Find the Murderer! Oh, and buy our records, see our band and visit our flea market.

Submitted by Douglas Wood March 2nd, 2010
Certifikitsch WinnerClassique d Camembert

This jaw-dropping ad actually appeared in the Hollywood Reporter on April 22, 1997. As you can see, it starts off by offering a $50,000 reward to find the killer(s) of murdered bass player, John Pastuch (pictured) of the Cowboy Junction Band in Pike County, Alabama. But why waste an opportunity to sell some records?! The second part of the ad actually plugs the Cowboy Junction’s latest recordings, the Cowboy Junction’s concert performances, the WKFL Buddy Max Radio Show, and the Cowboy Junction Flea Market in Lecanto, Florida.

And you gotta love the little country n’ western graphics that adorn the “Find the Killers!” ad: fiddlin’ n’ stummin’ cowboys, playful musical notes and cowboy boots with spurs. The song titles are also fun: “If Freda’s Still Single,” “If It’s Country Music It’s For Me,” “They Tore That Little Office Building Down,” and “Label on Her Dress.”

Finally, don’t miss this spectacular run-on sentence: “He was killed in a wooded area in an open building with no locks on the doors and the windows were wide open while he slept on a hot sunny, Sunday summer afternoon while a noisy fan hummed nearby.”

8 Responses to “Find the Murderer! Oh, and buy our records, see our band and visit our flea market.”

  1. Allee Willis

    Pretty brilliant all the way around. I hate to make a spectacle out of a sign offering a reward for a murder but this is so misguided in every way shape and form, all of which you point out above, that it’s worthy of the highest award given by AWMoK, the Classique D’ Camenbert! Absolutely pathetic and inept in execution. Literally.

  2. Mark Blackwell

    i just found this info on the web – John Pastuch was the son of singer Buddy Max, “America’s Singing Flea Market Cowboy”:

    In a genre full of colorful characters, Buddy Max is certainly not the most famous, but might be the most weird. Collectors of oddball, self-produced recordings have held a longtime devotion to Max’s song “The Birthmark Story,” which, at nearly eight minutes, is longer than “McArthur Park” and has much better lyrics, namely a blow-by-blow description of a GI having a birthmark removed by a bloodthirsty Korean surgeon. Dwelling on this song would give a false impression of what Max is all about, however. Born Boris Max Pastuch, he is very much a sentimental country artist from the old-school, whose early influences were cowboy singers such as Gene Autry and Johnny Bond. According to his online biography, Max made his first recording in 1949 on Broadway and 42nd Street in New York City, evidence that he has been a do-it-yourself artist from the start, as this could very well be a reference to the booth that used to stand in this location where one could cut an instant record for a quarter. A few years later, Max was playing with the Kingwood Township Plowboy Band in Hollywood, CA, and he cut a second record in 1955 in Tampa, FL, although perhaps not in a 25-cent recording booth. Eventually, he settled in Florida, where his wife-to-be, Freda, heard him singing on a radio station in Tampa. The great part of Max’s career and recorded output centered around his home base of Lecanto, FL, where he bought his own flea market in 1957 and reigned as America’s Singing Flea Market Cowboy. He performed at the flea market and printed a series of albums and CDs, some of which contain songs about flea markets and the public who shops at them. He has also performed out of state at events such as the Northwoods Bluegrass and Country Festival in White Cloud, MI; he performed country music on roller skates. Max’s son, Johnny Pastuch, was a journalist, musician, and actor and was closely involved with his father, playing bass in his bands. In 1996, Johnny Pastuch was murdered in his sleep at his home in Pike County, AL. A group calling themselves Friends of John Pastuch started a website offering a 250,000 dollar reward for information about this murder. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

  3. Douglas Wood

    Thanks for all the info on this truly bizarre case. I love the Angelfire page– you can’t make this shit up. I think there’s a movie in there somewhere, possibly by the Coen Brothers, John Waters or maybe Roger Corman.

  4. Kyle Dayton

    I don’t want to diminish the fact that someone was killed. But since I have lived in at least one neighborhood in the past where it wasn’t a bad idea to watch one’s back, if I were “in a wooded area in an open building with no locks on the doors and the windows…wide open”, I’d probably be afraid to fall asleep for fear that I wouldn’t wake up.