Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Together Again ... Again ... A Few More Thoughts On Rob Grill ... And The Happy Together Again Tour, 2010

I didn't get this in time to include in our last "Happy Together Again' Web Page ... but wanted to include it here today ... thanks SO much, Carl, for keeping us in the loop on ALL of The Buckinghams' activities ... it's always great to hear from you and let the fans know what you guys are up to! (kk)
Now that the 25th Anniversary Happy Together Tour is over, I just want to say thank you to Forgotten Hits. We appreciate all the mentions and write ups you've given the tour through the summer. I know our fans visit your site regularly and enjoy how informative and accurate it is.
Our last performance was Sunday Sept.26 at the LA County Fair in Pomona. Even though the weather was extremely warm and uncomfortable, we thank all our loyal fans that came out anyway and supported our music.
We definitely had a winning combination of talented artists on the bill and The Buckinghams were proud to be a part of it.
It has been a great summer, and there are so many cities we didn't have a chance to perform in, so lets do it again in 2011!
Best regards,
Carl Giammarese
The Buckinghams

Hi Kent -
Here are a couple of Christian Grill obituaries I found on line:
News story from Houston:

Obit: http://www.lagunabeachindependent.com/news/2010-09-17/Obituaries/Christian_Leigh_Grill_Oct_6_1970__Aug_11_2010.html
David Lewis
How sad ... sounds like the Grills thought Christian was in remission and making a remarkable recovery from the cancer he had been battling. Will we EVER find a cure for this insidious disease?!?! (kk)

Hi Kent,
Rob Grill being absent does not surprise me. The station hosted a fundraising event last year and we found out a few days before that he wasn't coming. Rob actually called me twice at my house to apologize. We went on the air and explained the situation and told listeners that they could get a full refund. The show went on with Mark Dawson singing lead and he did a great job (I am sure better than Rob would have with his current health issues). The Britins (a Beatles look alike and sound alike group) from Milwaukee opened the show. We got rave revues and not one person asked for their money back. Granted it was a fundraising show but we were honest up front and people were not surprised that Rob wasn't there.
Rob does own the Grass Roots name by the way.
Phil Nee
WRCO Radio

Hi Kent,
Speaking as a blind guy who's lived around you sightlings all my life, here's a possibility ... maybe they changed the announcement but the marquee still showed The Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill?
Of course THAT should have been changed, too. Plus, to have a band with no original members and have them still book themselves as the Grass Roots isn't good either. You pay money to see the originals and if they aren't there the public should know. Otherwise, it's simply a Grass Roots Tribute Band.
In a band I was in in the 70's and 80's we did a show with Rob Grill and the Grass Roots. He was the only original member at that time, but he couldn't have been a nicer guy.
The next night we were playing in Duluth, MN. with Three Dog Night. Rob must have known that because he came up to me at the end of the night and gave me a present to give to Cory Wells. He handed me an envelope and I must have had a funny look on my face because he said, "It's a fishing lure." He then went on to explain that he and Cory were fishing buddies. It sure was a great way to meet the Three Dog Night guys.
I believe this was in 1982 when the original Three Dog Night was back together and touring for a short time.

I didn't have the opportunity to see the Happy Together Again tour as they didn't make it near our neck of the woods, but I will weigh in on the billing controversy regarding The Grass Roots with or without Rob Grill even though Howard Kaylan's response is pretty much the 'end all' for the conversation (but something like that has never stopped me before, eh?).
The billing, advertising, etc. is pretty much, although not necessarily entirely, left up to the individual venues and local promotion groups. For the most part, these are people who wouldn't know the difference between Rob Grill and a Weber Grill. They're uninformed and / or uninterested. I doubt they act out of deceit, just ignorance in most situations.
Case in point: Shirley Alston of the Shirelles played recently at a community gathering in the small town where I grew up. An old friend sent me some info via email and directed me to a website. Both the email attachment advertising the festivities and the website had Shirley listed as Shirley Austin, not Alston. (Technically, she's Shirley Owens Alston Reeves but, hey . . .) I could only shake my head and wonder if I were the only person who noticed this gaffe. I thought about firing off an email alerting someone to the error but figured the damage had already been done; they'd have to live with whatever consequences, if any.
I've always had a blast at the past Happy Together tour outings and can only imagine how good this year's edition was. With or without Weber Grill.
... Ed44
Hey, we recently shared a story with you guys about a booking for The New Coronary Six ... so believe me, we KNOW about how uninformed most of these folks booking the talent is these days!!! (lol) kk

There have been two horrific times in my life, and I chose to handle them by only including a few close people to support and console me. This is what I needed to do for myself and my family, in order to survive and continue.
Each person needs to choose what is best for them, and I hope we are not judging anything but the actual advertising of The Happy Together Tour. When I saw this concert Rob performed, so I am not able to comment on what was, or was not omitted in the announcements. I chose to release the information about Christian to you and your viewers when it seemed necessary to stop the personal "digs" about Rob. I hope that part can now settle.
As far as name copyrights and such, you know how I feel about "Truth in Music" and I am so proud of myself for not responding particularly to the comment about Herman's Hermits. Just "yes, ok. The Hermits live in England."
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano

I got to catch the Happy Together Again tour when it hit Asbury Park, NJ, back in June. Rob looked to be in rough shape at the time ... he needed a stool to sit on during his set and looked like he was about to fall right off of it several times ... it was honestly quite painful to watch, and I could tell something wasn't right because he looked like he was in considerable pain. He probably had his son on his mind constantly at that time which likely was what was bothering him the most. He did the best he could with everything going on and I commend him for even being on the road at all during this difficult time for him.
That was a far cry from how Rob looked just a few months earlier when I saw him as part of a 60's Spectacular package in Schenectady, New York, back in March, where he was really on top of his game, very energetic and sounding top notch.
However, for everyone grumbling that they didn't get to see Rob, did you enjoy his replacement at least? It is all about the music and be glad the rest of the group was still there to perform -- you likely would've been even more pissed off if they had pulled out entirely and had one less act on the bill.
I'm reminded of a time when Rob Grill And The Grass Roots (with special guest Sonny Geraci of the Outsiders and Climax) were scheduled to perform a free July 4th concert in my old hometown of Frederick, MD. (I can't remember when this was but it was somewhere between 1999 and 2003, as I was in high school at the time). I was so excited, as I had always loved their music and actually had a good oldies station at that time that played everything, not just the two biggest hits of any given group.
So the group comes on stage (and mind you, at that time I had no idea what Rob Grill even looked like), and they go into their set and are sounding spectacular, and then all of a sudden they break out into Time Won't Let Me ... and I wondered why Rob Grill and the Grass Roots were doing Sonny's song ... and then they went into Precious And Few ... and then it dawned on me that Rob wasn't on the stage at all, it was Sonny doing all of the vocals ... and I never would have known, because he sounded so very much like Rob that I could've closed my eyes and never known the difference.
I later learned that Rob was not touring at that time as he was at home recovering from a hip replacement operation. I still enjoyed the show, the music still sounded great, and even though I was sad that I didn't get to see Rob until several years later, I enjoyed what I saw and had no complaints about it. As a matter of fact, I'd love to see Sonny go out with the Grass Roots again to fill in for Rob, at the very least people could say that they still saw a hitmaker on the stage.
Tom Diehl
Sonny Geraci filled in a number of Rob Grill's Grass Roots dates a few years ago when Grill was out of action, recovering from one of his hip surgeries ... and, by ALL accounts, did an incredible job. And, if announced as such, I don't think a single fan would have felt the least bit cheated, especially in light of the circumstances.
As for the current band performing without him ... or without ANY original member of The Grass Roots ... that's an entirely different story ... and The Truth In Music Act stipulates that at least ONE original member (with the legal right to the use of the name of the band) MUST be present on stage or risk being in violation of this legislation. Again, under the circumstances, I would think they might "bend the rules" a little bit ... and, we heard both really GOOD things (and really BAD things) about Rob's vocal replacement.
All we've EVER maintained was a "Truth In Advertising" position ... certainly we ALL would understand (and feel compassionate about) Rob's missed performances, if properly informed of the circumstances ... but Grill has been "hurting" (for one reason or another) for YEARS now. Perhaps all this recent attention (good, bad or otherwise) will ultimately help him make up his mind as to whether or not he REALLY wants to do this anymore. And we, as fans, should respect that decision, regardless of what it may be. (kk)