I Begin

Posted 2/9/08

Born on a mountain top in Tenn – oh wait – that wasn’t me…

I was born in San Francisco, CA on January 9, 1951 at 7:32 in the morning, the first of 11 live births (and 3 stillbirths) in less than 15 years for my parents, William H. Sr. and Rosemary Joan Kammerer… No wonder I’m like this…

Raised in the woods so – wait a minute  – that other guy again…  Raised in Northern and Southern California – my dad was transferred a lot.  Went to 22 different schools before high school – we didn’t moved THAT much, but we always seemed to move to a place where there were schools either not yet completed, or just getting ready to change districts. One year I went to 3 different schools and never moved out of the house we started the year in.  (I mean, the house in which we started the year.)  No wonder I don’t have any childhood friends…

In the middle of the school year in school number 20 (South Whittier Jr. High School), we picked up and moved to Ventura – still my favorite place of growing uppance – and that’s when it bit – the music bug, I mean… I decided that I wanted to become a rock star in the 7th grade, and decided to play the drums.

It’s hard to play the drums when you lack… well… drums, so I absconded with most of my mother’s Tupperware storage “drums” and started banging on them with some broom handles that, somehow, became really short…

Eventually, my dad bought me an actual snare drum for $11.00. I can still see it now – it was red and made of plastic, but it came with two wooden drum sticks, so how bad could it be? I was still using my mother’s largest round Tupperware storage container as a bass drum, and her metal pie plates as symbols, though.

Unfortunately, it’s also hard to play drums when you possess a lack of rhythm, or rather, the coordination to move all of your body parts in different directions and at sequential intervals and have them all end up where they are supposed to be at the right time…

For that reason and the fact that I still had only one “real” drum, and an entire trap set would cost several hundred dollars…

I decided to be a guitar player, which, interestingly enough, is almost impossible to be without a guitar…  Calling on past experience, I decided to build one – really – I did.

I went to the garage and dug up some wood (from an old table top, if I remember correctly), my dad’s Sears Craftsman Saber Saw, some nails, some Elmer’s Glue, some wire (with the consistency and thickness of heavy solder) and created something that resembled something that didn’t resemble a musical instrument of any sort…  But I had a great imagination and a stick with a big square part at one end, a skinny part at the other and 4 wires nailed in place and stretched between them (tuning was difficult)…  If I had only skipped the part where I actually constructed something, I could have invented the Air Guitar – I could be retired today…  (And if I had only been born 100 years earlier, I would have invented the paperclip – but I’d still be dead today, so what the heck…)


Moving ahead to 8th grade…

While I really enjoyed imagining that I could play the guitar and make the sounds that I had fallen in love with listening to the radio, there was still something missing…  Acutual sound…

I had to find a way to get an actual, professionally built, six string with a cable and an amplifier and real picks (my mother discovered she was missing parts of some of her Tupperware) ELECTRIC guitar… Desperate, but intelligent about it, I started to look for a way to make money… I was willing to do almost anything to earn enough cash to buy my first guitar…

I figured I had become reasonably good at mowing the lawn, so I started wandering the neighborhood in search of employers.  It was a lonely time of life, at least for the next three hours… Then I struck gold – My sister had some friends around the corner – the Powers sisters – Betty and Terry… And they had precisely what I was looking for in a pair of girls – a father who had a lawn that needed mowing and who didn’t want to do it himself.  But it was better than that – he also had a garden in the back yard that needed tending (translate that to “weeds pulled”). He offered me $5.00 a week to keep the place up – I almost stopped breathing…

I just had to go over there after school a couple of days a week to get all the stuff done and I could pay cash for a new guitar in only 15 weeks! Wait a minute – that’s like forever to an 8th grader. But I had a plan – it was brilliant (meaning it was stupid)…

My dad worked for Sears – he was an executive – he had a charge card.  Not the ordinary Sears Revolving Charge, mind you – anybody  (except me) could get one of those.  He had a CLC (Check List Charge) card with no limit on it!  He could buy Neptune with that thing, if Sears could get the property rights.

This is where the “intelligent” part comes in.  Now that I had a job, I would attempt to convince my dad that I could make the monthly $7.00 payments on the guitar, case with the built in amplifier, cable, strap and PICKS. I really could and still have about $13.00 left over to blow on broken strings, guitar lessons and, mostly, candy and soda pop. Somehow, he bought into the idea…  I had my first electric guitar. It was great! Except for two things…

1 – My first week on the job, I had put in a pile of time pulling weeds out of Mr. Powers’ tomato garden. Except the weeds somehow turned out to be tomatoes. Unfortunately, when you pull all of the tomatoes out of a tomato garden, two things happen –

1) There’s not much work left to be done

2)  The owner of the tomato garden gets upset

Naturally, this combination of circumstances leads to early unemployment… I had no way to make the monthly payments on my prized possession.

2 – The second thing that wasn’t great was that, while I had become a guitar god with the above mentioned home made instrument, the real thing actually had 6 strings and made audible sounds (in this case, noise).  Now, I had seen The Music Man and honestly believed in the Think System.  (Actually, I still do to this day, to a point – you may recognize it in some of my earlier recordings.)

Obviously, I was in a quandary… However, that was soon to change dramatically, as you will see in chapter two…

__________________________________________________________

Folow this link to Chapter 2

https://billkammerer.wordpress.com/bio-chapter-2/

To hear actual non-church related songs by Bill Kammerer, Click on this link

https://billkammerer.wordpress.com/some-non-church-related-songs-by-bill-kammerer/

To hear actual songs by Bill Kammerer with a spiritual emphasis, click on this link

https://billkammerer.wordpress.com/my-catholicchristian-songs-in-mp3-format/

If you’d like to see some of my favorite Youtube music videos, follow this link:https://billkammerer.wordpress.com/some-of-my-favorite-music-videos-from-youtube/

If you would like to contact me directly, just click on the link below, or send me an email from your own email account. my email address is:

billk@sti.net

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5 Responses to “01 – Bill’s Bio – Chapter 1”

  1. Ted Wilcox Says:

    I am really looking forward to chapter 2!

  2. Phil Says:

    Well, that certainly explains a LOT!!! Looking forward to the next installment.

  3. Bill Perry Says:

    Very good Bill. I really didn’t know much about you and your Brothers and Sisters. It didn’t seem like our families got to gether very much. Your Mother was a saint to put up with so many kids to keep track of. Anyway, the first chapter of your Bio was great. Looking forward to the next.
    Your cousin, Bill

  4. Koni Ritch Says:

    … and you’re STILL charging instruments with promises of paying them off, later. Can’t wait to find out how this story ends …

  5. Ms. Kathleen Ann Margaret Kammerer Marsh! Says:

    There’s a Chapter 2? I thought Mom was gonna kill you after the Powers’ tomato incident of the ’60’s! I can still hear her chidding you. It was rather funny, actually, ’cause you NEVER got into trouble!!!

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