production work, and stayed with us in Mill Valley 2 times. We got to renew our long time friendships over those 2 weekends and I will always treasure those times. After that we talked or emailed at least once a week.

I received a belated Christmas card from him a couple of weeks after Christmas, and after that he did not return emails or phone calls and I knew he was gone. We just found out from Mike Somavilla a couple of nights ago and we are so sad. I know Gary would want us to be happy that his suffering is over. Every time we talked, during his illness, he would tell me not to cry for him, but it was hard not to then, and hard not to now.

Thank you for putting together the wonderful tribute to Gary.

And as you said...many of us think of him as our BEST friend!

Thank you

Joanne (Harris) Blake

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