Complete text -- "David Ian Brown Changes My Life -- Part 5"

31 March

David Ian Brown Changes My Life -- Part 5

Billy Bucher, Denver, CO, August, 1964:

The best thing about coaching the swim team was that it left me with August off so I decided to head west and visit some of my friends.

I met Dave Brown at Atlantic High School and to this day he is one of the brightest people I've ever known. He had won a scholarship to Phillips Exeter Academy while a paperboy for the Des Moines Register and after graduation he received another scholarship to Stanford. Besides that, he was witty and knowlegeable. The first stop of my trip was Denver where Dave was taking a break from academia and working at McDonalds. I remember back then we marveled at the fact that the chain had sold over 1, count 'em, 1 million hamburgers at the time! Imagine that!!! Boy howdy! By now, of course, former employees must number in the millions themselves, but Dave Brown will always be among the leaders in this area. Another first for Brown.

The only distressing thing, though, was the fact that I had hardly arrived before he became increasingly adamant that I see the newly released Beatles' movie, "A Hard Days Night." He began his campaign to drag me to this movie from the first day. He had just seen it and he assured me I'd come away feeling the same way as I did on the first night that I had heard Bob Dylan.

"You'll love it," Dave would exclaim, and a new friend of his whom I'd just met, Claire Risley, was quick to chime in with her agreement. She and about five others had gone in together to rent a house in Denver for the summer where they let me stay.

"Dave," I said, shaking my head, "I'm into jazz, man. I really have no interest in these Beatles guys. I don't even know any of their songs. In fact, I am pretty much ignorant of what has been going on in rock and roll for the last three or four years now."

"Well," he replied, "that doesn't matter because you haven't missed much until now. This is different, Bill. This isn't the Beach Boys. This is a brand new experience."

After two days of intense discussion, though, I realized we were at an impasse and Dave and Claire were getting a bit put out with me. Hey, I'm a Virgo and I just can't stand conflict. Besides, I was afraid if they got any more put out, I might be put out of the house where everyone was living and, by now, everyone who roomed at the house was telling me I really needed to head on down to see this movie.

"O.K.," I finally agreed. "I'll go to the damn movie."

Everyone in the room actually cheered.

"You'll never regret it," said Claire.

Dave was going to have to work later that evening, so we decided to get a group together for the first afternoon show. As we walked into the theater, I wished I had a pair of sunglasses. I didn't think I would run into anyone from the jazz department at North Texas, since it was a thousand miles away, but one never knows. I once ran into an Iowa guy from my gradation class, Arno Linden, at a movie theater in Denton, after all.

By the time we finally arrived, I believe there were five or six of us. We stocked up on popcorn and cokes and waited for the show. I had thought that there would be no one at the first showing, after all, but to my surprise the theater was nearly full.

Then the theater darkened and, suddenly, the first haunting chord of "A Hard Days Night" filled the room. Dave was certainly right on the mark. Within ten minutes I was totally swept away by the music and the energy of the audience and, well, the screaming girls.

I'd always had trouble being a jazz drummer because I just naturally made faces when I played. It wasn't anything I practiced. It was certainly nothing I'd planned. It was probably more like a birth defect. It was sort of like Gene Krupa, I guess. But I sometimes felt the jazzers kind of looked down at me even after I'd made a lab band. You needed to have that cool, discerning and serious look on your face at all times. Probably even in your sleep. I just couldn't pull it off very well.

Ah, and then there was the matter of the screaming girls. Jazz was a thrilling music to me, but that thrill didn't always translate to a lot of the women that I'd met. I will always love jazz, totally, until my dying day. In fact, I fully plan to have Miles' "Kind of Blue" playing at my memorial service before they scatter my ashes on Lake Travis or Lake Ray Hubbard or Duck Creek, wherever, at that time it won't really matter. But that day in Denver I remember thinking, hey, these chicks are totally freaked out over these weird guys. (We, of course, used the term "chicks" back in those days. But that was before the term groovy had come along.)

When the movie was over, Dave looked at me.

"What do you think?" he asked.

"Incredible," I replied.

"Want to watch it again?" he asked.

"Do you have time before you have to go to work?"


"Count me in."

"I knew you'd love it," said Claire.

And everyone with us stayed as well. It was one of those moments when you happened upon something new that was just vibrantly happening.

Thanks, Dave. I had a blast that day and the music would lead me into all manners of new directions. And to this day I have no regrets except I finally had to face reality (after another ten years, ha, ha) and get a job. But, hey, I'm having fun again now. And, as you will see, that afternoon would go on to change my life.

Posted by billybucher at 01:27:19 - Category: General

bloggard wrote:

I remember seeing this movie, in Denton, and being so excited when leaving that a group of us rolled in the grass of the courthouse across the street. My memory is hazy, but I thought it was either you and Loralyn, or perhaps Paul M or Mahoney and some others in the group. I don't know that it changed my life, but it changed my mind. And I'll bet it did change your life; as I recall you sometimes seemed mooney, wishing you were the 5th Beatle. Of course, you already had the haircut. Perhaps that was an influence.
03/31/04 08:12:55

billybucher wrote:

Alas, Bloggard,
It probably was Loralyn Baker and I and Paul B. Miner and who knows who else who drug you to the movie. I went on quite a campaign when I got back to Denton.
Odd you mentioned the 5th Beatle. Do you remember the comic book that Paul Miner did called "The Fifth Beatle" with yours truly as the star, sort of? It almost got published by Random House, I believe, but they told Paul that the fame of the Beatles was far too transitory. Ah, how wrong they were. I still have it with my old "Avesta" magazines.
What, me mooney??? Are you lookin' at me??? Hmm??? Hmm???
Billy the 5th, I am. Peter Noone, eat your heart out.
04/01/04 23:05:25
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