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On Thursday, August 21, 2003, at 2:45pm, my wife of 34 years, Rebecca, died in my arms in an emergency room.

The last words we spoke were in perfect synchronization: "I love you with all my heart."

 

 

In Honor Of Ike Turner

November 5, 1931 - December 12, 2007

Page II


please read all pages - they are important

Page I  ■  Page II  ■  Page III  ■  Page IV

Ike Turner Discography

 

REALITY: there is a huge difference between fans and musicians. 

Fans get to see a finished product, fans get to listen to the records that have been cut, mixed, mastered, and pressed.

 

Does anyone know what life is like outside of the finished product?  I certainly do.

 

Early in my life, I fought with my family.  I wanted to play music.  They wanted me to go to college, and get a degree. 

I couldn't care less about going to college.  The last thing in the world that I wanted was college. 

But they had it all planned out.  Nobody ever asked ME what I was interested in - that didn't mean shit.  They had their own plans.

I left home with a very good R&B group at age 13 - nearly 14.  (13 years and 9 or 10 months)  All I did was play music.

All I wanted from life was to play good R&B music.  

 

In the beginning, I was a naive kid, and that was obvious. 

But I was lucky, because I worked in a large horn group, playing R&B, and we worked constantly - approximately 48 weeks each year. 

(I don't know why, but nobody ever asked me for ID.  I'm pretty sure the rest of the group "covered" for me somehow.)

 

Playing 3-7 nights a week, all night long, is an opportunity for a lot of practice.  Imagine about 5 solid years of this. 

Eventually, I became a pretty good keyboard player.

 

I was almost always very fortunate throughout my musical life. 

I was also young and crazy enough to take a chance and approach many people who are considered "stars". 

Sometimes I got what I wanted: an audition, a chance to play, and be evaluated for my musical ability, and my personality to fit in as a member of a group.  Sometimes, I was dismissed immediately, because of my age and inexperience. 

 

Unknown until this page is being written - (December, 2007) - I once auditioned at Wand Records in NYC, for Chuck Jackson and Maxine Brown. 

I remember I was REAL young at that time, I probably just turned 14 years old. 

I passed the audition as a player, they liked my playing just fine, but they thought I was too young to travel.  I had no ID at the time which would have allowed me to work in establishments that served alcohol.

(But within a week or two, I sure did have some fake ID.) 

 

I auditioned for James Brown, in Newark, NJ.  He laughed at me.  The last thing he needed was a 14 year old problem on the road with him. 

 

That wasn't all - I was rejected by Joe Tex and Wilson Pickett, too.  Rejection doesn't feel good. 

There were a few other rejections - I'd rather keep them to myself.

 

In early 1968, I joined the Soul Survivors - which was probably the biggest mistake of my life.  I walked out in May, 1969, and went to work at STAX

I also had a wallet full of REAL ID.  I had my draft card and an ABC card.

 

Late in 1969, I met Ike.  Elsewhere on my website is a fairly interesting story about "How I Spent My STAX Vacation". 

You might like to read that story, written in 1996, describing the very first time I ever saw or heard of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.  It's intentionally incomplete.  I left out the disagreements with Ike, the parts in which we had some basic misunderstandings. 

In 1996, I didn't want to put them on a webpage for anyone to misinterpret.  Now I'll explain a very small part.

 

In late 1969, when I first met Ike, he offered me a job as his keyboard player.  At that time, I was working on staff at STAX Records in Memphis, doing recording sessions and learning engineering work.  After about 5, almost 6 years on the road, constantly traveling with groups, I wanted to "settle down" and work in the STAX studio.  I really didn't want any more "road" at that time of my life - and Ike knew that right from the night we met.  Well - I thought he knew it.

Ike exaggerated a little.  He said he had a recording studio in California.  In fact, he did - however, it was not yet a studio.  It was an empty building - (you could actually smell that it was previously a furniture store) - which would become a working studio within several months. 

At that time - my first trip to LA - I was originally under the impression I was going to LA to record with Ike.  Ike's impression was that I was joining his group.  Understandably, some differences began.

On that trip, I rehearsed and played some shows with I&TT. 

Pretty quickly, Ike and I had our first serious disagreement - that was in San Francisco.  I flew back to Memphis the next day.

I would NOT make the commitment.  I wouldn't leave STAX, recording, engineering, and trade all of it for another road group life.   

I did NOT give Ike the commitment, dedication, and loyalty that he needed for his show. 

It isn't hard to understand.  Ike needed and wanted a reliable, full time player.

I wasn't interested in that - I wanted to be able to pick and choose what I did and when I did it.   

After I returned to Memphis, we discussed this on the phone - very calmly - and I made it clear what I wanted in my musical life.  Ike offered me a very, very generous salary, but I couldn't and wouldn't make the commitment.

On many occasions, we compromised.  I'd call Ike or he'd call me, we'd set up something for recording and some live shows.  I also wanted to do some engineering with Ike, and he was agreeable to that, too.  That was something I could live with, and Ike had no problems with it, either.  After I left the STAX staff, I still wanted to do recording sessions, rather than spend most of my life on the road. 

It wasn't limited to Ike.  I was very fortunate and honored to have several very good offers from some supergroups, but I never made the commitment to the road again.

If you read through some other parts of this website, you'll learn this same type scenario has happened many times in my musical life.  For awhile, I was on staff at Kingsnake Records, but I could not make that full time commitment, either.

Fans can't possibly understand life "inside the bubble".  I'm referring to the day in - day out interaction, the ups and the downs.  The chaos, the peace, and the occasional conflicts. 

Fans have it made - they buy their tickets and go see a polished show - a show that may have taken several hundred hours to perfect.

Probably a lot longer. 

 

Fans don't know about the crushed egos, when a player is just not making the grade, and is humiliated in front of the rest of the group. 

It's happened to me, and it doesn't feel good. 

I could write a whole book of what fans don't know, and it would use up 200 webpages or more.

 

I'd rather tell you a story about Ike .... c'mon - we're goin' inside the bubble ....

READ IT - YOU'LL LAUGH

 

Years back, Ike threw a tantrum, and fired almost everyone in the group.  Jackie, Claude, and I weren't fired. 

I wasn't really playing with Ike at that time, (ie; no road, just sessions) he only called me to come in and help put together his new group. 

By then, I knew Ike well.  I understood his musical requirements, and I also understood Ike's psychology - most of the time, anyway.

Rhonda got on the phone, and in no time, musicians by the dozen were flying into LA to audition - and I mean dozens of musicians.  We used Ike's rehearsal room - part of the block he owned on LaBrea and Fairview, a few doors away from the studio.

I was staying in Ike's apartment building, directly behind the studio, no more than 200 feet from the rehearsal room.  Rehearsal was called for 2:00pm.  I showed up at about 1:50pm.  The rehearsal room was filled with dozens of hopeful players - all wanting to play for I&TT. 

Immediately, Ike got in my face, and yelled at me.  Keep in mind, I'd known Ike for several years at that time. 

(we frequently played "word games" - these "word games" just kept us busting up with laughter)

Ike: "What fuckin' TIME is it, motherfucker?  I call rehearsal for 2, and you drag your lazy ass in here when YOU feel like it?  Who the fuck runs this show?"

Me: "Well Ike, the clock in the apartment said 10 before 2."

Ike: "Fuck YOU - LOOK AT MY WATCH - MY watch says it's AFTER 2.  (He showed me his watch.  It showed about 2:05.)  You done this shit before, and you ain't fuckin' with me no more - I'm fining you $500.00.  I don't put up with this shit from nobody." (Ike started a "word game") 

Ike put out his hand.  There was nothing for me to say.  I handed Ike $500.00. 

(Actually, I'd NEVER been late before - I knew better.  And - I had a feeling I knew what Ike was really doing - Jackie knew, too.)

 

All day (and night) "musicians" were being sent (thrown) out the door - one after another.  They couldn't play - they wasn't gettin' no traction.

Ike (to a useless "musician"): "ENOUGH.  We'll let you know in a few days.

Ike (privately, to Jackie and me: "We'll let the mo' fu' know in a few years.") 

Ike (to a different useless "musician"): "How long you been playin'?  You ever play any R&B?

Ike (again, privately, to Jackie and me: "40 minutes too long - Jackie, just get'm outa heah - 'n cross his name off the fuckin' list.")

Auditions and rehearsal went on (and on and on) until probably 2:00am.

Ike told Jackie and me to go into his office in the studio, and ended the audition until the following day.  Everybody left.

In his office, we snorted, talked, snorted, laughed, snorted, and snorted some more.

Ike: "Shit - that last tenor player like to drive me fuckin' crazy.

Me: "Damn - where these people come from - Pluto?  Mo' fu' sounded better before he took his horn out the case."

Jackie: (choking with laughter) "I can't even talk, man.  Ike, don't you never pull this shit on me again, or I'm gonna be 3 DAYS late to rehearsal. (the "word game" kicks in - Jackie couldn't resist)  I don't put up with this shit from nobody."

When we snorted, we didn't bother with "lines" or "straws" or "rolled up bills" or "coke spoons" - that shit was for KIDS.

Ike had a candy dish - about 12" in diameter - FILLED with coke.  We weren't gonna run out for at least 4 days.

We took a business card, bent one corner of it, making a little "V" fold, and used it like a Goddamn shovel

Ike TOLD me he intentionally set his watch fast - so I would HAVE to be late

He handed me my $500.00, and an extra $200.00.

 

We just cracked up laughing at some of the clumsy players.  And we talked serious about some of the better ones.

I invented a NEW PHRASE: "U&TT" - "Unskilled and Timeless Tuneless".  (It's a takeoff on I&TT, if you didn't realize it.) 

Now we were REALLY, REALLY laughing.  We talked about one of the "bass players" ....

Ike: "That U&TT bastard wasted over a fuckin' hour on ONE song!  'N he still fucked it up!"

Jackie: "Man - y'all see him sweatin'?  Damn near had a nervous breakdown."

Me: "But he Gawddamn sure was tryin'."

Ike: "TRYIN'?  He tryin' to get his ass throwed the fuck OUTA heah!"

Me: "Mo' fu' did a good job of it, too!"

Jackie: "Sandy - why din't you throw his ass out?"

(Jackie is sho' 'nuff baiting me into the "word game" - and I knew it)

Ike (to me): "You makin' ME do all the work?  You can't do NOTHIN'?  Tomorrow, YOU throw some U&TTs out - or I'm gonna fine you $500.00."

(and IKE is definitely baiting me, too)

Me: "Yeah - I shoulda THROWN him out.  I don't put up with this shit from nobody."

(now I couldn't resist the "word game" either - we were all laughing too much)

Do you understand?

I UNDERSTAND

 

Ike humiliated me in front of a room full of people.  I was a FOOL - an asshole.  But he did it for a very good reason. 

Everybody in that room learned something: it's Ike's group, and whatever Ike says is the way it's gonna be. 

You can't play by Ike's rules?  There's the fucking door.

 

The three of us laughed our asses off .... Jackie nearly collapsed - and me, too - we were laughing so Goddamn hard. 

FUCK IT!  That was the funniest thing Ike had done ALL YEAR!   

We were having a GREAT time, and - for some reason - THIS was OUTRAGEOUSLY funny to us. 

Ike was having the BEST time, because he was at the center of it.

 

I really wanted to call Rebecca, my wife, and tell her about it. 

But I wanted to do it exactly RIGHT.  I had a plan .... 

I wanted to start by telling her, "Honey?  Listen - don't get worried or excited, OK?  I really screwed up bad today.  Ike fined me $500.00."

Then I would put Ike on the phone, and HE could tell her the whole story. 

(Bec understood our crazy sense of humor.  She would have laughed just as much as we were.)

 

But I would have woken her, so I didn't get to call her until later that day. 

By then, our hysteria had died down - the "magic moment" had passed.

 

And - I was FLYING.  That would have really upset her. 

Bec never told me not to snort - but she didn't approve of it.  She knew in less than a heartbeat if I was snorting too much.

That morning, I was definitely snorting too much.

 

We just snorted some more - and kept laughing, while Ike and I kept doing our "replays" ....

Ike: "You know what TIME IS, motherfucker?  You ever seen a fuckin' CLOCK?" 

Me: "Oh, fuck you.  You're lucky your dumb Mississippi ass can even TELL time."

Jackie: (laughing too hard to speak)

Ike: "Maybe I'll buy you your own watch."

Me: "Good - you can stick it up your ass.  I don't put up with this shit from nobody." (still got the "word game" going) 

This is how it went. 

We worked like SLAVES - but when we weren't working, we had more Goddamn fun than you could ever dream of. 

For US, this was OUR idea of fun.  Calling each other names, putting each other down, insults, ridiculous LIES about who did what to which Ikette ....

 

And we didn't REALLY mean one word of it.

 

Ike planned it so those people would learn a powerful lesson in just a few seconds - AND THEY SURE LEARNED! 

 

Maybe you think I'm crazy for putting up with that. 

NO - YOU'RE CRAZY

That little act did more to help Ike than 48 hours of non-stop rehearsal.

 

Racial?  Bullshit.

The very FIRST night I met Ike, in 1969, he heard me play, he really liked my playing, he tried to hire me, and he gave me a new name.

My "new name" lasted for over seven years - it didn't stop with I&TT.  My "new name" was ....

"Sandy - our white nigger"

At that time, there was only one white musician in Ike's group, a superb tenor player.  He was fired almost immediately after I met Ike. 

 

Everyone else in the I&TT Revue - the GROUP, not the office staff - was black. 

Everybody called me "Sandy - our white nigger" .... I never cared.  I gave it BACK just as good as I TOOK it. 

 

I'd much rather be "Sandy - our white nigger"

than a worthless fucking keyboard player

who got tossed out on his ass because he couldn't even play  

 

Why the hell am I telling you this?

 

It's simple: NOBODY REALLY GAVE A SHIT WHAT COLOR YOU WERE

Nobody gave a shit about WORDS - words with NO negative, hateful, or aggressive intent behind them. 

There was no "politically correct" shit - WE made our own "politically correct" in the world we lived in.

 

I called Ike "nigger" frequently - he never blinked an eye. 

But if I would have said Ike cheated me on my paycheck, he would have fucking exploded. 

It was the same with Jackie, Soko, Vera, Warren, Edna, Eddie, Claude, Esther, and all the others. 

 

They ALL KNEW I had no prejudice. 

I was no fucking RACIST

I was THEIR "white nigger" - and perfectly content with that.

Actually, I was proud of it.

 

If I actually had ANY prejudice, WHY was I the ONLY WHITE MUSICIAN in a group of 10-13 black musicians? 

WHY did I KEEP GOING BACK to work with Ike whenever it was possible?

 

My REAL prejudice was much different.

 

Mind-altered, LSD, psilocybin loaded asshole, undisciplined, IMITATION, FAKE "musicians"

 

I couldn't stand them, or their useless Goddamn SHIT "music".  Almost all of them were white. 

WRONG.  I'm PRETENDING that I'm "politically correct".

FUCK "politically correct".  ALL of them were white.

 

They all thought they were another Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, or the Grateful Dead.  I couldn't listen to that dogshit.

They couldn't even "play", until they loaded up on LSD, hash, or some other mind-altering shit.

And then they REALLY couldn't "play"!  They stayed so fucked up, they couldn't even find an E chord.

Almost all white "musicians" turned me off so bad, I couldn't stay far enough away from them.

There were a few exceptions - very few.  And they WEREN'T in the Los Angeles area.  

Just give me an Aretha and a Chaka Khan album, and leave me alone.

 

I was always a SOUL musician.  Those worthless, pathetic white boys couldn't even SPELL it, never mind PLAY it.

 

Yes - I WAS PREJUDICED.  But not like you might have thought.

 

We thought differently.  It was about YOU.

How you PLAYED.

How much EFFORT you contributed to the I&TT Revue.

How CREATIVE you were in the studio. 

How you followed Ike's RULES.

How you GOT ALONG with the group.

How you'd GO OUT OF YOUR WAY to be kind and helpful. 

How you'd LEND A HAND, WITHOUT being asked, if somebody was carrying 2 suitcases and a guitar. 

How you'd OFFER one of the Ikettes a shoulder to cry on if she needed a shoulder. 

It was all about YOU - and your MUSICAL FAMILY.

 

NO - YOU REALLY DON'T KNOW

but I do

 

Ike said he had 10 reels of 24 track tape in his car.  Reels of 2" tape are heavy, in case you didn't know it. 

"Give me the car keys.

I went out and got the tapes (it took about 4 or 5 trips) from his Rolls. 

Was I too Goddamn good to carry 200+ pounds of recording tape inside for Ike?   

Ike wanted the tapes RIGHT NOW.  I was there.  I HELPED.  Nobody MADE me help - nobody even ASKED me to help. 

 

THIS kind of interaction is what very few people will ever understand.

 

Everybody in the group - except Tina - called me "Sandy - our white nigger". 

I guess Tina was too Goddamn "refined" for such "undignified" talk.  Good for her.


Of all the musicians, Ike, Jackie, and I were probably the closest.  One weekend, Jackie brought me to Evansville, his hometown, and we acted like "superstars" for a couple of days, driving around in a rented Lincoln Continental, throwing cash around like kids, buying people drinks, food - and acting like the fools we were.  We were treated like royalty, people wanted our autographs. 

 

Jackie had an apartment on Green Valley Circle, right off Slauson, in Culver City, and sometimes I'd stay there, instead of a motel or Ike's apartments. 

We were really tight friends. 

After moving to California, he'd frequently come down and spend the day with Rebecca, my wife, and me. 

We took him to some of my gigs, I'd introduce him, and he'd sit in - and get a lot of applause.

 

Jackie frequently used to take me to a diner or restaurant for lunch, mostly right nearby the studio.

Sometimes, we'd play with the waitresses. 

Waitress: "Hi!  What can I get for you guys today?

With a perfectly straight face ....

Jackie: "The white nigger wants a club sandwich on rye, no lettuce, and a large glass of milk with ice cubes, not crushed ice.

You wouldn't believe the look on her face.

Me: "The nigger wants a cheeseburger, fries, no pickles, no mustard, and a large Coke.

You REALLY wouldn't believe the look on her face.

After lunch ....

Me: "What did you say?  Separate checks?  Nah - let the nigger pay."

Jackie: "I'll get the check, waitress.  The white nigger just bein' cheap today.

Behind the counter, whispering to another waitress ....

Waitress: "Oh my God, Martha!  Did you hear them?  They both used THE "N" WORD!"      

Man, we would laugh about it.  We got a kick out of playing with "straight-life", "normal-world", "9 to 5" people.

 

If you think this is RACIAL, you'll NEVER understand. 

You're probably too Goddamn paranoid, polarized, and maybe you've spent too many years in the "9 to 5 corporate machine".


ALLEGEDLY "racial" words could easily be words of AFFECTION, FRIENDSHIP, and MUTUAL RESPECT.

With me, it was all of them - and ACCEPTANCE ....

 

"SandyMan!  You one of US.  You sho' 'nuff don't play like no white boy - you too FUNKY!

"You sho' yo' Mama 'n Papa both be white?"

"Gawddamn - GET DOWN - PLAY that mo' fu'!  You OUR white nigger!" 

 

Those are words of LOVE.  I KNOW what Ike and the group thought of me - from 1969 until Ground Zero in 1976

How many other WHITE keyboard players played with Ike - off and on for SEVEN YEARS? 

 

What Happened To The Ikettes?

 

Very soon after there was no more I&TT Revue, a new group formed in Los Angeles, named Silver, Platinum, and Gold. 

Several of the musicians were former I&TT musicians, and the girls were former Ikettes. (but not necessarily full-time Ikettes) 

(Note: I may be wrong about this - I'm positive about Edna, almost positive about Renee, and not quite positive about Flo.) 

Naturally, I was still "Sandy - our white nigger".   

 

We had a killer group, with Hubert Heard and me on keyboards, (Hubert formerly played with Billy Preston), and our stage was loaded with every keyboard instrument imaginable. 

The group was very similar to I&TT - maximum energy, absolute excitement from start to finish.

We did a lot of showcase gigs, and blew a lot of people's minds.  Things went very well for a few months. 

But it just wasn't meant to be.   

please read all pages

Page I  ■  Page II  ■  Page III  ■  Page IV

Ike Turner Discography

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