Johnny Thompson, September 15, 1943 - August 21, 2021... ... in memoriam...
A fond reflection from the staff of JT Music: "Mr. Johnny Thompson,
our cherished 'boss' of the legendary Johnny Thompson Music store, but simply 'JT' as we usually call him and for the most part, the community dignitary for music arts and education,
the stalwart of community service for young people's education, both a father figure and an unassuming champion of bridging and bringing together many generations of people from around
the world, congregating around the beautiful humanity of music... (the Mr. John "Johnny" Charles Thompson obituary as
published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and the
Los Angeles Times)
I can distinctly remember crying in anguish one day in the summer of 1971. I was upset because my parents forced me to wait in the car with my four other siblings while my lucky brother Danniel got to go with Dad to into the music store to get some bass strings. It just didn't seem fair! Danniel was already groovy enough to have a musical instrument; a bass.
I felt that my parents should of let me walk in there with the two of them. Who cared if I didn't play an instrument, doesn't campfire tunes with the Girl Scouts count for anything?. After all, this wasn't just any music store, it was Johnny Thompson Music.
For a young girl at the age of eleven, it probably should not have mattered that much, but I felt completely deprived, devastated and dismissed. What made that day so memorable was the waiting. Dad and Danniel were in there for almost a whole twenty minutes, an eternity in my eyes. My gawd, what were they doing in there?, why couldn't I see anything through the window?
Who could they be chatting with? What in the world are they experiencing that I wasn't? Ya see, at that time I was passionate and slightly paralyzed by the awesomeness of live music and gear. I knew that I loved it, but did not realize yet to what extent.
I remember during those years, hanging out side the door of my brothers make shift "rehearsal studio" in our back yard. It was called "the back shack" and it was were local musicians were allowed to hang out and play from the late 60's to the mid 80's. It was located in San Gabriel, CA, just a few miles for the famous Johnny Thompson Music store in Monterey Park.
I used too sneakingly stand outside that room for hours grabbing glimpses of my brothers band practices and local jammers. I snooped in on their conversations about instruments, amps, what Richie Blackmore uses for strings, and how they were gonna save their money for the hottest gear at Johnny Thompson Music.
This was also the time when I began to teter with the idea of having a musician boyfriend in a band, wearing groovy clothes and being the envy of my friends. I had heard so many great things about the store, it was a legend in my mind that even Walt Disney could not compete with. This is where local 'underground" musicians liked to hang out, play gear they couldn't afford,
look for celebrities and just be cool. Many rumors floated around about several celebrity sitings at the store. I wanted so badly to be part of the "underground musicians crowd" and it felt like the only way to acheive that was to say you been too Johnny Thompson Music many times... enter here to continue reading entire article
Originally published at the San Gabriel Valley Music website, by Joanne "MusicBizGal" Ledesma, SGVMusic.com