BBB's Blog

Bob Boze Bell

If you've ever wondered what it's like to run a magazine or how crazy my personal life is, be sure to read the behind-the-scenes peek at the daily trials and tribulations of running True West. Culled straight from my Franklin Daytimer, it contains actual journal entries, laid out raw and uncensored. Some of it is enlightening. Much of it is embarrassing, but all of it is painfully true.

In addition to this current journal, my early journal entries show the rocky road and money lost in the True West Business Timeline.

Bob's biography - The Unvarnished Truth

October 31, 2014

   My artist amigo, Thom Ross, drove over from Santa Fe yesterday with 54 of my paintings and this guy:

The Distinguished Professor Paul Andrew Hutton in the crow's nest of my studio talking to his daughter about dinner plans. That's Elephant Butte and Sugarloaf in the background.

   Meanwhile, Kid Ross hung out with his dog down below:

Artist Thom Ross hangs out with his hunting dog on the patio outside my studio.

   We all motored down to BJ's at Desert Ridge for dinner, then afterward Paul and I had a nightcap at Weston Kierlland Hotel in Scottsdale. Talked quite a bit about the rewrite on his huge Apacheria book which he is half done rewriting. One of this favorite chapters was on the death of Cushing which he used to set up the General Howard peace conference with Cochise, where Howard sees Cushing's jacket being worn by this guy:

The G-Man at Sunset

   At lunch today, I went down to Scottsdale to be part of a surprise birthday party for Robert Utley. Thom Ross dressed as Ned Kelley, the Australian outlaw who wore a suit of armor. Ross met Utley and Hutton at the door wearing his amour.

Thom Ross (with his helmet off), Robert Utley and Paul Hutton at today's birthday party.

   Here's Thom presenting Utley with a present of a Ned Kelley original painting:

Thom Ross and Robert Utley with Ned Kelley painting

"Allow Matey."
—Thom Ross's greeting to Utley

Bob Boze 11:16 AM
October 30, 2014
   Last weekend I was cut short in my comments at the Charlie Waters Memorial service by multiple pre-recorded church bells that went off in the middle of my talk. I have to admit it sounded very much like the Academy Awards music that is played when the producers want someone to shut up and get off the stage. I am convinced it was Charlie Waters himself, pulling the levers from beyond the grave in order to get me to stop telling a certain story about parking at the third green (technically brown) of the Kingman Country Club golf course. The story, left untold last Saturday, is this:

   When we were seniors in high school, Charlie was dating a minister's daughter. In fact her father was the minister of the very church the memorial service was being held in. If you looked up the word ironic, you would see her picture there.

   Rick Ridenour and I came up with a devious plan and it was a dilly. We were going to sneak up on his car after a dance in the study hall and jump in the back and then hide there as Charlie drove his main squeeze out to his favorite parking spot, then surprise them both at the most inappropriate moment.

   Although we missed our chance at the school. we followed them and then managed to jump into Charlie's car while he pulled into the Mobil gas station across the street from Desert Drugs and went inside to talk to the attendant. We ran out from our hiding spot behind the station and jumped in the way back of his father's station wagon and successfully hid ourselves. Charlie drove out to the third brown of the golf course and turned off the engine. The two love birds got into the back seat (we were just behind that seat, inches away) and then things got hot and heavy and we couldn't take it any longer, so we popped up and leering over the seat we said, "Imagine meeting you here."

   There were screams and cursing. It was horrible. She was mortified, Charlie was shocked and mad, but obviously more concerned about her and what would happen when word got out. In short, Rick and I were the worst possible friends a Kingman kid could have and Charlie STILL forgave us. I don't think I could have if the condom was on the other foot.

Back to front: Rick Ridenour, BBB and Charlie Waters, 1961

   So maybe Charlie was right to play those church bells. Not really a story his family would have appreciated now that I think about it. So I have Charlie to thank for saving me from that embarrassment as well. As I did manage to say at the memorial, about the only thing I ever topped Charlie at, was in asinine behavior.

   The photo, above, is from our eighth grade basketball team photo in 1961. Here we are without the warm up jackets:

Kingman Junior High Champs: back row, John Pemberton, Dan Harshberter, David Ostermier, Delano Havatone, Rick Ridenour, Coach Les Byrum. Second row, L to R: Heber Nelson, Charlie Waters, Ray Short, BBB, Jerry Eaton and Bill Blake. Kneeling, L to R: Jack Hedricks, Philbert Watahomogie (who got "Most Valuable Player" at the Blyth tournament), Wendell Havatone, Jack Thody and Ralph Mulenaux

Our cheerleaders were: Jan Key (later Prefontaine), June Smith, Karen Johnson and Michele Gilpin.

"Grandma was slow, but she was old."
—Coach Byrum's favorite saying

Bob Boze 1:00 PM
October 30, 2014
   My production manager, Robert Ray came into my office two days ago and said, "I was just looking at ten years worth of art files on the server and you need to publish Mickey Free as your next book." He is right. Point taken. Commitment made. Thanks Robert.

Daily Whipout: "Mickey Rides Out of The Fire"

Daily Whipout: "Mickey Free Rides Past The Slag Heap of History"

Daily Whipout: "Mickey Free Rides to San Carlos"

Daily Whipout: "Mickey's Jack Mule Chews On His Bridle And Waits for An Opening"

Daily Whipout: "Mickey Lopes His Mule"

Daily Whipout: "The Showdown Between Mickey and The Apache Kid"

Daily Whipout: "Mickey With the Head of Pedro"

"On April 27, 1874, scout Mickey Free brought in the head of Pedro and presented it to Capt. George Randall at San Carlos."
—True West Moment, The Arizona Republic, October 23, 2014

Bob Boze 10:53 AM
October 29, 2014
   Last night we had a sliver of a moon, which hung over the patio in our back yard like an orange slice:

Moon Over My Adobe

   My partner Ken Amorosano and I drove out to West Phoenix today to seal the deal on the inventory for purchasing the remaining Tri Star Boze books.

Several thousand BBB books are stored upstairs in this West Phoenix industrial space.

   I'm going to be at Changing Hands Bookstore this weekend for "The 66 Kid" book signing. I'm also gearing up for the one-man show of my cartoons at the Tempe Arizona Historical Society next month. Here's a taste:

Edmundo Mell poses for a piece on women and their hairdressers. Jackalope Ranch just posted a plug for the show right here:

201 Zany Zonies

"Whatever anybody tells you to do, seriously consider doing the opposite."
—Errol Morris, "The Unknown Known"

Bob Boze 2:54 PM
October 28, 2014
   Had a weird dream the other night. I dreamed my father made a confession to me: he actually had another son, besides me, and his name was H.D. Wilbanks, who I went to school with. In the dream I was stunned, realizing my father had another lifeThe  I didn't know about.

   Meanwhile, in other nightmares from my past, there was one guy we didn't talk about at the memorial service for Charlie Waters, and he haunted everyone I know:

Student Body President Rick Ridenour and our English teacher  Mrs. Logsdon

   We loved the guy. He was smart and handsome and the president of our high school. Everyone assumed he would be a U.S. senator, maybe even a president. Didn't turn out that way. He is the tragedy of our town.

MCUHS officers, 1965: Rick, Jan, Jim and Marsha

  Charlie and I had many talks about the why of it. The lonely suicide, the weirdness of the downward spiral. Wayne Rutschman and I also talked about Rick on the way back from the memorial for Charlie, like a tragedy, within a tragedy, too painful to explain. We could only tell our narrow versions of the events as we saw them. A train wreck witnessed from afar.

"The loneliness social media aspires to repair is the loneliness of empty streets, Dairy Queens, the loneliness of high school, the loneliness of Mexican gardeners, the loneliness of lawns."
—Richard Rodriguez

Bob Boze 12:04 PM
October 27, 2014
   Still beaming at the wonderful turnout for Charlie Waters' memorial last Saturday in Kingman. Learned a bunch about my best friend from all of his other friends.
The program for the Charles. R. Waters, Jr. memorial service

• Charlie was voted by the surviving Class of '65 "girls" as one of the two best dancers (Paul Torres being the other). Charlie's older sister Sara taught him how to jitterbug and she was good. I remember seeing her on American Bandstand in Philadelphia. Granted, she was in the bleachers, but we were so proud of her. Everyone in the Waters house was jumping up and down: "It's Sara and she's on American Bandstand!"

• Charlie is in the Arizona Journalism Hall of Fame. In the early 1980s he was the youngest publisher in Arizona, at age 25, when he took over the Prescott Courier and turned it around financially and made it into an award winning newspaper.

• Charlie advised me not to buy True West magazine. He told me "Don't buy yourself a job." When I didn't listen to him and we bought the magazine and started to lose $30k a month, I called him and asked for his help. He never once said, "I told you so," and he immediately told me how to turn it around. We talked on the phone almost every night and he not only gave me the advice I needed to hear in order to stay focused, he gave me the secrets to keeping the doors open, while dodging creditors and keeping writers happy (not always an easy task). I thought so much of his experience and positive motivation I flew him into Phoenix and had him give a pep talk to our staff. He was my consigliere (The consigliere is a close, trusted friend and confidant, the mob's version of an elder statesman).

• Charlie edited my 200 page manuscript on "Geronimo" in 1994, which I never got around to publishing. He also edited "The 66 Kid" while going through chemo. He would never accept a penny in payment, and only asked that I keep it quiet, lest I ruin his good name (he was joking of course).

• Although we were both rockers and enjoyed the same music we often clashed on songs to play in the Exits. He loved "Stagger Lee" and I hated it. He hated "Desperado" and I think it's one of the best songs ever. We never let a chance go by to rib each other about the other's "crappy taste in music."

The Exits get down to business on New Year's Eve, 1964. Left to right, Wendell Havatone, Terry Mitchell, Charlie Waters, BBB and Wayne Rutschman.

"It's only rock and roll, but I like it."
—The Stones

Bob Boze 2:11 PM

October 26, 2014
   A long one yesterday. Ten hours on the road to Kingman and back for Charlie Waters' memorial service. Fortunately, I met Exit bandmate, Wayne Rutschman, at I-17 and the Carefree Highway and he rode with me.

   The memorial service was wonderful. Excellent eulogy by John Waters and heartfelt comments by his kids. Got to see a lot of old friends including Karen Johnson Collins, Karen Richardson, Salty and Mary Jane McGovern, Michele Gilpin Bonham, Trudy Peart Burris, Sherene Davis Petry, Mickey and Zibby Campa, Hubby Grounds, Bob Burford, Fred Grigg (we're going to make a road trip to Laguna Pueblo to look up Mister Ottopopie, who, according to Fred, is still living), Catherine Lamb's mom, Richard Glancy, Phyllis Morton, Richard Montez, Dan and Darlene Harshberger and a dozen more I am forgetting and will no doubt hear from.

  Several journalists who worked with Charlie came long distances to be there. Here is the crew from the Los Angeles Times who drove 8 hours each way to be there. Great people.

The LA Times crew at Charlie's memorial reception. Great people.

   And here is a publisher who came from Chicago. He worked with Charlie at the Fresno Bee and had great stories about their relationship.

The former publisher of the Fresno Bee and a good friend of Charlie's

Charlie started a band while he was working at the Las Vegas Review Journal with some of the newspapermen he worked with. Actually, Charlie allegedly said at the first jam session, "I've been in a band. This is not a band." So the guys, for a time, called themselves Not A Band. But then Jane, who was also in attendance, kicked them out of their practice pad (her living room) and so they also like to call themselves Jane's Eviction (ah, journalist humor). Anyway, here they are performing a masterful set of songs Charlie loved, ending with "Hotel California."

Not A Band members rock out

Philbert Watahomogie, BBB and Coach Les Byrum at the Charlie Waters Memorial reception

   A Havasupai and natural scorer with a sweet jump shot, Philbert was the star of our eighth grade basketball team and Coach Byrum can still site stats from our championship 1961-62 season. Great to see them both. Philbert is now the Vice-chairmanof the Hualapai Tribe at Peach Springs, Arizona. Les has been the mayor of Kingman several times over. Both are featured prominently in "The 66 Kid."

The surviving Exits: Terry Mitchell, BBB and Wayne Rutschman

We lost Steve Burford last year, and Wendell Havatone a couple years before that. And now Charlie. I feel a bit like a Civil War vet (who will be the last to go?)

   I had almost forgotten that Charlie wrote my blog for several days while I was in the hospital after my heart attack while playing drums at our band reunion in March of 2008. Here is a taste:

* Moment to remember, Part II: We hadn't seen Terry Mitchell in more than 40 years. He had moved back to New Mexico and continued to play until he lost part of the middle finger on his fretting hand in a roping mishap three decades ago. He was the last guy we finally tracked down and only came after encouragement from his lovely and persistent wife Kathy. When I stood next to him as he belted out "Gloria," I shivered. Moments later, he grinned and nodded when I quietly asked if he remembered a quick chord change and turn-around as Vern paid tribute to Wendell Havatone on "Your Cheatin' Heart." And for just a moment, everything seemed right in this world.

 * A big smile: When brother John sang "For What It's Worth," two dozen women on one side of the hall erupted in cheers and whistles. And shortly thereafter, when we launched into "Just Like Me," the entire area in front of the band was full of women dancing and raising their arms and cheering and throwing money. After the set, Larry said that the old Exits must have really been something in the old days to receive such a reaction 45 years later. I smiled and told him that it's called "salting the mine." Twenty-five percent of the women were old and dear friends; the rest family.

 Finally . . .

 We joke a lot about our hometown of Kingman, but when the proverbial chips were down, its people did what they always have done---they came through for nine Kingman kids and their friends. The most oft-heard phrase heard after our nightmare began shortly after 2:30 p.m. last Saturday was: "What can I do to help?" And they meant it, working at the door or behind the bar, or showing up the next morning to help clean the hall.

___________End of Charlie's blog comments. For a full taste, go to:

Charlie Guest Hosts The BBB Blog

   And speaking of cleaning up the hall, at the end of the reception yesterday, I rounded up the surviving Exits, plus Mike Torres and John Waters and we joined the Not A Band members to perform a rousing finale of "Gloria" to try and clear out the place. Hint: we didn't succeed.

The Exits Try And Get Everyone to Exit

"I do not spoil the grandchildren. And I keep my mouth shut when my wife is."
—Bill Cosby

Bob Boze 10:05 AM
October 24, 2014
   Slaving away at the forthcoming Tempe Arizona Historical Society show "201 Zany Zonies" show featuring a retrospective of 34 of my most irreverent cartoons, like this one:

"Hitler Vacations In Arizona" Hint: he thoroughly enjoyed the branding of illegal aliens.

Is it just me, or was TV news better when Kent Dana and Linda Alvarez did the Rockabilly news on NBC?

The Great Communicator could have been so much more effective if he had employed a few Navajo tricks in his delivery. I don't know why, but people just dig snake handlers, they just do.

"It's just lines on paper, folks."
—Robert Crumb responding to uptight and outraged Zap comic book readers

Bob Boze 3:51 PM

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