Happy In Bag

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ron Rooks













I deliberately avoided Ron Rooks the last time I saw him. Ron was behaving so erratically at a Los Lobos concert last month that I moved to a different section of the venue so he wouldn’t spot me.

That’s how bad things had become. It wasn’t always like that.

I was immediately enamored with Ron’s wit, intelligence, ambition and passion for music when I first met him about twenty years ago. He was off-the-wall and crazy like a fox. I enjoyed few things more than drinking beer with him in the basement of his store, The Music Exchange, back when it was east of Broadway on Westport Road. Although I disagreed with him on virtually every subject, I loved that man.

People shouldn’t allow Ron’s recent troubles to overshadow the way he lived most of his life. His children filled him with pride and he loved to brag about their accomplishments. And Ron knew that he had a wonderful wife. His sporadic efforts as a professional musician made him giddy. He also made quite an impression on elderly Kansas Citians with his hysterical appearances on the Mike Murphy talk radio show.

Ron died earlier this week.

16 Comments:

  • At 10:34 AM, Blogger Death said…

    it's cool to see we both share the same thoughts, I loved your post.

     
  • At 10:49 AM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Death's post on Ron captures his spirit. I'm just trying to make sure that Ron's most recent problems don't dominate our collective memory of the man.

     
  • At 8:33 PM, Blogger moose & squirrel said…

    Thank you.

    You know I know much about Ron. Stored up in the back roads of my mind are many stories about this legendary cat who graced our town.

    I could fill up pages alone about our 3 week trip to New Orleans in 1980, with Ron's artist friend, Ross, in tow.

    For now, I must wipe tears from my eyes.

    Another time, another place, I can offer more of what I know.

    m&s

     
  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger MWebber said…

    Whether remembered for better or worse, the one thing I'd guess Ron wouldn't tolerate is to be ignored, so it's good to see that his passing hasn't been.

    He was a friend for many years and an employer for a couple - while I cooled my heels between KU and grad school at Tulane. Ron was very proud of his kids and while that applies most to the biological ones, he was awfully pleased for the kids who passed through his store as employees, as well.

    Anytime I passed through town, I'd pop in to see him and head over to the Stagecoach to buy a couple of shots. He delighted in hearing where I'd been and what I'd done there. He said he was proud of me and I believed him.

    I brought back some cool stuff for him from a few of my foreign travels but he didn't like any of it half as much as some sheet music depicting a deranged clown that I'd bought at a flea market in Argentina, and a CD-R of a BBC Tribute to Viv Stanshall. The man knew quality.

    I knew the "other Ron" too but all tabs are closed and slates cleaned. I'll just stick to the one whose antics (often brilliant more than clownish) made me snort hot coffee through my sinuses on more than one occasion.

    I had the pleasure to work for Ben Asner and Ron Rooks, as well as the pleasure to work with Ed Harvey. Those guys are all gone now and you're sure not going to find their successors at Best Buy or Amazon.com.

    I'll have what those gentlemen were having.

    Mike Webber

     
  • At 3:19 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Well put, Mike. Thanks.

     
  • At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Left Coast: San Francisco said…

    So what the hell is it I have to say, (if anything)? Skor appeared, lived life as hard as he knew how, sometimes on the side of Angels but mostly not—that’s merely deductive not judgmental-- and now it’s “Catch you on the flip side Bro!”

    Once or twice, High Planes Drifting, just before Deep Space Madness set in, he’d try to lay a ‘ You da Guru’ deal on me and maybe at first there was some of that (it was popular at the time)—I introduced him to Rashan Roland Kirk and Paramahansa Yognanda, just ask them!; Roland Kirk stuck, Yogananda didn’t. Anyway, some years down the line: Good advice only works when someone takes it and if you aren’t going to listen me, (love ya like a brother) then, fuck you!

    Even with a Bardo in your astral jeans and a back stage pass to The Next Event Horizon, It’s going to take a few minutes to adjust to one’s new life as a dead guy. At least he’ll have plenty of company not the least of which is Thumbs, (”What took you Bro?”) waiting… as a matter of fact one of those sons-of-a-bitch’s is trying to tell me something from beyond the grave right now! Let’s see….it sounds like: “Beer! For god’s sake MORE BEER…! An’ make it imported!”

    Pope Zodac
    R.H. Pollette

     
  • At 8:44 AM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    R.H.- Our friend Ron would appreciate that prose. Thanks.

     
  • At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I knew Ron for over 25 years, more or less and off and on. One of my son's worked for Ron until Ron fired him, but later relized that he had made the mistake that led to the dismissal. Ron apologied to both me and my son for years after that. While I was never close to Ron again I did respect his tenacity and wit. His music as another matter, part Bonzo Dog Band-Zappa-Capt Beefheart-Fugs-and dribble, it was music to get drunk by, mostly so you wouldn't hear it.

    Ultimatly I realized that Ron was like me (wired to be different) All's forgiven Gonzo!

     
  • At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Reading these posts on the life-and recent death-of Skoor Nor fills me with memories-as most would say-good and bad. But mostly good as Ron never was anything but wonderful to me as a friend, in business-in every way. As I left KC six years ago for San Fran, I must have missed out on his 'recent problems'--probably fortunately--but I have nothing but love and the deepest respect for the man I 've known since he was a meter reader. The memories would fill books, but I am just too sad to go there. At least 2 of the 3 Bidnizmen are together now-probably making mayhem up there. Since I hate to ask Nancy, what happened? What I heard is too bizarre. Or as Taz (as I thought of Ron) would say...'Why carrot kill Ron?' Lots of love to all who are missing Ron and wondering how to fill up that whole-Cindy P

     
  • At 2:02 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Cindy- I'll only add that both of the official memorial services were very nice and very well attended.

     
  • At 12:56 AM, Blogger rolokr said…

    Ron was a very KOOL cat. He was a friend and I had also worked at the Music Exchange. Ron worked and played hard, as did most of us in those days! It is hard to believe that I won't be fortunate enough to be in his presence at the store and see his chesire smile gaucking and me. We will ALL miss him dearly. His spirit will live on in our hearts forever!
    Roland Rittmaster

     
  • At 12:56 AM, Blogger rolokr said…

    Ron was a very KOOL cat. He was a friend and I had also worked at the Music Exchange. Ron worked and played hard, as did most of us in those days! It is hard to believe that I won't be fortunate enough to be in his presence at the store and see his chesire smile gaucking and me. We will ALL miss him dearly. His spirit will live on in our hearts forever!
    Roland Rittmaster

     
  • At 12:58 AM, Blogger rolokr said…

    Ron was a very KOOL cat. He was a friend and I had also worked at the Music Exchange. Ron worked and played hard, as did most of us in those days! It is hard to believe that I won't be fortunate enough to be in his presence at the store and see his chesire smile gaucking and me. We will ALL miss him dearly. His spirit will live on in our hearts forever!
    Roland Rittmaster

     
  • At 12:59 AM, Blogger rolokr said…

    Ron was a very KOOL cat. He was a friend and I had also worked at the Music Exchange. Ron worked and played hard, as did most of us in those days! It is hard to believe that I won't be fortunate enough to be in his presence at the store and see his chesire smile gaucking and me. We will ALL miss him dearly. His spirit will live on in our hearts forever!
    Roland Rittmaster

     
  • At 8:14 AM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Thanks, Roland.

     
  • At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Los Lobos tickets said…

    I love the music these guys make. The one and only time I have seen them live was in a little club in LA .. Great show, tickets were cheap and you should have seen how people crowd reacted. They cross boundaries for those who love good music.

     

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