Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones

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The Classic Rocker Featured Book Review

Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones by Paul Trynka

Rating: FOUR AND A HALF Classic Rock Stars

Out of Control Rock and Roll Fatality

Brian Jones BookThis book will remind original Rolling Stones fans who started the band and for younger generations, who the blonde guitarist is in the old videos. Whatever era you fit into, it’s an enlightening look at the brief life of a musician who dedicated his extraordinary talent to making the blues mainstream, then became a rock and roll fatality as it all spun out of control.

In many ways the author pitches a good defense for Jones’ equally extraordinary personality flaws and doesn’t shy away from reporting the bad with the good. Jones may have been one of the most innovative multi-instrumentalists to lead the 1960’s British Invasion, but as a human being he was multi-deficient. Most of the formative blame is aimed at his conservative parents, but any morals he would assumingly have learned from this environment were lost once he discovered music. This freed him from many societal restraints including girlfriends and their pregnancies, hangers-on, ‘normal’ people (wankers) and friends that didn’t share his focus were used and disposed of.

He picked the members of The Rolling Stones, named the group and decided what songs they would play. He taught Mick Jagger how to give a woman satisfaction and open guitar tuning to Keith Richards. But under the bravado that made him the original star of the band was an insecurity that already had him on a downward spiral at the first taste of success.

Brian JonesThe Stones’ devilish persona can be traced to Jones, but the image was exploited to a higher level by manager Andrew Loog Oldham and anointed by him upon Jagger and Richards. Jones’ paranoia was no match for the trio as they took over his band, his musical contributions (potential song writing credits) and his woman, Anita Pallenberg.

It’s tempting to call this an answer book to Keith Richards’ bio, Life. But in reality, it’s more the prologue. In the mid 1960’s Jones and Jagger were the stars of the band and Richards was the quiet creator of classic rock guitar riffs. After Jones was found floating in his swimming pool, the author makes a good case of Richards assuming his personality and riding it with Jones’ former girlfriend for all it was worth.

Whether you agree or not – and even if you’re a fan of Brian Jones or define him as Keef did in his bio – this book won’t change your opinion. But it’s an interesting insight into a major pop music influence who has almost been forgotten during The Stones wicked half century of success.

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#216 – Moonage Daydream

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#216 – Moonage Daydream by David Bowie

ZiggyStardust – When we rock and rolled into summer 1972 I had never heard of David Bowie. The past year had been great in rock music terms with LP’s by the solo Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who and Alice Cooper, but for some reason I was in the mood for something new.

Actually, I was looking for something different

I was between my freshman and Sophomore years in college and one hot afternoon in July or August I wandered into a local record store in northern Ohio and asked the ‘kid’ working behind the counter (who was probably a year or two older than me) what he recommended. Thinking back, it was like asking a waiter in a restaurant what the specialty was that day. And the reason I remember this so well is because it was the first – and only – time I’ve ever done that. Usually I would be looking for a specific album or gravitate to the record bins of my favorite artists to see if there were any new releases.

He pulled out a copy of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and said David Bowie was popular in England. He also said it was a good album and recommended it. It was a good enough sales pitch for me and I bought the album without ever hearing any of the songs.

After my first listen I realized the kid was right.

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It was different as in being spaced-out, gender-bending, post-psychedelic, futuristic rock and roll with very catchy tunes. Bowie was singing the part of Ziggy Stardust, much like Roger Daltrey had vocalized the main character in Tommy. Only Bowie was really going to the extreme as a far-out alien rock star from outer space.

It was an oddity compared with any other music I was listening to that summer. And I’m sticking with that adjective, even though I hadn’t even heard of the song Space Oddity when I first listened to Ziggy Stardust.

This seemed like a well-kept secret since no one else in my circle of friends seemed to know of David Bowie or this album. I played it from beginning to end over and over and there wasn’t a song that would cause me to pick up the stereo needle to skip over it, as there seemed to be on most other albums. But if I had to pick immediate standouts they were Moonage Daydream, Starman, Suffragette City and Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.

Before heading back to college I was visited by my best friend from high school, who had been relocated to Upstate New York when his parents moved after our graduation. Tim was not only into Ziggy Stardust, but also had Bowie’s earlier albums The Man Who Sold The World and Space Oddity. We spent a lot of time listening to this wealth of music and trying to figure out why Bowie wasn’t a big rock star on our side of the Atlantic.

david bowie postThen it all changed. And according to everything I’ve read about Bowie’s early success in the U.S., his big breakthrough happened in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland has a great reputation for helping to launch rock acts on a national level. It was where Alan Freed first used the term “rock and roll” on the radio, Elvis Presley had his first show north of the Mason-Dixon Line, The Beatles were banned for causing a riot in 1964 (ban lifted for their concert in 1966) and Bruce Springsteen kicked butt during his much bootlegged live performance at The Agora, a small downtown venue that could be called the Midwest version of New York’s CBGB. If a rocker wanted to make it, they had to make it in Cleveland.

Now they want to make it into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It just so happens it’s located in Cleveland…

A claim can also be made for Cleveland’s FM progressive rock radio scene. In particular, WMMS “The Buzzard.” The local airwaves introduced us to a lot of the acts that were not nationally known yet, but would be in the near future. The deejays had picked up on Bowie and it turned out Tim and I weren’t the only ones listening. With a fan base waiting his arrival, the opening gig for Bowie’s U.S. Ziggy Stardust tour was at Cleveland’s Music Hall on September 22, 1972.

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Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles final tour in 1966

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Wish I could, but I won’t claim to have been there. Either I hadn’t heard when tickets went on sale, was back at college or pursuing a new girlfriend. From memory, it was a combination of all three. But luck was on our side. The show was such a huge success Bowie was booked to return on November 25 at the larger Cleveland Public Hall.

publichall3Tim and I scored tickets, but since they were selling fast our seats weren’t the greatest. Public Hall is the same arena The Beatles played in 1964 (and were banned) and where Paul McCartney inducted Ringo Starr into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. It holds about 12,000 people and we were halfway back on the second level, which was still better than being stuck in the back sections of floor seating. But it was still too removed from the stage to get a close up look at the performers.

Bowie and the Spiders From Mars came on and opened with the Ziggy Stardust LP song Hang On To Yourself. Since we were veteran concert-goers and I had learned from the best while attending The Beatles 1966 concert “riot” at Cleveland Stadium, having reserved seats didn’t mean we had to stay in them. Tim and I took off, ran down a ramp and a stairway and onto the floor of Public Hall.

The crowd was already standing close to the stage and we snaked our way up to about the fourth or fifth row. Bowie had already played the song Ziggy Stardust and was probably into Changes when we climbed up on chairs for a closer look.

Bowie as ZiggyHonesty, and it’s funny to write this now, but we were both shocked. I remember this because we talked about it later that night.

We had NEVER seen anyone in person that looked like David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust. During the summer of 1972 I had seen both The Rolling Stones and Alice Cooper in concert. Mick Jagger wore eye makeup and sparkles and the Cooper band were the founders of glam rock and looked and dressed the part. But it was obvious they were guys.

David Bowie was… an alien?

Bowie RonsonHis orange hair was swept back into a shag-mullet (best term I can come up with) and his face and eyes were caked with heavy makeup. He wore earrings and space age gender-bending clothes while some of his on stage gyrations included “going down” on Mick Ronson’s (the Spider’s guitar virtuoso) electric guitar.

The concert still “goes down” in my personal memory as one of the strangest rock and roll events I’ve ever attended. It was also one of the best.

After a couple songs standing face to face with Bowie from only a few rows away, Tim and I returned to our seats so we could hear the music and avoid all the pushing and shoving that comes with rushing the stage. I remember Bowie and Ronson sitting on stools playing an acoustic version of Space Oddity and also rocking through Moonage Daydream, which also happens to be this episode’s Dream Song.

Moonage Daydream floated through my waking mind on the morning of February 15th. It goes down as an alien… uh, I mean subliminal memory since I hadn’t heard it in awhile. But you should realize from the above memories I still own the original vinyl copy and have gone futuristic by adding The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars to my digital collection.

Fans already know this is a heavy rocker with Bowie claiming to be both an alligator and space invader. Later he changed his personas to include Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke and reverting back in a move forward, the Major Tom character first unveiled to us in Space Oddity. And this doesn’t even include his numerous acting roles such as Jareth the Goblin King in the movie Labyrinth and The Elephant Man on Broadway.

But in 1972 we didn’t know who he was, other than a rock star from another world with orange hair, lots of makeup, a LOUD wardrobe and a great album. We’d find out the rest as he unveiled it all in the future.

Here’s a 1972 video of Ziggy Stardust performing Moonage Daydream live with The Spiders From Mars.

To purchase The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars visit Amazon.com.

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Dave Schwensen is The Classic Rocker and author of The Beatles At Shea Stadium and The Beatles In Cleveland. Visit Dave’s author page on Amazon.com.

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing

 

 

#217 – Honey Pie

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#217 – Honey Pie by The Beatles

Beatles 68 – Wish I could say “Welcome to camp” but I’m not sure everyone would get the idea. But if you caught my not-so-hidden meaning, it’s good way to describe Honey Pie, which was released in 1968 as part of The Beatles’ The Beatles (actual title of The White Album).

Mention camp and some people might think of pitching a tent somewhere or Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie welcoming disciples to Tommy’sHoliday Camp” in the 1975 movie. But what I’m talking about is “camp” as a style.

There are so many definitions and examples of camp posted online that it would take up too many pages in what is meant to be a simple Classic Rocker article. But I would describe the term as taking a U-turn from what’s currently popular and finding inspiration from something in the past. Then the goal is to make that something trendy for today.

Not bad – huh? Here are a couple examples:

Beatles Swim Wear

To the beach lads!

Bette Midler was called camp at the beginning of her national fame when she dressed in 1940’s fashion and sang tunes like her remake of The Andrews Sisters’ Boogie Woogie Bugel Boy. So was Tiny Tim when he rode his ukulele to rock star fame. They were called “throw-backs” because their inspiration came from decades old fashion and music. Okay, no pop stars actually looked like Tiny Tim decades before he was a camp fad in the late 1960’s, but his rendition of Tiptoe Through The Tulips originally had baby boomers’ grandparents “cutting the rug” when it was first a hit in 1929.

The Beatles definitely had a background in camp stylings. In 1963 they were posing on a beach in 1920’s bathing attire (I hesitate to call them bathing suits) and singing Moonlight Bay (published in 1912!) while wearing straw hats and striped “roaring 20’s” blazers on the British television show Morecambe and Wise. If you need a reminder, here’s the clip.

Music Hall is a style I associate with pop music from the 1920’s. There would be a “rinky-tink piano” and probably a banjo somewhere in the instrumental mix. The singers were better known as crooners and using a megaphone for vocal effects was considered cutting edge. Of course the most famous of all was Rudy Vallee, but there were others – just like there were more than a few guitar players in the 1960’s.

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In the 1970’s the campiness of the 1950’s became cool when the film American Graffiti morphed into the TV show Happy Days. And the style went even bigger and campier when the Broadway hit Grease was made into the mega-hit musical film Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.

In a similar way, the same thing happened in the mid-1960’s. But the scene went even further back in time to the happy days of crooners, straw hats, striped blazers and rinky-tink recording studio effects that even had our grandparents taking notice of this hip, new, throw-back sound.

Working off memory, I’ll credit Ray Davies and John Sebastian for pioneering Music Hall Rock onto the Top Ten pop charts in 1966. Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks and Daydream by The Lovin’ Spoonful were definitely not songs inspired by early rock and roll pioneers like Elvis, Little Richard or Chuck Berry. The New Vaudeville Band won a Grammy Award in 1967 for Best Contemporary Song when they took Music Hall Rock to the extreme with Winchester Cathedral – complete with vocals sung through a megaphone.

Paul and Jim Mac

Paul and Jim Mac

The Beatles, most particularly Paul McCartney, were also forerunners of this style. Undoubtedly influenced by his musical father who led his own music hall group, Jim Mac’s Jazz Band in the 1920’s, McCartney opened side two of Revolver in 1966 with Good Day Sunshine. Suddenly the rinky-tink piano sound was almost as cool as an electric guitar.

McCartney continued the trend into the psychedelic era by including When I’m 64 on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP and Your Mother Should Know as part of the Magical Mystery Tour film soundtrack. Remember the Beatles in white tuxedos with tails dancing down the long stairway? It doesn’t get any more pop camp than that.

Oh wait, I forgot about The Monkees and Davy Jones performing Cuddly Toy wearing straw hats and striped blazers in 1967. But I guess there’s as much rock as camp involved since a lot of fans believe Jones’ soft-shoe dance steps inspired Axl Rose‘s stage moves for Guns and Roses. If you don’t believe it, here’s a very funny video claiming to prove that point. Compare and discuss among yourselves.

When rock & roll and pop music eventually morphed into “rock music” the Beatles were also at the forefront of that trend. They ditched their mop-top and fab four labels after spending time in India with their guru and returning with Revolution and Hey Jude in 1968. By the end of that year, The White Album included so many different musical genres and styles they needed two discs to get it all out.

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Special offer for readers of The Classic Rocker!!

Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles final tour in 1966

Author signed copies of The Beatles In Cleveland AND 1966 concert poster t-shirt

BOTH for one Classic Rocker price of $19.95 + shipping – U.S. only!

* A $10 savings from already discounted website and festival price of $29.95

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This also included McCartney’s latest contribution to Music Hall Rock, Honey Pie. It’s the story of a girl leaving England for fame and fortune and her boyfriend “croons” about wanting her to come back home. The instrumentation (rinky-tink) is right out of the 1920’s and even a scratchiness and popping sound is added to McCartney’s vocals on the line “Now she’s hit the big time” to make it sound like an old 78 rpm record.

It’s been written that John Lennon hated these music hall outbursts by McCartney, but that might have only been invented to toughen up his rocker edge in the late 60’s into the 70’s. If you’ve watched The Beatles Anthology or know anything about the song Free As A Bird, you’ll know Lennon was also a fan. The banjo player on a music hall stage at the end of the song and video were included because he loved it. Before McCartney showed him how to properly play guitar chords, he only knew banjo chords (played on guitar) taught to him by his mother.

Watch that next step - it's a doozy!

Watch that next step – it’s a doozy!

Honey Pie joined the Dream Song list on February 14th as a recent memory. Of course I own a copy on The White Album and had just heard it the day before. That sort of musical catchiness is tough to forget once it’s in your head.

I also remember jumping on the camp train to score an “A” in English during my senior year in high school.

With my good pals Tim and Gary, we had proven our ability to sing with lead roles in our high school musical. And since we were only weeks from graduation, sitting down and writing a passing English paper on some book we were supposed to have read was not high our lists of things to do. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always been an avid reader. But the books I read weren’t usually the assigned reading. I was quite entertained sitting in class with the assigned book opened as a way to hide the latest popular paperback I couldn’t put down. Thanks to Cliff’s Notes I could catch up with everyone else the night before any test or paper was due.

Our final assigned book (don’t ask which one because I never read it) had to do with the 1920’s. Since my two pals and I could sing, our English teacher came up with a great idea that was a win-win situation. He knew we had little or no interest in writing a paper on the book and he probably wanted to skate through the last couple weeks without the miserable task of hounding us to write one. So he asked us as a trio to learn about a half dozen popular songs from the 1920’s (I remember Honeysuckle Rose being one), dress up in straw hats and striped blazers (from the theater department) and sing the songs on stage in the school auditorium for our English class.

Turned out it was easier than Cliff’s Notes. The teacher introduced each song, we did our camp show – and scored final easy “A’s” on the way to pick up our diplomas. It’s too bad Honey Pie wasn’t one of the songs because it sure fit the trend we were going for as Music Hall Rockers.

The Beatles never filmed a video for Honey Pie, so grab your copy of The White Album and take a listen. BUT for something different, here is an early demo of the song recorded at George Harrison’s Kinfauns Bungalow.

To purchase The White Album with Honey Pie, visit Amazon.com

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Dave Schwensen is The Classic Rocker and author of The Beatles At Shea Stadium and The Beatles In Cleveland. Visit Dave’s author page on Amazon.com.

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing

 

#218 – Why Can’t We Be Friends?

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#218 – Why Can’t We Be Friends? by War

War – Music is never tied to a certain year or era. A good song can cast a wide shadow across generations. Staying within our context of classic rock and pop, songs recorded by Elvis and The Beatles more than half a century ago are still the soundtrack for new fans making new memories in 2016. Since I fully expect this generation to be impacting the world a half century from now, it’s safe to say these songs will still be alive and well – with an excellent chance to live on through their children

Why Can’t We Be Friends? was part of my college soundtrack in 1975. But those are not the first memories that come back when hearing the song today. Instead it takes me 17 years into a future I would have never seen coming as a college student in Ohio. I can’t actually say I heard the song at the end of April in 1992, but there’s a word association with the title that takes me back to when I was living in Los Angeles.

If you were there, you’ll remember.

Time RiotFor me, “Why can’t we be friends?” easily flows into “Can we all get along?” It’s not a stretch to anyone’s imagination that both phrases say the same thing. The first was sung by the band War. The second was a statement made by Rodney King during the LA Riots in April 1992. Each one alone reminds me of the other. And since The Classic Rocker is about music and attached memories, here’s what I have attached to this song…

Subtitle: The LA / Rodney King Riots

In April 1992 I was working at The Improv Comedy Club on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. For another word association, this is a Dream Songs List and I had my Dream Job. Anyone involved in the comedy business knows about Budd Friedman. He started the whole concept of “comedy clubs.” Before opening The Original Improvisation in New York City with then-wife Silver, the only places to see comedians perform live were in theaters or resort hotels (think Catskill Comics). In an earlier era there had been Vaudeville.

Once The Improv got underway in the early 1960s, audiences could go to the small club (about 175 seats) on West 44th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue for drinks, food and laughs. It was groundbreaking and the concept has been copied countless times around the world since. It’s also where I got my start in the comedy biz as the club manager during the late 1980’s. Thank you Silver!

John Lennon outside The New York Improv on W. 44th Street

John Lennon outside The New York Improv on W. 44th Street

Budd opened The Hollywood Improv around 1980 and by 1992 I was his assistant. To put it into classic rock terms, it was like being the assistant to one of The Beatles. And to make it even more of a dream job, I was also talent booker for the club. Yeah, I can name some pretty famous comedians I was fortunate to work with, but that’s not what this is all about…

I shared a two bedroom apartment in North Hollywood with my best pal Tim. He was in the rock music biz and I was in comedy, so there was a lot of loud music and laughs involved. We lived in the San Fernando Valley on Morrison Street and the drive to my office at The Improv was via Laurel Canyon Boulevard. I think it was only about eight miles, but with the morning traffic it would take about 45 minutes. My goal was always to get there before Budd, which was around 10 am.

The Rodney King Riots” started on Wednesday, April 29, 1992. Without going too far into a history lesson, King had been brutally beaten by four LA police officers for resisting arrest after a high speed chase. King was black and the cops were white. The scene was videotaped by a local resident and was brutal to watch. He was definitely out of line for taking them on a high speed chase to avoid breaking his parole and going back to jail, but didn’t deserve what the cops did to him. The trial became an issue of race and when the white cops were found not guilty, much of the black community exploded with rage. There were fires, looting, beatings and killings.

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I was at The Hollywood Improv that day. As usual, I would take off around 6 pm, grab something to eat and be back at the club that night for the show. I’d leave around 11 pm and head back to North Hollywood. But almost every night, instead of retracing my Laurel Canyon morning drive, I’d take Hollywood Boulevard because I enjoyed the bright lights and people walking around.

Yeah, that’s what happens when you’re a “city guy.”

But this night was different. I had gone to Tower Records earlier and bought a cassette of Paul McCartney’s Venus and Mars album. Since my very used (and very notorious lemon) Mustang Convertible only had a tape deck I needed cassettes if I wanted a good driving soundtrack. But there was something wrong with the tape, so I had to trade it in for one that worked.

Tower Records stayed open all night, so it was no big deal making the exchange after 11 pm. But because it was later and closer to my morning drive route, I skipped the Hollywood Blvd light show and took the faster (no traffic at night) cruise home via Laurel Canyon.

LA Riots 1When I walked into our apartment Tim was glued to the television watching live coverage of what was going on in Los Angeles since the Rodney King verdict had been announced. Angry mobs were running through the streets, buildings were on fire and stores were being looted. Much of the focus was on Hollywood Boulevard and included the stores and “lights” I would have passed if I hadn’t gone to Tower Records that night. I especially remember seeing the Fredrick’s Of Hollywood store in flames.

On Thursday morning I wasn’t sure what was going on, but since I hadn’t received a call from anyone at The Improv I assumed it was business as usual. After arriving at 10 am I asked some of the staff if the show would be cancelled that night. Everyone seemed worried (who wouldn’t be?) but the show was still on.

Daily NewsThe television and radio reported bad news all morning about violence spreading through different LA neighborhoods. Finally around noon Budd came in my office and said we were canceling our shows through Sunday night. Since we also scheduled for The Improv in Santa Monica, that meant contacting all the comedians we had booked for 14 weekend shows.

This was an era pre-cell phones, so it took a few hours to reach everyone in person. While I was making the calls, Budd and head chef Barry Minniefield nailed wooden boards across the front windows to prevent looters from trashing the place.

* And here’s an interesting note for music fans…

Barry was a contestant on Season 8 of The Voice (Spring 2015). I hadn’t seen him in at least 20 years and almost fell out of my chair when I recognized him singing Me And Mrs. Jones. He picked Adam Levine as his coach and gave new hope to everyone over the age of 50 that they could still be rock (and soul) stars. Thanks Barry!

The rest of the staff had already cleared out while I was working the phones. One dear friend stopped by my office on her way out and warned me to put the top up on my convertible before leaving. She’d heard on the news rioters were shooting at “white people” and I didn’t need to take any chances. Not that a canvas top would stop a bullet, but I’d make sure this “white person” wasn’t a clear target.

———————————————————————–

Special offer for readers of The Classic Rocker!!

Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles final tour in 1966

Author signed copies of The Beatles In Cleveland AND 1966 concert poster t-shirt

BOTH for one Classic Rocker price of $19.95 + shipping – U.S. only!

* A $10 savings from already discounted website and festival price of $29.95

For book and shirt details visit website

But remember only the Buy Now buttons BELOW works for this $10 savings offer!

* Shirts are available in Large and Medium sizes only – XL and 2XL sold out!

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Button above is for MEDIUM shirt and book order ONLY!

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That’s how nuts it was. This especially hits home looking back because our business was making people laugh regardless of color, nationality, sexual preferences or any other discriminatory labels. If you’re not “color blind” you’re in the wrong biz. In fact, you’re in the wrong era.

LA Riots 2Except for Budd, I was the last person to leave the club that afternoon. I had talked with all the comedians and walked next door to The Improv showroom and restaurant. Upstairs there was a smaller room (more like a loft) with a pool table and television where the comedians would hang out. Budd was sitting in a chair in front of the television watching live updates. He looked at me and said I should take off – and to be careful. My image of him was like the captain of a ship and can still picture him sitting there. Neither one of us knew what might happen within the next few hours.

Yeah, it was dramatic.

With the top up on my car I headed out of the parking lot on Melrose Avenue and drove toward Laurel Canyon Blvd. Out of my rear view mirrors I could see flames and lots of smoke from areas near downtown Los Angeles.

LA Riots 3Tim was already back in the apartment by the time I arrived. We thought it might be safer in The Valley, but sometime in the early evening we saw a live television report showing a liquor store on fire and being looted only about a mile or two away from us. We could smell the smoke from our balcony on the second floor. I called my cousin in San Diego and told her we were on our way.

We steered away from the liquor store area, but had to stick with residential streets longer than usual because police had closed off the nearest freeway entrance. Luckily we didn’t encounter any problems and a few hours later we were in San Diego. We stayed through the weekend.

My usual routine was to talk with Budd every Sunday about the week’s comedian schedule. By that time the California National Guard, the Army and the Marines had gained control. Business would be as usual and we drove back to Los Angeles Sunday night. I remember Army trucks parked along the streets when we got off the freeway.

I also remember watching Rodney King on television and his now-famous quote, People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?

LA Riots 1992Since I work in a business where very talented and funny people can take real life situations and find humor while still delivering a serious message, King’s statement was a source of healing inspiration. There was a benefit show at The Improv that week to raise money for Reginald Denny, a truck driver who had been pulled from the cab of his semi-trailer and beaten by a mob at the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues. The comedians were brilliant while talking about the riot, but not lessening or making fun of the situation. More than a few borrowed, “Can we all get along?” as a theme for the evening.

I remember Jim Carrey, who was starring on the TV show In Living Color walking on stage with a sign saying “Black Owned,” which is what many black-owned businesses had posted outside their stores to discourage looting. The great George Wallace talked about how awful the riot was, but also joked he got a new television out of it. It was a demonstration of the healing value of humor. Thanks Budd!

Comedians can lighten a dark situation. That’s why they are so important and needed in times like this.

Why Can’t We Be Friends? was running through my mind on the morning of February 9th. It fits into the subliminal category of Dream Songs, but whenever I hear it my thoughts go back to The Rodney King Riots. It was a scary experience and not at all like memories I have from 1975 when the song was released.

War was a soulful, funk R&B band I also associate with life on the streets in the inner cities. And though I lived for many years in both Los Angeles and New York, I really didn’t experience the streets they sang about in songs such as The World Is A Ghetto and Low Rider. The closest I came to it was in 1992, but I had the option of getting out of the way. Too many others didn’t.

Here’s a classic video of Why Can’t We Be Friends? by War.

To purchase Icon: The Hits by War with Why Can’t We Be Friends? visit Amazon.com.

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Dave Schwensen is The Classic Rocker and author of The Beatles At Shea Stadium and The Beatles In Cleveland. Visit Dave’s author page on Amazon.com.

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing

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#219 – An Old Fashioned Love Song

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#219 – An Old Fashioned Love Song by Three Dog Night

three-dog-night-4 – Not to be over dramatic, especially with everything going on in the world today, but for boomers on the edge of adulthood, 1971 could be described as an intense year. I’ve written about it from a personal perspective in past Classic Rocker’s and memory-wise it’s a magnet on my timeline.

We were two years past Woodstock. And Altamont in December ’69 threw a sucker punch at the peace and love of the Woodstock Generation, delivering a major hit. Rock music and attitudes were showing a darker side and even though The Rolling StonesSympathy For The Devil had predated both, it seemed more descriptive of the times.

Kent State had exploded in May 1970 and Richard Nixon was still President. I’m sure you catch my drift.

Vietnam and the military draft were hanging over the heads of U.S. males turning 18 or close enough to think about it. Some volunteered to go while others had no choice. Either way, it was a life-changer.

Once again from my personal perspective, rock music had a major growth spurt in 1971. Since this was before the advent of classic rock radio, the pop songs of The British Invasion years and psychedelia from The Summer of Love were gone from the airwaves. The biggest artists coming out of Woodstock, such as The Who, Sly and the Family Stone and Ten Years After were defining rock music rather than playing rock and roll. Even the acoustic harmony of Crosby, Stills & Nash had morphed into the electric rock harmonies of CSN&Y(Young) with the songs Ohio and Woodstock.

There had already been a major division between AM Top 40 and FM “underground” radio. By 1971 the difference was like night and day. If you were 18 and older, FM with Led Zeppelin, David BowieThe Stones, and the above mentioned “rockers” spoke to you. For the younger generation, AM with The Osmonds, The Jackson Five and The Carpenters… well, I don’t really know because I wasn’t listening.

In 1971 I graduated from high school and went to college. That definitely set the timeline magnet in my head, but the music that year gives it an unforgettable soundtrack. Without even thinking too hard I can name some of the albums that spoke to us as we listened. I’ll keep this short.

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The year started with George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Actually, I received it as a 1970 Christmas present, but it lasted through the year and beyond. In the spring his former bandmate Paul McCartney with wife Linda came out with the underrated Ram including the song Too Many People. Another former bandmate John Lennon delivered his answer song later in the year with How Do You Sleep?

There was no Give Peace A Chance between the former Beatles in ’71.

Right before I graduated high school The Rolling Stones released Sticky Fingers. The opening guitar crunch and Bobby Keys’ sax on Brown Sugar still make it a must-have track almost half a century later. Then off to college and in rapid order came Alice Cooper’s Killer, Led Zeppelin IV (Stairway To Heaven), Lennon’s Imagine and what I consider the best album by The Beach Boys, Surf’s Up. This is when the underrated Carl Wilson seemed to take the helm and launched them into becoming America’s Band. And if you don’t believe me, listen to Student Demonstration Time and think back to what it was like in 1971.

Three Part Harmony

Three Part Harmony

Then Three Dog Night released An Old Fashioned Love Song. Say what?

I woke up with this song in my head on January 29th. Following the established trend of making it onto this Dream Song List, it has a catchy tune. And it’s stayed with me for a long time because I have never owned a copy and can’t remember the last time I’d heard it. So if anyone is interested, it falls into the subliminal category… yawn…

As that last comment should speak to you, it’s not a favorite song. In fact, it can serve as a magnet in my personal Three Dog Night timeline. When talking about songs from their early career vs. later years, this one marks a division as big as the one between AM and FM radio in 1971.

Pretty intense – right?

I remember my move from AM to FM during the time The Beatles released The White Album (actually titled The Beatles, but I’m sure you catch my drift). Along with discovering The Doors, Janis Joplin with Big Brother & The Holding Company, Moby Grape and other underground bands, I also heard Three Dog Night. Their earliest hits including One, Celebrate, Mama Told Me (Not To Come) and Eli’s Coming, along with various album tracks made me and my high school friends huge fans. We went together to see them in concert three times before heading off to college in 1971. And never once during those shows did we hear An Old Fashioned Love Song. That would’ve been too pop – or AM – for teenaged wannabe rockers.

Another reason we thought they were so underground had to do with the older kids of our generation that also followed Three Dog Night. It was during one of their shows at Cleveland’s Public Hall that I smelled marijuana for the first time. I had no idea what that aroma was wafting through the arena until my pal Kevin told me. And to this day I still don’t know how he knew that. We were only 16 and didn’t smoke any – and I don’t remember having any desire to. But it gave Three Dog Night a mature hippie image in my mind and if that wasn’t underground for a 16 year old kid living in Ohio during the late ’60s I still don’t know what would be.

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And their music was great. It rocked with volume and three-part harmonies and was always a great show. But sometime after the 1970 release of their LP One Man Band, they seemed to shift direction when compared to the more progressive rockers. Almost overnight they became an AM staple and we moved on to attending concerts by Led Zeppelin, The Who, Alice Cooper and The Stones.

For some of my generation this division started even earlier. Joy To The World was the closing track on One Man Band and hit the top of every AM music chart. Yeah, I can look back and hear it’s pure pop. But it worked as almost a novelty song when compared to what they released before. As a comparison, I look at Hot Dog from Zeppelin’s final LP, In Through The Out Door. That one was country when compared to Whole Lotta Love and even the acoustic songs on their previous albums, but the difference that seemed to come out of nowhere is what made it work.

For me, it’s the same with Joy To The World.

But getting back to An Old Fashioned Love Song. A red flag goes up when you realize it was written by Paul Williams for The Carpenters. Both the songwriter and artists were AM staples and did nothing that ever spoke to me. In fact it was the complete opposite. Whenever I heard their (not brown) sugary tunes it meant someone was either listening to AM or I was hanging with the wrong crowd.

Three_Dog_Night_-_Captured_Live_at_the_ForumOkay, that’s a little intense – I know it.

So I’ll sweeten it up by saying I had been a big fan of Three Dog Night up until this magnet of a moment. They were the first band that turned me on to FM. I had all their albums through One Man Band and practically wore out my vinyl copy of Captured Live At The Forum. It was heavy and rocked.

Their concerts are still great memories, but we eventually went our separate ways – just like AM and FM in 1971.

Here’s a video of Three Dog Night lip-syncing to An Old Fashioned Love Song in 1971. Check out the embarrassing “letter sweater” and “old fashioned radio” sequences and I’m sure you’ll understand better what I mean…

 

 

To purchase Three Dog Night – The Complete Hit Singles with An Old Fashioned Love Song – and some great songs we heard on FM – visit Amazon.com.

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Dave Schwensen is The Classic Rocker and author of The Beatles At Shea Stadium and The Beatles In Cleveland. Visit Dave’s author page on Amazon.com.

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing

Interview with Scotty Moore

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Moore-685332 – Scotty Moore, the legendary guitar player who make his mark on rock and roll playing the ground breaking licks behind Elvis Presley on his Sun Records hits, passed away on June 28, 2016. I was fortunate to have interviewed Scotty in 2002 when he was touring through the rockabilly universe with former Stray Cat stand-up bassist, Lee Rocker. It was an honor to talk with him – and just as much of an honor to learn our conversation is still posted on Scotty’s website.

Here it is…

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Playing Rock’n Roll Guitar For Elvis And Beyond

Interview with Scotty Moore by Dave Schwensen

When it comes to naming the true pioneers of rock guitar, you can trace the roots all the way back to the rockabilly guitar licks heard on classic hits such as “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “That’s Alright Mama.” If you haven’t guessed, (or need some rock’n roll educatin’), these are all early songs by the King of Rock’n Roll, Elvis Presley. But something else they all have in common is the man playing the groundbreaking guitar breaks – Scotty Moore.

Scotty and ElvisStarting with Presley during his early touring days and through his stints at Sun Records and RCA, Moore’s guitar was crucial to the sound that shook up the music world. He combined elements of country picking and R&B with enough wattage and recklessness to be a major influence on players such as Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and George Harrison.

After all these years, Moore is not only still playing the licks that made him famous, but he’s also on the road thrilling live audiences. Teamed with former Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker, their tours have earned critical and fan raves throughout the country.

“I can’t believe I’m talking to a living legend,” I groveled during an exclusive interview with Moore.

“Well, thank you very much,” he laughed. I immediately wondered if he had also influenced Elvis’ politeness as well as the music.

“I spoke with Lee Rocker earlier,” I said, hoping my name-dropping skills might get e past the ‘fan’ stage. “He told me how much fun you’re having during these shows.”

“Well, yeah, we have fun when we work together. We do some of Lee’s stuff and some Elvis tunes, of course. Some Blues… and whatever pops out, I guess.”

“Did you ever dream you’d still be playing rock’n roll guitar in 2002?” I asked.

“Well, I hoped that I would be!” he laughed.

“I didn’t mean YOU!” I said“Of course we knew you’d still be here. I’m talking about the music. The songs you started out playing on with Elvis back in 1954. What if someone had told you then that fifty years later you’re still going to be playing these songs and everyone is still going to be into it?”

“I would’a gone, WHAT?!”

“It must be quite flattering for people to tell you they’re still listening to what you’re playing. You have really been an innovator.”

“It is very flattering,” he answered, “and the thing I feel the most proud about is how the music has held up all these years. I mean people still want to hear the early stuff. The Sun (Records) stuff, some of that even.”

scotty_elvis“Your guitar solos on those early songs have just influenced all the great guitar players that followed this style of music,” I noted. “Rock’n roll, rockabilly, country, blues… When they talk about their influences, your name comes up all the time.”

“As I’ve said before, someone will ask me, ‘Who influenced you?’ And I’d say anybody that played the guitar. I didn’t know back then. When you listened to the radio, they didn’t tell you who the players were and maybe it’d be months or years later I’d find out somebody’s name that played on a certain record that I liked.”

“How did you learn to play?” I asked. “Was it from listening to the radio?”

“Basically,” he answered. “Just hearing things then sitting down and trying to figure them out. I had three brothers and my dad who all played string instruments, but I… Well, there’s 14 years difference between me and the next brother up the line. Until I got to 9 or 10 years old, or old enough to see what was going on, they were gettin’ married, joining the navy and leaving home. I told lots of folks that I think I’m just hard headed. I felt like I missed out on something.”

“It doesn’t sound to me like you missed out on too much,” I said. “Do you ever reminisce about those early Sun Sessions with Elvis?”

“Oh yeah. They were fun,” he laughed. “All of the work we did together… Aw, the travel. The travel is always the worst part of the business.”

“What was it like traveling with Elvis back in those days? I think I’ve seen movies and documentaries where you’re all piled into one car.”

“Well, in the very beginning we were. And as soon as we started making a few bucks we bought a couple Cadillacs,” he said. “We also traveled in a Fleetwood Limousine. It wasn’t a stretch, but it was a legit limousine.”

“Very nice,” I commented.

“That helped a lot,” he continued. “But when you were talking about the music earlier, in the back of my mind I was thinking that Carl Perkins, he put the best label on all of it. He said it’s ‘feel good’ music. It feels good when you listen to it and it feels good when you play it and sing it. It just feels good.”

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“I understand you and Lee Rocker keep the show pretty loose,” I said.

“Oh yeah!”

“You give the audience what they want.”

“We try our best,” he agreed. “Lee’s great and the other guys he’s got with him are all good too. It’s a good little group.”

“When you were doing the early recordings, you were really stretching the envelope. No one had made the sounds you were making on the guitar.”

“I didn’t realize I was, but I did stand on the edge of a limb all the time,” he answered.

“You didn’t think about it?”

“Didn’t think about it,” he said. “Always tried to play something that I thought fit the particular song we was workin’ on. Not just the notes. I tried to make it mean something to that song.”

“So you had your own ideas on how the songs should sound,” I noted.

“I didn’t know that. I look back now and on some of those things I say, ‘How’d I do that?” he answered with a big laugh.

“I remember reading an interview a few years ago with Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones,” I said, needing that ‘name-dropping fix.’ “He was talking about the second guitar break on the recording of ‘Hound Dog’ and said it sounded like you just took off your guitar, dropped it on the floor and it got the perfect sound. He said he’s never been able to figure out how you did that.”

“I don’t know either,” Moore laughed.

“That’s a huge compliment,” I continued. “And every time I hear that song, that’s what I think about. How did you get that sound…?”

“Ahh… I was actually pissed off to tell’ya the truth.”

“No way!”

sm-and-elvis-live-3“It was just… Sometimes in the studio you do it too many times and you go past that peak. Like three takes before was really the one you should use. That was it. We had done the thing, (“Hound Dog”). I think it was printed somewhere that we did it about forty or sixty… I don’t know, give or take. But if someone was counting it off, just a couple notes and we stop, that’s a take. You know? ‘Take Two.’ But I was frustrated for some reason and in the second solo I just went, BLAH,” he laughed.

“Now there’s a real musical explanation!” I said.

“Yeah!” he laughed louder. “BLAH!!!”

“Well it worked and it lives on today,” I laughed“A lot of it still sounds fresh and new.”

“And it’s just one of those things that I play,” he said. “And I play it back to people the same way, but each time it will come out just a little bit different. It’s just one of those… You know, you just hit it perfectly the time you did it.”

“When you did these Elvis songs, you guys were recorded playing live – as a band – in the studio. Right?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Elvis was signing as you were playing and every thing was happening in one room,” I continued.

“That’s the only way,” he said.

“Do you still think that’s the best way?”

“Absolutely. Yeah.”

“What new projects have you been working on?” I asked. “Have you been recording with Lee Rocker?”

“Well, I did a couple of things with Lee a couple years back when he had his Big Blue group together.”

“What I want to know is how you feel about the recording technology today, compared to what you started out with. Is it easier?”

“Some of it is,” he answered. “Some of it I like. Unfortunately, everything in music comes along and it’s taken too far. All the digital computer stuff was designed to restore old records and stuff, and it was just fantastic and wonderful for stuff like that.”

“Do you feel it takes the life out of the recordings?” I asked.

“Yeah. Yeah…”

“Because those Sun Recordings just come alive,” I continued.

Scotty Studio“Well, I’ve got a little studio here at home and I can sit down and mix something. And mix it ten times in a row. And each time I want to change this or that – just a little bit – it won’t be something massive. It just jumps out at you. But the idea is when I like it, I can say I did that. That damn machine didn’t do it. I did it. You know? That’s one reason I headed into engineering way back… I got interested in it and when Elvis went into the army I got into that side of it. And I really enjoyed it because I could play all the instruments then.”

“You went into engineering for quite a while,” I noted.

“Yeah. I did that for years and years – and I’m still doing it. Just not on a daily basis.”

“When Elvis came out of the army, did you go back with him?” I asked.

“Not like full time. ‘Cuz he never went back on the road until he went to Vegas. We did two or three charity shows, a couple TV things when he came out, then he went right into the movies. Head on – ya’know?”

“You were part of his 1968 television come back special.”

“Yeah.”

“Did you go with him to Las Vegas after that?”

“No,” he answered.

“Are you having as much fun today as you did back when you were starting out?” I asked.

“Yeah, I really am,” he laughed. “Like I said, other than the traveling part of it, I think I’ve had more fun in a lot of ways.”

“Why would that be?” I pried.

“Well, for one thing, I can let somebody else worry about if there’s enough gas in the car to get to the next gig!” he laughed.

“I guess the average person wouldn’t think about that part of the rock’n roll lifestyle,” I added.

“Yeah!”

“What was it really like in those early days with Elvis?” I asked. “Was it really crazy with those crowds and screaming girls? Was it too much? Or was it too much fun?”

Scotty and Elvis Live“It was fun then,” he said. “It was enjoying the smaller venues where you’re closer to the people. Up to a thousand seater’s and stuff like that. When we started getting really big we got into the bigger places. It was, you know, 20,000 – which compared to some of these concerts today is nothing. But the noise got so loud, we’re talking about… There were no big sound systems. We had a microphone for Elvis, maybe one on the bass and sometimes that was it!”

“There were no stage monitors back then to hear yourselves play,” I added.

“Yeah! I still don’t care that much for’em. Count out ‘one, two, three four’ and that’s it, you know? But the only way I can explain it is if you dive into a swimming pool, the phasing underwater – the rush of the water. Well, the crowd would get so loud that your ears would close up and you hear that… phasing noise.”

“Man, I never heard it put that way,” I said.

“There was a reporter with us and I thought the boy was gonna faint. He was talking about the noise. And I would refer to DJ, (Fontana – Elvis’ drummer), playing the drums. He would watch Elvis like a hawk. Elvis loved for him to accent stuff just like you would… Well, DJ did play for strippers back in his younger days. And I told this guy, “Well, we’re probably the only group in the world led by an ass! I was talkin’ about Elvis’ movements,” he laughed loudly.

“I’m sure you were very close to Elvis back then,” I commented.

“Oh yeah, we were like… Well, all of us were just like a bunch of brothers really.”

“How did Elvis handle this early fame?” I asked. “Was this really exciting for all of you, or was there a lot of pressure?”

“He handled it very well,” Moore answered. “But to be honest with you, I don’t know… You see the ‘Comeback Special’ thing was the last time I saw him and worked with him. And I don’t know who or what got him on the downgrade. At that point he was fit, he was in great shape, felt good and he was looking forward to gettin’ out and doin’ some tours. He wanted to do a lot of things. He wanted to get back out in front of the people. That was his thing.”

“I was going to ask if you were close with Elvis up until the end…”

“No.” he answered thoughtfully. “I’ve been asked that many times and I just say he could get in touch with me easier than I could get in touch with him because I’d never know if he’d get the message.”

“Okay, I know you have to get going. But I just want to say it’s been an honor talking with you,” I said sincerely, not caring if I was groveling or not. “I’ve been a big fan for a long time.”

“Why, thanks.”

“And just keep rockin’ and having fun,” I added, “because you’re THE MAN!”

“Okay. Great!” he laughed loudly.

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Scotty appeared with Elvis on television’s 1968 Comeback Special and you can find footage on YouTube and other sites. I’ve chosen to celebrate Scotty’s rock and roll legacy with a much older – and rarer – clip below. He’s backing Elvis and playing a mean lead on Blue Suede Shoes from The Milton Berle Show in 1956.

RIP Scotty Moore – you rocked it!

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Dave Schwensen is The Classic Rocker and author of The Beatles At Shea Stadium and The Beatles In Cleveland. Visit Dave’s author page on Amazon.com.

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing

#220 – Don’t Stop Believin’

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#220 – Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey

Journey – Let’s say you’re in Hamburg, Germany in December 1962 and hanging at a local bar with some pals. It’s a Saturday night around 2 am and not as crowded as it was at midnight, but there’s still a cool vibe going on and a great jukebox.

Four guys walk in.

They’re not from the neighborhood and their hair and the way they dress make it obvious they’re musicians. They have a couple girls with them, but seem more interested in relaxing and making some new friends for the night. After a couple hours of drinking, laughing, talking about the city, singing along to the jukebox and telling you and your pals about their band, they leave when the bartender finishes “last call” at 4 am.

You remember the name of their group, The Beatles, but don’t really expect to hear about them again. After all, there are a lot of live bands playing the area clubs and not all will go onto huge success.

But then a few months later…

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Okay, as The Classic Rocker I’ll never compare any group to The Beatles. But I will compare situations.

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“Before they was…”

A lot of fans wish they had seen or met The Beatles in Hamburg before they were famous. That would’ve been the case in December 1962. They’d had their first British record success with Love Me Do a couple months before and had recorded the follow-up, Please Please Me, which was due for release in January 1963. It would change their lives forever. Instead of playing smaller local clubs, they would move into theaters, sports arenas and stadiums.

It’s the dream for every rock band. But as mentioned, not all go on to that that type of success. I’ve met a few that did and many that didn’t. The deal is, you never knew which way they were going at the time.

Thanks to an excellent memory (I’ll never deny it) and the internet I’ve pinpointed the exact dates the above scenario happened to me – only with a different future superstar group. We hung out together for two nights in my neighborhood hangout and I remember the second night was a Sunday.

Oh yeah – I almost forgot to mention this part – the “unknown” band was Journey.

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I’ve mentioned in earlier Classic Rocker’s about The Palladium on West 14th Street being one of our go-to concert venues in New York City and within walking distance of my apartment in Gramercy Park. Our local hangout was called The Honey Tree and also where I worked as a bartender. Later I became the manager and turned it into a weekend comedy club that completely changed my career path, but that’s a different story for another time. It was only six blocks north of The Palladium on the corner of 20th Street and Third Avenue. The Gramercy Hotel, where some of the rockers would stay, was just around the corner and next to the famous iron-gated park.

Journey played The Palladium on Saturday, June 9, 1979. The next night they were in Passaic, New Jersey – only about half an hour away. They stayed both nights at The Gramercy Hotel.

I’d heard of Journey, probably through advertising for The Palladium show, but knew nothing about them. They’d had a couple albums out that didn’t really predict their future level of success. I didn’t know any of their songs, the members, or even what they looked like. And since this was 1979 and we all pretty much looked the same with faded jeans, t-shirts and long hair, when they walked into The Honey Tree around 2 am following their show at The Palladium they were just another group of guys hanging out on a Saturday night.

Steve Neil

Straight and Curly

My girlfriend at the time was more into New Wave, so there was no recognition on her part. But Tim, my best pal and resident rock and roller, had a musician’s radar. I’m positive he started talking with them first about music and pretty soon we were all having a blast hanging out together. I particularly remember talking with Steve Perry and Neil Schon because of their hair. Steve’s was long and straight while Neil’s was more of an Afro.

I remember they told us they were a band called Journey and had the local (Palladium) gig earlier that night. That alone was pretty impressive, but nothing out of the ordinary since it seemed there were shows almost every night. When they left we wished them “good luck” with the band and that we’d be waiting for them to hit it big.

But we didn’t have to wait long to see them again.

Logo

I had this shirt!!

On Sunday night following their New Jersey show, they came back to The Honey Tree for another night of hanging out. This time they brought us a bunch of t-shirts with the Journey logo. They had no “star” attitudes or anything close to it. They were just guys in a band and since we’d had fun the night before, they were up for it again.

I remember later that summer giving one of the t-shirts to my younger sister. I’m not sure if even she had heard of them at the time, but I told her she might someday. Even if she didn’t, it was still a cool shirt.

About six months later we heard about Journey again. They had a #1 song in November 1979 with Lovin’, Touchin’ Squeezin’. After that they didn’t play The Palladium again and were on their way to filling stadiums.

Their 1981 song Don’t Stop Believin’ (did they drop the “g’s” on all their song titles?) made my Dream Song List on January 24th. It’s been more than a few decades since it became a stadium rock standard, but is still one the best known and top-selling hits from these “guys” that hung out with us for a couple nights in New York City – also more than a few decades ago. It goes down in the subliminal category because I don’t have a copy on my digital playlist and hadn’t heard it recently. Maybe if they had given me a copy of the record instead of a t-shirt that would be different… ha!!

Final impression? They were good guys and we had some laughs. I could also recognize “who was who” when their videos started playing in heavy rotation on MTV a year or two later. I’ll admit anyone with a similar experience of hanging out in 1962 with a certain up-and-coming band in Hamburg would have bragging rights over me, but it’s still a very cool story. Now if I could just find where my sister put that shirt…

Here’s a video of Journey performing Don’t Stop Believin’ during a sold-out area tours in the 1980’s.

To purchase Journey’s Greatest Hits with Don’t Stop Believin’ visit Amazon.com.

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Dave Schwensen is The Classic Rocker and author of The Beatles At Shea Stadium and The Beatles In Cleveland. Visit Dave’s author page on Amazon.com.

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing

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