Jimmy Lee Young
Jimmy Lee Young (formerly Crystal-Phoenix), incepted by singer/ songwriter James Lee Young and drummer Gil Gabaldon II. The band is presently comprised of 5 members including the wonderfully smooth Dave Chalala on lead guitar, backing vocalists Carl Rabun and the lovely Amanda Guthrie, everpresent visitor Vic Grady filling in on bass, and, of course, Gil on drums and jimmy on lead vocals/ rhythm guitar..
Gil worked under the 6500 ABW doing moral support for troops stationed at the very remote, Edwards Air Force Base. Today Gil jokes: "I was a basketball hander outer! You know -"towel anyone? " I worked pretty much cake hours but the work could get rough. We basically did everything you need to keep troops occupied in their free time, from the gym to the soccer field.
Jimmy worked in the weather office 12 sometimes 16 hours a day creating and sending weather reports, briefing pilots before takeoff- all that really official stuff. Jimmy shoots back: "I used to tease him by calling him Julie McCoy!!" Captain Stubing will be hosting shufflebaord in the rear aft!' But no kidding, we both really worked hard, and it taught us that you can accomplish anything if you're willing to work hard enough. Jimmy left his native New Orleans not only to finish school in the air force, but to settle in Southern California armed with his education and good discharge, to pursue a career in music. Almost everything he’s done in his life pointed in that direction - even joining up.
HOW JIMMY & GIL MET:
As mentioned earlier, the two had met in southern California while doing stints in the Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base , in 1991. Jimmy worked in the space program doing weather for the space shuttle and flight testing, while supporting the Gulf war effort. They actually met in an odd moment off in an in-flight meals hall nicknamed "bagged nasty".
Gil: "Jimmy works non-stop! In between all those work hours he would find some singing thing in town, or pull musicians together and entertain at these 4th of July concerts on base. He walked in with these black boots and a trench-coat with a keyboard tucked under one arm. I knew right away we could be great friends, but I had no idea then how far we'd go".
Jimmy::"So gil asks if I'm a musician and we start talking about all these bands. We both really dig Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd-all the greats. So at some point later I asked him if he ever thought about becoming a musician. He said he'd like to play drums, and that was it. I foolishly didn't have any doubt at all-he might've turned out to not have any rhythm at all!"
Gil: "Yeah lucky for you! So we just decided to stay in California and do it. Jimmy was full of all these stories about how Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks just stayed out here and worked till they made it. I mean this guy was admittedly having trouble writing songs and somehow I just knew we could do it! And if nothing else we would have that great 'pay your dues' rock experience!"
And that is about when Jimmy's family was hit by tragedy.
Jimmy: "I was up in Glendale when I got "the call". I was told to go home immediately. My father was sick and his prognosis was not good. I went home for three of the toughest weeks in my life, and came back to find that Gil had gotten orders to Turkey for the rest of his enlistment. I was pretty bummed. Then I got orders to a remote site to Korea, that took one whole year to fight. My congressman magically killed the orders in one phone call. I can only attribute this miracle to God working in my life to put me on my path."
"Fighting those orders took an INCREDIBLE amount of paperwork, and since my mom was a recent cancer survivor I had to keep sending all of these medical reports and death certificates, but I was determined NOT to leave my family for that year following my dad's death."
AT A CROSSROADS – BUT SONGWRITING IMPROVES:
Gil: "We were definitely at a crossroads. I didn't see any point in going to Turkey, and I guess I'd had the rock and roll dream talked out of me (as most kids are, I think). But Jim and I sat down one day and he got the idea to buy a double-wide trailer ( Jimmy had never lived in a mobile home in his life!). But he had this idea that if we paid off some liveable quarters, we'd be free of financial pressure, and we could work, go to school, and play music. It was in this period and just before that Jimmy really began to grow as a songwriter. He would sit for HOURS and think up all of these melodies and lyrics. It's kind of creepy really!"
Jimmy with a broad smile: "Thank you!"
Gil:" It was sort of manic. He'd work 12 hours a day then come home and paint this double-wide and sleep four hours. I was struggling to learn the drums and working Weekends and Wednesday nights we'd rehearse with various musicians. Times got real tight but we just kept going."
Jimmy: "So after a year I sold that house I paid 5.000 dollars for, for a cool 20 grand. This nice old couple paid for it over 4 years, and I bought THE HOUSE. Big enough to house 4 or 5 lads with plenty of rehearsal room. Trouble was our musicians were mostly transient military support personnel who'd get transferred. (I swear I have friends all over the world!) We'd also lost a few musicians to drugs and the temptations of rock and roll in Southern California. But we made great friends, Like Debbie Buchanan over at Harley Davidson , Lancaster, Ca. She plays the guitar and sings on the CD, along with Dana Ritcheart on bass who is no longer with us (Got transferred- sound familiar?) and Curt Piar of Proving Ground studios where we recorded. Also appearing is Jim Chatterton who I co- wrote some of the songs with".
Gil: "Ah yes- That's another Saga!"
Jimmy: "Another saga for another day!!!"
Gil: "Well, in short it took 2 years to record (every other weekend at a cost of about 2 hundred dollars a day, 8 hundred dollars a month!) We split the cost, and as usual, Jimmy worked 2 jobs . He doesn't have to do that anymore, thank God! But we went in for the duration, and "VOILA", we are on the radio!!!"
Jimmy (laughs out loud): "Riiiiiiiight!"
- Jimmy continues: "We started on Valentine's Day 1997 and recorded when we could get in, until fall of 1999. It was a long haul, and neither of us had ever really recorded before. It was alot of trial and error. Then we got into this rhythm and I was writing all the time anyway, so we added 5 new songs and saved some of the tried and true material we'd been playing live. We get asked when we're going to record "Dreamer", and "Never mind the Lonely Night", etc. So if anybody wants to know, "Never mind the Lonely Night" will definitely be on our next project, and we'll have to see about "Dreamer." I did most of the backing vocals on the current CD , and I'd like to have Deb Buchanan add more of that certain sound she and I get when we mix our voices together. Well just have to see, ..."
NUMBER #1 ON OUR LOCAL RADIO STATION… for MONTHS !!
"Then in the early summer of 2001 we were asked to play a benefit gig for July 4th in California City, by KCEL radio. They started playing us about 2 weeks before, and had us in for an on air interview, and call in. We lit up the phones!! We also gave away free CD's and basically the station has treated us like gold ever since. The concert was packed with people pulling up lawn chairs and offering us drinks all day. It was however Southern California’s hottest, most humid day in a very long time. We were drenched and it really felt like a day in New Orleans! But nobody seemed to care and they all partied on."
"Then we went to most requested CD at KCEL Radio- #1(!) and have been there ever since! Number one, number one... I love the sound of that. We have just completed a run of 28 weeks in that spot! They have us on from time to time for promo, benefit concerts,( last Christmas we did the Marine's Toys For Tots concert), and the people of the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles, have been so kind to call in, pack our shows, and support us by buying our CD.!"
BAND MEMBERS & BAND-RELATED / SUPPORT TEAM :
Gil: "Yeah, we just sold our 1000'th CD and I still can't believe that we've come so far. Last year we added the talented Carl Rabun to the lineup of support musicians. He is a great backup singer from San Francisco. He and Jimmy met last year at the Youth Center where Carl works, and Jimmy has one of his gymnastics schools. They make a great team!"
Jimmy: "I call him the backup dude! Backup dude, back up!!! He's sort of a big guy and a noticeable presence, with a nice voice and a great sense of humor!"
Gil: "Carl and Amanda are great, and hopefully they'll be around for our first Grammy win! We also get alot of help from Vic Grady on bass, who has been great about doing this "for hire" till we find somebody permanent. Dave Chalala has not only proven himself a keeper, but has also been a GREAT influence on Jimmy. Jimmy has actually asked Dave to do some songwriting, and those two are making magic! They are taking each other to new heights, and they are really GREAT together!"
Jimmy: "And we have some really good friends who have been with us for the long haul. Justin Edwards, the guy in the picture (on the ‘pics’ webpage) flashing the ever popular peace sign, does lights and sound".
Gil: "And he helps Jimmy with the million things he has to do. And he only gets grumpy once in a while!"
Jimmy: "And there's Debbie Buchanan who I mentioned sings, and plays the guitar. She also does a great job on live sound. Most recently she asked me to sing the male backup part on her cover of Fleetwood Mac's," Beautiful Child". She plays in her own band in and around L.A. She has been a great friend almost from the beginning. My dream is to marry her Harley! Hah!!!"
Gil: "So that's the long and short of it and here we are in cyberspace at last. There is one last thing. …Jimmy?"
'THE CAPTAIN' - LENDS SUPPORT FOR Jimmy Lee Young:
Jimmy: "This part is tough. Awhile back I sent a CD to Daryl Dragon (of Captain & Tennille) - with a letter detailing all of our exploits. Since then he has spent I don't know how many hours away from his lovely wife, the popular Toni Tennille, bent over his computer helping us to get this site up and running. Mind you, in all this time of work and music neither Gil, my devoted buisiness partner or myself are a computer wiz! So this has been sort of a crash course!"
"Since the first of February, 2002, Daryl has given me so much info to familiarize myself with, taught me where to find the necessary info one needs to market music online, designed our website, etc., etc., etc. AND HE HAS NEVER ASKED FOR A SINGLE THING!! ( I think I am going to owe him a trip to Tahiti someday, however), but if there's anyone to thank for lifting this band out of the confusion that faces all struggling musicians, it is Daryl Dragon and his obviously patient understanding wife Toni."
"Thank you to you both! If not for you I would still be pacing the floor wondering what the heck to do with this "momentum"!
GOD BLESS YOU:
Gil: "And to our friends, family and fans who love our brand of Southern California rock and roll, and have given us reason to stick it out all these years-thank you all!"
Jimmy: "And God Bless You. Peace and Love. - - Rock On !!!!!"