This is the chapter 2 of the work in progress “Strictly From Hunger: A Rock and Roll Memoir” by John Morton and me. We will soon have an update on the status of the book and some details about a forthcoming publication (if I haven’t said too much already).
All I remember about the drive to California is that it was long, hot and cramped. Only two of us could ride in the cab of the truck at a time while the rest of us had to ride in the back. We slept on the amps to keep them from shifting and because there wasn‘t any other place to sleep. Driving through Bakersfield it was so hot we propped open the van’s sliding door side panel with a mike stand so we wouldn’t pass out from the heat. As we rounded the sharp curves, the equipment shifted and I thought we were going to be crushed or we’d lose the equipment out the open door.
We made it to L.A. in one piece, equipment included. It was so hot and smoggy, the air was so thick you could choke on it. I had a headache for two weeks. I smoked a lot of weed back then and it helped me forget about the headaches. The place the girls had rented was in the North Hollywood Hills. When we all piled out of the van we looked like bums off the street, we were hot, sweaty, dusty and tired, and still had to unload the truck. The house was like Shangri-La, it was a beautiful place sitting on a hilltop overlooking the city. It had a veranda on the top section, downstairs it opened up to a patio with goldfish and exotic flowers. It was a very inspiring scene and it’s where I would eventually come up with our new sound. The girls showed up later in their air conditioned blue Mustang with their dogs. They were all dolled up, make-up and hair all in place. While we unloaded the truck they sat on the porch watching us while they smoked cigarettes. When we finished they said, “it’s about time!”
We quickly fell into a pattern. During the day it was really quiet, we usually all slept until noon. When we got up the girls would fix us breakfast, for dinner we’d get take out before they went to work, or some times we’d fix them a nice dinner with wine. We would practice at night, while Cookie and Lori were at work. The owner of the house had said ‘no parties’. Later they would bring their girlfriends home after work so there were girls, girls, girls, and we’d get high. We were PARTYING the whole time we were there. It was pretty ideal.
I quickly discovered the Sunset Strip. It was a wild and fascinating place, especially in the evenings. It was the main artery for what was happening styles and trends. I started hanging out on the strip mostly by accident, but over time I was hooked. I liked the idea of being an observer. There were executives going to their businesses, celebrities coming and going, actors in limousines, California girls in their convertibles, henchmen carrying guns, flower children in Beetles and vans, famous people incognito, stars that had lost their minds on fame, federal agents trying to control communism, hippies selling drugs and having a good time, and self-proclaimed messiahs carrying signs “Repent You Sinners.” To me Sunset was more a statement than a place. If you drove or walked down the street you were instantly famous because history was unfolding and everyone wanted to be part of such a groovy scene. Being over six feet tall it was hard to be inconspicuous, but I fit in because I looked the part. I had long hair, head band, torn jeans and a moustache.
Because of our practicing, we started drawing the attention of neighbors who began dropping by to see what was going on. Some of the first to stop by were Jamie and Miel, they smoked a lot of pot and told us they were clairvoyants. They told us there was a ghost inhabiting our house. One of the previous owners, Angela, who was a beautiful woman had died in the house. They talked us into having a séance and told us the ghost would present itself to the most psychic one of us in the house. Jamie and Miel made a pretty dramatic presentation out of it, they were calling in the spirits waving incense around the room and chanting in unison. It seemed natural to me because of my Hawaiian upbringing, When I was very young my father taught me about Huna which means — that which is hidden and that which is known. It was all about calling in spirit, ancestors, one’s that you love and healing! Actually in ancient times it was only known by the shamans and high priests. Hawaiians called them Kahunas. They practiced calling in good spirits and bad. What was ever needed for the tribes either to win wars or live in peace so through ignorance it was passed down as black magic and evil to modern times. My father taught me the good side of Huna so when the seances we’re going on I felt comfortable with it but the rest of the guys were caught up in a trance like state like something from a Hollywood movie. Then Miel said the portal was now open and we began to use the Ouija board asking to connect to the spirit. Pretty heavy stuff. The candles flickered and I saw this image of a beautiful woman dressed in white lace attire and a long royal blue silk dress. Miel looked at me and said, “you have been chosen.” I realized then what a clairvoyant was, I was tapped into the psychic phenomena. The guys thought it was fake and I was in on it. They had never had anything like that happen to them before. I was the only one who had seen Angela and I understood their disbelief. “I guess since John said he saw the ghost, I’ll go with his story” Tom said and the rest of the guys went along with it. Hey, it was Hollywood and anything could happen and we were open to new experiences. Tom lit up a joint and passed it around. The séance was over. After that, while we lived in the house, things continually moved around and were mysteriously misplaced. I even had a dream of a locket from the early 1900’s that I later found. I gave it to a dancer for good luck. We started referring to ourselves as Angela’s people as an inside joke.
There is a moment in a band when everything solidifies, gels, and you realize you are a unit, it’s a moment that binds you as a band, a band of brothers. The séance was that for us. It builds over time when you’ve been playing together for four or five years. You become pretty identifiable to each other. If one of you fuck up it affects each person. You want good things to happen and when it does it’s icing on the cake. There’s an electricity you experience on stage like you’re taken to another level and everything flows and the crowd is really into what your doing. There’s nothing like it. That’s why so many musicians are obsessed with their music. You just can’t get enough and if you’re young you really feel it. Nothing’s obscured or blocked and when the band experiences that together you become bonded at yet another level. Damn, I miss that and the spontaneity we had.
But we weren’t in L.A. for parties and séances. Like most other people who come to L.A. we were seeking our fame and fortune and we didn’t have a lot of time. The Outcasts were in Hollywood and our dreams were about to come true. We had to hit the ground running, but we had an advantage over everyone else, a guest spot on Dick Clark’s “Where the Action Is”, and the recording contract. First up was the TV show “Where the Action Is”.
I had watched “Where the Action Is” religiously in Portland and arriving at the studio was like a dream come true. Aretha Franklin, The Mamas and The Papas, The Four Seasons, and The Young Rascals were just some of the bands that had played on the show. To think The Outcasts were going to perform there was exhilarating. Walking into the studio was like walking on air. We didn’t even have any idea we’d be speaking to the man himself, Dick Clark. It was a mystery to me as to how we’d fit in the show, all I could gather is we’d be introduced and shine before the cameras. I was really in another world with high expectations and thinking this was really worth leaving Portland. While we were waiting backstage to tape our spot we were talking with the lead guitar player of Paul Revere and the Raiders, Drake Levin. A very cool guy. He had remembered Steve Hansen and I from hanging out at the D Street Club.
Drake said, “man I really picked up on your double picking style and I’ve incorporated it into my own playing to get that Northwest sound.”
“I’m humbled that you look up to me, a fellow Northwesterner.”
“Everybody gets their style from listening to somebody they dig. You guys go out there and knock ‘em dead!” He seemed really excited to see another Northwest band taking a chance at stardom. Or maybe he was that way with every new band that performed on the show, but he didn’t come across as being phony. He made me feel really comfortable and at ease. Maybe that’s part of the reason I never gave up on our success even at the great odds of failure. Just then Dick Clark came up to us, he looked like the guy I’d seen on TV, calm and likeable.
Then he said, “get your ass on the set Drake! I’m not paying you to bullshit!” Then he looked at us and asked tersely, “who’re you guys?”
“Uh, we’re The Outcasts winners of The Portland Teen Age Fair. Rick Desart said you were expecting us.” I said nervously.
Clark looked at us and said, “not another fucking Northwest band! I didn’t promise Rick Desart anything!” He paused, and said, “you guys can perform if we can fit you in.” Then he stalked off along with my idea of him as a nice guy. Paul Revere who had been beside Clark, said “we’ll try and get you guys in at the last and introduce you as hometown boys, but I don’t even see you on our list. Rick Desart hasn’t been very reliable in my dealings with him.” In Portland, Steve and I had been almost groupies of Revere. He seemed to have changed since we met him in Portland. He didn’t seem to recognize us, we must have looked crushed. We were a band far from home with our small city faces. Dick Clark had turned out to be a tyrannical jerk. After his tirade one of the cameramen came up to me and said, “you don’t want to get on his bad side, Clark’s a little Caesar.”
We waited all day. While we waited, we mingled and acted like we knew what we were doing. It was cool watching everything behind the scenes, talking to the set guys, lighting, and scaffolding, and guys moving the sets around. I was even asked if I wanted a job, they could have used a guy with my height. We sat in the audience watching the go-go dancers and performers rehearsing. We noticed none of the music was live. All we had was a lame recording of “Louie, Louie.” We were an ill-prepared embarrassment.
While we were watching from the audience Paul Revere came out. I watched his every move, trying to learn as much as I could. Paul Revere and The Raiders were the house band on “Where The Action Is” and would soon have their own TV show because of Dick Clark. The thing that struck me was Revere was all business, he knew what he wanted and he got it from Dick Clark. They couldn’t fit us in and we never appeared on the show. At least we still had the recording contract.
The album we were going to record was of cover songs. It had worked for The Kingsmen, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Sonics, so why not us? We were hot in the Northwest and had a good chance of selling albums on the Jerden label. Watching the other acts rehearse at “Where the Action Is” was our first inkling that our sound was out of style and out of date, and the California scene was into a new sound. As it got closer to the date we were supposed to go into the studio Rick Desart never showed up. Desart not showing up hurt because he said he would set up gigs and get us exposure in Hollywood. He knew Dick Clark, but didn’t have the clout to get us on the show. Who knew if the recording contract was ever real. He turned out to be a small time promoter. I never had trusted that he had any real connections in L.A., but I kept those fears to myself. With the TV appearance, and recording sessions gone, and no gigs in sight, our reason to be in L.A. was gone, our dreams had burned away in the heat of Hollywood realities.
The final blow came when we discovered we couldn’t use the Outcast name because there was already a band using the name in LA. There were a lot of bands named The Outcasts in the 60’s. Which wasn’t an infrequent occurrence with all the bands coming to Los Angeles vying for attention on Sunset, there were a lot of duplicated band names. We heard about one band with the name, they had a regional hit and were about to go national with an appearance on American Bandstand. To eliminate confusion and a possible lawsuit we decided to dump the name, The Outcasts. We thought how stupid we were to leave Portland for paying gigs and popularity just to end up with nothing in Hollywood.
With having our Battle of the Bands prizes evaporate we were quickly running out of time and money, and a reason to be in L.A. We had a band meeting and decided to stay in L.A. It was sheer determination and will driving us forward. Going on that set and being rejected by Dick Clark hurt, but we followed Merle’s advice and remembered what it took for us to get here. We had started as a high school band that was undisciplined, but we had become a good enough band that we toured in the Northwest, we had fans, a fan club, and although we had fucked up the Teenage Fair the first time we came back and won. Why would it be anymore difficult to be a success in Hollywood? We had experience, talent and our own rules to guide us. We didn’t give a shit if we failed, we’d get back up and go for it again. We were slowly on our way to becoming Hunger! But we weren’t there yet, we still needed a name for the band. Then we remembered our ghost Angela. After the séance we had been calling ourselves ‘Angela’s people’. When we needed a new name for the band it was natural for us to become Angela’s People. We liked the name because it gave people the impression of us as being a band from Los Angeles. The name did lead to some confusion though, people kept asking us where ‘the chick singer’ was.
About this time Lori and Cookie figured out that we had lied about hitting it big in L.A., but they helped us out for another month. Cookie told us one of the bars they worked at wanted a live band and they’d pay us $100 a night. That was almost half our rent. We went down to the club and auditioned, but the patrons were more interested in the dancers than the music. That was the end of that gig.
With dreams of fame and fortune still in our eyes, we were desperate to stay in L.A. To keep on the good side of the girls, we started driving them to the bars they worked at and we’d wait for them until they were done dancing for the night. We also fixed their meals, ironed their outfits, and took care of their dogs.
When we were running low on money, I started selling copies of the “L.A. Free Press” on Sunset. I’d sell them for ten cents and make two cents per copy. I figured if I sold a hundred copies I’d make two bucks, enough to buy lunch and a pack of Marlboros. It wasn’t hard selling the “Free Press.” I’d stand on a corner where there was a stop light and people would come over and ask for a paper. I usually made more money because people would give me a tip for almost every paper I sold. I made enough to keep myself in guitar strings and picks, I was even able to buy myself a couple new shirts.
One time a limo pulled up by my street corner, the back window rolled down and Nancy Sinatra leaned out and said, “I’ll take one of your papers please.” She handed me a five dollar bill and said, “keep the change.” I said, “have a beautiful day!” People liked “The Free Press” because it spoke the truth about the Government and the Establishment. They published graphic photos of the Vietnam War, and articles and pictures of police brutality in the U.S. I considered it supporting change and peace. The Free Press was read by people you wouldn’t have expected to read it. One time, I was crossing the street and a limo honked it’s horn at me, the chauffeur rolled down his window and told me his passenger would like a paper, but meet him behind a nearby building. I obliged (back then I never thought twice about being cautious, people still had a common trust in each other). Behind the building, the limo pulled up and from the back of the car out stepped the King himself, Elvis.
“I’ll take two of those son” he said, handing me a hundred dollar bill. “I pretty much stay out of politics, but I still want to know what’s going on in the world.”
“I, I don’t have change for that much.” I stammered.
“Keep it, you’re doing a good thing” he said and smiled as he walked into the building. When I got home and told the guys what had happened, all they asked me was, “what was I smoking?”
I never really gave that much thought about the authorities’ reaction to the “Free Press” until I got stopped by a couple of undercover cops who wanted to know if I was a member of the Communist party. They asked, why I was spreading such ‘un-American filth’? I told them I was a struggling musician just trying to make some extra cash so I could eat. They bought it and left me alone. Years later I found out that where I picked up my papers, the nightclub Pandora’s Box, was a hotspot for anarchists, and that the “Free Press” supposedly passed secrets and information through articles and ads in the paper.
We couldn’t get a gig anywhere on our own so we decided to learn some new material and go from there. The Beatles, The Animals, The Zombies, and The Doors were now on our setlist. We practiced late in the evenings. Mike Parkinson and I were kicking around the idea of changing our sound so we could get hired at different clubs with jazz and lounge music. One hot night I told Mike, “why don’t we meld that Jimmy Smith sound and rock sound together and see what we come up with?” We played “She’s Not There” with a heavy keyboard opening like Vanilla Fudge and guitar like The Doors. We said, “shit we’re onto something here.”
One night after practice, I was sitting on the front porch having a smoke when I saw a familiar face coming up the walkway that at first I couldn’t place. “I live just up the street from you guys and heard you playing.” Then I recognized him from the Battle of the Bands at the Teenage Fair. It was Jim Morrison. “What you got going here? Beautiful women coming and going, fucking far out live music and having a good time. Looks like paradise to me.”
“Yeah, but we can’t get any gigs.” I said.
“I’ll see what I can do, but you’re not going anywhere without original music in this town. It isn’t about just being a great musician,” he said, “it’s about projecting an image that is universal to everyone.” I thought to myself, this person, Jim Morrison, with such great insight and illumination in real life was such a totally different person onstage, one of fear and confusion. It was just a ruse to give people the spectacle they wanted to see. The guy I met had no ego. Jim was playful and poetic with a dash of sarcasm. It must be why people are so drawn to the mystique, that was Jim Morrison. I discovered he was just a regular human being trapped in a phenomena that wasn’t real to him unless he was high. There was a realness to him that I soaked in like a sponge to water.
After discovering that Jim Morrison lived just up the street from us I would drop by in when he got back from a gig in the early morning and we’d sit on the steps to his place getting high. I remember him joking about making it home without being followed. As I got to know Jim over the short period of time we lived next to Jim, The Doors had all the trappings of fame they looked and acted the part of fame from my perspective, fast cars, one that stood out to me was a Porsche convertible. I believe it belonged to Jim. The other cars just didn’t stand out like that beauty. Other times we’d sit in his living room, everything was orderly and in it’s place. Dark leather couches with ultra modern furniture, very relaxing. The marijuana and wrapping papers were on a glass table in an ornate wooden box he kept a unique etched lighter and cigarettes in a jeweled container. I remember a picture on the wall of some beautiful naked woman in a Spanish setting. Probably came with the place. A pool in back that never seemed to be used but had a nice sunning area with outdoor furniture. He must have had a house keeper because the place was always immaculate. Getting high with Jim Morrison was like a ritual taking place. For me it was a pleasure and honor just to be there. The house must have cost a fortune to rent. It wasn’t some flop house, get high pad. It was a perfect bachelor pad. The Doors were still on their “Light My Fire” high.
The more I went over there the more I got to know The Doors. Both Jim and Ray had remembered me from The Portland Teenage Fair and how I befriended them with my hospitality. It helped too that I was a nice guy and not taken in by their star status. Even though Jim Morrison had showed up at our practice there wasn’t that superstar connection. The truth is I never expected anything from Jim and Ray, and it was mutual.
Ray was there a lot, and I got to know him on a personal level, he was so profound in his speech like a well read scholar, and he was into LSD and liked to smoke weed. He was very open and introduced me to a real psychedelic world. He was really into God and the universe and not in a religious way. He had met with Timothy Leary and embraced his teachings. I later wrote the song “Open Your Eyes” with the talks I had with Ray in mind! The end of the song says it all, you can talk and you can be someone worth living in reality He seemed very serious and had a watchful eye on Jim, almost protective. Ray loved Jim and was willing to take care of him. He knew Jim was an alcoholic and did everything in excess. Drugs, booze, women and emotions. People took advantage of him. Ray said when Jim was on he was on and when he was off he wasn’t worth a shit!
Robby seemed like the quiet one, consumed in thought, almost shy. The flashy psychedelic clothing just blew me away and the shoes must have been high end Italian. If John Densmore was ever there when I was there I don’t have any recollection of meeting him.
Later, I told the other guys in the band that I had met Jim Morrison outside and he said we needed original material. I thought their reaction would again be disbelief, but they just asked “who’s going to write the songs?” I said I’d try it. I thought we had a chance at stardom, especially after meeting Jim Morrison. Talking with him gave me the feeling that success was there for the taking. It was then that I retreated to the back patio and started writing songs that would eventually become part of the Hunger! sound.
We had all met The Doors backstage at The Teenage Fair, but most of the band never really thought The Doors would become superstars. They were just another California band with a new sound. I felt there was greatness in them that was ready to explode on the scene. I think by the time we got to Hollywood and we discovered Jim Morrison lived nearby, the band thought it was a fluke. Somehow I knew in the back of my mind we’d cross paths again, call it a premonition if you will. The Doors were doing gigs late into the morning and were a working band that had moved up the ladder. We were mesmerized by The Doors. They led an incognito lifestyle outside of gigging, almost invisible and they liked that. I never saw a limousine parked in the driveway next door and I believe few people knew where they were staying. We wanted a taste of that lifestyle. We felt somehow that we could get it by being in the right place at the right time. For me it was a learning experience and I wanted to know all I could learn from Morrison’s experience and we grew a bond for a short period of time. He was willing to share and that’s how I came to trust in my own talent as a songwriter and musician. He made me understand that it was an uphill road to so called overnight success. He pretty much provided a roadmap to psychedelic rock stardom. I have to say Jim Morrison was a realist. He never took anything for granted in my opinion, and he gave the feeling that success was there for the taking.
Yeah, we were mesmerized by their stardom and the lifestyle. I thought we could work our way up the ladder. That turned out to be a pretty naïve idea because most of the rest of the band thought things would happen by themselves. There wasn’t the seriousness to take it to the next level which we saw in The Doors. Most of the guys were too busy partying, meeting California girls, and smoking weed. Mike Parkinson and Bill Daffern were the exceptions, they were interested in refining our sound. They were both experienced players who had done some fine work with The Kingsmen.
Later in the same week after I first met Jim Morrison we got a call to play at The Magic Mushroom. To this day, I believe Jim Morrison got us that gig at the Magic Mushroom which turned out to be very instrumental in our quick rise in Hollywood.
Another one of our neighbors, Julie, came over because she liked the music. It turned out she was an entertainment lawyer. It seemed we were drawing a lot of attention, at least in the neighborhood. Women lawyers weren’t as common in the industry as they are today and she had to have a hard nosed demeanor, sort of like Judge Judy. Her clients included Glen Campbell who was in the process of leaving the Wreaking Crew and starting his solo career. We had hoped that maybe she would like the band enough to represent us. Unfortunately, she couldn’t because she already had a full load of clients. She did say she had some friends she’d like us to meet, and the whole band should come over.
When we arrived at Julie’s house the friends she wanted us to meet turned out to be Boyce and Hart, the songwriting team that had provided The Monkees with some of their hits. They looked the part of being successful. They were finely dressed with perfect hairdos and cropped sideburns. Their faces were soft and shiny, I wouldn’t have doubted that they wearing make-up like they were ready to appear on a television show. Tommy Boyce had a gold necklace and gold cuff-links on his rich brown shirt and black boots shined to the hilt with yellow bell-bottom slacks. Bobby Hart wore tiger trimmed brown sunglasses with an expensive blue silk wide lapel shirt and black bell bottom slacks with patent leather white boots. They were really upbeat guys. I noticed this weird thing about them, they both laughed in unison when they spoke. They had a lot of projects going on with, television appearances, writing songs for TV shows and other artists. I thought at the time they were great guys to know. They wanted to hear us play. We didn’t play the pop and sunshine type of song they were writing for The Monkees. We played our best songs we had in our setlist, “She‘s Not There,” “Down by the River,” and “For Your Love.” We played them with the new sound Mike Parkinson and had I worked out. The big Hammond sound, driving guitars with strong vocals, and they dug our sound. They liked our versatility with jazz and rock and that unmistakable heavy sound and the preciseness of the phrasing to the songs. They told us L.A. is full of great musicians, but most weren’t going anywhere because they had no originality. Every band wanted to sound like everybody else. They said we were original and had a fresh new sound that alone could find us an audience and fans, and it would sell if we had the right backing. These guys had it together and the thought that we’d be successful in Hollywood had even crossed their minds was a mind blower. They also told us if we wanted to make it in the music business we’d have to persevere, and we’d need to keep creating, do our own material, and write songs to build a portfolio. This was beginning to be a common theme.
After we played for them we sat around talking about Hollywood and the music scene. The couple of hours we spent talking with them was probably the most knowledge of the music industry I learned at one time, they gave us the big picture of the music industry. No amount of gigging could have given me that kind of insight. What they told us was there’s actually a formula for success. So many bands in the 60’s had no concept of that. It was only about getting high and grooving to the music. I can’t count how many times we played with other bands and they were totally wasted. Most of them sounded like shit. Boyce and Hart said they knew this guy, Stan Zipperman, who worked for GO magazine was looking for a band to manage and asked where he could hear us play. We told them about The Magic Mushroom gig.
The Magic Mushroom was a really wild place, it almost rivaled the Whisky. Instead of girls dancing in cages, like at the Whisky, they danced behind black laced curtains, nude. A lot of high powered frequented the place and there were a lot of prostitutes posing as groupies. `The Magic Mushroon is also where the Dr. Demento show aired, and it was as hip as they come. A lot of top name acts played there, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Doors, Spirit, and Frank Zappa, but for some reason it never caught on. The Magic Mushroom was our debut as ‘Angela’s People’. For our first set we came out wearing our matching jackets and red turtle necks, we played our repertoire of cover songs. It turns out top 40 rock wasn’t very popular there, and we were booed off the stage. We watched as the band that came on after us took the stage, they wore beads, beards, and sandals they played gongs, and chanted “love is the word.” Backstage I jokingly said,
“we might as well go on in our tee shirts, nobody’s going to give a shit!”
“Yeah that goofy band with gongs and incense and chick singer are sure well received!”
“What are they called again?” Steve asked.
“The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.”
Mike Lane said “yeah, we can call ourselves The White Shirt Conspiracy!” We all kind of looked at each other realizing it wasn’t such a bad idea. Mike Lane always used to take off his jacket and roll up his sleeves and sing to the girls on a slow song. It was always the highlight of the last set. We started ripping off our jackets and turtle-necks all the way down to our white tee shirts.
“Damn we’ll fit right in! Sounds like that chick in Jefferson Airplane.” I said. We tipped off the MC and he and introduced us as the White Shirt Conspiracy. We headed back on to the stage and the crowd was chanting “Love is The Word!”
Playing in our tee shirts we led in with a heavy organ and biting guitars on “She’s Not There.” We took on a Vanilla Fudge sound letting the organ fade in, building the guitars followed by holding an A minor chord. We brought the crowd to their feet, and then Bill Daffern popped on the snare, slammed on the beat and everybody in the audience hit the dance floor. When we finished the song, the crowd went wild clapping, whistling and pounding on the tables. The crowd wanted more so we played Vanilla Fudge’s “You Keep Me Hanging On,” and finished with “The House of the Rising Sun.” The owner said he never had a band received like that and offered to hire us.
After the show, Stan Zipperman, the manager Boyce and Hart had referred us to, came backstage. He was an easy going, baby face, in his mid 30’s with a slight Jewish lisp, New York style. We listened tentatively as Stan rattled off his credentials.
“I’m a writer for GO Magazine, I’ve written for TV shows, and managed various bands, The Other, and The Crabs. You ever hear of them?” We all looked at each other drawing blank stares, we hadn’t heard of them. We kind of laughed amongst ourselves looking at each thinking ‘who is this guy?’
“It doesn’t matter, they’re going nowhere. They’re lackluster at best. The management company I represent has put out a lot of money with albums and songs that have tanked. We’re looking for a fresh new band with their own sound and you guys are going to be a huge success.” Luckily, he had missed the disastrous first set and was there for the debut of the White Shirt Conspiracy. We realized this guy was for real. He seemed honest and his accomplishments sounded authentic.
“The White Shirt Conspiracy is a powerhouse band, and I want to represent you. You guys aren’t just another band trying to make it in Hollywood, you really have something different going on.” I think Mike Parkinson’s big Hammond sound, which was tight and dynamic had sold him on the band.
He finished with, “I’m going to promote and advertise the shit out you guys. Are you ready for that?” Our jaws dropped, “I’ll keep you fed and get you paying gigs,” How could we say no? We were all in instantaneous agreement. We’d no longer be starving musicians. We had a manager!
With that bit of good news came a setback and it was of our own making and threatened to make us homeless on the streets of L.A. Cookie and Lori, it turned out, liked sex and they had slept with some of the guys in the band. It was the age of “if you can’t be with the one you love/love the one you’re with”. No wonder Jim Morrison had said it looked like paradise to him. But like most situations like that, it brought out tensions in the band. One night Mike Parkinson and Bill Daffern got into an argument about who was going to drive them to work. All hell broke loose when Bill blurted out “the bitches can drive themselves!” Cookie and Lori overheard this and came in and said, “if you guys think we’re bitches you can pay for this place all by yourselves.” By that time everybody was gathered around. The girls demanded an apology, Bill refused. Cookie and Lori told us they were moving out. Looking back now, they wouldn’t have felt so hurt and betrayed if the guys had been more thoughtful. They were used to being treated like whores at the club, and they expected more from us especially since they provided us with a place to live and practice when we came out to L.A. We had lied to them about hitting it big in Hollywood, and they still helped us out. The damage was done, they left and we had until mid-October to make enough money for rent or to find a new place to live.