Backyard celebration,concert at Norman Petty Studios

By Kevin Baird
kbaird@cnjonline.com

The Norman Petty Recording Studio hosted a backyard concert and offered tours Friday as part of the Clovis Music Festival, and for one girl who had been talking about the event all year, it was an opportunity to dance to one of her favorite bands.

While lead vocalist George Tomsko was singing The Fireballs’ hit song “Sugar Shack” Shauna Wiseman, was jigging in tandem with Ms.

CMI staff photo: Kevin Baird George Tomsko, lead vocalist of the Fireballs, jams with Paul Saiz at the Norman Petty Recording Studio. Tomsko sang the Fireballs’ hit song “Sugar Shack,” and a crowd moving rendition of “The Hokey Pokey.”

CMI staff photo: Kevin Baird
George Tomsko, lead vocalist of the Fireballs, jams with Paul Saiz at the Norman Petty Recording Studio. Tomsko sang the Fireballs’ hit song “Sugar Shack,” and a crowd moving rendition of “The Hokey Pokey.”

California Route 66 Monica Burrola.

“She loves the Fireballs,” said Wiseman’s mother, Ginny Wiseman. Ginny Wiseman said her daughter, who has special needs, is not a big talker. “She loves ‘Sugar Shack’ she loves The Fireballs. She talks about it the (Clovis Music Festival) all year, and it’s her favorite thing in the world.” Shauna Wiseman is from Santa Fe and this is her ninth time attending the Clovis Music Festival.

According to tour guide Ken Broad, the Norman Petty Studio was where famed artists such as Buddy Holly, Leann Rimes, Jimmy Self, Norman Petty, and The Fireballs recorded. The studio produced 15 hits over a 12-month period, which is “pretty good,” he said.

The concert at the historic studio attracted people from California such as Burrola, who said she was traveling Route 66, “doing Route 66 things. It also Buddy Holly mega-fans Allen and Linda Dyson of Newton Stewart, Scotland.

“We’re keen on everything that has a connection to Buddy Holly,” said Allen Dyson, 65. “Foxy’s (Drive-in), it’s incredible. You can pick up the phone and order just like Buddy Holly did.”

“We’ve been fans since we were teenagers,” Linda Dyson said. She said they also have a room in their house, “a shrine,” dedicated to Buddy Holly, and they put anything in tribute to Buddy Holly in the shrine.

The Dysons took a lot of photographs in the studio where Buddy Holly recorded hits such as “Everyday” and “It’s So Easy.” Allen said, “The Celeste, and some of the other smaller piano type instruments are very unusual. You don’t see that much anymore. They were more common in Holly’s early music.”

Linda said the fact that Holly was in the studio made all the difference for her.

The Dysons said they have spent a considerable time in retirement tending their land and making music pilgrimages, and their Buddy Holly theme trip won’t stop in Clovis either. Later this month, on Allen Dyson’s birthday, they will fly from Mason City, Iowa, to Fargo, N.D., the same route Buddy Holly’s plane followed when it crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959.

“Linda’s a little nervous,” Allen Dyson said. “She thinks I’m tempting fate.”

The Dysons also love craft beer and said they might drive to Portales to try beer at the Roosevelt Brewery.

Paul Saiz, who played back-up guitar for Tomsko during the patio concert, said he was about 20 when his band Triaxx first started recording with Petty. He said halfway through his five-year recording contract, Petty got sick and eventually Leukemia killed him.

“We were young, and recording and having fun,” Saiz said. “We didn’t realize what a legend he (Petty) was. I’m just really honored to be a Norman Petty artist.”