Zappa & Mothers open for Lenny Bruce with “Plastic People” – LOUIE of Week

To start 2014 with a bang, the first LOUIE of Week shall be a vintage recording of Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, opening for Lenny Bruce at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco sometime in June 1966.

The very first song of this set was “PLASTIC PEOPLE” – an inspired re-write of Richard Berry‘s immortal melody.

Big thanks to Dangerous Minds for reminding me of this special moment, even if it wasn’t specifically mentioned. You can hear more about the Frank Zappa / Lenny Bruce connection by visiting HERE!

UPDATE: The YouTube link with the archival recording was removed!

Oh well….. some recordings are like that….

Iggy & Stooges at C2SV Fest San Jose – LOUIE of the Week

photo © Eric Predoehl

Some things take a little longer to process than others.
This week’s LOUIE is one of them.

About a week and a half ago, Iggy Pop and the Stooges made a special appearance in San Jose as part of the very first C2SV Tech and Music Conference. Iggy & the Stooges were the headliners for this special gathering, and Stooges guitarist James Williamson was a keynote speaker, with both events taking place on Saturday, September 28th.

The story of James Williamson is quite remarkable. James joined The Stooges in 1970 as a second guitarist, which lasted less than a year before the band fell apart. In 1971, Iggy and James travelled to the U.K., where they signed a record deal with Columbia, brought the Asheton brothers back into the band, reformed as Iggy & the Stooges and released “Raw Power” – a highly influential album that sold miserably during it’s initial release. The band lasted for a few more years before breaking up in 1974. The final performance of the band, which took place at the Michigan Palace in Detroit in February 9, 1974, was recorded and released as “Metallic K.O.,” which had the distinction of featuring the most explicit version of LOUIE LOUIE ever recorded!

With the dissolution of the Stooges, James Williamson changed the focus of his career, focusing on music engineering & producing before eventually moving into the tech industry, receiving an electrical engineering degree from California State Polytechnic University , then moving to the Silicon Valley (aka Santa Clara County), where he designed computer chips for AMD, eventually winding up as Vice President of Technology Standards for Sony Electronics in San Jose, CA.

When the Stooges reunited in 2003, James turned down an offer to join the band, as he was content with his career with Sony. As fate would have it, guitarist Ron Asheton passed away in 2009 around the same time as Sony had offered James a lucrative retirement option. James decided the time was right to rejoin the band.

As someone who lives in the San Jose region, witnessing James’ first public performance in many years at the local Blank Club before rejoining the band on their world tour, it was especially exciting to learn that Iggy & the Stooges would be playing their very first San Jose show – a virtual homecoming for James. Not only was it the only West Coast appearance for the band, but it was the final show of the tour. As James alluded to in an interview with Dan Pulcrano (publisher of Metro Newspapers, founder of the C2SV conference), there’s a real possibility that this show could be the final appearance of Iggy and the Stooges. I hope it’s not so, but there’s always the possibility…

With my trusty camera, I was able to capture some video of their San Jose performance. The final song played during the encore was a nasty little number that just happened to be focus of this very website, and was the obvious choice for the LOUIE of the Week, even if it took me a week and half to assemble. The video itself was tweaked with the help of Adobe CS6 video software, which has a nifty little Warp Stabilizer feature that allowed me to clean up some of my shaky-cam footage. Between waiting for the long video renders, and what’s been a hectic work schedule these days for yours truly, I’m proud to unleash this video as this week’s LOUIE!

(I wish I had more footage of James in this one. ….. sigh!)

Here’s a clip I shot of James Williamson earlier in the day speaking as the keynote speaker at the C2SV conference. In this clip, he chats with Jack Boulware about his Silicon Valley career, the induction of the Stooges into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and then deconstructs “Search and Destroy,” a song he co-wrote with Iggy Pop.

Here’s another clip I shot of Iggy & the Stooges at the C2SV event, this time accompanied by the lovely C2SV Art Live Gallery dancers for a performance of “Burn,” which was the song performed right before LOUIE….

– E.P.

James Williamson interview with Dan Pulcrano for Metro Newspapers

James Williamson with Careless Hearts at Blank Club – LOUIE LOUIE

LOUIE of Week? – hopefully by Thursday!

This week’s LOUIE of the Week has been delayed by a very hectic work schedule by your truly, and should be ready by Thursday, if all goes as planned…

Those of us that attended the special San Jose event on Saturday featuring THE SONG… will have to wait a few more days for an affirmation of faith!

– E.P.

UPDATE: The LOUIE of Week was posted a week later… some things do take more time!

Thirty Years Ago Today…

Thirty years ago today, Richard Berry, author of the song “LOUIE LOUIE” met Jack Ely, the original vocalist for the Kingsmen, at KFJC Radio, Los Altos Hills, California. The date was August 20, 1983 – the second day of the legendary “Maximum: LOUIE LOUIE” radio marathon which played every known version of the song at time, which turned out to be well over 800 versions, lasting approximately 63 hours. This particular moment marked the very first time Richard Berry had ever met any member of the band that transformed his composition into the popular hit recording heard all over the world.

At the time of this meeting, Richard Berry was surviving on welfare in Los Angeles, taking data entry courses to obtain a more marketable job skill.

After this particular event, his life was forever changed…

(We’ll have more on that later…)

The Cover Story – a documentary on album cover art

a film by Eric Christensen

For those that love album cover artwork, I’d like to recommend a new documentary entitled “The Cover Story.”

Artists, photographers, models and musicians share some great stories behind the process of creating artwork for various album covers. There’s a lot of famous creative people in this documentary, and there’s also some relative unknowns that somehow wound up on the front of some very popular album covers.

Producer Eric Christensen, who created the award-winning documentary on The Trips Festival, created this one, which will be premiered today, Saturday January 26 at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, CA.

Truth be told, members of the LOUIE team (Jesse Block & Eric Predoehl) provided support for this project, helping our friend Eric Christensen with camera work, audio recording, and still photographs..

You can purchase the documentary directly from the website –

It’s a keeper!

RIP: Michelle Costa, friend of the LOUIE project

Last week, we’ve lost our friend Michelle Costa, who passed away on January 13th at the age of 47 years old.

I met Michelle 10 years ago. She lived within a mile from my post office box in Santa Clara, CA for most of her entire life, but I didn’t make a connection with her until I was about 1,000 miles away, visiting Tacoma, WA. In the course of my Northwest LOUIE research, I was told that Mike Burk (drummer of the Wailers) had some family members in Santa Clara that might have some vintage archival material of the Wailers.

I made contact with Barbara Burk Costa, Mike’s sister, who followed her brother’s career with the Wailers, collecting photographs and newspaper articles. Barbara introduced me to her daughter Michelle, who allowed me to make copies of various items from the family collection.

Michelle and I became good friends, and I was happy to be invited to some family events, including a big 80th birthday party for her Aunt Roswitha.

A few years after I met Michelle, her mom Barbara passed away. Things got a bit hectic with our different schedules, and I didn’t catch up with her as often. I knew that she doing more traveling with her boyfriend Mark Starry, and we did keep track of each via email and Facebook.

Then she got sick and died. I knew she was facing some health issues, but I had no idea how bad things were until it was too late.

Unfortunately, Michelle lost contact with her uncle Mike, due to some family squabbles. She tried to reach out to him, but wasn’t able to talk to him in many years, despite her best efforts to reconnect. The last conversation I had with Michelle, two months before she died, she mentioned how she wanted to send some personal items to her uncle, and remind him how much he was loved.

Sadly that never happened.

Yet another reminder that life is indeed short, and there’s no time like the present.

Rest in peace, my friend.

photo by Eric Predoehl

Richard Berry, Ry Cooder & Steve Douglas in 1990 – LOUIE of the Week

The year was 1990. It was a special private party hosted by John Goddard for friends and family of Village Music of Mill Valley, California.

A couple of nights before this show, I picked up Richard Berry at the Amtrak station in San Jose. I took him over to visit Bob Sidebottom‘s Comic Collector Shop, where there was a little party going on as part of the usual festivities at the store on every Friday night. I remember hearing Richard and Bob swap stories about the infamous 1956 Fats Domino concert in San Jose that turned into one of the earliest rock ‘n’ roll riots in the United States. Both of these guys were at this particular event, with Richard playing on that bill as one of the supporting performers for the Fats Domino tour.

It was always fun to see Richard whenever he visited the San Francisco Bay Area. On this particular weekend, he just came up by himself to visit some friends, and play this little party for John Goddard. There were no other shows for Richard that weekend.

The party itself was an all-star affair. Along with Richard, there was NRBQ, Ry Cooder, Johnnie Johnson (Chuck Berry‘s original keyboardist), Steve Douglas (saxophonist extraordinaire), and Annie Sampson (of Stoneground).

My friend Dave Hardy, who was responsible for the audio engineering for this event, posted some video from this very special evening, which includes a clip of THE SONG.

In this performance, it’s Richard Berry on vocals, Ry Cooder on slide guitar, Tim Drummond on bass, Scott Mathews on drums, Steve Douglas on saxophone, and Johnnie Johnson on piano.

I figured this would be a fine way to start 2013 with this very LOUIE of the Week!

Happy New Year!

Remembering Rockin’ Robin Roberts – 45 years later

Six years ago, I wrote about Robin Roberts – the first person to record Richard Berry‘s LOUIE LOUIE with the rock ‘n’ roll arrangement used by the Kingsmen, Revere & Raiders, the Kinks, Iggy Pop, and countless others…

Robin died a terrible tragic death a few days before Christmas in 1967 in San Mateo – about 20 miles from where I live.

I wrote about the sadness one feels when they lose a loved one around the holiday times, especially when they have to face the season alone.

My very best wishes to all of my friends that feel that special type of sadness. Please remember that you are NOT alone.

Please take care.


Thinking about Rockin Robin, the holidaze, and lost ones

It’s 9 days until Christmas, and I’m behind in my usual annual holiday celebrations. I’ve barely purchased any gifts for family and friends, and I still haven’t mailed out any cards to anybody to celebrate the holidays. It usually takes me a bit longer than most folks to get into the spirit of things, and this year is no exception.

Christmas is a stressful time of the year for many people. There’s a lot of depression and frustration around the holiday season. Those without any close family members or friends find themselves alone during what should be a joyous period. I have friends in the retail industry that absolutely hate the emotional turmoil that this period brings them. Driving the roads, I see a lot of really bad drivers doing very stupid things. I often wonder how Charles Dickens would depict Ebeneezer Scrooge dodging the traffic at crowded shopping malls, being stuck on freeways transformed into virtual parking lots, or avoiding senile drivers that use the fast lane to drive slower than the posted speed limit. Sometimes the holidays actually bring out the worst in people.

Christmas is especially painful for those that lost loved ones around the holiday season. Violent tragedies are the worst, as they leave survivors with a sense of futility over circumstances beyond their control.

I never met Rockin’ Robin Roberts, but in the course of my journeys, I’ve met a lot of people that knew and loved this talented man. In a sense, Rockin’ Robin was the unknown star of the LOUIE LOUIE legend that died before ever receiving his proper accolades. It was Robin that took Richard Berry‘s original melody, and transformed it into the garage rock prototype embraced by the Kingsmen, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Sonics, and countless other rock and roll bands.

Rockin’ Robin Roberts, whose legal name was Lawrence Roberts, was a man with many talents. Not only was he a dynamic singer with a great stage presence but he was also a highly intelligent scholar with a passion for science. With a degree in geology, I’m sure he understood the irony of being labeled as a “rocker.”

I would have liked to have known what Robin thought about the Kingsmen achieving the great success with the song that he recorded with the Wailers. How did he feel about others basking in the glory of a song that he recorded two years before? Did he have any thoughts on the dirty lyrics controversy that dogged the Kingsmen, and opened up a big F.B.I. investigation? He recorded the song in 1961 at the age of 21, and two years later, it became a big hit for a little band out of Portland, Oregon, swiping his original arrangements. Did he feel any jealousy towards the Kingsmen?

Why did he move from Tacoma to San Francisco? Was he interested in resurrecting his career in one of the hottest places for new music in America, or was he merely advancing his career in geology?

On December 22, 1967, three days before Christmas, Rockin Robin Roberts died in a terrible auto accident in San Mateo, California. According to a newspaper report, Roberts was in car that somehow wound up in wrong lane, taking the northbound entrance to the Bayshore Freeway from Kehoe Avenue to go south before crashing head-on into a second car at the 19th Avenue overpass. Both Robin and the driver, Sunny Cabell McCulley, aged 22, died before arriving at the hospital. Immediately after the accident, another collision took place as a third car crashed into a tow truck and firetruck dispatched to the scene.

Rockin’ Robin Roberts died at the age of 27 years, leaving behind his mother, who died not long afterwards of a broken heart after losing her only child.


Grateful Dead – LOUIE of the Week

This week, I’m backlogged again with more things, and the LOUIE of the Week is late again… so it’s time for an oldie, but goodie…

It’s a band that was loved by Richard Berry.

It’s the Grateful Dead with Brent Mydland on vocals. Here’s a pirate clip on YouTube of the band performing on April 9, 1989. The venue was Freedom Hall, LOUISville, Kentucky.

If you want to hear more from this show, and maybe download some high-quality audio files, there’s a nice audience recording of the whole show at

Here’s to FREEDOM…

Mike Wilhelm & Hired Guns @ Clearlake – LOUIE of the Week

This week, the LOUIE LOUIE spotlight returns to Mike Wilhem and the Hired Guns, who graced this webpage with a version a year and a half ago.

This particular version has a really cool video produced my new friend Edward Chatham, who shot this clip in Clear Lake, California, just north of San Francisco.

Mike Wilhelm, who was a founding member of the Charlatans, that later joined the Flamin’ Groovies, and also led Loose Gravel, was recently inducted into the American Heritage International Blues Hall of Fame at a ceremony a few months ago.

Ed provided a summary of the band on the YouTube posting..

In addition to Blues Hall of Fame inductee, guitarist/vocalist Wilhelm, three-time Grammy-winning woodwind virtuoso Paul McCandless on saxes and flute and outstanding Bay Area gutbucket blues singer and guitarist Rev. Rabia will be joining the band. Rounding out the aggregation are Gary Bouley on guitar, Jamie Webber on bass and Colin Holmes on drums.

Good job, guys!