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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.

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gratefully accepted as well.
- Thanks!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Meeting Gary

Good job on the website. There's a lot of heart & soul that went into it.
Speaking of soul, my brother Dan and I were living in the Bay Area after my escape from the Synanon Cult in 1975. Making the transition from inside the "Funhouse" to back "Down On The Streets" was a tough thing to navigate after forfeiting your God-Given right to think. Our forays across the bridge where Earth Quake would dish up some rock at The Keystone provided some needed social lubrication to begin to Rawk Hard Again is something I'll always be grateful for.

Now please take what I'm about to share with some flexibility & humor. While living around the corner from Winterland with the whole Scene in general providing a plethora of live music to take in any night of the week, let's just say that Dan and I found most Bay area bands more flaccid than Rawk Hard. Having been raised in Detroit, cutting our teeth on the MC5 and the Stooges at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, you may have come to the same conclusion yourself.
I'll let you in on a little secret....Gary knew it to be the truth.

One night at the Keystone, my brother and I approached Gary to make his acquaintance while he was playing pinball. Ever the gentleman, we shook hands, ordered some beers and began a conversation about a subject passionate to both Gary, ourselves and some reading this...the State of the Rock n' Roll. We agreed that acid Utopia's replaced by Hep C laden needles as a metaphor for whores that bored while onstage nodding on Rorers was JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE. That led to Gary's inquisitive hunger and thirst for any was stories we had about the MC5. He apparently loved that band. He flashed that killer grin of his when we told him that his onstage presence was close to Fred "Sonic" Smith...the notorious rhythm player for the MC5.
When we shared that Fred's post Five band was the foursome of Fred, Scott "Rock Action" Ashton (Stooges) on drums, Gary Rasmussen (The Mighty Up) on bass, and Scott Morgan (Rationals) on guitar and vocals...well suffice to say that Gary just about blew a load right there on that pin-ball machine.
Over the next few Keystone gigs, we turned him on to SRB photo's and tapes of their live shows. Our cross-cultural Detroit-Bay Area bond was cemented with his favorite pic of Fred "Sonic" Smith that depicted a man on the prowl for that Perfect overtone...leaning back into a power chord with his left foot raised...exposing a boot so worn that the leather had separated from the sole of the boot.

Gary just looked at it and said...."Cool"

Years later when we returned to Detroit, it was a Jumpin' Jack Flash to see him onstage playing with Greg Kihn at Harpo's on the East Side.

Gary impressed me as being fairly spiritual...not particularly religious and that's a good thing as Jesus himself hated religion. When he would cruise into a town like a band on tour, Christ made it a point to sup with the whores, sinners, dope fiends and winos...much like a good rock n' roll band does while coming in to do a gig...spreading the life-affirming power of the art of Rock n' Roll. My prayer is that Gary went home resting in the peace & knowledge of being in Father's hands with all his humanity bought and paid for by the power of the blood of His Son.

There's a killer Springsteen lyric very appropriate to end this with and add to the class & dignity of this memorial website for Gary. God Bless Your Hearts

Where the road is dark and the seed is sowed
Where the gun is cocked and the bullet's cold
Where the miles are marked in the blood and gold
I'll meet you further on up the road

Got on my dead man's suit and my smilin' skull ring
My lucky graveyard boots and song to sing
I got a song to sing, keep me out of the cold
And I'll meet you further on up the road.

Further on up the road
Further on up the road
Where the way dark and the night is cold
One sunny mornin' we'll rise I know
And I'll meet you further on up the road.

Now I been out in the desert, just doin' my time
Searchin' through the dust, lookin' for a sign
If there's a light up ahead well brother I don't know
But I got this fever burnin' in my soul
So let's take the good times as they go
And I'll meet you further on up the road

Further on up the road
Further on up the road
Further on up the road
Further on up the road

One sunny mornin' we'll rise I know
And I'll meet you further on up the road
One sunny mornin' we'll rise I know
And I'll meet you further on up the road.


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