As you know music has been an important part of my life since I first picked up a pair of drum sticks in the early sixties. I could not have come to age in a more perfect time. There were many highlights. The Ed Sullivan Show, jamming with Jimi Hendrix, ice skating with The Buffalo Springfield, flying to Japan to play for American Troops and hearing my backbeat on the radio for forty years. Itís been an incredible journey and thankfully, I made it out alive.
As is the case with most all musicians the story begins in my parentís garage. I formed The Bedouins in south San Francisco in 1964 and we quickly earned a local following. We won the Battle Of The Bands at The Teenage Fair and word spread to Lou Adler, who came to see us at The Whisky A Go Go in San Francisco. We were immediately signed to Dunhill Records and relocated to Los Angeles.
The label teamed us up with the songwriting/producing team of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, who had written a barrage of songs. An album was already in the works by the production duo so Willie Fulton recorded vocals on several of the already recorded tracks plus a new recording of Dylanís Ballad Of A Thin Man, to which I added the drum tracks. The single Where Were You When I Needed You climbed the charts and we toured all over the country and made appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, Hollywood Palace, Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Sonny & Cher Show, Shindig and American Bandstand (which we eventually appeared on a near record 26 times).
By late 1966, after a year on the road, we wanted more creative control in the studio. The record company felt we should continue with the formula that was working so we left, pretty gutsy for kids so our mothers had to sign our recording contracts. Fulton founded Tower Of Power and I formed The Merry-Go-Round with Emitt Rhodes. We had great success with several songs but Live remains our signature tune. After The Merry-Go-Round disbanded I played a bit for The Turtles and then joined Lee Michaels for the recording of his breakthrough album entitled 5th. The album had a smash within itís grooves. Do Ya Know What I Mean became a mega-hit worldwide and we toured for over a year in support of it.
In 1971 I rejoined The Grass Roots and recorded and we toured through the remainder of the decade. Although we had more hits in the 1960ís, I feel we did some great work in the 1970ís including Two Divided By Love and Sooner Or Later. Our musical highlight came when we played a concert with The Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Hopefully a recording of this show will be released as it was truly a high point.
Fast forward to 2006. The Grass Roots songs are in movies, television shows and commercials. Thanks to the invention of classic rock radio we have never left the airwaves. All of our music has been reissued several times on CD and every few days I turn on the radio and hear 1-2-3-4, Sha la la la Live For Today. I still get the same rush & hit the gas pedal....