October 10, 2008
The first time I remember seeing Glen was when I was playing with Dick Dale at a high school prom and Glen was the opening act. All I could think was who was this guy? Amazing singing and guitar playing. This had to be around 1961-62.
The first time I met Glen was at the recording session for “King Of The Surf Guitar”. This was my first recording session with L.A. session players and Dick’s first album on Capitol. From what I understand Capitol and/or the producer wanted to use session players and not the Del Tones (big mistake as why would you want to NOT use the band?). Anyway Dick insisted on having at least one of the Del Tones on the session and I got to be that guy. I was scared to death but young enough not to know better. I get to the session and who am I sitting next to but Glen Campbell! I was never a good reader and at that time didn’t know much about “charts” but of course the first thing everyone gets is a chart. I said to Glen “but I don’t read music”. Glen said not to worry he really didn’t either and they would run it down a few times and by then you would know it. Of course that’s exactly what happened and I was thankful to Glen for calming me down!
I think the next time I ran into him was on the Righteous Brothers session for “Try To Find Another Man”. I wasn’t on the session but went to listen and sure enough Glen was playing that cool, low guitar part. I asked Glen about that guitar of his as it had such a great sound and he told me he had bought it in a pawn shop in Tijuana, Mexico.
Throughout the years I would continue to run into Glen. At one point he was opening for the Righteous Brothers. I would stand backstage every night watching him and listening to his many, very, “hot licks”. I would also pester him to show me something he had just played and he was always kind enough to do so.
The first picture to the left is of Glen and Drew Johnson (drummer for the Righteous Brothers). This was on a tour through the south. The second picture is of Mike Patterson (piano player and road manager) and Glen on the same tour in Corpus Christi TX.
Another time we were out on the road with the Brothers and ran into Glen playing bass for the Beach Boys!
One of my favorite stories about Glen is that he and I were sitting at the bar in the Red Velvet, a hot spot on Sunset Blvd (This was probably around 1963). We were commiserating about the music business and all the ups and downs. I asked Glen how he was doing and he proceeded to tell me that things were not that great and he was thinking about moving back to Arkansas!
And the rest, they say, is history.
September 13, 2008
I believe I first heard of the Blossoms when they appeared on Dick Dale’s “King Of The Surf Guitar” (I was lucky enough to be on that session playing guitar next to Glen Campbell but that’s another story). I’m not sure if the girls were at the date but I soon learned that they were singing background on just about everything in town. I also heard of their association with Phil Spector, The Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. (That’s Darlene Love, Fanita James, myself and Jeanie King in the picture.)
After I left Dick Dale, Mike Patterson and a few of us started a band called The Fugitives. We had been backing up the Righteous Brothers on various gigs around Southern California before their big hit “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”. After that hit The Fugitives became the backup band for the Righteous Brothers. The Blossoms had been singing on most of the Brothers’ records so it only seemed natural that they join us on the road as the backup singers.
For some reason I became the designated driver for the girls, and the four of us spent a lot of time together. As we did most of our touring in the south (and this was the mid 60s) it became very interesting to see the look on peoples faces as I squired the gals around Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Two instances stick out in my mind. On one occasion we were driving to a gig through the back roads of North Carolina. We were lost and I stopped for directions at a small general store. All I remember is that the four of us were not greeted too warmly, and I said to the girls “let’s get out of here fast!” and we did. On another occasion we were at an airport somewhere in Louisiana. Evidently, it wasn’t generally appreciated that we should be traveling together, particularly as there was much obvious camaraderie and affection among us. Of course — we were lucky we didn’t get ourselves killed!
It became obvious at one point that Bill Medley and Darlene were very fond of each other. For whatever reason it never went beyond that, maybe because of the times. In any event, as the story was told to me, the relationship was the inspiration for the song “Brown Eyed Woman” written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. I always thought that was a great record, but it was only a hit in some major cities. I guess the country wasn’t ready for that sentiment.
Another tidbit Darlene mentioned to me was how Phil Spector wouldn’t record her or release her from her contract, so she was in limbo for a number of years unable to release records under her own name.
Mike Patterson was actively involved as manager and road manager for the Brothers, but after they broke up he continued his role as manager for Bill Medley and various other acts, including The Blossoms. One day around 1971 Mike asked my writing partner, Joe Reed, and myself to write and produce some sides for a Blossoms album. This became their only album and was released on Lion/MGM Records. It was great to be re-united with them again. They were always fun to be with and of course their singing was out of this world! We recorded it at MGM recording studios on Fairfax in L.A. and used a lot of the “cool” Motown players of the time, as well as Gene Paige as the arranger. Also, here is a picture of me on a ladder dropping a pawn shop guitar plugged into a Marshall amp, cranked to the max, for the explosion on “Shockwave”.
A few years ago I was pleasantly surprised, watching one of the Lethal Weapon movies, to recognize Darlene playing Trish. I was also pleased to hear that she appeared in the Tony nominated 1985 Broadway musical, Leader of the Pack, based on the songs of Ellie Greenwich.
I was sad to hear of Jeannie’s death of a heart attack in 1983. I haven’t seen or spoken to Darlene or Fanita since the 70s but I have such fond memories of working and hanging out with them so many years ago.
September 7, 2008
I ran across some old pictures the other day and it reminded me of a bit of trivia that some of you might find interesting. BTW my meanderings have no chronological order – it’s just how they happen to pop up.
After I returned from Vietnam in 1962 I was discharged from the Marine Corp and rejoined Dick Dale and The Del Tones (or His Del Tones as we were sometimes referred to). At different times Dick would have two sax players. The one constant sax player was Barry Rillera, who, as I have mentioned before was a great guitar player. The second player would change from time to time. I believe Barry was there before I left for overseas, but I’m not sure of the other. It may have been Armando Frank or someone named Jerry? (not sure, help!).
When I rejoined Dick in 1962 he was playing at Harmony Park. The second sax player was a new arrival from North Carolina named Lee Ferrell (OK, now you know where this is going!). Because Lee and I were the new guys in the band we became friends and went on to work in a number of little bands around the area (on our off nights with Dick). Lee was a quiet guy off stage, but we would be playing in these small local bars and some nights he would just do the craziest things – Jump up on the tables or the bar while playing, pull out a crazy wig and just generally cut up. You never knew when it would happen and he would be totally spontaneous. He was very, very funny.
August 25, 2008
Check out the this video.
Yep that’s me in the center, goofy smile and all. An exciting group to watch huh? Still wish I had that Strat for the price they are going for today!
I was in the Marine Corps stationed at the Air Facility in Santa Ana CA. Being from Connecticut I soon discovered the beaches, Balboa Island and the Balboa peninsula. I used to watch Dick playing at the Rinky Dink ice cream parlor and then later at the Rendezvous Ballroom on the peninsula. [Read more]
July 21, 2008
I’d never thought much about writing a blog mainly because I’ve never liked typing that much and I don’t consider myself a writer. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to an old friend, Artie Wayne and he really got me fired up. Not only to write a blog but to redo this web site, something I had been thinking about for awhile. Artie got me thinking about stories I may have when working with people like John Lennon, Barbara Streisand and Billy Joel. So now I have to plumb the “little grey cells” to see what I actually do remember. Should be an interesting journey! Stay tuned…