Earlier this year Meadowlark Lemon died. He was the main man in the Harlem Globetrotters. They came to Winnipeg when I was nine, about as amazing as getting candy for going to school. What a class act.
Nobody told us that the Harlem Globetrotters had other pretend teams to maximize their touring income. So here they were in Winnipeg and we all knew from serious Saturday morning TV that the main characters in this performance were Meadowlark and Curly …so after the show I had the good luck to see the main guy from the game walking into the dressing room and I had my instamatic camera (with 110 film and a quad flashbulb) I yelled “Hey Meadowlark!” and took his picture.
The picture that developed showed a man looking at the camera with a shocked expression. I didn’t understand, I just yelled his name but now I know that wasn’t his name. Years passed, I wondered if he took it as a racist yell by this little fool. Hope not. Hope I got it wrong, sometimes childhood impressions aren’t necessarily correct.
In the 1992 Eugene Chadbourne invited me to be part of a band performing in Germany. Amazing moment not least was that the other members included Jimmy Carl Black of the Mothers of Invention plus Ian Underwood, Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes and Jonathan Segall of Camper Van Beethoven.
But super cool was hanging with Ashwin Batish who had a cult record on college radio called sitar power and who’s father was one of George Harrison’s sitar teachers in the 60s. When the tour ended I was waiting with Ashwin at the airport in Dusseldorf to board our flights home. I asked him if he had any George stories.
He told me George used to call often to talk with his father and sometimes when his father wasn’t home his brother would pretend to be the father and give George sitar misdirections and little Ashwin on another receiver tried not to be heard giggling. This sounded too hilarious but a few years later it occurred to me George Harrison probably knew he was talking with kids, probably heard the giggles and maybe enjoyed being playful.