Jeff Joy's letter cont...
Although I grew up in Pasadena California some of my early years were spent in Hollywood. Both as a music fan and as a participant. I also spent some time in and around the canyons. Both Topanga Canyon and Laurel Canyon along with a summer job in the music business. It lasted about 25 years. All said and done YEAH! It's a good life today. It took many turns to find balance as you said. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to your words. I've been clean and sober for almost 13 years. I'm 50 something. That's gotta be the best part of my journey! Sobriety. Your story and the content...The site. Outstanding! You nailed it. Names, faces. The guest book and more... I think I'm in some sort of shock...No, I know I'm in shock...but it's good. Truly a catharsis. A warm feeling.
The 60's: My brother and I met a guy named Tom Nieto also from Pasadena. He was a promoter of bands in the mid 60's. Scenic Sounds Productions was his company. He mostly promoted Elektra records artists. Tom also new Arthur Lee from High School sports. Tom was African American. As Arthur always made reference to 'my people'. Tom was perfect. They connected. He played on it while promoting Love, Lee Michaels, Paul Butterfield, The Doors, Spirit, The Strawberry Alarm Clock, Jimi Hendrix, The Mothers of Invention, The Chambers Brothers, The Chicago Transit Authority, Traffic, Led Zepplin, Ten Years After, Procal Harum and hundreds of others. He was a master promoter who died at yup that magic age of 27. He died by fire arms. A father that didn't approve. Also at this time my uncle, a famous artist (who you may have known) lived in Topanga. I stayed up there during the summer of 67. Somewhere between The Ice House in Pasadena and the Hullabaloo in Hollywood and all those Canyon people I got to live the 60's experience. Oh yes Santa Monica, Malibu and Will Rogers State Beach were sprinkled in there somewhere. The standard fare for a 60's summer evening: Topanga Corral to see Neil Young play with the house band. Then to the Whisky a Go Go to see (you know who) and back to The Ice House in Pasadena to catch the Smothers Brothers and The Association. That Volks Wagon could go! That was 67, 68, 69 and a little into the 70's.... And yes we were very high. The beginning of the stoner years. Not to mention that funny leather bag filled with wine. oops who brought the acid! Oh well. At the same time we might also go to visit my cool aunt and uncle up in Topanga. Fernwood Market for goodies. My aunt was on the phone one evening to Ronnie asking if the 'Doors of Perception' were going to be the new house band at the Whisky. Dennis Hopper and his Topanga followers on that side of the hill would drop in. They were always in ready form (tripping) looking for my uncle. It was about art and music. My uncle was a big part of the scene. Vito...Gypsy Boots, Dewey Martin and many others might pop in unannounced as well. Party! The early makings of Love via Arthur Lee and the crowd from Laurel Canyon were also coming out. As you know so well they had become the resident band on the strip. The flower scene was in full bloom. Up and down those hills they went. Some hitching. Some driving (mostly VW bugs and VW vans) some XKE Jags or the often seen half broken down smoker. Some walking. Freaks, Actors, artists, poets, musicians, beatniks, dancers and folk people. Braless beauties in black tights (HI I'm a dancer) with those sheer tops tied in a knot at the waist. Oh My! Yes the'' love the one your with attitude' was quite an experience for me at 17. All those hipsters in a union charge to the party that would change the world. Many think to some extent they did. If not lost in Hollywood it was the Shrine Auditorium also a choice hot night spot back then too. There were 2 stages and a balcony. The Strawberry Alarm Clock on one stage and that new band on the other 'The Grateful Dead' I can still smell the aroma of pot even after all these years. Most of ....if not all the major bands mentioned on your site played the shrine. It was music history! God knows I should have been doing my school home work. But screw that. That was High School. AHHHH! Tom the owner of Scenic Sounds hired both my older brother and I. It was on. My brother became the announcer! The M.C. To see him up there introducing the acts was incredible. I also had my new job. Stage hand, Flyer/hand bill runner and 'gofer' for Scenic Sounds Productions. Wow! concert promoters and rock musicians. I was 16 or 17 years old so this was heaven. High School? I never went back. On your site you had a piece on The Silver Miter Band. That was one of the last concerts for Scenic Sounds Productions. It was in San Bernadino at The Swing Ball Room. Traffic was the headliner. Blues Image and Silver Miter the openers. I think it was 1970. Mickey Waller was unbelievable on drums. Also the great Pete Sears on bass. Chris Wood was still in Traffic at that time. Dave Mason had recently departed. Jump to 1998. (OOOOH the years in between are for another e-mail) Brian McClean passed away in a restaurant on Fairfax and something happened. The world stopped. I had met up with him again after 20 plus years and was looking forward to the new 'McClean Project'. Both Christian and non Christian music. I think his death and the shock also was a part of a mid life crisis for myself and others who had gone the distance. It was a flat out stunner. I now new life was going by for real. Most of our core group were either passing through our 40's or 50's. Brian and the old scene, all those years were now memories. Jim Voight (Peanutbutter Conspiracy) also passed a few years earlier. Skip from Moby Grape. What talent! I had met them and new them from the work side and some a personal side. Gone. The music of Jackson Brown, Crosby, Stills & Nash also seemed to be fading into the California sunset. Thank God for Bonnie Raitt! She's still going strong. Grunge and Alternative? I can't relate! Cell phones, computers. A different life. Did we grow up? grow old? I think a little of both. As you know.... and have mentioned many of the gang are gone. It's hard to come to terms with it sometimes. But we just do. I then got connected to Mike Stuart (Love drummer) whom I never really new but had worked with back in the day. I sent him one of the hand bills from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium (see attachment). It was one of his first concerts with Love. They were to debut the songs from the De Capo album. I remember they were musically tight and seamless. The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band also played. What a night! After a few e-mail conversations he and I have shared some of the old times. We sometimes also joke about the old Hollywood scene. He also had talked about a book for a long time and to his amazement and mine he got it published! His wit will knock you over.
Some notes of interest: Hollywood ; / a famous city in Southern California. Mostly associated with movie actors. Hollywood was formally an upscale real estate track in the hills above Los Angeles called Hollywoodland. The real estate folks back then attempted to put 'Holly' like the kind you see at Christmas time together with 'woodland'. They had visited and seen many of the trees and 'woodland' areas in the southern California hills. They were from across the pond. England. They liked the way it sounded. Advertisers. We all know about the sign. Yeah the one with the letters that fell off making it say Hollywood and history was born. Recently it was discovered during excavation for the Metro Rail Project to be Indian burial grounds.
The town was electric back in the 40's and 50's. My parents danced at the Earl Carrol Theater (The Aquarius) and the Hollywood Palladium. They were called supper clubs then. Tuxes and gowns for all. My mother wore gloves up to her elbow as she handed me off to the baby sitter. Oh yes the long cigarette holder was gold like jewelry. It was post war. Ike was in. Then came television and fast food called McDonalds. People stopped going out to clubs. They had babies and television. T V trays were the standard in our house. On our way back home from the beach while Jan and Dean blasted from the radio in our Rambler wagon my mom pointed at the old and dilapidated Earl Carol Theater. The autograph placks from movie stars like John Wayne and others had fallen off the building into the weeds below. The gates were closed. Hollywood was in trouble. Enter the sex trade and payments to the city fathers. It worked but it wasn't enuff. Now enter the teen generation that filled a new dance venue. The Peppermint Stick. Much like POP (Pacific Ocean Park) it was packed! $$$$$$$$$ The writing was on the wall. The teens had invaded Hollywood and they wanted more. They were staking there claim. The Rock and Roll music along with the Surf music flowed into the supper clubs of old and were now becoming teen dance venues. Who could forget the 'Teenage Fair'' at the Palladium. Bubbles still came off the Lawrence Welk sign on the side wall in the parking lot. Sam Riddle was promoting his teen dance show on TV. Lloyd Thaxton and others also had similar teen shows. Always with a dance contest. You got to see your self on TV. WOW! Cam Nelson where are you! Hot,Hot, Hot! In a short time the nuvo clubs of Hollywood that had imitated the night clubs of Europe didn't know quite what to do. There was one thing they new for sure. They couldn't let go of the Booze. Teens and Booze didn't mix. 21 was and still is the legal age. What to do? 'The Troubadour' 'It's Boss' 'The Whiskey a Go Go' and many others decided to use an old city license. Food being served would constitute the premises to be a restaurant and not just a bar or liquor serving night club. This would allow for under age patrons (15 years old) admission as long as there hand was stamped 'no alcohol'. The Cheese and Apple snack trays were my favorite at the 'Troub'. Problem solved and the Sunset Strip was never the same. A version of this rule still exists to this day. Or was the problem solved? Heroin and other drugs had been firmly embedded in the acting community. Circa 1920's through the 1950's 'And Along Comes Mary" 1960's with the new generation called Rock and Roll also came a new market for the drug trade. And a bit of darkness was cast over that sunny little city called Hollywood.
Well there's so much more. I'll stop for now and say 'groovie site babe!' great work in putting together THE GREAT HOLLYWOOD HANGOVER. Endless thanks with a Peace Sign at Ya!
Jeff Joy JJOYSALES@JUNO.COM
PS I have concert posters in storage from the Shrine Auditorium. If you like I could make copies for you. Doors, Canned Heat etc.