1st record/1st Concert
In November of 1965, exactly 40 years ago, I was 14, a sophomore at
aprivate school in Dallas. I was on scholarship (based on financial need,not
outstanding academic performance). My best friend was a guy namedJimmie
Savage. He started me smoking (unfiltered Camels), drinking (rotgut Bourbon),
and, best of all, made me sit down and listen to this Bob Dylan guy that
everybody was talking about.
We liked the early folk stuff okay, but BRINGING
IT ALL BACK HOME was the album that really clicked for us. Nothing
spoke to me more clearly than "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"--at least until
that August, when HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED came out, with "Desolation
Row" and "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" and "Like
a Rolling Stone."
I had a cheap green Japanese reel-to-reel tape recorder, and I took
that over to Jimmie's house and recorded both albums, holding the crappy
microphone up to the speaker. Those tapes were the only music I had other
than the radio, and I played them over and over again.
It was in November that Jimmie told me his older sister Gail was gettingtickets
to the upcoming Dylan concert in Moody Coliseum (where the SMU basketball
team played). Did I want to go?I don't remember my reaction. I'd never
done anything like that before and the notion was a little frightening.
And of course I had to ask my parents. It was only the idea that Gail
would be along that made them agree (which shows how little they knew
We were high in the bleachers to stage right. The first set was just
Dylan and his acoustic guitar. He looked small and fragile, and stood
quietly at the microphone and played and sang. The crowd was wildly enthusiastic,
and at one point a girl wandered up to the stage as if sleepwalking,
one hand extended to touch Dylan's shoe. A cop gently led her away.
There was an intermission, and then the Hawks, aka
The Band, came out. In Levon Helm's autobiography, THIS WHEEL'S ON
FIRE, he said Dallas was something like the third stop on the tour,
and he made the point of how much the Texas audiences loved the electric
second set. This was true. There were no cries of "Judas," no
boos, just screams and cheers.
The so-called Albert Hall bootleg, made six months later, gives you
an idea of what the music was like, though the crowd reaction was so
utterly different that it had to affect the sound. In Dallas the band
was joyful; the next spring they were angry and determined.
I couldn't have dreamed a better first concert. The band was powerful,
tight, and full of those rich instrumental sounds that I loved on therecords
(even though, of course, it was Bloomfield and Kooper in thestudio).
Hudson's shrill, burbling calliope of an organ, Robertson's sharp,wailing
guitar, Levon's happy, cluttered drumming. If I remember correctly, it
was Harvey Brooks on bass that night--Danko hadn't joined the tour yet.
The acoustics were far from perfect, but that was part of the thrill--Dylan
was, in fact, playing in the college gym.
I vividly remember the shadow of the tuning keys on the
head of the bass guitar, magnified a hundred times and thrown up on the
white scrim at the back of the stage in glowing blue light. Something
about that image seemed impossibly glamorous to me. I needed to be part
of it, and as a direct result of that concert, I asked for and got my
first guitar for Christmas of that year.
While my passion for Dylan faded with BLONDE ON BLONDE and the many
subsequent twists and turns of his career, the sudden, furious love of
rock bands that he engendered never went away. From the electric folk
of Simon and Garfunkel and the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield (their first
album was the first record I actually bought with my own money), I soon
hit the harder stuff: Hendrix, Cream, the Doors, Vanilla Fudge, Jefferson
Airplane, and Country Joe and the Fish, all of whom I saw in the incredible
spring and summer of 1968. I've continued to play various musical instruments,
and play in various bands, ever since.
Lewis Shiner has written about music for CRAWDADDY!, THE L.A.
WEEKLY, THE VILLAGE VOICE, and others. His novels GLIMPSES and SAY
GOODBYE are about rock and roll music, fans, and musicians.
Another Fein Mess 11-02
AF Stones Monthly
Note: Last month, photos were inserted a week into the run.
If you missedem, go back to October.
Before restoring Gulf coast towns, wait
a year and see what the next huricane
does. They might have to rebuild inland.
What if the first game of the World Series had been rained out? Restaging the
opener would have been enormously costly, letting in 45,000 ticket holders for
free with insufficient advertising, the cost of extra network tv time, security,
lights, insurance etc. If the games went 3-2 in favor of the Astros, might the
White Sox have been asked to throw the 6th (actually the 7th) game to save that
8th-game cost? Theres precedent.
Why isnt Rush Limbaugh in jail?
Finke About It
In the L.A. Weekly last summer, Nikki Finke reported that a year earlier an L.A.
Times executive named Baquet confronted an L.A. Times writer named Cieply who
had just been courted by the NY Times.
According to the Business section buzz, Baquet was threatening to throw
Cieply out of the building....
In her year-ago report of the same incident in the same paper, Finke supplied
even more gusto, intimating that Baquet threatened him with bodily harm, crediting
the same buzz. But later in that old article she reported that Cieply
told her it was all untrue. So shouldnt she have at least dropped the erroneous buzz from
the NEW report?
Such flub-a-dub is Finkes style. In her Weekly column she pontificates
about show business with hilarious self-aggrandizement (Tom Cruise, are
you listening?). It harkens back to her column in the Herald in the 1980s,
her superficial observations both the weakest and the strongest case for reading
her -- what silliness would she say next?
Not long ago in the NY Times she wrote loving reminiscences of the Plaza, a hotel
familiar to well-off New Yorkers; she even alluded to her own deflowering there.
(My local pride swelled to learn shes not L.A.-bred.) On radio recently,
she complained about the L.A. Times changing the Metro sections name to
California approximately thusly: L.A. people dont care about the
rest of the state, we only care about L.A.
What better spokesman for L.A. than a nostalgic New Yorker?
(NY presence in the L.A. Times never ends. They just hired a gal
columnist to report around town, but at least shes not from
NY - she left there two years ago, and worked in Nebraska. For a tiny fraction
of NY news from the L.A. Times this century CLICK HERE.)
Hamilton Camp (d. Oct. 2, 2005)
His first album (after splitting, as Bob Camp, from Gibson & Camp and becoming
Hamilton) was 1964s Paths of Victory on Elektra. He was on
my tv show 4 or 5 times, and never failed to say how that album set him off on
the wrong foot.
I had my own songs, but they wanted me to do Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, so we
put five of his songs on it. Because the songs were from publishing demo
recordings, he got some of the words wrong. But it was his picture on the cover
wearing a work shirt and sporting a Dylanish harmonica holder that first caught
my attention, and the unknown Bob Dylan songs listed on the back pushed me over
the edge to buy it. And lured in thusly, I came to hear Camps version of
his own song, Pride Of Man, which still sends chills down my spine.
Getting him on the tv show was a dream. (He did one show with Gibson.) He was
just as talented and amiable as could be. His acting career brought him income,
but his music brought people joy.
Eddie Schuler (d. Sept, 2005)
Eddie recorded many Cajun and country artists (including teenaged Dolly Parton)
in the back room studio of his tv-repair shop in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In
1976 I visited him Stanley style, thinking I was bringing greetings
from the civilized world to a little known figure in the outback.
Ive come from California to see you I announced grandly. Well,
good he said. This morning there were eight people here from Japan. He
sat me down on the couch and someone took the picture you see here, in the spot
where Phil Phillips recorded Sea Of Love.
Hamilton Camp, Bill Liebowitz. Canters Deli, L.A. 1988.
Eddie Schuler, AF. Lake Charles, La. 1976.
It Dawns On Me
Last summer I attended a Tony Orlando & Dawn show at the Grove, a shopping
center in L.A. Halfway thru the show, goofing on his image, Tony criticized the
drummer for being too rock, and the drummer laid into Whole
Lotta Love. Then Tony and the group did Beatle songs for the rest of
the show. Good-fun entertainment.
I met Tony Orlando one night in early 1978 when he was on Elektra, where I
worked. I was in the office at 8:30 pm, making long-distance calls1 or
listening to records when Steve Wax, an exec there who never spoke to me before,
came in and asked me to join him in an office. There I saw Allen Toussaint. Were
looking for songs for Joe Cocker. Do you have any ideas? I got my Billboard
chart book and started skimming. Some time later Tony Orlando stuck his head
in and was asked to join the quest. He sat next to me. We both suggested things,
but after a short while Tony, whod recently scored several hits with old
songs, quietly turned to me and said What the hell am I doing here? If
I had any good ideas Id use them for myself. Then I came up with
a good one: Suspicious Minds. Tony slapped my knee and said Thats
it! Toussaint stroked his chin unexcitedly and said no. Tony left, and
I left soon after him. Such is the story of my A&R exerience at Elektra,
and my brief, but intimate, relationship with Tony Orlando.
1 In the 70s, long-distance calls were
charged against your department. Capitol Records had a pair of WATS lines (Wide
Area something) that the whole company used. If you wanted to call outside
L.A. you called the operator and requested a line, and theyd call you back in about
a half hour. Needless to say, you didnt linger on your calls. But they
let employees come in weekends to talk as long as they wanted.
Last month I mentioned From Me To You being on the charts both
by Del2 Shannon and
the Beatles. And couldnt think of any other dual versions after 1963.
Some came in:
- Concrete & Clay, 1965. The Unit 4 & 2 version made #28
nationally. Eddie Rambeaus version made #35. (Thanks, Sparky.)
- Pied Piper, 1966. Crispian St. Peter (real name Peter Smith)
version made #4, The Changing Times #87.
- Gloria, 1966. The American hit, by The Shadows of Knight, made
#10. Thems version scraped the charts at #77. (This was bec the SOKs
version was bowdlerized, omitting the offensive She comes up to my room. We
Americans dont go for smut.)
- I was shocked to learn that Loves version of My Little Red Book (#52,
1966) was the only one to chart in America. I prefer Manfred Manns, which
was in the movie Whats New Pussycat.
A list of Beatle-Era British versions of American records, such as Cilla Blacks Youve
Lost That Lovin Feeling, would be endless. (Cillas version
of Alfie was a U.S. chart-scraper, at #95 in 1966, trounced by Chers
at #32. But Dionne Warwicks, released 8 months later, went to #15. 3 )
2 Mark, of Nevada City, noticed
Del was spelt Dell last month.
3 Billboard chart positions were not real. If,
say, Columbia had three consecutive #1 records for, say, six weeks, the other
labels would force Billboard to put another labels record at the top.
And so on down the line. The under-#20 positions were especially meaningless,
resting points for future jumps that often never came. It was manipulated in
the specific, but true in the general!
* I hereby banish a word that has epidemicized (like tasked and efforted)
our newspapers: Iconic. Like its cousin, Ironic, it is overused, abused, and
unnecessary. Future users will be hunted down and bulletted.
* Gas-guzzling is an easy, cheap indictment employed by swaggering
saps. (Gas, by the way, is pronounced gaz, as it rhymes with has,
as, his, is, was, not was, etc. Just so you know.)
* A hip, trendy restaurant is a must to avoid:
- If a newspaper writer knows it, its by definition unhip. It also means
theres people like him or her there. A sure appetite-killer.
- Trendy means superficial and disposable. Its dismissive, an insult. If
you go, youd better hurry - itll soon be gone. Be there and be
Dumb, Da Dumb Dumb
Do you know how much soup is in a 10 oz. Campbells soup can? Twenty oz.
Its a concentrate, you add water to make it complete. Girls learn this
from their mothers. And some boys. Or did.
But since so many people know so little, I have seen people buy a can of Swansons
soup saying This ones only 99 cents and the Campbells is $1.25 when
the Swansons does not expand with water. Maybe theyre foreigners.
But Campbell, you may have noticed, has lately been putting photos of the soup
contents. For foreigners, I hope.
You can have respect for tv news people. Im sure its possible.
During the first big September storm, I saw an anchor in the water but no ship:
it was a news reader in hip boots. On another station I saw a gal, microphone
in hand, in the storm soup just outside the network van. Silly posturing, theatrical
staging. In this second squall I saw a reporter getting blown by hurricane
winds. Werent people evacuated? How was this vain weather-cock allowed in the
storms path? At one point in the first storms wake one news-geek
stalked a passing policeman with When is this all going to end? Sir? Im
with tv news. Can you tell me when help is going to arrive? Cheap-shot
bastard haranguing an exhausted, bewildered cop. More rude, arrogant senseless
Brings to mind a guy a couple years ago, the prime suspect in the
anthrax mailings held a press conference on his home lawn, accusing the FBI of
harassing him, leaking info that hes the perpetrator, making his life unbearable. Hey,
I didnt do anything the guy said. When it was finished, a tv-news
genius observed that this was the second time the guy held such a conference
pleading for the press, particularly, to leave him alone. The other news-sucker
replied, Yes, its getting a little tiring, isnt it? The
first news-jerk nodded. Nobody slugged them bec I wasnt nearby.
Back to Acting School
On the Today show, on the first day of the New Orleans hurricane, one of the
hundreds of perfectly-beautiful 30-year-old women we trust to read us the news
sputtered Lake Phonch - Putonch - Tuponch til someone smarter butted
in Ponchatrain. Maybe shes from Canada. Also, a gal on Fox
News calling Palestinian resettlement a landmark in the anals of
Israeli history. The gal had other incursions on her mind!
Early October when NY announced heightened security on its subways bec of a
terrorist threat, L.A. stepped up ITS subway security. NY subways carry 4 million
people a day. L.A. subways carry very few. Beefing up L.A. subway security
in the wake of NY is like Norm Crosby getting a bodyguard after John Lennon
The Bubblegum Achievement Awards 10-7-05
Kim Cooper is a gal obsessed. With many things. I love bubblegum music,
but it occupies about 3.5 percent of my being. Still, thats plenty.
Shes been writing about it since 1992 in her own magazine, Scram, and
two years ago got together friends and allies to present the first ever awards
show for their favorite sounds. That conclave honored Volman and Kaylan of
the Turtles, Toni Wine, Artie Ripp and Ritchie Cordell.
This years bash honored radios Dr. Demento, producer Steve Barri,
Archies singer Ron Dante and Ohio Express singer Joey Levine. All showed up for
the honors (Levine winging in from New York) and it was a fabulous bash. Hostess
was artist Kelly Kuvo, The Bubblegum Queen, attended by Canadian musicomedians
Canned Ham. A screening of the unaired documentary Bubblegum Music Is The
Naked Truth (also the title of the book assembled by Kim Cooper and David
Smay), an exhibition by Bob Bakers Marionettes (the event was held at his
downtown theater), and especially the musical interludes by singers Levine and
Dante (with vocal accompaniment by singer and songwriter Toni Wine, who sang
the female part on the original Sugar Sugar) were terrific. Cookies
and coffee and bugglegum were served in the anteroom.
I got a magazine called Harp. Possibly in the packet of stuff from SXSW. One
item was about singer Ryan Adams.
...the songwriters churlishness reared its ugly head last year when
he left a nasty voicemail with Harp columnist and Chicago Sun-Times columnist
Jim De Rogatis to gripe about an unfavorable review...
On the message, which naturally made its way onto the Internet, the bleary-eyed
singer suggested that Old man, its time for you to probably get out
of the fucking business and assumed You obviously have a problem
The message naturally made its way onto the Internet because.....
DeRogatiss phone messages are sent out automatically? Why no. He e-shouted
it to show how he was momentarily on par with greatness.
Musicians live at the top of mountain. Below them, far below, are the writers.
When one draws blood from a musicmaker and hears from them personally,
this momentary equalization of puddle-dwelling writer and Olympian
hero rocks the lowly crits world!
Look at the tone of the Harp item: in loyalty to their kind, they can not tolerate
Adams objection. Because he disliked the slam of what he felt was a fine
performance, he was churlish. He is a blurry-eyed singer.
(What about DeRogatis, shown wearing glasses?) He assumed the Chicago
writer had a problem. Its a tempest in a sandbox.
The headline in the 10-2-05 L.A. Times Calendar piece was Bad boy turns
warm and cuddly. One of the L.A. Times New York staff writers -- there
are hundreds -- interviews Dale Peck, who has retired from being a critic to
write his own book. The page 1 intro jumps to a FULL PAGE adoration of Peck,
including a 9 X 11 picture of his fantastic self.
The critic Peck, Josh Getlin writes admiringly, became one of the most
reviled critics on the literary scene, a brawler in a culture that has steadily
grown more corporate and polite.
Of what culture does he speak? American culture? Every moron in this country
is presented as a bad boy! TV and radio news jerks strut and provoke -- One
tv guy screams about financial news! Bumper stickers spit How Am I Driving?
Call 1-800-FUCKYOU. Athletes strike their coaches and tv cameramen. Jerry
Springer hosts the equivalent of bum-fights. And theres this rap world....
So in Getlins fairyland, Peck is a welcome breath of fresh air when he famously (good
word Josh, hardly ever see it) calls Rick Moody the worst writer of his
generation and has deliberately (sounds like heroically) used
hyperbole, harsh attacks and ridicule. Though his previous book, a compilation
of venemous reviews, was cheekily called Hatchet Jobs, he
now shows his tender side in a new book which Getlin finds to be rich with
cinematic detail. (This is not a slam?)
Huzzahs to you Dale! And to Josh for finding in the vastness of polite Manhattan
an ill-tempered creep who seeks publicity.
Doom Da Doom Doom
In the late 1980s I was asked to come up with a popular song from 1962 for
a movie set during the Cuban missile crisis. I scoured 1962 for something moody
or ominous or even a cha-cha that sang of impending doom. After coming up emptyhanded,
I found 1963s End Of The World by Skeeter Davis, and wished
it had been a year earlier. But then chart-nut Mark Deaver told me Oh,
it broke out in Dallas and Pittsburgh 4 in
November, 1962. I love people like him. (There are more.)
I think that song was written BECAUSE of the 1962 crisis. Any look-back at
late 1962 mentions that people all over the world were bracing for nuclear
war: Armageddon. Turning that mood into a sad love song seems logically opportunistic.
What about songs of doom? In 1950, Guy Lombardo had a huge hit with Enjoy
Yourself (Its Later Than You Think.) I remember it in the air, it
meant nothing to me as a child, but hearing it a couple of years ago I was shocked
by it. It counseled that you should live it up, because you might drop dead or
who knows what. What spurred this? Russia getting the Atom Bomb? The police
action in Korea? .
In 1960, Doug Warren had a song If The World Dont End Tomorrow (Im
Coming After You). It got airplay in Chicago, at a time that I remember
me and my young-teen friend scaring his little brothers by saying that the world
was going to end. But I remember this NOT because of the song, but bec there
was something in the air. But what? Bob Lumans anti-negativity song Lets
Think About Livin was not societal commentary, just a poke at death
songs like Tell Laura I Love Her.
4 Not actual towns, my fuzzy memory.
In the 10/09 NY Times Book Review section P.J. ORourke assays a book by
a woman who dislikes todays slang.
Slam Dunks is neither prescriptive nor descriptive, nor is
it in fact about language at all. It is about Leslie Savans opinion of
No kidding? A book with a point of view? His books, of course, walk that narrow
road of neoconservative factuality. He ends, Opinions of language are
as interesting as opinions of arithmetic.
The strained analogy aside, whats with him? I dont mind that hes
a reformed hippie, I mind that hes a preening hypocritical jerk. He dislikes
this gal, and premise, so much that he defends all linguistic offenses, even
the arm-pumping Yessss! For this I would gladly draw and quarter
Dont Knock Rock
Recently I went to a rock music-sharing gathering where I contributed the 1964
British tv show Dont Knock Rock. Most there had never seen it.
I hesitate to describe it bec you cant see it: it simply is unavailable
except through bootlegged copies. But I must. Opens with motorcycles in the London
night entering an arena surounded with teenagers on scaffolding. On the stage
below, Gene Vincent in black leather launching into Be Bop A Lula backed by Sounds
Incorporated. Then the Animals doing Talkin Bout You. Later we have Jerry
Lee Lewis doing three songs, looking like a maniac just escaped from the booby
hatch -- the ROCK & ROLL booby hatch! His last song, Im On Fire, has
him standing on the piano waving his coat around while rock-crazed British fans
clutch at him. Then six songs by Little Richard. He was just out of the ministry
and full of fire. When he wasnt pounding the piano he was jumping up and
down with the band. Its probably the most rockin film ever made.
According to my Scottish contact, it ran on tv there in 1964, once in 1986
(in the U.S. too) and has never been released commercially or aired again.
Tales of LA City -1
I used a $20 bill for a $4 purchase at Sav-On Drugs in Hollywood. I got home
and noticed I had only $6. I patted my many pockets - money meanders on me
- but no ten-spot. So I drove back and told the mgr the clerk mustve miscalculated
my change, so should have $10 extra at closing time. The mgr said Come
with me. She opened a safe, and took out a $10 bill. One of our employees
found it by the front door. Nobody claimed it, but we couldnt ask over
the PA if anyone lost a ten-dollar bill. You asked. I shouldnt
have been stunned, but I was.
In The Very Thought of You, 1944, a bunch of submariners are about
to go on leave. Will I still be attracted to women? Dana Andrews
ponders. (Not Will I remember what to do with a woman? or How
will I get a woman?) Later, at a bar, he says I feel queer talking
Artists Bill Stout and Nigel Waymouth at Chez Bronson,
Guitar technician David Neely signing the
new Skip Heller Model guitar
(Subway Guitars, Berkeley, CA)
at Skips 40th birthday party, North Hollywood
Dave Alvin, middle, waits his turn. 10-09-05 (0607)
Steve Barri, Joey Levine, Toni Wine, and Ron Dante at
the Bubblegum Achievement
awards show, 10-07-05 (0651)
Dr. Demento, Art Laboe, AF. Adelphia Cable studio. 10-05-05 (0644)
Jim Dawson, Harold Battiste, AF, Mark Humphrey. AF Poker Party, 10-04-05
Scott Kempner, Amoeba Records, Hollywood 10-15-05 (0697)
A Fogey Day In L.A. Town
I bought a bunch of old tv-show DVDs at the 99 Cent Store. I dont dwell
on the past so much that I need to watch 3 episodes of Ozzie & Harriet,
but it seemed like such an opportunity!
Mr. & Mrs. North did not hold up well. The tv show I thought was Dragnet
bec Jack Webb was pictured in a trenchcoat was listed as Treasure Man, which
probably means Treasury Man. (I didnt view it.) One was 1959s The
Third Man, starring Michael Rennie. It was the adventures of Harry Lime! In
the 1949 movie, Lime was a vile black-marketeer who sold watered-down medicine
that crippled children. But apparently he had a good side - by 1959 he was
running around (with a valet) solving crimes.
Make Room For Daddy was eye-opening. As a child I didnt understand the
title, which meant that Danny Thomas was a traveling entertainer who only came
home occasionally. But my blast was seeing his first-season (1953) wife Jean
Hagen. I know her from the many times Ive watched The Killing (1956)
but seeing her on MRFD made me realize that I was in love with her, boy-child
puppy love, and I suddenly recalled my attraction to a couple of women that
looked like her in my post pup-escent years. (It helped that some gals were
donning 50s getups in the 1980s.)
I had another tv crush, Phyllis Coates, who played Lois Lane on first season
of Superman in 1952. What a doll! But she looked real tough. Ill
bet she slammed the door when she quit. My first real gf looked like her.
A DVD of the film Down Among The Z-Men showed Peter Sellers on
the cover. I showed the package to Paul Body, who knows movies, and he never
heard of it. It was a 1952 Goons movie, incomprehensibly English.
On the 1976 live album, The Reason Im Talking S--t, Eddie
(approximately) this speech:
I want to tell you that somebody is gonna be playing here next week. The
management keeps asking me Tell them whos gonna be here next. Shee-it,
Im not in the business of telling you whos gonna be here. Some otherbody!
Some other motherfucker! Shee-it, when Im done they can burn the place
down, I dont give a fuck.
That rap came to mind while I was watching a tv interview with Joe Smith, former
president of Capitol, Elektra, Warner Bros. The Adelphia Cable guy asked him
if he kept up with music now that hes retired. Oh yes, I have a grandson
who burns me CDs he replied.
A former record industry big-shot saying he trades in illegally duplicated
music? He shoulda added Shee-it, when I leave the record business, they
can burn the motherfucker down.
Waynes World 2
Holding a Gerry & The Pacemakers album, Mike Myers says:
You know, today Ill bet these guys are WEARING pacemakers.
- 57 -
Jim Holvay donated a 1st record/1st concert thing a year ago, and added this
biographical bit, which I neglected to run til now.
The Capsule: Born and raised in Chicago. After seeing "Love Me Tender", "Loving
You" and "Jailhouse Rock" numerous times, I went out and bought
a $12 guitar. In 7th grade formed my first band, The Rockin' Rebels. My first
paying gig was at the opening of a Go-Kart Shop in Lyons, Ill. During my high
school years I first played in a group called Jimmy & The Jesters and later
joined a band of much older fellas from Aurora called The MayBees. We recorded
3 singles for Terry Records. During my junior & senior years in high school
we were fortunate to connect with Jim Lounsbury, the local TV dance show host.
We played at his record hops thruout the Chicagoland area, as well as in Michigan,
Indiana and Wisconsin.
In the summer of '63, we changed
some personnel and our name to The Chicagoans. We became the house
band on Danceville USA, Lounsbury's weekly "live"tv show . In the fall we moved to New York, (i.e. post-twist
era) and played The Peppermint Lounge, The Metropole, Arthurs, while also
doing some recording. Returned to Chitown after a year and had a local hit instrumental
called "Beatletime" by The Livers. We were booked on tours playing
ballrooms thruout the midwest backing up Terry Stafford, Chubby Checker & Nino
Tempo & April Stevens. After the tour, we kicked out the lead singer and
moved to San Francisco. We worked clubs in North Beach (pre-Monterey)
alongside Sly Stewart & his Mojo Men, The Beau Brummels, Pat & Lolly
Vegas, The Gauchos, The Nooney Rickett 4. After one year, I returned home
and registered for Junior College.
While in college, I wrote and produced
various local artists, most notably Ral Donner and Dee Clark. Later
I was offered a gig as the guitarist for the Dick Clark Caravan Of
Stars. I went back on the road, criss-crossing the US and Canada in
Greyhound buses, backing up The Supremes, Del Shannon, Brian Hyland,
Tom Jones, The Velvelettes, Mike Clifford and on and on. Tired of the
road and the afraid of getting drafted, I enrolled back in junior college.
That summer, I hand-picked the "best young musicians" in Chicago
and formed The MOB. The goal was to play clubs inorder to help finance the coming
fall school tuition. The band was getting standing ovations every night
and raves from the press that we all decided to quit school and give show
business our best shot.
I was always writing original songs
and during this same time period, I was approached by a local promoter.
He managed a teeny bopper group called The Buckinghams. He was looking
for original songs to record. I had written "Kind
Of A Drag" 6 months earlier and gave him a tape and the rest is history.
The MOB stayed together for 14 years and played the top showrooms and venues
in the country. In Vegas, we became the opening act for Wilson Pickett, BB King,
Ike & Tina Turner, Fats Domino, etc. We had numerous singles and albums out
on various labels over our 14 year career, however the hit record eluded us.
Though we had formed The MOB two years before BS&T, Chicago, The Ides Of
March and Chase, we were not able to capitalize on the unique rock horn sound
that we had created. Even The Buckinghams added horns to their records after
seeing us at clubs in Chicago. We inspired all of these groups to success and
yet the record labels stereotyped us as "just another horn band".
After some 16 years on the road and the lack of recording success, I became
a card-carrying member of the world of 9 to 5.