Johnny Perez came out of San Antonio as the drummer of the 1960s band Sir Douglas Quintet, which had hits with 'She's About a Mover" and "Mendocino." Perez landed in Topanga Canyon and more recently owned Topanga Skyline Studio, a famous recording venue used by Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Sting, T-Bone Burnett and others.
“He always had a rhyme in his head and a song to pitch,” Joe Nick Patoski, the author of “Willie Nelson: An Epic Life,” told the website My San Antonio. “He was an L.A. mover and shaker.”
Perez died Tuesday in Topanga from complications of cirrhosis of the liver, the story says.
Veteran recording engineer Steve Hoffman visited Skyline in 2010 and was thrilled to meet Perez there.
I was over at Skyline Studios in Old Topanga Canyon today, taping an interview with Russ Gary (Creedence engineer) for a Japanese Broadcasting Music show. Not only was it a pleasure being co-interviewed with one of my engineering idols (and Wally Heider vet) but I find out that Skyline Studios is owned by a "John Perez".
Hey, do ya mean JOHNNY Perez, drummer of the Sir Douglas Quintet?
So after the interview was over and the lights and stuff were being packed up, Russ introduced me to Johnny Perez! I had actually met him back in the 1980's at a party on 1812 Rothdell Trail in Laurel Canyon ("Love Street" as made famous by the Doors, where Jim and Pam lived). My bud lived in the building right next door to the famous Doors place and Doug Sahm and Johnny Perez used to hang out there as well.
The SMASH Gold record was on the wall for "Mendocino" which should have given me a clue but I was too busy getting make-up put on and other weird stuff like that to put two and two together.
At any rate, it was a pleasure to see Johnny Perez. A lot of great, classic records were recorded at Skyline Studios. The place looks like a 1969 time warp. A great vibe there in old Topanga. Wild parrots chirping in the trees, old guys with really long hair and beards walking down the street in pirate hats. Beautiful girls in peasant skirts. Just like the hippie daze...
On Facebook, music journalist Todd Everett: "Very sorry to learn of the passing of 'JP' Perez. He was, as Doug would say, a soulful cat."
Video from "Hullabaloo:"