mike corry / About
I started in garage bands back in the sixties. I had a friend named Marty Smith who showed me a few chords and I had a terrible 12 string acoustic set up as a six string. I started practicing and both Marty and I tried out for a band as rhythm guitar players and I was picked, that ended our friendship!
I talked my parents into buying me a Framus 335 knock-off and a Gibson three piece amp, then I spent the next few years playing covers by The Who, Cream, John Mayall, The Blues Breakers, The Rolling Stones, etc., most bands from that era, (not a bad list for a bunch of 11-13 year olds). Our band later became known as "Opening Night" Joseph Pagan bass/harmonica DonBuchanan lead guitar and Martin Johnson drums and we used to play all over Santa Monica including dances at Miles Playhouse and Lincoln Park across from St. Monica'link, our lead player quit and I became an instant lead player, I'd gotten used to grabbing chords so tightly because of the high action I'd learned on I could barely move my fingers but kept on it, I used to break picks in half cause I was also digging too hard with my right hand. But I owe don a big debt because it instantly made me a lead link played through grammar school and when we got to high school we had a rival band in Santa Monica who needed a bass player, drummer and lead guitar so we joined Rick Dano (son of Royal Dano the actor from Twin Peaks )as our singer,and Steve Knox on link practiced in Ricks living room even without him at times and his folks were always cool with link was a really nice man and gracious and supportive as well as ricks mom.
Graduation came and summer of freedom,we pretty much went our separate ways mainly cause we were a cover band and had no desire to make it.
In the first year at Santa Monica city college I was majoring in music and met Thom Graves in choir,he was looking for a lead guitarist and was talking over me as I sat in my student desk thing to another guy and I said”I’m a lead player” they both looked down at me sorta link hit it off when I went to his house in Culver City,we both loved ry cooder and the band and decided from there to start a band ,I knew a bass player Alan fisher who was also attending the college,Thom said he knew a link the drummer didn’t work and Allen introduced us to Rick hill.
On a camping trip we were listening to the bands link. wallcot t medicine show and there’s a line in there,the Klondike klu klux Steamboat band and Thom said let’s call ourselves that. I didn’t think that was such a great idea,so the Steamboat band we link was playing pedal steel and a tele in those days and had a four ten fender tweed bassman and an ampeg vt link altec Lansing speakers .we moved up to Carmel and lived as a band for about a year,came back to LA and played every high school and jr hi in the link to get some record deals going,cause Thom’s brother in law was Glenn Yarborough,and we used to record with Thom Bresh the great finger picker and son of Merle Travis out in the link Bresh helped me record some commercials for the Good Stuff bread company of a song I’d written when I was 18 by the same name,the commercial was going to go national,but as the music biz,it never came link Bresh and I are still link steamboat were in a movie that won the golden globe documentary award for 1977 called youthquake I was taking a college course on 16 track engineering and the producer filmaker director max b Miller asked if he could film Steamboat during recording and use us as his project for the class,we each got 4 16 track songs to record at the end of the link disbanded about one years later when I was attending mount st. Mary’s up in link started a new band called Bandolin with Tony Askins fiddle mandolin and vocals,jim schram voice bass and guitars and vocals,and me on guitar and pedal steel,Tony was a friend of Ry Cooders wife and would take songs to Ry out in his house in Santa Monica Canyon and get his opinions,that was cool!we also recorded with Thom Bresh out in the valley and played some gigs at schools in west la and Brentwood jim and Tony traveled with on my next adventure,here it comes,....
That next summer I went to study at the Ali Akbar college of music with Ali Akbar khan,the master East Indian classical sarod player.
when I was.21 I wanted to do something new to expand my music after studying composition at Marymount in Brentwood link either wanted to fly to Hawaii and knock on gabby pahinui’s door ( the master slack key guitarist) go to Mexico and study mariachi music or then I found a magazine that advertised the AACM in San link opted on the frisco area cause it was easy to drive there from Santa Monica .i arrived at the first class and Ali Akbar Khan took my Martin d18 and tuned it and handed it back to me .i thought yeah I used to know how to play this lol! Tuning was cgcgcf,a sarod link half way through the summer session my ears opened up and I heard East Indian music the same as western,and I realized I was really at the best music school to really learn music and how to compose.
We would practice 10 hours a day at least,not including about 5 classes or more a week which lasted about 2 hours link’d wake in the morning and eat get to link till supper,take a bath,put fake nails on (playing the sarod is played with tip of the finger nail sliding on a metal surface so I’d wear out my nails daily). The nails held for about ten hours of playing.
I also at this time became a close friend of Ali Akbar Khan and he would invite me to dinner and conversation around chevis regal and coke and then he’d cook dinner about mid link East Indian food I’ve had !I asked him if I could check out his music room, and there were pictures of Jesus and Krishna and shiva and his fathers sarod alluadin khan .the room had an actual vibe to it,I felt it strongly and went out and asked Khansahib ( which was his title) what was that? He answered as a sage he was “ you will get used to it as you become better” he was right about that.
I remember one night he wanted to cook me dinner and he said he’d cook me egg curry and I said I was a vegetarian
and he answered that eggs were considered link I ate them in link they were link became the sound man for the school and had a teac 4 track that I’d gotten from Bresh it had three link would mix live sound,the school orchestra and the artists ,khansahib,Zakir Hussein,Sachdev ,the flute player,Aaish Khan and others and record the link school still has many of the tapes in their link I did sound for Khansahib and the jazz saxophonist John Handy at the keystone in San link was recorded link Hart of the Grateful Dead was studying tabla from zakir at the time and would loan me some of their P A stuff for link once loaned me a PA for my sisters link night I happen to notice that Khansahib had a horrible record player,all one piece ,plastic small so I said you need to get something that
You deserve( I’m thinking here’s the best musician in the world and he has a junk system?) so he gave me a budget of $2000 a large sum in the early 70s and went shopping for him! When I got it I put it together and had a few albums I wanted to play for him to get his takes I played Chet Atkins fingerstyle guitar from the 50s and he said he was good but the guitar was out of tune to his ears ( not Chet’s himself but all guitars) then I played him Beethoven 6th and he said it was beautiful and that his father had listened greatly to Beethoven and loved him and then I played him Harry Parch ,the San Diego area composer of modern music Khansahib said his music was like “having a beautiful woman to make love to and using a pin to prick her instead and kiss her blood” meaning it was a perversion of the beauty of music.
I was attending also at the same time Antioch West Mill Valley under Francis link AACM was not accredited which is completely stupid,being the best education in the US ..So I was able to document and be tested through link process which included hands on training brought me into contact with masters of their link With a bs in composition I had to prove I was worthy under a grilling board Of directors including the top percussionist of the San Francisco symphony,the San Francisco newspapers head reporter,burton Swan the headmaster of AACM,Francis coelho the professor and a couple of other link heavy duty,Sweating bullets.
I was living in Fairfax and would play down at a little restaurant .id record piano parts and then p,ay over them and do sings. R crumb and cheap suit serenaders played their and we struck up a friendship. My parents ending up hiring them for my sisters wedding in Chico. Calif for $200 bucks I borrowed micky Hart’s pa and played some music with them backing me link a picture of us with the saw player missing his socks cause I had left mine in San Rafael and I was best man. Ha ha
I left the Marin county area a little bit after I graduated and left the Ali Akbar link had come to realize it was not my calling to be an East Indian classical musician because song writing and composition was the real reason I played,not to be an instrumental artist per link was heavily into electronic music at this point,really into Tomita,and Wendy ( Walter ) Carlos and dreamed of having an entire moog system filling up my walls
That never happened but the move did and I had auditioned for different clubs in June lake and began playing up link great ideas don’t always work out as planned the pay dropped from promised amounts to a much lower pay because a drought came to the high link was getting va money for schooling and trying to finish my masters,but that dried up too when the va administration sued Antioch .i was writing some Christian songs in those days too but figured no one would care about that!
Eventually Dana Ross husband to candy whose father owned a restaurant and hotel in June lake and mike vaqeo asked me to play bass in a band .i played with them a couple of times until one night I asked mike if I could play his guitar on Johnny b Goode .after the song he grabbed the bass and said you’re playing guitar from now on! We had billy ? As our drummer and asked Jan to sing with us and we became “ the only band in town” literally! We did fleet wood Mac and other covers and some of my link even jammed with Al Garth from loggins and Messina in bishop and later in June lake link played Reno link had a lot of “stranger things” happen to me in June lake and if your brave here’s a link to the stories link
After living in the high Sierra for three plus years I decided to move back to LA and pursue a song writing link won a quarter finalist in the American song festival and that opened a lot of doors,I was a song writer with omnibus publications Ricky Nelson and glen campbell owned it and started shopping link always wanted to see the reactions of the a and r guys so I would go in person,to get their feedback and to sharpen my link Haskell started mentoring me and taking me to Disney studios,that was amazing and he helped me concentrate on my link taught me a lot about arranging and link I first met mr Haskell I told him the song that had one the quarter finalist was a tribute to the great song and arrangement by Ricky Nelson Hello Mary link smiled and said” I was the producer” oh my!Thom Bresh was toying with the idea of recording a few of my songs,he was at the time recording for abc/ dunhill with snuff Garrett. I recorded a few ditties at Bresh’s but those have gone the way of tape.
I was playing a few solo jobs,restaurants and pizza joints and getting some buzz from my songs.
I started working at the Tinder Box on Wiltshire the original one with ed Kaplan and learned a lot about,sales,inventory,pipe repairing and link was playing and living in West Covina and a guy from salt lakes biggest country venue heard me and called me to move up there to be in the House link paid a steady wage to pick,you link LA
So they actually paid for me to move to Salt Lake City,and I git in the old Toyota corrolla and head out to San Bernardino and over to the desert .I’d never been to Utah and drive straight through snow,stopping at a rest stop to take a shower and pulled into salt lake gave them a call and the phone was out of link! I thought great all this way,quit my job,lost my apartment what link them back in an hour or so and it link!
Met the band! the drummer was the one who heard me play in LA,Covina,and I’d met him the other two were a couple of crusty old country western good ole boys musicians that been around and were giving me the evil eye,being a long haired California link wondering could this greenhorn play country? I didn’t tell them I never really had but I strapped on my bc rich seagull electric( you can’t play country with that they thought we’re the tele?) donned my cowboy hat and cowboy boots ( this kids a dude city boy) plugged into my Roland jazz chorus 120 ( that ain’t no fender)and played “ me and bobby McGee “ I was suddenly okay with them!I learned quickly to change my blues licks into country. The club had a dance floor that must’ve held 2500 and the stage was moved from the front for the smaller crowds on weeknights to the back for the crazy link is a little word for the insane idea of having customers bring their own booze in 5ths,thats the law in link would all get so drunk we’d be walking over passed out customers outside the front door.
It was very cool to get paid to play full time,and I loved it,but the owner of the club was old old old school country and didn’t think I was countrifried enough for him so we parted ways after about four or five months.
I got a tip that there was an agent in town called cma music and had a couple of bands looking for a guitarist lead player,the Pinto Bennett band and the dan moody link adventures on the horizon!
I had been writing songs for quite awhile and had decided to leave LA for a period of time to perfect my stage presence,and singing,songwriting and overall link the saying goes “if you want to play the blues you gotta pay your dues.”
I would learn that playing 6 hours every night 6 nights a week would get me tuned up like an engine firing on all pistons.
I tried out for the Dan Moody Band ,met dick and billy,and rich and some link walked in with my bc rich seagull and my Roland jc link got the gig as lead link would later find out the providence had a hand in my link turns out that Richie moments before had got the gig and after he heard me play he told the guys that he would play rhythm for me,that they’d be crazy not to take link very unlike a musician to be so un ego like!thanks Richie you help mold and change my life.
The drummer was not very good,and they were talking about a drummer they’d fired named joe and how he drank too link heard a tape of them playing live in Whitebird link I asked is this Joe ? And they said yes and I said are you guys nuts? Get him back and trash this guy. They did and I met Joe Dow,who would later play with Pinto Bennett and the famous motel cowboys ( small world) and Sawmill creek band with Bruce Hauser out of pine dale Wy. Joe sang great had great taste in music and the best feel and fills of any drummer I’d link was real pleasure playing with that band.
Our first gig was in pine dale,Wy. Boy what a culture shock for a Santa Monica Beach boy! Cowboys dookin it out right in front of me ,women slapping the cowboys and out side they told me if I didn’t hold a cloth up to my face to breath through I’d freeze my lungs! what?43 below zero or something.
We played great that first gig and I was sold guess they were too cause they kept me on.
The road,is a dangerous and crazy place,so hold your hats we’re going to the rodeo!
And rodeos are abundant in the north west link started playing the Bronze Boot in Cody Wy. One of our favorite spots for many reasons. I loved the Irma restaurant,bill Cody’s daughter,beautiful rosewood bar gifted to Wild Bill from the Queen of england,metal lace ceilings,nice atmosphere and great roast beef dinner with real mashed link real find from all the greasy spoons in other link must for any foodie starving to death on the link time I walked into a market somewhere in Wy. And asked where their fresh vegetables and fruits were,they pointed to a table filled with fruit flies and rotting veggies and fruit! No thanks,for a kid from Santa Monica used to the best?not acceptable!
Cody also had some hidden hot springs that we leaned about from friendly locals and a huge rodeo every link the best old western museum!a real pleasure to play link people too.
A lot of fun times at the bronze boot in Cody Wyoming sometimes the fun spilled over onto adventures and link got in bit of trouble one link used to like his drink and his wife came to visit us and the two of them would stay after till closing sharing shots with link band had a bar tab in each members name and one night joe was feeling really good and said a round for everyone! That shot his bill up so high that by the time we got paid that weeks work joe owed the bar a few hundred link they worked out a deal and joe got the opportunity to stay there a week and help tar the roof of the club in the hot Wyoming summer sun! Lucky for him and us that following week we had taken off to rest,so joe stayed behind and sweated bullets!ha ha !
Another time Joe’s wife showed up in colville Washington ,we had a band house that was really nice and they’d told us to make sure that all the doors were locked when we left cause teenagers would go in knowing when the cleaning lady came in and when the next band in line would show and they’d party!
Joe and his wife weren’t ready to leave with rest of us and we warned them to lock the doors.
About a week later we were in South Dakota and we get a call from our agent telling us we all have warrants for our arrests in Washington,felonies to boot!
We said WHAT?
Turned out the cleaning lady was the wife of the local sheriff! She was cleaning and found a little vial of white substance under the link had strict. rules in the band,NO DRUGS!
That finally got worked out,and they dropped the link had to thank our drummer and his wife from our hearts for that fiasco.
We played the Rancher in Jackson hole a few times and did great,fun fun town to play but we really wanted to play the Cowbar across the way,that was the important place to get link kept asking them and theysaid “osure yeah someday.”one Saturday night we were picking up a storm and had the place packed,turned out we took the people away from the cowboy bar so they closed early and came over and told us,” you win”
Next time in Jackson? You guessed it! we were at the Cowboy!
We’d seen “tarwater” play their last set at the cowboy and they were the band in those days,up there with the mission mountain wood band,later Montana,and sawmill creek link we were star struck to be on that stage.
A great deal of real cowboys and real cowgirls kicken up their heels doing the Western swing your partner link were thrilled.
I was living in pingree Idaho over the hill through driggs link I’d come down the pass to get to Jackson around 730 on one of the times down it I could see a fire in the link I got closer I saw they had downtown blocked off,no cells in those link our gig was link million dollar cowboy bar,not THE Cowboy burnt to the ground,with all those silver dollars in the bar!the fire went right up to the alley behind the link didn’t get to find that out until a day or so link bc rich seagull guitar and Roland amp were in the cowboy and I didn’t know if I’d lost everything. But all was safe and no fire or smoke link resumed playing a night or two later to a packed house and very happy musicians!
We also loved playing Grand Targee on the other side of the Grand Tetons,up from Driggs link was our week of vacation! We were the only band they allowed there with a drummer and I remember getting that room hopping with people right up to a foot in front of my mic link got a dinner every evening from their Fabolous restaurant,crab,steak,a feast for road musicians,we each got our own condo and ski rentals and lift link had never tried skiing before but all the rest of the guys had been doing it since they was babies.
On the other side of fun we got booked into Gillette Wy. That’s an entirely different experience coming your way.
Gillette has no houses just trailers because it’s an oil riggers town,filled with some wild western folks without link bar we got booked into turned out to be according to playboy mag,one of the top ten most dangerous bars in the US .thanks coming to our agent for sure!a guy had been hung there 6 months earlier and there were some link what we want to hear!
I was standing out in the parking lot and saw these two guys welding a trucks bumper to one of those metal car stopper posts,this was around link went back in to practice with the band and then we took a break and I noticed this fellow that was staggering drunk going to his link got in started it up and put it in reverse,you “ain’t goin nowhere” should’ve been playing on the link ground the gears on numerous tries spun tires smoked them and finally gave up and jumped out of his rig cursing up a storm,kick his truck then the tires and went back in the link must’ve thought a few more beers would’ve worked things out!
After a good laugh we went back to practice and a huge Indian walked across the dance floor to ask Dick Orr for a link was 6’2” and wore a big cowboy hat,we were on a stage about three feet high and when this Native American came up he was looking at Dick eye to link my! We definitely took his request.
There was a pretty cocktail waitress there who kept hitting on me,but I kept turning her down,for one her boyfriend just got out prison for assault and two he had a reputation for being one mean sob! She said she wanted to dance with me and I had told I couldn’t dance ,I was the lead player in the band so they couldn’t do it without me and finally I resorted to a big lie,I told her I didn’t like girls!She answered,you won’t be anymore! what?the band thinking they were cute told her they could play a slow dance without me,crap! Thanks boys! So we started to dance there in the afternoon,no one in the place,she was hugging me and I was stepping on her shoes ( I really don’t dance) and who walks in?yep the boyfriend,al Capone’s link the song ended and I needed a smoke .i went outside and was standing there and she comes out to tell me she’s sorry and I said sure nonproblem just as her boyfriend comes out cursing at her throws the keys at her and yells if you want to go with this Mexican it’s your decision,I’m looking around for that Mexican and it dawned me he was referring to link was tan but really? I thought this is just great.
To get into the bar you walk through the front door and the bar is right there,you go a little forward and there’s latticework and a entrance to the dance floor on the right and that’s how I’ve get to get back to the link thought well here’s goes!
I walk in and he’s sitting at the bar with his body turned to the front link next to him,his best friend is I’m pretty sure the brother of Sasquatch,that Indian I told you about,and this guy attacks me yelling obscenities,I grap his wrists so he can’t punch me and I see the bartender pole vault the bar to the link don’t want to hit him,I like my fingers,and that’s my money link Dow shows up out of nowhere and pushes the guy me,he’s holding unto me screaming bar tender gets in between and pull him off me,no injuries,but man I’m wired,I’m keeping my eye on the Indian.
The band and I take off till the evening gig,and they’re all joking about me getting shot!ha ha yeah I’m not in a good humor.
We get back fir the gig and the bartender tells us he fired the waitress and banned the boyfriend and the Indian from the premises forever! Great insult to injury.
There’s was a side make door to the bar that was always open a crack and the guys and I kept an eye on it for a rifle poking through.
There’s was a table full of migrant workers to the front side right of the stage and there came a big pop pop pop! We all froze in mid song,looking at each other to see who would drop First! It turned out the workers had lit some firecrackers just for a bang! Dick went up to the mic and said”you have no idea what you just did!”
We were wired up that entire night back at our tent in the KOA link sleep much either.
theres was a tornado the next day too!
This is really a fun gig!
The next night,an old woman came sluggishly across the dance floor and motioned for dick with index finger” come here” and she asked dick as he bent down if we’d play a ray price link said we had one,pedal steel and link was the bass player but when he’d play the steel I’d grab the bass. We did a decent job of it,and she comes slowly back across the floor,finger motions dick again and he bends down close to hear her and we’re thinking she’s going to compliments us and say thanks but she clears her throat and hocks up a big luggi and spits in Dicks face!
Then she cackles “ that’s the worst bunch of shit I’ve ever heard”
We couldn’t get out of Gillette fast enough!
It was about this time that we heard the horrible news that most of the members in Mission mountain wood band known later as Montana had been killed in an airplane accident.
It was coming home to roost how dangerous being on the road link women telling you they were divorced and were not and ex’s being two states away which they were not and sliding on black ice in winter and cops and rigs and equipment breaking,or stolen ( I forgot to mention all of richies effect pedals were stolen out of that bar in Gillette)and other members of bands getting killed in freak accidents and a host of other insanities it gets to wearing some guys pretty thin and homesick.
Then there’s the crazy slow learners such as yours link show must go link Dakota,South Dakota,Montana,Minnesota,New Mexico,Colorado,Idaho,Utah ,and Wyoming on the horizon.
We were doing a few of my originals in those days “ such a shame” “ hard cider woman” written by Thom graves and I from steamboat days,”the shores of Malibu “ “ I should’ve known better” “ fat city” “somewhere in the twilight zone”and a couple more that aren’t coming to mind. I had a rule ,we’d follow up a big hit song like “ sweet home Alabama “ with one of mine,if we dropped the ball,didn’t feel right or the folks did not keep dancing the song ended up on the cutting room link was a song I liked a lot called “ spinning our wheels” a saga of life on the road,it had an instrumental middle that I wrote in 15/16 so it would drop a beat,it was funny to watch them dance to that,but we trashed it cause someone said they didn’t like the song????
Can’t please everyone,but it’s a good thing to watch for reactions rather than lifting your own ego link it’s brutal but that’s link
Not everything you write is gonna be Beethoven’s 9th.
When playing in Jackson hole once a guy came up and offered $2500 to do a one night gig in North Dakota,up near link asked fir half down up front,no agent fee this time,and the rest when we played it,before we played for a date 6 months away,in spring.
Spring came and Dakotas here we come.
They call the dakotas the bad lands for a link can be bad when the storms roll in across the mountains and link they roll in fast!And it can be bad because it just feels like being link was feeling bad the day we pull up to the one store in some real little town in North Dakota.
I’ve been in small link Idaho,June lake,calif,a couple truck stops in Montana.
And whistle stops across the northwest,but this little town,wasn’t even a speed bumb!
I don’t remember the name of that town,but I remember trying to get out of there so fast I was driving through corn fields and went airborne in the Toyota through a sudden right turn with a stop sign into an adjacent link was actually kinda fun.
But back to link arrived and called the guy and he said he meet down link town meant stand between the smallest post office I’ve ever seen and mini mini mini link was wondering as we were waiting if Minnie pearl was from around there,and he pulled up told us to follow him to our lodging he’d worked out for link not kidding here,the house had no doors,because theyd probably blown away
There was no water,no plumbing the bathrooms were stripped bare to the link started thinking I’d see mick Rooney walking around the corner as we stepped unto the set of atomic kid.
Needless to say,this address would NOT be our resting place for the link of the deal was room and board plus the link part made me very suspicious to find the board part of this link I’m not eating THAT!and the cash deal,the-rest in confederate bills?
We didn’t complain ,we said NO!
He said he’d find better
The gig that afternoon was to be on a huge flatbed out in a field with link a crowd of I’m guessing the direct descendants of the cro magnan tribe was out there rocking with us,so was a huge,fierce storm approaching from the link 25 miles link happened to mention this to the organizer and he said no big deal.
Tons of equipment does not move itself,usually even with much assistance it’s a slow link the vans just right,gently setting power amps in their places and valuable instruments. A torrential rain pour changes deliverance,it’s turns to grab and link one of these grab and throws,i not only injured a finger of my left hand,yes my playing hand,! Crushed between two klipse lascalla link eventually got a hernia.
Ah found memories of North Dakota basking in the sun,the lovely natives bringing me flowers,....wake up mr corry we must administer your medicine!
Rain on your parade is one thing,rain on your equipment link really hate three things sharp harsh dropping causing percussion! Beer spilled over and in and link three events were happening around us as we watched in horror as the inexperienced tossed equipment into our link we couldn’t see them actually do this because of the downpour we could hear them through the sudden claps of thunder and catch a frozen image as lightening flashed! Hey watch out and hey don’t fell on deaf ears.
Dangers on the road? Nah just a never ending party man!
Well they decided to pay us a little extra,extra as in the money they owed us ,the following day,hey that ain’t the deal! Unspoken rule,never leave a gig without the cash.
So we were to meet him in Podunk town square ( don’t ask) the next day and get paid and then play that afternoon at a farm a little up the link waited in that exciting metropolis for about three hours and finally he fell into town.
Got paid,got directions!
Three mailbox’s up that road.
30 miles later were still looking for mailbox number two!
The farm had a barn and setup amongst the hay stacks facing the link was kinda cool,and a lot of people showed link was hard to see through the crowd and they were right up to our link was playing a solo and after this guy walks up to me and says I have something for you put out your hand,I did and he poured a handful of white little pills in my hand ,cross tops and disappears into the link thought what do I do with these and put the mound Of illegal amphetamines on my amp and continued link me!
Joe was having too much fun and was starting to get slower as the set link asked for a few tabs of the medicine on my amp and gobbled down a handful! We were playing a fast tune about set three and all of a sudden no drums! I turned to find Joe passed out cold in the hay! I think I played drums for the rest of our set.
North Dakota what a trip!
Don’t get me wrong the road is a blast and you get paid for seeing great places.
With more adventures on the horizon even the best give it a call quits.
Lewiston Idaho,coming down highway 12 though the canyon was gorgeous heading to Lewiston from Missoula by way of Jackson link thought I want to live up here someday and I did,but that’s another story.
We were used to playing mostly really beautiful areas,the Tetons,Colorado mountains,and then came Lewiston.
Really the first thing you see is Potlatch belching out smoke,they were also working on the link was hot and ugly!
We were supposed to play grand junction in Wyoming but our good buddy our agent switch with another band that we knew from salt link that week the lead guitarist and his son were killed in a freak accident sitting in their van in a side link semi truck flew off the highway crushing them link being the lead guitarist that should’ve been there played a great deal with my link but the grace of God go I!
Maybe only musicians will understand this joke,but even the waitresses hated us at the link old 40-50s country bar that had some greats go by there according to local link started to suspect something fishy with there opinions after they told me about this excellent local link heard them and were not impressed,snotty musicians such as we were lol!
There was supposed to be room and board tossed in,room and board turned out to be the address of the cheapest eats in town,and a cat pee infestation hole in the wall on the north end of link shower,a bath tub that only one guy a day could use,mattresses on the floors no sheets and we had 6 members in the band.
We did a lot of recording that week and one night I walked out side for a break and asked a local”what’s all this green fog?” They answered “ that ain’t fog that’s potlatch!”I’m pretty sure holding my breath for a few days can’t hurt!
After that week of extreme pleasure Billy and Richie quit the band.
We had gigs but only three of us were link billy no bass and pedal steel and missed his vocals without Richie no fiddle,guitar,banjo and his link also wrote a few songs we did which were good songs! It would take three guys to replace and fill up the huge gap.
We heard about Boyd Wilson who had played bass for the Sawmill Creek band and Rick Alfred who played pedal steel and link fiddle player was a different matter.
Dick heard about a young wiz kid that just won the fiddlers contest named mark O’Conner and got ahold of him and he was interested,but he got picked up so fast and whisked into stardom that we were left as a very distant link dick found David a fiddler from the salt lake area and he joined the band,he was a great player and wrote songs and could link went down to Georgia was the fad in those days and we played the heck out of link link still have nightmares about that song!but the crowds loved.
At some point we were playing in Farmington New Mexico and got a gig on the Jerry Lewis telethon and we played fat city and another tune,I guess Austin city limits heard us and asked us on,but that never developed into anything.
We also got a gig in park city Utah and link. kings band and muddy waters band was in town and all the members but link. and waters came to hear link asked if they could jam a tune or link rest of the band left the stage but I asked them if I could sit link had link. s hornsection to my left,even the old white haired trumpet player,and Hollywood on keys their drummer and bassist and back up guitarist to my link a blue man sing the whites? The bonzo dog doo dah band used to sing! I guess I did okay,folks were raving about my playing,and that was awesome,a memory worth repeating!
Another night a guy in a white t shirt and his wife came in and kept asking me to come over to their link couldn’t cause I’d drive back to pingree every night.
One night on the way back home I was going about 80 on i 15 and I came over this ridge and a small herd of elk were in my link was going to hit them with my little Toyota Corolla I quickly remembered that they sway to the right and then crisscross to their left when spooked,so we did a blue angels maneuver at high velocity and somehow,one was close enough to touch his antlers,we all came out of that link me up for link but the grace,....
Phil Deguerre the white t shirt hippie from park city gig that is and his wife told me he worked at universal studios in Burbank California and I should call him if I ever got back there to visit my dad in Santa link promised to show me around universal. I thought he was just a camera man.
On my 28 th birthday sept 14 th. I had to drive from pingree Idaho to Boulder Colorado for a audition we had at a important link wasn’t too happy that I had to leave my resting place and go on the link was also feeling a very spiritual movement in link had come and gone over the years on the road but this time it just was hounding link the hound of hell.
I was listening to emmylou Harris roses in the snow and the gospel tunes were really getting to link pastures really hit link remember crying and driving,not knowing why I was crying but reaching for something beyond this road.
We set up at that club in Boulder and no joke this time even the waitresses had the night link bartender! That’s it!
The thorn birds finale was on tv that night and no one was out and link set this audition up?we were supposed to be link were $50 for the entire band,no rooms,no board! What? It was already getting down in temperature up there and they all were going to sleep in their link uh not me it’s my birthday! So I got a hotel room and was link decided that night,and I really don’t know why,I’m leaving the band,getting off the link cause it seemed like we were “spinning our wheels”? Or something greater was beckoning me?Something much greater was.
I told the guys the next link took it the best,but I could tell he was hurt,the other guys were a mix between,my chance to shine and link started running all my lead parts that mattered in the material,you know not just solos,to Rick Alred,he’s a great musician and a quick study,and he was cool with me leaving.
That week the Shining had come out and we were playing in link I went to a link creepy to see IN link Urban Cowboy was the rage and it was entertaining to see all the city slickers dressed up in costume trying to be John Travolta.
Kinda glad this was my last few nights.
Said my goodbyes to the guys,me and joe hugged,yeah I still miss Joe,shook hands,cold shoulder from some.
I always loved those guys and the opportunity to experience life on the road and playing for a living and seeing so much link still after all these miss them and consider them mates.
I had no great plan,I just knew I was going somewhere.
There was somewhere I was supposed to be.
Just didn’t know it’d be so difficult getting there.
I got back to pingree,Joe’s Bar and was helping around the link state taxes,bar tending,playing and loving Joe and Pat,Deons little boys.
It was a few months later I was tending bar and the news came that John Lennon had been killed.
The day the music died ,again.
That was not quite but a distant cousin to what it’s like losing a parent that you really link written a song Earlier that Bresh was thinking of recording later and words went something like” I used to be a beatle freak ,till they ate the apple at their very peak ,I’ve heard tell they’ll never return but in my window that old candle still burns”
The wind of adversity snuffed out that light that very night.
It’s hard to see where you’re going in the dark,but go you link if something is pulling link didn’t recognize it until it had link I could feel something pulling in the morning and pulling in the day and an emptiness at link was drinking a case of long necks a night and sometimes whiskey to link was told I was starting to black out and have memory losses I even punched a 6 by 6 with my right fist one link my hand,and had a compound link me up!
railroad stops such as Joe’s Bar are made out of very hard woods.
stupid is as stupid does.
On the way to Denver,and boulder I was also listening to emmylou’s “ the darkest hour is just before the dawn”
I didn’t know it then and wouldn’t until almost the end of the next year,but the dawning May seem slow coming some long dark nights as if it was never coming,....but it’s coming!
But it ain’t mornin yet!
There’s a certain sound to the music of the West!especially bands from Wyoming and Montana and link can’t copy it,it ain’t country but it is it ain’t bluegrass but it is it ain’t cowboy even,but bands like Sawmill Creek,and Tarwater,and Montana ,the pinto Bennett band and the dan moody band have it and it’s good,it’s great and I hope that sound and tradition has continued and link road bands such as in the 70 and 80s are kind of a past that may be link not 6 night gigs anymore and that’s really what bands like themhelp keep spinning their link Bruce hauser sings,from Sawmill “barely gettin there and barely getting by.” A great toon that joe turned us onto that we link some of the guys from Sawmill became Moody’s and then later they went on to Sawmill and eventually on to the” famous motel cowboys” also keeping that sound link still play in Boise once a year for a reunion and a year or so ago had a tribute to Joe Dow link.
I hope to attend and maybe pick with them sometime!
But as I said I was Heading somewhere and my life was gonna change,big time!
Seattle! How on earth did I end up back in a big city?id left LA to get away from there!
Deon was running her fathers bar when I met her in Pocatello,and she invited us out to someplace called a Pingree to play a get link think in spring or something like that,so we agreed,we being Dan Moody .Eventually playing in Grand Targhee we started seeing each link had two beautiful boys and was raising them up stairs of the bar and convinced her this was not the best for link Seattle!
I started auditioning for bands in Seattle and got a few link and I parted ways and I needed a place to park my guitars! These two women who played bass and lead guitar had asked me to join them so I did and moved in link was in university district up from Seattle it’s mostly lgbt and the couple where link had nothing against that but they had so many women friends it was hard to tell which ones where and which ones weren’link because I was labeling them but attracted link was a bit confusing,
We named the band Precious after Gollum’s ring. we played heart,benetar,Smith,Clapton rossington collins,link had a decent drummer and played around the Seattle area but not enough to eat! I ended up getting emergency food link I live in the USA!
We started getting a few road gigs and got an agent who was supposed to book us in link then book us back home a few link arrived in baskersfiield and the girls didn’t go over so well,it was supposed to be a two week gig but we only got a week.
a received call in the middle of the week,after hours in the club,after waking that very morning weeping,wondering why ? ( that had never happened before) with tragic news that would change relations,straining them.
We were jobless with no gigs and barely enough money to limp back to link love agents!
I had met a girl back in the stables in Lewiston and we struck up a semi long distance platonic(distance) link fell by the way side and interterm I had a few other romances,but after moving to Seattle and more heartache I was talking to the two women and they heard my story and they toldme to call that girl in Idaho.
I finally did and she came over for a link got involved and I started moving to Clarkston link playing,sorta in Precious and driving back to clarkston when I could.
The band got a gig in okanoganWash I knew this was a small town,conservative ,country and I asked twice did the agent show them our song list?
They didn’t like the looks of this bunch!
They knew before we plugged in they weren’t gonna like the music!
The problems started right off amps too loud,drums too loud.
The girls had fired the drummer and hired a maniac for this link walked in the first night to an 11 piece set and a huge Chinese gong. I’ll just set up in the parking lot fur sure!
We finally turned the PA and amps down to a whisper,even pit them on their backs facing the ceilings! After two sets I called a meeting and told them,hey I know what these folks want,,,I broke out the Martin !started playing hank,and diamond and Denver,they were happy.
So was the rat of the band,I’d told them to go and ahead and get snockered I’ve got this.
So I played both nights link we wouldn’t get scalped or tarred and feathered.
The maniac the next day as I was walking down town ran up to me( I’d just met this guy) and said I git it figured out! Huh? Clueless? Yeah if you distract the salesman in the shop across the street I could steal that tv out of that window!
I looked in a amazing wonder at this moron and said with a tad bit of anger,”First we are the only band here this weekend and can you tell we stick out a bit?( the girls were dressed in pink long feathers black hip boots,etc,the norm for this area).who do you think would be suspect?Second the entire town saw us together last link you abscond and I stay behind and chat?bust me!I told him with a few expletives “get lost!”
That evening they drank,I sang sung blue.
That was the last I saw them,got in the car and drove the backroads to link those days the sayin was” how far is it”? The answer “ about a six pack” Im pretty sure it was case that night! That’s why I chose the back roads,me the coyotes,jack rabbits and the moon and some good tunes to keep the white line from its hypnotizing affect.
I heard later that the maniac had set fire to the motel room the night I left,what a rock star! Moon2 the sequel.
Dust off my cowboy boots and head on down the link the past way behind!especially that guy!
I’ve wondered a few times what happened to the girls and to the link might all be in prison thanks to link sure he found safe passage to government assistance in the form of a 10 by 10 cell.
After being strangely pulled back to Lewiston link town I never thought I’d even revisit after the dismal time I had link being on my list whatsoever of places I wished to link decided it was time to go visit my dad in Santa Monica and look up Phil Deguerre and take him up on his invite.
I drive to LA down the coast and saw dad and called up Phil and he said come on to universal studios the next day and he’d have my name on the list at the door.
I’d told him I wasn’t in the dan moody band anymore and he said “that’s fine we are interested in you” that surprised me.
Next morning I took off for link to universal got through check out,name on the list and I was standing out in the patio of a huge space and had no idea where to go to find link of those stunningly beautiful Hollywood type future stars walked by me and I stuttered “d d do you know when Phil Deguerres office is “ she laughed a heavenly little laugh and said to the tune of the sirens songs “ he’s in that building sweetie”pointing across the link not sure but I thought I saw rainbow glisten from his hands and arms as she pointed in that link dreaming on “sweetie” I woke from my delusion and shuffled of begrudgingly to the destination.
I got inside a huge complex,no names on doors no menu and another vision appeared out of link thinking wake up mike you’re dreaming,but I managed a meek question.”where is Phil s?”;she interrupted “ mr Deguerre ? This is his office but he’s third door down on the left” His office? I thought he was a camera man!” on the left,sugar”feeling like a honeybee I left my hallucination on the floor as she danced away,and found a no name door and walked in.
The secretary who I’d never seen said “ hi mike Phil’s expecting you” yep pinch me ,I’m link gets weirder.
I walk through the door and way off in the distance is Phil sitting at his desk ( huge office) and standing next to Phil is Max Bear jr. Jethro from the Beverley hillbillies .becoming faint Jethro walks up to me grabs my hand ,he’s the biggest man I’d ever seen,shakes my hand,and his goes up to my elbow,yep biggest hand I ever tried to grab,and “ says hi mike Phil told me a lot about you”
Huh,hey wait a minute,back up,time out ,...what?
Phil comes round his desk and shakes my shaking hands,and I blurt out “ what do you do here?
Phil laughs and say “ I’m an executive producer “
So much for goffer or camera man.
He showed me around the studios though between more visions of delight he introduced me to and fighting the desire of passing out cold,I don’t remember a great deal.
He asked me up to house for dinner, I remember ,and gave me his address in Laural canyon overlooking universal studios ,and said 7 ish.
I was there at 6:55 sharpish.
We had a great dinner at their beautiful link and Heineken and we went out for a smoke on his deck and Phil started telling me about a show he was still working on and it would be called “ Simon and Simon” and that he wanted to use a lot of slide guitar on it because tv hadn’t used any slide up to that link talked music,our love of Ry Cooder and Jj Cale and he asked me to help with the link then asked me if I would go with him and his wife to see jj cale at the roxy the following evening. I would be honored I told him.
Great concert,we discussed music plans,asked me to move back to LA and that he wanted to help me in my music pursuit.
Phil Everley was a close friend and he’d already played my songs for him and Phil said he liked what he’d heard.
I was about to go back to clarkston on Thursday but wanted to play at the palomino for the talent show Thursday night,so Phil and his wife had me for dinner again and let me stash my Roland there while I went on to play.
I wanted to play “ the shores of Malibu “at the palomino that link a slow song and I had half the audience shushing the other half and they finally settled down and I had link round of applause and I felt sure I’d won the pot for
Every so often there’s a moment,and the right time,and there was a guy who was on last right after me,and he played just the right song on piano “a whiter shade of pale”
Though I don’t mind coming in second to a song like that ,I link I thought well mine my was an original?
Tail between legs I went back up to Phil’s house to grab my gear.
My plan was to drive to Idaho/ Washington during the night.
the well laid plans of mice and men!
I got to Phil’s house and his wife said she wanted to cook me breakfast before I took off,I’m guessing it to be after midnight.
A lot occurs after midnight according to JJ.
He’s usually spot on.
I don’t like mentioning names when their actions speak louder than shredding guitars through stacks of Marshall’link on the other hand was an actress,played on Simon and Simon and was once the Pan Am girl.( if you remember that you are old ????)
she was making me breakfast,or was going to,and had me sitting on the couch with her and was playing me with a lot of booze( hey I got to drive all night long!)
Eventually pretty verbatim “ I like you” well I like you too”well I want you “ huh? Yes now ,here,huh? So felicitously I ask” where’s Phil? Asleep,in the other next room,yes,uh,huh? With greater irony in his voice “ and where would we do this? ( I’m so clueless she’s wearing a very revealing blouse and I’m soused) I have a special room,and Phil and I have an agreement,and I always get what I want ( whatever Lola wants Lola gets?damn Yankees!)
I tell her I’m very honored and she’s very attractive but I have someone back in the north ( which and whom I’m trying to get to lady)
She’s says something about,the concert and steak and Heineken and breakfast and then says “ we own you!”
ain’t nobody own this boy!Im thinking not outloud.
I get up to get out of there and she grabs my shirt and try’s to rip it off me.
This is getting ugly.
She starts screaming at me !
I’m thinking Me Too?
And not a millennium too soon!
I actually had to grab my amp and run out of there!
In the background as I slammed the door running for the Toyota I could hear “ you’re finished in this town” “ ( am I in a really bad old black and white movie?)
You’re career is over( am I running for office,no I’m running to get out of there)
I get in the Toyota and I’m hammered ,thanks Hollywood it won’t have to be a six pack tonight!
It’s pouring,this really is an old movie I’m stuck in somehow,and I start the winding curvy drive down laurel canyon way too fast.
John Lennon was said when asked why they started Apple production he said so we could help young artists so that they wouldn’t have to get on their knees in some producers office.
After being on the road for so long how is it I’m still so naive? I thought he meant link as I’m skidding around corners I’m trying really hard to catch that old dog,Clue.
I just can’t see because of the rain and very recent substance abuse.
coming out of laurel canyon fast is rarely accomplished even in the best most expensive sports cars Hollywood can afford to its minions.
In a Toyota Corolla it can be done,but not with bad tires,in rain by a drivers getting madd mad as link car slides to the right ,crashing into a street curve.
Flat tire,bent axle,no go.
I limp the rest of the wat down laurel and there’s a closed for the evening 76 link around 2:30 in the am so I decide to rest my eyes for a minute.
Bang bang bang on my drivers side window.
“ what do you want?”
I’m waking up violently at 6:30,by a guy who has been awake for awhile I’m guessing probably already had coffee and I thought through a foggy hangover and very uncomfortable sleep,uh gee I wonder?
I role down the window and have to repeat the obvious for him and he says we can’t fix it here,down the street.
I hobble down a block and the guy comes out takes a look and says that’ll be $1500 uh huh yeah ,I get out and take a good look at it and ask “ you have a sledge hammer?”
I took it at the front wheel well and crimped the area back far enough that the tire would turn,bought a used radial tire and headed back north.
Steering wheel at half mast.
I could make it a thousand miles on a radial before the metal started shredding at highway speeds. 950 or so start looking for a tire link tires went for$25.
“”Barely getting there and barely getting by” Bruce was singing out of cassette machine speakers.”” this is the way we roll!” I was thinking.
“ caution said the sign,and I was wondering why headin down the road at 60 miles an hour,I should’ve known better”
I wasn’t following the wisdom of my own song.
I was trying to make time ( is that an oxymoron?)
I got out to the desert and decided to go all the way on 395,through the desert,through the Sierra Nevada through Tahoe,link for a tire change
Somewhere along life’s link to tunes,singing along.
395 at some point winds and winds and winds around corners for so long eventually as the crow flies you get about a hundred feet,as the speedometer reads 10 miles.
Yeah this is perfect after an up all night,break neck,hangover recovery,auto accident never ending journey.
Doc sings the joys in the journey.
By the time I got to lower Oregon I thought for sure there’d be gas stations.
They were there too,about 20 miles farther than my gas tank agreed with.
It was about 3am on a very cold night that I tried to sleep with my sleeping bag curled up around me in the link was snow outside.
About sunrise I’d had as much as I could take of my accommodations and started hoofing for the closest link a gas can in hand you would think someone would link.
It turned to be 5 miles and the station was open.
Walking back about a mile down the road an 18 wheeler put on the breaks and gave me a break from the morning stroll
“ this living on the road is getting kind of old” I could hear Levon and the Band
The things we do for love.
Put gas in and then got gas back north where I’d just link I’m learning!
“Didn’t I just see you?”
I got to Walla Walla,tired,link somewhere out of there I started bearing music come out of link thought,that’s strange considering the radio didn’t work and to my left up in the clouds I saw a movie being broadcast in the sky,that’s even stranger,then my Martin and suitcase on the seat next to me turned into a small man and woman dancing and so I’d reach out to stop link quit and return to what they were but as soon as I took my hand away they’d go back to jiving.
I was dreaming wide awake.
There’s a lot of benefits to a good nights rest.
That” somethings calling you “voice is relentless at times.
Many years later I was catching up with Rick Hill of Steamboat and he asked what I’d been doing,sharing road experiences and I mentioned Phil Deguerre and Rick shouts out over the phone Phil Deguerre? Phil Deguerre?about three or four times in amazement .then he tells me Did you sit out on that deck ? Sure I said and Rick said I built that! Turned out he and Phil were big dead heads link then Rick said after Phil had come back from park city he was raving about this guitarist he’d heard up there but couldn’t remember his name and Rick was telling him about this great guitarist in link didn’t know it was the same guy at the time .phil passed before I could share that with him .it’s a small world after all !what a compliment ,indirectly.
Back in clarkston I was trying to play out and little and at a jam one night met this great drummer and link played with there band at some Chinese restaurant,did a few of my tunes and recorded a few songs with them at a local Lewiston recording link sounded like we’d been together forever,which rarely happens
They were willing to quit their band and go with me to LA.
That was the plan,anyway.
Things went south with the forever link pretty down,living in a trailer no link it was all hers!
Loves forever as long as it lasts.
I met Gary Abbott at a local stereo store and he needed a lead link told him I’d play for a few gigs till I left for link he asked me to start up a discount music store and manage it.
As things were falling apart,the LA thing was not materializing,I had this kind of very strange guy across from my trailer who was bugging me about going to church with link kept blowing off,but one day I was working on,or just staring at my car,I’m a musician what do I know about why it doesn’t link came up while I had my head under the hood( trying to avoid and hide I think) and he said mike are you playing tonight? No. Hey remember you said you’d go to church with me when you weren’t so there’s church tonight! Crap,busted.
Church! Boy oh boy as a catholic id never entered a Protestant church,especially those holy roller type,and this church was on fire! Hands raised,tongue speaking,hallelujahs and the choir and pianist were rocking! I didn’t know what to make of all of it but when the preacher started preaching I wanted to larry if he’d told him all about me! Cause he was hitting the mark right between my pride!
I’d never felt the Spirit before and that night changed me inside and out.
I knew not what ,but WHO had been calling me! It all was crystal clear.
About three weeks before romance went on vacation the Spirit had led me to read the Bible fir three days in a row,10 hrs each link glanced at the book occasionally but I was ready and finding stuff that blew me into tomorrow,things I’d never even link came the blowup!
That evening at church I realized it was the Lord himself who had saved me from a complete breakdown broken heart by those three days of intense reading.
You have heard of born again,born from above,being link it was that and more so.
Suddenly every question was link found the truth and the truth made me free.
That was 35 years ago and I’m still seeking the steps of Him who leads me through.
If you’ve read all this so far and you want to learn more about my new adventures check out My writings on this web site link
I really hope you do.
That night in church was not the ending.
It was the beginning of the road.