It was 1988 and the band that I was in was Cygnet. We were booked to play a club in North Hollywood called the Palomino.
The Palomino was a Country Music club but in this time period it was opening its doors to rock and alternative bands.
One night Cygnet was booked to play a show. We showed up, set up, and played the show. When we were done we began tearing down our equipment from the stage to allow the next act to perform and someone said that Jerry Lee Lewis was in the bar and had heard our set. I looked over towards the bar and did not see anyone that looked like him. We exited the club via the stage door that led to the parking lot where we were un-loading and re-loading our equipment into our cars.
My friend, Greg Chang, was called over to a car in the parking lot and then ran over to me and said, “Omar, Jerry Lee Lewis is in that car and he wants to talk to you.” My initial thought was, “yeah sure,” but I went over to the car anyway.
I went to the driver’s side of the car and looked in. The man in the seat did not look like Jerry Lee Lewis but when he directed my attention to the passenger of the vehicle, sure enough, it was Jerry Lee himself.
He extended his hand to me and as he shook my hand he said, “Son, that was some of the finest bass playing I have seen in a long time. Keep it up.”
I thanked him and said that I respected his work. I stepped back and they drove away.
I was 21 at the time and it was an incredible ego boost to know that my playing had impressed such a musical icon as Jerry Lee Lewis. Let’s face it, Jerry Lee Lewis is one of those responsible for the rock music we all are influenced by.
It was my “brush with greatness” to quote David Letterman.
9/2/10 – Here is an update to this story. I was informed of the following occurrence on 8/31/10 by long time Scaterd-Few fan, friend, and fellow bassist Robert Cruz. He informed me that this took place in April of 2007.
Robert said, “I was playing bass in an all Native band by the name of “Wagonburner”. We played at a pretty wild scene known as The Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow in Albuquerque New Mexico. As we got off the stage, Jerry Lee Lewis comes up to me and says, “Damn boy! You were on fire but you ain’t no Omar. That boy is the best player in all of Rock and Roll. You can learn a thing or two from him.” I said, “Domkus?” He just patted me on the shoulder and left. I figure he was referring to you because everyone I have spoken to in the last 20 years that has heard you play says your name with the same tone, OoooMMarr, Long and reverent.”
What amazes me about this story is that after 20 years, Jerry Lee Lewis still seems to remember who I am. I hope my head still fits through the front door.