Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Together Again ... Some Of Your Final Thoughts And Comments

We got ALL kinds of comments after our Happy Together Again Tour Wrap-Up ran last week ... here are just a few:

First off, here's a very nice note from Mark Lindsay ... unfortunately, we didn't receive it in time to include with those of all of the other artists performing on the bill the other day (scroll back to Friday, October 1st, for a GREAT recap of The Happy Together Tour, courtesy of The Buckinghams, The Turtles and Micky Dolenz), so I wanted to lead off today's with Mark's recent email (kk):

I first hit the road to make music when I was 15. In all my decades of touring, I don't think I've ever had a better time than on Happy Together 25th Anniversary.
To share the stage with these rock and roll icons of the 60s, and night after night watch the audience come alive as they remember hit after hit after hit from the songbook of their lives, was a gratifying experience. All the artists got along like brothers, and the overall feeling I came away with was "All for one and one for all." The Happy Together Tour was well-named. I hope you had as much fun as we did.
Mark Lindsay

We heard NOTHING but GREAT reviews about Mark's performance on the tour ... it truly was like he was reborn and revitalized again ... and by all accounts, had a GREAT time performing all of The Raiders' biggest hits again ... to a VERY enthusiastic crowd. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with our readers, Mark! (kk)

Of course for every GREAT letter we get like the one above, we also get at least one (or TEN) like the one below. Grrrrrrrrrrr ... and you guys thought putting Forgotten Hits together was easy and nothin' but good times!!!! (lol) kk

Yeah, Flo & Eddie.
Buy their "endorsed", recent "Remastered" CD, and it sounds no better than it did years ago!!! Even some hit songs are NOW mixed to ancient mono!!!
Flo & Eddie had Bill Inglot do the "remastering" for The Turtles' latest CD. As usual, since Bill doesn't know how to improve sound, he immediately mixes what's above his abilities to Mono.
They don't even answer e-mails.
Yeah, like they deserve fans. Keep 'em in California!!!
Thanks! ;-)
- UnHappy Together with The Turtles
Not knowing the circumstances regarding the remastered CD's, it could be that the mono take was the "best" of what was available ... or simply a way of preserving the sound the way their fans will best remember it.
I will say that Howard Kaylan has participated with Forgotten Hits for YEARS now ... Mark Volman, too, from time to time ... so they DO answer MY emails. (On the other hand, if YOURS to them are as negative as your comments above, it stands to reason that they wouldn't respond ... what would you have preferred ... a "Fuck Off, Asshole" message instead?!?!?) kk

Kent --
I'm so glad that all acts on the Happy Together Tour were well received this year. It is so nice to hear that they did well this year and I was sorry that Rochester was skipped ... who knows, maybe next year they'll come back our way again.

>>>But I can't believe they announced the act as "The Grass Roots, featuring Rob Grill", knowing that he really wasn't there to perform ... now that's just WRONG!!! (kk)
It maybe a legal thing ... if Rob Grill does not own the rights to the name Grass Roots, then he must bill his group as "The Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill" like "Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone" cannot call themselves "Herman's Hermits." The real Hermits still exist in England.
Looking at the various booking sites, like this one,, you will see that this looks like the official name of the group regardless of who is in it that night.
Paul Urbahns
Radcliff, Ky

Hi Kent
The same thing happened when they played Atlanta ... Rob Grill was not there. I found out at the merchandise table before the show.
I also thought it was in bad taste they did not let people know and went on like nothing was wrong.
It was a great show. Still, the people that came just to see Rob were let down.
I have been to other shows like this and they posted it at the box office outside if someone was not there and you could get a refund on your ticket if that was who you came to see.
Honestly, I think with a stellar line-up this strong, NO oldies fan could go wrong by seeing the other artists they put up on the stage each night. But I DO believe that something should have been communicated to the fans upfront rather than have all this disappointment, anger and resentment after the fact. We're not even involved with the tour and yet I received close to 60 emails complaining about Rob Grill being "missing in action" without any forewarning or explanation.


Speaking of which ...

I got this note from Howard Kaylan of The Turtles after he saw our Forgotten Hits posting the other day:
Just a quick note, Kent ...
Rob Grill's name was removed from Shadoe Steven's stage announcements the minute we learned he would not be singing with the Grass Roots on the final leg of this summer's Happy Together Tour.
Never was it announced that the act about to be seen and heard was The Grass Roots Featuring Rob Grill. His name was meticulously removed, using Protools, from the prerecorded band introductions.
The tour's producers are very careful and intend only to present the genuine artists who recorded the hits that make up our memories.
Mark Dawson, the very talented gentleman who filled in for Rob in his absence did a stellar job and the audiences reacted warmly to his vocals and stage presence. We are all hoping that Rob will be a part of next summer's Happy Together Tour.
No disappointments were intended.
Howard Kaylan

Here are some comments I found very interesting about Rob Grill.
Thought you might find it interesting too.
The Grass Roots Tour Dates Pollstar - The Concert Hotwire
Thanks, Carrie. We've reprinted a couple of these comments below as they pertain to the final California show that closed out The Happy Together Tour. Despite Howard Kaylan's comments to the contrary (and I believe him when he says they went through the editing process of removing Rob Grill's name from the announcements ... I'm just not so sure the audience ever actually got to HEAR these revised announcements ... I would certainly think not, based on the tremendous volume of mail WE received stating otherwise), here are a few more comments pertaining to the final performance of The Happy Together Again Tour (kk):

This is the second time I have gone to see The Grass Roots 'Starring Rob Grill' only to have Rob Grill not show up. While I love the songs of The Grass Roots, what I really want is to see Rob Grill perform. At the very least, there should be an acknowledgement that Rob, for whatever reason, is unable to perform, and that the singer filling in is doing just that - filling in. Otherwise, the band needs to stop billing itself as The Grass Roots Starring Rob Grill and just acknowledge that it's a Grass Roots cover band. To do otherwise is not only deceptive advertising, it is really disappointing and hurtful to those of us who go to concerts like this to see the original members of the group, especially the lead singer. We don't really care how they sound or how they look ... just knowing that they were there, like we were, and to hear their memories of those times. That's special and priceless! Don't keep cheating us. Bring Rob back or at least acknowledge that he isn't there.
Where's Rob?

I totally agree with "Where's Rob". A band should at least always perform with the original lead singer if nothing else. Same goes for The Buckinghams. Nice to have a couple original members but I felt cheated not hearing the real voice on the records, Dennis Tufano. I was very disappointed in both acts. At least we got to hear, Howard Kaylan, Mark Lindsay and Micky Dolenz. While the voices aren't exactly the same as they were when they were young men, you can still hear the true voice. I did enjoy the concert overall but noted the same disappointments as "Where's Rob" pointed out. People just want to hear the real voices no matter how good the replacements sound.

Wow, lighten up people. The Grass Roots sounded fantastic! Rob Grill wasn't there - so what?! Micky Dolenz sang Davy Jones songs, The Buckinghams didn't have their original lead singer. Just enjoy the MUSIC!! Most of these hits were written outside the bands - what are we talking about here? It was all presented well and everyone around us had a great time. I'd see The Grass Roots again in a heartbeat, as I would the other performers on the bill.
Midnight Run

Regarding Rob Grill, that's his business and not ours.
Nick Fortuna / The Buckinghams

It was one of the best tours I was ever part of and we hope that next summer to do it again. Rob Grill was missed and for all that know him, they should know he is doing well. The Grassroots sounded great on the tour and people loved hearing their great songs and we all hope that Rob will be able to rejoin them for Happy Together 2011. See you next year!
Mark Volman / The Turtles

Rob Grill has come under quite a bit scrutiny and criticism lately from FH readers who have gone to his shows expecting to hear him sing The Grass Roots' biggest hits ... only to find that he spent the whole evening sitting in a chair, often screaming the lyrics (or asking the audience to sing them) ... or simply not showing up at all.

It's been pretty well reported that Grill has had some serious health issues of late ... we've heard that he's gone through as many as four hip replacement surgeries (followed by a battle with dependency on pain medication) ... but based on a couple of reports that we just received, it sounds like Rob Grill may have been hurting in more ways than one might have expected ... please read on ...

Rob Grill's son Christian had been seriously ill with cancer for quite awhile and, unfortunately, passed away during The Happy Together Tour. There is a memorial service this weekend for Christian, and I think that between his own health issues and his son's passing, we need to give Rob a break.
As far as the truth in advertising problems go: I agree. Just be honest and let people know Rob is not present at this time. I don't think reasons, or excuses need to be made. Just give out the fact that Rob is absent.

Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano
And that's REALLY all we've been saying ... the fans have a right to know if the artists they shelled out money for are really going to be appearing on the bill for the tickets they bought.

Of course we are saddened to hear the news of the passing of Rob's son. Having just lost a brother to cancer last year, I know all about the grieving process ... and had to take some time off myself to get my head around the fact that he was no longer with us.
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Remembering Mark Kotal

Frannie and I have also lost a child ... it is never an easy thing to see your child go before you ... so I really do get all of that ... and perhaps a simple explanation was in order. (I don't know how well publicized this news was ... I hadn't heard ANYTHING about it and consider myself to be pretty in tune with the oldies community. Even this morning, well after the fact, a quick Google search turned up NOTHING on this ... what I found instead were all kinds of angry and negative reviews of the show, published for all the world to see ... not exactly the best "PR" a performing artist needs or wants circulating out there.

I'm just saying that it seems to me that things could have played out differently (read: better) than they did ... simply by issuing a brief statement, asking for fans to respect Rob's wishes during this time of grief and move on. Instead, we're left with nothing but bad vibes and bad reviews This isn't to say that one excuses the other ... only to suggest that a whole lot of this negativity probably could have been diffused, were it handled differently.

Certainly Rob Grill has the right to choose how to deal with this in his own way ... and it sounds like the others on the bill did their best to honor and respect Grill's wishes. But unfortunately saying NOTHING only served to piss off many of his most loyal fans.

Even if Rob wasn't seeking a little sympathy, there had to be a better way to play this. Being upfront and honest with the fans who bought tickets (even if no explanation whatsoever was given, they certainly should have been informed that Rob Grill would not be appearing that night) would have gone a LONG way to appease those who, instead, have been left with a bad taste in their mouths.

All that being said, our condolences go out to Rob Grill and his entire family over this very sad and tragic loss. We COMPLETELY understand your needing and taking the time to deal with this and it was NEVER our intention to personally criticize or attack you ... rather to simply point out the proper courtesy of informing your fans that you would not be appearing on any given evening. I am 100% confident that the fan reaction would have been one of both disappointment and understanding ... rather than just anger at feeling deceived ... had they simply been better informed of the circumstances.

Now according to Howard Kaylan, the fans WERE informed at the start of each show that Rob Grill would not be performing that evening ... but according to close to sixty FH readers who attended these shows and left disappointed, they were not. It's hard for me to believe that they ALL missed the announcement ... so the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

We hope you can be strong through all of this, Rob ... and we would still love to hear from you as a means to address your many, many fans. Meanwhile, we can't wait to see you back up on the stage again doing what you do best. (kk)
Kent Kotal / Forgotten Hits

Kent -
Rob Grill did not appear at the later shows because of the death of his son. Here is a posting I just received from a Yahoo Groups Grass Roots Fan Forum Message Board.
Hi Everyone,
Just a reminder that the memorial service for Rob Grill's son Christian is this Saturday, October 9th. I know most people cannot attend; however you and all Grass Roots fans can help by donating to the Account: ... set up in the name of Christian's wife, Carla ... please know that any amount will be appreciated.
Also on Saturday please say a prayer or light a candle in Christian's memory. Please continue to keep Rob and his family in your prayers.
This is going to be a rough time for Rob as Christian was his only child and he needs our support not only to get his own health restored but to heal from this terrible loss of his son.
So be kind out there and continue to support The Grass Roots on their upcoming dates.
Please do not ask me what show Rob will be back at and just give him some space.
Group Moderator,