How Johnny Met Jimmie

It was 1972 and I was already a huge Jimmie Spheeris fan - ever since a DJ friend of mine played me a cut from a new release called "Isle Of View." It was winter and I was 19 years old, living in Oklahoma City.

Jimmie was opening a show for the Doobie Brothers at the Oklahoma City Civic Center (at that show the Doobies were actually booed and Jimmie received five encores). But since I was a very poor musician trying to support a wife and new baby, I had decided that I couldn't go to the concert - and would maybe catch another Spheeris show in the future.

Around midnight a knock on the door woke me from a deep sleep. It was two friends who had gone to the concert and had made their way backstage. They said, "get your clothes on, we're going to a party at Jimmie Spheeris' hotel room." I couldn't believe it. So, my two friends, my wife, new baby and myself jumped in my VW bug and headed downtown. The whole time, I was saying to myself, "sure, sure, I'm going to meet Jimmie Spheeris, like he's really going to be there and really going to let us in his hotel room." But sure enough, when we arrived at his hotel room there were people everywhere. It was definitely one of those "after the concert hotel room parties" I'd heard about. I remember people just sort of floating around the room with big smiles on their faces.

Then there he was, peaking out from his thick hair... this god-like figure with enough charisma to fill 10 stadiums, let alone this small suite. I actually felt my jaw hit the floor. I was quickly introduced as a local songwriter/musician and Jimmie immediately pulled me into the quiet bedroom, picked up his Martin guitar from the bed, handed it to me and simply said, "play me a song." After the wave of terror left my body, I said, "ok." I can't remember what I played, but I do remember Jimmie's response. He said in a very kind, soft, low voice, "that's beautiful." After that, all I remember are tons of people, lots of drink and my wife giving our phone number to Jimmie as we left.

About seven months later (and with some help from a friend of Jimmie's I had met at that party) - out of the blue - I get a phone call from Jimmie Spheeris saying that he was playing a concert in Tulsa and would I find a drummer and play the show with him. I'm sure you can guess what my answer was. I remember being very exited and tired for that show, because I couldn't sleep for days out of pure excitement. But after that show, that was it. The show went so well that Jimmie asked me (on the steps backstage as we were listening to the 2nd or 3rd encore applause), to fly back to LA to do his next album. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. My wildest dreams were all coming true. At that time in my life there were two top performers that I would have given anything to play with. And since The Beatles were recently no longer together, that left Jimmie Spheeris.

- Johnny Pierce

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