Garth Brooks and The Knights

I talked to Marilyn Reed yesterday and she told me Kathy Wilson gathered a thousand singers, most of them Gospel, in Autzen stadium to sing along with Garth Brooks. This is quite an accomplishment. Congratulations, Kathy.

Kathy is good friends with Kenny Reed who she wanted in the Brooks concert, but both the Reeds had health issues. M put Kathy in touch with Kathy the director of Inspirational Sounds Gospel Choir of Eugene. Marilyn is the President. I wonder if Soromundi sang?

I suggested Marilyn give Kathy a call and tell her about her work with Gospel Music and Black History. I have been encouraging M to do another Hult show that she produced. It was a very professional presentation that I recorded with my little camera. There was supposed to have been a professional film.

Here is a video taken with my camera of my neighbor. Sandy and I took a bus ride up the McKenzie River. I wanted to take a pic of the McKenzie River Christian Church where I wanted Marilyn’s choir to sing in 1987. My minister was against it. He forced me out of his church, and I became a Nazarite. I looked for other Nazarites on the web and found the Zulu Nazarite in South Africa. I wrote them a long letter. I got to talking, and by fate, turned my camera on in time to catch my old church where I met Kathy Wilson one evening. We went to her beautiful home by the river and talked a couple of hours.

Marilyn’s sister co-wrote ‘Fela’ that was sold and became a famous off-Broadway hit. The Reeds created a Black Culture in Eugene. Garth Brooks is a good friend of Robert Bailey Jr. who backed up the fictional singer Otis Day and the Knights whose famous song ‘Shout’ was sang at the concert with a thousand person back-up!

The folks of Animal House are a family, even a tribe. Kenny and Marilyn Reed sustained a family culture for many years with Jazz&Poetry at the Granary, then at Moe’s. I told M her choir is the oldest musical group in Eugene, and, they are a folk legend. They are a Cultural Icon that Wilson brought under the Big Tent.

Commonality is not music. Music is what we make when we feel joy with our community. The little community of Blue River is on a bigger map today. I was a man with a mission. I will not rest until I hear M’s choir sing in that beautiful grove of trees, next to the church. Garth Books country openness has brought my dream into focus. Reality is just a clap, and a shout – away!

John Presco

I found an obituary of my friend Bryan who sang at my wedding. Marilyn is on the far left, just her hands showing. Glen let me stay on his church for a week when I was homeless. Turns out he was a good friend of Bryan who wrote ‘Don’t Toss Us Away’ and appears in Patty’s video. Bryan’s sister was a singer. My wife was lived with Thomas Pynchon in Mexico, and may have been his wife. Jeff Pasternak went to the same school as Bryan, Marilyn and I. We three ended up being Whittaker Pioneers, the Hollywood Branch. M hung with Maggy Thrett who was in Star Trek. Bryan’s father was a good friend of the Hollywood Stars. We founded the New Balladeer.

Bryan joined a Christian ministry called the Vineyard, the same church that later converted Bob Dylan. During Friday night Bible readings, MacLean took the concert part of the session and was so amazed at the positive reaction he received that he gradually assembled a catalogue of his Christian songs. His next move was to open a Christian nightclub in Beverly Hills called The Daisy. When it closed in 1976, MacLean considered going full-time into the ministry but decided once again to devote himself to music.

He played an unsuccessful reunion with Arthur Lee in 1978 on two dates but wasn’t paid, so he turned down an offer for a UK tour which was to have been billed as the “original” Love. The Bryan MacLean Band got a gig supporting Arthur Lee’s Love at the Whisky in 1982. Bryan also worked with his half sister Maria McKee and wrote the song “Don’t Toss Us Away” for the debut album of her band Lone Justice.

Bryan started playing guitar in 1963/64. He got a job at the Balladeer before it changed its name to the Troubadour Club, playing back-up blues guitar. It was here he met the pre Byrds Jet Set while dating Jackie De Shannon and he became ‘fast friends’ with David Crosby. He moved away from home and by early 1965 he became road manager for the Byrds on their first Californian tour with the Rolling Stones. He managed one more cross-country tour with the group after they hit big with ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ but the exhausting 30 one nighters broke him physically and when the Byrds left for their first U.K. tour in the summer of 1965 they left Bryan behind.

This isn’t a story about Garth Brooks. Not exactly. It isn’t about how he sold out his Eugene concert in two hours or about his amazing career either.

It’s not even about the surprise when Brooks was joined on the Autzen Stadium stage Saturday night by hundreds of choir members. The choir — made up of local singers — all joined in singing “Shout!” and two other songs, to the delight of the more than 60,000 screaming fans.

What this story really is about is friendships — a relationship that spans decades and a homecoming for man who once called Eugene home.

It all started in the early 1970s when a young singer and a filmmaker crossed paths and made some magic happen. Meet Robert Bailey Jr., the singer and songwriter, and Katherine Wilson, the filmmaker, casting director and author.

″(Bailey) was in a band called Shinola with a friend who had been living in our various communes for years,” Wilson said. “He was going to the University of Oregon and his professor thought he should be an opera singer. He sang in the First Christian Church choir in downtown Eugene on Sunday.”

Then the movie “Animal House” came to town in 1977. Wilson was the casting director on the film. Bailey was cast as a Knight in the made-for-the-movie band Otis Day and the Knights. The two had a lot of fun working on the film together.

Bailey’s career took off from there. He has traveled all over the world as a solo artist and sung with the likes of Wynonna Judd and, more recently, Brooks.

Wilson’s career took her in one direction and Bailey’s another, but they kept in contact and worked on a few projects together over the years. Wilson still lives in the area.

Which leads us back to Eugene. When Brooks announced that his tour would come to Eugene, Brooks asked Bailey to put together a choir to sing with him. With his church gospel origins in mind, Bailey called Wilson, on her birthday in April no less, and asked her how hard it would be to gather together an 800-member choir? Oh and the whole thing needed to be kept a secret!

Never one to back down from a challenge, Wilson signed on. With nondisclosure agreements in one hand and a laptop in the other Wilson set to work. Before long she had signed on singers from more than 40 local choirs and singing groups. Other singers from Grants Pass, Bend, Newport and as far as away as Seattle joined the group.

Figuring out how to fit all those people with choir robes, create a rehearsal schedule and transport them all to Autzen Stadium en mass has kept Wilson busy full time for months.

All this to create a unique surprise for Brooks’ fans last night in Eugene.

“I have seen in my mind’s eye, just how the crowd is going to react when you sing, and it blows my mind!” Bailey wrote on the group’s Facebook page last week. “This is going to be SPECTACULAR!”



PORTLAND — The return of country singer Garth Brooks to Portland marked a special homecoming for one of his backup singers.

Robert Bailey, 59, moved to Portland with his family when he was 4 years old. He attended Benson High School and even worked at KGW Radio while he was a student.

“This is full circle for me,” said Bailey. “Everything I have learned about who I am, what I am and what I do, I learned [in Portland].

Bailey discovered his love for music as a child, singing gospel with his family at what’s now Maranatha Church, in Northeast Portland.

Recognizing his talent, a church member handed Bailey a check for $5 when he was in the seventh grade.

“She said, ‘Find yourself a voice teacher and study to do this the right way,'” recalled Bailey.

After attending the University of Oregon, Bailey toured with several bands including Wynonna Judd. He also landed work in Nashville’s recording studios, where first met Brooks.

Bailey was a backup singer on Brooks’ second album and has sung on all of Brooks’ albums, since then.

“[Brooks] was the new big thing… but he was so cool,” said Bailey. “The boss man is such a wonderful person.”

Bailey said the road to success included some personal bumps along the way, but he credits his faith and family for seeing him through.

“I still feel like I’m living a dream,” said Bailey.

During Portland’s Sunday matinee show, Brooks made a special surprise introduction of Bailey, as “Portland’s own.”

The audience rose to their feet and cheered several minutes for Bailey. Afterward, Brooks put the spotlight back on Bailey for a second time, as tears of joy filled Bailey’s eyes.

“It was as if all 18,500 people in that audience were speaking for me, because that’s how I feel about this town,” said. “I love this town.”

Belushi’s Animal House Car

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A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Lane County Historical Society & Museum, I found the car John Belishi drove at the end of the movie ‘Animal House’. It is located inside a vintage warehouse located on Franklin Street a hundred yards from where a convention center is to be built. This building and about twelve homes were under the wrecking ball ten years ago when a company owned by Dubai royalty tried to buy up this property in order to build a hotel apartment complex. Five years ago I was introduced to Jim who owned a home on Brooklyn Street that Dubai and Sid Leiken wanted to buy – and tear down. Jim is an old Bohemian who along with his neighbors, asked a million dollars for his land. This nixed the deal with Dubai.

Now, the same plan is back under new names. There exist an extensive study made in 2006, paid for by the tax payers – that is being hidden. The Stakeholders were not summoned again to view the Son of Glenwood. I will be meeting with the archivest at the Lane Museum this morning. When I suggested she acquire Belushi’s car, she said there was no room for it. I told her this car would bring folks from all over the world to look at it, and thus, there would be visitors, verses, no visitors! The question I will be putting forth in my blogs for the next week, is.. Why build a convention/hotel complex using tax payers money, when there is nothing TO SEE when the out-of-towners get here, because our City Leaders keep tearing down, and throwing away, the NORMAL STUFF most folks want to city in other cities! My friend Kenny Reed appeared in a documentary about the making of Animal House, along with Izzy, a Merry Prankster.

What we got here is that classic movie where a town of Small People are being pushed around by a Big Developer who is backed by Oil Sheiks from Dubai who want to build a giant Crescent Moon with Star in the heart of Springtucky.

Bluto’s son is the King of the Belusihi Bohemians who live in Gypsy wagons camped down by the river, and is married to Esmerelda, the Dancing Goat Girl, who leads a band of merry campers against the Evil Axis of Apex, and the legal team put together by Bill Gate’s father who wins a legal battle to prevent Esmerelda’s goats from grazing on the grass by the river. When all seems lost, the Tea Party Stakeholders come riding to the rescue.

El Sid Laiken went to college with the royal brothers from Dubai whose names escape me. They have gone underground, and was on the team to bring Dubai royalty into our valley.

Consider this blog to be the movie script I will be sending out to some producers.

I am going to found a Bohemian Government in the Emerald Valley that will conduct the normal business Bohemians have been conducting for centuries. We’ll just pretend elected officials don’t exist. However, we will invite The Mayors to have lunch with us once a month in hope the cultural warfare being waged against Bohemians, will one day be over.

We will then rename the EMERALD Valley, ESMERALDA Valley, where it will be Country Fair time everyday!

Jon Presco

Copyright 2014

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1961 Buick Electra 225 Convertible.

Tribal Blue – River Revelations

New members of the Nazareth Baptist Church are baptized close to the church headquarters near KwaMashu, KwaZulu Natal, January 1998. The founder Isaiah Shembe is seen as a spiritual descendent of Moses and Jesus, and th church embraces traditional Zulu values and customs. Photo Greg Marinovich

I understood I was living under tribal rule and conditions after I pissed Gary off – but good! We were studying Mark 4. There were about five of our neighbors gathered in Greg Mel’s home. I asked our minister this question:

“Jesus is speaking in parables and riddles to the crowd who are struggling to get his message. Then he says he told his disciples the answer to his riddles, in secret, when they were alone. I’m wondering, why didn’t one of the disciple write these answers down so we can read them? We’re talking about ‘The Secret of The Kingdom of God!”

There was silence as Gary’s face turned red with anger. His ears were on fire. He said;

“You went over and over this passage just to………..trip me up!”

You could hear a pin drop. I looked at the look of shock from my neighbors that I was friends with – outside Gary’s Colonial Territorial Rule. How did Gary – want me to react? I learnded forward in my chair, looked him dead in the eye, and slowly said;


It was like a showdown at the ‘I’m O.K. and You’re Not Coral.

“These people came here so they can own a simple faith, and you are preventing that!”

To be stamped a pariah in front of your peers, is serious business. Gary continued to feed his little chicks more pellets of simple faith. I could see some folks wre secretly mulling over my good question, wondering if I was really on to something – real forbidden! And, it would corrupt them if they delved any deeper. Surely, they would meet my fate, and be cast out.

At the end of the meeting, Gary took me aside in my good friends home, and said;

“As a Christian, I am bid to love you. But, it doesn’t mean I have to like you!”

I should have said;

“Where does it say that?”

Gary was referring to the great commandment that he read over and over and over again. He even read it at Bible college. I hadn’t read it yet.

For a second I thought about taking Gary outside – and whomp on his ass! This was the beginning of The Bad Ol Days of Good Ol Gary. I stopped going to Bible study, and kept going to his church. One beautiful Sunday morning, as I looked out the window at the blue jays and butterflies, Gary told us about another of his – inner feelings!

“Sometimes I pray that the Russians would drop an atomic bomb on San Francisco so as to kill all the queers!”

Can I get a witness?

I quickly looked around at the hundred people in the pews. Did they hear what I just heard? It took much strength not to stand up and say what I wanted to say.

“Are you saying you want the Russians to murder a millions of Americans just to wipe out a couple of thousand queers? Gary, some of the world’s greatest churches are in San Francisco. Would you care to retract that – desire?”

Everyone was smiling. I assumed they heard this kind of fantasying before, and, it didn’t hurt the collection plate. I guess they never heard of Jim Jones. Was Gary going to ask for a show of hands, followed by a free batch of coo-aid?

I still own a vision of what would have happened if I had stood up. Gary would have rushed me, taken hold of me to throw me out of his church, and I would have had to knock him out, beat the crap out of him. Simple faith – my ass! You mass-murderer!

We now know Gary was ahead of the times. If he had lived longer, he would have been King Bobo’s personal spiritual advisor.

On the Bad Streets of Blue River was the White River Café, where the Good Ol Boys had breakfast. They wore blue overalls. There grandpas were Confederate officers who fled here after they lost the Civil War. They made a living, logging. They gave Gary hefty checks. It was something to see. They sat at their usual table. There were big plates of hash browns, bacon, eggs, and toast. These were extra big plates ordered from Chicago, and kept in a special cabinet in the back room. The cook always gave them a little bit more. The waitress, was always there to freshen up their cups of coffees. These were King Oinkers right out of Orwell’s Animal Farm. Gary was protecting them from me. He did not want me to get between them and their Checkee-Poohs!

This is why Gary choked when I suggested the Gospel Choir come up river and sing. What Gary and Boys wanted, was to see a Good Ol Celtic River Dance. They wanted to see more white people gathering by – their river!

I would like to see a Colony of Mandaeans take over Blue River, and turn this Ghost Town into a beautiful Oasis of Love. The Neo-Confederate Hogs, are gone. They got Defolked by old age. I don’t think they left any markers behind. Everything got closed down!

At some point, Gary was supposed to ask me if I wanted to be Baptized. Instead, he asked me to play Judas in his Churches Passion Play. My kin and good friend, Michael Dundon, was going to play Jesus. I declined the offer, declared myself a Nazarite, Baptized myself in the McKenzie River, then went to town in search of other Nazarites – on a computer! I found my church – in South Africa. I wrote them a long letter. I told them about Blue River Revelation. I own a vision of a plane landing at the Eugene airport, and my Tribe and Church getting onto a bus to come dance and sing in the place where I talked to Jesus.

“Be not afraid. Spiritual Courage will be met by Spiritual Courage!”

Millions of folks want to get into the water so that they can be healed of their hatred of their neighbor. Most don’t know this yet!

As I look back, I can see God did not give me the preacher-man I wanted, but, he was my go-to man of God. I can honestly say, I liked Gary Johnson, and, even loved him. He was at his best out in his garage. God gave him a great garage. He knew how to fix stuff. It made me sad when I heard the Church board of directors, sent him on a sabbatical. There was a rebellion, and the church split in two. I drove by and saw balloons and banners on the new Church. A great era, had come to an end.

Seer John

The Age of Man Dies on Ugly Street

I am a sucker for brainstorming! So are others. The chance to do so drew a hundred citizens of Eugene together, and, one resident of Springfield, myself. I tried to get my camera to focus on the screen, but, it remained fuzzy. I took this as a – sign!

“Members of the public can help to brainstorm ideas for a redesign of Franklin Boulevard during an upcoming four day series of public meetings hosted by the City of Eugene. “

My chance to braintstorm, again, (I am a braintstorm addict) always begins with an imitation of Howard Beale. This time I chose the the scene where Howarard collapses after an intense brainstorm. I warned the folks at my table about Rezidor (now Raddison)  who wants Glenwood. Glenwood is the target. The problem, is, folks got to go thru Knight Land and the University of Oregon, to get to Glenwood. They don’t want to create Traffic Hell for the students. The Alumni won’t like that, nor their parents, if too many get runover by limos driving the Northwest Jet Setters from the airport.

So, now you know! Swells on their way to stay at The Raddison do not want to see an old muffler shop. They don’t want to see old beaters chugging down the road to get cheap tires. The City of Eugene is pulling a Bait&Switch. Franklin will be a ritzy driveway for filthy rich Hotel Moguls. Play both videos at same time.

Why are they flashing the word “RED”?

  1. 1.
    a spontaneous group discussion to produce ideas and ways of solving problems.
  2. 2.
    a moment in which one is suddenly unable to think clearly or act sensibly.
  1. 1.
    produce an idea or way of solving a problem by holding a spontaneous group discussion.

After the obligatory slideshow, the first question slung at the PL (project leader) was;

“Why solicit our opinion if it is a done deal in two days?”

The second question;

“What about the established businesses that have been there for years?”

The answer the PL gave, was shocking. Being rude in there here parts is forbidden. The PL was sulking, acting offended.

“Why don’t you give us a chance. If you don’t like the results, then we will listen to you, take you seriously.”

I am paraphrasing because I was not filming and taking notes. I looked over the gentleman who asked the great question and he was glaring at baldy. I gave him a thumbs up. Five minutes later I go talk to him.  A gentleman named Steve joined us.

“That was rude!” I said, and we three agreed. A good question went unanswered. Baldy sniggered when he showed a photo of these old businesses. Why? I wanted to quote what I heard David Lynch say when he spoke at the UofO ten years ago.

“This is my kind of town. On the drive from the airport, we passed an old saw sharpening shack, then there is a Dairy Queen…….”

Baldy knew the old business question by heart. He showed us other Ugly Streets in other towns. They had the same problems we have. They got a transparencey app that is laid over this town, then that town. What do the people matter and their opinion. They just get in the way.

Take note of the small print the two feedbacks about  the Carson Saw Shop. Rezidor does not want anything that looks like this business next to their swank hotel. They don’t want their guests looking down from their balcony, and then down on the source of the loud clanking sound. Burt’s Junkyard will also sharpen saws and lawnmower blades.

At the end of the brainstorming I got the last word in by mentioning the wreck of John Belushi’s car he drove in Animal House that was just down the street. I suggested it be turned into a work of art, and a major tourist attraction.

“People will come from all over the world to have their pic taken next to it!”

Mr. Baldy, chortled, again, as if to say there is always a Class Clown in the bunch. Baldy was proud of the photographs of the old businesses that he took on his personal walk down Franklin. Baldy chuckled in order for The Citizens to take note. He took our large pieces of paper we made notes on. I bet they are looking for a couple of copycats, follow the leader types, who want that shit scraped off Franklin. These businesses were targeted. I am going before both City Councils, and the Business Association.

The movie Animal House has been a thorn in the side of the UofO since it was made. Here is Bluto bothering Raddison Hotel types, the types Baldy wants to come down Franklin in a stretch limo. These are the swells that were raised to go to Red World, even work there. Go look at that promo video again.

“Welcome to the gold!”


to be continued

John Presco

Play both videos at same time with Animal sound turned off.


Tweaker central, don’t know what the story is with the three guys that work here but word to the wise “don’t waste your time”. They ended up charging me more than what my mower was even worth with a bogus invoice. Horrible communication and experience. I had to call for them to even remember my mower and most of these guys that work here are incoherent and incapable of making professional business conversation. Something else is definitely going on behind the scenes besides this bogus repair shop front!

Ryan M

2 years ago
This is a saw and sharpening supply shop geared towards tradesmen not so much the home owner. Don’t expect great customer service, expect to pull someone away from their primary task (the lost art of tool sharpening) to help you. If you need a tool sharpened and you want it done right for a reasonable price go here. If what you crave is great customer service with your tool sharpening, then pay more, somewhere else.

Animal House turns 40: ‘A story about the last good days of America’

Steve Wickham remembers taking actor John Belushi down to the Eugene Hotel during the filming of “Animal House” all those years ago to hear bluesman Curtis Salgado and the Robert Cray Band. The rest is history. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. – Steve Wickham remembers taking actor John Belushi down to the Eugene Hotel during the filming of “Animal House” all those years ago to hear bluesman Curtis Salgado and the Robert Cray Band.

“He just loved it and loved them,” said Wickham, who appeared as an extra in the movie. “So he became friends with Curtis and everything moved on to the ‘Blues Brothers’ from there.”

Belushi – the “Saturday Night Live” star appearing in his first film as Bluto Blutarsky – held a special place in Katherine Wilson’s heart.

“I went to stand next to him,” she said, looking at a photo of herself with the late actor, “and he grabbed me and pulled me on his lap, and that’s why my eyes are closed and I’m laughing. I loved him a lot.”

Wilson served as location scout for the movie, transforming the West University area into a movie set.

“They wanted to tell a story about the last good days of America,” said Katherine Wilson, who served as location scout for the move, “which were 1962 before Kennedy was assassinated.” (SBG)

“They wanted to tell a story about the last good day

Next Up
Health advisory lifted at Agate Beach, Seal Rock State Park Beach and Harris Beach
Rewind 10 Seconds
Next Up: Health advisory lifted at Agate Beach, Seal Rock State Park Beach and Harris Beach
Closed Captions

Marv Leake was an extra in “Animal House” and still has a movie artifact: an original script.

“It’s amazing how close the movie is to the script,” Leake said. (SBG)

“It’s amazing how close the movie is to the script,” Leake said.

Izzy Whetstine, 79, played “Mr. Mycolostomy” in the movie.

“I was the janitor, the all-around handyman,” he recalled. “I emptied the waste baskets and cut up the dead horses or widened the doors. I’m not really sure what I did with that chain saw.”

Izzy Whetstine, 79, played “Mr. Mycolostomy” in the movie. “I was the janitor, the all-around handyman,” he recalled. “I emptied the waste baskets and cut up the dead horses or widened the doors. I’m not really sure what i did with that chain saw.” (SBG)

Now folks in Cottage Grove are busy planning a toga party to end all toga parties in honor of the 40th anniversary.

The town’s Main Street was used to film the homecoming parade scene that featured a ban marching into a brick wall.

Mark your calendars: On August 8, 2018, people in Cottage Grove are planning to celebrate.

At meetings of the “Double Secret Society”, business leaders and the Cottage Grove mayor are working to cook up the 40th anniversary bash for the movie.

This is a look inside a meeting of the “Double Secret Society”, where business leaders and the Cottage Grove mayor are cooking up quite a 40th anniversary bash for the movie. (SBG)

“I was still in high school,” Mayor Jeff Gowing said, “so I remember being down here skipping school to come watch them film it.”

The Chamber of Commerce is helping organize the August celebration, which will feature a replica of the Deathmobile and an attempt at a new world record for toga parties.

“I looked up on Guinness,” said Travis Palmer, director of the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce, “and I wrote them and I said, ‘Hey, we want to get our record back’ and I applied – and by God we’re going to do it.”

They are also organzing a county-wide “food fight” in July to benefit FOOD for Lane County.

“Everybody was new, and so we bonded, you know,” said Katherine Wilson, pictured with Izzy Whetstine, Marv Leake, and Steve Wickham. “We were all equal.” (SBG)

So for 40 years, Animal House has stood the test of time.

Will the story endure another 40 years?

“It’s like ‘The Little Engine That Could’,” Wickham said. “Nobody thought this was going to make it.”

But in the end?

“It’s timeless,” Wilson said.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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2 Responses to Garth Brooks and The Knights

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    There’s going to be a doc on Garth Brooks in a couple of days.

  2. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    There was a religious culture in Blue River that was diverse on one hand, and, intolerant on the other.

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