When Ike spiked Pomona

Today’s entry could be called “The Day Ike Turner Almost Played Pomona.” It happened like this.

In March 2004, Turner was booked to play the Yesteryears nightclub in downtown Pomona. Seeing his name on a poster in the club window was a real sight. I didn’t go, I think because none of my friends could be persuaded to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer given how he’d treated Tina, even if he was also responsible for “Rocket 88,” often called the first rock and roll record.

In a column later in the year, I mentioned Turner as being one of the few Hall of Famers to have played Pomona. A musician in one of that evening’s warmup acts then informed me Turner was a no-show.

“He let ‘em know a few days ahead of time he wouldn’t be there and that he’d cashed the check,” the musician told me.

I thought I’d better confirm the item before running with it, so I called the club owner. He was reluctant to say anything negative about Turner, noting correctly that most of the early blues and rock musicians were treated shabbily by record companies and promoters and cheated out of their earnings.

At this point I realized I wouldn’t get an anecdote, a funny comment or, at this rate, even confirmation. So, thinking fast, I came up with an approach I’m still rather proud of.

“How about this,” I said. “If I write in the newspaper that Ike Turner was paid in advance and didn’t show up, would I be wrong?”

No, you wouldn’t, he admitted.

Whew. That settled, I went with the Ike Turner story. Turner, as you may have heard, died Wednesday at age 76. Wherever his troubled spirit is supposed to go, may it show up.

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  • Teri Siaz

    I always try to temper any negative feelings I developed toward Ike with three facts:

    1. Jimi Hendrix got his start in Ike Turner’s band way, way back before the psychedelic guitarist bought his first can of lighter fluid.

    2. People always say “Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll” but forget the volatile, psychotic and often deadly combination of the first two ingredients. And

    3. “Rocket 88″ was just plain boss.

  • mark

    Bitchin use of the word boss.

    See you Monday.

  • Joanne Boyajian

    Hi David, re: the “godawful ziggurat on 1st St” in Claremont. . . to which one were you referring? We drove the length of 1st street and spotted at least 3 buildings that looked ziggurat-ish.

    [The one on the NE corner of First and Indian Hill. But I know what you mean about the buildings east of there! -- DA]