White Summer Reunion
WHITE SUMMER's reunion June '09
Czar's in St. Joseph, MI
- Czar\'s 505 - National Club Entertainment in St. Joseph Michigan
Amazing what you can experience by walking into a tiny door off the street! Tom Jennings, the owner, apparently has a few quite successful restaurants in the lovely town of St. Joseph. I'd write a hub about the town but invited James to instead...
James' son ADAM
The energy of a crowd before a band plays is electric. You can almost hear questions running through their heads: “Will it be a good time? Do they know their stuff? Will it move me...?” However, this group was different. Young and old alike had gathered, flying from hundreds of miles away, driving more than 1,000 miles, with even the “locals” going 70+ miles to get there. They would not have missed THIS for anything in the world!
They’d walked into Czar's completely doubt free, truckloads of anticipation beaming from them as if fireworks were already exploding in their brains. This crowd expected pure MAGIC!
“Just wait ‘till you hear Jimmy rip that guitar – JUST WAIT!” Himey, the brother of the bass player, Randy Brown, kept repeating. “You’re not going to believe it! Just wait…”
White Summer’s website has testimonies of how great they were even from Eric Clapton and Neil Young, but James A Watkins, admitted to not having played since June of 2007. Was I the only one who wondered if this might be less than a stellar performance?
His son Adam had brought the drums and was busily setting them up but seemed nervous. Why was he nervous? Enlightening me he said, “I’ll be playing later”. Was that going to be after the band played their sets or was James going to make an “obligatory” appearance resigning early since he had not practiced in so long?
“Hi, I’m Scott Owen”, volunteered a handsome young fellow. “I’m a friend of James and sung in the band when I was 13 years old.” Quite the testimony for how generous White Summer’s members were but was he singing with them tonight? I am sure it still sounded good in the shower I mused. Hey, he was easy on the eyes – I could handle it.
“I remember when I was 17”, Himey chimed in again, “Randy took Jimmy on a single tour of our house, and from then on he knew it better than I did as if he wasn’t blind at all!” I had noticed that earlier about Jimmy Schrader. Tempted to tell him what was on his plate at the restaurant as Kelly McGillis had done for Val Kilmer in “At First Sight”, James beat me to it mentioning a sauce that was hanging threateningly close to disaster. Jimmy calmly alleviated all concern with an easy “I noticed that”. I realized then that Jimmy could probably rattle off at least a couple hundred things going on in the diner completely oblivious to me or anyone else. On his bio for his current band (www.badmannerz.com ) in Florida, it mentions his love for bungee jumping. James’ admiration shone as he told tales of how Jimmy has even flown a Cessna 180, driven a boat and a car at over 100 miles an hour! Clearly, this man does not believe in ANY limitations!
Connected like no others - and a JOY to be with!
James and Jimmy seemed connected in a way I had never felt or witnessed with anyone before. “Jimmy creates his own music and when he would play me a new melody he had created for the first time, words and melodies would come right into my head as if they were being sung,” remembered James. James also used to have songs “appear” to him in his mind fully formed with all instrumentation, vocals, lyrics; while doing something else. James added how creative a player Jimmy is, humbly leaving out his own dynamic and highly empathic talents.
“Jimmy has amazing, supernatural hearing. You can rattle two pots together and he would know it was “B flat”. One time in Florida while my cousin was visiting, the crickets chirped through the open screen windows. My cousin asked what notes they were. Without hesitation, Jimmy recognized and answered that most were in B, with a few of them in D – and he was not kidding! A band member would cut the cheese and Jim would say “C sharp” they reminisced laughingly. “I wanted to be in Jimmy's world on stage, where it is nothing but sound, so I started to close my eyes while we played and soon we could communicate completely just by varying the intensity of a note and the other flowing right along with it.” Now that is connected! Just being in the presence of these two exceptional individuals enveloped me with a feeling that all was right with the world.
Randy and Jimmy in Czars
One of THE most AMAZING books!!!
Randy led Jimmy on stage to set-up and despite Jimmy’s calm, contented demeanor, you could feel his delight and enthusiasm the minute he stood in ‘his space’. He was more than ready to shine the minute someone said so. You could tell that someone was going to be James. He was drifting around masterfully; making sure every detail was in place without any of the usual business mode or worry the rest of us exude when “on purpose”. Fans were magnetized to him like moths to a flame, many of whom were women – much to his wife’s chagrin. It must be hard to try to maintain ownership with someone who is clearly meant to “participate fully in the world through the full and positive articulation of their gifts”. (2/15/55 according to “The Secret Language of Destiny” by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers) Individuals on the “Way of Expression” are encouraged to “Remember to focus on the positive with a reward of knowing the joy of bringing magic to others”.
Apparently, Randy’s wife kept moving him farther away, geographically, hoping he would quit that lifestyle altogether too. “We had a number of bass players through the years but Randy was the best” James shared earlier. “He played with us for almost 5 years until they lived too far for him to even make it to practice". Unlike James however, Randy’s “Way of Introspection” (6/4/57) requires him to “release the need for an audience” so his wife was doing him a favor. Despite having the strength to get “on the wagon” for a couple years, Randy kept coming over seemingly to get a contact high from his brother’s consumption level. “I won’t go out for anything less than $100 bucks a night” he exclaimed. His statement both confirmed how tough it must be to play with a ‘less than the best’ band and denying his current church band involvement. Jimmy’s destiny too requires him to “release the need to be popular” which may have contributed to living a quieter life than huge fame would have allowed. His “Way of Freedom’s” (3/26/53) lesson is “to be true to oneself by living an authentic life”. Happily married to a woman who supports him in being all he can be, Jimmy is indeed following his destiny and said he does not have a single regret – “not a one”.
There were many "back in the days"
Dale Parsons, their personal manager, must have been accustomed to warding off or distracting some fans himself. He too emanated so much warmth the Titanic could have been saved with one look. Sharp as a tack and heart that seemed to have the Midas touch, everyone automatically checked in with him to be “caught up” and informed. He used to bring structure to the band ‘back in the day’ and you could tell he contributed a whole lot more than just setting up the stage. (“The Way of Structure” 12/7/60). What an amazing team! My doubts were dissipating.
James - drummer, singer, songwriter
Wild things! They made our hearts sing!
All of a sudden, goose bumps started forming on my arms as White Summer started playing. Almost everyone immediately jumped up to dance and move.
THIS WAS GOING TO BE AMAZING!!!
Warming up with Robin Trower’s “Day of the Eagle” and flowing into Pink Floyd’s “Time”, I too was carried joyously to a world with no doubt what-so-ever.
I instantly realized why thousands of people have said “White Summer” is the best band they have ever heard!
James revealed, “The band’s philosophy had always been that we were musicians and if anyone was going to listen, we wanted them to listen for the music we played – for no other reason”.
White Summer at Czar's June 26, 2009
Day of the Eagle
Waiting for the Bus Jesus Just Left Chicago
...p Sunglasses (Dale sings; Adam on drums)[ZZ Top
Make It Last (Randy sings; Adam on drums)[Montrose - vocalist Sammy Hagar, before famous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLmNBEr5SGo ]
Little Wing (Adam on drums; Jim out front)[Jimi Hendrix]
Red House [Jimi Hendrix/ White Summer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LsezR_Tiyc ]
Too Rolling Stoned [Robin Trower he's great, better recording replaced with downloadable version for MP3 by request: ] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000W00QZM/ref=dm_dp_trk5?ie=UTF8&qid=1247112838&sr=8-2
Green River [
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River + Lyrics*2 min 34 sec - Sep 23, 2008 -
Green River is a song that was written by John Fogerty and recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It is the title track of their #1 album with the same ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XcxFNONz64
Mustang Sally (Scott sings/ Buddy Guy) George "Buddy" Guy (born July 30, 1936) is a five-time Grammy Award-winning American blues and rock guitarist and singer. Known as an inspiration to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and other guitarists, Guy is considered an important exponent of Chicago blues. He is the father of female rapper Shawnna and son Michael. He is the older brother of late blues guitarist Phil Guy. Guy is known for his showmanship: for example, he plays his guitar with drumsticks, or strolls into the audience while jamming and trailing a long guitar chord.
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers [ZZ Top - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_Drinkers_and_Hell_Raisers ]
Tush (Randy sings; Adam on drums) [ZZ]
Pride and Joy (Adam on drums; Jim out front)[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU0MF8pwktg ]
Rock Candy (Randy sings; Adam on drums)[Montrose/Sammy Hagar]
Roadhouse Blues (Adam on drums; Jim out front)[The Doors http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU9JWukf07c]
Rock and Roll (Randy sings; Adam on drums)[Led Zeppelin]
All Along The Watchtower [Hendrix/Dylan]
Jimmy Schrader on Guitar
Purple Haze [Hendrix]
White Summer at Czar's June 26, 2009 (cont.)
Young Lust [PF http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bWdWZLSTio]
Sharp Dressed Man [ZZ words slightly changed: *Everyone*s crazy bout a well hung man** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_EFdod4YDo]
Blue Jean Blues
Cat Scratch Fever
The Wind Cries Mary
Comfortably Numb [Pink Floyd)
Born Under A Bad Sign [JH]
Hey Joe [JH]
Wild Thing [JH]
EXTRAS: Black Magic Woman [live from Chile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl-qWXosazg]; Space Oddity [original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D67kmFzSh_o which doesn't do him justice at all - in concert he was a true showman exuding more energy than most - therefore: Rebel, Rebel, Foxey Lady ; I'm Goin' Home...
It was a night for PROS all the way!
As you can see by what they played that night, everyone was filled to capacity with joyful memories. Music touches our soul and with musicians as accomplished as those in this band, an evening that will not be forgotten for decades is inevitable.
Scott did get up to sing and I was absolutely astounded at how fabulous he was! Subsequently, I found out from James that, “Scott is one of my bestest and oldest friends. He has never sung in a band. He is a karaoke champion! That was the second time he ever sang a song with us.”
Even Dale got up to sing and he too was amazing! (I knew there was more to him than even the tremendous warmth he emanated J)
Since the band is no longer together, you may ask why I write this hub. In simplified terms I believe what Bob Moawad once said, “If you’re too busy to help the people around you succeed, you’re TOO busy”. I recognized a kindred spirit in James who has helped many, especially Jimmy Schrader.
Naturally, he asks you to, “Go to YouTube, and listen to Red House (see sidebar and new hub). There are many great guitar players but you don’t hear many guys that can really rip the blues like that. There’s something about those blues licks – there’s something about that feeling…”
"What goes around comes around” is another reason. I believe James has much to contribute and perhaps needs that same support he has been dishing out for decades from those of us who are fans. He's thinking about revamping and then publishing a book about his life while in the band and rock and roll in that era. Hoping you'll join me in encouraging him to do just that.
In the meantime, anyone want to join me in Florida to listen to Jimmy Schrader play in Bad Mannerz? This time I can guarantee it will indeed be PURE MAGIC! (of course, we have to ask James to visit with us :) p-l-e-a-s-e James - play it again! )