Petty cured: Seventh-Street studio top attraction for music lovers

Paul Diffin of San Diego, Calif., looks at the instrument panel Thursday during a tour of Norman Petty’s recording studio on Seventh Street.Tours of the studio are part of the three-day Clovis Music Festival. (Staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

BY Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

England native Paul Diffin called the Seventh-Street studio where Norman Petty helped churned out rock ‘n’ roll classics a mecca.

A music producer himself, Diffin enjoyed seeing how Petty recorded music in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.

“It’s full of information,” he said. “It’s just wonderful.”

A resident of San Diego, Calif., Diffin was among a diverse group of visitors in town Thursday for the start of the three-day Clovis Music Festival.

He smiled in appreciation when tour guide Jay Parmenter played Buddy Holly’s hit song, “Peggy Sue.”

“This is the music I grew up on,” Diffin said. “This music was in my father’s collection.”

Although this is Diffin’s first time to attend the music festival, he has visited New Mexico in the past.

“Oh yeah, I toured through here years ago when I was in a band,” he said. “It was a lifelong ambition to play American music in America.”

The musician, who plays the upright bass, said he plans to attend the nightly concerts at the Clovis Civic Center.

“This is good time music,” Diffin said.

Parmenter fondly recalls being served ice cream and taquitos as a young man by Norman and Vi Petty.

“They (Norman and Vi Petty) never had any children of their own,” the 54-year-old Clovis resident said, “so they treated everyone they met like they were their own children.”

Parmenter was part of the original restoration crew at the NorVaJak studios. He now serves as a volunteer tour guide.

“I didn’t grow up listening to this music (recorded at the Norman Petty Studios),” Parmenter said, “but I’ve come to appreciate it.”

The studio tours are being offered daily during the music festival.

Clovis Music Festival
Concert schedule
at Clovis Civic Center

7 p.m. — John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party
7 p.m. — Sonny West, The Fireballs, Mike Berry
Info: 763-3435 or