George "Chocolate" Perry, Agoraphobic Rock Star, on TK Records, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Musical Wishes That Came True

Jacob Katel
Choc at work, producing in his home studio
Bass player George "Chocolate" Perry was on tour with Stephen Stills (of Buffalo Springfield), riding in a private 75-foot turboprop luxury airplane, when the pilot had a seizure at 34,000 feet.

Amid the rock star excess of plush couches, and TV screens, the pilot lay shaking on the floor, foaming at the mouth. The 4 engine Viscount's nose turned down and began plummeting to Earth. It was the co-pilot's first day on the job, and he damn near had a heart attack himself.

The band and crew would certainly die a fiery death like so many musicians before them. The co-pilot screamed, "Help! Anybody know how to fly this thing?!" And that's when George stepped to the controls. Thanks to years of flying lessons at North Perry Airport during high school days in his native Hollywood, Florida, not to mention a racing fixation afforded by packing stadiums around the world, Choc stayed calm, cool, and collected. He grabbed the controls, eased the co-pilot's angst, and together they safely flew and landed the plane.

Perry says, "I'm from Carvers Ranches, Hollywood. Born and raised in the city of Hollywood. When I was little, I made a wish to play with the biggest and best musicians on the planet. Little did I know it would come true. I got more than I expected."

"I started at TK Records in Hialeah. I co-wrote and helped produce Rockin' Chair for Gwen McCrae when I was about 16 or 17 years old. I was going to school and hearing Latimore on the radio, then I started working with him. That was a height in itself. Steve Alaimo and Henry Stone gave me a key to the studio and my own office. I was just a kid waiting outide the studio trying to get on records. They didn't have to do that. I learned camaraderie, family skills, and how to play all kinds of different music."

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