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|Short Stories 2|
Hollywood Stars Interview courtesy Terry Rae 8-23-13
Shindig Magazine Article coming out soon. The vinyl release willl be on "Last Summer" records. Robin from the "Purepop" web site and I put this together. Robin wrote this article with some of our comments.
Timeline 1973 Los Angeles. In the brave new world of Rodney’s English Disco and the Whiskey A Go Go; Kim Fowley had a dream…Apart from excitement of the burgeoning N...Y scene, musically the US was pretty drab - full of bearded progressive indigestions, belly button contemplating singer-songwriters and 60s left over flops. The time was finally surely right for a credible Teen sensation which renewed with the energy and hooks of the mid 60s yet update it for Hard Rock kids in a way that “ the little girls would understand." It was as much about having a New York Dolls for the West Coast as building a hit machine to surpass The Raspberries. This was Kim Fowley’s dream.
This band was no fluke. Fabricated much in the way The Runaways would be later on, Kim crawled the bars looking for candidates, raided Greg Shaw’s record collection and put the gears in motion to form the last great Rock and Roll band. Of all the members, drummer Terry Rae had the longest pedigree. A post Emitt Rhodes member of the Palace Guard, he was also in Jamme. While sitting on the Flamin’ Groovies drum stool recording "Shake Some Action" at Capitol Studios, he was snatched by Kim for his brave new creation. Terry Rae " It’s weird when I think of it now because Kim had helped me to get into the Groovies to start with. Now he is trying to get me out! He sort of hinted that the West Coast version of the New York Dolls was now being put together...”. Singer Scott Phares had earlier made quite an impression on Kim. “I ran into Kim at Rodney’s club. He said he remembered me from a gig where I got arrested on stage…” Mark Anthony was brought in on guitar and song writing duties “Kim and Mark Anthony were working together and writing songs in those days…when I say they were working together, I mean Mark would drive Kim around in his VW to his appointments, help him with his laundry that kind of stuff… (Terry). It was decided that a top lead guitarist was required and Ruben de Fuentes fitted the bill perfectly, although some further convincing was required. Ruben de Fuentes “I was standing around with an unconvinced look on my face, then Kim came up to me with a cute young blonde girl and said she is here to serve you and the band and that if I joined the band I would receive an abundance of love crazed groupies…” The line – up was rounded up with bass player Gary Van Dyke, later replaced by Kevin Barnhill who plays on the LP.
Kim's role was pivotal. He organized rehearsals, mentored, refined their look and help choose their repertoire including songs written by himself, Mars Bonfire along with band originals. “He was a total Svengali. An eccentric genius who made us rehearse the set five times in a row…” (Ruben). At the same time he created the buzz on the Strip… “He created all of the street hype that filled a large rehearsal studio at SIR with screaming girls and every A&R man in town. He also found songs for us, wrote a lot of the lyrics, brought Mars Bonfire songs. He pretty much did it all…” (Scott)
Following all the hype and the excitement caused by gigs at The Whiskey, it wasn’t long before the record companies came knocking. It seemed like every West Coast A&R guy was in the hunt, not wanting to miss out on the Next Big Thing. “It seemed all of the labels in town were interested in the band. My weirdest memory was doing a private audition for Ahmet Ertegun. He never said a word to us…” (Scott). The band decided on signing to Columbia. Kim felt that the whole deal and potential was beyond what he could manage, so he bowed out. “It was a million dollar deal which doesn’t seem like much in comparisons to some of today’s bigger deals. But in 1974 dollars it was a solid deal…” (Terry) For some reason Bill Szymczyk (Eagles) was chosen to produce the album at Record Plant, but in fact left his engineer look after the sessions “Bill wasn’t really around. He was in another room at the Record Plant producing Joe Walsh...” (Scott). So the dream started to unravel. “We had a $50,000 budget for the album...and when the sessions went from under budget to suddenly over budget by about $10,000. It got everyone’s attention when it was discovered that we were not even booked on the days this money was spent…” (Terry)
So the album was never finished. Rough mixes were made but with a regime change at the label, the band was duly dropped. Disillusionment reigned, the dream was over. Following a tearful last gig at The Starwood the band split. Songs from the sessions such as Escape were later covered by Alice Cooper and Kiss (Kings of The Night Time World). The Hollywood Stars would reform under a different line-up and sign to Arista for a disappointing over-produced LP. But the original 1974 recordings were believed lost forever. Fast forward 40 years -an original ¼” has been uncovered and the original rough mix finally going to see to the light of day. What of the music? To my ears it’s near on perfect and so evocative of 1974 LA. The rockers are surprisingly raw like a West Coast New York Dolls, helped by the rough mix luckily untainted by any Bill Szymczyk corporate gloss, other songs such as Shine Like A Radio or Tough Guys Never Cry are bonafide hits like a rockier version of The Raspberries. At other times it reminds of Mott The Hoople. It is clear that this not just a collection of great songs, but a great album in its own right. It feels like a miracle hearing all these songs today and you just can’t help but ask “what if…”
Thanx Betty (*!*)
Walter Alum his story July 16, 2013
I’m Walter Alum, Ingrid’s husband. Thank you for your interest in my former band Junior Lace in which I was the drummer. I hope the information that I provide will be of use to you.
Our band was comprised of members Paul Bogush, Frank Barbalace, Jim Stohl and myself. Paul was the principal writer, lead vocalist and guitarist, Frank was co-writer, vocalist and lead guitarist, Jim was the bassist and I the drummer.
In 1973 our Chicago band headed West to L.A. where we scored a management contract with the William Morris Agency and a record label with Griffin MGM records.
The record company was owned by Merv Griffin and he had us appear on his show which provided a good promotional venue for our band.
It was at the Hollywood Palace. We appeared on the show with Jim Nabors, Paul Williams and Charro.
Personally, that was an experience that many dreamed of having. Can you imagine a Chicago inner city kid having a friendly conversation in the Green Room of the Hollywood Palace with Paul Williams as we sipped vodka gimlets.
In fact, The whole Hollywood experience was incredible. There was another dream experience that came when our band was hired to back up Chuck Berry on Soul Train. How many musicians can say they played with a legend, one of the founding fathers of rock n roll. Well we did. Not only that, we were involved in playing a new Chuck Berry song that was played for the first time on TV. Its name was Roll-m-Pete. You can see that performance on YouTube. Search for Chuck Berry on Soul Train. It is episode 66, shot in 1973. There are a total of 3 songs.
Another dream gig was to play the Whiskey- A- Go-Go, where we opened for the band Climax Blues Band.
Then there was our experience living in Hollywood. Mind blowing encounters with actors, musicians and the Hollywood freakees looking to get discovered and a couple of guys from the Midwest farm country who rode into Hollywood in a broken down car than a month later were driving a Mercedes selling turquoise who knows what else they got from the Indian reservations.
There are too many experiences for me to continue writing about but I hope this works for you.
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."May 2008
The Doors? Black Flag? The Chili Peppers? Nope. L.A.'s Best Band Was "LOVE"
The more things change . . .
Let’s talk greatest Los Angeles bands for a second. Depending how you’re wired, there are roughly a dozen candidates for the throne. If you tend to spend a small but significant minority of your time swallowing spoonfuls of liquid acid on Venice rooftops, the Doors, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield/CSNY and maybe even Sublime make your shortlist. If you’ve rocked a green Mohawk and/or owned a Henry Rollins spoken-word record, you’d probably lean toward Black Flag, X, the Minutemen or the Germs. If your personal hairspray use has emitted enough CO2 to wreak serious havoc on the ozone layer, there’s Van Halen or Guns N’ Roses; if you’re inclined toward Latin music, Los Lobos looms, and if you’re into being wrong, there’s always the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
LOVE accurately rendered everything that makes L.A. wonderful and everything that makes it warped.
Love’s third effort contained multitudes precisely because the band’s geographically scattered and racially diverse composition mirrored the city of a million scenes. Lee and lead guitarist Johnny Echols grew up in South L.A., attended Dorsey High, developed a Booker T. & the MGs fixation and were well-known in the local club scene by the time they formed Love in their early 20s. Rhythm guitarist-vocalist Bryan MacLean, the author of “Alone Again Or” and “Old Man,” grew up in Beverly Hills, the son of an architect to the stars. He liked show tunes and counted Liza Minnelli as his first girlfriend (apparently, the two of them used to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” together while sunning themselves poolside). Meanwhile, despite a Sarasota upbringing, Love bassist Ken Forssi had already played on the Surfaris’ “Wipe Out,” the seminal West Coast surf-guitar song. With such inherent tension built in, the only possible outcome was disaster, particularly considering the ravages of heroin addiction, Lee’s megalomaniacal genius and an ill-fated idea to cohabitate a hilltop Los Feliz mansion nicknamed “the Castle,” previously owned by Bela Lugosi.
Sure enough, the initial June ’67 sessions for Forever Changes infamously flamed out when the band’s disarray forced Elektra to recruit session men to record “Andmoreagain” and the Neil Young–arranged “The Daily Planet.” But when they regrouped that September, something changed. According to legend, stirred by the realization of their own expendability, Love played with a newfound sense of urgency and hunger. The quote most frequently cited about Forever Changes is that Lee thought he’d die immediately upon its completion; it’s difficult not to interpret it as an early requiem for the troubled singer-songwriter, who passed away last year from leukemia. Just 22 years old, Lee seemed spooked by revelation. On “A House Is Not a Motel,” he foresees “the news of today [being] the movies of tomorrow.” On “The Red Telephone,” he blithely croons about “sitting on a hillside watching all the people die,” before finishing with a flourish about getting locked up with the key thrown away, foreshadowing the legal struggles that would haunt his future.
But other than the winking homage to the strip of land adjacent to the Whisky a GoGo on “Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale,” Love veered away from any concrete evocation of Los Angeles. Instead, Forever Changes captures the way the city feels,the cadences of its sunny, stuttering locomotion, the halcyon sand-and-surf California of the imagination clashing with smog, stripped resources and stark realities. The undercurrent of fear and alienation sluicing through a city where the stakes seem so high and the odds so stacked. Its timelessness stems from the notion that as much as L.A. changes, it will always retain certain immutable qualities that Love’s music captures: the baroque excess evidenced in the airy strings that buoy Lee’s celestial wail, the furious fusion of styles and sounds, the laidback folk-rock melodies and the latent, orchestral anger.
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