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Native Americans & Paul McCartney

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CEREMONIAL.jpg Paul McCartney is somewhere in this crowd.

6:00 p.m. Aug. 12----

During his journey down Route 66 Paul McCartney is finding out how easy it is to get lost in America.
No one knows that better than our vanquished Native American population.
On Saturday night Paul and his girl friend Nancy Shevell attended the 87th Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial at Red Rock Park, 15 miles east of Route 66 in Gallup, N.M. According to long-time ceremonial announcer Sammy Chioda they blended into the crowd of 6,000 that sat in seats which surround the arena.
There was no VIP seating or special treatment. More than a dozen Native American groups dance at the ceremony where the western horizon is defined by reddish-brown sandstone bluffs of the Red Rocks.
I asked Chioda the same question I am asking everyone on my Route 66 BeatleBlog......


How did you know it was really Paul McCartney?
"I took lyrics from his first and second solo album and quickly incorporated those into what the ceremonial means," Chioda said Tuesday afternoon from Gallup. "I used 'Maybe I'm Amazed' and 'Smile Away' from the 'Ram' album, like '..Maybe you will be amazed or won't be amazed but you will walk away smiling away...' When I said that he looked up at me.
"Then he gave me a thumbs up (which Sir Paul has done in the few photo ops he has granted along the road) and then the finger across the lip, not to say anything. I never said 'We have Paul McCartney in the audience' or anything like that."
There had been a slight buzz in the crowd that McCartney was in attendance. But Chioda didn't believe it until intermission when he spotted him from the announcer's booth with his binoculars. "Nobody was hassling them," said Chioda, 53. "At an event like that and a time like that you're not thinking about the Beatles or Paul McCartney."
McCartney and Shevell made an early exit but not before they ran into Chioda's 60-year-old brother Dario. "He came back into the announcer's booth with this smile on his face," Chioda said. "He got to shake his hand. They talked about things in Tucson, Az. My brother's daughter lives in Tucson and I guess they've seen him there in the past." McCartney declined Dario's request for a photo and autograph.
Chioda is owner of the new Sammy C.'s Rockin' Sports Pub and Grill, 107 W. Coal Ave. a block off of Route 66 in downtown Gallup. He also promotes rock shows at the historic El Morro Theater in Gallup which might lead us to our next chapter.
"Last night I got a call from the manager of Peter & Gordon," Chioda reported. "We had Peter & Gordon at the El Morro in February. He had read an Associated Press story about Paul stopping here. He knew Paul was very close with Peter Asher (of Peter & Gordon, sister of Jane Asher)."
English actress Asher was one of Paul's earliest gal pals. Although they were engaged, they never married. [And props to Jane Asher for being the only major Beatles associate not to have published her memoirs.] McCartney wrote the hit "A World Without Love' for Peter & Gordon.
"Peter didn't know Paul was in the states," Chioda said. "And Peter & Gordon are performing at the Santa Monica Pier in two weeks. He wanted to make sure this was the real thing. I assured him it was." Route 66 ends at the Pier with a tiny marker honoring what once was known as "The Will Rogers Highway."
Chioda said, "It's amazing how this whole thing evolves."

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Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.

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This page contains a single entry by David Hoekstra published on August 12, 2008 5:52 PM.

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