Telesphore Lelievre-de-St-Boniface III (32elvismovies) wrote in buddyholics,
Telesphore Lelievre-de-St-Boniface III

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Robert Quine on Buddy and Ritchie

A buncha years ago, I interviewed the late Robert Quine, guitarist extraordinaire, for what would be the first of many times. Such a fan of music, he could turn anyone on to something he liked just by his passion and how excited he got while talking about it. Here's a snippet where he talks about seeing Holly live and how he reacted to the news of the planecrash.

32: When did you see Buddy Holly play?

RQ: This was like in October 1957. It was the only real Rock'n'Roll show in
the '50s that I had a chance to see. I got shipped off to prep school in
1956 and it was sorta like, you know, prison. They wouldn't even let you
have a radio in your room, which was pretty brutal, 'cause you know,
Rock'n'Roll was just happening for the first time. One time my roommate and
I had gotten hold of a little transistor radio and we spent an entire
Saturday afternoon hiding under one of our beds listening to this one-inch
speaker. It was one of the high points of that year. But with Buddy Holly,
it was one of the very few shows I ever got to see. It was one those
standard things where there was a stage band. Buddy Holly & The Crickets,
Fats Domino, Chuck Berry. I remember he opened the show, loosening the
crowd with his duck walk. La Verne Baker, The Drifters, Frankie Lymon who'd
just split from The Teenagers. So yeah, it was an incredible experience,
and I wish I'd seen more of those shows. But being imprisoned in prep
schools from 1956 to 1961, I didn't really get to see much aside from local
bands when I went home. I switched prep schools because I was thrown out of
the first one. No big reason, my grades weren't that great, and I went to a
place in Niagara Falls, which was much more relaxed. We could go out on
weekends and get drunk, go to clubs. I'd hear local bands. Nobody famous,
but you'd see unknown great guitar players that you'll never forget and
unfortunately never see again. I couldn't even tell you their names, but
these are experiences that really influenced me. Hearing somebody for the
first time playing a guitar way too loud and hearing the amp really
distorted, saying to myself, "Wow what the hell is that?" It's a lot of
obscure experiences like these that affected me as much or even more than
seeing some of the big stars that I saw.

32: More so than Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens was quite an influence on you,
wasn't he?

RQ: Well, I had just started going to this second prep school in 1958. This
one actually let you have radios in your dorm room. "Come On Let's Go" was
a hit early that fall. I was just immediately taken by that whole sound,
that Del-Phonic sound. I mean, it's never been reproduced since. Nobody's
really followed through on it. And then I bought that 45, with "Framed" on
it, the Leiber-Stoller hit. Around Thanksgiving, "Donna" came out, which I
appreciate more now than I did at the time, but I flipped it over and heard
"La Bamba" and I was just blown away. At the same time he had this
instrumental 45, "Fast Freight." It was certainly not a hit, but I wore it
out, playing it so much. That was when I first started getting duplicate
copies of records. By the time he died in early '59, I had duplicates of
all his 45s, 'cause I'd literally worn out my first copies. He was my hero,
and I'd never even seen a picture of him before he got killed. It all
happened so fast. He wasn't really known at all until September '58. When
I'd see pictures of him, he certainly didn't look the way he sounded.
Hearing about his death was a big deal to me. There was this fairly hateful
guy that came to my dorm room that morning and said "Ha ha! Your hero
Ritchie Valens got killed in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big
Bopper!" I turned on the radio and they were playing "It Doesn't Matter
Anymore" by Buddy Holly. That wasn't a good sign. But anyway, his sound,
his talent... It was just shocking what a major talent he was.

32: Especially for a kid of his age.

RQ: Well there was really no telling, you know? A lot of these guys died
young. Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, those were tragic losses. But at least
these guys had four or five years to record. Ritchie had like six months!
So it would be interesting to know how he would have dealt with the changes
that were coming with Rock'n'Roll. Especially in 1959, when the payola
scandal sorta made everybody hate Rock'n'Roll. It made the predictions seem
like it was coming true, that Rock'n'Roll was going to die. All you'd hear
at the end of 1959 was "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin. Literally, that's
all you'd hear...

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