Old Guitar's New Life & Some Local-Centric Beatles Trivia Jay Allen Sanford 1.11.8
"It's kind of funny, but a bit of Shambles 'magic' is being included on a lot of local recordings - besides my usual studio stuff - via my old twelve string," says Shambles singer/guitarist Bart Mendoza. "I exchanged it with Mike Kamoo for studio time, figuring it was staying in the family. Now a house guitar at Earthling Studios, it's shown up on lots of albums by local acts. Most recently, I was in studio when the Swedish Models borrowed it, mentioning it would be on a Prayers recording as well. The guitar's main life has probably been on Stereotypes recordings.you know how people are about their guitars. I felt like a proud dad for a second! Considering it had sadly sat unused in a closet for a few years, a pretty good fate for a guitar."
So why did Bart stop using the guitar himself? "It never made it further than #3 on my list of guitars," he says. "It was/is a cool guitar, but I had a hard time tuning it, particularly live, so it became a backup, and then just got retired except for the occasional studio outing."
Ever since Bart and I first met and worked together in the mid-to-late '80s at a local comic book distributorship, he's been regaling me with tales of his Beatles collection. Recently, he wrote me "My coolest [recent] item isn't very valuable, but fun. I've been friends with a lot of Beatle people over the years and have Alistair Taylor, Tony Sheridan and Alf Bicknell's business cards and autographs/letters together in a frame, with a small print signed by Pauline Sutcliffe, and a picture sleeve for the unreleased Leave My Kitten Alone single, alongside a copy of My Bonnie signed by both Sheridan and Pete Best. Not exactly a signed copy of Sgt. Pepper's, but still fun!"
Bart informs that the new album by local Beatleholic Dave Humphries - a former Brit who, many years ago, was rejected three times by Apple Records execs - was recorded at Earthling and ALSO features a guest appearance by his old 12-string. Another guest, on five different songs, is none other than Brit crooner Tony Sheridan, whose 1961 record "My Bonnie" was the first platter to feature the Beatles, playing behind him as his backup band.
"I don't think he can stand Beatles fans," says Blizzard singer/guitarist Chris Leyva of Tony Sheridan. "We met him when we played BeatleFair in 2001. We got the gig by sending them three songs from the Backbeat movie soundtrack that we claimed was us! We were surprised that such bigtime Beatles fans didn't recognize the soundtrack, but then we had to learn some Beatles covers in order to play the gig."
Leyva says it was a thrill meeting Sheridan , but notes "He had just gotten off the plane or something and he wasn't too happy." After Sheridan watched his group (temporarily named the Backbeat Band) perform cuts like Long Tall Sally, Leyva says he came over and said "That sounded like a blizzard," and a new band name was born.