Christmas 1980

It was December 23, 1980 and we were at the end of a two week long club tour. We were working the great and cold Midwest and Ontario which was even colder. Things got off to rocky start but all was going well. We finally got out of the real cold Canada, which was experiencing the coldest winter on record since 1963, and made it to Detroit which was a nice crisp 10 degrees.

It was the last show before going home and I must say that it went great. We played a nice club called the Second Chance in Ann Arbor and the crowd was great, as always, there. After the show John wanted to give some Christmas gifts, that he bought in Canada, to his children. They were living with their mom in Dearborn at the time. It was easier said than done as Julie did not want John around. I was told there was a restraining order out that prevented John from going near her but nobody ever saw this order. I got ahold of Gang War's old manager and he drove us out there in the snow and cold to try and deliver these gifts.

When we got to the house, I knocked on the door and was told to get lost. After some talking we got to see John Jr., Vito and Guido for just a second. I'll tell you that no matter what people say about John as a parent he really cared for those kids even though he had a hard, or maybe even a shitty, way of showing it. That's why I always say that very few people really knew John. Those that did know him will vouch for me that he had a very big spot in his heart for those kids and even Julie. I think right up until the end.

All in all, it turned out to be a very nice night. The kids got to see their dad on, what was almost, Christmas eve showing up to say hi and bring presents. It was a scene that I'll never forget and I hope his kids remember that night as something special. It was a very special night for John too as he never really saw those kids very much. It showed the side of John that not too many people ever saw.

Bobby Belfiore (retired soundman)

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