Saturday, October 18, 2014

Townedger Radio 1 and Scott Murray Remembered

Scott Murray was a one of kind person that if you were a musician in Cedar Rapids in the era of Carma Lou's House of Music, you have seen Scott from time to time,  I believe he was a guitar teacher there. Although I have seen him from time to time, and probably around when he was at 16th Avenue Music in Czech Village, I really don't have much memories to go on from Scott.  But I'll leave a few testimonials from some that did know the man.  Thanks to Steve Bray for compiling the best moments. Murray passed away on October 9th this year.

From Facebook. Chaz Hogue:

Scott always listened to music that I hadn't heard before. Early on it was stuff like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Gentle Giant, and Soft Machine. Stuff that the first time you heard it you realized that you weren't tapping your feet to it appropriately and so forth. Later it was Return to Forever and Paco De Lucia and such. Once we were at a party at Dick Kriz's place and one of the old jazz guys there asked Scott about what old jazz guys he was listening to. Embarrassed, Scott couldn't name any. The oldster laughed aloud. I was standing there with them and witnessed it. Soon after that Scott listened to everything he could get his hands on. Then he knew the answer. Oh God, then the Ornette Coleman days ensued....Anyway, Scott became a student of Jazz then and excelled at that just like everything else that he put his mind to....

 Of course there was always Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Larry 'Wildman' Fischer, and the Fugs....

 Scott once told me a story about how he dealt with others in the lecture halls at the university of Iowa. He said that so many were just showing up and scribbling everything on paper rather than just listening to the lecture. He was disgusted by this activity all around him. So Scott decided to do something about it. He fashioned a sombrero-like hat from a paper bag and filled the brim of it with breakfast cereal. He wore it to a morning lecture and then reached up into it, multiple times, grabbing a piece, and then flung it with a spoon at others around him while they wrote furiously. Needless to say there were negative ramifications regarding his activity. Picture our Scott in a lecture hall wearing and doing that with his classic smirk on his face, all the while easily absorbing everything that was being said on the stage by the professor.

 A couple of months ago I stopped by to visit him at home. Jean showed me these casters on the chair he'd sit in while at the computer. They wouldn't spin and rotate anymore because they were all clogged up with Scott's 'steel wool' hair! There was no extracting it from them! We got new ones and put them on....

 Years ago there was this Conoco gas station on Old Marion Road NE. It was in the vicinity of the current Kool Moo ice cream and Stewart's Performance/car wash location. Scott got a job there pumping gas in the afternoons and early evenings. He had considerable 'down-time' between customers and used to sit behind this desk in the front room, playing his acoustic guitar. Once I ventured in to see 3 or 4 kids crawling around on the floor in front of him as he played "Tales from the Riverbank" which was the theme song from "Hammy" which aired weekdays on the Dr. Max show. The kids were mimicking the rodents which were the stars of the TV show with Scott roaring with laughter as he played to them.

 Scott had to wear this Conoco jump-suit at work; a pair of red coveralls with a logo on the front. Somewhere he acquired a red cape and he then started wearing it too. It was hilarious to watch him burst from the building, running out to a car at the pumps, with that red cape flying behind him.

 So one day I found and bought a "Johnny Lightning" helmet from the Salvation Army store. I took it to Scott at work and sure enough, the next customer was treated to Scott running from the building to the pumps wearing it along with the rest of his garb! I laughed so hard I thought I'd die!

The Mr. Ed Tilc story:

Back in the '70s in the Cedar Rapids school district there was a quirky old guy with a limp and a wooden cane who began showing up as a substitute science and math teacher during my junior high and then later my senior high school days. He was a very short little guy who wore very thick glasses with big black frames that magnified his eyes in an odd and peculiar fashion when you looked at him. He always wore a black suit, white shirt, and necktie. His thinning gray hair was short and combed straight back. He was knowledgeable, quite friendly and approachable, and very animated in his speech.

His name was Mr. Ed Tilc and he had been a research scientist for a large outfit like Dow chemical or perhaps Dial or similar. Kennedy high school chemistry teacher Mr. Bauman (sp?) had once worked for him and upon Mr. Tilc's retirement he suggested that Ed come to Iowa and teach the kids. Share some of his vast knowledge with the students. Remarkably he moved here from California and started attempting to do just that.

Mr. Tilc was delighted to be here and often became so excited during class that he would deviate from the curriculum in an effort to impart his vast knowledge. He would speak about how he wanted to establish a 'junior scientist club' and he would share many stories regarding his interactions with Hollywood stars and various popular musicians on the west coast. In particular, Mr. Tilc told us stories about his personal interactions with Lucile Ball and Frank Sinatra. He also once exclaimed that he walked with a limp because a cobra snake had once bitten him in one of his legs. He claimed that he had barely survived the incident and at the time was one of the few, perhaps the only one, that had.

Scott Murray was also very aware of Mr. Tilc. He had talked to Mr. Bauman extensively about him during chemistry classes at Kennedy while I was still in Junior high school. Mr. Tilc had huge credentials regardless of his unorthodox teaching approach. I'm convinced that Mr. Tilc was a substitute teacher unlike any other before or since around here.

Once while discussing Mr. Tilc with Scott, both of us quoting every seemingly outrageous statement that we'd ever heard him say, we decided to write a song about him. I used Scott's classical acoustic guitar to compose the melody in Randy Lovstuen's living room one afternoon. We doubled over in laughter as I played the most discordant and dissonant things that I could come up with. We eventually agreed with the content and then moved on to the lyrics, “Jello and Napalm too, toothpaste in a tube, repeat, Good friend Lucille Ball came to me and said, “Ed what can I do with my hair”, repeat, (Chorus) Junior scientist club always use a metal comb, repeat....and so on and so forth it went....We both knew a woman with a wonderful, trained, operatic voice and we fantasized about her singing this over an accompaniment that we might some day provide!

A few years later Scott called me up on the phone. He said, “I've been working on programming 'The Ed Tilc Song' on my PC using Qbasic." He said, “Here ya go, just listen to this!” Over the phone I listened to this monophonic synthesized rendition of the melody as it chugged and meandered along. Pretty funny stuff. Upon it's completion he said, “Well, what do you think about that?” Of course I told him that it was beautiful, and it was in its own way, representing hours of hard work and such. Later he e-mailed me an attachment of an updated version complete with a pan-potting spaceship-like noise in the background that wooshed by. It was wonderful!

 One wet and cold Fall day Scott and a few others were sitting in the Red Frog watching football on the TV when lo and behold Indiana University head basketball coach Bobby Knight walked in the front door. Scott looked to his right and then to his left, observing the dumbfounded expressions of those around him as they realized just who this guy was! Finally Scott broke the silence and asked the obvious, "Coach Knight, what in the world are you doing here in the Red Frog in Cedar Rapids, IA this afternoon?" In his best, gruff, court-side manner, Coach Knight explained that he was looking for a pheasant hunting guide that he knew from the past but had lost his contact information for. Apparently the guide was known to frequent the Red Frog tavern and grill. Coach Knight called the guide by name and someone there recognized the guy and was able to help with a phone number. Then just as quickly as he had appeared, back out the door he went and was gone. Everyone who had been there spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get others who showed up to believe them that Bobby Knight had stopped by.

 Scott used to yell out he car window "why aren't you naked?!!" One girl yelled back 'Why aren't you?!" Scott replied " I am...under these clothes!!! " That's the only one who yelled back at Scott. HAHAHAHAH!!!  (From Jayme Plank)

Scott was one of a kind: brilliant, odd, and hilariously funny. He was also - back in a day where most dudes were not- accepting of women playing guitar as equals. I can remember his one eyebrow glance if someone said something he found witty or intriguing as he processed what he heard and his follow up witticism. But my most vivid memory is Scott walking down Old Marion Road around this time of year, carrying a guitar and no shoes on his feet. As someone myself who spent as little time wearing shoes as possible, I found this very admirable with the autumn chill. As one of the more unique patches in the quilt of life, Scott will be missed.  (from Barb Myers)

Scott was very helpful to me in learning guitar, piano, music theory, programming my Roland XP50 work station keyboard, writing songs, computers and so much more! When he was injured in a mugging in '98 I was happy to organize a music benefit to raise thousands of dollars to pay his hospital bill. He was truly gifted! He was very instrumental in the lives of countless musicians!  (From Kraig  Wildcat  Spratt)

Scott was in "The Blue Sparks" from 1986 - 1989. Common venues were 'The Golden Palamino' in Marion, IA & 'King Tut Lounge' / 'Henry J's' in Cedar Rapids, IA. Other members of "Blue Sparks" were Nate Hines-guitar, Tom Bruner-guitar, Matt Daugherty-keyboards, Robert Wallace-vocals, Suzie Lind (later Cassie Lind, then Kelly Wood Hansel)-vocals, Mikey Timolea-drums, and a sax / horns section ! After "Blue Sparks", Scott was in "The Pete Turner Blues Band" (early 1990's) venue was typically 'Henry J's'.Scott taught guitar lessons from 1993 -2003 at '16th Avenue Music' in Czech Village. Prior to this, he was teachung guitar at 'Carma Lou's House of Music' on Center Point Road NE. Scott played extensively on a record album of Jim Reeves cover songs his friend Kirk 'The Turk' Witmeyer from Cedar Falls recorded (around the year 2000 ?)  (Nate Himes)

I've seen Scott down at 16th Avenue Music when Bruce Stanley was there and we would trade off CDs and music ideas.  Although I didn't quite know Scott as well as I did Bruce, he was a very original and off the wall kinda guy.  The funny one eye looks he gave are priceless.  In the things I should have done, I should have had Scott teach me a thing or two on guitar.  A great guy that will be missed.

Townedger Radio Programme Number 1 (aired on Lucky Star Radio Wed Night Playlist)

Last year I wrote in various blogs about having an all night radio station and promoted songs in the tradition of late night radio. An anything goes attitude. For the past year I discussed with Diggy Kat, who has his own net radio station Lucky Star Radio about a development of a show that I can program my favorites into making a show that might appeal to the net masses.  Not a get rich quick scheme but rather a promotion of the obscure, and of course promoting my own music songs as well.  The end result is Townedger Radio, that airs on the third Wed Night at Midnight central time.   This was the playlist of that first show.

Opening and introduction-Townedger Industrial Music
Songs played:

Runaway Girl-Junior Wild (1984)

Ain't Living Long Like This-Foghat
Fire Escape-Fastball

K-Tel Radio Spot

Can't Stop It-Mach Five
New Girl-Suicide Machines

End Of It All-The Townedgers
Edsel Radio Spot
Self Serving With A Purpose-MXPX

Hi Karate Commerical Spot  
Genocide-Unwritten Law

Don't You Worry My Little Pet-The Teddy Bears
My Girl Josephine-Jerry Jaye
Wolfie (Single mix)-The Townedgers

Get Out-Down By Law
What I Wanna Be-Klover
Blue Town-The Men

(Station Break)

Not In Kansas Anymore-Big Country (from The Buffalo Skinners)
Are You Gonna Be The One-The Townedgers

(Radio sign off)
The Way To Salvation-King Missile


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