It’s been nearly a month since Arts DEVO has written this column. That’s the longest break I’ve taken from it since the debut in August of 2006. The bulk of the break was spent on a vacation from work altogether during this typically mellow time of year. Of course, the last few weeks have been anything but mellow in America, but I am saving my words on that for another day out of respect for those connected to the local scene who passed away around the holidays.
On Jan. 2, local thespian John Fuller died. He was 69. According to a family post on his Facebook page, Fuller died due to complications related to COVID-19. His last local performance was in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar at Chico Theater Co. in March. A memorial service was held on Jan. 10 at East Ave. Church.
From 1995 into the early 2000s, there was probably no band in Chico (doing original music at least) that played as many local shows as The iMPS. Thinking back to those days and the countless, usually packed, beer-fueled rave-ups at Duffy’s Tavern, it feels like the high-energy power trio’s music was the soundtrack of the times for downtown’s family of hipsters, rockers, drunks and assorted freaks. The fire in the band’s belly was John McCall, and on Dec. 20, the relentless frontman finally burned out. He died in his Chico home at the age of 49. For years, McCall was the well-known manager of Woodstock’s Pizza downtown before going into business for himself with the amazing and criminally short-lived McCall’s BBQ in south Chico. I know I’m joined by many local rockers and tons of coworkers over the years in mourning the loss of one this town’s iconic characters. Tune into The iMPS’ Bandcamp page, cue up the perfect “Hill of Beans” from the album K.R.F.W. and raise a glass to the man. A masked/social-distanced memorial service for McCall will be held at Chico Cemetery Friday, Jan. 15, 1 p.m.
Also around the scene back in the day was the Mean Girl, the hilarious, wicked smart and definitely mean at times (in print at least) columnist for the Synthesis newspaper, Nicole Seredszun. On Nov. 29, Seredszun died in Chico. She was 45. No memorial had been announced as of press time.
A note from the scene
In 2017 and 2018, a supergroup of local players put on a series of Leonard Cohen tribute nights to raise money for the Norton Buffalo Hall. It turns out the most recent shows were recorded by local engineer Dale Price, and there is now a tribute CD available as gift for those who donate to the effort to rebuilt the Paradise venue (which burned down in the Camp Fire). Visit nortonbuffalohall.org/lc-tribute-cd for info.
Longtime readers of Arts DEVO know that one of the biggest parts of my and Mrs. DEVO’s life—and a frequent subject of this column—has been our 7-pound puffball of puppy Prozac, Honey. It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I share that our scruffy toy poodle crossed the Rainbow Bridge a few days shy of her 17th birthday (which was, of course, Christmas day). She was my little buddy, up for adventure always, and during the trials that life throws at us all, I would bury my face in her apricot-colored fur, inhale her sunshine-and-dirt essence and whisper “Thank you” into her little lamb ears. Rest in peace, Honey Bunny. Thank you.