My first experience with regards to Jon Guttman was hearing about his returning to Wilmington from close friends that jammed with us at Sassafras Farm. "You have got to meet this guy, you two will hit it off great...you'll love him." They were right! Jon and I met a short time later and were instant friends from that point on. And so it was with all that met him. Jon was the kind of a guy that filled you with warm fuzzies on the first day you met him and from that time forever thereafter. What a great smile and personality! We did hit it off as his friends said we would. We played music together. We played golf together and we laughed a whole lot together whatever we were doing. Jonny, as I came to call him, was no comedian, but in his presence, one couldn't help but be happy...that's just the way he was...he made you feel so good. Jon was a great friend and his kindness, patience and tutorage in helping this amateur produce an album of songs I had written will forever live in my heart. With supreme effort and giving of himself he produced the music that magnificently fit the themes of every song. As Kenny and Jeff would say, I had been Guttmanized - a term that all musicians he touched are familiar with. Today we celebrate his life. Thank you Jonny. Thanks for your love and your light - given to me and my family and all of us lucky to say... he was my friend. Don Carmen
The community and friends are still mourning the untimely death of musician and artist Jon Guttman on January 7th 2003 at the age 55. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Jon lived in the Wilmington area since 1987 and is survived by his wife Joanne, sister Shari and brother Paul.
PEACE, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING
Jon Guttman was a child of the sixties. As a drummer, he played in Akron/Cleveland bands and became known for his talents as "the complete musician", playing guitar, piano, flute, singing and songwriting. In 1968, Jon joined the Cleveland based outfit "The Outsiders". The Outsiders had enjoyed success on the charts with the 1966 release "Time Won't Let Me" as well as, several other top forty hits. At the time Jon joined the band, it featured singer Sonny Geraci, they had stopped recording for Capital Records, but were still actively touring across the country. In 1969, Geraci moved to Los Angeles looking for another record deal and asked Jon to be in the LA based Outsiders. Living in a house in Santa Barbara, the band played in the Los Angles area and signed with the Metromedia label. Several recordings were done with producer Ron Kramer; however, nothing happened and they were dropped. In 1970, Geraci's Outsiders were signed to Marc Gordon's Carousel Records and released a single "Changes". Almost immediately, legal threats by original Outsider Tom King prompted the band to change their name to Climax. Finally, in 1972, Climax released their self-titled album and the single "Precious and Few" went to #3 on the Bill Board charts. The album which features two songs written by Jon ("Child of December" "Merlin") reached a chart position of #177 for 1972.
LIFE IS A BEACH
Although Jon's life seemed to take him elsewhere during those years, he was no stranger to the beaches of North Carolina. His parents owned a cottage at Kure Beach, near Wilmington. Since the 50's, he had vacationed there with his family. Jon loved the beach! He loved the people he met there! He constantly talked about it and over the years brought many friends "down" proudly showing them where he was to live "one day." In the summer of 1977, local songwriter Kenny McCracken met Jon during an extended summer vacation. "Jon was recovering from a back injury and was unsure if he would be able to play drums again," states Kenny. "I had a drum set in my garage and I coaxed him into showing me some licks." It was an awakening for Jon, "I wasn't able to get him off the kit for hours." With his regained confidence, Jon returned to Ohio and for the next decade performed in some of Northeast Ohio's most popular bands.
But Jon had been bitten by the BUG! He loved the recording process! In the early 80's, it began in the form of a 4 track reel to reel recorder he bought from band mate Bill Rex. "Jeff and I became willing participants in Jon's learning curve for recording techniques' remembers Kenny, "From 1983 to 1987, we wrote and recorded 5 albums of material, as well as, 2 full length radio satires featuring the Penguin Players." In September 1987, Jon realized his dream and moved to Wilmington. With him, were an 8 track machine and a host of new friends to record! He soon began work at McFadyen Music and generated the VENUS band with pal Kenny. Through the years he inspired and recorded many artist including; Billy Club Fest, Rodeo Boy, Laura Mclean, Benny Hill, Rudy Tyson, Jeff Reid, Kenny McCracken, Don Carmen, Catesby Jones, Mojo Collins, Red Over Red, and Kathy Covert Jenson .
IN HIS EYES
In the 90's, Jon dedicated his life and talents to his Christian beliefs. He traveled to Eastern Europe twice to perform in the multinational band for an International Christian Conference and became the audio/visual coordinator for Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church in Wilmington. Working with producer Joey Gore, and with the support of his loving wife Joanne, he built a state of the art recording studio in there home. There they performed on, engineered and produced over 100 Christian albums.
AND HE WAS
In essence, Jon Guttman was still a child of the sixties, and yet was the man of the new millennium. His life, shadowed by death is an example to us all. Altruism, artistic talents, the courage of self examination, and the love by support in the expression of others...It all was him,and it was all us. To the thousands that paid homage to this man, his wife and his work, lets continue to live and bear witness! Share the responsibility and believe in the power of LOVE. It does make a difference. Jon loved the beach! He loved the people he met here. Jeff Reid
|Some of the most beautiful gifts
that Jon gave were because of something he lacked . ..ego. There are
many of us amateurs who torment ourselves (and our poor recording engineers)
in the studio. Jon gently showed us how to cut through the nonsense and
get on with creating music. The positive energy he exuded and his professionalism
were as wonderfully inspiring as his talent and ability.
The body of work that Jon left behind is a treasure but it is only
a small portion of his legacy – much grander are the lessons he taught
all of us who had the pleasure and privilege of being witness to his example.
These gifts live on in a very real way. Our sadness of his passing is soothed
with the knowing that Jon’s was a life very well lived.