Shelley & Fabian's Blog Page

Shelley & Fabian's Blog Page

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Story behind Crazy Johnny ...

I wrote a song called "Crazy Johnny" for my album called Full Circle. I'm so honored to have won the Native American Music Award for Record of the Year in 2011 with this recording! So many people have asked me about the song "Crazy Johnny" and if there's a meaning there? Is it a true story? and who's Crazy Johnny? I realize now I need to tell this story, it's important but it is sad.

I sat down in early 2011 to write a song about our Nephew, Troy Fontenelle Sr. who had passed away just a couple years before hand. Troy was such a loving soul, a guy who really loved his three children, loved his Mother. He loved to dedicate Tupac's song "Dear Mama" to his Mother, our Sister, Antoinette. It would always bring tears to my eyes because I understood the struggle of his childhood and how much Troy loved his Mama. He was generous and kind, he would have given the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He was funny, a real clown! He loved music too. There was one problem, one very serious and sad problem; Troy was an alcoholic. Troy was a serious drinker on a mission to destroy himself.

When Troy drank he could be so hilarious, really make us laugh with his craziness. One time I made green chili corn bread. The chili I used was so hot it was ridiculous! No one could eat it, it was just too hot! In the middle of dinner Troy came home drunk, as usual. He sat down and helped himself to some of my dangerous green chili corn bread. He took a few big bites and started sweating profusely! Then he proclaimed "Hey! it's hot in here and I'm not even eating any chili" ...Of course we all just giggled and started cracking up. He was a hoot! but it was sad, sad to the core of my soul to watch and know he was slowly ending his own life with his drinking. He just couldn't put down the bottle, not for the sake of his children, his family or himself. Not for the love of his ancestors, not for the sake of tradition, spritituality, not nothin.

As the years went by Troy became violent at times when he was drunk, so violent he hurt his children, his Mother, his friends, himself. For that I know when he was sober, he suffered the worst heartfelt guilt. His heart was so good but things got distorted and ruined with the booze.

Towards the end of his life he could no longer hold a job, didn't come home at times. We all worried so much about him especially his children and his Mother. He had his hang out spots along the train tracks, dark alleys, motels, but you couldn't always count on him being in those places. He would pass out in dangerous places where homeless men and women would pick his pockets and steal his belongings. It was becoming a tragic nightmare. Then one night we got the call, the call we had all dreaded to hear. His youngest boy called us to say his Dad was dead. Troy's children found him dead, slung over a culvert just down the street from their home in Albuquerque.

The children found him and they were all holding him waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Then it started to rain, it rained so hard you'd think all of heaven was grieving, it was a total down pour. The children held him in the pouring rain and they waited and they cried.

Throughout the song "Crazy Johnny" I sing "let the tears fall like rain". That pertains to the rain coming down as the children waited for the ambulance. When I reference him howling like a Coyote that's because he was part of the Coyote Clan in Zuni Pueblo, his home born and raised. When I sing "I heard a rumour you were in Arizona" that's because it's the Zuni belief that when one of their people pass away they go to the Zuni heavens which is located in an area just over the New Mexico border into Arizona.

We will never forget our beloved Troy, we still talk about him and share stories and memories. Since Troy's death we have been witness to many deaths from alcoholism. It breaks the heart over and over again to see such good people go down in such a senseless way. If anyone reading this has a problem with alcohol, I beg of you, get help. Save your own life today, it's not too late. There is help and love for you dear soul.

Here's one last thing I want to share with you about the song. After I was finished writing the song "Crazy Johnny" I asked my husband to read it. I told him it was about Troy. He looked at me in utter shock and proceeded to tell me that "Johnny" was Troys nick name when he was growing up. I seriously had no idea! That's when I knew without a doubt that the song was truly meant for our Troy, our "Crazy Johnny" <3

1 comment:

  1. Bittersweet and painfully beautiful. I knew Troy from when he was very young. He was a clown and always filled with joy. Alcohol has destroyed so many lives from all walks of life. But it is so hard on remote places and people that turn to it for socializing or escaping. Prayers to all of us that have been scared by this in one way or another.