Joey Covington, a drummer with Jefferson Airplane and founding member of Hot Tuna, has passed away at the age of 67 years old. Apparently, he died in automobile accident in Palm Springs, California, where he’d been living for the past few years.
While I’ve met various members of Jefferson Airplane, and worked on two Hot Tuna concert-documentaries, I never had an opportunity to meet Joey. I’ve been told he was really great guy.
As we look at the life of Joey Covington, we are reminded of perhaps the one of most entertaining moments of his career – the night he performed an unforgettable rendition of LOUIE LOUIE.
The date was September 7, 1969. The location was the Family Dog at the Great Highway in San Francisco, a dancehall run by promoter Chet Helms after his Family Dog company lost their lease at the Avalon. The band playing that night was the Grateful Dead, who were joined by members of Jefferson Airplane for a special late-night set. Joey wound up singing lead vocals on a rockin’ medley of “LOUIE LOUIE,” “Twist & Shout” and “Blue Moon.”
There’s not a lot of details on this show, other than whatever sparse notes were written on the box of the tape master. Comments from LongLiveDead.com confirm the lack of details:
I know of no eyewitness accounts, reviews or even second hand accounts of this show, so at this point all of my questions remain unanswered. What follows is some speculation about these shows–I don’t know any more than anyone else, which is close to nothing, but most Bay Area Dead shows from the 60s have a wide variety of historical ephemera, like posters, reviews or eyewitness accounts, and this show has none.
The concluding “Louie Louie – Twist & Shout – Blue Moon” sung by Joey Covington, the drummer at that time for the Jefferson Airplane, is arguably the poorest, yet most hilarious five minutes in Dead/Airplane tape history. By now, the it is clear that the effects of inebriation have taken their toll, and for a moment you feel as though you’re in the midst of a sixties college fraternity party. This is true party music at its best and worst!
You can hear the full recording of this show at Archive.org.
Or just watch the YouTube video as we celebrate the legacy of Joey Covington with this Week’s LOUIE!
This week, the LOUIE spotlight is pointed at Lulu’s Marble, a band from Japan that existed between 1994-1999.
Nippop.com provided an excellent overview of the band:
Lulu’s Marble was one of a long line of Japanese girl bands. Like so many others, they effectively worked the juxtaposition of cute looks and trashy garage rock, along with signature ear-splitting screams in most of their songs. None of the members were stellar musicials, but what the band lacked in chops, they made up for in guts and punk spirit. The band was formed in 1994, and released four albums – Lulu’s Marble (1994), Live (1995), Love Rock (1995), and Afro Girl (1997). The band had begun pushing the boundaries of their sound on Afro Girl, showing signs that they might be able to expand on their basic formula, but the unfortunate death of vocalist Akko in 1999 (coincidentally, the same year as the death of Mutsumi of Super Junky Monkey), put an end to the group. The surviving members, Okka, Toshie, and Miwa, later (in 2000) formed Lulu’s, which pushed on the same vein but was never able to push the same buttons as the original Lulu’s Marble. Members have also collaborated with other artists, including The King Brothers, lending their trademark wildness to a number of other releases.
Here’s a nice little story about a new art installation at a Federal building in Portland, Oregon = the town where the Kingsmen recorded LOUIE LOUIE, courtesy of OregonLive.com:
May 29, 2013 – Portland, OR – Artist Tim Bavington turned sound waves from the song “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen into a colorful sculpture that dominates the wall of the main entrance into the building. The Kingsmen were a Portland band. Although they did not write the song, their recording of it remains a rock classic. Sen. Ron Wyden toured the newly renovated Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt federal building in downtown Portland Wednesday morning, a day before it opens to the public.
The FBI investigation of LOUIE LOUIE has received a lot of extra attention this week with the recent Smithsonian article on the subject, as summarized by Daily Caller:
What you may not know is that person responsible for setting off the investigation — which, amazingly, lasted two long years — appears to have been a teacher at Sarasota Junior High School in Florida.
The Smithsonian magazine’s website has the story.
The irate teacher, whose name is frustratingly redacted throughout 119 pages of material at the FBI’s archival website, wrote to then-U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1964 claiming with certainty that the spectacularly indecipherable lyrics of “Louie Louie” were obscene.
“Who do you turn to when your teen age daughter buys and bring home pornographic or obscene materials being sold along with objects directed and aimed at the teenage market in every City, Village and Record shop in this Nation?” the teacher asks.
“We all know there is obscene materials available for those who seek it, but when they start sneaking in this material in the guise of the latest teen age rock & roll hit record these morons have gone too far.”
The letter ends with this quadruple-question-marked plea: “How can we stamp out this menace? ? ? ?”
It was a very sad Monday when we learned that we lost Ray Manzarek to cancer. That very same morning, one of my old friends, Mike Sullivan, lost his wife Lori to cancer. A few weeks earlier, another friend of mine underwent some major surgery to remove his cancer-infected jaw. It seems like no matter where I turn, there’s always somebody else dealing with this terrible disease.
In the course of my profession as producer/videographer/camera operator, I keep hearing from a variety of different doctors, scientists, and researchers that describe how the level of cancer we’re experiencing nowadays simply did not exist fifty years ago. From what I’ve been told, there are some environmental, nutritional and cultural factors that have made such diseases a much more common occurrence in the 21st Century.
I honestly don’t know what to think, but I’m really getting tired of this crap.
Ray Manzarek was an exceptional musician that played keyboards with The Doors – a very successful band that sold millions of recordings all over the world.
I was privileged to have worked as a camera operator on three separate occasions which featured Ray as a performer- the Monterey Pop reunion event of 2007, a 2008 concert with Michael McClure at Yoshi’s in San Francisco and the WestFest of 2009 which took place at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
I also had an opportunity to interview Ray for my LOUIE documentary project when he once did a show at San Jose State University in the early 1990′s. He told me that one of the very first songs Jim Morrison ever did in public was LOUIE LOUIE with Ray’s old band Rick and the Ravens, planting a seed in Jim’s mind, which of course, led to an entirely different musical group he formed with Ray.
Not long after I participated with Rui on his book, I ran into Ray backstage at the WestFest event in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. I told Ray about this photo I obtained, and he mentioned that he didn’t even have a copy of this image, so we exchanged emails, and I sent him all that I had on his old band, for which he was very grateful.
The last time I saw Ray perform was at the new Sweetwater nightclub in Mill Valley. He was playing with his old friend Michael McClure, and was joined by special guest Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. They all sounded great together, and as far as I know, it may have been the only time the three of ‘em ever played together.
I’m saddened that Ray has left us, but very grateful for all the music that he left behind… as well as the stories he shared with us.
Rest in peace, brother Ray.
To celebrate Ray Manzarek’s legacy, here’s The Doors performing LOUIE LOUIE for this week’s LOUIE!
This week, we point the LOUIE spotlight at what my fellow LOUIE enthusiasts in the LLAMAS community refer to as a “LOUIE Mutant” or a “LOUIE Clone” – a song that isn’t technically LOUIE, but one contains so much in common with LOUIE LOUIE that it feels like a blood relative.
The song is a Serge Gainsbourg composition entitled “Roller Girl” and it’s performed by Rue ’66 – a San Francisco-based band that specializes in peforming French pop songs.
The event was a big benefit show for Norton Records, a record label that suffered some damages with Hurricane Sandy. Rue ’66 was one of the bands that performed at the Elbo Room on December 16, 2012, along with Roy Loney & the Phantom Movers, Overwhelming Colorfast, The Chuckleberrys, The Tomorrowmen, The Devil-ettes, and The Dirty Robbers.
Cyril Jordan of the Flamin’ Groovies was a special guest that night, sitting in with Rue ’66, Overwhelming Colorfast, and his old bandmate Roy Loney. In this clip, you can see him playing guitar on “Roller Girl.”
This particular video was actually produced by yours truly – the team responsible for the LouieLouie.net experience- Eric Predoehl and Jesse Block. Our friend Ken “Easy Ed” Edwards provided audio recording for this video, and our pal Ken Kaffke provided some assistance with cameras.
The original version of “Roller Girl” was sung by actress Anna Karina in the 1967 French TV musical comedy “Anna,” directed by Pierre Koralnik. An accompanying soundtrack LP of the same name was released by the Phillips record company.
“A Little Sea Shanty” is the way Barry Curtis liked to describe it.
Along with Freddie Dennis, Andy Parypa and Steve Peterson, they are a mixture of former and current members of the Kingsmen (and one former member of the Sonics) performing live at Ted Brown Music Outreach “Bands for a Benefit” at Louie G’s Pizza, somewhere in Fife Washington on April, 24th, 2013.
The band is Freddie & the Screamers, and they are this week’s LOUIE! Enjoy!