Documentary Film: John's at the Beach: A Year in the Life
Larry has been doing research and pre-production for the last couple of years in order prepare to direct a documentary film--just "gimme some truth," as John Lennon once sang. This June marks 43 years ago this took place. Larry is planning on starting production in June. Starting with Chaz, then Yoko and others. It will be a historic look into this incredible year in their lives. It will be the absolute truth depending on those who are willing to say it like it was! The idea has been registered with the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA). Larry has a BA in TV-Film from California State Univ. at Northridge (CSUN)---hey, public schools ain't that bad!
The year of the film is set in 1972. A year in the life of the John and Yoko--and Chaz Pett? In late June of that year, Chaz played an acoustic, impromptu gig with the late-great John Ono Lennon. John played some live shows as a solo act for charity. He had never played this type of small venue that we know of. Many of the people involved are still living. At some point in the year, John and Yoko drove cross-country from New York in a big green, brand new, Chrysler Town and Country station wagon. They had 1 or 2 two drivers on board as well. We want to find those folks! The story has some parallels such as the cross-country trip. Chaz also took one in February 1972 from Minnesota to Ventura. One of his band members and Chaz's older brother piled into a VW bug with amps, instruments, suitcases and headed “west young man.” There were at least 50-100 people that saw this gig—Larry has met some of those folks that still live in the small beach community of Pierpont, Ventura (everyone there has heard of this event). These folks want to keep it hush-hush because they don’t want Beatle freaks showing up there. Back to the gig: Chaz said he put “Revolution and Hey Jude” on the jukebox and that may have gotten the ball rolling a bit for John. When someone gave John the Martin guitar seen in the photo, John asked: “does anyone play piano?” Chaz raced to the stage and may have hockey checked a few folks on the way. He said: “I can play.” John said: “OK lad.” It was more than just destiny that day because Chaz also can sing just like McCartney—still can. Chaz started playing the intro on piano to “Imagine” when the gig first started and John quickly said: “we don’t do that one anymore!” Later into the performance, John said to Chaz: “you’re really rockin’ lad.”
The story features Yoko as an equal to John in many ways and how John had to change from his male chauvinistic ways to embracing woman’s equality –a sign of the future when he changed roles into a househusband. Yoko was getting tired of the hatred from Beatles fans who still believed that it was her fault they broke up. Most, if not all, historians say that it was John who wanted out of the Beatles and Yoko was just his way of making that happen—one way or another—he was already putting out solo records before the break up. Yoko’s career had been put on the sidelines and she wanted to re-claim it and her own identity. She had many art shows/openings/happenings during the year. She had a book out--Grapefruit since 1964. She had done albums with John and on her own: Fly, in 1971 and in 1973, she released her solo album: Approximately Infinite Universe. This contributed to the separation of John and Yoko in November 1973. Yoko stated that it was not the cheating and having the affair with May Pang that caused the separation but that they needed a break from one another. The photos of John and Yoko (date stamped June 1972) are of some historic value not just for proof that Chaz played with John but the pics also place John and Yoko in Ventura during the Tony Cox fiasco. In 1971, Mr. Cox kidnapped Yoko’s daughter, Kyoko, who was age 8 at that time. Several courts had given Yoko joint custody, but Mr. Cox was worried that with John and Yoko's fame and resources they would get sole custody and Mr. Cox would never see his daughter again. Yoko did not re-unite with Kyoko until her daughter was in her 30’s and had her own kids. John and Yoko had hired private detectives to try and find Kyoko. At the gig, John also told Chaz: “it was a real pleasure, lad.” They said goodbye. John asked if Charlie wanted an autograph—neither had a pen so that was it –just memories--no memorabilia! Chaz never saw them again. Maybe they went back to the ashram—research uncovered that John and Yoko were staying in Ojai, California (inland from Ventura). This was owned by the Theosophy Society and called the Kratona Institute –some locals call it Meditation Mountain or the Ashram. Some say John and Yoko also spent time in Santa Barbara and then to San Francisco where they received acupuncture treatments to kick methadone. Dr. Hong said they could have children if they got straight—they also started eating a macrobiotic diet. One mystery is how Chaz knew the song “New York City.” Since the album “Sometime in New York City” had just been released June 12. The song was never a single. One possibility is that since it had been played at least once on the Clear Channel’s FM radio station KLOS in the L.A. area, maybe other stations played the song. It was a commercial bomb and too political for stations to play. The story ultimately shows Chaz’s 15 minutes of fame as Andy Warhol predicted (right in more ways than even Andy could have envisioned).
John, of course is an icon even bigger than the Beatles in many ways. Yoko has come into her own with her art and has even had hit records on her own. There is a newspaper article about the event and was published by the St. Paul Pioneer Press-- we are including it here in the “Notes” section—it came out in August 1972. If anyone was there at John’s at the Beach bar (now called Spasso) in Ventura and saw this performance—please contact us.
If you want to read more click here for further notes.
New Single: Believer (Fight the Good Fight)
We are in the process of completing/releasing a Box O’ Clox single. We need your help and plan on opening an Indiegogo or Kickstarter account in order to complete and market this single. The CD is the perfect example of what can be done with one of our old song tracks. It is now a Christian song called: “Believer (Fight the Good Fight).” In 1983, we recorded a couple of songs at the now defunct (torn down) Gold Star Recorders in Hollywood, California. This is where Phil Spector recorded and some of the Beach Boy tracks were done as well as countless other great-classic tracks were recorded with the now infamous “Wrecking Crew.” As far as we recall, we only had one of them on board---Ray Pohlman (bass). He was one of the founding members--called the “gang.” The many studios we used to mix the unreleased tracks kind of blows the mind now looking back: A and M Records studio; Beach Boys’ Brother Studios and Emitt Rhoads home studio in Hawthorne (his and Beach Boys hometown). The original song was called: “Rock and Roll Athlete.” The flip side or B/W was called: “Zaca Flynn.” That’s a song about the wild and crazy guy himself--Errol Flynn! It has some great horns on the track. We took the old 24-track master tapes and had them transferred to digital by Earle Mankey of Beach Boy engineering fame. We recorded some new vocals to add to the original vocals and are also remixing a lot of the dated 80’s sound out. It's a great song that has been “Christianized.” Hope you will like it when it gets released. We have a goal to have a hit Christian record in the secular market--after all, we should be reaching the lost--not those already in the life boat. Praise Jesus!