Chuck Berry, one of my favorites BUUUT

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by 5120mantis, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. 5120mantis

    5120mantis Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2011
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  2. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Chuck ruled!
    I’ll take chuck Berry slightly out of tune over any number of other guitar players in tune.
    His perfect songs have always inspired me to write better, and his riffs, leads and licks still inspire me to just go for it!
    Hail Hail Rock n’ Roll!
  3. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    @radd I’m not saying he was a good or bad guy. But sometimes there are stories behind the stories. Aside from the juvenile thing, part of his run in with the law and the 14 year old sounds racially motivated to me. Even the 14 year old who may have looked older and could’ve lied about her age, could’ve sought revenge after he fired her or simply been pressured that they were going to lock her up if she didn’t make a statement saying he had sex with her. As it sounds to me that she may have been Mexican or white. The south was not a friendly place for interracial stuff at the time and honestly still isn’t in some parts. The below was taken from the New York Post.

    But by 1959, he was in trouble again, busted over a racially charged incident at a dance at the Meridian, Miss., high school.

    According to Berry’s autobiography, “one of the girls threw her arms around me and hung a soul-searching kiss that I let hang a second too long.”

    Someone shouted out that “this n—-r asked my sister for a date!” and a mob chased him outside, where the cops caught him hiding in a nearby building.

    Berry was charged with disturbing the peace — which he settled by spending a night in jail and surrendering the $700 seized from his pockets.

    That incident paled in comparison, however, with the case brought later that year, when he was charged with violating the federal Mann Act — also known as the White Slave Traffic Act — which prohibits transporting women across state lines for “prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.”

    The victim in question was a 14-year-old waitress and prostitute whom Berry picked up while traveling in Mexico and brought back to St. Louis to work as a hostess at his Club Bandstand nightclub.

    Berry — who later claimed the girl told him she was 21 — fired her after several weeks, after which she was busted for prostitution and told the cops that Berry repeatedly had sex with her while they were on the road, including in the back of his Cadillac.

    Berry was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to the maximum five years in the slammer by Judge George Moore, who told him “I have seen your kind before” and denied him bail pending appeal.

    “I would not turn this man loose to go out and prey on a lot of ignorant Indian girls and colored girls, and white girls, if any,” he added.

    The conviction was overturned based on racist remarks made by the judge, but a second jury also convicted Berry and he wound up serving 20 months behind bars, during which time he wrote several songs.
  4. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I don’t disagree with that. I was not there, all we know is what someone else has written or said.

    I probably should not have commented in this thread about my view of him as a person, it was unnecessary and I apologize for that.
    Merc likes this.
  5. JeffreyLeePierre

    JeffreyLeePierre Country Gent

    What's wrong with that Memphis Tennessee version? That's genius! Which does not depends on 100% tuning and intonation right. See how he moves shoulders, watch the whole show and see how the audience is marveled all through the way.
    About the musicians on that specific show (Rocking Horse), for once they were not a one time pick: they played a whole European tour with him. The drummer is named Dave Harrison, and Michael Snow the piano player has written a few memories about that tour, here: and his story does not looks such a bad time recollection.

    Also Bruce Springsteen has several times told the story they've been one of his one time band and he speaks about it like one of his life's highs. See here the way he looks at him, that tells a lot:

    Now if you want to know more about the man, you should read his autobiography. He seems very down to earth and seems to consider himself a businessman rather than an artist. He was born in a city from rising black middle class, his father was a pastor (or something close to that) and he's proud he had to earn every cent for nice cars or businesses he set up. Also he mentions the example of Johnny Johnson drinking his earnings and he did not want to act the same. Just have to accept and wonder that such an apparently square and greedy man has been able to write these songs and invent these riffs.

    Assume you come back in the dressing room and see a young wanker playing with your expensive guitar... Keith Richards does not look angry about that, he kinda know he deserved something like that.

    You should also consider what was the audience wanting: Johnny B. Goode & the duck walk. So you have a ticket for a Chuck Berry concert and you want his glorious numbers. He'll give you what you paid for.
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  6. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    BAMMmmmmm, Mic drop Boieeeee! :)
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  7. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    Assume you come back in the dressing room and see KEITH RICHARDS playing with your expensive guitar... uh, no. Berry has a lifelong reputation of being an arrogant, difficult, @ss. It has been well-earned. I love the guy's music, but he was not an affable guy.
    JeffreyLeePierre and 5120mantis like this.
  8. Fasteddie42

    Fasteddie42 Electromatic

    Sep 18, 2018
    tip of the mitt
    what about the "potty camera" incident?

    I love CB's music, but he was a scuzzball too (same goes for jerry lee lewis and a whole lot of early R&R players).

    IIRC he switched keys on pickup bands just to mess with them.
  9. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    I agree with this - it's like he stagnated at some point. He should have looked at the guys who "stole" his lick and what they did to develop it and further developed the craft. Instead, he let them dictate the pace after he made it famous.
  10. JeffreyLeePierre

    JeffreyLeePierre Country Gent

    Another quote from Keith Richards about that incident, from

    Writing a tribute to Berry for Rolling Stone, Richards described the late musician as “the granddaddy of us all” and “incredibly versatile”.

    He also described an incident which saw Berry punch him. “Chuck Berry once gave me a black eye, which I later called his greatest hit,” Richards wrote, adding: “We saw him play in New York somewhere, and afterward I was backstage in his dressing room, where his guitar was lying in its case. I wanted to look, out of professional interest, and as I’m just plucking the strings, Chuck walked in and gave me this wallop to the frickin’ left eye. But I realized I was in the wrong. If I walked into my dressing room and saw somebody fiddling with my ax, it would be perfectly all right to sock ’em, you know? I just got caught.”

    Richards added: “He would do things like throw me offstage, too. I always took that as a reverse compliment, sort of as a sign of respect – because otherwise he wouldn’t bother with me. He was a little prickly, but at the same time there was a very warm guy underneath that he wasn’t that willing to display. There were other times between us when we’re sitting around and rehearsing, and going, ‘Man, you know, between us we got that sh*t down” – and there would be a beautiful, different feeling.”

    That other incident of getting thrown off the stage is depicted here:
  11. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    I saw another one where Berry laid into Richards verbally for his attitude. I think he saw Richards as lazy and disrespectful, perhaps earned. Seems that Keith was/is a bit short on social graces candle power. I also think he felt superior to Keith and treated him as lower.
    ruger9 likes this.
  12. JeffreyLeePierre

    JeffreyLeePierre Country Gent

    Yup, the Richards' way of life was not something he would admire.
    stevo likes this.
  13. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Without Chuck Berry they couldn't have made "Back to the Future"
    TSims1 and Sabato like this.
  14. Sabato

    Sabato Synchromatic

    Mar 22, 2019
    It's a blues riff in B, watch me for the changes and try and keep up, Ok?
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  15. 5120mantis

    5120mantis Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2011
    I love that movie.
    Merc and new6659 like this.
  16. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    I'd punch him (didnt he learn the first time), wash my hands before I get contact high, clean the guitar, then offer him beer. You dont touch someone's guitar without asking and quite frankly even asking takes chutzpah, I usually express interest and wait for an invitation unless I know the person.
    new6659 likes this.
  17. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I always separate the musician from the music. Same with actors. Their personalities and lifestyles often don't correlate to their art. I've met talented people that offstage could be either way, good or bad.
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  18. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    My experience also.
  19. Floo

    Floo Country Gent

    Dec 16, 2012
    Elmshorn, Germany
    The only way to enjoy music or movies. Sound advice here from wabash slim.
    pmac11 likes this.
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