Monday, December 12, 2005

Sad news...

Johnny Pierce
November 30, 1953 - December 12, 2005

Johnny was a longtime friend to Jimmie and bass player on albums and tours from 1973 to 1980. Johnny's memorial wing includes a wealth of rare photos and stories.

Johnny passed away on December 12, 2005 after a long struggle with cancer. His inspiration and tireless support made the CD restoration of Jimmie's work possible.

18 comments:

RiverCityguy said...

Andy,

Very sad news, indeed. Johnny did an amazing, selfless thing by preserving Jimmie's music. It was an incredible labor of love that has benefited us all. I hope somewhere someone is playing Johnny a song now...

AndySocial said...

Thanks. I have this image from a dream... Johnny just got to heaven... the place is packed and everyone's trying to get to the bar. There's a band playing really good stuff. Jimmie appears and leads Johnny to the only two empty seats in the whole damn place.

Jimmie says, "Hi, hon. Welcome home. Sorry about the mess... we're redecorating. Can I get you something?"

The band launches into a kickass version of "Johnny Angel" - and everybody hits the dance floor while the mirror ball spins and spatters light.

RiverCityguy said...

Andy-
Wow... Our dreams have an amazing way of helping us deal with difficult things.

AndySocial said...

Yup, they sure do, rivercityguy. "To sleep, perchance to dream." (stole that quote from Mr. Billy Shakespeare)

"Life wakes into day. The dead awake to dreams that linger, bringing on the dark." (stole that quote from a song by JS Kingfisher - a good buddy at Philomuse.com).

Jimmie words (excerpt from a long lost song):

Night comes, shines like a fake black jewel
Set inside the tooth of a street fool
The night is kind, it's hot and cruel down on

Decatur Street
They're waiting in the shadows there
The dreams you've been hiding

Decatur Street
And no one really seems to care
About the battle you've been fighting...

Written by Jimmie Spheeris from his final album, "Spheeris"

BJ the gruntled said...

I was a casual visitor to the Jimmie Spheeris memorial site and it was through Johnny's efforts I found I could get CD copies of Jimmie's old music. Saints be praised!
I immediately got in touch with Johnny and got some of Jimmie's CDs. In communicating with Johnny I found out about his recent diagnosis with cancer. It was just after I had found out about a tumor in my colon. I felt an immediate bond, and we sent a few e-mails back and forth wishing each other well.
I got back in touch with him when I found that the Spheeris catalog had been pulled, and Johnny graciously offered to sell me some of the few copies he had left in his own personal stash. He said that his treatments were going well and that his cancer was almost gone.
Now I find out that the worst has occurred.
Johnny, words cannot express the appreciation I have for your spirit, selflessness, and your dedication.If I didn't believe you were now having a laugh with Jimmie and your wife I would feel an overwhelming sorrow.
Our earthly world is now a little darker, but somewhere the stars are shining a little brighter. Peace be with you.

AndySocial said...

Thanks much for the post, BJ... very moving. See the update at the top of this thread for new links to Johnny's Guestbook at The Oklahoman.

Anonymous said...

It saddened me today, to hear about Johnnies passing. He was very helpful to me over the phone, in acquiring the cds. I even bought an extra set of cds, and donated them to our local radio station last year. I have since found out that, some DJ had swiped the cds for himself! But, if he helps spread the word about Jimmie, in his own way, then I wish him well. I was turned onto 'Ports of the Heart' in the early 70's, and it is still, fresh and ageless today. Thanks for having this site. And I am sure, that Jimmie and Johnnie, are up there together, laughing at the twinkling of a star. LX Skye

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised to find this thread to be somehow hijacked to be about you and your perverted fascination with Spheeris, anti-social Andy! This dialog should be about Johnny. He wrote a lot of songs and if you're gonna quote someone, why not him??? You wouldn't have this website or anything else, if it weren't for Johnny. To leave it at a small mention on a page...shameful....

AndySocial said...

Thanks, anonymous 1. I'd like to hope that Jimmie and Johnny are laughing at the twinkling of the stars somewhere.

jimmiespheeris.com/poh/heart.html

As for you, anonymous 2, your rant redefines perversion. Maybe your rant will help more people discover Jimmie's legacy. Maybe your rant will help more people understand how Johnny's commitment made the preservation of Jimmie's work possible. I hope so.

Vince in KC said...

A magical night in Kansas City

I had the good fortune to be present the night Jimmie and the band played the Uptown Theater in Kansas City.

I had fallen under the spell of his voice and music and owned every album up to that point. My mother even liked him, especially the cover of It's All in the Game, which she remembered from Johnny Mathis.

I remember the marquee Johnny writes about. I remember thinking it odd Jimmie had second billing.
Who was this Johnny Pierce?

I happened to work off and one at the Uptown for the promoter who booked Jimmie and the band into the Uptown.

Todd knew I like Jimmie and let me in for the sound check.

I made my way up to the stage during a break and asked Jimmie for his autograph. He was so warm and gracious. He scribbled "For Vince — Thank you for listening" and signed his name on the back of an Uptown handbill.

I remember Johnny opening and doing a superb job.
(He was every bit the headliner that night.) After the break, he returned with Jimmie and the rest of the band.

It was a wonderful show and night — made all the more special by getting to meet Jimmie.

I've kept Jimmie's scribbled note pinned up in my home for many years. Each time I glance at it I am reminded of that magical night.

Vince in KC

Vince in KC said...

A magical night in Kansas City

I had the good fortune to be present the night Jimmie and the band played the Uptown Theater in Kansas City.

I had fallen under the spell of his voice and music and owned every album up to that point. My mother even liked him, especially the cover of It's All in the Game, which she remembered from Johnny Mathis.

I remember the marquee Johnny writes about.

I happened to work off and on at the Uptown for the promoter who booked Jimmie and the band into the Uptown.

Todd knew I like Jimmie and let me in for the sound check.

I made my way up to the stage during a break and asked Jimmie for his autograph. He was so warm and gracious. He scribbled "For Vince — Thank you for listening" and signed his name on the back of an Uptown handbill.

I remember Johnny opening and doing a superb job.
(He was every bit the headliner that night.) After the break, he returned with Jimmie and the rest of the band.

It was a wonderful show and night — made all the more special by getting to meet Jimmie.

I've kept Jimmie's scribbled note pinned up in my home for many years. Each time I glance at it I am reminded of that magical night.

Vince in KC

MrTractor said...

So sorry to hear. Johnny sent me a few emails way back in the mid-90's, when everything was going. Great guy. I really appreciate everything he did. One of my favorite songs that Jimmie sang was on the live CD, NIGHTINGALE COME SAIL. Beautiful song. Johnny was a light in this world. I imagine he's up in heaven playing with Jimmie now.

kl0ng said...

I have searched the web off and on for a while, looking for references to Jimmie Spheeris. I finally found the site. I'm so happy that I can download the music from MSN. I had the albums from way back when but they've been lost between various moves to and from KC to MD and NY.

I grew up in KC and always thought Jimmie was a local. He appeared so many times in the area. It's a tribute and statement of his talent that 35+ years later I can recall his soaring vocals and wonderful music. His live shows were really something.

r said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rralls said...

r said...
3/24/07 It's hard to describe my emotions since finding out about Jimmie's death. It's similar to losing an old, dear friend that no one else knew. It's hard to find friends in my life now who have ever heard of him.
Recently I pulled out my very old copy of Isle and thus began my search online to find if it was on CD and find out what had happened to Jimmie... His music is simply a part of my history, a reminder of the person I once was. Where have 30+ years gone? I first heard Isle.. at a friend of a friend's apartment. The album was simply amazing with a sophistication hard to find in the freak/hippie world of the early 70's. One blog mentioned how Jimmie's music surprisingly never made top 40. Thank goodness!!! Underground music that went nowhere near top 40 was the very best music of the culture. Music published for the art rather than fame was what we looked for then. I hadn't explicitly been aware of this fact until a college history prof verbalized it. Thank you for this blog. It's helping with sadness as well as letting me know a little of a man who's a part of my soul that I'll never have the chance to meet. What an incredible loss.
By the way, one seller on ebay shared with me that he's got 100 copies of Isle of View that he purchased from a former band member and is trying to sell one by one. They're higher than I'm willing to pay. I found a site (Audio Lunchbox) that sells downloads of his albums for $10! I'd much rather own a 'real' copy but for now, it's good to hear Jimmie again.

rralls said...

r said...
3/24/07 It's hard to describe my emotions since finding out about Jimmie's death. It's similar to losing an old, dear friend that no one else knew. It's hard to find friends in my life now who have ever heard of him.
Recently I pulled out my very old copy of Isle and thus began my search online to find if it was on CD and find out what had happened to Jimmie... His music is simply a part of my history, a reminder of the person I once was. Where have 30+ years gone? I first heard Isle.. at a friend of a friend's apartment. The album was simply amazing with a sophistication hard to find in the freak/hippie world of the early 70's. One blog mentioned how Jimmie's music surprisingly never made top 40. Thank goodness!!! Underground music that went nowhere near top 40 was the very best music of the culture. Music published for the art rather than fame was what we looked for then. I hadn't explicitly been aware of this fact until a college history prof verbalized it. Thank you for this blog. It's helping with sadness as well as letting me know a little of a man who's a part of my soul that I'll never have the chance to meet. What an incredible loss.
By the way, one seller on ebay shared with me that he's got 100 copies of Isle of View that he purchased from a former band member and is trying to sell one by one. They're higher than I'm willing to pay. I found a site (Audio Lunchbox) that sells downloads of his albums for $10! I'd much rather own a 'real' copy but for now, it's good to hear Jimmie again.

runnersknee said...

Can anyone tell me where to find JS music other than amazon?

Thanks

JW

proudprogressive said...

geeze, i too, had lovely experiences with Johnny on the phone, obtaining Jimmie's CDs i am so saddened to hear of this..after all this time. I will include him in my thoughts with Jimmie as always - JP did do amazing and selfless things as Rivercityguy said. I see them them together too up in the stars.

jamming. dancing. watching over us all.