When I left Tim Buckley’s band I had no idea I would be back

When I left Tim Buckley’s band.

by Russell Buddy Helm copyright 2013 all rights reserved

When I left Tim Buckley’s band I had no idea I would be back behind Tim playing drums again in less than a year. I had moved in with Katherine, a local beauty in the Santa Cruz mountains. She helped me make the transition from rock star brat to acceptable human being. She was an inheritance from Coconut Grove.  I met El Rubio two years earlier; Flamenco guitar player, friend of Bananas, when he had come through the grove on his way back to California after doing something in the Caribbean. El Rubio and I  played together and got along fine.

El Rubio appeared at a Tim Buckley concert in Boulder Creek, in the Santa Cruz mountains just south of San Francisco. He introduced me to Katherine of Boulder Creek. She was a trompe l’oeil painter. Her hanging drapes were actually meticulously painted canvases.  Katherine, flaxen haired beauty with  hips that swayed like the ocean, was a sane haven in the midst of the rock n roll frenzy of the early seventies. She offered me a safe place up in the Redwoods, away from the deadly predatory music biz. I took the offer and pulled out of the star making machinery. I hadn’t seen El Rubio since Coconut Grove, where he had taken my stereo Roberts recorder out of Bananas’ living room, with the promise that he would pay me back…. someday.

El Rubio was a gypsy and famous among Caribbean smugglers. He would perform house concerts where rich Paella was steaming on the banquet table and the men would light up real Cuban Cohiba cigars and drink Brandy after dinner while El Rubio played his rascado style of guitar. He was a virtuoso Flamenco guitarist, but he also had connections to the world of mercenaries and Soldiers of Fortune.

When Olivia, a beautiful friend of a beautiful friend, asked for help to get her brother out of a Mexican prison, El Rubio’s name came up. A movie was made about this caper.

excerpt for “Drummer’s History” by Russell Buddy Helm

copyright 2013 all rights reserved

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