Monday, July 13, 2009

A Few That We Missed

Being a big Paul Revere and the Raiders fan from day one, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Drake Levin of Paul Revere and the Raiders. I heard it on Mark Simone's Saturday Night Oldies Show on WABC in New York. Here is the tribute on Phil "Fang" Volk's web site. There are other pictures below the article. May Drake rest in peace.
Remembering Drake Levin: August 1946 - July 2009

" you on the other side of Forever..."
I've lost my dear friend, my Raider buddy, and the music world has lost a guitar icon.
Drake and I met over 50 years ago in Nampa, Idaho. He was a city boy from Chicago, and I was a city boy from Los Angeles. Our families transplanted us to the farmlands of Idaho, where we became fast and loyal friends, and aspiring musicians. I had just got a guitar for Christmas (1959) from my parents, and Drake and I set out to conquer the world with our music. Although we weren't sure how we were going to do that, we had a dream that some day it would happen. Five years later, the dream was happening. Drake and I were filming a TV show with Dick Clark called "Where The Action Is." Some of the guests artists were Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Jan & Dean, The Supremes, Bobby Rydell and Frankie Avalon. These artists were already well on their way to super stardom, and our little rock band, Paul Revere & the Raiders, was now riding the same "glory train" with them and the adventure of a lifetime had just started for me and Drake. Several national tours followed, along with 5 gold albums and 12 hit singles, before Drake, Smitty and I broke out on our own to form The Brotherhood, who produced 3 albums for RCA Victor. The last tour Drake, Smitty and I did together for the Raiders in March - April of 1967 was a massive success. We played almost every major arena in the country, and on many occasions had double-billing with The Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones. Our music dreams that Drake and I had formed way back in the farmlands of Idaho, surrounded by sugar beet fields, corn fields, and golden fields of wheat and barley, had come to pass – we were actually living the dream. We were "brothers" in music, and The Brotherhood was a natural transition after the Raiders broke up. It was always our resolve to write music that would promote peace, love and unity in the world. We wanted to create music that had a real positive message. Drake and I became a very prolific songwriting team. At the end of that last Raider tour, I got a phone call from home that my older brother George had just died in Viet Nam. Drake was the first person I told, and he held on to me while I broke down in tears. He was a true and loyal friend. Drake always considered my family his "second family" because he spent more time at my place then anywhere else. George had helped him learn to play guitar, and because of our close friendship Drake was more or less "adopted" into our family When my mom passed away in 2006, he shed so many tears as if it was his own mom. I've always appreciated how much love Drake had for my brothers and sisters and my parents. We all will miss him greatly, as we do "Smitty" who we lost in 2001.
Drake leaves behind his loving and loyal wife Sandra of 37 years, his mom Charle, his brother Jeff, his sister Lori, and his two sons David and Darby. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them in their time of grief.
Drake Maxwell Levin also leaves us a stunning and soulful legacy of music as one of the seminal pioneers of some awesome rock & roll music and some of the most memorable guitar solos during the "glory days" of the 1960's.
One of my last conversations with Drake at the hospital in San Francisco was awkward and difficult. It's hard to know what to say when you know you won't see your buddy again, (that is, until the New World and the resurrection that Jesus promised in the Bible) I finally mustered the courage to say: " ... alright my brother, I'll see you down the road ..." I heard him say as I walked from the room, holding back the tears: "I'll be waitin' for ya ..."
-- Phil Volk

Drake Levin, guitarist with Paul Revere and the Raiders from 1963 to 1967, died of cancer Saturday (July 4) at the age of 62. Born Drake Maxwell Levinshefski in Chicago in 1947, Drake played in a Pacific Northwest band called the Sir Winston Trio before being invited to join the Raiders. He appeared on ABC-TV's "Where The Action Is" with the group and played on such hits as "Just Like Me" and "Kicks", but left the group to join the national guard (thereby avoiding the draft). He returned briefly a year later before joining Phil "Fang" Volk and Mike "Smitty" Smith in the group Brotherhood and an eventual solo career, including respect as a studio jazz guitarist in San Francisco. Despite suffering a stroke, Drake returned for a 30th anniversary reunion concert in 1997.
-- Ron Smith

Drake Levin was one of the seminal guitarists of the 60's. It's his phenomenal work you hear on "Just Like Me" and "Kicks" among others. Not only did Drake play with the Raiders but he also did gigs with Lee Michaels, Ananda Shankar and, more recently, many Bay Area blues bands.
Drake died on July 4th after a battle with cancer. He fought the long, hard, brave fight.
I'm including a link to an obit from the NY Times. Drake leaves a musical legacy of which few others can boast.
Drake Levin of Paul Revere and the Raiders Dies at 62 - Obituary (Obit) -

From left, Mark Lindsay, Mike Smith, Phil Volk, Paul Revere and Drake Levin

of the rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders.

Drake Levin, of Paul Revere & the Raiders, Dies at 62

Drake Levin, who played lead guitar for the teen-idol rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders during their biggest hit-making years in the mid-1960s, died July 4 in San Francisco. He was 62.
The cause was cancer, said his wife, Sandra.
Paul Revere & the Raiders, a band that coalesced around the organist Paul Revere Dick and the singer Mark Lindsay, began in the 1950s in Caldwell, Idaho, near Boise, where it was first known as the Downbeats. It later established itself in Portland, Ore., then moved to Los Angeles and became nationally known in 1965 when the band began making regular appearances on the television dance show “Where the Action Is,” starring
Dick Clark.
The band had a driving pop sound and an irreverent, almost campy humor. Members wore color-coordinated colonial-era outfits onstage, and they often performed their songs to a kind of antic choreography.
Mr. Levin joined the Raiders in 1963, and for the next three years or so (he left for a time to fulfill a stint in the National Guard), he provided the pulsing guitar riffs and clean propulsive solos that gave the band, beyond its entertaining facade, a legitimate rock ’n’ roll grounding. He had left the group by the time the Raiders recorded their biggest seller, “Indian Reservation,” but he played on a series of hits, including the antidrug song
“Kicks,” which Rolling Stone listed at No. 400 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, and “Just Like Me,” which the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included on its list of the 500 songs that shaped rock ’n’ roll.
Maxwell Levin was born in Chicago on Aug. 17, 1946. Many sources cite his birth name as Levinshefski, but his brother Jeff said the family’s version, Levinchevski, was shortened to Levin many years before his birth.
When he was 13, his family moved to Boise. As a young man he played in a band called the Surfers, along with a bassist, Phil Volk, who would later join the Raiders. After his Raider years, Mr. Levin worked as a blues musician, playing alongside the organist Lee Michaels, among others. More recently, he played in the band
the Sinners.
In addition to his wife and his brother, who lives in Pinole, Calif., Mr. Levin is survived by a sister, Lori, of Humboldt County, Calif.; two sons, David, of Wilmington, N.C., and Darby, of Los Angeles; three daughters, Debbie, of San Diego, Cathie, of Chaska, Minn., and Saida, of London; and six grandchildren. Bruce Weber / The New York Times

One of MY favorites by Paul Revere and the Raiders was the song they used to tell their own story ... "The Legend Of Paul Revere". Apparently, it was one of YOUR favorites, too ... as the flipside of their 1967 Top Five Smash "Him Or Me, What's It Gonna Be?", "The Legend Of Paul Revere" earned 339 of your votes in our recent Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides Poll, placing it at #18 on our Top 200 Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides Countdown List! Here it is again today for your listening enjoyment. (I LOVED the feel-good music of Paul Revere and the Raiders and count them amongst my '60's favorites. We'll miss you, Drake!) kk

Click here: Forgotten Hits - Your Top 200 Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides


In case you did not see this ... Phil / Pray For Surf
Clara Berry — Jan's Mom — Has Passed Away

September 2, 1919 — July 9, 2009

The matriarch of the Berry Family — Jan Berry's mother — has passed away. She was 89, and will be missed by a large extended family and many friends. So long, Clara . . . and thanks for everything.


Paul McCartney will be making his first-ever appearance on The David Letterman Late Show THIS Wednesday Night, July 15th, as his U.S. media blitz continues. You can check this program out at 10:35 PM Central Standard Time on CBS-TV. Paul ALSO just announced another "non-tour date" appearance ... in addition to his August 19th appearance at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, McCartney will also be appearing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Monday, August 17th, at The BOK Center. We FULLY expect more dates to be announced shortly!!! (kk)