Richard Reese’ supported Doo Dah Parade, local bands
Published : Tuesday, June 26, 2018 | 3:16 PM
Pasadena lost a local icon recently when Dalbert Rees Woodard, aka Mr. Richard Reese, died at the age of 84. For more than 20 years, Mr. Reese was a fixture as “the guy behind the counter” at Poo Bah Records.
Richard Reese was born August 17, 1933 in Hawthorne, California. As a young boy, he was given classical piano lessons and would play for the family; he even performed once on local radio. However, as a teenager he rebelled by abandoning the instrument and beginning a lifelong love affair with jazz. This also lead him towards a career in the music industry working in retail, distribution, management, and booking.
He landed his first record store job in 1964 at Benson’s House of Music in Highland Park. Later, he became a rep for the jazz label CTI. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Richard was also booking shows and managing bands, including working with eccentric jazz legend Sun Ra.
Reese lived most of his life in the Los Angeles area, but for a few years in the 1970s, he moved to Isla Vista to run a small record shop called Morninglory Music. Around 1977 he moved back to L.A. and began his 20-odd year run at Poo Bah’s where he became the domestic and indie buyer.
During his tenure, he sold countless LPs, tapes, CDs, and even eight-tracks to generations of music lovers. Famous patrons included Los Angeles Laker star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Richard revelled in the eccentric and offbeat, hanging out with the crowd that created the Pasadena Doo-Dah parade. In 1993 and 2002, he was given the honor of being the grand marshall.
Reese loved being surrounded by music and musicians. He was a strong supporter of local bands and became even more involved when his son Rick, a drummer, began playing around town. Richard could be seen running psychedelic lights for the goth group Vicious Fiction and hanging out in Silver Lake when punk/pop heroes Velouria were making the scene. His round spectacles and beatnik beard made him look like a character from an underground comic book come to life.
In the 90s, he began booking monthly shows billed as “Poo Bah Nights.” His first show was in July of 1994 at the Coconut Teaszer celebrating the store’s 20th anniversary. Richard always put the bands and the music first: it took a number of years before he allowed himself to be compensated for any of the shows he booked.
In the last six months of his life, Reese achieved fifteen minutes of fame when the video for his son’s latest band, Superbean, went viral. The song, “F**k Youth,” a semi-satirical ode to punks growing old, featured Reese in a bathrobe shouting “Get off my lawn!,” and racked up over half a million views in three weeks.
Last year, he was diagnosed with liver cancer and decided to forgo treatment. He died in his home shortly after midnight, Sunday, June 10, 2018.
He is survived by his sisters Diane and Delores, daughters Alisa Guandique, Teresa Jordan, and son, Rick. He has four grandchildren and eight great-grandkids.
Author Steve Moramarco is a writer, musician and music fan. He is also the founder of local power power-pop punk band, Superbean.