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Bernds Story - Page: 10 of 14

I want to write about my friendship with Johnny "Guitar" Watson. During all this time dealing with Switch and DeBarge, I had a close relationship with Johnny or GUITAR as we called him. I was with Johnny in the recording studio on every DJM album, plus on the LP, "Strike Back on Computers" and the A&M Record deal, the richest deal he ever struck. The outcome was "That´s What Time It Is". Herb Alpert was a great fan of Johnny´s. But with the money came also the downfall. Snow took everything down, including Johnny´s A&M deal. The company shelved the second album. He lost his home, and it destroyed his marriage he had at the time. Johnny bought the home at the time from his DJM deal in 1977. It used to be the home of John Derek and Ursula Andress before their divorce. Johnny and I had a lot of great moments together. I was able to watch him write his music in his bedroom, which was like a studio. We had a lot of fun together. Johnny was one of funniest comedians I ever met. On one of his birthdays, I had somebody from Radio Luxemburg to tape an interview, which was aired later that year in Germany. That was before RTL television existed. I spent two outstanding New Year eves with Johnny I won´t forget. 1979 to 1980, I was with him and his band, The Watsonian Institute in San Carlos by San Francisco at the Circus Star Theater. B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland was together with him on the show. I was riding with the band on Johnny´s bus. On the first of the year we took off for L.A. 100 miles south of San Francisco, his bus broke down. It was the 1st of January 1980. E.T., Emery Thomas, his bandleader and drummer had his girlfriend with him. It was Ola Ray, 1979 Playboy Bunny of the year, later famous being the girl in Michael Jackson´s "Thriller" video, Michael´s biggest hit. No bus towing service on that holiday. So we spent the night on the cold bus together. It was raining nonstop. Then the sad story, Rock ´n´ Roller, LARRY WILLIAMS (Bony Moronie and many more) got killed that same time. He was our friend, Johnny´s life long friend...my friend in particular. His wife, Ina, was my friend. Their little daughter liked to call me "Daddy" was like my own little daughter.

The next new year´s eve 1980-81, my mother was in L.A. from Germany. We had a great get together, all of our mothers and us. I called Johnny´s mom "Mother". We had a beautiful prayer together all holding hands. Then we took my mother to Hollywood into the studio to get into the new year. I got myself involved with different artists. One guy was Ricky West, formerly of Kool&The Gang. He played the keyboards and was writing and performing songs like "Hollywood Swinging", "Jungle Fever" and "Summer Madness". I was producing some song material with him. We were the first ones to record at the first ever build recording studio in Compton, California, named C.A.S.H. Recorders, built by Johnny Johnson, a friend of Marvin Gaye´s, who had moved Marvin´s studio equipment from Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood to Compton. A few years later, Marvin Gaye recorded the hit "Sanctified Lady", one of his last recordings before his untimely death. Ricky was riding around town in a stolen van. On his way to Hollywood to pick me up from my home one morning, the owner of the van spotted him and informed the police. They picked him up and off to jail he went. That was the end of our relationship. (The next thing would have been me sitting next to him in jail, not knowing the situation about the stolen van.)

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