Charlie Imes first earned local notice while playing guitar with local classic rockers Signs of Life and Against the Grain. For his 2008 solo debut, On an Island, he gathered nearly a dozen locals — Cathryn Beeks, Cindy Lee Berryhill, Rob Thorsen, Gilbert Castellanos — as well as Paul McCartney/Wings guitarist Laurence Juber.
Imes’s rock-and-roll roots date back long before he first tried his singer/songwriter act at local coffeehouses. “It wasn’t always a foregone conclusion that music would be my career. I did twelve years of Catholic school, four years as an altar boy, two years as a lector, I spent four summers at a seminary camp, and I seriously considered studying for the priesthood.
“Then I met Randy Rhoads and the original Quiet Riot guys, a couple of years before they all became famous. One night, Randy let me play his ivory Les Paul backstage and then offered to give me a spot in his guitar-lesson schedule. I was so stoked, but my parents wouldn’t let me travel that far [to L.A.] for guitar lessons. Six weeks later, he got the gig with Ozzy Osbourne, and the rest is just another historic rock ’n’ roll tragedy. He was a great guy.”
Imes performs Saturday, April 30, at the ArtWalk in Little Italy.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1) Barbara Nesbitt, The Bees. “Great production, songs, and performances — especially the
2) Keb’ Mo’, Suitcase. “This man is as cool as they come.”
3) Paul Simon, One Trick Pony. “I think this is his best album. I never get tired of it.”
4) Justin Young, All Attached. “Great beachy vibe. I’ve been using it as my between-set music lately.”
5) Candye Kane, The Toughest Girl Alive. “Such a big, beautiful voice.”
WHO SHOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
“If I get a piece of the box office, I’d pick Johnny Depp. If you want to get closer in looks and stuff, probably Donal Logue.”
“Abandoning my music career for many years for a ‘real job,’ running a legal-support business. After my parents passed and I survived cancer, I realized that life’s too short and returned to music. I don’t make as much money now, but I’m much happier.”
“I’d say Bruce Springsteen in 1980 on The River tour, at the L.A. Sports Arena. Four straight nights, four-hour shows, and he left everything he had on that stage.”
BEST THING YOU EVER LET GO?
“A limited-edition, silver-anniversary Fender Stratocaster. I’m not the first guy to snort away great equipment, but the lesson was learned, and I’m well beyond those years now.”
“When I first had my legal-service business, I used to take the occasional stakeout. I had to follow a cheating husband once, and that sucked.”
DID THAT JOB PUT YOU IN DANGER?
“I had to stake out a guy who was breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s condo in the middle of the night. I stayed on her couch with a Taser and waited to serve him a restraining order and hand him over to the sheriff. I was going to move into the kitchen when I saw his shadow coming over the balcony, and he slid the door open. I froze. He sensed me but couldn’t see me and bolted out the door and over the balcony railing like a gazelle. He got away, but I called the cops and they picked him up about a half mile away.”
BIGGEST QUESTION YOU WANT ANSWERED?
“All the greedy Wall Street people who’ve ruined the economy and caused the financial ruin of so many others…why aren’t they in jail?”
UGLIEST THING IN YOUR CLOSET?
“One of my Old Mission Beach Athletic Club Committee shirts. I used to buy every committee shirt they came out with, and not just for Over the Line, but for every event that OMBAC organized. They’re mostly Hawaiian shirts, which I will rarely ever wear anymore. There’s a couple that I look at now and wonder why I ever thought they looked good.” ■