Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Rock 'n Roll


Rock n Roll
Not sure how it came up but while I was driving today with my friend Adrien, the subject of rock 'n roll encounters came up. I told him I didn't have many but did have a few good ones. My first was with my absolute favorite, Al Kooper. I'd seen a show of his at the Cafe Au GoGo in New York — it was located in a basement in Greenwich Village — and after the show he was hanging around. He was playing with The Blues Project at the time, which I thought was an incredible band, and so I walked up to him and offered him a joint. He suggested we smoke it together. He told me the story of playing the organ, unexpectedly, for Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone, and some others. Man, I thought I was in the presence of greatness.
Later, just being in New York City, ran into Art Garfunkle, Dave Crosby, and Rod Stewart, among others. For each I just thanked them for the music but didn't have any longer contact.
I do have a good Rod Stewart story, however. My friend Philip B, with whom I shared a tenement apartment on 76th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan, had gone to California, and one of the things he was going to do was see a Rod Stewart show as a guest of the great photographer Annie Liebovitz, after which Philip had been invited by Annie to come to the place where she was staying and planned to shoot Stewart for a Rolling Stone cover.
I left for California a couple of days after Phil, hitchhiking out west and came in a few hours late for the show and shoot. Phil came in a few hours after I got to the place he was staying, and told me that Annie sort of hated him. I asked why. He said that after hellos and such, Annie went to another room to get what she needed for the shoot, and told Stewart to get comfortable in African fan-back wicker chair. Phil said that Stewart sat in it and began to lounge comfortably in the big chair.
But Phil knew that Annie had used the chair once before and said he could not resist telling Stewart that he looked great in the Ian Anderson chair. Anderson, of course, was the founder of Jethro Tull and had been on the cover of Rolling Stone in that same chair.
Phil said that Stewart, on hearing that he was sloppy seconds, almost had a heart attack, and then ran out of the house, so that when Annie came back into the room, her model had fled.
I was later at Annie L's loft in New York and on one of the walls was a strip of small photos, maybe eight or 12 of them. They were pics of Janis Joplin taking off her blouse and showing off her breasts but they were private and Annie did not publish them to the best of my knowledge. Of course she might have and I am just in the dark.
A few years later I was working for Chris Blackwell, helping build both Island Records Grove Street townhouse (meant for visiting Island record musicians) and Island's large Carnegie Hall office/studio location. I was actually working for Danny B, Phil's brother, who often hired Phil and I near the end of big jobs to sort of tidy up the work his real crew had done. We'd worked one of the Kennedy houses on, I think 63rd Street off 3rd Ave, and then Oscar De La Renta's house almost next door and James Schlesinger (CIA Director, Secretary of Defense for Nixon and Ford, among other things, a spook's spook) across from the Kennedy house.
One day at the Carnegie Hall gig I was on my knees at the door, cleaning up the paint at the cut of the floor molding near the door to the complex. In walked Bob Marley with Peter Tosh and some other fellas. Marley accidently stepped on my foot, which was stretched out behind me while I was on my knees. He immediately apologized and offered me a hit of a fat joint they were smoking.
Probably earlier than that, Dan B used Phil and myself for similar work at Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland Studios on 8th street in the Village, where we helped glue up the famous bathroom montage Danny B designed, and I got to work building Jimi's bed. I only met him once because he left for Europe and died. But Phil and I did get to see Led Zepplin recording there through the thick glass windows of a studio. They stopped a song to come out and ask who the hell we were any why we were starting at them.
Years later, maybe 12-15 years ago, I was at home here in bucolic Joshua, Texas, when I got a call one evening. It was from a woman asking if it would be okay if Carlos Santana gave me a call. I said sure but thought it was a prank.
A few minutes later Santana did call. After I went all effusive-fan on him he said he'd seen a story I did about a pot magazine in Chile for High Times a couple of years earlier. He said he and the band were going to Chile and needed a lot of marijuana from a good source, a good driver to show them around, and could I arrange those two things.
Man, I adored Santana's music and to have him come to me for a favor was freaking fantastic. Took about 4 calls to get it all arranged by we worked it out.
Anyway, that is my little history of contact with the world of rock 'n roll. I'm sure there is more — like catering a private party for the Talking Heads and the B-52s, or working with Sting on a project he was doing in Amzonia — but I can't think of many more this minute.


spiral347 said...

Wow! Passed a doob by Bob Marley. That's a helluva story!

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