8   Rock Around The World • My 1977



Stephen Peeples

Episode 17 of Fernwood Toiught, Martin Mull’s current dance with insanity, is in the can; one of Barth Gimble’s guests on 17 is Tom Waits, seen rehearsing lately at the Troubadour bar. The coneheads in Fernwood loved Tom’s schtick, which included a lovely turn of phrase: …I’d rather have a bottle in front of me/than a frontal lobotomy …”

Snake Charmer (or is it Charming Snake) Alice Cooper held an open snake audition at the ABC Entertainment complex in Century City. Alice’s old snake apparently molted once too often. Judges were Jaye P. Morgan. Flo & Eddie, a guy named Safari Arnie, and old Big Al himself. There were 19 entrants acting as agents for a like number of garters, boas, and pythons; one ten year-old kid strained under the weight of a python big enough to eat said kid whole. Another person calling herself the “Snake Lady” (original) showed up with five snakes wrapped around her bod. She was accompanied by two snake roadies, but even with help the Snake Lady couldn’t keep her act together–she finally let all five fall to the stage, whereupon she joined them for what must be the newest kink in the local bondage arena. The winner was announced on the Johnny Carson show the following day. All this was part of the $500K Anaheim Stadium production that also featured the Kinks, the Tubes, Nazareth, Flo & Eddie, and Sha Na Na. More on that next month.

Styx previewed their latest, “Grand Illusion,” at Hollywood’s Magic Castle. Folks on hand had to say “open, sesame,” in just the right key or the magic front door wouldn’t open. The album, at first listen, sounds quite solid, and all that prompted heavy petting among A&M staffers. Due date has been set for 7-7-77, because it’s the band’s seventh LP.

It appears that Bryan Ferry will be living and recording in L.A. for the second half of ’77, which means another welcome addition to the roster of British tax exiles in the neighborhood. Ferry’s night at the Civic was two or three seats short of a sell-out, but the performance lacked conviction for the most part. Phil Manzanera (looking much like a beleathered Ferry) and Chris Spedding (looking terminally bored) entered into a few guitar duels, and judging by audience response, Phil picked up the Smoking Axe Award that set. The horn section, which included alto/baritone session ace Chris Mercer, honked well, but the whole scene onstage was one of preoccupation. I guess the pickin’s are slim at the local singles meatmarkets. If that’s what you need, guys, go to Miami. There’s a meatmarket on every corner, but beware the barracuda! On hand for the backstage number: Detective’s Tony Kaye, Henry Edwards (composer of Sgt. Pepper score), Sparks Russell and Ron Mael, Paul Barrerre, and a few Cheap Tricks.

A few nights before, little people took over the Civic–more specifically, Little Feat and the Little River Band. Feat’s Civic set was decidedly funkified compared to the Corral set noted here last month. Versions of “Tripe Face Boogie,” “Rocket In The Pocket,” and “Teenage Nervous Breakdown” were thick with goofunk; “Day At The Dog Races” was one of the few jazzy ditties performed. Damn thing’s in 9/8, not 7/4 as noted here last month–even musicians lose count sometimes. Backstage bon vivants included Bob Dylan and Donnie Van Zandt, .38 Special’s lead singer and lead shadow boxer. Little River

Band’s set showed style, nothing short of. The five-part harmonies are truer this tour (their second in America) and lead guitarist David Briggs’ (Gibson) Firebird must be running on jet fuel. Or maybe Diamentina Cocktails. In any case, LRB dosed my little rivers with adrenalin. If you get a chance to see them, I’d suggest you go for it, as they say in the world of sports.

Brother Gregg Allman and his band will be in Japan for six dates between June 24 and July 10, but a spokesperson at Capricorn here in L.A. said no U.S. tour is being planned at this point. No reason was given, but the spokesperson heatedly denied that concern for Gregg’s safety on American (and particularly Southern) stages is a factor in the touring situation. Let’s hope not–all that happened two years ago, and even Dickie Betts has cooled out about it.

In any case, Gregg’s guest-hosting (on tape! from Burbank!) a Midnight Special late in June; his guests–dig these rizzum and blues–Booker T. and the MG’s, Jerry Lee (aka The Killer) Lewis, Jennifer Warnes, and Elvin Bishop. Little Richard, bless his soul, is half the reason we’re here–he’s that show’s tributee. Jerry Lee’s the other half of the reason we’re here. They’re crazy–who knows what they’ll do? But I do know that Gregg and band will do half new, old old: “Let This Be A Lesson To Ya” and “Sweet Feelin’ ” from Playin’ Up A Storm; “Midnight Rider” and “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’ “, from the Allman’s Idlewild South. Elvin will slide by for a final jam on “Little Brown Bird” with GABbers Ricky Hirsch and John Leslie Hug (the guy who pushed Waylon on Are You Ready For The Country and got a thoroughly broken-in ’53 or ’54 Telecaster in appreciation) on guitars, Neil Larsen on keyboards, Bill Stewart on drums, George Dinwiddie on reeds, and Kenny Burke on bass. Check your television sheet for air-date, because the show’s got potential, eh, wot?

Atari, the video space games manufacturer, has just bought Malibu Grand Prix (see April L.A. Getaway). The hook is that Atari is owned by Warner Communications. Nobody’s talking’ yet, but it’s logical to project MGP’s expansion from a SoCalbased, four-track operation (that’s racetrack) to something on a multi-track national level. Seems to me Atari and WC

entourage. Missing: $71K in various forms. Keep your cards close to your chest, and offer to meet and beat any bribe your friendly hotel clerk might be offered, if you have to. It’s cheaper.

Your fleetfoot scribe made another L.A. getaway last month–this time back to Miami, the old homestead; the beach was great and my old tan is back, but Miami’s current proccupation with Anita Bryant, discomania, and Columbian busts got old fast. After only a week, terminal boredom set in, and the hiatus made me appreciate his diversity of live music available in Los Angeles.

But there were a few bright spots–one was a Miami Stadium concert featuring Fleetwood Mac with Chick Corea/Stan Clarke’s Return to Forever and Kenny Loggins. For a stadium gig. the sound system was near-perfect, incredibly enough. Loggins and his supertight band delivered a set of new and old stuff that got the predominantly Fleetwood Mac audience (most were aware of only the last two albums by the Mac) fired up. Chick and Stan’s set was ridiculously short, but included the full “Musicmagic” suite and Stan’s “Mickey Mouse” number. Maybe a fifth of the 25,000 on hand would agree with me that RTF blew the Mac off the stage; nevertheless, on a creative level, there’s no comparison. And that’s coming direct from a longtime Fleetwood Mac listener. Lindsay Buckingham needs a guitar partner for the road, if not for the studio.

The new Peter Frampton album was previewed in L.A. at a crystal and candlelight lunch catered by Chasen’s; the fare included white wine, crab meat and avocado appetizers, Chasen’s famous chili, and a superb roast beef main course. “The last time I had roast beef,” began staff writer Don Snowden, “was at Arby’s!” Dusti Rhodes, present for the spectacle, reports she promptly fell off her chair, howling hysterically. As for the new album, Wind of Change is still on my turntable.

No Studio Inst ument Rentals sound-stages were trashed by artist managers this

would be well-advised to model any future tracks after the four in existence. If you’ll pardon the expression, they’ve got the formulae.

NEWS IN BRIEFS: One of the three frontwomen in Hot was a private eye … believe it or not, Steely Dan is going to perform, onstage; Becker and Fagen signed with Iry Azoff, and his people say the tour begins late August. More later …

Tangerine Dream has rented an abode in L.A. and is rehearsing there for its Laserium-equipped summer tour of the West … Dennis Wilson at the last minute decided to change his album title from “Pacific Ocean” to “Who Made My Moon Shine,” which may be an answer to Jessi Colter’s “You Hung The Moon (Didn’t You Waylon?)”

Any of you road folks who handle room lists, listen up: while Lynyrd Skynyrd watered in a Savannah bar, thieves hit every room occupied by the band and its

(I. to r.) Sea Level’s Chuck Leavell, Jimmy’s son Chip, and Toy Caldwell share the popcorn at Great American Food & Beverage following Marshall Tucker/Sea Level gig at the Civic.