maandag 6 februari 2012

Duck Kee Market and beyond.

Left at 10 this morning to Oakland to see the famous Duck Kee Market, where the coverpicture of Willy and the Poorboys is shot, and THE most outstanding spots in CCR photography off all. Again a very sunny day, and driving started nice through downtown and then our first experience of this trip of the Bay Bridge. It has two levels, eastbound is on the lower level and its a bit weird.
Oakland was easy to find, but our (European) GPS was acting up and sent us in circles when we were on the right street allready. It was a neighbourhood with small houses that looked like they had they're best days long ago, and when we finally parked our car I was a bit nervous. We knew it wasnt the best neighbourhood and we even discussed staying in the car, but as the streets looked quiet we decided to get out. When Robert and I were there in 2005, we saw a lot of "weird" people that also saw us :-D

We got out, looked around and got the sleeve out that Robert and I brought with us. Then someone pointed at the building we parked in front of, and said "but thats the building on the backside!"
First, I refused to believe it. In 2005, we had walked around a bit, took pictures in front of the former Duck Kee, got in our car and when we drove off, I swore I saw the building on the back of the cover, from the corner of my eye, but we didnt wanna stop again and left.
But this here was absolutely without any doubt the right building!!
Everone got so exited and we all took turns taking pics with the sleeve, we were able to stand on the spot where the original photographer stood, and it was like stepping in the albumcover!!
If you dont understand our excitement... imagine looking at your favorite albumcovers all through your youth and through the years, checking all the details, wondering about stuff, while you're listening to the music... again and again and again and again!

The warm sun was shining and we were laughing and acting silly and had our pics taken by the others, and everyone who passed us on the street kept looking around to see what was going on.
We even managed to take a picture with everyone, with Peters camera, standing on a bag and a small tripod, he programmed it and we all had to squeeze in and duck and the picture was made.
For me this was better than seeing the old Duck Kee Market, as it changed allmost beyond recognition, and this building and spot were still there!

We walked a few meters and I tried to get 4 persons at the time in the right position as in the picture on the front of the album. We had to sort out the right angle and details a bit, as it was totally changed, but I think we did well.

Robert is playing imaginary bass :-)

So the first ones got in their spot and the rest of us made pictures of it and it all felt great and we were laughing etc, and all of a sudden a woman aproached us and said something like "are you guys the Fogerty delegation??" she laughed and continued "I am the new owner of the building, I live around the corner!" (= the backside of the album picture)
We introduced ourself and she was thrilled to see that we came all the way looking for the roots of Creedence, and she explained that all the buildings on the block were a compound and that they had a very nice garden inside. She also told where the store sign was last seen, and she also knew the owner of the place personally. The owner (Suzy? Lucy?) quit after she had been robbed by armed locals :-( that was somewhere in the nineties.
And then she invited us IN to see the compound garden!

We gladly accepted her invitation and she let us in, and wow.
There in that not so nice neighbourhood, a whole oasis was hidden! they grew their own vegetables, there were corners to sit in, she told they kept bees to (imagine honey made in the backyard of the Duck Kee Market :-D and we had a nice chat while we looked around. It was just unbelievable that this little bit of heaven was hidden in this neighbourhood!

We didnt wanna take too much of her time and we still had to take a few pictures at the front so we left, in awe of what just happened. Ha!
How many of you ever saw the BACKSIDE of the Duck Kee Market?? :-D

Excited about everything what just happened, and by the hospitality of the owner of the building, we continued our little photoshoot in front. We were laughing and having a great time getting everyone in the right position again, and then, all of a sudden...
The door opened, and the sleepy resident of the Duck Kee Market itself appeared in allmost his underwear.
he went "you guys are taking pictures because of this?" and held up a framed album cover, and we all went hysterical!! We probably woke him up with our laughter, but he was cool and said it was ok and told he was a musician.
When he went back in again we continued, and then Michael wanted to take a pic of everyone together, and crossed the street to put his camera on a fence. He put it on self timer, and we joked that a big truck would pass when it would go off.
Then he had to run back to us to make it in time, but it worked!

Michi's camera in the red circle

He went "oh that went great" and turned his back to his camera-across-the-street, and two kids on bikes appeared and drove straight to the camera!!
We all started screaming he had to go back but he didnt realise it right away, but luckly the kids didnt grab it.

I think everyone was as exciting as possible when we finally got back in our cars and left. We originally planned to stay in our car!!
When we left the neighbourhood I saw my first Greyhound bus of the trip and started screaming, and the others started singing CCR songs that contain Greyhounds :-D

Next stop was Oakland coliseum, where the live record "Live in Oakland" was recorded. It was quite a drive and on our way we saw one Occupy guy (we assume) > Oakland is infamous for their Occupy movement and we were warned about not going downtown because of the chaos.

I recognised the Coliseum from far, as it has a double meaning for me, as its appearing in the '83 documentary "Sing Blue Silver" by Duran Duran, which I memorized as a teenager. One of the last shots is cool footage of  the coliseum, from an helicopter.
So I had some laughs there on my own. Two worlds merge!

Then some last minute gathered information about where the front or backside picture of Green River was taken. All we had to do was drive down this street and find a certain building in a park and it was 300 ft left from that building. Well the street was at least 30 miles long, and we never saw it. We asked several times, found the park, cos its very big, but not the building. we drove the other way, still no luck.
With every turn (and there were a lot of turns) we had a great view on the Bay and SF.
Just about the time I started to get green and grey because of the curvy road, we gave up, as we had to drive to our friend Scott too.

He lives in a town called Manteca and it was an hour drive from Oakland. On our way we were entertained with all the weird stuff and Americana we saw, like really weird cars. We saw a lot of Mustangs too, and then a Mustang passed us and Robert said "I never saw a Mustang like that" and I said "If you stick a Mustang sticker on a Subaru doesnt make it a Ford Mustang" :-D we had great laughs about the idea that someone in a Subaru would stick a mustang sticker on this car, but maybe it was just a really ugly Mustang.
The landscape slowly turned into hills with yellow grass and windmils, and after that it was flat again, and we saw pretty houses, trailerparks, and houses that were about to fall down, with livestock that looked like it needed rescued. And a lot of Target shops too. And a yellow John Deere tractor.

Scott lives in a nice house in a nice neighbourhood with a pickup truck in front of the house, with a beautifull Blue Ridge Rangers sticker. It was cool to finally meet him, as he is one of those persons who's name has been around for ever. Robert has known him for a long time! We were very warmly welcomed by him and his family and their two supercute doggies.
They got us some great snacks and we were all hungry! I especially loved the wraps.

I knew that Scott was the "guy with the guitars" as Robert always talks about it, but I never realised he REALLY had THAT MUCH!
I walked into his music room, saw a wall filled with Rickenbackers and other pretty guitars and went "WOW, look at those guitars!" then I looked at the other wall: "WOOOOW, even more guitars!" the other wall "WAAAAAAAAAAA, EVEN MORE GUITARS!!!!!" the other wall "OH MY GOD EVEN MORE GUITARS!!!!!!!" it was just guitarwall"paper" !!!
Special edition Gibson Flyin V :-D - love it!!

a few Rickenbackers....

Uwe and Pete Brown admiring the total weird "Guitorgan" !!!

I have no clue what I'm looking at (hey Batman!) anyone?? But love the right one on top!

Bo Diddley guitar and a few others...

Everyone walked in going crazy, Baltasar walked in, looked around, shook his head, and walked out again. I heard him say "thats too much for me to handle" :-D
We all started taking pictures and in the meantime we discovered more guitars on stands everywhere we looked. It was just like a guitarbomb just went off hahaha!!
I even discovered the same electric sitar as Bottle Rockets singer Brian Henneman has, and a guitar named "Guitorgan". And there were 10 Rickenbackers, and a REVERSED Flying V, that looked like an arrow, must have been the weirdest guitar I've seen. Also some funny guitars from the 50's.
Scotts very nice daughter has made us coffee, and she told us she made it extra strong for "us Europeans" hahahahaha!!! GREAT!! so the coffee tasted good! It came with a red velvet cake, that tasted extremely well for American cake. Aaand chocolates, that tasted extremely well for American chocolates ;-)
(I also heard the wise words "Hersey is not chocolate")
The second pot of coffee she made for us was the reason I am still awake right now and able to write this report. It was so strong I allmost could run back to SF!!! (= cool, coffeine is my favorite drug)
And HAWAIIAN beer!

As soon as I walked in the house earlier that afternoon, I noticed Scotts wife Kate (right?) had extremely long hair way down her LEGS. Those of you that know me well, know I go bazurk for long hair. Then I realised she also TIED IT UP and when we had coffee I asked if she wanted to let it down to show me. It reached the floor. I am not making this up. she officially was the person with the longest hair I ever met!! I dont know how she is able to handle it, but I know I have a new rolemodel hahaha I dont think my hair will ever get THAT LONG!! (bit unpractical for me too I think) But it sure added to the fantastic day!

Everyone was chatting and having a great time and looking at Scotts CCR stuff or playing with the ubercute doggies. I discovered a porch swing, though it wasnt standing on the porch but in the garden, but that was ok for me and sat there for a while reflecting the trip so far and being gratefull that I am a part of this special happening.
Watching the Superbowl?!

Then everyone gathered around in the musicroom. Scott, Baltasar and Tom took a guitar, Scotts daughter, Valerie, (named after the Monkees song!!) took place behind the drums.

Tom had to scream a bit cos he didnt have a microphone, but thats the way John Fogerty did it in the very old days too :-D and besides he has a very powerfull voice!!
The rest of us just sat around and listened and I wrote in my diary while singing along. In the end Pete Brown joined in too.
Perfect closure of another great day!!

We had some more drinks, I tried an Hawaiian beer (ha!) and shortly after that we had to leave as it was evening allready. First we made some pictures of everyone together offcourse, and Valerie had to take12 pictures with 12 different cameras, you know how these things go.

Robert and Scott

On our way back we had a magnificent view on the lit Bay Bridge and the lights of downtown SF. we passed several great buildings like the townhall (?) beautifully lit.
I think everyone knows that San Francisco has some serious hills and some streets are extreme steep. The roads that go up(or down)hill that steep, dont run down in once straight way but at every crossing, they are levelled. I am not sure if I get myself clear, but it means that when you are driving faster then 10mph it feels like you're in a rollercoaster!!!
Uwe was totally happy and speeded through the greenlights at maximum speed, we screamed at him that he had to stop, and I was glad I could ask him in German "do you want me to throw up in your neck!?"
(as I was sitting behind Martina, his answer was: "I dont care, you'll be throwing up in Martinas neck" hahahahaha!!!)
But, we made it. With ten of us we went to have a late bite of food. The others all had italian, and I had the brocoli side dish as I wasnt hungry anymore after all that food at Scotts place. Now I like my vegetables a bit crisp, but this was the crispiest brocoli I ever had. I think they only showed it the pot with boiling water :-D

I want to appologize for any typos or other mistakes I am making, I just have way too much to tell in way too little time and I am getting tired too...
Will update pictures in the morning!
(also have a story about saturday allmost finished)

1 opmerking:

  1. Hello, I enjoyed reading about your adventures in California. Sounds like you had a lot of fun. I just wanted to tell you that the gentleman in the Uncle Sam outfit holding the sign is actually advertising a tax preparation company called Liberty Tax Service. They hire people to dress like Uncle Sam or Lady Liberty to stand out on the sidewalks to bring in customers during tax preparation season, which runs from January to April.