Remembering Gerry

Friends of Gerry Glombecki will be gathering tomorrow, Sunday. June 13, at Club Congress to remember the musician, poet and all-around good guy, who died on May 25.

Wolf Forrest, a friend of the Weekly, offered this about Gerry:

  • Wolf Forrest
I came into Gerry’s sphere of influence in early 1981—not through the musician’s band of brothers, but through the world of independent filmmaking. A student project coordinated by the long-dead Southwestern Film Consortium had been shot partly at Old Tucson—called “Morning of the Hanging,” it was done cheaply on black-and-white 16-millimeter film without sync sound, only voice-over narration added in post-production. The plot involved a sheriff who was canvassing the town, looking for volunteers to act as executioner, since the guy with the day job was unavailable. One character the sheriff approached was the real Maverick himself—James Garner was shooting his TV series at the time, and agreed to a cameo as an unwilling participant in this grisly exercise. Gerry was the condemned man (as, in a larger sense, we all are), and the film had a neat twist (pun intended) that Twilight Zone fans would appreciate. I met him after the premiere at the old Gallagher Theatre on the UA campus, and as I became involved in other student workshops and media events involving visiting artists, Gerry would often compose short pieces for these productions. I was also working closely with his then-girlfriend, Annie Koerner, and the three of us spent a lot of off-hours together talking about film, music, food, drugs, comedy, surrealism, and other darkly humorous aspects of life.

We also knew a lot of contacts at the Newsreel, the bastard father of the current Tucson Weekly—people like Royce Davenport, who helped me start my freelance career. I later wound up helping Gerry in his cottage industry—when he wasn’t on the road performing gigs or writing music, he was making bottleneck slides to sell to other blues guitarists—I created the design for the packaging—a salty turtle sitting on his ramshackle porch on the Mississippi Delta (or was it the Naw’lins bayou?) banging away at his Robert Johnson Deluxe, and the character eventually wound up on his first CD (never mind that I maliciously appropriated the turtle from a childhood book about animal friends and made it my own). He followed up the Delta Slider (yes, it’s a type of terrapin as well as a musical tool), with a mike caddy—an ingenious device that never reached the level of sales that he hoped for.

I saw him play regularly at various venues around town, and ran into him yearly at the Tucson Folk Festival (which, along with the Kitchen Musicians Association, he helped to found).

I never met his longtime collaborator, Travis Edmonson (who preceded Gerry in death by just about a year), but he spoke of him with great respect, and drew inspiration from him, as well as writer Edward Abbey (in whose honor he wrote “The Ballad of George Hayduke”), and 60’s underground cartoonist Skip Williamson. I listened to his frustrations working on the theme music for “The Family Circus,” and we both went through myriad stalled collaborative film projects, both live-action and animation, that for whatever reasons, never found a home in this Universe. He was a guy who looked enough like Kris Kristofferson and played enough like Don McLean to fool a drunk or uninitiated fan—and now I’m wondering just what Gerry would’ve done with McLean’s underrated song “Superman’s Ghost”. We always spoke right around Christmas—the later years just didn’t find us in the same space at the same time with great frequency.

To say he’ll be missed is trite, and an understatement. Almost 30 years later, and we barely scratched the surface.