Friday, January 24, 2014

Playing an Everly Brothers Guitar

Playing an Everly Brothers Guitar
Peter Burg
© 2007

The Year was 1982 and we just formed a trio called The Rangers with Scott Hunter-guitar/vocals, Hunter Crowley-drums, and myself on bass/vocals. We tossed around other names like The Cameros and The Romeos but The Rangers stuck.
At this time I was working at Palisades Music store as manager, guitar instructor, and 4-track recording engineer, located in Pacific Palisades, California. The location of this music store was right next to a health spa/gym and the likes of Michael Landon (Actor), Randy Newman (composer) and Bruce Johnston (Beach Boys) would stroll by and pop their heads in and say hi on a regular basis. In fact Amos Newman, Randy Newman’s thirteen year old son, recorded with his punk band, a rather explicit song directed at the Palisades Honorary Mayor, Ted Night of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. As I remember it was called #*!% You Ted Night.
I had known and played with Hunter Crowley in several different bands in the Palisades and he was a young aggressive inventive drummer who filled up the sound of our trio just right. Scott Hunter I met through Amanda Barnett, a young local vocal talent, in a group called Play Things. Scott was the picture perfect blonde model GQ type (perfect for front man). He was the son of Jeffery Hunter . Jeffery Hunter was an actor of westerns and other genre in Hollywood, but most notably for being the first captain of the Star Trek’s TV pilot, The Cage, which was a great episode and I have seen it several times.
The Rangers rehearsed in the basement of Scott’s home. A gated driveway, lush tropical garden, California Spanish style estate tucked just off a curve, located on the bluffs in the Huntington Palisades, a posh neighborhood infested with Hollywood actors, lawyers, doctors and an array of professionals. Sometimes coming over in the morning, the maid would escorted me to the backyard patio over looking the Pacific Ocean and have breakfast with Scott. She would tend to us by brining orange juice and coffee to the table.
In the Rangers I played a Fender P-bass with a Gallien Kreuger amp. Scott played a cherry red Les Paul out of a Marshall half stack. He like to use an e-bow. The songs were a mixture of new wave punk/Clash and Pop/Duran Duran, bunch of rock’ n roll and originals. My song at the time was “Capital Lies” and Scott’s was “I’m not your Romeo”.
During this period, Scott was dating a stunning young high school girl named Erin. On several occasions Scott would pick me up in his bombastic brown Jeep Wrangler with oversized knobby tiers and we would tear over to the valley in Encino just off Ventura Boulevard and visit Erin, at her mom’s house. This was Scott’s latest romantic interest which I think had double allure. Not only was Erin a knockout drop-dead gorgeous chick but she was also the daughter of Don Everly, of the famous Everly Brother “Wake up Little Suzy” duo of the late fifties and early sixties.
I have always loved the Everly Brothers even back then. We did a mean version of “Lucile” in The Rangers. Other songs such as “Let it be me”, “Cathy’s Clown”, “Claudette”, and “All I have to do is Dream”, I still love hearing. I think the Beatles developed their tight harmonies based on the Everly’s style.
One night Scott and I drove out to the San Fernando Valley to the Palomino Night Club to see Don Everly perform but something happened and we didn’t get there in time. We were going to meet Erin there and go over to Don’s house in Studio City. Well things were SNAFUed so we drove over to Don’s house anyway and waited. The stars and entourage were not yet there except for a maid and baby sitter. We were to meet Erin there sometime later.
Scott and I wandered around the house and met Don’s little son who showed us out to the pool. All of a sudden it dawned on me that we were in Don Everly’s house. The house that might contain the famous Everly Brothers black Gibson J-180. These were smaller then the J-200 and a little brighter.
I was on a quest. I eased myself away from the pool side and signaled Scott to follow. We ambled from room to room in search of the treasure. Low and behold there it was in a small room of to the side of a living room. I just stood there and gazed cherishing the moment. Then of coarse I took the bold move and picked it up and strummed it. The strings were extremely dead and it weighed more then I expected but this was the sound and feel that the Everly Brothers had. The great intro of “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake up Little Suzy” were ringing in my head.
By this time in there careers both Phil and Don were considering a reunion after ten years of solo careers. They would go to England and have a sell-out performance at the Royal Albert Hall with Albert Lee directing the band behind them.
We hung out there in the room playing until Don’s little son came running in and so we put the guitars down and attended to other matters. Apparently everyone was delayed and never would show at the house so Scott and I left.
The Rangers worked up a group of 30 tunes, played a few party’s and recorded some demo’s. We even met with a producer named Dude Mclean of Legendsong Music in Burbank and he listened to a six song demo and said he’d get back with us, but as with so many bands we drifted off to do other things. Come summer, I formed a Top 40 Band and was off for a three month gig in Anchorage, Alaska at the Sheraton Hotel (the young local vocal talent Amanda Barnett was our lead singer). Scott was involved in modeling and college. Last I heard at the time, Hunter was in demand playing with other groups.
Chain of events and people are what make life so interesting. Surfing through the waves of all those events and people you get splashed and drenched with great stories. Not to mention playing an Everly Brothers guitar.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Redemption Ballet: A Play by Peter Edward Burg 2012

Redemption Ballet:

A Play by Peter Edward Burg

Program Cover

Jon Hannan as Devon Riddance and Raven Langosh as Elizabeth Fist
Program Information

Director/Music/Sound Effects/Program Artwork/Set Construction
Peter Burg
Lights and Sound
Bruce Paulman

Stage Concept
Peter Burg and Leslie Baldwin Archer (L. A. Design)

Rochelle Harmon

Nitai Morano

Stage Crew/Costumes/Make-up/Masks

Pat Hughes
Winnie Owens
Peter Burg
Richard Holmes
Mary-Jo Laturges
Jarred Graber


Devon Riddance……………………………Jon Hannan

Clint Riddance/Actor Six…………………..Brad Elliot

Elizabeth Fist……………………………….Raven Longosh

Da Vida Maestro……………………………Makalah Collins

Genevieve…………………………………...Aletheia Weisz

Actor One/Dr. Schmal………………………Kara McGrath

Leading man/Dr. Spells/ Pedestrian……..… Nic Hannan

Actor Two…………………………………..Victoria Weisz

Actor Three/Orderly/Stagehand…………….Chris Morano           

Actor Four/Roommate/ Stagehand………….Chris Donner

Actor Five…………………………………   Nitia Morano

Brad Elliot as Clint Riddance and Jon Hannon as Devon Riddance


Act I.

Scene I – A suburban theater. Cast party for the play “Masks.”

Scene II – Theater stage, later that night.

Act II

Scene I – Next evening at theater

Scene II – Group home (Townview Manor), Los Angles or any big city.

Scene III – Several days later. Devon’s apartment.



Scene I – A few days later at the Townview Manor.

Scene II – Elizabeth ‘s office.

Act IV

Scene I – Morning outside Townview Manor.

Scene II - Theater a month or two later. Crew in production of  Devon’s new play, ‘What Next?’

Peter directing Raven as Elizabeth Fist
Personal Bios

Jon Hannan – Is a veteran of the Playhouse and this is his lucky thirteenth play.
Brad Elliot – featured in Hotel Frankenstein, Huckleberry Finn, Snow White, Asops Foibles, and I Dream Of Jeanie.
Raven Langosh – I Dream Of Genie, Aesops Foibles and ran lights and sound on Triple Features, Silence in Golden.
Makalah Collins – High School Plays and the Playhouse’s Aesops Foibles.
Aletheia Weisz – Another veteran of the Playhouse with Wizard of OZ in the West, Boarding House, Spirit, Princess and the Pea, Characters, Velveteen Rabbit, and The Ransom of Emily Jane.
Kara McGrath – is a newcomer to the play house and getting her feet wet.
Nic Hannan – This is Nic’s thirteenth also.  He never says no.
Victoria Weisz – Ransom of Emily Jane and school plays.
Chris Morano – Visiting from Ohio and got roped into playing a part and is loving it.
Chris Donner – Multiple church and school plays and several play at the Rye Playhouse.
Nitia Morano – Helping out where it is needed.

Peter Burg, Director

Greenhorn Valley Players Production of Redemption Ballet

 Redemption Ballet will be Burg’s third play produced by the Greenhorn Valley Players; Clown Town in 2008 and Dust Angels in 2011. Burg has been affiliated with the Players off and on since 1991 when he performed the music in Spoonriver , ran sound and lights for several other plays, has gained experience as an actor in Ozzie and Dust Angels and is a current board member of the Players. Burg is a graduate of CSU (Colorado State University at Pueblo) with a degree in Graphic Design with a minor in Music.

Burg describes the play as follows – The potential of boys with youthful brilliant dreams and grand expectations should never be underestimated. Their future is a flip of the coin and can take unexpected turns. The dance of two brothers can lead to the brightest of stars or the darkest recesses of the mind. Who can ask why of the Fates? What burdens will be carried and what riches will be shared as they mature? What do they take with them and what do they leave behind? This play speaks of the many and varied journeys life can take you on. Family is a journey of a life time. The fates can play immutable tricks that will eventually have to be dealt with and everyone will have their own distinct resolution. Hence this play is a glimpse into the lives of Devon and Clint Riddance an what destiny has in store for them.

I want to thank Nitia Morano ,Claudine Jeanrenaud, Amanda Barnett, Christina Boyce Keller, Leslie Baldwin Archer and my sister Patricia Hughes for their invaluable feed back. Also Cliff Pattison and Winnie Owens for allowing me the opportunity to present my plays.

This play is dedicated to my brother Richard (Ricky) O. Burg Jr.
The Cast with Masks



Cast with Masks

Friday, October 28, 2011


ArtSpiel: Makin' it

September 2009 Issue

Making it in the arts is a wacko process. Last season's American Idol phenomenon, Adam Lambert,fell to a kid with one-tenth Lambert's talent. I saw some old friends on the super-finale of American Idol. Certainly you know one of them, Steve Martin, but I doubt you know the other, David P. Jackson, who played back-up bass for Martin.

Jackson stopped by my place in Pueblo West while doing minor gigs in Colorado a couple of weeks before that performance. He reminded me that Martin was a big fan of my art in the 60s when the three of us were Hollywood buddies struggling to make it. I told him that Martin admired one of my drawings but regretted that he couldn't afford it. If I'd known then what I know now, that Martin would become a superstar and a major collector of American art, I'd have wrapped that drawing in my own flesh and given it to him.

None of us was rich or famous, but we were kick-ass happy trying to get there. With all those big talents we hung out with, we celebrated every step along the way. We believed in ourselves; we believed in each other.

But life is weird in the arts. Talent does not guarantee fame.

I met the talented Peter Burg years ago performing original poetry at Pueblo's classic Tumbleweed Bookstore. He showed tremendous skill at the art I love. I learned afterwards that Burg is best known in Pueblo as a blues man performing everywhere with his group Peter Burg and Blue Suburban. Guess what? As a kid he worked in a Pacific Palisades music store where thee Randy Newman hung out, and they talked about the songs Burg was recording!

Guess what else? Burg is an excellent visual artist with a degree from CSU-Pueblo. He also drives a school bus and lives better than many musicians because he drives a bus.

The mellow-voiced music man began his journey in 7th grade with his first band, The Valours. He went on to write acoustic songs, was one of the first professional skateboarders, was a singing waiter and appeared on radio and TV. In 1980, he did the Hollywood circuit with his own pop/rock band. At 23, he pierced his ear with a friend and they, "dedicated their lives to music." But Burg's ADHD and multi-talents kept him restless. In 1983, after a three-month Alaskan tour where he performed at the Anchorage Sheraton, he landed in the mountains of southern Colorado where he figured life would be more affordable than his old southern California stomps.

His background in art is considerable. His father was a professional artist and his three sisters have art degrees. He enjoys making art and does custom framing to pick up a buck here and there to augment his music career. But each of his attempts to open a gallery, in Blende in 1993 and Rye in 1995, tanked. In 1993, he won Best 2/D Art in the USC Student Art Exhibit and received the Occhiato University Center Art Purchase Award. In 1997, he graduated from USC with a B.A. in art and was awarded the Robert Taylor Memorial Scholarship. While President of the Pueblo Songwriters and Musicians Association, he received the 2004 Excellence in the Arts Award. Did I mention he worked at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in 1989 as Assistant Curator and Collections Manager? He was held on probation for one year by Executive Director Maggie Divelbiss and then fired for poor job performance.

Here we've got a maturing dude with a heap of enviable capabilities in music, poetry and art. He is well known and admired in this community for each of them and he drives a school bus in Rye. He receives a fixed salary with benefits and has the summers off to escape from the school kids who remind him of the turmoil he'd forgotten growing up.

Burg had his shot at That Hollywood Town long before Simon Cowell ever said, "You're going to Hollywood!" At the same time Steve Martin, David P. Jackson and I, and other really talented friends, were padding each other's egos whenever the chips were down on making it. Peter Burg was on that same scene.

Frankly, Burg's poetry is among the best I've heard around here. His nude drawings are sensuous and elegant. The art on the cover of his 2007 poetry collection, "Whistles," knocks me out. I presume it's a self-portrait: a whimsical sketch of a torso-heavy man with broad California-beach pecs, a silly red-lipped grin and wide-open eyes focused straight ahead saying: "Here I am!"

Does he still wish for a breakthrough with his music career?

"Sure I do," he tells me, "but realistically it won't happen. Pueblo is not a musical hub."

The Poet Spiel is a lifelong artist whose work is published internationally in scores of independent journals. Learn more about him at:

The Pueblo Chieftain

Greenhorn Valley play revisits

Dust Bowl era

Posted: Friday, September 16, 2011 12:00 am

The Greenhorn Valley Players will bring the work of a local playwright and musician to the stage next weekend.

"Dust Angels" is written by Peter Burg, a well-known musician and longtime Rye resident. The play is set in 1934 in a rural Southeastern Colorado community.

"It's about three groups of people who end up on this ranch," said Burg. "It's reminiscent of what's happening today. . . . It's about hardship, struggle, faith, people's differences — everything that happens throughout life, in a nutshell, is in this play."

The lives of the eight people living on the ranch intertwine in unexpected ways, he said. Their interactions become their saving grace as they deal with personal tragedies, brutal weather and a terrible economy.

The eight-person cast includes Burg, Cliff Pattison (founder and artistic director of the theater group), Elizabeth Smith, Kira Hughes, Jon Hannan, Marissa Porter, Michael Davis and Nic Hannan.

Burg co-directs the play with Pattison and wrote original music for it. A slide show and monologue will give the audience background about the Dust Bowl era and the people who lived through it.

Tickets are $6 in advance or $7 at the door. For information, call 489-2099.

  • Amy Matthew

    The Pueblo Chieftain

Dust Angels A Play by Peter Edward Burg


Rye musician and writer, Peter Burg’s second play, “Dust Angels”, will be performed at the Greenhorn Valley Players Playhouse, Rye, on the 23rd, 24th at 7.30pm and 25th September at 2.30pm. This is Mr. Burg’s second original play, the first being “Clown Town” which was put on here in 2009.

“Dust Angels” is set during the Dust Bowl era in 1934 and is about a small rural community on the fringe of a prairie in southeastern Colorado near the Kansas line. Remnants of three broken families have banded together to form an alliance against the hardship of their existence. The characters are all poor. Some are educated, others are rich with life experience, and others downright ignorant but all have an innate ability for survival with a strong belief in the hard work ethic. They persevere, believing that this strange weather and economic upheaval will subside soon and better times will eventually come.

But the bleak day to day existence is their only reward for their endeavors. These people have been at the bottom of the heap and can’t get any lower.

Helplessness begins to eat away at the group. Their interaction together is their only saving grace. Their only news of the nation is from the radio. As they interact with it, some view it as both a life line and a curse. Some confess their sins and others tell stories.

It was inconceivable that America could falter. And as it did Americans were dumbfounded, becoming mentally mute. This once virile country was now impotent. How does one reckon with a fallen angel?

This is both an historical story and one that is bitingly topical in terms of today’s deep economic depression. How does one come to terms with a world apparently without prospects and without hope? This small but resilient group has dug in on an isolated southeastern Colorado farm, to do battle with nature itself, theirown inner turmoil, the economic crisis, and their luck of the draw. It is difficult to see through the dust but there is surely something ahead! This is a very relevant modern play about the trials of life, the strength of the human spirit and about man’s eternal sense of hope. Above all, it is a play about the pressures that affect every one of us everyday and about how we cope with this adversity, how we deal with personal relationships and about the commonality and love that in the end binds us all together. That- then and now- we will eventually survive adversity is a given. We are a race of survivalists and therefore have no other option but to prevail. It is the “how” that is the lesson here. The solution and transcendence must come in spite of who we are. Jean- Paul Sartre, the French philosopher and playwright, once wrote at the conclusion of his play “No Exit” that “L’Enfer- sont les autres- Hell is other people.” Happily Peter Burg realizes at the end of “Dust Angels” that in the end, all we have is one another- faults, problems and all. All the characters in this play will end up on the side of the angels.

There will be original music composed for the play by Peter Burg and a slide show of archival black and white photographs of the Dust Bowl period. The play is directed by Cliff Pattison and Peter Burg with a cast of eight local actors and actresses, whose ages range from nine to Eighty one.

Please come and support this original production solely created and performed by local residents of our community. In life and in the theater, there are those of us who are actors and those that are audience- but neither can exist without the other!

The Greenhorn Valley Players Playhouse is at 2090 Main Street, Rye, Colorado Tel # 719 489-2099

Tickets are $6.00 in advance, $7.00 at the door.

Directors-----------------Peter Burg and Cliff Pattison (Founder and Artistic Director of Greenhorn Valley Players, founded in 1989.)

Characters and Cast

Alondra Steepleton----------------------------------------Elizabeth Smith

Jersey McLanahand---------------------------------------Kira Hughes

Oscar Valentine--------------------------------------------Cliff Pattison

Jordan Hardy-----------------------------------------------Jon Hannan

Tess Hardy-------------------------------------------------Marissa Porter

Ezra Hastings----------------------------------------------Michael Davis

Durrell Plains ---------------------------------------------Peter Burg

Estaban Louis Zappata (Louie)------------------------Nic Hannan

Sound, Stage Construction, Lighting----------------Robert Humphrey

Choreography Consultant --------------------------Cyrisse Cooley

Stage and Wind Consultant----------------Leslie Baldwin Archer (L.A, Design)

Music, Stage Design/Painting, Multimedia----------Peter Burg

Projector Loan-------------------------------------Jonathan Waugh

Program Artwork----------------------------------Laura Burg Robertson

Mac Lap Top---------------------------------------Joe Kellogg

Program/Tickets-----------------------------------Rochelle Harman

Curtain/Stage Hand--------------------------------Nitai Morano


Article( )-Jonathan S. Evans

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Beach, Surfing, and Skateboards

Peter at Zuma 1983

I grew up in Pacific Palisades in Southern California over looking the Santa Monica Bay with a view of Palas Verda and Santa Catalina island. The beaches had a profound influence and wove into my life. The over cast mornings, sound of waves, smell of salt-water air, sunsets on the bluffs, and sunny beach fashions were everywhere.

My Parents bought a home on Muskingum Avenue in 1952. At that time you could see the ocean from our living room bay window before the eucalyptus trees over grew.
The Burgs spent many afternoons on the beaches along the coast highway. My mother and father would schlep us kids to hang out with our first cousins the Smiths, Mary Lou and Jimmy and their kids down at the Doville Club. The club was located at the base of what is now the Santa Monica Ramp. There were a whole contingency of families that would get together and play Volley Ball in the sand. This would be in the late fifties and I was just old enough to walk around an burn my tender feet on the hot sand. Probably this is where I got my first taste of salt water and the pain of sun burn. We would arrive in my parents late forties era “woody.” My sister Melissa, Laura, Ricky, or Patty and I would mingle and dig in the sand with the Smith kids, Andrew, St. John, Maura, Paul, Beaver or Georgie. Volley Ball was vary popular at the time and was also played at State Beach (Will Rodgers State Beach) located at the base of Chautauqua Blvd. and Pacific Coast Highway 1. This area and most of the Santa Monica Bay was a hot bed of Beach Volley ball and also known for good surfing since the 1920’s

In 1959 my Sister Pattie worked in a ice cream parlor next to the Standard gas station across from Mayfair Market on Sunset Blvd in Pacific Palisades. She was a student at Santa Monica Junior College off of Pico Blvd. During this period she met Con Colburn. Con would come in all straggly, wet, and sandy from surfing and try and talk her out of an ice cream cone. She gave in most of the time and they became great friends. Their friendship lasted four or five years and during that period she helped with bookwork and painting signs for his fledgling surfboard business, Con Surfboards. She also would accompany him when he would pick up blanks from the Hobie shop, because at that time Con was not making his own blanks. Con’s shop in 1959 was located on Olympic Blvd. in Santa Monica. As Pat was my surrogate mother she would take me along on her visits, so I spent time at the shop as well. The smell of resin and fiberglass and the sound of Con sanding and shaping the boards is still with me. On many occasion Pat and Con would go to surf movies at the Santa Monica Auditorium. These were rudimentary 8 and 16 millimeter home movie style surf films that were projected on a screen and usually the guy who shot it would narrate over a public address system.

My other sister Laura was asked out numerous times by Miki Dora. She refers to him as the Bad Ass Blaster. She says of her Malibu days in the summer of 1962, that Miki would approach her on the beach saying, “Hey pretty baby, let’s go out?” Her high school friend, Mandy Pryor had crushes on the Aaberg brothers, Steve and Denny. Once, Mandy dove off the Malibu pier just to impress them. Laura said the more intellectual surfers played chess on the beach while the others like Lance Carson and Johney Fain duked it out on the waves. Needles to say we had some of the top surfer walking up our driveway and knocking on the front door, Ah the lure of young girls.

It was sometime during 1964 that I constructed my first skateboard. Cub Scouts was the latest activity that my parents had me involved in and this particular day my mother delivered me to the weekly gathering which was at Philip Cleary’s home on Alcima in the Pacific Palisades. Phillip and I were grammar school mates and his mother had the troop set up in the garage. During these meetings we made all sorts of stuff like key chains glued to cracked marbles, gifts, and whatnots. Today the boys had a box filled with old garages sale steel roller-skates and boards from Philip’s father’s lumber yard (Palisades Lumber and Materials). In no time we disassembled the skates by removing the center wing nut with pliers. The next step was to flatten the heel and toe guards with a hammer so that the skate would lay even on the boards. It was a wonder that no fingers were smashed with all the racket we made with those hammers. Next was to attach the skates to the boards. We used flat head nails, hammered in, and bent over. It was trial and error to find the ideal location for each skate, front and back, after all we were treading on virgin territory. Finally the first to flip their board over and ride were sorely surprised. Those that had nails sticking through the top had to bend them over or risk bloody feet and those that nailed the skate on crooked would fly helter-skelter off into the bushes. It was pretty comical to watch a bunch of hyper kids in Cub Scout uniforms careen down the sidewalk. These skateboards with steel wheels made the sound of a roaring jet going by. They also made a funny white trail as the wheels crushed the concrete pavement.
Commercial skateboards did not exist for me. At ten and eleven I was fairly self reliant and continued to make my own with up graded wheels and board shapes as did others. The kids in the neighborhood were wise to skates, for most of us participated in the Friday night roller skating at Palisades Park. Where you could rent skates with wooden wheels, skate inside the gym to you favorite rock ‘n roll music on a record player that spun 45’s, and maybe have a game of dodge ball afterwards.

Surf music was prominent on the air waves and we were hep to it. AM statioins such as KFWB and KRLA played a mixed Duane Eddy, Dick Dale and the Deltones, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, The Sufaries and numerous other surf bands on regular rotation. I had a Sufaries album with yellow trim and a picture of surfers at the Malibu wall on it which I thought was totally bitchin’. The big fender reverb sound was everywhere.

Most of the kids that were skateboarding in the Palisades had a intimate relationship with the surf. We grew up on the beach either learning to body surf, skimboard, raft, bellyboard or surf. We were all good swimmers too. My sister Laura loved to swim out beyond the big sets and then call me to follow. It was pretty gnarly to swim out and dive under six and seven foot waves. I had to grab on to the sand under the water and then push off the bottom after the wave broke over me. I learned fast how to take a wave, get tubed and duck under the wave just when it broke and pop out on the other side. Back then we didn’t use fins. At Bel-Air beach, Tower #5, where we hung out most of the time, the ocean wasn’t that deep so we could still bob off the bottom on big wave days.

Bay Street, State Beach, Sunset Beach, Topanga, Malibu, Zuma, and Trancas, were all familiar local spots. But in fact, in the early sixties most all beach break were excellent spots for surfing, along with many of the jetties that dotted the Santa Monica Bay. Decent left and right breaks were common. I was a goofy foot so I preferred left breaks. It wasn’t until the mid seventies when severe storms swept through the bay changing the wave breaking profile from then on. It seemed all that was left were shore breakers.

In 1964 I was also playing little league baseball on the Panthers team along with skateboarding. More and more kids were skateboarding and began congregating at the massive inclined parking lot at Palisades High School. It was fairly loose knit group, mostly crazy youths hauling ass down the parking lot then climbing back up along the wire mesh that was put down to hold the ivy and bank from sliding, and then we’d haul ass down again. At that time bikes and skateboards were our main mode of transportation. (Mine was the ever-popular Schwinn Sting Ray, purple with a sparkle banana seat with semi sissy bar, butterfly handlebars, and a slick for the back tire.) Friends and strangers were beginning to showing up regularly at the top entrance of Pali’s parking lot. So it goes with kids, boredom beget, friendly competition. Going down the incline became monotonous. So we went down in new ways. Instead of standing, we sat on the board, laid on it, stood on trash cans, anything we could think of and got good at it. As our competitive nature grew so did the more outlandish tricks. Kids began imitating surfer with maneuvers such as, “Paul Strauch five”, walking the nose, hanging ten, hang five, and pirouette. As things progressed the skateboarders developed there own terms like kickturns, curb jumping (either off or on), and kick outs. Pretending you were surfing was standard practice. We knew how to be stylish from Miki Dora and the likes. Accidents turned into tricks like having the back wheels slide out when bearing down on a turn. When kids finished zooming down the incline they would kick out into the ivy but sometime they would flip their boards up and catch them and that would turn into how many flips could you do before you caught the board. Like anything kids did, showing off was always in the mix. Soon people were there just to watch and take pictures. Tricks got more inventive like kick-outs had spins added, kick turns turned into the frog walk or a 360, walking the nose turned into nose wheelies then into heelies, the combinations simply multiplied.

Next in progression was to set up an exhibition or contest. Teams were talked about and teams began. Several of us, Terry Keller, Burke Murphy, Chris Picciolo and Tim Keller formed a team. Tim became our manager and arranged match contests between us and other teams to take place at the Pali parking lot. One on one runs down the horseshoe incline. Judges would score the runs with the best overall scoring team winning the contest. Tim had been on another team called "Sunset Skateboarders" and enjoyed taking on the duties of managing our team.
Pali was not the only spot skateboarding took place. Any and all asphalt paved school playground areas with sloped sides were fair game, because they were built into hillsides, producing a slope much like a wave in the ocean. The more familiar schools were - Marquez Elementary, Palisades Elementary, Paul Revere Jr. High, Bellagio Elementary School, Brentwood Elementary School, as well as the parking lot in front of Palisades Medical Center. At the height of what I’d call the first wave of skateboarding there were numerous newspaper articles depicting kids as trespassing vandals. There would be photos of kids climbing school fences and squeezing through locked gates of private school property. Gee, when has that ever happened before? Kids wanting to get into school instead of wanting to get out. The bad press that skateboarding received at the on set, say mid sixties, helped to perpetuate a rebellious image that carried on into the 70’s. We skateboarded everywhere taking our boards where ever we went. I remember skateboarding along the old boardwalk from Santa Monica Pier all along Venice down to P.O.P. (Pacific Ocean Park) and hanging on to the trolley for a free tow.
The prevalent consciousness of the day was that Skateboarding was all a fad that would fade soon. But little did the public know, except those in the know, that skateboarding would someday become a commercial rage and climb to the esteem of an Olympic sport.

Around this time the YMCA was offering a program called “Surf Caravan”. This program consist of several “Y” buses that transported a slew of kids, a few adult chaperones, some YMCA officials, and bunch of surfboards down to Tijuana and Ensenada Mexico. The plan was to camp on a fabulous expanse of beach on the Ensenada coastline and let those kids surf until their hearts content for about two weeks. I went as did several of my friends. It was great. There were lots of super beach breaks and the water was warm and we were even turned loose in Tijuana for a day to learn the art of bartering. I was using a Bing board at around this period.

The Palisades Skateboard Team got started in 1965. Several members were actively pursuing a sponsor. I approached a long time family friend, Mr. Don Burgess. He was the owner of Don Burgess Pools and live on El Medio in the Palisades. Don show interest and said he would get back with me. On another front, Tim Keller had approach Laguna Sportswear and they also show interest. We may have been impatient and perhaps should have lined up three or four sponsors to choose from but as it turned out we decided to go with Don Burgess Pools as our sponsor. Shortly after accepting Don Burgess Pools as our sponsor, Tim turned down the offer from Laguna Sportswear, who would have probably boosted us to the sponsorship and visibility level of other high profile teams such as Hobie and Makaha. But a commitment was a commitment and so now we had an official team.

We got down to business creating a logo and team emblem. Tim was the eldest of the team members and, thus, de facto manager or organizer. He spoke with his father, Jack Keller who sketched out a skateboarder in silhouette doing "Paul Strauch" maneuver on a skateboard. This was used for our team patch, applied to back of black nylon windbreaker with broad white horizontal competition stripe. Tim posed for the patch figure while his father drew it. A patch using the Don Burgess Pool logo was created for the left front side of the jacket to indicate the team’s sponsor.

The sponsor would be responsible for providing team members with supplies of skateboards, wheels, bearings, team jackets, and transportation to contests, entry fees, etc.
Don was very involved with the team. Out of his house Don began manufacturing custom boards that the team members would test ride and report back. By this time a new type of clay wheel had been developed. Don was very inventive and used ideas from pool design and introduced them into skateboards. He developed a resin mixed with sand for a non-slip grip surface around pools...then applied it to skateboards in competition stripes in various colors. The board shape was solidified and Palisades Boards began production. Not only did members receive a new board but they were sold at local stores including Palisades Hobby Shop.
The team started to grow in two areas. First was new membership. The roister included; Peter Burg, Barry Blenkhorn, Burke Murphy, Shane Murphy, Tim Keller, Terry Keller, Don Mike Burgess, Ricky Burgess, Rick Percel, Chris Picciolo, Tod Elmergreen, Jerry Giancola, and Susie Rowland. At the time, Susie was only one of a handful of talented girl skateboarders. (Others would be Collen Boyd and Wendy Bearer, who was the sister of Danny Bearer both on the Hobie Team. Wendy appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show skateboarding around in a circle to some current song of this period.) Most of the team members surfed on a regular basis as well.

The other area was the development of new tricks, such as hand stands on a moving skateboard. I began experimenting by holding the board on the pavement, moving slowly, then kicking up into a hand stand. This finally evolved into skating along, going down into a frog stand, then pressing into a full handstand, coming back down on the board, then standing up right while the skateboard was still moving. Other tricks such as 360s turning into 720s , 1080s and on, one footed heelies and wheelies, jumping over school benches tuned into jumping over a bar at a measured height, head stand into hand stand, and of coarse the stall, where you lean the board back on its tail end and drag along the ground, used as a break to slow down, were being perfected by other team members.

The world of skateboarding exploded then and teams popped up every where. Televised contests such as the National Skateboard Championships held at the La Palma Stadium in Anaheim, May 22 and 23, 1965, Anaheim Street at Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim, brought the world of skateboarding into the living rooms through out the world. There were 280 boys and girls that show up from Mexico City, Dallas, Phoenix, Berkeley, and Southern California to compete in this rally sponsored by the Vita-Pak Super Surfer Skateboard team. Wide World of Sports even cover it. There was a clip of myself executing my run in the flatland slalom. Our team finished third to Hobie and Makaha. John Freis won over all, Torger Johnson second over all, both from the Hobie Team. Torger was by far the most radical and most fluid skateboarder in the contest. In the 11 and under age bracket, Don Mike, eight years old, was third over all, placing third in figure eights and the flatland slalom. I was fourth in flatland slalom and fourth in trick riding. Both of us received finalist medals.

More contests followed; First Annual South Gate Open Contest, July 4, 1965, Palisades-Malibu Jaycees Skateboard Tournament 1966, and a contest between Brentwood’s Ventures and Palisades Team 1966. So many friends were skateboarding at that time it’s hard to remember all but the Hiltons (Stevie and Davy), George Trafton, Jay Henderson, Kevin Jones, Bob Janis, Scott Kelso, Pat Hunt, Scott Archer, and Dona Cash are some.

Our sponsor, Don Burgess, was avid 16-MM amateur movie maker. He shot numerous films of the team at various contests. There is one of me, during a group exhibition going down Pali incline, where I did a hand stand, veered off into the ivy, and crashed into a sprinkler head. I receive a sever cut on the hand and had to be taken to the hospital to get several stitches. Many of these films may still be available through Don Mike Burgess, Academy Award-winning cinematographer (Forrest Gump, etc.).

While all this was going on I spent many days during those summers walking to and from Bel Air Beach. There was a trail through the private club down the ice plant hill which dropped you onto the PCH. There you had to cross the high way at your own parole. We had a great group of kids in bikinis and jams that hung around lifeguard tower #5. Frank Barnes was the lifeguard and he was the coolest. Before becoming lifeguard Frank played water polo for San Jose State. On many morning I used to meet him at tower #5 and together we would jog up and down the shoreline. We all literally looked up to him, at 6’4” he was an impressive dude. One day I dragged my sister Laura down, introduced her to Frank and as it happened they fell in love and later were married.

Speaking of sisters, another sister of mine, Melissa, just a year older, was spending time with Torger Johnson. She was in the seventh or eighth grade at Corpus Christy and Torger was in the ninth grade at Paul Revere Jr. High. They were sweet on each other and it was very cool to have Mr. Skateboarder himself saunter up to the front door for a visit. Oh! by the way, Torger was a phenomenal surfer in his own right.

In July of 1967 the Hormel company planned to shoot a commercial, jumping on the band wagon, using a theme with skateboarders. Mr. Don Burgess was contacted and auditions were held and four members of the team were chosen for actors. Myself,
Barry Blankhorn, Don Mike Burgess, and his younger brother Ricky were to be in “The Not So Hot, Hot Dog” commercial. I was chosen over teammate Terry Keller, in regards to a height issue. There was a photo shoot for stills which ended up plastered on the Hormel trucks that drove around various cities. The commercial ran for about a year and we were compensated handsomely and all collected residuals as well. The event put us in the realm of professional skateboarders and was one of the very early commercials using skateboarders.

As the summer wore on I finished up playing baseball with the Pirates (Pacific Palisades Boys Baseball Association) and spending time surfing at State Beach. Some time around this period I bought a new Hobie 8’ 2” clear coat board. It was beautiful board and I also purchased a plastic nose guard to fend off dings, along with an O’Neil wet suite. The new smaller boards were just making a presence. Our group of young surfers spent the days learning to play penny ante poker, smoking cigarettes, and trying to impress girls. I was surfing allot with Irv Hannsen, and spending time with Terry Macris who was a poet /surfer. He was Frank Barnes’s room-mate at a house in Santa Monica on Fist & California Street and Frank introduced us. Actually Terry’s Parents owned the house. Terry was much older, 24 so I was more like a mascot and tagged along. He took me surfing many times in his totally bitchin’ ‘67 Chevy Impala. We would get up early for donuts and just cruise the southern beaches, Venice, Playa del Rey, El Segundo (El Stinko), and as far south as San Clemente. Once, while surfing in San Clemete, I stepped on a sea urchin and had to pull purple spikes out of my heel. State Beach had lots of great surfers hanging out, Da Cat, Johnny Sugerman, and Corky Carol. You could always catch someone shredding.

As with everything, change is inevitable. During the later part of the 60’s I began a life long involvement with rock ‘n roll. I found a new passion, the Guitar.

P.S. This photo was sent to me by Michael Sammons of a Palisades Skateboard Team Logo and sticker from a Don Burgess Skateboard. Notice the grip colored sand applique.


Don Mikael Burgess turned up this 1965 picture of me at the National Skateboard Championships.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Moon Thief chap book by Peter Burg

This pen & ink/water color became the cover art for the poetry book Moon Thief. A collection of verses with accompanying artwork. My friend Tony Moffeit wrote the foreword.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Little Miracles

Back in 1995 I did a recording project with an incredible song writer, Tim Keller. We both grew up in Pacific Palisades, California. To this day we are great friends and still play guitar together.
I was fortunate to co-write several songs and play guitar on many of the tracks on Little Miracles.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shoot in the Sunshine

Of cold days I would pick today to say yes. Yes in Des Moines, New Mexico. Of Decembers Sundays, yes this is brilliantly cold. A wake up cold, caught in frosted finger tips and fog breath. Tim, with camera and I, with guitar walked across highway 64-87 hopping over the black ice and skipped into Studio C. I brought a fresh supply of pottery, CDs, and poetry books for store stock that Christina requested. Now is the time Tim does a lay-out shoot for the Studio C web site. Here is the result. Tim Keller photographer extraordinaire.