I Killed Presley and Lennon!
I read about John Oszajca’s claim to have killed Johnny Cash by simply talking about him dying soon and then he got an email that Johnny Cash had died. I know the feeling well, as I have been a recipient of this pre-cognition or synchronicity phenomenon many times in my life. It wasn’t the first time, but I was sitting in my office at work one day in what was termed the ‘think tank’. The subject of the conversation was Elvis Presley – it was 1977 and Elvis hadn’t left the building – yet.
One of my co-workers was boasting of how his wife loved Presley and he had bought tickets on numerous occasions to see the King perform live. I happened to have heard a recent comment by the then Russian President (whose name escapes me) that Elvis was getting too old and passé so that, in his opinion, he should be “put to pasture”!
Within hours of my repeating that thought in the ‘think tank’ – before we even left work for that day, word arrived that Elvis Presley was dead (had been “put to pasture”)! Johnny Cash was sick and expected to die soon, but Elvis? Only the leader of the Soviet Union would want him “put to pasture” – I simply had repeated what I heard and that was it – Elvis left the building for the last time!
Then there was John Lennon. It’s strange how Elvis had volunteered to President Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover, the fearsome head of the FBI, to do some ’spying’ on Lennon to try and get him kicked out of the country. I saw the documents from a Freedom of Information search in a book – The Politics of Rock – and I never liked Presley after I read that, but I didn’t want him dead. The same goes for Lennon, who I would say was my favorite Beatle.
So, on the night of Wednesday, December 3, 1980, I found myself observing events that led to my making one of those ‘deadly’ comments. Let me set the stage for you. My former female vocalist in Kongress, a femme fatale named Marilyn, was performing at her local hot spot The Mudd Club with her new band, Marilyn and The Movie Stars. She took it to the max with a Klieg Light truck carrying that Hollywood style searchlight for premieres, fresh concrete to plant her feet and a Rolls Royce to carry her voice. I should know as I had a ringside standing view across the street playing a boombox with my own music. It was impressive, but not without incident. A police car pulled up in the small side street facing the front of the club as a taxi dispatched its occupants, one of whom banged on the top of the cab on the passenger side at the front where the driver made a move to come out reaching for something in his pocket. Then I saw the police exit their vehicle with guns drawn and I decided to walk down the block to give me shelter from any crossfire about to happen. The driver retreated back into the cab and drove off and the officers holstered their revolvers and went back in their car.
I entered the club and watched the show, then went home and wrote up the event for the Soho Weekly News, sending it to the editor Peter Occhiogrosso the next day under the banner “Hollywood Comes to Marilyn” where I described the incident with the cab driver in these words, “When the police came out with their revolvers drawn, I thought better of becoming a dead Beatle and made for the building to gimme shelter.” There were those haunting words “a dead Beatle” – when I wrote that line, there were NO dead Beatles, but five nights later, John Lennon was shot dead at the Dakota! I still get a chill whenever I retell this story. I burst into tears when I heard the news. It was nothing I wanted to see happen. John was the brains of the operation and I respected him the most as an artist. I miss him to this day and that year, a few weeks later, at the Christmas show for the Post Office where I worked and was the accompanist for their choir, I honored him by singing ‘Imagine’ during that year’s Christmas performance.
So, there you have it, John Oszajca – you may have killed Johnny Cash, but I did in the King and the man who claimed The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ!
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