Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Sunday Comments ( 05 - 24 - 15 )

re: The Wrecking Crew:  
I bet this doesn't show up on any of their bios or discographies but in this 50th Anniversary of "The Arrows" I can't help but mention that Carol Kaye, Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Billy Strange, Joe Osborne, Don Randi and others were "Arrows" on a few tracks.  
Davie Allan  
P.S. I'm trying to get a new album placed with Curb (he shares in this anniversary when we started "The Arrows") but ... stay tuned!  
Congratulations on your 50th Anniversary, Davie ... and Good Luck with the whole Mike Curb thing. 
Do you remember any particular tracks The Wrecking Crew played on?  And was this something that you knew about or had prearranged?  Or just a surprise when you got to the studio that day?  (kk)  
Carol, Hal and Larry were on a few of the soundtracks I did, most notably, as far as "Arrows" go, "Devil's Angels" so they were on the soundtrack and the single which was my follow-up to "Blues' Theme". Billy Strange was on two tracks: "War Path" (that was a pre-Arrows single on the Marc label in '63) and "The Unknown Rider" that appeared on "The Wild Angels" soundtrack. I knew they were booked for the various films before the sessions. I also recorded a couple of Jerry Naylor sessions with them. Another session was the score for the award winning short, "Skaterdater". I played lead on those tunes with Al Casey, Jim Horn, Larry Brown and Larry Knechtel. I wish I had taken pictures and kept a log on all those sessions (in the studio daily for five years). Thanks,  

Eric Ekstrand and I play two gigs every week as a duo. (Together on one for about ten years, the other for about two yrs). We have a monthly Thursday PM gig and Eric is taking that night off to do the Don Peake gig.
I first met Don when our band, the Portraits, was signed to Mike Curb in '67. Our manager was married to Albeth Paris of the Paris Sisters and Don was dating Priscilla Paris. Don arranged the strings, French horn and chimes on our record of "Over The Rainbow".

Gary E. Myers / MusicGem    

This group of cracker jack musicians created musical magic (and history) on a near daily basis, sitting in on sessions for ALL of the biggest artists recording in and around the Los Angeles area during the 1960's.  All were highly accomplished players (most with JAZZ backgrounds, believe it or not ... and not necessarily big fans of rock and roll other than as a means to earn a living) who were able to grab a sense of what a particular piece of music needed in a matter of just a few run-throughs ... most of the biggest hits of this era were committed to wax in as few as three or four takes.  Because of their ability to capture the "hit" sound so quickly, all were in hot demand.  A typical session might run 3-4 hours ... and during that span of time (depending on what the producer brought with him to the session), they might record a single, a b-side or maybe three or four album tracks ... then move on to their next session.  (Some did three or four three-hour sessions per day!!!  They might record with The Beach Boys, The Fifth Dimension and Frank Sinatra all in the same day!  Then get up in the morning and do it again for The Mamas and the Papas, The Monkees and Johnny Rivers!)  Studio time was expensive, even back in those days, so there was no time to waste ... they had to grasp it ... and nail it ... very quickly.)  Their input was held in the highest regard based on their proven track record. 
Keep in mind that there was NO advance rehearsal time for these sessions ... each and every time they came in "blind" and could be asked to play in virtually any style during each subsequent session.  These guys weren't in a regular band out playing in the clubs each night, honing their skills and arrangements ... in fact, it wasn't even the same players every time ... they just jelled in the studio, putting their own touches on whatever charts happened to be laid out in front of them that particular day. 
Each producer had their favorites ... but if somebody wasn't available to provide guitar or piano for a particular session, there were literally DOZENS of others who could step in and lend their own style to any given record.  The goal was to "mass produce" ... lay down as many backing tracks as possible in a three hour session.  Vocals could always be added later ... and typically the REAL band (or touring band) would have to come in later and then learn their "own" songs from the records!  (It didn't pay for these Wrecking Crew musicians to tour ... they could earn CONSIDERABLY more money doing session work than they ever could out on the road!) 
And, on top of that, they were "unsung heroes" ... rarely (if ever) receiving credit on the albums and singles they played on.  Nobody wanted to break the illusion that the artists we loved were playing their own instruments on all these radio hits that shaped the soundtrack of our lives.  Incredibly, The Monkees were ripped apart when it came to light that they weren't playing their own instruments on their records ... CRUCIFIED in the press ... when, in fact, those EXACT SAME MUSICIANS were also providing the backing sounds for The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, The Mamas and the Papas, The Byrds, The Turtles, The Fifth Dimension, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Sonny and Cher and COUNTLESS others.  The Monkees just happened to take the brunt of it ... and eventually learned how to play their own instruments at the insistence of Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork. 
The movie and book point this out in clear, concise facts ... members of The Wrecking Crew played on more hit records than ANYBODY else in the business ... they were unparalleled. 
The era of the studio musician came to an end as more and more "self-contained" groups who were writing their own songs and playing their own instruments came into fashion.  But think about that for a second, too ... Major Acts like Fleetwood Mac would take YEARS between albums, crafting every nuance in search of that perfect sound ... The Eagles might work on a backing track for a week and a half before they felt they had finally captured the sound they were looking for ... spending nine or ten DAYS to fine-tune it to perfection.  The Wrecking Crew accomplished this in three or four hours ... and recorded another three or four songs in that same time period, too!!!  In hindsight, it truly is amazing! 
You will DEFINITELY want to check out the DVD, available June 16th (with an incredible 6+ HOURS of Bonus Material!!!)  Even if you've seen the film in a theater or at a film festival, this new release will contain VOLUMES of material you've never seen before. 
And I can't recommend the book highly enough ... page after page of tidbits in the words of the players, the producers and the artists themselves, talking about what it was like to record in this bygone era ... BEAUTIFULLY illustrated with photos and session logs .. a MUST HAVE for any '60's fan's collection. 
Both items are available through the links shown below:   

re:  Clark Weber:  
Hey Kent,  
I had the good fortune to attend Clark Weber's last public appearance (so he says) today.  He was speaking at Chestnut Square retirement home in Glenview.  I saw Clark right at the door when I walked in and he graciously signed my copy of his book "Clark Weber's Rock and Roll Radio".  He looked great, not ready for retirement, in my opinion!  He pleased the crowd with many stories of his glory days at WLS.  I saw a few fans with Silver Dollar Surveys ready to get signed.  He mentioned meeting many great artists BEFORE they were famous, including Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, the Supremes, Sonny and Cher and, of course, the Beatles.  What an interesting life he has led.  He mentioned he was once at a Paul Revere and the Raiders concert at a local high school and looked at me and said maybe I was there!  I told him I was!  Back then, it was the biggest deal for the Raiders to be at our local high school.  I still have my Raider hat I wore to that show.  Next, he mentioned introducing the Beatles when they played here in Chicago at Comiskey Park in the early l960's.  I had to laugh, because I was there, too!  I was lucky to have a very hip mother who dragged my brother and I to this concert, taking the Halsted Street bus.  I'll never forget it.  I'm sure Clark Weber had many, many more stories to relate.  I recommend anyone getting a copy of his book.  It's great reading about the early days of rock and roll in Chicago.  The crowd really enjoyed this blast from the past with Clark Weber!  
How VERY cool!  Clark is a GREAT storyteller and, like I said, still sharp as a tack!  I've been to a couple of his library appearances ... and was there at The Hard Rock Cafe in Downtown Chicago a couple of summers ago when we he appeared at the Ringo Starr Art Exhibit.  I also highly recommend his book for those of you out there who grew up listening to Top 40 Radio in the '60's.  (kk)   

Many people wonder what Clark will live on now that he has retired.  I'm sure, like me, that he plans on living off all the Weber Moola he has from his days at the Big 89 when he was "Emporer Weber."  Sure the station gave away tons of real Silver Dollars, but getting Weber Moola was much cooler!  I was SO stupid as a kid!  :)  
Clark Besch

Clark told us years ago that the station passed out REAL silver dollars during their surprise and remote appearances ... often at the beaches along Lake Michigan where they'd find literally THOUSANDS of kids lying there under the sun with their transistor radios tuned in to WLS!  (kk)   

The WLS survey pictured today dated September 16, 1961, brought two recollections to my mind. The song coming in at #21, JOHNNY WILLOW, peaked at #2 here in OKC and the song coming in at #35 by the Untouchables charted here in OKC but it was the flip, a song called LOVELY DEE which made the survey.  
Fred Darian's "Johnny Willow" peaked at #14 here in Chicago on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey while The Untouchables' track "You're The Top" topped out at #35 in its two weeks on the chart.  (kk)   

re:  The Buckinghams / Susan:
>>>The moment of magic ... FOUR of Chicago's best-known Buckinghams on stage together performing their hits again for the first time in 45+ years.  "Back In Love Again" (written by Marty) was the PERFECT opening song. (kk)  
Thanks for all the great video /photos / set list / reviews of the Marty Grebb party.  It all is great!  I am SOOO glad they chose to do "Back in Love Again."  I felt it was just as good as any of their hits and deserved top 10 status.  A Marty classic!  
-- Clark Besch
I agree 100% ... always one of my favorites, too.  (kk)

I remember the Buckinghams playing in Lisle, Il, at Jakes Pizza in the basement called the Snooty Fox. I was a waitress and stayed and had drinks with them.  
Linda Royer  
There was a stretch there in the mid-to-late 80s when they were doing a lot of the neighborhood fests, playing all kinds of hits from the '60's and squeezing their own hits in between songs by The Beatles, The Hollies and others. Since reforming, Carl and Nick have been successfully touring as headliners for about 35 years now! And the fans have stayed loyal. There's a very simple reason for that ... you just can't beat good music!  (kk)   

Didn't see any mention of Marty Grebbs wonderful version of Herbie Hancock's Canteloupe Island, one of the best songs of the evening. 
Dean Milano 
I asked Marty to verify the titles of the songs he performed as part of his official set and this one wasn't even mentioned or on this list.  The original titles given me were (from the original show outline) were: "Take It Easy", "50 / 50", "Come Rain Or Come Shine" and "Latin Medley".  Since he never offered up any alternative titles, this is what I went with.  (kk)  
Weird. He definitely did Cantaloupe and he even smiled when I told him it was the best tune of the night.  Oh well, no biggie. 
Your article was great, by the way! 
Listening to Herbie Hancock's version, I definitely remember hearing this, too ... just not sure if this is the correct title for "50/50" or what was simply referred to as "Latin Medley".  (kk)   

 Some time ago FH Reader Clark Besch (who posed the question about your "Susan" preference in the first place) sent us this brief interlude, showing the source of James Guercio's inspiration for the timely psychedelic edit.  Of course The Bucks were shocked when they first heard it as this was all edited in by Guercio without their knowledge after they'd left the studio.  Truly, I don't mind it ... the short edit is just too sharply cut for my ears.  (Talk about crazy edits ... The Cryan' Shames absolutely RUINED the prettiest song they ever recorded on the album version of their Chicagoland #1 Smash "It Could Be We're In Love" ... talk about unnecessary gibberish!  Thankfully the folks at Columbia were smart enough to see the hit potential of the song on its own merits, edited it out and released it as a single.  It peaked at #52 nationally ... but topped the charts here in Chicago for four straight weeks during the Summer of Love, 1967.)  kk

The Exceptions:
With Carl talking up the great Exceptions, here's a tidbit that's not even in my original long draft of the Bucks.  BTW, when speaking with Bob Stroud and Jim Peterik years ago, I brought up the Exceptions and both said they were blown away by the band.  Marty had great company and it was really a supergroup BEFORE there were supergroups.  The band at times included Marty as well as Billy Herman, Kal David, Jimmy Vincent, Peter Cetera.  When I spoke with Dunwich's Bill Traut when working on the Dunwich compilations CDs, he told me that David and Vincent were the top guitarists in the city at the time.  High praise for this band that never could crack the vinyl hit parades.  Personally, I LOVE the Exceptions' "As Far as I Can See" single which did get played on WLS' Dex Card show, because I taped it off his show in 1967!  
When Marty joined the Bucks, he brought two original songs to the band that he recorded with the Exceptions earlier.  His 1965 Tollie 45 "Come on Home" with Kal David & the Exceptions was reworked and recorded for the Bucks' 1968 "Portraits" album as "C'mon Home."  Can you believe the difference?  Also, he took another Exceptions 45, their first 1967 Quill / Capitol 45, the psychedelic "As Far as I Can See" and re-recorded it in 1969 with the Bucks for their A side single "This is How Much I Love You."  There's lots of tidbits about the band that are quite interesting.   
Clark Besch

re:  The Chicago Experience:  
You got any knowledge on where Chicago Experience may be playing? Would love to see them ... jeez, they were terrific!  
Chet Coppock    
Couldn't agree with you more ... check out their website for upcoming dates ... a couple of outdoor gigs at some of the neighborhood festivals this summer ... and we will definitely be there.  (I told my wife during their appearance at The Marty Grebb Benefit Concert that they performed "Dialogue" better than ANY time I've ever seen Chicago do it ... and I've seen Chicago at least a dozen times!)  kk

And how cool is this?  After his performance at The Marty Grebb Benefit Concert, original Chicago Drummer Danny Seraphine was honored with a street-naming ceremony at Cornelia and Normandy on the Northwest side of Chicago, the city he was born in and called home.  Congratulations, Danny!  

(For the record, I'm STILL waiting for an alley ... a driveway ... ANYTHING recognizing Forgotten Hits Way!!!)  kk

re:  This And That:  
Kent -  
This weekend WCBS-FM is counting down The Top 500 Memorial Day Countdown ... ...  
Care to guess what # 1 will be?
Nowadays I haven't got a clue!
Frank B. 
We'll let you know when the final list is posted.  When I tuned in on Saturday I heard (in order) "Out Of Touch" by Hall and Oates, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown", "Dreamlover" by Mariah Carey, "Who Loves You" by The Four Seasons , "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer, "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals, "Upside Down" by Diana Ross, "Hungry Like The Wolf" by Duran Duran, "Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney and Wings, "Urgent" by Foreigner, "Heart Of Glass" by Blondie and Barry White's "You're The First, The Last, My Everything"  (#'s 192 - 181 ).  Definitely a younger audience voting this year ... I'm guessing you're not going to hear too many tunes from before 1968 on this countdown!!!  (kk)

I believe radio stations first started this tradition on Memorial Day, tying in with The Indianapolis 500.  Then it expanded (and/or moved) to Labor Day.  Ron Smith publishes The Labor Day Top 500 (as voted on by his readers and website visitors) every other year ... so this will be the year to cast your votes again.  You can vote by visiting the website here ...
(To confirm, voting starts in August)  kk

>>>Paul McCartney -- available for bar mitzvahs, parties, circus tours.  (I can see the ad now!)  Clark Besch
You guys left out a gig for Sir Paul’s new  venue list: “WEDDINGS”!   
I’ve played a few of those through the years to those who had the bucks. 
Ex Letterman, 
Gary Pike

From about a decade ago.  Small world.
- Bobby Scammell

Hi Kent -  
Just spotted a piece you wrote about Roger Cook in January, 2009.
Thought you might appreciate this story that appeared today.

>>>The Freddie & Dreamers' "You Were Made for Me" track you featured recently has different edits and I cannot remember now if the one you played is the 45 version or not.  Capitol actually released this in 1963, but it was a hit on Tower over a year later in 65.  However, to elongate the song, they re-edited it, if I remember correctly.  (Clark Besch)
>>>I've heard at least three edits of "You Were Made For Me" over the years.  Quite honestly, I've lost track myself as to which is which!  (lol)  But I'll betcha FH Reader John LaPuzza can tell us!  (Hey John, if you're reading this, can you send me a clean MP3 of the hit single mix???  Thanks!)  kk
Hey Kent,  
I really don't know if there is a clean, mp3 copy of the Capitol Records 45, "You Were Made For Me" by Freddie and the Dreamers, but I'll keep looking. The song was recorded in England and was introduced on the Columbia UK label. I am trying to find the connection of Capitol with Columbia. I don't know if the two record companies had an agreement to share royalties (which I doubt) or Capitol "buying" the recording from Columbia, after the song made its European run in '63, and later appeared on Capitol, the same year. There are other 45s, like "I'm Telling You Now", that went though the same process. The EMI double CD set, "The Ultimate Collection" of Freddie and the Dreamers is supposed to contain the original Columbia recording, but who knows? Its liner notes have some inaccuracies, here and there, even calling the song, "You Were Meant For Me". However, I read somewhere that the word, "Meant" was part of the first working title of the song, written by Mitch Murray and Freddie. Thanks for giving me a shout!
- John LaPuzza

More Bobby Hart coverage in this interesting piece from Jeremy Roberts ...   
We're seeing LOTS of press for Bobby's new book, out now.  (kk)    

If you listen to classic rock radio on a daily basis, you'd be hard-pressed to go a full day without hearing the distinctive and powerful vocals of Lou Gramm blasting through your speakers.  
As the voice of Foreigner, one of rock's most popular and successful bands, Lou can be heard on every single one of the band's classic hits, which includes sixteen Top 30 songs and nine Top 10's over the years. For those into chart success, that's one less than the Eagles and the same as Fleetwood Mac.   
 Here are the Top 10's: "I Want To Know What Love Is," "Waiting For A Girl Like You," "Double Vision," "Hot Blooded," "Urgent," "Feels Like The First Time," "I Don't Want To Live Without You," "Say You Will" and "Cold As Ice."
 You know them well.
 And let's not forget "Head Games," the rock anthem, "Juke Box Hero" and other rockers such as "Dirty White Boy," "That Was Yesterday," "Blue Morning, Blue Day," "Long Long Way From Home" and "Break It Up" that cracked the Top 30.
By 1980, Foreigner's first eight singles (from their first three albums, Foreigner, Double Vision and Head Games) entered the Billboard Top 20 charts, making them the first band to achieve that feat since the Beatles.                     
 On Friday, June 5, fans are in for a real rock and roll treat as Lou will performing a vast selection of those Foreigner hits, along with such solo hits as "Midnight Blue" and "Just Between You and Me," with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Guest Conductor: Brent Havens) and his band at the Delta Classic Chastain Park Amphitheater in Atlanta, Georgia.         
One hit after another.
In 1978, shortly after the release of "Hot Blooded," Circus magazine remarked that Lou had a voice that Robert Plant might envy.
Of course, the rest was rock and roll history as when all might have been said but not yet done, Foreigner would join Led Zeppelin on the Atlantic Records label as one of the most successful artists ever on the imprint.                 
In May of 2013, Lou, with the help of writer Scott Pitoniak, released a must-read autobiography titled, Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock 'n' Roll (Triumph Books).
A month later, he would be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.       
Lou and his band -- currently comprised of brother Ben Grammatico on drums, Michael Staertow on guitar, AD Zimmer on bass and Andy Knoll on keyboards -- have been on the road since the beginning of the year and have already performed a few dozen shows to date.
After the Chastain Park Amphitheater performance in early June, Lou will continue to tour throughout the year (see current itinerary below).
Come out and hear the voice behind the songs that have propelled Foreigner's worldwide album sales to exceed 75 million units, making them one of the world's best-selling artists of all-time.     
Get your tickets now!      
Lou Gramm Official Website and Links
Lou Gramm Tour 2015*
Thursday, May 21 - Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Washington
Saturday, May 23 - Bakersfield Rockin Country Festival in Bakersfield, California
Friday, June 5 - Chastain Amphitheatre with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Atlanta, Georgia
Saturday, June 6 - Old Shawnee Days Festival in Shawnee, Kansas
Saturday, June 20 - Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield, Ohio
Saturday, June 27 - Rockin Ribs Festival in Augusta, New Jersey
Saturday, July 4 - Sun Peaks Concert Series in Sun Peaks Village, British Columbia, Canada
Friday, July 10 - Peacefest in Peace River, Alberta, Canada
Saturday, July 11 - BobStock in Fort Morgan, Colorado
Thursday, July 16 - La Fete Du Lac Nations in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
Sunday, July 19 - Great S. Bay Music Fest in Patchogue, New York     
Monday, July 27 - Olds Agricultural Grandstand in Olds, Alberta, Canada
Friday, July 31 - Rockin on the River Series in North Tonawanda, New York     
Friday, August 14 - Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, Wisconsin
Friday, August 28 - Beacon Theatre in Hopewell, Virginia
Saturday, August 29 - DeKalb Corn Festival in DeKalb, Illinois
Wednesday, September 2 - Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, Minnesota
Thursday, September 3 - Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, Minnesota
Saturday, September 12 - Clovis Music Festival in Clovis, New Mexico          
*Additional dates to be announced    

Sixties Music Legends The Chocolate Watchband Releases New Greatest Hits Album I'm Not Like Everybody Else 
Los Angeles, CA – When discussing legendary psychedelic garage bands of the 1960's, the Chocolate Watchband is at the top of the list. Much to the elation of fans and music critics, this famed sixties group has recorded a new album of their greatest and most popular tunes entitled “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” to be released May 26 on Purple Pyramid Records. Recorded at KVP Studio in Santa Clara, CA, the focus on this album was to faithfully reproduce the sound of the Chocolate Watchband in the 60's with the rawness and energy of the originals. Also added were bonus verses and extended track mixes of 13 personal and fan favorites. “The Chocolate Watchband is back on the scene and ready to rock!” says Tim Abbott, guitarist and producer of the album.   
“This release is all new recordings from The Chocolate Watchband. I had the privilege of premiering some of these songs on the 2010 Bay Area Garage Band Marathon on KKUP Cupertino. This is an incredible set of vintage garage from one of the true legends of the sixties. With this album, there can no doubt the power of their music still speaks to a whole new generation,” says Phil Dirt radio DJ

The goal was to re-create the sound and energy of the sessions with producer Ed Cobb, from the first three Watchband albums that were recorded for Tower Records in 1966, '67, and '68. Electronically reproducing the reverb of the old 'Echo Chamber' from American Recording studio in Studio City, CA, different percussion instruments were added including sleigh bells, tambourines, chimes, temple bells and more exotic instruments like sitars, harpsichords, theremin and bouzouki that gave the original recordings their distinctive sound.  
David Aguilar - Vocals, Harmonica, Percussion
Bill Flores - Bass
Gary Andrijasevich - Drums and Background Vocals
Tim Abbott - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Sitar, Flute, Bazooki, Harmonica and Background Vocals.
Alby Cozzette - Electric, Acoustic, and 12 string Guitars, and Background Vocals. 
The Chocolate Watchband formed in San Jose in 1965. The band's music was described as “a blend of 1960s-style garage and psychedelic rock with a distinguishable ‘Rolling Stones’ San Francisco sound.” Produced by Ed Cobb, the group's early music combined the influences of blues with a psychedelic edge that featured terse lyrics and instrumental experimentation. The Chocolate Watchband appeared in the 1967 film 'Riot On Sunset Strip' and the 1968 film 'The Love Ins'. The band released three highly acclaimed LPs from 1967 to 1969 before disbanding in 1970. In 1999, they reunited at the San Diego event 66/99 in San Diego, CA, organized by musician/journalist Mike Stax. They continue to play today at garage rock festivals in Europe as well as the States with Little Steven, The Yardbirds, Love, The Zombies, Bo Diddly, Iggy Pop, the Strawberry Alarm Clock and the Electric Prunes.   
1. Expo 2000
2. Gone and Passes By
3. It's All Over Now Baby Blue
4. Are You Gonna' Be There (At The Love-in)
5. No Way Out
6. Misty Lane
7. I Ain't No Miracle Worker
8. Sitting There Standing
9. Sweet Young Thing
10. Don't Need Your Lovin'
11. I'm Not Like Everybody Else
12. Let's Talk About Girls
13. Inner Mystique   
Chocolate Watchband "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" is available on
To purchase “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” on CD:  
To purchase “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” on Vinyl:   
To purchase “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” on iTunes: