If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away---Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, December 6, 2009

In Memoriam to Bob Keane, record producer (January 5, 1922 – November 28, 2009)

Tonight I was watching on TV the old movie "La Bamba" about the 50's singer Ritchie Valens. I have seen it a number of times and everytime I watch it I think about an old friend, Bob Keane, who produced Ritchie Valens and the group I played drums for in the late 60's, Beauregard Ajax. After the movie I went to my computer and googled "Ritchie Valens" and then "Bob Keane." I soon discovered that Bob Keane died recently on November 28, 2009 at the age of 87.

Our group connected with Bob Keane through a high school friend of mine from my Home town, Oxnard California, Patrick Landreville. Bob Keane listened to our demos and invited us to LA to consider a recording contract with Del-Fi Records. Our group moved into an apartment in LA in 1968 and started recording with Bob at Del-Fi recording studios a block south of Hollywood and Vine Streets. The recording sessions were long and often tedious, but we completed most of the recordings. All was left was some fine tuning, addition of strings and other concluding work when Bob lost his studio. That was the end of our recordings. Bob kept the masters. Years later copies of those master ended up floating around in Europe. Beaurgeard Ajax split up in early 1969 and went different directions. Clint Williams, the bass player, and myself joined an 18 year old amazing guitarist Bill Conners, who later joined with Chick Corea's Return to Forever. I stayed with "Middle Earth" until I was drafted into the Army late 1969, where I ended up playing drums in the Third Army Soldier Show.

Many years later, 36 years to be exact, I googled the name "Beauregard Ajax" and to my surprise discovered that our album, first recorded with Bob Keane at Del-Fi, had been released on a vinyl record by Shadoks Records in Germany and later on a CD. None of the original band members has made any royalties off those recordings that we made as young men so long ago, but I am blessed to have known Bob Keane, to have recorded at Del-Fi, to have been able to see others from another generation enjoy our music today. Thanks, Bob, for your life story and for connecting to my life story. Rest in peace, Bob.

LA Times story on Bob Keane: http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-bob-keane1-2009dec01,0,2711217.story

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