Monday, June 8, 2009

More Walla Walla

Until today I had been sure that I knew the most interesting musician in the world. That person is Justin Hemminger a Catholic prep school/Bowling Green grad currently working out of Columbus and Greenville Ohio who plays/performs in multiple bands , writes songs, and does all those band groupie things extraordinarily well including drinking a lot of DOS EQUIS beer (when he can afford it.) Although I have not met every musician I just could not imagine a more interesting musician in the world than Justin.

That all changed this afternoon when I met Lonnie who has legally changed his name to Flaming Blues in honor of his former band mates who were "killed in a hurricane back East, in 1964 or 65 or around then". Talked to FB for 2 hours in a small park in downtown WW next to the Walla Walla Wine Works tasting center(open to the public from 11-4). He must be a fixture around here because several folks stopped by to say hello and ask where his horse was today. FB told them all that he had to sell his horse and it "cut his heart like a knife".

Anyway FB is a blues man from Chicago, Illinoise and has done a lot and "seen it all". He moved to Walla Walla 10 years ago and plays only his own music, he "don't play nobody else's stuff--no way". The stories he told were amazing. In the late 50's or "maybe the early 60s" he hooked up with BB King who told him to "play the blues boy, cause you were made to play blues". He and BB hung out for several years. FB met Janis Joplin thru BB and was there when BB kicked JJ out for doing drugs. FB has a thing against drugs of any kind because it "ruins people and makes them act not right". He described in detail the drug related deaths of about 10 friends who he just did not want to talk about because it hurt too much.
He told an incredible story that involved himself, Janis Joplin, BB King, and the Hells Angels which was the last straw for BB and that is when he told JJ "you made your bed , now go lie in it" Actually FB told this same story twice . He had a great audience.

FB also considers Johnny Cash his idol because he was a "right man". FB worked on Johnny's hog farm in Kentucky for several years and he , JC, and Kris Kristoffersen would regularly get so "buzzed up they were afraid their heads would explode".
FA only writes and sings about "hope and God " right now because the world is crumbling and "people just don't care anymore" but he ain't gonna quit.
There is a whole lot more I could relate about Flaming Blues but there is just too much to tell. All I can say is that Justen you are now the second most interesting musician in the world , but I do believe that if you keep working at it you have the potential to eclipse anything my guy in Walla Walla ever did. Keep practicing.

Walla Walla is full of murals and displays like this. So much to see and absorb in order to taste the true flavor of the place. There is a lot going on in these designs.

Walla Walla has 1 junior college and Walla Walla University and Whitman College. Here I am on the Whitman campus checking out the many art/sculpture exhibits. I asked a student named Seth to take my pic at this thing called DISCOBOLOS ,which he did but not before giving me a mini lecture on how to properly frame/compose the shot--also he let me know the lighting was bad etc etc etc. I finally said "just take the damn picture". It turns out Seth is a graphic design major and knows a lot about photography, and what I was asking him to do was against all he had been taught. Of course I understood where he was coming from completely because son Russell was also/is a terrific a graphics design guy and knows his photography stuff. Russ also has given me many mini lectures on the finer points of his craft.

I discovered this place today and was amazed at all the different bike stuff they have. This is absolutely the biggest bike store I have ever been in. It was like being in the Mall of America. The owner was great, of course I was drooling most of the time I spent in there.
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  1. Walla Walla Bing Bang! I see a book in the future. You are doing a great job with your blog and the pictures. We are all enjoying it very much. Be safe.


  2. We can't wait to pull up your blog to get all your updates. Kelly made the comment today that it's as if we're there with you and this is so true. We are so excited for you and you are doing a great job keeping us entertained. Be safe and keep enjoying your journey. We love it!