Rock Around The World • July 1977   11

Pablo Cruise

by Marc Shapiro The Nina The Pinta, arid Pablo Cruise .. .

in Bud’s case, resulted in his landing a job in one of It’s A Beautiful Day’s many incarnations.

Messers. Lerios (keyboards), Jenkins (guitars, vocals) and Price (drums) had it pretty much the same way as they apprenticed in many up and corners that never quite did.

It was post “summer of love,” and while the good intentions of the Haight had crumbled to drugs, the music survived and flourished. The three took advantage of the burgeoning San Francisco scene to hone their talents by way of the best teacher, experience.

Fame of a kind came to the latter three as part of a real cultist item called Stoneground. Surely you remember that great “Family” album and the sizzling cut “Total Destruction To Your Mind.” No? Well that’s how much the record company supported the act. But enough sour grapes. On with the tale.

The four got together and formed Pablo Cruise in July 1973; an important time in the annals of popular music. The San Francisco scene had become active once again and had branched off into two highly divergent schools. On one side had emerged a primitive school of all-out rockers. The second faction was opting for the mutated r and b of funk and the emerging sounds of reggae. In the middle stood Pablo Cruise; the cream filling of an Oreo whose melodic musical leanings were contrary to prevailing opinion.

Pablo Cruise’s penchant for that progressive sound soon made them a favored item on the Bay area club circuit. The release of their first A&M album, “Pablo Cruise,” furthered their following as clear lines of jazz and snatches of Latin played over rock and a clear example of what blue-eyed soul is all about.

But a San Francisco attraction does not a career make and the group soon sought to do elsewhere what they’d done by the Bay. Constant touring opened up small cracks in the door of acceptance, as did the group’s second album “Lifeline.”

Knowing full well that a third album is a must for establishing a band’s identity on a broad commercial scale, Pablo Cruise retreated to The Record Plant in Sausalito

and came out with “A Place In The Sun.” All bias aside this record is hot. But don’t take my word for it. Get it from the horse’s mouth. In this case the mouth being Cory Lerios, who in a recent interview remarked:

“You’re right. The record is hot. There’s a lot of heart and soul that went into this one. During the last few months we’d really started catching fire in our live performances and, as a result. I think we’ve captured that new intensity on the album. We’re older and more experienced now and we know who and what we are. The album expresses that.”

Under the production eye of Bill Schnee the band has brought the elements of jazz and Latin from their previously supportive roles to levels that are clearly in the forefront. A perfect example of this progression is the instrumental cut “El Verano.” Steady piano runs and some muted percussion form a subdued rhythm that allows Jenkin’s riffs to stand in creative base-relief.

An effective counter to the frenzy of “El Verano” manifests itself in the guise of “Never Had A Love.” The song benefits from a solid jazz backing and Jenkin’s powerful pop vocals. This is the stuff from whence top ten singles are born.

The title track shows off Pablo Cruise as a band with something more between their legs than good intentions. Bud’s oh so soulful vocals lead this rock anthem as meaty guitar lines provide intelligent instrumental drive. The fact that “A Place In The Sun” bares partial resemblance to Grand Funk’s “I’m Your Captain” is pure coincidence, as is the song’s fade. which effectively borrows licks from The Whiz’s “Ease On Down The Road.”

At a time when popular music has worn every existing vibe down to the barest of cliches, it’s a pleasure to find Pablo Cruise pointing their music toward a clear romantic vision.

I challenge you to come up with another act whose outpourings suggest palm trees, a cold drink in hand and a servant named Friday.

You want idyllic? Pablo Cruise is it.

In many rock circles it’s become fine sport to guess what kind of music an act plays just by the name they’ve chosen for themselves. Sometimes it’s easy. Even if you’d never heard the music of Bad Company or Black Sabbath, monikers like those could be harbingers of nothing less than volume, feedback and bar chords. And then there are the question marks such as Pablo Cruise.

The best I could come up with, prior to their not too long ago Santa Monica Civic concert, was a tanned islander laying down steel drum solos as prelude to some pagan ritual. Boy! Was I in for a surprise.

First of all Pablo Cruise is a plural band as opposed to a singular musician. Yes, there was some semblance of a tan but they could’ve picked that up anywhere. The only thing I’d guessed right about was the ritual proceedings, which in this case proved to be some mighty arresting music.

For openers the band (Cory Lerios, Bud Cockrell, Dave Jenkins and Steve Price) tied into a couple of rockers that effectively removed any doubt that they were home grown. P.C. next turned to some tasty soul; their jazz overtones brought to mind the better moments of Mark Almond and the now defunct Bailin’Jack. Showing off their ability to do it all, the band jumped into a laidback moment before finishing up with something that can best be described as razz (the mutation of rock and jazz).

Now warm-up fodder isn’t supposed to make any kind ‘of lasting impression beyond that of “I wonder how long the bathroom line is now.” But Pablo Cruise’s set did and as the days passed the memory lingered. it had been a melodic and unexpectedly exotic musical experience. But, above all, it had made me feel like I was some place other than in the normal sweat shop conditions of your big time rock show.

Secure in the knowledge that here was a band far above the ho-hum category, I investigated further and found that Pablo Cruise’s esoteric blend had some equally creative roots behind them.

Crockrell, whose vocals and taut bass lines anchor Cruise’s musical arsenal, grew up in your typical northern California music environment. And when you’re good, as Bud most certainly was, your rep gets around. A good rep,