November 15th probably would have been a milestone for the best friend I ever made in the Los Angeles area by the name of Harry Perzigian. If alive, he’d most likely be turning 60 or 61 this year.
Now I know that name comes with a ton of stigmata, since it was rumored that at one time he was a big time drug dealers to the ‘stars’ of Brentwood (hey, wanna know why Dean Cain & Linda Hamilton still look so young after all these years?) that resulted in the suicide of Carroll O’ Connor’s son, Hugh Connor that sent Harry up the river to the LA City Jail for a couple of months. BUT I reiterate once more, that you can’t blame a quote unquote ‘drug dealer’ for the suicide death of someone, if that person wasn’t the one who put the fucking gun in his hand.
And since when does anyone try to pay a drug dealer with a personal check??
A lot of commenters came by to leave their unfounded vehemence for my best friend, even after his own death, AS IF THEY HAD A PERSONAL HORSE in the race. But don’t worry, you snarkers had already won.
The media doesn’t give a shit about Harry Perzigian self demise. Nor do they acknowledge that Harry was a truly gifted songwriter.
It’s a non-story. So why do complete unknown Hugh O’Connor fans still, after twenty years beat themselves up over it? Harry was not the one who the gun in Hugh’s mouth. Hugh O’Connor was the one who put the gun in his own mouth, and Carroll O’Connor was just a shit bird of a father who could not own up to his own responsibility.
But for those who are interested and who regarded him as a generous kind person (Harry Perzigian fronted me a $1,000.00 loan for a lawyer to pitch my proposed 4 issue comic book event mini-series based on the Genesis album “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” to Genesis manager Tony Smith and keyboardist Tony Banks of which I generously paid him back for days before he died. The hundred dollar bills that the police found in his wallet on the day I found him choking on his blood and bile? I put them in there while he was on his deathbed) I offer in this special birthday celebratory entry, the very little unknown creative side focusing on the successful songs that Harry wrote and collaborated with over the years.
When Harry’s ex-girlfriends, friends, daughter, & grandsons flying in from Australia decided to hold a personal service after the family had their service for him out in Chicago, one of his ex’s and I embarked on the task of going through 50 tapes and CDs of Harry’s performances and songs that Harry had written & collaborated with over a thirty year period with a roster including John Wetton, Bobby Kimball (formerly of Toto), Pretty Boy Floyd, & Quiet Riot’s Kevin DuBrow (who was once Harry’s roommate and according to Harry, would ‘jerk off’ from up to six to seven times a day in his shower. And the hair was fake too). Harry also struck up great friendships with two major musicians who are no longer with us: Emerson, Lake, & Powell and Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell & Foreigner touring keyboardist John Purdell who’s very first band was with Harry formed in Canoga Park.
Here was Harry’s biggest hit with the band Vixen.
Vixen was one of the first all girl heavy metal bands from the 1990 glam metal scene in Los Angeles, California. Most the band is still active today with the exception of founding member Jan Kuehnemund, who passed away in October 2013 of cancer (I don’t believe Harry ever knew of her passing). Harry’s song appeared on the band’s 1990 second album, “Rev It Up” and charted in the US at 71 and in the UK at 41. So I fail to understand why people who mercilessly troll my comments section deem Harry’s life as a failure when he once had a decent charting single that kept him in residuals for the rest of his life.
Bobby Kimball, former lead singer with Toto. also wrote a handful of songs with Harry in 1994 for his first solo album, Rise Up. In addition to their collaboration on the title track, the song “Paralyzed” was given the single treatment. Harry used to tell me that Bobby was one of his favorite ever celebs to hang out with, and was the life of the party at a lot of his Brentwood condominium super late night super soirees pounding out songs on his piano at crazy hours in the morning. Months before Harry’s passing, Harry and his roommate who moved in after me took a fucking sledgehammer to the piano because it became a financial headache for him to keep it properly tuned.
I was sad to see that piano go. It gave his living room such character, even if the keys were stuck and sounded out of tune.
Kevin Dubrow , singer of Quiet Riot & Pretty Boy Floyd teamed up with Harry to write “Slam Dunk” for the soundtrack of the movie “Switch” starring Ellen Barkin & Jimmy Smits in 1991. It appears as a bonus track on the CD and the song is played at the end credits of the movie. Harry always got a kick that even at the time of his death, that they were still playing the shit out of this movie on late night cable television and that a royalty check would KA-CHING its’ way into his mailbox each time it aired (which honestly was nothing to sneeze at. I had seen some of those checks and they didn’t amount to very much in the lower $100’s).
If I only had a chance to rewind my life a half decade or so, I’m sure, Harry would’ve experienced some kind of motivation or comeback of sorts to get himself out of the perpetual black cloud that he constantly found himself ducking under. IF I hadn’t given up on a long search for a third collaboration held strictly held between Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes and bassist/vocalist John Wetton for a third outing as companion band ICON, I think perhaps Harry would’ve been striving for a renewed purpose. Don’t get me wrong, he was still composing songs to the end (Even I helped with providing some mellotron patches on one) – but to have been sharing an album credit with one his favorite singer/songwriters of all time- JOHN WETTON? would’ve made his freaking ego soar.
But it didn’t. Harry never knew that on the Icon 3 album that John Wetton and Geoff Downes released in 2009, a reworked a version of one of Harry & John Wetton’s songs (also co-written by Curt Cuomo) titled ” Sex, Power, & Money ” was recorded for Icon 3. I owned the first two albums by the duo, but after months after the third effort’s release, I never saw it arrive at my neighborhood Amoeba Records and I simply gave up the search for the album existed. It wasn’t until I got ahold of all if Harry’s demos from his family that I came across the tapes of three songs that Harry recorded with the Asia/King Crimson singer with the other two titles being “I Can Tell You” and “Back in Your Arms” (which is absolutely incredible), currently both procrastinating and largely unused on a dusty Warner Chappell Music office shelf. I’ve been by some rabid fans on a John Wetton message board, that in the liner notes of the album, that ideas were accredited to Harry’s stage name, Harry Paress.
And lastly, another highlight of Harry’s songwriting career was getting a demo of his rap/rock band The Puck Boys played on local Los Angeles station Pirate Radio of an ode to Los Angeles Kings goalie Kelly Hrudey in “Rudy’s on Duty Tonight” filmed on location in front of the LA Forum in Inglewood. The song instantly became an anthem for the team until Hrudey was either retired or no longer for playing for the team and was written in tribute to his incredible playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. This video was shot during the era when Harry was getting into scuffles with actor Ryan O’Neal over him messing around with his wife Farrah Fawcett-Majors which became major gossip on the cover of People Magazine.
Coming up next: Possibly a new YES LOG installment in honor of the newly formed AWR offshoot band (Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, & Trevor Rabin) as a comic book mystery develops.