|Hollywood a Go Go|
|It's Only Rock and Roll||Home||Intro||My Back Payges||Guestbook|
|Short Stories 2|
The Young Rascals 1965
When I started Venice High School in 1965 my girlfriend and I were crazy for the Young Rascals. When they were booked at the Whisky a Go Go we knew we were too young to go so we decided to ditch school and head up to the Sunset Strip in hopes of catching the band as they set up for the show. We were in luck! We found them and followed them a few blocks to their hotel on Sunset. This was the beginning of our following the band‘s every move over the next two years. We tricked them into returning our phone calls and inviting us to their hotel rooms. They were always so disappointed when they realized it was two under aged girls but always allowed us to hang out. One of the last times we saw the guys was at the Century Plaza Hotel in 1967 (my photo with Felix Cavalieri was taken there). I even named my first child Amy after Eddie Brigati’s girlfriend Amy Steele, a beautiful model, who so nicely tolerated the antics of her boyfriend’s little groupies!
I began to hang around the Whisky so I could listen to the
bands and catch a meeting when they loaded in equipment. Eventually my girlfriend was hired to run the ticket booth and I was asked
to be the secretary of the owner Elmer Valentine. I was there from April
21, 1971 until late 1983; my girlfriend is still working for the club…
The Lost Souls from Monterey Park, California played up and down the Sunset
Strip, and were regularly featured along with many of the era’s most fondly
remembered bands. They did share the distinction of performing with The
Doors and, at that gig was paid more than The Doors.
One of the first gigs the band got was to fly to Salt Lake City and play with Sonny & Cher. They then started to play clubs regularly around Hollywood, including Bido Lido's, The Brave New World, P.J.'s., The London Fog, and The Sea Witch . These were the early days for rock and roll. On a break between sets at the Sea Witch, we went about a block away to stand outside The Trip to listen to a couple songs by The Lovin’ Spoonful, and Bob Dylan was standing outside listening. Then at 2 am all the bands would congregate at Canters, where it was not uncommon to see Phil Spector walk in with a Rolling Stone.
We were soon managed by Ike and Tina Turner's manager, Ann. We would rehearse at their house in Baldwin Hills where Ike was always there rehearsing with the Ikettes.
Vietnam appeared and Mason, Tony and John all got drafted. I replaced Mason on bass. Mickey Wells replaced Tony and Bobby Siebenberg replaced John. Billy, Mickey and Bobby were all from Glendale, California.
We won the battle of the bands at The Hullabaloo. Our prize was to play a week with P.J Proby. We later shared billing with The Doors for four days at the Brave New World. Nobody knew who they were at that time. The bands would get paid by splitting the door money, and I remember on Tuesday night we made $3.00 each and they made $2.00 each.
We shared these local clubs with other Hollywood bands : Love, The Sons of Adam, Iron Butterfly, The Eastside Kids, The Seeds, The Leaves and many others. All bands in Hollywood would pretty much make the tour around town from club to club on a regular basis. There were times we made $60 each a night which was big money back in those days for a 20-year-old.
When the band broke up, the guitarist, Kent went to play for a hot three-piece band called Fat and then later played lead for Blues Image and on their hit "Ride Captain Ride". He later played for Steppenwolf on their last albums . Bobby moved to England where he met Super Tramp who were forming and he became their permanent and only drummer. He changed his name from Bobby Siebenberg to Bob C. Benburg. Mickey never left music. He took up playing pedal steel and moved to Jackson Hole where he was in the house band and worked at The Cowboy Bar for years .
I met a talented couple and formed a band with all original material called Ole Blue, produced by Lou Adler. We played good venues, a benefit of having a named producer , at the Anaheim Convention Center with John Mayall and again with Spirit. We were also booked into The Whiskey and The Troubadour. The couple and I lived in Topanga Canyon in a large lodge house and I remember nights where the guitarist and drummer of Three Dog Night and Jimmy Griffin from Bread would come to jam. I never left music after switching to mostly piano 40 yrs. ago and compose documentary music and play solo piano . Those were great times and it was certainly an era that unfortunately cannot be duplicated in the same way.
The first day I met him we had a conference inside his
"Camper Van Beethoven" as he called it, a Volkswagen Camper Van with the top
popped up, and lined all around it was his collection of Gold Albums. We ended
becoming friends, musical partners for a short time and roomates, sharing a
metal trailer that was only equipped with a "swamp cooler" for air conditioning.
By 11:00 in the morning the temperature would start climbing to around 100
To make a long story longer, Mark and I had business deals and he put his BC Rich guitar up for collateral along with that Music Man amp and took off to try and get a deal. I eventually went back home broke and busted, but with a BC Rich guitar and that amp! I borrowed his brother's car and went to the swap meet that was held every week at the Greyhound Dog Track, where previously Mark had gambled our last $500 and lost it all, but the dogs were coming in very close! Mark knew the track well.
After selling my bass rig, a 1938 Gibson EH150 amp for
$60.00!!! and whatever else I could get, I took Ken's car (his brother) bought a
plane ticket and went to the Holiday Inn for a nice stay before going back home.
I duct taped the two guitars together and shipped my amps by freight and left
Ken's car in the parking lot and took a taxi to the airport. I am sure Ken
thought his car was stolen, but I sent him word before I left and later sent him
the key to the storage locker where I left Mark an acoustic guitar, a mini
xylophone and a bunch of other crap.
Mark was a kind and caring person. I remember one time I wanted some herb because I didn't drink, and he came back with some for me from a friend. (He didn't smoke.) To Mark there was two kinds of dope…our dope and stripper dope! Another time I took a bible that was in my truck (who I sold to Ken) and threw it on the ground out of disgust, and Mark picked it up and said, "Don't do that" and proceeded to tell me a story about how he went to a party at Linda Blair's house, and while taking a shower, some "entity" wrote a weird message in the fogged up mirror.
Another time he told me about almost getting caught while "being with" Don Henley's old lady while Don was coming in the front, he was going out the back! Many stories and wild evenings. It was the high time and the low time in my life all at once.
From what I have heard, he was in SoCal when Garth Brooks was the biggest thing in the world, and he heard Garth say in an interview "King Of The Night Time World is my favorite song" and immediately he packed up everything and moved to Nashville where he became known as "The KISS Cowboy." In addition to Hollywood Stars, Mark also wrote "Escape" - Alice Cooper Welcome To My Nightmare" / "Crystal Nights- Eric Burdon" / A song off of 3 Dog Night album, A song for Lita Ford, He showed me the cancelled check where he sued Bachman Turner Overdrive for stealing one of his songs and releasing it in Canada.
I remember co-writing a song, but more so, I sat there and
scribed down words while he strummed and let his muse flow..in that hot metal
trailer in Phoenix. One day an old nemesis came and robbed me at gun point in
that sign shop. Mark was freaked out and grabbed his father's shotgun but when
he made it back,
guitar and a 4-track reel-to-reel recorder. I still have his/my guitar, though I dropped it in St. Louis one night and had to have the neck repaired. The amp was sold several years ago as it needed major rebuilding. I played that guitar in front of 50,000 people in 1991 at a festival. I did ask Mark one day, "What happened to it all?" - He simply replied, "Most people dream about it, whereas I went out and lived the dream" and spent every penny never looking back."
|© Copyright January, 2003 - 2013 Hollywood a Go Go - All rights reserved.|