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|My Back Payges|
Searching my memory back in time through what I call "The Purple Haze of Hollywood" may stir up many emotions to those who were young and not so innocent. These are just some of the things I remember and there will be more to add with a little help from my friends.
Linda and I met in a Social Studies class at school in 1964. She was a Freshman and I was a Sophomore. We became best friends and this is where the story begins.
It all began in the summer of 1966 for two nieve girls from Monterey Park. With the British invasion and the Beatles coming to the U.S. we were determined to begin our future with rock stars and the music on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Our first experience was borrowing a car and cruising the strip starting at Barney's Beanery and ending at Gazzarri's.
Tony, a friend of Linda's started taking us and introduced us to his friends there. The first club he took us to was Bido Lito's to meet his friends from a band called "The Sons of Adam." soon the club became another favorite hang out. What an experience it was meeting all of our new friends! If we couldn't get a ride, there were a couple of times that we hitch hiked.
A group of us went to the Hullabaloo to see Paul Revere and the Raiders and when it closed, as we were leaving, Gene Clark of the Byrds approached us in the parking lot and wanted us all to go to his place. He had a beautiful two story home. The next day he took Linda and I back to a friend's house in his tiny two seater MG. We would run into him at the clubs after that.
We began going to the Whisky on a regular basis to see some of our favorite bands like "LOVE" who played there in January 67. You can see my matchbook on Faces 3. Iron Butterfly, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix played there July 2, 1967. The Buffalo Springfield played there in May and November of 1966. There were so many that I can't remember them all.
Linda's friend Tony Leon RIP, formerly of Lost Souls introduced us to a guy named Rodney Bingenheimer one night at the Whisky. He knew everyone and said he was Davie Jones double. We all walked up and down the strip and the sidewalks were crammed with people.
One night Rodney said there was talk of the Stones having a party at one of the hotels, so we jumped in the car and went to find it. All I remember is roaming the halls of red flocked wallpaper. We never did find the party, but there were many more to come and the parties were endless!
Two girls named Chris and Char were also regulars at the Whisky. They befriended us and kept an eye on us trying to keep the wolves away. They had a place in Laurel Canyon and we would visit them often. Someone was always there . Once when went to visit and they took us next door to meet some of the Doors.
I can recall going to see the aftermath of a fire in Laurel Canyon where a house burnt down. Chris Hillman lived there, but all that remained was ashes. We looked around and found a bed pillow and a picture that I carefully cleaned up and took home. I guess that is as close as we thought we would ever get to him. The picture hung on my wall for a long time. We eventually met him and saw him around the clubs after that.
The Strip was always packed between the Whisky and Gazzarri's. It was a ritual to walk up and down to see who was there. On any given night you could be hanging out with a well know rock star. No one thought anything of it.
There would be Lee Michaels with his girlfriend that looked like Twiggy. We met Frank Zappa at Shaws. He lived in the Canyon at the time. Sonny and Cher was getting a bite to eat at Hamburger Hamlet, so we went up and introduced ourselves. One night we were walking across the street to go to Shaws and who stopped for us but Rick Nelson in a white convertible that looked like a Rolls Royce.
One night Dave Clark and Davie Jones were chatting on the corner at the Whisky. That night Linda and I were wearing matching mini dresses, but in different colors and matching fishnet stockings. She had on green and I had on blue. They were both checking us out and Dave Clark made a comment "Nice legs!" It was an easy way for us to meet and begin talking to them.
We would go to Canter's after the clubs closed on Friday's and Saturday's. It seemed like we stood in line forever, but everyone knew each other, so there was never a dull moment.
I finally got my first car, a salmon colored 54 Ford. I was so proud of it and kept it so clean. I put large daisy's on the rear side windows. Nothing could keep us away from Hollywood, our private world and it became our addiction. We had to be there!
After a couple of years, it became fairly easy to get into the clubs each night for free. The Whisky, Galaxy and Gazzarri's were the main clubs.
At Gazzarri's the first group I remember watching there was Eddie James and the Pacific Ocean. He poured his heart out. The Popcorn Blizzard, The Pride, The Knack, Churchill Downs, Some of the same people were there like Spike Jones Jr., Terry Rae, Michelle, Cara, and (2) Sheri's. Paul Cannella of The Yellow Balloon hanging out to see his brother Jerry play in the Popcorn Blizzard. I wished I could remember everyone!
It was a week night and Jim Morrison walked in dressed in black leather pants and jacket. What a gorgeous man! He sat at the bar and was checking things out.
If anyone remembers the video was always on and could be viewed on a side wall of the club. We could see ourselves dancing or playing pool. Wish I knew who had those now!
Bill opened up a Gazzarri's on La Cienega. He would send a bunch of us over there and rotate the groups back and forth. The Doors played there
January 31,1967 - February 2, 1967. There were also The Byrds, The Buffalo Springfield played in January 67.
Bill decided to have an outdoor area with tables at the club on The Strip and open up early afternoon on Sunday's. He had a golf cart that the guys drove around, taking us back to our cars at day's end. We were all so spoiled.
They had Monday night dance contests and The Artist and Models Ball was coming up and we wanted to go. We could win free tickets if we were in the dance contest. Of course I was the chosen one and remember being so scared. The Abstracts played with Tony Peluso who later went on to be in The Carpenters. It turned out to be a tie and the other girl was Barbie Benton. So the moral of that story was we both won tickets! You may read that she was one of the Gazzari Dancers, but in fact, there were none at that time and only dance contests.
My memory is fading and this is the end of our days in a place that left an imprint on many of us. I only wished I had taken more photo's and kept a journal of my experience.
Now with Facebook and Myspace available, I have been contacted by so many great friends from the past. My heart will forever be in Hollywood!
Peace and Luv, Betty - April 1, 2015
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January 6, 2003 - 2015