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Friday, June 01, 2007

Punk Rock Guitar Heroes - Dave Parsons of Sham 69

parsons 2004-1

Dave Parsons, right after Sham 69 did their part in the month-long CBGB benefit shows. I hadn't seen Dave in nearly 25 years...not since we were on the road together with Stiv Bators and the Wanderers. The Wanderers were basically Stiv fronting Sham 69.

kermit dave at mic 4 dave

Above are Dave Parsons and Dave Tregunna rehearsing for the Wanderers brief and only tour of the USA back in 1981. Tregunna, the bass player whom we all called Kermit, went on to play with Stiv in the Lords of the New Church.

wanderers rehearsal 1-96

I took an immediate liking to Dave Parsons when I learned we were born just two days apart! But that superficiality aside, the guy played a Les Paul! He was the musical sound, fury and power in Sham 69 that stood up to all of Jimmy Pursey's magnetic force field. Dave just made it look all so easy. And what an easy-going chap! Dave seemed unruffled while Stiv led us through all manner of hijinx in the summer of 1981.

Let's see...well, first there was the haphazard travel plans... not from the UK to LA, but from LA to SF to Denver to Cleveland...and then Dave and I flew stand by from JFK to LAX on a hot summer day and had to walk from one terminal to another about a mile away... you know, indie DIY travel... you've all done it. Then there was the "keep Dave looking for Keith Richards" at the Rolling Stones video shoot for their "Waiting on a Friend" clip that was filmed on St. Marks Place, where we hung out with (the late) Punk Magazine mascot, John Spacely as the Stones did their business somewhere arms' length from us. No, Dave never saw Keith, but rather a guy from the video who was Keith's spit and image - Marty Abrams. Nobody would really care about catching a glimpse of Keith Richards, unless of course, your guitar of choice was the very same kind that Keith played on "Sympathy for the Devil." Remember... Dave Parsons is a punk rock guitar hero!

me keith spacely
me, Keith, John Spacely

Celebrities gravitated towards Stiv somehow. At the Cleveland Wanderers show, Todd Rundgren came backstage to wish Stiv well (sorry, no camera. Stiv already kicked my ass for that), and in New York, who should we meet wandering the halls of our hotel, The Gramercy Park Hotel? No, not its famous (at the time) resident, Paul Shaffer who was the band leader on Saturday Night Live (Letterman would come years later), surf rock hero Jan Berry of Jan & Dean.

Jan Berry Meets Punks

A couple years after the Wanderers tour and subsequent break-up, I spent the summer of 1984 in London. The summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles that year... I had to escape the influx of tens of thousands of temporary residents in the city, driving like Europeans. After letting us stay at his flat upon our most exhausted arrival, Dave found my friend Roxanne and I a great B&B set up... at the home of Girlschool drummer Denise Dufort's parents. In the years to come, Dave and Girlschool front woman and founder, Enid Williams would do some recording together. Dave has always been active musically, and currently, after a reunion and successful shows and additional attempts to play as Sham 69, the Pursey and Parsons camp have gone their separate ways. Dave remains a guitar hero to me and to many punk rockers.

wanderers rehearsal 96

Sham 69 Official Myspace page

Its June 1 -- happy birthday to Ronnie Wood!!! Bird, Small Face/Face, Rolling Stone and a guitar hero in his own right.
woody and mac, 1984

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