The Fabulous Wailers
Ike and Tina Turner
The Fabulous Wailers at The Castle – (Etiquette, 1961)
Be My Baby b/w “So Much – Gail Harris, (Etiquette, 1962)
They Never Taught That At School b/w “Don’t Make The Angels Cry – Gayle Harris (Carlton 1962)
Here Come The Hurt” b/w Don’t You Love Me No More – Gayle Harris (Carlton, 1963)
Ain’t Gonna Let Me Down b/w Here I Go Again – Gayle Harris (DCP International, 1965)
Gail Harris was a seasoned pro by the time she first appeared with Tacoma’s Fabulous Wailers at the age of 13. By 1959 Tacoma’s Fabulous Wailers had made it as a regional powerhouse as well as made their national mark. Their first single, the instrumental “Tall Cool One” b/w Roadrunner (released in June of 1959) had made the Billboard charts at number 36. Shortly after “Long Cool One” fell off the charts the band released a second single, Mau-Mau b/w Dirty Robber. (August 1959). They’d made an appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and on The Allen Freed Show, and done a tour of the East Coast.
In December of 1959 Golden Crest released an album to capitalize on their success. The album was simply named ‘The Fabulous Wailers”. Golden Crest was eager to have the band relocate to New York City, but the band declined (probably under orders of their parents) and returned to the Northwest. Golden Crest soon lost interest in promoting them even though they were still under contract with the label. Golden Crest would eventually drop them but their contract would, for the immediate future create some problems.
Shortly after returning to the Northwest the band took on a new singer and frontman,”Rockin’ Robin” Roberts (Lawrence Fewell Roberts II). Roberts had previously worked with another Tacoma band, ‘Little Bill and The Bluenotes”. Along with Rockin’ Robin” Roberts came dissension. Roberts had pushed for a souped-up version of a song written in 1956 by Richard Berry. The song Roberts was pushing for, Louie Louie was originally inspired by the song “El Loco Cha Cha” written by Cuban-American René Touzet. It had been a popular song performed live in the 1950s by Ricky Rillera and the Rhythm Rockers in Southern California while Berry was sitting in with The Rhythm Rockers for some time before he created Louie Louie around the “El Loco’s” lead riff. Berry later said;
“I took some Latin, some calypso, some pop, threw it all in and came up with ‘Louie Louie’.
It was decided in order to get by The Wailers’ contract with the now disinterested Golden Crest, Louie Louie would be released under the artist name “Rockin’ Robin” Roberts even though the recording would actually be recorded by The Wailers. Buck Ormsby has claimed that Gail Harris also took part of The Wailers final … Read more›
Billy Tipton – Piano
Dick O’Neil – Drums
Kenny Richards – Bass
Ron Kilde – Bass
Louvenie’s Western Swingbillies,
Billy Tipton Plays Hi-Fi On The Piano – Billy Tipton (Tops Records, 1957)
Sweet Geogia Brown – The Billy Tipton Trio (Topps Records, 1957)
Billy Tipton – Billy Tipton ( Calle Mayor [Spain] 2017)
When Billy Tipton died on January 21st 1989 he was penniless, living in a mobile home, and his ability to play piano or saxophone had been destroyed by years of ravaging arthritis. He led a very private life with only a small circle of friends in his adopted home-town, Spokane Washington. He and his jazz trio had disbanded years earlier. During their time they had played small joints, Fraternal Hall dances and cocktail lounges for little pay throughout the mid-west and west coast. Billy had only two recordings to show for his almost 50 years in music. Both albums had been released in 1957. Essentially his passing would have gone unnoticed by anyone except his loved ones and a handful of professional friends. The rest of us would never know a thing about him.
But as Billy lay on the floor of his kitchen dying of a hemorrhaged peptic ulcer a paramedic called by Billy’s son William (against Billy’s wishes) loosened Billy’s pajamas in order to try resuscitate him looked up at William and asked;
”Did your father ever have a sex change?”
That single question would make Billy Tipton one of the most talked-about jazz performers for the next few decades. It would also lead to public debates, books, research papers and magazine articles on gender, personal identity, transexualism, deception and an individual’s right to live as they wish.
Billy Tipton was pronounced dead when his body arrived at Valley General Hospital in Spokane Washington. Later the Medical Examiner told Billy’s family what the paramedic seems to have confirmed-that Billy had been born a female. In an attempt to keep this from the public Billy’s estranged wife Kitty arranged for his body to be cremated, But before the cremation occurred the local press had discovered the story. After financial offers from the media poured in Kitty and one of their sons went public with the story. The first newspaper article was published the day after Tipton’s funeral and it was quickly picked up by wire services. The story went around the world immediately
Billy Tipton had presented as a man for over 50 years, had been “married” five times (all of them were “common law” marriages) travelled non-stop with his trio and adopted three boys with his final wife. All of them, including Billy’s associates and friends swore they had no idea that Billy had been born female…not even … Read more›
We recently purchased an almost complete collection of Helix Magazines from the generous Jerry Jermann. One issue came with this fantastic wrap-around “Sky River Festival And Lighter Than Air Fair” poster cover. The iconic Walt Crowley is credited with it’s design. At the time Walt was the art director of The Helix, who’s staff and friends were mostly responsible for the festival. Notice the clever way the wrap-around took advantage of the “ split fountain” effect-one that uses two separate colored inks at either end meeting in the middle as a third. This example is probably the result of pouring four horizontal bands of ink (top to bottom blue/red/yellow/blue). No matter how it was done, this is one of the best uses of the process we’ve ever seen, and it’s clear Crawley’s drawing was specifically designed with the intention to be printed exactly as it appears.
The festival itself was held Labor Day Weekend, 1968 near Sultan WA in a 40-acre pasture owned by Betty Nelson. Although we prefer to believe the “Sky River” referred to is some unknown visionary, LSD-fueled floating waterfall that’s inferred in the illustration, “Sky River” is actually a clever reference to the adjacent Skykomish River. The “Lighter Than Air Fair” refers to a tethered helium balloon on site for attendees to rise above the crowd. In fact, the first balloon flew off by itself before the festival even began. It took quite a bit of scouting to find a replacement, but one was found in Spokane and hastily made it’s way across the state just in time. One of Sky River’s organizers,Paul Dorpat, later reflected on the impetus for the festival- The “Piano Drop” that had taken place earlier in 1968: ““We thought if we could do a Piano Drop and get 3,000 people to come into a narrow road near Duvall, we could probably do a festival.”
According to many who attended, the line-up shown in this Helix wrap-around came closest to the actual bill, although ultimately there were plenty of additions and no-shows. There’s still some inconsistent memories of the performers that actually took part, but we know the Grateful Dead took part (The Grateful Dead’s full set was filmed) and we’ve been told this poster is the closest thing to the final line-up. Other acts are certain to have played. Country Joe and the Fish (who had taken part in an earlier … Read more›
Rick Dey – Bass
Tony Dey -Drums
Doug Hastings – Guitar
Jon Keliehor -Drums
Steve Lalor – Guitar, Vocals
Don MacAllister – Bass, Vocals
Don Stevenson – Drums
Craig Tarwater – Guitar
Ron Woods – Drums
2002 – Present
Barry Curtis – Guitar, Vocals
Steve Lalor -Guitar, Vocals
Don Wilhelm Bass, Vocals
Steve Peterson – Drums. Percussion
Craig Bystrom – Sound Engineer
Queen Jane Approximately b/w Jack of Diamonds – The Daily Flash (Parrot, 1966)
The French Girl b/w Green Rocky Road – The Daily Flash (UNI, 1967)
The Daily Flash 7″ Compilation – The Daily Flash (Ron Records/Moxie (1980)
I Flash Daily- The Daily Flash (Psycho Records [UK], 1984
Jack of Diamonds EP -The Daily Flash (Sundazed Music, 1996)
Nightly – The Daily Flash (Fringie Records, 2012)
The Daily Flash are often referred to as either the first alternative rock band in Seattle or the first psychedelic band in Seattle. Although the former argument is up to debate, there’s no doubt The Daily Flash were one of the most successful and widely acclaimed bands to come out of Seattle in the 1960s. The Daily Flash found it’s footing in the underground west coast folk circuit rather than the garage /R&B roots that had become so popular in the Northwest.
In fact, the term Psychedelic-at least in the beginning- may even be a bit misleading. The Daily Flash were more interested in interpreting classic Americana and folk music as totally different takes on their originals. This often resulted in a mix of the blues, the electrification of traditional acoustic folkie sounds and drawing from a somewhat obscure well of music written by obscure musicians…some from past folk masters, and some from writers that would soon be famous. The biggest thing that may have set them apart from the Seattle Sound at the time is that they sought a bluesier, more electric sound than the free-wheeling style of R&B the Northwest had become known for. The Daily Flash had more to do with the nascent sound that was about to come out of San Francisco and Los Angeles. They drew form jazz, electric blues, folk and rejected much of what had made up the northwest teen-dance circuit.
The band rarely wrote their own material but this by no means pegs them as a “cover band” in the traditional sense. In fact most Northwest bands working the dance circuit had always drawn from familiar covers. It’s simply that in the early days The Daily Flash took unknown or relatively unknown traditional and folk music and put their own stamp on it. Often times the stamp was so original as to make the material absolutely their own, and unrecognizable from the original. In that way The Daily Flash were much like all the Northwest bands who had preceeded them…it’s only that they only had a more obscure background in folk and the hootenannies of the early 60s rather than the R&B of the late 50s.
The beginnings of The Daily Flash go back to 1964 when multi-instrumentalist and singer Don MacAllister met another folk affecianado, Steve Lalor, in Seattle. At the time MacAllister was playing in a local bluegrass outfit called … Read more›
Harry Edward Skarbo/Stewart (“Yogi Yorgesson”)
The Scandinavian Hotshots
Gene Boscacci Trio
Stan Boreson and His Trio (Chuck Bennett, Hal Champ and Peter Lederer)
Yust Tinkin’ of Yogi – Stan Boreson ( Golden Crest Records, 1980)
More Scandahoovian Hits – Stan Boreson (Self Released, date unknown)
Stan Boreson Fractures Christmas – Stan Boreson (Self Released, date unknown)
Honey/Little Green Apples – Stan Boreson and Doug Setterberg (Golden Crest, date unknown)
“Zero dacus, mucho cracus hallaballu-za bub That’s the secret password that we use down at the club Zero-dacus, mucho-cracus hallaballu-za fan Means now you are a member of: KING’s TV club with Stan.”
Every baby-boomer who grew up within the broadcast signal of Seattle’s KING-TV knows the song. From 1954 until 1967, it was the theme for “King’s TV Club With Stan Boreson” and later simply “The Stan Boreson Show“. Boreson was only one of many kid-show hosts in the early days of Northwest. television. Others included the Ivar Haglund inspired “Captain Puget” (Don McCune), the railwayman “Brakeman Bill”( Bill McLain), Wunda Wunda-a sort-of Pixie Harlequin played by Ruth Prins and of course the most beloved of all; J.P. Patches played by the incredibly resourceful and hilarious Chris Wedes.
Although all local kids show hosts played a character, and focused on their kiddie audience in 1998 Boreson told April Chandler of the Kitsap Sun;
“We used to joke that the reason we’re not on (television) anymore is we were entertaining the parents instead of the kids,” he said. “I never talked down to the kids; we were just carrying on a normal conversation.”
The statement about the adults is probably true. Even though Boreson ran a cartoon or two during his daily broadcast,the bulk of his unscripted routine was a series of subtle “Scandahoovian” jokes and characters that were sure to go over the heads of most kids-especially the majority of his audience who had no first or second generation familiarity with the Scandinavian experience back home, or in the immigrant community. Not only that, Boreson was the master of cornball parodies of popular songs, sung in an addled English-Scandinavian dialect. The dialect itself was a large part of the joke, and even the parody must have seemed a bit too dense for small children.
This was the early days of television and cheap broadcasts of local artists allowed broadcasters across the country to fill time. In fact, it’s probable that not a single broadcaster across the nation didn’t have a kiddie show to fill in an afternoon time slot, or at least a comedy show that could please both the stay-at-home mom and her rowdy kids just home from school. Unlike most kiddie program hosts who had come from radio as announcers, weatherpeople or disc jockeys, Boreson had a leg up on all of them. He’d … Read more›
Mike Balzotti – Keyboards
Bob Galloway – Drums
Mardi Sheridan – Guitar
Chuck Warren – Bass
Merilee and The Turnabouts
The Fabulous Continentals
The Moses Lake Recordings – The Bards (Gear Fab Records, 2002)
Never Too Much Love b/w The Jabberwocky – The Bards (Capitol Records. 1967)
Tunesmith b/w Goodtime Charlie’s Got The Blues – The Bards (Parrot Records, 1968)
The Owl and The Pussycat b/w The Light Of Love – The Bards (Capitol Records 1968)
Oobleck b/w Moses – Moses Lake (Together Records, 1971)
Looking back on heyday of 50s and 60s teen-dance music in the Northwest we tend to forget there was also a very healthy scene in eastern Washington, Northern Idaho and to a lesser degree in eastern Oregon. Teen dances were just as popular on the east side of the Cascades as they were on the west, but we often overlook it. Perhaps the crowd sizes were smaller, but it’s important to remember the distances between the small towns of the Inland Empire. Bands did much of the bookings themselves in Grange Halls, all-ages clubs, teen fairs in the larger towns and relentlessly trying to get the attention of small, local radio stations that were largely forgotten by labels and distributors. One of the many bands that would follow in the tradition of eastern Washington bands was The Continentals (later The Fabulous Contitnentals). The band was formed was formed at Moses Lake High School in 1961/1962. Originally the Continentals was loose-knit affair with personnel coming and going. During the early years Ron Covey was added on electric guitar, and singer John Draney got on board. According to bassist Chuck Wallace;
“John (Draney) could do a pretty good Roy Orbison and ‘Pretty Woman’ was an early addition to our repertoire. Ken McDonald was the leader of the group and named it the Continentals. His father owned the local Lincoln, Mercury car dealership but at the time I’m not sure we were sharp enough to make a connection”.
Ken suggested the band play a “real” gig and they ended up with a 1962 booking for a New Year’s dance at a local Elks Club. The band played “Five Foot Two” and the mostly-adult crowd loved them. Chuck says “I was playing the upright bass, Bob Hull was on piano and I don’t really recall the exact make up of that first combo.”
After graduating from High School in 1963 Ken went off to college, and the band went through drummers Stan Gibson and Nick Varney. But it was Bob Galloway that finally became a permanent member of the band. Bob Hull had also gone off to college and was replaced by keyboardist Mike Balzotti, and guitarist Mardi Sheridan joined the group around the same time. It was at this point that the band re-christened themselves as The Fabulous Continentals and added Marsha Mae, sister of Ron Covey, on vocals. … Read more›
Tex Mitchell’s Orchestra
Buck Owens and the Buckaroos-The Buck Owens Song Book; Under the Direction of Don Rich (Capitol Records, 1965)
Don Rich-That Fiddlin’ Man (Capitol Records 1970)
Don Rich-Sings George Jones (Omnivore Records, 2013)
Buck Owens and the Buckaroos-Carnegie Hall Concert (Capitol Records, 1966)
Who would have thought that a kid from Olympia WA would become one of the architects of country music’s Bakersfield Sound? Don Eugene Ulrich was born in Washington’s state Capitol on August 15, 1941, and grew up in the adjacent town, Tumwater WA. He was the adopted son of Bill and Anne Ulrich and went by that name as a youth but later would later shorten his last name to Rich. Don’s parents encouraged him to play music, going so far as to giving him a home-made violin to play at the tender age of three. Ulrich was a musical child prodigy and learned the fiddle in short order and soon after picked up a guitar, also becoming proficient at the instrument in a short time. Don’s parents were confident enough of his skill that they entered him in a series of local talent and variety shows.
By the age of 16 Rich had opened for a matinee performance by Elvis Presley (September 1, 1957) at Tacoma’s Lincoln Bowl. Lincoln Bowl was an amphitheater adjacent to Lincoln High School overlooking Puget Sound. Since Presley’s performance took place next to Lincoln High School the show saw the amphitheater full of screaming teens.
During his last year of High School Don Rich had started playing his fiddle around the south Puget Sound region as well as forming a rock and roll band called the Blue Comets with drummer Greg Hawkins and pianist Steve Anderson. But Don’s love was closer to country and folk than rock and roll so he continued playing gigs as a fiddler. One of those gigs was at Tacoma’s Steve’s Gay ‘90s, where he would catch his first break-one that would change his life forever. At the time former Bakerfield CA musician Buck Owens was doing a stint at Tacoma radio station KAYE. Rich was at Steve’s Gay ‘90s when Buck Owens walked in one night in 1958. Owens, a fiddler in his own right, had already seen Rich onstage, and was taken by Rich’s talent almost immediately. After their first meeting they soon became great friends and collaborators. Don would join Owen’s band that played around Tacoma and Seattle. Owens had been a radio personality, so when Rich joined-up with Owen’s he found himself doing a weekly spot on KTNT-TV 11’s BAR-K Jamboree. The show also had the distinction of introducing Loretta Lynn to … Read more›
Live, Live, Live!-Edmonia Jarrett (MNOP Records, 1996)
Legal at Any Age-Edmonia Jones (Pony Boy Records. 1998)
(Both hard-to-find albums have been re-released).
The Northwest has been the cradle of many more jazz artists than you might imagine. Certainly not as many as New York or Chicago or LA. but it certainly seems a haven from those scenes. Who can say why this little corner of the world has both attracted and spawned so many jazz careers? From Larry Coryell to Don Lamphere and Jeff Lorber. From Dianne Schurr to Ernestine Anderson to Ray Charles and a very young Quincy Jones. Even the self-proclaimed “inventor of Jazz” Jelly Roll Morton spent time in the Northwest; first in Tacoma, then in Seattle, and later in Vancouver. Since there are only a handful of Jelly Roll’s documented gigs in the area it’s thought that Morton was spending more time running his “West Coast Line” (a series of bordellos) and gambling. Although he spent less than two years in the areain 1929 he wrote a song called “The Seattle Hunch”.
However, none of these artists’ stories are as interesting or unusual as that of singer Edmonia Jarett.
Edmonia was born in South Carolina on March 11, 1933. Like most of the jazz and soul greats she grew up in the church. singing in the choir and spreading “the Lord’s word” through music. At the same time Edmonia’s parents pushed her to make something of herself. She chose the field of education. Her path would first lead her to work at The Pentagon, and eventually to Seattle and a job at Boeing. Then she was hired by the Seattle School District, first as a teacher (African-American History and Physical Education) and eventually as principal of Wilson Middle School and Cleveland High School. Finally, after 23 years with the Seattle School District she retired.
After retiring Edmonia then made a move that few would even attempt. She decided she would become a professional jazz singer. She was 55 years old…much older than anyone else would have dared to begin a musical profession. But Edmonia had kept up her singing in church and to herself for decades. She had never had a singing lesson in her like. Edmonia was known for her “grit and determination”. It was having these qualities that would make her name regionally-and even gain a loyal fan base around the world. As a performer she was even sought out for various international jazz festivals. Sue Jackson, … Read more›
Otis P. Otis-Guitar
Doug “Stringtie” Creason-Bass
“Lucky” Tony Mathews, Douglas-Guitar, Vocals
John “Moondog” Mooney-Drums
Robert “Big Beat Bob” Guiterez-Drums
“Naked Under Leather” – The F-Holes (1989)
Tits (Live at Geezerfest) – “That’s Dadastic” compilation (dadastic sounds 2011)
The F-Holes formed out of a jam session on Nov 21, 1984 at The Central Tavern near Seattle’s Pioneer Square. The original members were “Lucky” Tony Mathews, Douglas “Stringtie” Creson and John “Moondog” Mooney. The jam consisted of three songs. The booker was impressed enough to ask them to open for his band, The Alleged Perpetrators on Dec 14, 1984, and a band was born. Since that night The F-Holes have consistently been part of the Seattle music scene.
One night while Stringtie was playing pinball at a tavern with Kevin Heaven (a local musician and well-known scenester)’ Kevin said;“You gotta check out my new f-hole guitar!” Stringtie went home that night and made a poster. He brought it to rehearsal the next day. “We are the F-Holes” he told them. The newly-named outfit’s drummer, John “Moondog” Mooney asked;“What am I gonna tell my Mom?”
1985 brought a solid stream of bookings. The bookings continued. The first few years The F-holes played more shows than they rehearsed. Doug Creson recalls;
“We’d rehearse on Wednesdays and play shows Thursday , Friday and Saturday”.
Things changed in 1986 when the F=Holes added Otis P. Otis on lead guitar. He was a huge Johnny Thunders fan and brought a heavier sound that lead the band into the pre-grunge era. The original F-holes sound included generous heaps of Psychobilly, Cowpunk, Garage Rock, Punk, Acid Blues and 60s Psychedelia. They add they also play Country music, though they add
“we’re not sure which country“.
Along with Otis came a sound that brought the band to a new level and wider audience. They still played the same music as before-only heavier. Their look was still psychobilly with the big pompadours and cowboy boots and bolo ties. That would change in later years, but for the earlier part of their career the band was known for their appearance as much as their music. Both were fun, over the edge and a little bit retro as far as their dedication to punk.
“Promoters always had a hard time pegging our sound but we played with all kinds of bands. Punk, Alt Country, Grunge, Power Pop” says Creson.
The biggest misconception may be that the F-Holes are a rockabilly band. It’s a claim the band adamantly deny. Since the beginning they’ve always played a few rockabilly-tinged numbers, and they often dressed … Read more›
Lee Graham-Vocals, Bass, Flute
Dick Powell-Harmonica, Keyboards
Love Cycle (Command Records, 1968) also various re-issues.
“Lord in Black” b/w “Long Hard Road”(Piccadilly Records 1968/Jerden Records 1969)
By the mid-60’s Seattle’s once thriving R&B teen dance bands were on the wane. Members of outfits like the Dynamics, The Viceroys and the Frantics were eagerly tapping into the first stirrings of the underground psychedelic movement. Most of the bands making the transformation were not doing it for purely mercenary reasons. Many players had simply aged and evolved, while remaining true to their R&B and garage-like beginnings. Many of the psychedelic bands coming out of Seattle still held onto an insular, regional sound that favored hippie-ballads and gentle horns, reeds and the organ that had become a staple of Northwest rock since Dave Lewis. They favored a more tie-dyed approach rather than the aggressive guitars and overtly political or socially conscious lyrics of bands like The Jefferson Airplane, The Doors or Quicksilver Messenger Service.
They also lacked the lush production of bands coming out of New York City. If there is a word that describes the Northwest psychedelic sound it could very well be “comfortable”…not in the passive sense, but in the sense that gentler, more flower-powered sounds were being made. Perhaps the exception to this rule was The Frantics who’s remaining members moved to San Francisco, renamed themselves the hippiesque Luminous Marsh Gas, eventually to become one of the mightiest bands of the psychedelic era-Moby Grape.
Crome Syrcus was no different than many other NW bands. The had arisen from the ashes of a teen R&B, jazz influenced outfit called The Mystics. The Mystics had an enthusiastic fan base and were able to tour regionally, but ultimately had a relatively short career. By 1962 drummer Jim Plano had joined the military. Dick Powell, the band’s vocalist and guitarist John Gaborit remained stateside, and eventually brought on bassist Lee Graham and keyboard player Ted Shreffler. Jim Plano’s position as drummer was filled by Rod Pilloud. Once assembled, the new band christened themselves Crome Syrcus.
Soon the band was finding regular gigs on the nascent psychedelic circuit in Seattle. Their distinctive sound often relied on two keyboards played by both Powell and Shreffler. John Chambless, the coordinator of the Berkeley Folk Festival had seen Crome Syrcus at The Eagles Auditorium (it’s unclear who the headliner was that night). He quickly booked them to his Folk Festival and on July 2nd 1968 Crome Syrcus played their first Bay Area gig. In fact Crome Syrcus would … Read more›
Bob Bogle-Bass and Guitar
Nokie Edwards-Guitar & Bass
Bob Spalding-Bass & Guitar
Ian Spalding – Bass
George T. Babbit Jr.-Drums
Leon Taylor – Drums
Walk Don’t Run-The Ventures (Dolton, 1960)
The Horse-The Ventures (Liberty, 1968)
The Ventures-The Legendary Masters Series-The Ventures (United Artists, 1974)
Walk Don’t Run: All Time Greatest Hits-The Ventures (EMI,2003)
Tacoma’s Ventures. They’ve lasted almost 60 years in one form or another. They’ve released over 250 albums. They’ve sold over 120 million records….more than any other instrumental band in history. Those records are unlikely to ever be topped by an instrumental band of any genre. During their career they’ve covered just about every kind of music there is. Most of their albums are largely covers of popular songs, but surprisingly they write about one third of their music. They helped develop the “surf sound” although they point out they didn’t invent it, and don’t consider themselves a “surf band” at all. In a 2015 interview with Forbes magazine co-founder Don Wilson told interviewer Jim Clash;
“One of our biggest sellers was a surfing album. I guess we got tagged with that – Pipeline and Wipe Out we are associated with – so suddenly we are a surf rock band! I see that written a lot. But I don’t care. I’m used to it. We’re not just surf”.
Band members have always denied their music being founded in the surf sound, but it’s certain The Ventures had a profound affect on it. It could be they’ve always refused to be labeled surf just as much out of deference to the artists who truly are surf bands as much as the facts. It’s also true that The Ventures went far beyond any one genre-expect being instrumental. They’ve also maintained keeping current with putting their sound to current music. Aside from their top-knotch playing it is these two other factors that have kept them in the world’ public eye for decades.
The story of The Ventures goes back to the day that Bob Bogle first met Don Wilson in 1958. Bogle was looking to buy a used car from a dealership in Seattle. The car lot was owned by Wilson’s father. Don was the salesman. During their conversation, they found out they both had an interest in music. They became fast friends, and soon Wilson began working with Bogle in the masonry field. Obviously carrying mortar and bricks was more lucrative than hawking used cars for small commissions. In 2009 Bob Bogle told The Seattle Times:
“And then we found out that we each knew a few chords on the guitar, you know, and we had a lot of free time on our hands. But neither of us … Read more›
Indian Puddin’ & Pipe
Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
Rich Dangel and the Reputations
Geoff and Maria Muldaur (as Junior Turlock)
Flo and Eddie
Slender Woman/My Own Life/Easy Chair” (single sided 12″ EP)-Easy Chair (Vanco Records, 1968)
“Naked Angels (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)”-Jeff Simmons (Straight Records, 1969)
“Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up”-Jeff Simmons (Straight Records, 1969)
“Chunga’s Revenge”-Frank Zappa (Bizarre Records, 1970)
“Waka / Jawaka • Hot Rats”-Frank Zappa (Bizarre Records, 1972)
“Roxy and Elsewhere”-Frank Zappa and The Mothers (DiscReet, 1974)
“Blue Universe”-Jeff Simmons (Blue Fox Records, 2004)
By the time the mid-60s The Northwest Sound has pretty much wound down. Many former teen-dance bands were moving closer to rock and the new psychedelic sounds coming out of L.A. and San Francisco. In some ways many local artists had begun to see Seattle as a northern outpost of San Francisco.
One of the bands that emerged in the mid-60s was Blues Interchange. David Lanz (future star of “new age” music) had been one of the band’s first members. The band began making the rounds of Seattle venues and became very popular with the tripped-out psychedelic crowd. Due to some of the members being drafted local boy Jeff Simmons signed on as bassist in 1967. Simmons was already an accomplished player with a gregarious, often comedic air about him Other members included Al Malosky on drums and guitarists Peter Larson (later replaced by Burke Wallace), and Danny Hoefer. Danny Hoefer would later go on to play in Tower of Power.
After the change of personnel, Blues Interchange found even more favor with Northwest audiences. One result of the changes was re-naming the band to Easy Chair. The transformation caught the eye of Seattle’s emerging rock scene as well as other pockets of psychedelic blues around the country
In 2014 the website Clear Spot would look back on Easy Chair, writing;
“Their epic West Coast blues features the unique chemistry of psychedelic guitar leads, fluid lines and hypnotic chording”.
Around this time the band was emerging they met up with notorious San Francisco manager Matthew Katz. Katz had been the first manager of Jefferson Airplane and had ben fired even before the release of their first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Seattle native Signe Anderson (September 15, 1941-January 28, 2016) did vocals, but soon left the band, handing over the task to Grace Slick. The firing of Katz would result in ongoing litigation over the release of original or licensed material by Jefferson Airplane. The litigation between Katz and Jefferson Airplane was not settled until 1987.
Katz was also involved in a dispute with Moby Grape beginning in 1968. Katz had sold the group members’ rights to their songs as well as their own name were signed away in 1973 to manager/producer David Rubinson without the band members knowing it. He retained rights to the name Moby Grape and a large part of their songs. … Read more›