Gary Lucas Remembers Peter Cushing

Hammer Horror Legends Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing

My Peter Cushing story:

I did a lengthy UK solo tour in oh lessee gee uh fall of 1991, went on for ever (at least a month) but it started in lovely Whitstable by the sea in Kent. That's where my tour manager / driver lived, in an old decrepit mansion right on the beach.

The first day after flying into Heathrow, coming out of Customs and meeting my tour manager in the wee small hours of dawn after a seven hour flight over, then driving with him to Whitstable and unpacking my gear (three guitars in giant coffin-size Calzone cases and a 90 kilo suitcase of fx, plus a garment bag and a carry-on bag -- a lot of stuff in other words, I'm much more lean and mean on the road these days) -- after all that, we moseyed on down to the beach.

A fine crisp fall day, lots of white-caps, periwinkles in the sand, you know...coming towards us slowly picking his way down the beach was a small bent figure in sou'wester gear with dog... and as he approached my tour manager whispered to me:


Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein (Hammer film series)

As he got close to meet and greet distance I thrust out my hand and gushed:

"Mr Cushing!! A big honour indeed! I love all your films, I saw them all when I was a boy. I'm Gary Lucas, I'm a guitar player and songwriter and composer -- I played guitar with Captain Beefheart. And I'm here on tour!"

He looked me up and down closely, then lit up and gave me a broad million dollar smile.

"Where are you from, my son?"

"New York City," I replied, awed by THAT face and THAT voice.

He really didn't look much the worse for wear at 78. His smile got even bigger and his blue eyes twinkled.

"Ahhhhhhh...New YORK!" he exclaimed. "They have such MARVELOUS ELECTRICITY there!!"

And with that, Dr. Frankenstein and his dog were off down the beach on their constitutional.

And I was just, as they say, gob-smacked.

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