Wednesday, January 12, 2005
The Homecoming Float Theme Song
I knew John through my brother, Robert Lee (he’s pictured playing piano with John somewhere on this site). I always thought he was such a talented piano player. His improv skills amazed me, and always made me jealous. Well, it came time for Upland High’s homecoming parade, and we were asked to put together some music for the Egyptian float. I can’t recall what club was doing this. I was a junior at the time, so I thought I was pretty cool for being a part of this.
John had this Casio CZ-1 synthesizer that was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I brought my Yamaha DX27 to his house, and we started to talk about what to play. John, being the older and wiser one, told me to just “play and see what happens.” Our friend Alan Low started to play this drum loop, and then BAM! John started to play. I just sat there for a while, in complete shock, because what he was playing was SO COOL. He stopped and looked at me. “Why aren’t you playing?” he asked. I told him that I didn’t know what sound to use. John then smiled and said “It doesn’t matter. When you start playing, you’ll know whether it’s the right sound or not.”
I’ll always remember those words, because I think it’s the way John lived. I lost touch with him after high school, but I always had updates through my brother Robert. John had this knack of making you feel comfortable in your own skin. He was witty, and sometimes his wit was unfortunately directed at you, but it was always meant to encourage, never to discourage.
Well, we recorded the egyptian thing, and unfortunately, never got to use it. The float thing never happened. I will always treasure that recording. It’s a great reminder for me of John.