-February 2004-

Other Fein Messes

1st record/1st concert

The first record I owned was the L.A. Dodgers 1959 World Series play-by-play lp voiced by Vin Scully ("Going, going. Gone!"). I was a serious 10-year-old Dodger fan from 1958, when they relocated from Brooklyn, to 1963, when they traded Duke Snider, who was my hero. This was in early 1960, when my dad bought our first record player, an Emerson two-piece portable, at Record Center Stores on the corner of Wilshire and La Cienega (where the John Wayne statue stands guard outside Larry Flynt's House That Porn Built, formerly Great Western Savings).

My first rock/music record was Elvis Presley's "Stuck On You.” This was in Spring of '60, and again, my dad bought it for me. We went to Wallich's Music City/Downtown at 7th and Hope ("Convenient Air-Conditioned Demonstration Booths"), and as it was a 3-for-1 Sunday I also got Fabian's "Hound Dog Man" and Brook Benton & Dinah Washington's "Baby (You Got What It Takes)". I dug "Baby" ok, but I think I got it to placate my dad (y'know, somethin' fer the older generation).

My first music lp was Peter, Paul and Mary's "In The Wind." I bought it at Wallich's Music City in Hollywood, corner of Sunset and Vine in late '63. It was the featured album on the KFWB "Joe Yocam's Sunday Special" at Wallich’s which included three 45s for the phenomenal price of $2.99! Such a deal. I was a fledgling folkie ("Well Doc, it all started with The Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley" and Johnny Horton's "Battle Of New Orleans"!") Now I'm just an 'old' fogey/folkie.

The first concert I attended was at Dave Hull's Hullabaloo in Hollywood on Sunset near Vine (now the Nickolodeon Theater) on December 12, 1965, the 2 pm matinee. $1.50 admission! I was 15, living down the street (corner of Santa Monica & Vine, just west of Gold Star Recording Studio!) with my brother (no parental supervision/they divorced in 1963) and The Hullabaloo was one of the first clubs (after It's Boss in West Hollywood) to cater to young teens. Affordable and convenient.

The house band, The Palace Guard, kicked off the show. With matching red 'Buckingham Palace'-type uniforms, the group, with Emitt Rhodes on drums, played the current hits ("Hang On Sloopy", "Michelle', etc.) and their regional smash "Falling Sugar." Next up was The Vogues, very hot with "Five O'Clock World" and "You're The One." Finally, The Jan and Dean Show with the 8-10 piece J & D Orchestra, led and conducted by Hal Blaine! Jan and Dean were my favorites, and they came flying/zooming out on skateboards from opposite wings of the stage (which revolved between acts), rolling up to the center mike stand on cue to break into the SoCal battle cry "Bust your buns and go Sidewalk Surfin' with me!" I was stoked! They continued with "The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena"), "Dead Man's Curve", "Surf City", "Honolulu Lulu", etc., all expertly accompanied by Hal and his Wrecking Crew. The band blasted out the music from behind chart stands sporting "J & D Orchestra" with their cartoon caricatures on each. Wow!

Robert Leslie (sometimes Robert Leslie Dean) is a photographer and historian, and too modest to mention his longtime friendships with Bryan MacLean of Love, and Charles Connor of the Upsetters.

AFM 2/04

Radical Humor

I say with pride (if that’s the word for the coincidence of our meeting; pleasure, maybe) that I know Paul Krassner, the Realist editor, a little bit. So when I saw a sand-filled snake, a thing to put beneath a door to keep out cold air, called a “Draft Dodger” for 5 bucks, I sent it to him with a note “I think it’s made in Canada.” I got back a nice note on ancient Realist stationery thanking me for the door jamb, and that, yes, it is cold.

I was flummoxed. I had goggled that someone could so name a product, making light of draft-dodging, which was such a hot topic 30 years ago. Didn’t he find it funny? Why he didn’t write ha ha? Did he open the box without reading the packaging? Did his wife do so, and then they scratched their heads wondering why Art Fein sent them a door-snake?

I contemplated whether to ask if he got the joke: or was his deadpan thank-you note calculated to match the tone of mine. So I e-d him, with an apology for asking, whether he got the joke. He wrote back that he did, but it was OK to ask bec “You never know.”

Les Faux Pas

Some of my memorable interview moments:

To Gerry Goffin, on my tv show: You and Carole wrote so many great songs, but I think my favorite is “Cryin’ In The Rain” by the Everly Bros.
“Carole wrote that with Howard Greenfield.”

To Neil Sedaka, in an interview: You’ve written a lot of hit songs, but my favorite is a flipside, “Forty Winks Away.”
“Barry Mann wrote that.”

What A Friend We Have In Robert Leslie!

Robert Leslie borrowed my “Treasures Of The Hard Rock Cafe1” and returned it with this observation.

“The poster on page 185 is wrong. It’s for a Saturday/Sunday July 4th/5th show featuring Little Richard and Guitar Slim. Under Slim’s pic it says ‘I Done Got Over It.’ That was not recorded until 1958. I checked the almanac and found that July 4/5 fell on Saturday/ Sunday in 1959. Little Richard left rock & roll for the ministry in December 1957, so that poster is either a fake or for a show with a Little Richard imitator!”

I live for stuff like this.

1 Written by friend Joel Selvin, hence my owning such a weighty tome.

Sneak Attacks

An unexpected shot of divine rock and roll can paralyze me.

- Recently listening to a tape2 of a Billy Vera radio broadcast3 from 19884 I was stunned to suddenly, out of the blue6, hear “Long Tall Sally” by Little Richard. It was just the right moment to disable me. I was listening casually, my guard was down, and then pow! that voice, the piano rumbling in, the saxes and drums pounding -- it was like a race to -- what?7 I was completely swept away, and actually paralyzed, the magnificence of that sound gripping me in its hold. KEEP YOUR GUARD UP.

- A few years ago, casually going up my driveway, the radio suddenly played “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” This was unexpected: real rock & roll, 50s rock & roll, on an oldies station? The insistence of the opening bass piano notes is a clarion call to revolution or battle. This attack jammed right into my soul and held me frozen in the driveway, captive, like in an electric chair of ecstasy. BE WARY!

- I was listening on headphones to a tape made by Paul Body and suddenly the screaming guitar intro of Elmore James’s “Dust My Broom” came up. That guitar, that sound, Led Zeppelin has no bragging rights over this guy. It was heavy like a hit in the head. I stood, scared, near a pillar, and tried to look like I was not (!) crazy as I internalized the massive pleasure attack. Talk about your Orgone box. ALWAYS BE PREPARED.

- In 1976, I took home the new and unbelievable Phil Spector “Lost Masters” album from England, put the needle on the first track and heard the soft maracas and shuffling drums of “Paradise” and promptly fell to the floor. Having been deprived of REAL Spector music for ten years (Beatles productions didn’t count, though some were good8) I was awash in the slow sensuality of this unreleased Ronettes track and it transported me to..... Paradise. STEEL YOURSELF.

- In 1981, I went to Dave Alvin’s room in his family home and we sat and listened to the bootleg Million Dollar Quartet album he had recently bought for an outrageous $20. To hear Elvis and Carl Perkins fool around while Jerry Lee played piano, and then, gradually, hear Lewis, who had not yet released a record, TAKE OVER the session was hilarious and mesmerizing. I think we had candles lit, but I’m not sure. EASE INTO IT.

- In 1958, my friend Johnny Olsen and I were listening to “Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay” by Danny & The Juniors and we started hurling ourselves around the room like dervishes, jumping, yelling and flipping out in pre-sexual madness. YOU’D THINK I’D GET OVER THAT PHASE.9

2 I was assaying this tape, wondering why I had kept it, then heard him mention my name. Tapes are the only way to capture radio moments. A CD of a radio show is too metallic. Radio is warm.

3 He had a terrific show full of early R&B on KCRW, the “lefty” station, then he was scuttled because his audience was too old. Curious that a public radio station should be concerned with ratings. Or shouldn’t.

4 On the tape, his pledge pitch said to phone a 213 number. That was a shock to any local. As late as 1988, we were all under the 213 umbrella? That seems like a century ago!5

5 At my dentist’s in Van Nuys (that’s “the valley,” 818 area code) the young receptionist asked if my phone number was “same as it’s always been, 323 bla bla.” I playfully said, “Well, it hasn’t ALWAYS been 323. When I first started coming here there was no area code.”
“What do you mean?” she said.
“We were all 213, there was no 818.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You just dialed 7 numbers.”
“But what about the area code?”
It was incomprehensible to her. I didn’t tell her about postal zones.

6 This was an Elvis’s roots show, and I knew all the old ones (Smiley Lewis’s “One Night” etc.), so I wasn’t looking to be startled.

7 Little Richard’s recordings command a titanic forboding. They’re like pain that pleases. The massive attack of drums, sax, and piano are like invaders coming to slay you with pleasure. Also, hearing him singing “Lucille” on a 1957 Alan Freed radio broadcast (bootleg) lp with an enormous, thundering big band is so cataclysmic it sounds like the Gates of Hell opening up. (You call that good? I do.)

8 Spector records were best when he controlled everything. His work with the Beatles, collectively and individually, was just ducky, but nothing they ever did is as great as ‘A Christmas Gift To You From Philles Records.’

9 The rock & roll explosion of 1956 was an atom bomb of perfection, but over time its fallout steadily decreased. After Elvis/Chuck/Richard and lesser-known genii came Spector’s music, utterly magnificent but with a debt to those 50’s Gods who pushed open the doors. Then the Beatles and whoever til the pointless muddle it’s in today.

Mock ‘n’ Roll

There isn’t much great nouveau-50s10 rock; nothing immediately comes to mind. But you gotta know about these cuts.

“How Could I Be So Wrong,” Dave Edmunds, “Riff Raff” album, Columbia 39273, penultimate cut, 1984. Not known for his slow numbers, this wonderful 50s style ballad destroys me.

“The Love I Want “ Carlos Guitarlos, Straight From the Heart CD. This song has haunted me since I first heard it 20 years ago (when it was closer to the 50s!). It got recorded finally in 2003. Appearances to the contrary, Carlos is a genius.

“I Want To Thank You Mr. DJ” The Charms. I had this on a comp album, now I can’t find it. It is actually from the 50s (early 60s?) but for me encapsulates up everything great about pop doo-wop. (I am now veering off my initial theory.)

“Tenderness On The Block” Warren Zevon, “Excitable Boy” album, Asylum 6E-118, penultimate cut, 1978. This is none of the above, but it chills me with its 50s’ early 60s imagery, even if it sounds exactly like the year it was recorded. “Rock On” by David Essex also fits this description.

10 For nouveau early-60s, I think the “Little Shop Of Horrors” musical11 sums up the New York/4 Seasons era better than anything. Certainly better than “Grace Of My Heart.”

11 In the Geffen bio book, it says he banked heavily on the success of this musical. “Happy Days” was still on tv and “Grease” was a success, and he saw this as a shoo-in to top them all. I concur utterly, though it was a massive flop: I back failures rife with greatness even more than him.

Moron Reviews

The purpose of a review is to advise readers whether to go to a show. To review a past show is useless. It is merely a platform for the writer.

In the 1970s Mark Leviton worked for a local newspaper that ran reviews only of shows that ran, as they did in those days, for a solid week -- otherwise why would anyone want to read about them? To get the reviewer’s opinion?

Don’t be silly. Nobody cares what a reviewer thinks. The purpose of a review is to aid the reader.

Where Seldom Is Heard An Encouraging Word

In the review portion of her Jan 10, 04 L.A. Times scan of our Elvis show, Nuttily Knuckles distantly noted12 several acts then roared to life throwing mud13 -- the critics’ forte -- at James Intveld and Rip Masters14.

When I started at Variety in 1973 as music crit, I avidly avoided writing negative reviews of little-known acts17. Pandering? Lily-livered? No, I suffer from empathy. You don’t use an elephant gun to shoot a flea, and the damage I could do to a struggling act by slamming it in Variety weighed on me18. Knuckles’s grinding of those acts under her heel shows indignity, not indignation. When your blunderbuss is as big as the L.A. Times, you should be careful how, and whether, you shoot.

12 Not a peep of delight or discovery. Were they all not her style? She reviewed only the middle acts, suggesting she stayed little more than an hour. Pity: some great acts came at the beginning and end.

13 Thereby achieving every critic’s goal, to be noticed: In subsequent days, normally diverse Elvis fans said to me with a single mind “What’s the MATTER with that girl?”

14 Several people that night, unaware of Knuckles’s disapproval, commented how much they enjoyed Rip -- but then, she wasn’t there to enjoy herself, as they were. And comparing Intveld’s “A Little Less Conversation” to grunge music was oddly ...... wrong. (She might have missed the humor of his performing the re-mix version15.) He was dressed kinda grungy, in a pre-Seattle sense; was that his (her) problem? Also, she glossed over Fred Willard heartfelt version of “Faded Love,” blinded perhaps by the fact he was a “goofy actor-comedian.” (Thank you, Nuttily!) Seeing beneath the surface is not her long suit.

15 I must begrudgingly16 thank Todd Everett for this observation.

16 (He gets too much space in here already.)

17 That year I reviewed twenty comedians at the Comedy Store. Twenty years later I mentioned this to a comedian friend and he said, “Fein? FEIN? You reviewed me in 1973!” I did not remember it, but he showed me the review, which he saved. After praising various good acts - Franken & Davis stood out - I wrote “Bill Morrison did a balloon act.” This I recognized as shorthand for someone who bombed. He said “I BOMBED that night, but you didn’t say so. I really appreciated that.” I felt good.

18 Am I saying all news should be good news? Nah, but I give performers a lot of leeway. If the fenders fall off my Ford, it should be shouted from the rooftops; Ford is big, they can take it. But you don’t clobber a small, struggling artist. If they’re bad, the market will find them out. And if they succeed anyways, that’s between them and their audience, it’s not up to you or me to jeer. (“Not only is Kenny G bad, but his fans are idiots.”) Note to reviewers: Have a heart, it could use the exercise.

Elvis Bash(ing)

I recently viewed one hour of the 16-DVD Joe Esposito “Definitive Elvis” set. Back last summer I mocked the soulless moron (not worth looking back to find his name) who reviewed it for the NY Times, but suffice that he made the usual hah-hah Elvis comments alongside the also well-trod “who cares?” path. Typical non-expert newspaper garbage.

The hour I looked at (“Elvis On TV”) had the usual talking heads, and a lot of footage I19 had never seen20. But I was struck by the diversity of the commentators, and the depth with which it treated the trek from Dorseys to Berle to Allen to Sullivan. That’s the luxury you get from having 16 episodes! I hope to see the whole thing, and review it.

19 I rank myself a 5 or 6 on the Elvis-nut ten scale.

20 Two things struck me wrong. Putting “Memphis Mafia” under George Klein’s name without quotation marks might seem, to the uninitiated, like he’s a member of La Cosa Nostra. And when they illustrated the fact that Elvis appeared on a local Birmingham, Alabama, tv show in 1955, they inserted the gold-coat footage you always see with the ‘Jailhouse Rock’ banner behind him. Tsk, tsk.

Wrong Wrong Wrong21

I see mangled cliches everywhere, especially the pu-terrific “I could care less.” If you care a LOT then you could care less. If you COULDN’T care less, then you care very little. It should be obvious. Lately I’ve noticed something easy is said to be “shooting fish in a barrel.” I suppose you could do that, but why? Who shoots fish? This is a bastardization of two cliches, “shooting a sitting duck” and “catching fish in a barrel.”

And what about “preaching to the choir?” The phrase is “preaching to the converted,” meaning ‘Don’t waste your breath trying to convert us, we’re already with you.’ Is the choir a higher registry of churchgoers than the congregation? Can you only GET into the choir (are you FORCED into the choir?) once you’ve pledged yourself 100% to the Lord? The choir stands behind the preacher. Maybe it means you are preaching with your back to the congregation, like the Jefferson Airplane used to do to its audience.

Recently someone wrote that Bruce Springsteen’s top-ranking ‘take’ was “the lion’s share” of 2003 concert tour moolah22. I reminded him that the lion’s share is not the majority, it is “as much as the lion wants.” Was he saying that Bruce was content with the $200 million, but if he wanted he could have taken all the money earned by everyone? I know Bruce is popular, but please........

21 The Everly Bros had a great song called “Gone Gone Gone.” And Shirley & Company had “Shame Shame Shame.” “You You You” by the Ames Brothers was pretty corny. “Love Love Love” by the Clovers was good. “Hi Hi Hi” was tremendous! Can’t think of any other triplets.

22 Oddly, the L.A. Times put this in the “arts and culture” section rather than Business.....

The World’s Newest Profession

What’s news? J-Lo and Ben? For some. There’s other stuff, like world events, but like bad money drives out good, entertainment news crowds out real news: movie stars on the covers of news magazines, tv-show coverage on tv news, Michael Jackson updates on radio news. It’s market-driven; more people want entertainment than news, so entertainment, ultimately, consumes news.

In this realm, I hold the NY Times to higher standards than our local birdcage-liner, but quake when I see them permit the word “supermodel.” Who draws the line between model and supermodel? And why?

The L.A. Times reported, without sarcasm, that Halle “Hit & Run” Barry was voted the world’s premiere ‘endorser’ by people who vote on such things. She holds a product she’s never seen or used23 and says it’s good.

This is an important person! This is a person to admire! Maybe P. Lorrilard can cough up the dough for her to ease the lawsuits against their use of asbestos in Kent cigarette filter-tips in the 1950s.

Why not? As a super-model she’s super-available, for a super-price.

23 The Borowitz Report, the thrice-weekly humor column, reported that Celine Dion was sequestered for three weeks in a laboratory formulating her new perfume line.

Robert Leslie’s (Not So) Distant Cousin

From Mark Leviton (Again!?24)

“Today the L.A. Times ran a useless David Segal pick-up from the Washington Post which indicated the Grateful Dead 'rarely' played encores (only almost every show for 30 years!) and posits that they didn't play an encore in Chicago in 1980 which they did all three nights: 8/19 Johnny B Goode, 8/20 US Blues, 8/21 Alabama Getaway.”

I remember that Segal’s premise was his discovery that encores are compulsory at rock shows. As if it hasn’t been that way for 30 years!
Never more true was the signoff to the SNL news in the early 1990s --
“I’m Kevin Nealon, and that’s news to me!”

24 This is the perfect spot for an interobang, a combination exclamation point and question mark that debuted in the 1960s and never caught on.

Black Irish

When I had L.A.-born Brian O’Neal of the Busboys on the show, I remarked kiddingly about his Irish name, then had a flash: Phil Lynott, black like O’Neal, was actually Irish, and more incredibly both had a hit song* called “The Boys Are Back In Town.” O’Neal, who recently was supervisor for the “Haunted Mansion” CD soundtrack, said that Lynott in fact once came to a Busboys show in Cherry Hill, N.J., and they had a good laugh about it.

I remembered that Lynott was called ‘Black Irish’ around that time, but knew it was wrong. I still don’t know quite what the phrase means.....

* Lynott’s band was Thin Lizzy; their “Boys Are Back In Town” hit #12 in 1976. The Busboys’ “Boys” was a hit insofar as it was in the 1982 movie “48 Hours,” and launched them onto nearly ten years of concert success.

It’s Everly Time Again

The Everly Brothers must have seen “The Bad & The Beautiful” in 1952. In an early scene the characters sing “Don’t Blame Me” and later in the film “Temptation” is playing.

And of course “Phil and Don” in the Wings song “Let 'Em In ” is an homage to the Everlys.

More Things Everyone Knows That I Just Found Out

I bought a hand-crank 78 player with a circular resonator on its 10-pound tonearm, for the couple dozen 78s I own. But every time I wound it up, it ran for half a minute then slowed to a halt. Recently I met Steve Worth, 78 collector and Victrola expert. When I told him my problem, he asked how often I changed the needle. “Not yet,” I said, “how often should it be changed?” He said, With every record you play.”

So THAT’s why there were 50 needles enclosed in the case. My worn and blunted needle was digging a trench in the record and acting as a brake!

It was the only way to ‘rip’ music back then.

Readers Respond!

From Jake Austen in Chicago, re “Fingertips” by Stevie Wonder:
"What key, what key' is my favorite Stevie Wonder lyric. It's even clearer on the CD remaster and to add to the magic the emcee who intros Little Stevie (Pervis Spann, as I'm sure you know) starts to introduce someone obscuro before "Fingetips" is over, certanly not recognizing the magic of the performance. That comes after where the 45 fades.

La Vie En Music

Robert Wyatt’s album title, “Matching Mole,” is a play on “machine molle,” french for Soft Machine, his group. When a woman gets her period in France they say “C’est les anglais qui debarque” - the British are coming. (The British were the redcoats.)

- 57 -

Elvis 2004

This year’s show was terrific/dismal.

Terrific bec the bands were all terrific. Dismal bec the venue was obtained two weeks before the show, and word did not get out so it was greatly underattended: I opened the show with “Good evening lady and gentleman.”

New venue? Between Jan 8 2003 and mid-October when I called the House Of Blues, the club got a new booker who knew nothing about my “lock” on the night. They had Chris Isaak booked in, but now that they heard from me, maybe that would be moved. They kept me hanging til just before Christmas, and even then didn’t tell me -- I saw it in an ad.
In light of this shock I planned to just cancel the event, but L.A. City Councilman Tom Labonge, a longtime Elvis fan (and, sometimes, imitator) and Elvis show attendee and supporter, got hold of the Avalon, the old Hollywood Palace across from Capitol Records, which is mainly a dance club now, and secured the night for me.

The deal was great. Whereas the House Of Blues confiscates the first $8500 at the door before you get any money, the Avalon, same capacity (1000 or so people), had us pay only incidental expenses (for this charity event) so we were WAY ahead. In fact, with our paltry turnout of 160 -- last year’s 430 at the House of Blues was the previous low -- we still had enough to pay the band and helpers, tho for the third straight year no money went to charity. (This is a dig-Elvis show. If there’s a profit, it goes to the needy. And the House of Blues had a sellout night for Isaak, so they “made the right choice.”)

Rehearsal ran from 4 til 7. The Elvis Bash Band, led by Marty Rifkin on steel and sax, with Paul Marshall on bass, Skip Edwards on keyboards, Steve Duncan on drums, and Harry Orlove on guitar, get together once a year for this, which they all call their favorite gig of the year. And here’s the order of the show: Harry Orlove “Mystery Train,” Paul Marshall “Long Black Limousine,” Candye Kane “Peace In The Valley” “Tryin’ To get To You,” Penta “Heartbreak Hotel,” Dusk Devils “Hardheaded Woman,” Lisa Finnie “Crawfish,” Billy Vera “My Baby Left Me,” Evie Sands “Too Much” “Jailhouse Rock,” Justin Curtis “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” Ian Whitcomb “I Want You INYILY” “Fool Such As I,” Fred Sokolove “Loving You,” Fred Willard “Faded Love,” Coal Train “Burnin’ Love,” Carlos Guitarlos “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Marcy Levy “One Night,” Barry Holdship “Promised Land,” “One Broken Heart For Sale,” Rod & Tonemasters “Don’t Be Cruel,” Rip Masters “Stuck On You,” “Got A Lotta Livin’ To Do,” Levi Dexter “Shake Rattle & Roll,” “I Got A Woman,” Glen Glenn Revue “Baby Let’s Play House” “Mean Woman Blues,” Alan Clark “Got A Lotta Livin’ To Do” “Blue Suede Shoes,” Don Wilson “Long Tall Sally,” Steve Moore “Party,” Cadillac Angels “Tiger Man” “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” Lance Legault “Baby What You Want Me To Do” “Chicken & The Hawk,” Doug Fieger “One Night” “Latest Flame” Ray Campi “Milkcow Blues” “Mystery Train,” James Intveld “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” “A Little Less Conversation,” Russell Scott “Wearin’ That Loved On Look” “I Need Your Love Tonight,” Groovy Rednecks “Don’t Talk Bad About The King” “Treat Me Nice,” Hellbound Hayride “So Glad You’re Mine,” Lightnin Willie “Lonesome Cowboy” “Shake Rattle & Roll,” Robby Vee “That’s Alright Mama,” I See Hawks In L.A. “Kentucky Rain,” Lynda Kay Parker “Hardheaded Woman,” Fur & Steve “Follow That Dream” Leslie Knauer “Hound Dog,” Pep Torres “Girl Of My Best Friend” “All Shook Up” (Spanish version).

Notes: Songwriter Ben Weisman was in the audience but did not come onstage. He heard two of his songs, “Crawfish” and “Got A Lotta Livin’ To Do,” performed. Tommy Sands, who a couple of years ago suffered a brain concussion in a mugging, was ill and did not perform. Backstage was Larry Geller, an Elvis confidante, and Dan Ackroyd, they tell me. (Ackroyd came to many of the House Of Blues shows, but I figured that was because he was a part-owner. For him to come to the Avalon, he must like the Elvis show!) Rod Del Campos did a fine but loud instrumental version of “Don’t Be Cruel,” and blew out one of the speakers in Marty Rifkin’s amp. (Formerly we used the House of Blues’ ‘back-line.’) Marcy Levy and Doug Fieger both did “One Night,” an oversight, both great. As children, they attended the same summer camp in their native Detroit, and both have co-written famous songs, Fieger with “My Sharona,” Marcy with “Lay Down Sally.” I See Hawks In L.A. did a non-Elvis song for their second tune, an abominable crime. (Groovy Rednecks do their own song, “Don’t Talk Bad About The King,” but at least it involves Elvis.) Bill “Buster” Bateman played drums for Levi Dexter, this year as last. Penta formed a girl group, the Dynette Set, in Seattle in 1980, and, as Leslee Swanson, sang the first cut on Rhino’s “Girls Can’t Help It” album. Robby Vee, son of Bobby, came in all the way from Minnesota for the show, and brought along Little Richard’s sax player XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Lance Legault brought the tambourine he played on the ‘68 Special. Fur and Steve are Jennifer Dixon, former member of the old Hollywood Hillbillies who played my rockabilly shows at Club Lingerie in the 80s, was the Cramps bassist in the mid-80s for 6 months, and Steve Warner, who plays guitar for the Glen Glenn revue, is also an editor at Easy Riders magazine. Coal Train is the new identity of Billy Tulsa & The Psycho Crawdads. Barry Holdship sometimes plays under the name Jesse Garon (Elvis’s dead twin), and his brother Bill was longtime music editor of BAM magazine. Evie Sands, who did the first version of “Angel Of The Morning” (one of the last records issue on Cameo, which then went belly-up) and then “I Can’t Let Go” which the Hollies covered and also “Take Me For A Little While” which was a hit for Vanilla Fudge, finally had her own hit in 1969 with “Anyway That You Want Me.” She has had significant 21st century success with the album “Women In Prison,” which produced several tracks that charted high in England. Fred Willard did a song, but was not my co-host this year. I invited Pat Boone to play, but he was out of town. Danny Blitz, whose powerful performance has become a much-anticipated tradition at the Elvis show, sat this one out after having surgery for a brain tumor, which has left his left arm and hand paralyzed. He is expected to recover, God willing.

And finally, someone left a guitar strap behind. Anyone missing it?

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