Tuesday, February 21, 2012

For my friend Paul...

Its 10:45 am

   Woke up to a mini-blizzard of snow this morning..which we weren't expected to get. The weather gurus here said it would just be sort of rainy but I guess they misfired.
  I have often touched on my past in San Jose where I worked as a talent buyer at various clubs. One of the best things I can recall is how being a outsider to the music scene when I started at Marsugi's was how quickly I was accepted. As I started to learn about the history of San Jose's music legacy,I always heard of one name....Catflinger. I know,I did a double take when I heard that as well....because Catflinger doesn't exactly sound like a name of a very nice guy. My first couple of years I heard the name but never met the man.
  Then I heard his real name was Paul Goeltz and that he used to book shows at the Pub at San Jose State. Now I had been to a couple of shows that a pal Brian had put on and I can tell you,the Pub was sort of smallish but the shows Paul did...well they still talk about them today,decades later. He booked bands like Primus and Faith No More when they were just cutting baby teeth as bands,before they became major players in the music business.
 A new club opened up downtown called Toons,which was owned by a guy named Steve Hoey. Steve was a very funny guy and he liked the nightclub business as well. He thought a dueling piano bar would do well in downtown San Jose...and about 3-4 months later,he found it wouldn't. That happens in the club world,sometimes a format you think will work,will but you have to be ready if it bombs.
  Toons soon changed it format,out went the pianos,in came the cover bands and cheap beer to draw the college crowds.  Soon the club began to draw a good crowd and a couple of us ventured down to see how Steve was doing it. And it was on that night,I met Paul in person for the first time. I had always saw him as a older,heavier guy with a smoke in one hand and a beer in another wearing a old leather jacket. I could see him with a old Germs or Flesheaters t-shirt,talking Flipside or BAM magazine. But that wasn't the case at all...Paul looked he lived in the mountains,a throwback to Woodstock. He was doing the sound for Toons and it was a pretty easy gig since a cover band was set up,you really didn't have much to do.
 Before I could introduce myself,Paul said "I know you,you're Eddie's new booker. You have done some great shows". Now I worked every show and attended the shows that I didn't work and I had never seen Paul downtown. But the guy knew what bands I had booked? I was pretty humbled because this was the guy everyone talked about...without him,there may not have been a SoFA area but because he proved there was a market for live original music....the club owners took a chance and soon Red Light district gave way to a little thriving club scene.
   But what really surprised me about Paul was his music taste....it wasn't punk,alternative or even rock....Paul loved the Grateful Dead. And still does....as it turned out,it was the reason why we never really saw Paul downtown,he was a Deadhead. A Deadhead was a fan who traveled with the band while they toured. Since the Dead had several side bands as well,Paul went on though tours as well.
  As we became friends,I asked him how he picked his bands and he said he couldn't explain how he knew only that he had a feeling when a band was hot.  Remember,this was waaaaay before the internet and massive media that provides bands with mass exposure. Many times,you would get a cassette tape or a 7 inch record or perhaps read about a band in a little fan zine that you picked up in a record store.
  Now I am not a Grateful Dead fan....but I would like to hear the stories Paul told about selling brownies or different oils to the throngs of fans who traveled with him. There would be long stretches when Paul was gone from Toons and Steve would doing sound. He would stand outside and say "I wish Paul would hurry the hell back home". Steve never replaced Paul,he knew he had a great guy and he trusted him like no other.
  After my first rocky stint at the Club Oasis didn't go as plan,I felt pretty down....Paul had heard and looked me up and talked to me. Not every job is going to work,especially in the live music business is what he told me. You just have to stay focused,keep listening and be ready to go when the time comes to book again. Through Paul,I was able to do a few local shows at Toons before I moved to Mountain View.
  I didn't see my friend for a long time since I wasn't downtown much anymore but I always held on to his words and when a local showcase I was doing at a local coffee shop went really well,I got a chance to work at the Agenda Lounge...I had taken his advice to heart and it paid off.
   Flash forward to today....
How many of you know of someone affected by this recession...besides me? No job,poor health,lost a job,lost savings,a 401k or a house? I know of several people who have had this happen to them and it sucks.
Foreclosures in Michigan are just awful....just as they are everywhere and when you hear about folks who have lost theirs homes to banks which needed and cried so badly for a federal bailout,its even worse. Of all the people,those banks,like Bank of America or Chase should have the most compassion because they themselves were on the edge of losing it all.
 I bring this up because I have discovered since reconnecting with my friend Paul on here that he has fallen on some very rough times. He has suffered a crippling back injury that has left him unable to really work. He is going through a divorce which in California,means you have to split your assets. Between the injury and this,he has lost his savings and now is looking at losing his home.
  He has tried to contact Bank of America to get a re-fi but to no avail....the new government bail out plan will come online too late for him,by the time it does,the bank will have foreclosed on him.
I can understand his fear,being slowly squeezed dry with no where really to turn...all Paul wants is just a chance to sit down with a banker and see what he needs to do to save his home,that is all he or any of us wants. Just a fighting chance,just as they got when the Fed bailed out their asses.
  Paul has started a petition on Change.org in which he is asking you to sign in support of him. I myself have signed it and I hope a few of you will also do so.
  When Paul asked me to blog about this,I said I would be happy too,to give back in a small way to man who made a lot of bands,artists and lovers of good music...to help a raise a voice for him.
I wish I had 10,000 readers who I could have forward this entry all over but I don't. So I'm asking whoever reads this to reach and forward this entry among your own circles.

To sign Paul's petition....

Thanks for reading.

Paul- Hope it helps
Renee- breathe *s*
MM- don't be a stranger

No comments:

Post a Comment