Friends Jim McPherson
  • Pete SearsJefferson Starship, Moonalice

    "I met Jim for the first time at John Cipollina's house on King Street in Mill Valley, California. I had just returned to the States with the "Long John Baldry" blues band, after recording Rod Stewart's, "Every Picture Tells a Story" album, in London. I had left Stoneground six months earlier, and at that time John Cipollina and I talked about getting a band together when I returned... but most of the band was already together by the time I made it back.   Read More...

    It was a good band, with John Cipollina and Gary Philippet on guitar, David Weber on Drums, and Jim McPherson and I alternating on Bass and Keyboards. What struck me first about Jim was his soulful voice, and also his unique style of songwriting. In retrospect, I often feel that Copperhead, which is the name for the band John eventually came up with, might have been better off concentrating more on Jim's material for the band's direction. Some of Copperhead's most memorable songs were written by Jim, and I always felt his wonderful bass and keyboard playing added much to the band's sound... I know John felt the same way.

    Copperhead played quite a few shows in those days, including a live KSAN broadcast with Tom Donahue, and a memorable gig at Pepperland (Bermuda Palms) in San Rafael. But in truth, we spent most of our time practicing, recording, hanging out and cavorting around at the little white house on the hill in Corte Madera... the one John had used with Quicksilver, usually referred to as the "Quicksilver House". It was more like a club house than a rehearsal room really. At the time, I lived in John's gun room at his house on King Street, and I later moved into a little place at the bottom of Jim's driveway in the heart of Fairfax, California.

    Jim and I both drove old used government cars that our manager, Ron Polte, had bought at auction for each band member. John still drove his trusty Dodge Dart, of course. Jim and I never had a problem deciding who would play bass or keyboards on a song; things always seemed to just fall into place. I would generally play bass on the songs that Jim wrote and sang. Just before Copperhead began recording their first LP, I went back to England to work on another Rod Stewart album, and also to play bass with Nicky Hopkins. Soon afterward, I plunged into Jefferson Starship land, and didn't see much of Jim, or John, after that. But I never forgot the good times we had together, back when Marin was truly a rock n roll county.

    Nobody could believe it when Jim passed away at such as young age, and in such a senseless and tragic way. His wife, Evy, stuck by him to the end, and she did everything humanly possible to find some way to help Jim get better, as did his close friend and confidant, David Freiburg. They were both there at his bedside to comfort him when his broken body could hold together no more, and his spirit passed on to meet his ancestors. He was, of course, too young to leave us; he still had much left to give this world.

    Jim's essence will live on through this soulful collection of some of his finest songs. Jim's tremendous talent, and the musicians who join him, will bring joy to all who hear this album."

  • Robert HunterLyricist

    "I don't remember exactly how Jim McPherson entered my musical life, or vice-versa. He just appeared in our rough and ready band Roadhog one day, according to my faulty recollection. Maybe Mickey Hart recommended him, or maybe he just wandered in off the street with a Fender Rhodes under his arm.   Read More...

    I remember less and less these days but what I do remember I remember with growing vividness. . .and I remember Jim's music. How he wore the band like a comfortable shoe when we did one of his songs, especially the immortal "Letter to Carmina." 30 years later I catch myself humming that gorgeous romantic ballad, dedicated to his mother. It's a song I wish I'd written but since I didn't, I'm glad Jim did!

    When his widow Evy, long faithful to his memory, asked me to write a note for this album, strange to tell, I'd actually been thinking on both of them shortly before she called; thinking how it was sad such a talented singer and songwriter as Jim had left no public recording. Agreeing to write something, I later couldn't figure what to say. I had no particular Jim tales to tell. After Roadhog broke up in the mid-seventies, our paths never crossed again but I always remember his song. I hope someone will say the same about me when the time comes. It's as good a compliment as a songwriter gets."

  • Neil AndersonFormer Vice President of Broadcast Music Inc, (BMI) and CBS Records

    "Simply put, I love this album. Jim's songs spring forth from a vulnerable place deep within him. At the same time, there's an edgy grittiness to them which only comes from a true rocker. He puts it all on the line.   Read More...

    After hearing the cuts, you feel you know him-or would like to know him. Well, I was fortunate enough to be his friend. Hanging out with Jim, was, in a strange way, like hanging out with his music as well. He and his music had an authenticity, spontaneity, and creativity of spirit that always made me want to know even more about him. And, at the bottom of it all, love always showed through his being. Thanks Jim, for you and your music."

  • Mickey HartGrateful Dead

    "Jim was music. It poured out of him in buckets. He sang, played bass, piano, guitar and wrote down the bones in the most gentle and soulful way. He was my best friend... his music still rings true inside me after all these years..."

  • David FreibergQuicksilver Messenger Service/Jefferson Starship

    "Jim was as good a friend as a person could have, always open and honest - not a mean bone in his body. His openness was reflected in his music - visions and feelings of people and places that truly reflected the genuine article. Whatever the song, I'm always taken to an aura of feeling something through Jim's mind, a truly unique phenomenon.   Read More...

    There was a period when Jim and I would go for a run every morning, through the woods to a lake, which I remember with great fondness. There isn't a day that I don't miss him.

    Thank you, Evy and Tom, for bringing his music back to us - I hope the world gets to experience the beauty of his music and soul."

  • Bob RomingerStained Glass

    "I am agog. My wife is blown away. We are listening to it now,... I have it in the computer and have been playing it for days. Of course I have never heard these songs before, but as I listened to each one the first time, the combination of chord changes, melody, and words made them all instantly recognizable to me as his work.   Read More...

    It is a real "bittersweet" experience for me. So many of the simple things like the phrasing of a melody laid on top of a chord change brings such vivid memories of working with Jim. I can so perfectly remember times like him sitting at a piano, and me with a guitar and we are working out how to blend something from one part of the song to another. He always supplied the brilliance, and I sometimes was able to supply the blend,.. meaning the way it would fit together using vocals and other arrangement "tools." I sure learned a lot from him, and I sure wish I would have understood at the time what an incredible experience I was having.

    I remember another time when we were practicing at Dennis's house. We had been working on one of his songs, and we couldn't get the background vocals just the way we wanted them, but we were rehearsing the song as good as we could anyway. During one of the iterations, on the spur of the moment I tried something that turned a two part harmony (3rd and 5th) kind of thing, into a 3 part (3rd 5th and 1st). He heard it instantly and without turning his head, just sort of looked toward me with his partially-lowered-eyelids kind of look, combined with a "yeah" kind of smile. Those kinds of moments will be with me forever."

  • Dennis CarrascoTrolls/Stained Glass/Christian Rapid

    "When Evy asked me to jot down a few thoughts about Jim for his website I wondered what he would think. I recall he did not like to spend much time with whatever had gone on prior to now. He knew he was good, but he didn't like hearing it all the time from everyone. It was as if, and now I am guessing, if he let himself bask in the past, he would get stuck and not be able to ascend to the next level... wherever that might be."

  • Tom BryantStained Glass/Christian Rapid

    "He was always looking for the truth, wisdom, and enlightenment in life. And that honesty showed in the music he wrote. It was part of the way he lived. And I've never known anyone who lived as well and true as he did. He lived for his music, that's sure. And he was rich with it.   Read More...

    His lyrics are timeless, his voice is mystical. Each song is a masterpiece. Jim will always be my best friend. His example, his generosity of spirit, and his friendship are the things I feel blessed to have known.

    May his music live forever."

Jim McPherson: A Promise Kept
About Jim McPherson

Jim McPherson was a rising star in the Bay Area music scene of the '70s and early '80s. He passed away after a long illness in 1985. At long last, his wife Evy has organized and produced a collection of his unpublished work. Few musicians are remembered more fondly; this website details the great legacy he has left us.   Read more...

The Gig - A Promise Kept The Gig

Twenty-four years in the making, friends and family joined together in Mill Valley, California on October 1, 2009 for a musical celebration of the life and times of Jim McPherson. Photos, reviews, quotes and more on The Gig page.

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