By Bob Davis firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s been a “challenge” on Facebook to
name musical artists and bands that you’ve seen in live performance,
listed alphabetically. Some of the people answering the call
have been active in the local music scene for “donkey’s years”—I
didn’t get all that involved until I met Evie Sands in 2000. I
was rather amazed at the number of live performances I’ve been to,
in locations ranging from dive bars to city parks to baseball
stadiums. With all the restrictions on traveling and
gathering, we won’t see any additions to the list any time soon, but
it’s fun to recall days and nights of musical enjoyment.
A, Adam Marsland's Chaos Band (of course).
If one were to tally all the shows I’ve seen, AMCB would be at the
top of the list. I’ve seen this band in at least half a dozen
different locations and even got to sit in on some of their numbers.
B. Bo Diddley,
Ruth Brown and The Bangles. Back in the 1980s, I belonged to
the Southern Calif. Blues Society, which sponsored events at the
long vanished Music Machine in West LA. Among the legends of
music who performed there beside Bo Diddley, I saw Joe Turner and
Pat and I saw Ruth Brown at the Cinegrill in
Hollywood; as I recall this was right after her long-overdue
admission to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The Bangles appeared at a street fair
in Alhambra—at least 75% of them did. Bassist Michael
Steele was replaced by another player. I also saw them at the
Greek Theater back around 1987.
Candypants: I first saw Candypants at an Evie Sands show in
Glendale. The group features Lisa Jenio, whom I have seen with
other bands. Lisa sings and on some of her songs plays the
Anny Celsi has been part of the LA
music scene for many years. I first saw her when she sat in
with the Chaos Band, and she sometimes is a solo performer, such as
when she appeared at one of Terry Okey’s Second Sundays shows at the
Adams Pack Station in the hills above Arcadia. One of her
signature songs is “Au Revoir My Darling”, which she presents in a
wonderful video set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Back in
the 1990s she was part of the Tearjerkers, who also included Danette
Christine and Cynthia Jones. I learned about this group by
chance when YouTube suggested them.
D Dragster Barbie
and Dream School Diary. These two groups have Teresa Cowles in
common. Ms. T has played electric bass and sung with almost a
dozen different ensembles here in Southern Calif.
E. Evie Sands
(who else?). Evie has been covered in a number of OCS columns;
indeed if it weren’t for Evie and the Chaos Band, you probably
wouldn’t be reading this.
Elton John. I saw Sir Elton at Dodger
Stadium in Nov. 1975, with my daughter Vicky, one of her friends,
and her friend’s brother, who drove us over to the ball park.
F. John Fogerty.
We saw the main man of Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Greek
Theater in Los Angeles some years ago. Vicky had seen him in a
show up north (which is I think his native habitat and highly
recommended him. Since Vicky is a lawyer by profession, we
told people that we went to the show (which was very good) on advice
of legal counsel.
Gibbons. I first met
Jenn Gibbons, also known as Funkyjenn, when she sat in with the
Chaos Band at the Cinema Bar in Culver City. A while later, I
attended her CD release party at The Mint in LA on Pico Blvd not far
from the old streetcar terminal at Rimpau. A few months later
she was appearing at the Old Towne Pub in Pasadena. Earlier
that day we had gone to a financial seminar and had dinner at a nice
Italian restaurant on South Lake, then we headed over to Old Towne
and a place that was more of a dive bar. I saw Jenn before the
show started, introduced her to Pat, and asked if the old Delaney
and Bonnie hit, “Only You Know and I Know” was on the play list.
She said “You got it!”, and during the show introduced it with “This
one is for Pat and Bob.” More recently, at one of Terry Okey’s
Second Sunday Sessions at Adams Pack Station in the hills above
Arcadia, she dedicated one of her originals, “Shoulda Been My Lover”
Lomax. I can’t remember
where I first met Heather, but it was back when she performed under
the name of Michael-Anne (long story). I’ve seen her at
tribute shows and also at Second Sundays in the hills. One of
her most memorable appearances was at the last Elvis Birthday Bash
in Burbank. She sang two of the R&B hits that Elvis recorded
in his early days, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and “That’s All Right” and
just blew me away. I was planning to attend her CD release
party in April, but that, along with many other events this spring,
has been cancelled or at least postponed.
I. IPO (had to
cheat there) This has nothing to do with Wall Street business,
but refers to International Pop Overthrow, one more local scene that
I learned about through Evie. Not sure if it’s going to happen
this year, but every summer for the past 20 years or so, David Bash
organizes this series of shows at various locations around the Los
Angeles area. They feature five or six artists or bands doing
short sets. I think the LA series is the original, but there
are IPO presentations in other cities, too.
J. Joan Jett.
Back in the 1980s, I was a member of the Joan Jett Fan Club; one of
the live shows I went to was at the Country Club in Reseda on the
day before my court appearance in Pasadena to have the judge “put
the hammer down” and bring my first marriage to a final end.
She also opened for The Kinks (see next entry) and was the featured
attraction at a show in downtown LA that I took Pat to. She
looked around and noticed that many of those in attendance were clad
in black leather, a type of attire that Joan recorded a song about.
Her comment was “I’ve never seen so many dead cows……”
Joan Baez. My first wife was somewhat into
folk music, which led us to see Joan Baez in the auditorium at
Pasadena City College back around 1962.
Kinks. I mentioned earlier that Joan Jett opened for the Kinks
at the Greek Theater. One interesting thing I noticed was that
the audience greeted the newer songs with polite applause, but
really made some noise when the older numbers were played.
Ronstadt. I first saw Linda in person at the Universal in
September 1982. I had just come back from a visit to San
Francisco to ride what we thought were the last streetcars to run on
the surface track in Market St. This was one of her last
“rock” shows before the Nelson Riddle era, and my daughter Vicky and
I saw this phase live at the Greek Theater about a year later. A few
years after this, I was back at the Universal with a lady friend
from the Railway Museum for her Canciones de Mi Padre show inspired
by her Mexican heritage.
M. Mighty Flyers
featuring blues harmonica virtuoso Rod Piazza. I think I first
saw the Flyers at the Music Machine, then I became a regular at
their Sunday evening shows in Riverside, which I attended on my way
home from the Railway Museum in the 1980s. In more recent
years, Pat and I saw them much closer to home at the Arcadia Blues
N. The Neptunas.
They are an all-female trio that specializes in surf-inspired music.
Pamita, the bass player knows my daughter Vicky, and I saw them at
the Silver Lake Lounge on the same bill with Dragster Barbie.
Okey. Terry is a
singer-songwriter whom I met at a Chaos Band gig at Brennan’s Pub
for the last several years, he has put on his Second Sundays
concerts at Adams Pack Station on Chantry Flats in the hills north
of Arcadia. For more about the shows in “them thar hills”
check the OCS for Oct. 2015.
Johnny Otis was one of the founding
fathers of what we would come to call Rock and Roll music. He
had a radio show on KFOX in the mid-1950s from a record shop in Long
Beach, and on a couple of occasions I made the trek down
Rosemead-Lakewood Blvd to visit with him at the studio front window.
Back in 1956, we were taking a week at the beach in Balboa, and his
live show was playing at the Rendezvous Ballroom near our lodging.
I went to the show, which would have been after the Stan Kenton era
and before the Beach Boys. I even met Buchanan & Goodman, who
had just released their “Flying Saucers” novelty record. Fast
forward to the 1990s—JO and his band are playing at the Vine St. Bar
and Grill in Hollywood, and Pat and I went over for an evening of
musical nostalgia. High point of the evening was the band
playing Duke Ellington’s “Creole Love Call”, which just blew me
away. After the show we had a chance to chat with the master
and talk of old times. We went home, knowing that chances of
seeing these musicians again were rather slim.
P. Peter Paul &
Mary. I mentioned that my first wife was into folk music, so
back around 1963 we went over to the Hollywood Bowl to see this
trio. We had their record of “Blowin’ in the Wind” which our
daughters called “The People Record”.
R. Ronnie and the
Classics is one of the “cover bands” that livens up summer time with
city park concerts. They play a wide variety of oldies, and
usually do “Willie and Hand Jive” or “YMCA” for audience
Martha Reeves opened for Ronnie Spector (see
below) at Wolfgang’s in San Francisco on 20 July 1984. I was
in town for the Summer Trolley Festival on Market St., and after the
streetcars were put away for the day, went back to my lodging and
read the local newspaper. This was back in the day when I’d be
out chasing streetcars all day and still had energy to go out
“clubbing” at night. When I saw that Martha Reeves and Ronnie
Spector were in town, I drove over to North Beach, and wonder of
wonders, found a parking spot. I had missed seeing Janis
Joplin, but I was determined to see this show.
S. Surf-Liners are not to be confused with
the Amtrak trains that run along the California Coast. They
are not active now, but featured John Moore, Jr on the guitar Vicky
Davis on the bass, and three or four different drummers, all of whom
are, at last report, still alive (which puts them ahead of Spinal
Tap). They would do both covers and originals, including “San
Onofre Meltdown”,“Ambulance Chaser” and “Wipe Out”.
The Sugar Twins came from Watertown,
Mass, which many years ago was served by an MTA streetcar line.
They came out west and appeared at an IPO show at Spaceland in the
Silver Lake district of LA about 18 years ago. I have a copy
or their now out of print CD “Patio A-Go-Go”. Ronnie Spector
(as most of you know) was the lead singer of the Ronettes back in
the 1960s. She was married to Phil Spector for six years (and
it probably seemed longer than that) and went out on her own in the
1970s. When I went to see her at Wolfgang’s in 1984 she didn’t sing
any of her Ronettes numbers, and she wore an outfit that reminded me
of Tina Turner’s costuming. This was the show where I met
Cassandra, who was a big fan of 60s music, and even got to meet
Ronnie after the show. Cassandra told me about how the local
radio stations didn’t play enough of her kind of music, and when
they did, the DJ chattered over the record. I offered to make
her a compilation tape; she was delighted and gave me her address
and phone number, something that had never happened before. I
put together a tape from my record collection and sent northward.
Over the next year or two, I would meet with her for dinner at
Tommye’s Joynt a few times. I would tell my colleagues at work
that I was going up to San Francisco to see my girlfriend, but this
was a very platonic relationship. Finally she decided to move
back to her native New York, and I made her a tape for the road.
I received a few postcards and then she dropped of the radar.
T. Joe Turner.
The “Boss of the Blues” was near the end of a long and eventful life
when I saw him at the Music Machine around 1983. He had to be
helped to his chair, but he let us know, “Have no fear, Joe Turner’s
City People are a local band that used to appear with the Chaos
V. Ben Vaughn is
a singer-songwriter whose repertoire includes a song that
incorporates a lot of French words that have been adopted into
English. He usually has Teresa Cowles playing bass and adding
Wonderelles were four women whose shows celebrated the Girl Group
era and other pop styles from the 1950s to the 80s. Not sure if
they’re still active, but they used to appear at summer park
concerts in the LA area. With their colorful costumes and
lively presentation (including some audience participation routines)
they knew how to “entertain the people”.
Mary Wells was one of the early hit-makers
for Motown, but she left in the mid-1960s and didn’t really recover,
even though she did make the charts for other labels. I saw
her at the Music Machine in 1984, and even though she was a bit
jet-lagged from a long tour, she captivated us with “My Guy”, “The
One Who Really Loves You” and many others.
Y. Weird Al
Yankovic. This goes back to the early 1980s. I was doing
my annual “Railway Night” guest appearance on the Dr. Demento Show
at KMET, and after my spot, Weird Al did “Another One Rides the
Bus”—rather appropriate since this was the bad old days when the
return of local rail service to LA was a distant dream.
Pico. Going back to 2003, Zazzi was the female vocalist for
the Sonic Fonics, the cover band led by Ray Chin, which included my
son-in-law Lester for a number of years. They had an afternoon
gig in LA Chinatown, and I was able to go there on the newly opened
Gold Line. Not sure where she is now, but she did great on
songs from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band. (L to R)
Adam, Evie Sands, Kurt Medlin and Rachel Wolfe (guest singer).
Almost out of the picture is Teresa Cowles.
Anny Celsi with Adam
Evie Sands with Teresa Cowles. Note
the color-coordinated axes.
FunkyJenn (Jennifer Gibbons) at Adams Pack
Station. This is where she sang “Shoulda Been My Lover” and
dedicated it to me. (Sorry, Jenn, I’m taken)
Heather Lomax at the 2019 Elvis
Linda Ronstadt in the early 1970s