Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Cornerstone Of Chicago Rock - Part 3 (and Concert Review)

For me, "Cornerstones" was a glorious reminder of the free-spirited 60's and my stint as a roadie with the New Colony Six. The rich memory of watching the band record "I Will Always Think About You" at the old Chess Studio is a vibe that will last forever. As I recall, after the Six laid down the vocal track, I sped off to the old Batt's Deli to get the guys cheeseburgers.
There was a natural competition between local bands in those days but also a remarkable degree of respect; we wanted to outsell other groups but we also looked upon Jimy Sohns, the Buckinghams, The Shames and the underrated Flock as members of a very exclusive club.
I will always remember the Colony gigging on Don Webster's "Teen Beat" in Cleveland with The Union Gap and the Outsiders.  Hey, we were young, we experimented, we kept our bills in a sock. Our worries seemed inconsequential.
It's truly a shame that today's 20 year old kids will never experience the originality of sounds that we were blessed to enjoy.
Where is the next Chuck Berry (89 years old on Sunday), Brian Wilson, Jagger, Richards, John, Paul or Daltrey? The train has left the depot ... it just ain't comin' back.
KUDOS to our buddy Ron Onesti for engineering this magnanimous project
Chet Coppock 

Check out this video on YouTube:

Tom Cuddy    
Funny thing is I don't think a single clip in that entire montage is actually from the show!!! (lol)
A pre-promotion of sorts, I guess but I'm thinking the real deal is going to be a WHOLE lot better.  (kk)

Hey Kent:   
I wasn’t saying the American Breed should have done “Step Out” over “Bend Me”, They should have done both!! At least their two biggest hits.
On “Sunshine Psalm”, I think it depends on what audience you are trying to reach. If you are just trying to reach a group who remembers these bands from the 60’s, then I would not include the song. If you are trying to reach younger people who have only been exposed to these groups in the last 10 to 20 years, then it might be prudent to include it. The Hipsters and younger record / music enthusiasts have a completely different take on these songs. They have no historical perspective on them. They basically are all the same, unless some radio outlets include them. Two of the more asked for Cryan’ Shames tracks in more recent times are “Sunshine Psalm” & “Ben Franklin’s Almanac”. These are flip sides, but to younger people and Garage Rock enthusiasts, these are now the more desired sides of the record. Take for example the Beatles' “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. In it’s time, it was the #1 record of 1964 and by far the more popular side of the 45. But, in the last 30  years I would say that the flip side, “I Saw Her Standing There”, has become at least as popular if not more so. It’s just the way it goes. If you want to include this type of viewer in these shows, then it makes sense to play the song. 
The McCoys did an excellent version of “Come On, Let’s Go”. That was a Top 10 hit here. Maybe they shouldn’t have been on this particular show, but seeing them do that song would be great! Was there any idea of getting some of the other bands who had followings in Chicago like Del-Vetts, Little Boy Blues??  
I totally get that The American Breed should have done more than just their one biggest hit ... and that was the whole point of my response.  My guess is that they only prepared the one song ... like I said, it's not like these guys have been performing together regularly for all these years.  From that perspective, I'm just happy to see them included at all ... as they normally don't partake in these type of festivities.  (Maybe this, too, will lead to something better.)
And I also agree with the "I Want To Hold Your Hand" / "I Saw Her Standing There" analogy ... and have made the exact same point many times over the past ten years.  As big and as ground-breaking (and world-changing) as "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was at the time, it has paled in comparison to much of their earlier work from this same era.  (I always felt "She Loves You" should have been the bigger hit anyway)
I do NOT agree, however, that the B-Sides "Sunshine Psalm" and "Ben Franklin's Almanac" have eclipsed their A-Side counterparts.  "Sugar And Spice" just may be one of the most infectious singles released in the '60's.  (I never much cared for "Young Birds Fly" in the first place ... so "Sunshine Psalm is more of a moot point for me.  However, read what James Fairs says about the song below for a better understanding as to why they chose to include it.  All of that taken into account, I STILL don't believe it would have garnered as strong a reaction as "Mr. Unreliable" or "Greenburg Glickstein" may have under the same circumstances.
As for hit local performers left off the list, any number of other local acts were overlooked for this, most likely due to timing restraints (and familiarity to the potential mass audience.)  There's a bigger world out there than those who read Forgotten Hits (that love this sort of thing!)  lol.  Sounds like it was a great show from start to finish ... yes, I would have gone All-Chicago for the first time out and given some of these artists the chance to do more with their time slot.  Heck they could STILL take the Rick Derringer and Standells footage and edit them into an All-Garage Band Show and thereby air more of what will end up (for televising purposes anyway) on the cutting room floor.  (kk)  

This may clarify one of your blog's points:
Those of us who played through the sixties saw what packed the dance floors and rocketed the excitement. For the Shames, it was an electrifying version of 'Hey Joe' and ripped version of 'Sunshine Psalm'. You'd look up from your guitar and see the place goin' nuts! Now we can't lay any claim to 'Hey Joe' as an original; it's more of a classic. But Sunshine Psalm was, and is, ours. A hit? No ... a key part of the experience, most certainly! We'd change it up, just to keep things interesting, and we did so again for this special event. Steve Eisen blew a great ending solo (of course) and it was a great set closer.
Not everything fits neatly into a package, and I'm always looking to find that missing ingredient that completes the picture.
I hope this helps to explain things a bit. 
All the best,
James Fairs  

Wow! You really were on fire in print on Friday.
I'm glad you let your frustration out.
You are a great guy and it got you screwed.
I was wondering if I got you fired up at lunch on Thursday?
Steve Sarley
No, this has been brewing for quite some time.  At some point you just have to tell it like it is.  Extensive coverage on ALL the Chicago bands has gotten me criticism over the years from experts in the music industry ... "Yours will never be a national sheet because you focus too much on the groups from Chicago, most of whom didn't raise a blip on the national scene" ... I can't tell you how many times I've heard that one ... but I have maintained from Day One that I wasn't partial to this music because it came from Chicago ... I loved it because it competed on every level with the best of the music that was out there at the time. No, not all of it ... but there are some exceptional stand-out tracks that simply cannot be denied.  ("You Wouldn't Listen" by The Ides Of March is as good as ANY song released in 1966 ... yet it never made The National Top 40.  "It Could Be We're In Love" by The Cryan' Shames topped the Chicagoland charts for four straight weeks ... yet never rose above #85 in Billboard.  I've had music scholars who heard the song for the first time EVER in Forgotten Hits tell me that this song is on par with what Brian Wilson was writing and producing at the time.)  Likewise, The New Colony Six, who wrote all their own songs and played their own instruments.  (The Buckinghams had the biggest hits from coast-to-coast, but a big percentage of those came from the pen of Jim Holvay, who never got the chance to enjoy the same success with his own band, The Mob.  The others were cover versions of tracks written and recorded by the best of the best like The Beatles and James Brown ... and who didn't do the Lloyd Price song "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" back then.  They took the vocal arrangement of "Mercy Mercy Mercy" into The Top Five just five months after jazz great Cannonball Adderley hit #11 with his instrumental take.)
What I found disappointing on a personal level was the fact that even after a week-long profile of The Ides Of March 50th Anniversary Box Set ... excellent concert reviews of their Christmas Show and a free ticket giveaway to Jim Peterik's Lifeforce (where Jim told me my promo was so good it made HIM want to go to the show!), coverage of the dedicating of Ides Of March Way, an excellent review of his autobiography ... plus literally dozens and dozens and dozens of other Ides Of March promotional pieces over the years, this STILL wasn't good enough to get Jim to honor his word to break the story nationally here first in Forgotten Hits ... or allow us access to cover the rehearsals since we knew up front that we couldn't attend the main event.  (And I have to believe that a good percentage of that decision was influenced by Carl Giammarese of The Buckinghams who, for YEARS now has accused me of favoring Dennis Tufano's shows over their own ... which is, plain and simple, 100% not true.)  We've promoted BOTH artists to the hilt in Forgotten Hits over the past sixteen years, doing countless profiles of the original days of the band as well as keeping folks up to date with what both Carl and Dennis are doing these days.  Me simply pointing out the fact that EVERY original hit the band ever had was sung by Dennis Tufano is not showing prejudicial or preferential treatment ... it is simply stating A MATTER OF FACT.  Period.
So yeah, being aced out of the announcement ... and then not being allowed to attend the rehearsals (despite promises to give these the same coverage we did for The Marty Grebb Benefit Concert ... which was nothing short of outstanding and sensational ... ask ANYBODY!!!) ... totally pissed me off.  When asked what I was going to say about it, I simply replied "just speaking my mind" ... and that's EXACTLY what I did.  (kk)   

Hi Kent -
THANK YOU for the GREAT comments on the Cornerstone Garage Band Tribute!  Even without seeing it yet, I agree with you that The McCoys and The Standells should not have been there. More New Colony Six (my FAVORITE GROUP like you!) songs should have been included. I have ALL their albums and they did some innovative music from every angle! 
The Buckinghams were given due justice with ALL their hits and ANYTHING the Cryan' Shames recorded was FANTASTIC. So glad Jim Fairs came to join the group, too. 
Jimy Sohns is UNBELEIVABLE and I would see him perform any day! The Ides of March, from my alma mater Morton West and Charles E. Piper School, really put BERWYN on the map with their music. 
Would have liked to have The Mob, The Mauds, Spanky and Our Gang there also ... Maybe one day!
Can not wait to see the program on Channel 11 and buy the DVD with the uncensored version!
Keep on ROCKIN', Kent. You are the local "Dick Clark" with your Forgotten Hits.

>>>Does anybody other than me even remember tracks like "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" by The Standells and The McCoys' version of "Come On Let's Go"???  (kk)
To answer your question, I remember the songs SOMETIMES GOOD GUYS DON'T WEAR WHITE and COME ON LET'S GO.
The show itself will probably be aired in February if I was guessing since that is the normal time for them to take donations for programming. I am quite sure I will order the DVD and I again am assuming one will be put out of the concert.

You have become too jaded about live shows in your old age. Of course this song, or that song, could have been included / eliminated. Who knows how many shows you and I and the rest of the FH team have been to in the last 50 or so years, (a figure that was brought up several times during the nite). We've seen great shows, good shows, OK shows, and a few that were down right awful (disappointing might be a better description). While you and I are native Chicagoans and last nite's show has special memories about the music, not everyone in FH is. I was there. I drove 327 miles, one way, to see this show. (Yes, I clocked it). I missed the last one a couple months ago, because of logistics, and I was determined to see this. I was not disappointed. Nine acts, plus guests, were on stage at one time or another, and as you mentioned for the Louie Louie encore. I wasn't expecting a full set by the Buckinghams, NC6, the Shames, or anyone else. So I will break this down for you, song by song.
I actually might have had the best seats in the house. There's no way that the VIP seats were worth $75.00 than general admission. I had front center and was seated next to a sweet 81 years old woman named Marge Abbott, who just happened to be the sister of Ides bassist, Bob Bergland. She says she attends all the Ides shows in the area.  I was told that the venue would hold about 450 seats before the fire marshall would get worried, and yes, every seat, plus some standing room, was filled.
So here's the set list, plus notes I made. 
The Ides Of March opened the show with the Music Explosion hit, Little Bit O' Soul. Not sure about the inclusion of that song, but It didn't detract from anything. Four more songs would follow:
You Wouldn't Listen
L.A. Goodbye with a string section added
Get It On the tribute to Bill Chase which featured Dartanyan Brown, formally of Chase. 
The set concluded with Vehicle.
Next up were the New Colony Six. They, like much of the artists of the night, were backed up by the Ides Of March. To see Ray Graffia, Jr., Ronnie Rice and Bruce Mattey, on stage, even for four songs, is a treat. I , too, would have liked to have heard Roll On or I Lie Awake. I'd also like to be independently wealthy and have world peace.
Their set list was:
I Confess
I Love You So Much
Things I'd Like To Say w/ string section
I Will Always Always Think About You
Not only were there three vocalists, but counting some of the Ides Of March, there were as many as seven vocalists, with nobody getting in the way of anyone's harmonies.
On to the Cryan' Shames, which I was really anxious to see. They had always been my fave Chicago area group. As you mentioned, the Shames were robbed as far as Billboard peak positions were concerned, but I won't get into that, and it's been covered in FH before. Sometime when you have a slow day Kent, I'll run you a piece on just how trade journals, Billboard, Cashbox and Record World, come up with their stats and sales probably figure into it the least. I also gotta say that Jim Fairs has made a deal with the devil. I will assume for the moment that Jim is at least 65, the same age as me. (I'll have more on that stat later). I suppose he could go to the same hair stylist as Jim Peterik does. Hmmm hairstyling for Jims. He's got hair halfway down his back and it's still dark. Now that can be altered, but he looks like he could be his kid. Jim also related how he came to write It Could Be We're In Love. Great harmonies as well. They did five songs.
Sugar & Spice
It Could Be We're In Love
Up On The Roof 
I Wanna Meet You 
Sunshine Psalm
I, too, would have liked Mr. Unreliable. Maybe I'll ask for my money back. Maybe this is a good time to mention that, for the most part, time wasted moving equipment around was very minimal, a fact that was impressed upon me as I picked this moment for a needed break and in that short time, The American Breed was halfway thru Bend Me Shape Me, their only song for the nite. I have major trouble with that aspect. Even the Standells and McCoys got two songs. 
I met Jimy Sohns about five months ago at a record show in Springfield and in Peoria, IL. A very nice man, and wild and crazy on stage. I would like to see a full set by him one day. I tend to doubt it will happen for me tho. More on that, too. Jimy did three songs. When not performing, he sat in the audience (non VIP).
Shake (a nice surprise)
Oh Yeah 
I didn't know about the Standells being there, until that nite. They did two songs. They did mention how the White Sox had co-opted the song for their slogan. Nice to hear Chicago's only World Series winning team, in the last 100 years mentioned. MC Wendy Snyder, also mentioned she was a Sox fan.
Dirty Water and Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. 
OK so the latter song isn't well known, so what? How many concerts have you been to where there was at least one song that the audience wasn't familiar with? It's a cinch you won't hear it on oldies radio anytime soon. I can see why you wonder about the inclusion of them, and the next act, Rick Derringer / McCoys. Wendy Snyder remarked when she was a rock jock, they played Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo so often, she had the cart # memorized. Rick played Hang On Sloopy and Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo.  Rick made mention of Hang On Sloopy being the official Rock and Roll song of Ohio.  Rick also mentioned how Hang On Sloopy was #1, while Yesterday was #2 while he was on tour with Ringo. That is until someone mentioned that maybe he should ask Ringo if it was OK if he said that. Ringo didn't care.  
A similar feat was brought up during the Buckinghams' set. I had never seen Dennis Tufano play with them, so this was gonna be a treat ... at least that's what I thought. They would play five songs.
Don't You Care
Mercy Mercy Mercy
On both of these songs, Dennis was not with them. Dennis came on to sing the next three.
Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)
Kind Of A Drag
Dennis remarked how it had knocked off I'm A Believer off the top spot. Nationally anyways. The song stalled at #2 in Chicago. 
While it was well known that there would be a tribute to Mitch Aliotta, of Aliotta Haynes & Jeremiah, Skip Haynes, who wrote the song, and sings it, was actually a last minute addition, having heard about it, because a friend happened to be listening to Wendy Snyder talk to Jim Peterik and Carl Giammarese on her show about the event, and told him. There was a fiddle/violin player helping out, I didn't catch her name. For some reason they played the song twice. OK with me. Maybe an equipment malfunction. 
I was thinking there would have to be some closing number where everyone got on stage and sang and I was right. When they said it would be the greatest garage band song of all time there was no doubt that it would have to be Louie Louie and I was right. 
It was a great show.  Thirty songs in all were performed and it moved pretty quickly. Lake Shore Drive was the only song repeated.
Because I live in the middle of nowhere, and the closest major town for concerts, is St. Louis, Mo., I have to think this might have been the last concert I ever attend. It has to do with two things. First off, coming home at midnight, or later, and driving 100 miles or so is exhausting, especially in inclement weather. Next is the fact that Mrs. Jack, works five nights a week and doesn't necessarily have the corresponding evenings off. Mrs. Jack gave her blessings for me to attend the show with her immediate predecessor. Is this the best show I ever attended? Probably not. My ears are still ringing from a Springsteen concert I saw in 1977. A top 10 show for sure, and maybe a top five. There is talk about bringing the show to venues in the Midwest. If it comes to St. Louis, Effingham, or Evansville, I will show up. I'll be anxious to see the show when it airs on PBS. I'm sure there are details I forgot, but I think I got everything.
Jack Levin (Rock And Roll Never Forgets)
As cool as it would be to take this show out on the road and let other fans of the music see it, I'm really not sure how practical and realistic that would be.  Ronnie Rice singing regularly with The New Colony Six again?  Probably not going to happen (although with the backup of The Ides, they certainly could expand their horizons musically ... and include some of those songs I suggested earlier.)  On a full show / tour level, I see no reason why they couldn't break this into a two one-hour sets and give fans more of what they want to see from The Cryan' Shames and The American Breed, too.  Plus this would allow Peterik to incorporate some of his Survivor hits into the program ... I can't imagine seeing Peterik and The Ides and NOT hearing "Eye Of The Tiger"!!!
Carl and Nick inviting Dennis to continue to participate is even LESS likely to happen.  (And in this regard, Carl brings up a good point ... the "value" of the band ... whether it be two original members, three original members or four original members ... really doesn't change based on the head-count.  The Buckinghams are going to make whatever they're going to make ... they'd just have to share the pot more ways.  The Carl and Nick / Buckinghams Show has done just fine on its own for many, many years now and while bringing Dennis Tufano out as a "special guest" is a nice touch from time to time, I can't imagine they'd want (or feel any need) to do this on a regular basis.
Plus realistically once the entire show is available through DVD, you can watch it as many times as you like ... you don't really need to go out and see it again and again.  (Coupled with The Marty Grebb Benefit Concert, this would make TWO incredible additions to any Chicagoan's musical collection.)  I would rather see a renewed interest in all these acts so that they might book more summer shows as individuals (where they could expand their own sets to include more of their hits) ... or "double team" as a couple of package shows.  Imagine a "Chicago Gold Weekend" featuring The Shadows Of Knight, The Cryan' Shames and The Buckinghams on one night ... and then The American Breed, The New Colony Six and The Ides Of March on another.  Venues could sell two-day passes to see the whole thing ... and then on night one, Ronnie Rice could sit in as a featured guest of The Shames and Dennis Tufano could sit in as a special guest of The Ides ... now EVERYBODY's represented without any internal conflicts raising their ugly heads!!!  (See guys ... ALWAYS thinking!!!)  Now THAT'S a show I'll bet you could sell tickets for!  (kk)   

Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a bigger music ambassador than you for the city of Chicago, or for that matter, most of the proven artists music scene in this country.  The music artists and luminaries that pop up in Forgotten Hits certainly speak to its credibility and value.  Wish you were on the board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as looking at their latest voting stats speak loudly of your musical tastes and credibility.  When it comes to zeal, enthusiasm, and love of music, I think most everyone would agree, we don't know where in the hell you find your energy but please tell us the website where we can purchase it.  I am sure you hear this repeatedly, but don't stop what you are doing.  Other music publications could take a lesson from your example spreading the medicine of music and the candid, honest reporting of Forgotten Hits.  Thank-You,Tim Kiley
Thank you, Tim ... your email made my day.  And let me state again for the record ... we often find ourselves in the position of having to call 'em as we see 'em ... which, from time to time, requires us to render our opinion ... but in MOST cases we find it FAR easier to simply state things as a matter of fact ... because you just can't argue with the truth.  (kk)   

Wow, Kent – awesome coverage!  I was humbled and nearly brought to tears over some of your incredibly kind words; a zillion thank yous would fall far short of being sufficient.  Blown away, kk – what you wrote is what I feel. 
My perspective on the invitation, Kent, is validation from sources that have otherwise chosen to remove our band, The New Colony Six, from its rightful place as the group that  broke down previously insurmountable airplay barriers that seemingly existed at Chicago, Midwest and Nationwide radio stations and led to the crush of wonderful Chicago music that came from the Colony and so many of our fabulous peers and subsequent generations of performers in the months, years and now half century+ following the “Breakthrough” by our song, “I Confess”.  Our band was always a collective and never an individual --- from writing to performing, from backroom decision-making to our onstage presence, from departing members to selecting newcomers, from anything to everything -- we were truly a group.  Hence, prior omissions from previous events and even the limited participation that has been allowed in this coming program have been tough to take.  (At one point we were cut from six songs down to three ... I had to fight hard to settle in at the four we ultimately performed.)
Perhaps this is just the increasing sensitivity of an aging man, but the show’s inclusion of Bruce, Ronnie and me at least advocates for the recognition of NC6 as what was and still is a cooperative democracy and not an autocracy … and is very much appreciated!  WE will do our very best to rock the house, despite the absence of many important NC6ers – past and present.   
We are kindred spirits and to use the oft repeated but never more apropos phrase, I feel as though we are “brothers from a different mother”.  Love ya, man!       

Hi Kent! 
Thanks so much for the positive comments on the Cornerstones show we taped on October 16 at WTTW.  Everyone onstage and in the audience had a blast.  I'm still buzzing with good vibrations. 
It went really well and I wish you coulda been there.  
Please understand that this was our chance to do a more complete job than we were able to do in last year's Cornerstones show. That was not a matter of my disloyalty -  there were many factors beyond my control that caused not every band to be represented in full. We did what we could.
As far as the American Breed, Gary requested they do just one song - Bend Me Shape Me - and we agreed to it.  What a thrill to see the breed reunited.
I'm glad we got to join many forces that couldn't seem to come together prior to this show.
If you knew the work that was done by me and others leading up to this show to get this whole team working together, I think you might be a bit more charitable. Shows like this are never easy to mount but so worthwhile.  We are moving forward - together ... not looking back on the growing pains of the past.
I'm overwhelmed by the Chicago fan support and of course I'd like to thank you for your support and passion through the years.  
I'll send you an update soon.  
Thanx again for all you did to promote this historic night.
Keep Rocking!
Jim, I have always ... and WILL always help promote the events of our local heroes ... I have ALWAYS been a fan first ... and would have LOVED to have been at that concert.  But because I knew in advance that I already had Stevie Wonder tickets (review to come) I felt the best and closest way to accomplish that (and still help give you guys the press you deserved) was to attend the two nights of rehearsals ... and help build the hype from the pre-show perspective.  (Now by that point this gig was LONG sold-out ... so nobody reading this had anything to gain in the way of possibly attending ... but I believed ... much as we did with The Marty Grebb Benefit Concert ... that we could still drum up some excitement from coast to coast for fans anxious to see the first airing of this landmark event.  Couple that with some exclusive photos like we did for the Grebb gig and everybody wins.)  What upset me was the fact that after being aced out of the initial announcement (after direct promises from you and Carl in this regard) that no restitution was made by invitations to the rehearsals.
Be that as it may, this doesn't diminish my love for this music and the artists who created it ... and, as such, I will always be excited and willing to help in any way I can. 
Believe me, I DO show great appreciation for all that goes into putting together a show like this ... and in that regard, you did a commendable job ... outstanding in fact, based on all I've heard from the folks who were actually there that night.  (And I think that you would be the first to agree, on the record or off, that a lot of the obstacles you fought with last year's Ides Cornerstones show were due to the behind the scenes politics of certain participants.  Those same influences almost caused you to miss The Marty Grebb Benefit Concert which, had that happened, I believe you would have regretted for the rest of your life.)  My sincerest hope (and expectation) is that you, as an individual who has certainly earned his right at the top of the heap, will always use your best personal judgment, kick these distractions to the side and NEVER lose sight and focus of what these events are really all about in the first place.  As you have seen first hand, the love from the audience comes back ten-fold ... please don't let ANYONE ever stand in the way of what you truly believe in your heart.  (kk)   

Kent -
Thank You once again for all you do for the Music. You have been a great friend, sound board and voice of reason for all of us music makers from Chicago and beyond! God Bless and looking forward to seeing you soon.
Dennis Tufano