Thursday, July 06, 2006

Is it just me or....

As many of you well know by now I'm a fan of Chicago (the band)-- and while normally I'd be posting this over on my other blog this isn't a post about their music. This is about an item up for auction on eBay . As I type this I'm listening to Oh, Thank You Great Spirit from Chicago VIII, Terry's tribute to Jimi Hendrix (whom he'd befriended when Chicago had opened for Hendrix at the Whiskey in their early days). It's a hauntingly eerie piece which matches my mood as I type this and features some of the most emotive guitar playing I've ever heard.

On January 23rd 1978 Chicago guitarist, Terry Kath, accidentally killed himself. Kath, a gun buff was taking apart and putting back together an automatic handgun at the home of Don Johnson (one of Chicago's roadies at the time-- not the Miami Vice Don Johnson). Johnson urged him to put the gun down and get some sleep. Kath hadn't slept in awhile, he was messed up on drugs and alcohol and probably wasn't entirely "there" at the time of his death. Kath told Johnson not to worry, he took the clip out of the gun and showed Johnson the clip was empty, what Kath didn't realize was that there was a round chambered. Terry put the clip back in the gun and started waving it around his head erratically. The pressure of his finger on the trigger when the gun was pointed at his head set the gun off. Terry died instantly.

If this notebook is legitimate-- and according to the seller it was acquired from the widow of Jack Goudie, Chicago's late road manager (Goudie died of a heart attack in 1the late eighties). If such is the case it is entirely likely that this notebook on sale from eBay is legitimate. That the note in it dated 1/23/78 (the very day of Kath's death) is also legitimate. It also sheds some light on Terry's demise as both Terry's note and his then-wife, Camelia's note reference requests for him to "move out" and there's a general unhappiness in the tone of both notes.

At any rate, this brings me to my question-- is it just me or is this an item that belongs in the hands of friends or family of Terry? Terry's daughter, Michelle, was only about 2 at the time of his passing. She has no real memory of her father, and her perception and views of her late father has been shaped by positive and happy stories told her by her mother and certain surviving band members.

Another thing, if the note is authentic, it actually makes me feel guilty-- because despite how wrong I think it is that it's being hawked on eBay, there's still that small part of me-- that die-hard Chicago aficionado that wouldn't mind having this piece of memorabilia. Oh well, maybe the best fate for such a note is for it to be burned. It may be just me, but collecting something so personal, so private-- is akin to collecting bad karma.

6 comments:

Layla said...

I agree with you on this. Its sad that so many people use whatever means they can to make money even at the expense of hurting others or, in this case, selling something that should go to the family.

With that said I am a bit perpelexed by you Mr. Perplexio! You did not tell me about this before therefore Terry never made it to my "Gone But Not Forgotten" list! Please stop by and check out the facelift I gave my blog (I gave you credits again but I'm going to make you find it yourself).

Off to add Terry...thanks!

The Phoenix said...

Yeah, Chicago really misses that strong, rough, and baritone voice of his.

I think owning the gun is not a good idea. It's probabably cursed.

Perplexio said...

Phoenix: Well the gun isn't up for bid, it's a notebook with a note written by Terry on the day he died. Still I think it's bad karma.

Susan as herself said...

Karma or no, an object like that should not be sold---I think it's distasteful. If it's not kept by a family member or close frined, I think it should be in a museum. But that's just my opinion...

Perplexio said...

Susan: I tend to agree. I can't even watch the VH1 Behind the Music about Chicago without crying every time it gets to the part where they talk about Terry. They have Terry's widow and daughter (who has grown up to be quite a beautiful young woman) talking about him and it never fails to turn on the waterworks with me.

St. Dickeybird said...

Like Susan said, that notebook needs to be handed back to family.