Rock Around the World • October, 1976 21
Welcome to Hollywood. The hills, canyons, and beach communities surrounding this megalopic mess of concrete, steel, and superficial social scenes are full of people well beyond the scuffling stage—people who’ve looked below the surface to find that it’s really not that bad after all.
More than a few British artists crossed the Big Water to L.A. to avoid being soaked by Great Brtiain’s tax structure. John Mayall has been living up in the Hollywood Hills for the last few years, and last Sept. 14 he kicked off a month-long U.S. tour to back his latest “Banquet In Blues” LP with a one-nighter at the Roxy on the Strip. Mayall’s rep for ferreting hot up-and-coming players is legendary, so we should keep an eye on his new players—drummer Frank Wilson.
percussionist Warren Bryant, and lead guitarist Gary Rowles. “Gary was recommended to me by Jay Spell (John’s consummate pianist), and it turned out Larry Taylor (longtime May-all bassist) had worked with him a few times in the past, so I had him ’round the house and he sounded fine,” John told me. “Incidentally, his father is Jimmy Rowles, the jazz pianist.”
Mayall’s band has a thorough knowledge of blues, so their debut was smokin’, but the lack of rehearsal time before the gig left more than a few rough spots. “We’d been together just a little more than a week,” John said. A week, he says. At the other end of this tour, they’ll be fit to kill! “We’re trying to work out some kind of deal with ABC to do a live album toward the end of the tour. We don’t know where yet, but if we do it on the West Coast, it’ll probably be at the Roxy.”
John did a European tour last fall, but a ’76 tour on the other side of the Atlantic “is not in the cards for us right now. There’s no way I could go unless I had a hit record, in fact it’s almost impossible to go anywhere nowadays without a hit record. The economy is so crazy over there that a tour would cost you a fortune. I lost a ton over there last year.” he chuckled.
Dylan’s new house in Malibu will be finished about a year from now, maybe: nearby residents report a seemingly neverending cycle of revisions upon revisions. Construction crews are living on the site in wigwams, no less. The bills at this point amount to more than S6 million, and there’s no end in sight. Money is no object. And Dylan. aside from paying for it, occasionally works with the crews on the site. Other sources report that he’s designing it as work progresses to build himself a hand-made house, 1976 pioneer style. S6 million-plus is a long way from hand-hewn logs, that’s for damn sure!
Springsteen’s two nights at the Santa Monica Civic (a few blocks from the beach) were sold out in less than three hours, a Civic record. The hall seats around 3500 people, and Bruce won’t have any trouble maintaining his electric communication with the audience—there’s not a bad seat in the house. His act is too visual to relate to at humungus stadiums.
And speaking of stadiums, Aerosmith, Jeff Beck, and Rick Derringer did a pair of summer’s end gigs at Anaheim Stadium and the San Diego Sports Arena in front of nearly 75,000 people. I can’t comment on the Anaheim gig because I wasn’t there, but Beck—with keyboardist Jan Hammer and his band—blew Aerosmith off the San Diego stage. The audience seemed to be in a more imaginative mood, and Aerosmith’s set lacked a lot of the energy they’re famous for.
San Diego’s KPRI-FM was involved in the show’s production, and between the Beck-Aerosmith sets the KPRI chicken was wing-Clapping greetings to the people sitting in the Arena’s front sections. A crowd surrounded the mascot—actually some crazed individual who probably used to pad a beat at Disneyland in a Donald Duck suit—and that prompted the ever-paranoid concert security goons to push and shove people out of the aisles with their usual degree of civility—none. When it was all over, one of the goons made a citizens’ arrest, charging the chicken with battery. Later, the chicken charged that the arresting goon threw him up against a wall in a backstage room and rendered him unconscious. We’ll have more to report on this important news development later.
The Sports Arena gig had originally been set at the outdoor Balboa Stadium a couple of days before, but unseasonal thunderstorms rained it out. Rick Derringer’s schedule had him due at
the Starwood in L.A.—two hours away from San Diego—the same night as the rescheduled Arena gig, so it went like this: he opens in San Diego, does a 45-minute set, and plays two encores. His Road crew packs up 8,000 pounds of equipment, they dematerialize and rematerialize in L.A., and Derringer lays a 90-minute set at the Starwood (knee deep in bodies—a record 1200 people) starting at a half hour past midnight. The crowd of turned-away people outside looked like a rowdy crowd outside the Whiskey trying to see Morrison and the Doors ten years ago. Cops from two divisions showed up, and the county fire marshal attended. As for Derringer and his road crew, they were last seen recuperating at the Beverly Hilton before closing their Starwood stand the next night.
All five members of the original Spirit band got together at the S.M. Civic one night only for the first time in nearly four years, and the set of old and new stuff was spiritually excellent. Neil Young, who’s nursing his throat back to health, sat in the opener Firefall, but Spirit lead guitarist Randy California pushed Young back toward the wings during their set. Spirit’s chromedome drummer Ed Cassidy corraled the exiting Young and got him back up in front of the mike. Neil has not lost his voice forever. rumor notwithstanding.
J.J. Cale’s three-night gig at the Roxy Sept. 16-18 was memorably on its own high merit, but it didn’t stop there—Mick Jagger showed up for the second set, and Waylon Jennings came for the first. Waylon returned the next night and sat in on one set, and Joe Cocker sang on the other. The third night Delaney Bramlett and Peter Frampton joined Cale’s band during the second show. L.A.’s not such a had place to be after all!
Here’s what they’re saying about
Andy Pratt’s new album,
“…it’s what Pratt has to say, and his
ability to convey it convincingly without ever becoming corny, cloying or sentimental, that make Resolution so powerful and such an unusual
achievement The Boston Phoenix
Produced by Arif Mardin
“Resolution is a trium h of sheer melody. It has moments o tonal glory everywhere…and more hooks than a rock climbing expedition. I haven’t
enjoyed anything this commercial or this torchy in years ..:’ Cra•daddy
On Nemperor Records
a 104 ASonsc Nosad,ss Coes • ♦Woes*. Commus.cahans CS
Distributed by Atlantic Records