Entertainment Magazine: Music: Tucson: Gerry Glombecki
(This is a legacy page for Gerry Glombiecki)
Interview with Gerry Glombecki and "49 & Holding"
For Gerry Glombecki, his first CD, "49
& Holding," is literally a labor of love, determination
An accomplished acoustic guitarist, singer/songwriter, poet, actor
and business entrepreneur, Gerry financed this venture by way
of his bottleneck slide guitar business, "The
Original Delta Slider Blues Bottleneck," which is carried
nation-wide by such prestigious outlets as B.B. King's Blues Club
in Memphis, Tennessee; the Old Town School of Music in Chicago,
Illinois; and all three House of Blues located in New Orleans,
Louisiana; Los Angeles, California; and Chicago, Illinois.
Gerry said that prior to recording the album, both of his guitars
wer stolen. Using lapidary equipment he owned since he was a youngster,
he recovered that loss by starting his own bottleneck slide business,
scouring restaurant dumpsters and back alleys for wine bottles.
"I took the money from it and put it into a business account,"
he explained. "When I got close to having enough money saved,
I started going into the studio."
Duncan Stitt, a fellow musician, owns The Writer's Room Recording
Studio and let Gerry use the facility as needed.
"He produced the album. He would say, 'We should get this
person' and I'd say 'How much does that cost?' And then I would
sell these bottlenecks and pay the musicians with bottleneck money.
It was paid for with approximately 1200 bottlenecks and it was
wonderful," described Gerry.
"My dad wanted to help me out at one point, but I wanted
to do it myself. I really wanted to pick myself up and enjoy the
process of it. I was earning it. I knew when it was done, it would
be all mine."
On "49 & Holding," Gerry uses some of Tucson's finest
talent -- bassist Steve Grams, blues violinist Heather Hardy,
The Molly's Kevin Shram, keyboardist Duncan Stitt, flat picker
Mike Hatch, slide guitarists Rick Brennion and Dennis Offret,
vocalist Jean Chastain, mandolin player and acoustic guitarist
Earl Edmonson, percussionist Ralph Gilmore, and co-writer Travis Edmonson (on "Gopher Blues").
Gerry noted one of the more eclectic recordings was "The
Baby Elephant Blues."
"Ralph Gilmore said it was one of the most enjoyable recording
sessions he could remember, because he didn't bring his drums,"
Gerry disclosed. "He brought car parts, hubcaps and all these
metal parts. He laid them all over the floor. He just lined them
up in a way that he could get to them and experimented so it would
sound like this big elephant was walking right through the recording
studio. We laughed the whole time. It was one of the most fun
things we did."
Gerry said the CD's title has more of a personal significance
for him since a number of people wanted to hear his music recorded
and he wanted to accomplish this feat before he turned 50.
"I had been dragging around for so long it'd seem every time
I'd get close to doing an album, some disaster would come down
the street. I began to wonder if it was every going to happen.
The last near disaster I was in, was a car accident."
While bicycling one day, Gerry was hit by a truck, which ran over
his arm, damaging his radial and ulnar nerves as well as his supinator,
the muscle that allows you to look at the palm of your hand. In
addition, one leg was also injured. He is currently undergoing
physical therapy and is on the mend.
When deciding what the song selection would be, Gerry wanted to
pattern it like Steve Goodman's albums, which are "all over
the map," or as his friend, community radio station KXCI
program director Jim Foley described, "could be a kiss of
"He did all kinds of stuff, lots of songs, funny songs. I
thought being 49 and holding, I didn't know if I was going to
do another album, to tell you the truth. I had such a deficit
with my left wrist that I couldn't supinate and I was having such
a hard time playing in the studio. It was extremely painful. I
didn't think I'd every play the guitar again.
"But I frankly thought there'd never be another album,"
he continued, "so that's the reason I put everything on it.
People have told me, 'We'd like to do an album of your songs,
but just one facet.' I can understand what they're saying, but
I did it because I thought I'd never do another anying since I
couldn't get around very well."
And indeed, the songs do run the spectrum. The lilting "The
Waitress From The Silverbell" Gerry began writing in the
early 70's and finished in 1996, while the seductive "Nights
on a Ferris Wheel" was penned in 1979. "The Ballad of
George Hayduke" was inspired by Edward Abbey's novel, "The
Monkey Wrench Gang." Gerry received permission from the late
author to write this song as well as a collection of others for
possible use in a potential motion picture of the same name.
The album flows with an easy ambiance from the soft gentle touch
of "Saturday" straight through "At Least I Could
Say I Loved You."
With his poetry, acting, and screen-writing credits, Gerry is
capable of wearing many hats, but he admitted he feels more at
ease when he's working with music.
His acting work include appearing in motion pictures "The
Quest" and "Stagecoach," as well as being on television
programs such as "The Young Riders," "America's
Most Wanted" (as a bank customer) and "Hey Dude."
"I feel most comfortable with music and there's a real joy
in songwriting," he reaffirmed. "I think I feel the
least comfortable acting, mainly because I spend little time in
it. I don't consider myself much of an actor. I think I could
develop it. It's just something I do on the side and I don't take
myself all that serious about it."
Chuckling, he added, "I haven't discovered that I have that
much talent yet."
In fact, music was the thread that connected Gerry to the movie
industry. While performing a gig on Mt. Lemmon, he met an assistant
cameraman who was working on the movie set of "Alice Doesn't
Live Here Anymore." He introduced Gerry to Kris Kristofferson
and was subsequently invited to a party.
"We sat around, picked guitar and shared songs," Gerry
recounted. "He was a real nice guy and it made a great impression
on me. It was very inspirational and then years later I took him
up on a promise he gave me. At the time we looked so much alike
and I had a beard at that time. I still see those pictures and
it's kinda scary.
"I got a chance (in acting) because I held him to his word
and I got to be a stand-in and photo-double on 'Stagecoach,'"
Gerry was living in South Tucson at the time and someone had torched
his van in the middle of the night.
"Iwas devastated and so broke, and I begged for that job
to get back on my feet," Gerry revealed. "Soon I was
getting a couple meals a day. I got some momentum out of it, my
confidence picked up."
Fond memories of being with the cast surfaced.
"Every day, after I got permission from the director, I'd
bring my guitar and at lunchtime --- we had Johnny Cash, Waylon
Jennings, John Schneider, Willie Nelson, David Allen Coe on that
set --- they'd pass the guitar around. Then there was Kristofferson,
flying out of his bus with a song he'd just written to Sam Peckinpaw."
He keeps his Screen Actors Guild (SAG) membership current, optimistically
keeping that door open for any opportunities that may pass his
"The 13-hour days will really wear you down," he conceded.
"It took the stars out of my eyes. It's a real serious effort
to get decent parts, the juicy parts."
With such a diverse background and coming into contact with so
many different people, who has been the most memorable person
he's worked worth?
"As a musician/performer, the most memorable person would
be Travis Edmonson without any doubt in my mind," he asserted.
"Travis is just brilliant, he's absolutely professional.
That song 'Gopher Blues,' that's mostly Travis. That song took
about a half-hour to write."
His association with Edmonson led to a collaborative writing assignment
for a children's radio series, "Slug and Humphrey."
As a matter of fact, "Gopher Blues" was written for
one of the characters, Droopy Gopher.
Not long after the completion of "Slug and Humphrey,"
Gerry would soon meet an individual who would have more impact
on his life as a songwriter than any other person to date.
Upon meeting motion picture producer/director Ed Cullen of Cullen-Kasdan
Productions, Gerry was asked to write the lyrics for an animated
television special, (artist Bill Keane's) "A Family Circus
Easter," that would featurethe voice of the late Dizzy Gillespie.
"He's been truly a mentor to me and encouraged me to hone
my talents. He would not take anything but the very best. Between
Travis Edmonson and Ed Cullen, that bridge was the greatest learning
experience I had as a songwriter."
In the same vein, with his numerous national, regional and local
awards for his poetry work, who was the driving force in that
"As a poet," he reflected, "I must acknowledge
my formal education, Joel Climenhagg who was my creative writing
teacher at Culver-Stockton College. He set the wheel in motion.
It was he who triggered my on-going love for words."
And yet another striking encounter occurred when he was living
in Florida. At Gerry's first public performance in a West Palm
Beach coffeehouse, Pete Seeger, who happened to be in town for
a benefit concert, stopped in and approached Gerry after he completed
a two-song set.
"You can send me a copy of that second song, if you'd like,"
Pete told Gerry. "And you know, son, I used to do a lot of
hitch-hiking too, with a curly-headed fellow named Woody Guthrie."
Gerry remembered, "I was so nervous. He shook my hand and
I think that moment is when I became a songwriter. I'll never
forget that as long as I live. I can still see him in the audience."
Concerning his bottle neck business, Gerry feels fortunate he
kept his lapidary equipment when his initial attempt in prospecting
for jade in Wyoming in the early-70's didn't pan out.
"I really feel lucky to have it because a couple times a
week I can make a nice chunk of change just by a little bit of
persistence," he said. "Blues player Steve James called
me from Austin the other day and said he wants me to make a custom
slide for him that he can sell to his students and use in his
workshops across the country.
"He's a terrific player and a helluva nice guy," he
went on. "He played our Blues Festival here. When I go on
the road I bring bottlenecks with me and if I sell some to a music
sotre, I just paid my gas to get there."
And promoting his albums shoudl provide him with ample opportunities.
Playing the night club/coffeehouse circuit is one way to go, but
Gerry is aiming on building his audience by breaking into what
he hopes will be more concerts and folk festivals.
And overall, he addmitted it''s hard being a one-man-band, so
"To be a record company, a musician, a publisher, a writer,
an actor --- oh my God --- and run a bottleneck business which
equals distributor ... this stuff becomes overwhelming,"
he stressed. "I don't know the rhyme or reason this business
yet and I hope the next time I can tell you I've learned a lot
and it's become a breeze."
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