Sharing a cuppa tea with Jim Pilster – JC Hooke
I first saw Columbia recording group, The Cryan’ Shames, live in concert during the summer of 1966.
Never – and I mean NEVER – have I been so excited by a live gig. The combination of musicality to such a high standard and performance energy was second to none. Opening with the fastest-ever version of Hey Joe was a stroke of genius. Toad, the lead singer, bounced the microphone stand off one heel and caught it on the other, while wild man, one-armed percussionist JC Hooke propelled his tambourine high into the rafters, recapturing it with his huge steel pirate’s hook where, rumour has it, a left hand might once have been – or not.
It was impossible, surreal, chaotic, mesmerising, exhilarating. Suffice it to say, it was the funniest fun that I have ever funned, or ever will. My 16-year-old self would be awestruck if she could see me sharing a lovely cuppa tea with Mr Hooke all these years later. What a cryan’ shame that she cannot join us today.
Following that first concert I was elated to meet, personally, the man with the hook (and the tambourine, bongos, cymbals, conga drums, and timbales). He told me he found the hook to be especially good for opening beer cans. How very rock ‘n roll!
The Cryan’ Shames recorded three albums in the Sixties on the Columbia label (now Sony): Sugar and Spice, A Scratch in the Sky, and Synthesis. Since then, they have never stopped singing, playing, performing, mesmerising, or providing fun for all. Three of the original band members remain active. Visit their website for news of upcoming events.
And so I shall now pour a cuppa for JC Hooke (i.e. Jim Pilster of Chicago, USA) and find out what’s happening.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin.
1) Percussion or golf?
Both, one in daylight, the other at night. You decide which is which.
2) Where has your spiritual journey taken you?
To the closest golf course.
3) Last book you read?
4) Who would play you in a movie of your life?
5) When did you last cry?
6) What or who is your favourite:
b. comic book ever?
c. vintage musician(s)?
Lowell George and Little Feat
d. current musician(s)?
7) Have you ever had a broken heart?
8) The Who or The Beatles?
Saw them both in the 60s. Love the Who for their show, and love The Beatles….hey, they were The Beatles!
10) What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Some old fart that I don’t know at all…..
11) Who have you asked for an autograph?
Tiger Woods, the ’85 Chicago Bears one of the times I played golf with them.
12) Tell us a secret.
13) 1966 or 2017?
No question about it…’66.
14) Who was your youthful celebrity crush?
15) What’s new?
We have a new ‘so called’ president, and the band is still playing…oh yeah, I got my fourth hole in one!
How are you and Tim doing?
Love, Jimmy P.
Check YouTube for lots of great music by the Cryan’ Shames, including their monster hit Sugar and Spice and the world’s best ever version of Hey Joe.
And so the teapot must, sadly, return to the china cabinet and await our next guest. Meanwhile, Mr Pilster, returns to his drums and golf clubs. What a lovely wee tea party it has been.
© JANE QUINN
Mighty Quinn Management