RIP: Allen Toussaint / LOUIE of the Week

allen_Toussaint

Allen Toussaint, an extremely talented musician, passed away on November 10, 2015 while on tour in Madrid, Spain. He was 77 years old.

Emerging from the fertile hotbed of New Orleans R&B during the 1950s, Toussaint was the guy that could do it all – a singer, a gifted piano player, a prolific songwriter and producer of multiple hit records. He produced a string of hits in the early-mid 1960s for a handful of New Orleans R&B artists including Ernie K-Doe, Chris Kenner, Irma Thomas, Art and Aaron Neville, The Showmen, and Lee Dorsey.

He also collaborated with Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Patti LaBelle and The Band.

Toussaint’s songs were recorded by such artists as the Rolling Stones, Bo Diddley, Jerry Garcia, Ringo Starr, Little Feat, Robert Palmer, the Yardbirds, Glen Campbell, Bonnie Raitt, The Pointer Sisters, Warren Zevon, Iron Butterfly, Spirit, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and many others.

Toussaint was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. In 2013 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

At the time of his death, Toussaint was scheduled to perform with friend Paul Simon at a December 8th benefit for New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness, a charity Toussaint helped found.

He will be deeply missed by many.

Allen Toussaint wrote a song called “LOUIE,” a little instrumental that sounds nothing at all like Richard Berry‘s LOUIE LOUIE. It first appeared in 1970 on his second album, originally titled simply “Allen Toussaint” which was later re-issued on CD in 1994 on the Kent Soul record label with a new name of “From a Whisper to a Scream.”


https://youtu.be/hnJ-JMgtNIs

Allen did actually perform a little version of LOUIE LOUIE that will be an exclusive for my documentary project, but we’ll save that for another time….

In the meantime here’s some other songs by Allen that absolutely need to be heard …


https://youtu.be/C6ldpOBWKAE
Here’s Allen Toussaint performing “Get Out My Life, Woman,” a song covered by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

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https://youtu.be/XN9FYh_GmnM
Here’s his performance of “Working in the Coal Mine, which was an international hit for Lee Dorsey in 1966, and covered by a lot of other musicians including Devo in 1981.

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https://youtu.be/8zC65J2W_0o
Using his mother’s name Naomi Neville as a pseudonym for contractual reasons, Toussaint wrote “A Certain Girl” for Ernie K-Doe. It wasn’t quite that successful when it was first unveiled in 1961, but found some extra attention with covers by The Yardbirds and Warren Zevon.

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https://youtu.be/khw6Kjfu3aM
I always loved the song “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley,” which I first heard via Robert Palmer‘s version.

Special bonus points for any of my friends named Sally….

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https://youtu.be/fifjamnUqpI
New Orleans based WDSU News shares memories of the life and legacy of the legendary musician.

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You can learn about this talented musician by visiting…

The Official Web Site of Allen Toussaint
The Wikipedia page on Allen Toussaint
AllMusic.com page on Allen Toussaint
Top 10 Allen Toussaint Classic Rock Covers

RIP: Steve Mackay, sax player with Stooges, Snakefinger – LOUIE of Week

Steve_Mackay_portrait_EP

Steve Mackay, a super talented sax player and all-around nice guy, died two weeks ago on October 10th.

Last year, I had an opportunity to interview Steve for the LOUIE documentary project, which turned into a wonderful day for everyone involved. As one of last surviving members of The Stooges, he had a unique history with Iggy Pop, and had some fond memories of recording “Fun House” with producer Don Gallucci, who was also the original keyboardist with the Kingsmen.

Steve also talked about some of his other musical collaborations including some of the early bands in Michigan before he hooked up with before the Stooges.

Iggy Pop wrote these words about his old bandmate:

“Steve was a classic ’60s American guy, full of generosity and love for anyone he met. Every time he put his sax to his lips and honked, he lightened my road and brightened the whole world. He was a credit to his group and his generation. To know him was to love him.” – Iggy

Looking through my own photo archives, I actually found some images of Steve that I didn’t even realize I had.

In 1983, I was a big fan of Snakefinger and the band he often played with – The Residents. He had a new project that was all about celebrating the history of blues music and Steve Mackay was part of that.

For the first time ever, here’s some previously unreleased images of the Snakefinger Blues Band, featuring Steve on saxophone. I think the venue might have been the Old Waldorf in San Francisco.

snakefinger-blues-1983-002-101

This second photo is interesting – my focus was Steve, even though I had no idea who he was..

snakefinger-blues-1983-003-041

Fast forward to July 1, 2014. Steve was playing a little show with some guy named Dick Deluxe at Winters, a comfy little divebar in Pacifica, slightly south of San Francisco. Even though I’d been at various shows that Steve appeared at, I had never really had a chance with chat with him before.. and so I went…

Steve_Mackay_Pacifica_2014

As fate would have it, this guy Dick Deluxe was also part of the Snakefinger Blues Band, and that particular night was the 27th anniversary of Snakefinger’s passing.

Steve_Mackay_Dick_Deluxe_2014

Had I known such a thing, I would certainly would invited some of my friends that were also big Snakefinger fans!!

Needless to say, I had a great time yacking with Steve, and we wound up shooting an interview at his home a few weeks later.

Here’s a few videos I’ve shot over the years that feature Steve…

For the first time in 35 years, James Williamson, returned to the stage to perform the songs he used to perform with Iggy & the Stooges. The Careless Hearts are his backup band, and Steve is one of the special guests. The venue is the Blank Club in San Jose, the date is September 5, 2009 and the song is “I Got Nothing.”


https://youtu.be/Afvo_FPiTdU

A few years later, James Williamson is now part of a reunited Iggy & the Stooges, featuring Steve again on sax. The venue is the Warfield in San Francisco on December 6, 2011, and the song is “LOUIE LOUIE.” According to my experts, this performance is the FIRST time Iggy & the Stooges have played the song since 1974.. and I was there.


https://youtu.be/fHgxlrta9Co

Then, there’s the final performance of Iggy & the Stooges that I witnessed, live at the C2SV event at St. James Park in San Jose on September 28, 2013… doing their final song ever… which is….


https://youtu.be/XDdUoQk7qGI

Needless to say, there will be more videos of Steve Mackay shared in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned for future details..

In the meantime, here’s a few other things on Steve that i thought deserved a second look…

Craig Englund shared this photo of Steve with these memories on Facebook:

steve-mackay-in-china

“Hi Chachy, just want to let you know that you’ve made yourself a star among parents and we are absolutely thrilled with your superstar performance and feel privileged that you teach our kids. Thanks a lot.” – from a parent today after I performed for the kids a couple nights ago. Sometimes an email like this is all it takes to pull me out of a sad mood.

The pic was taken during Steve’s trip to my school in Shanghai. The kids were blown away (plenty of pun). It’s always a pleasure to see kids react to something as powerful as rock n roll and have the opportunity to meet it face to face and ask questions. Steve was such an approachable guy to them; they asked him everything from what kind of music did he like, how did he get so old, and finally how many bands had he been in (with this question he had to sit down to think a bit haha). Life certainly does go on but damn Steve Mackay you certainly put a profound dent in mine and I will forever wear it as a badge of honor. Love ya man and happy trails through the unknown.

Here’s a video clip of Steve Mackay with the Third Thursday Band, performing at the Riptide, a fine little San Francisco nightclub that is currently getting rebuilt after a nasty fire accident a month ago. This is a performance of a song called “Go To Hell” that took place on March 20. 2010.


https://youtu.be/SbjMHtOajZw

Here’s a video clip of Steve playing with Vacuum Tree Head, a band fronted by my old friend Jason Berry. This is a performance of “Cushion Fortress” performed at Night Light in Oakland on Januaary 18, 2014. I’ve been informed that Peter Conheim from Negativland is responsible for this clip.

Would you believe my friend La-Ni, daughter of Snakefinger, got me a free pass into this one?


https://youtu.be/RFlJiOjlX4I

– E.P.

RIP: Dennis Eichhorn, writer, adventurer, underground comic book creator

2001-0965-Eichhorn-framed-text-m

Writer Dennis Eichhorn died last week on Thursday, October 8th, and I’m kinda bummed about it.

With the life that he lived, shared via the stories that he wrote, I imagine he probably went through dozens of different types of business cards, as he had something like a gazillion or so different jobs- detective, publisher, nightclub bouncer, social worker, bartender, concert promoter, driver, researcher, among others.

He lived a life that seemed so outrageous, filled with absurd adventures …so much that sharing his adventures via fantastic comic book stories seemed like the perfect vehicle for him.

As a connoisseur of independent “underground” comic books such as the works of R.Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, S. Clay Wilson, Dan O’Neill, Trina Robbins, Skip Williamson, Joel Beck, Peter Bagge, and so many others, I immediately embraced the “Real Stuff” line comic books written by Dennis Eichhorn. The stories were well-written with outrageous art by a lot of different illustrators.

Needless to say, when these comic book stories referenced a certain song close to my heart, I definitely felt some kindred spirits….

eichhorn-LOUIE-RealStuff_09-m

eichhorn-LOUIE-RealStuff_10-m

When I was living during a brief time in Seattle in 1996, I tracked down Denny, and we shot a little interview. Growing up in Idaho, he had memories of getting his hair cut by Paul Revere, before the Raiders became the one of the most popular rock bands to emerge from the Pacific Northwest. He was a friend of Phil “Fang” Volk, who a track star at his high school, and he worked directly with Mark Lindsay at a nightclub that Lindsay owned. There were also memories of other bands from the Pacific Northwest, as well as thoughts on the song that became a regional anthem.

I also asked Denny to share his story about how he got involved in writing comic book stories, and he graciously provided me with these words, which I’m sharing for the very first time with this newly-assembled video

https://youtu.be/Cc__DzEer6E

I plan on sharing some of my footage of my conversation with Denny about NorthWest Music in the near future. Please continue to check this website for updates…

When Dennis passed away, I’m grateful I was able to find out fairly quickly via my friends on ye Face***k social network, which also allowed me to learn more about Dennis. J.R. Williams, who illustrated a lot of Dennis’s stories was the first to break the news.

Richard Von Busack recycled a cool photo from Pat Moriarity, featuring Pat, Dennis, J.R. Williams and Jim Blanchard

Eichhorn-and-company

Dennis Eichhorn (bespectacled, below, the master of the revels), who just left us at age 70–three-score and ten, let’s not be greedy–was the anti-Adrian Tomine. No insult intended to Tomine’s delicacy and introversion. I just intend to use the much praised Tomine as a compass point to explain where the less famous Eichhorn stood. Eichhorn’s tales of feuding, f’ing and fighting in comic form were beautifully sensitive and rumbustious at the same time. He was one of the few people who could tell you about his intimate love life in print without ooking you thoroughly. Clearly the man loved women. He was a–mostly–unknown master of the autobiographical comic form, a football player, a bouncer, a bartender (in Capitola, where you could, in the 1970s see heinous, murderous behavior). Literally born in a prison, he used his art to captivate many, many others. Glad I met the man once. Eichorn tangled with some serious bruisers, and accidentally put a villain’s eye out once, and yet he couldn’t have been more nice. Thanks for the wonderful stories, which are still out there.

Here’s a wonderful image that R.L Crabb created for a compilation of REAL LIFE comic stories.

eichhorn-RealStuff-content-page-Crabb

Denny eventually left Loompanics, but I heard from him again in 2003 when he was preparing to collect his best stories into one volume. He needed an interior title page, and asked if I would be interested. I dug out all my old copies of the comics and did my best to mimic the styles of the many fine cartoonists who had graced the pages of Real Stuff over the years…

After I sent him a copy of the piece, he asked if he could purchase the original. I remembered that years earlier, during a particularly dry spell in my career, I went to the post office one day and found a letter from Denny, along with a hundred dollar bill. It was like manna from heaven at the time. I sent the artwork to him, with a note telling him that it had already been paid for as far as I was concerned.

Mary Fleener shared this image and thoughts on collaborations with Dennis.

fleener-eichhorn

Denny Eichhorn understood something about artists. To work with one you must let your story become THEIR story. Oh sure, he would give you a script but that was just a list of ingredients, and the way you mixed ’em was up to you. Denny also understood that the key to good storytelling is a bit of exaggeration here, a touch of blarney there, all told in good fun to keep the reader’s attention. I knew exactly what he wanted with “Bad Trip”, having “been experienced” myself plenty o’ times, and after I was done, he told me how spot on the LSD visual images were….he hadn’t told me exactly how he tripped, but I knew. I felt a great bond with Denny, and I bet everyone who worked with him did, too. My heart goes out to Jane and his family.

Art Chantry provided this image of another publication Eichhorn was responsible for, with more details about his wonderful talents.

nw-extra-crumb-xmas

this is the cover of NORTHWEST EXTRA issue #10 from about 1989 or so. my late friend dennis p. eichhorn created and edited this free newsprint magazine in the northwest. i designed the covers through the entire history of the magazine.

it was a gloriously cheapo affair. denny discovered that simply by bidding low (i think it was $50 and there were no other bidders at all) he was able to secure all the syndicated columns for an otherwise uncovered underpopulated region of the country. basically, that meant he was able to buy the rights to print amazing writer’s work for peanuts. you can see the names of the folks at the bottom of the cover who were in this issue. amazing.
denny was also extremely close to the fantagraphics people and even worked at Loompanics, the late publisher of ANYTHING nobody else would publish. denny’s friendly charming personality won over everybody he came into contact with and he became close to ever single name listed on this cover (for instance.) denny was astonishing well- connected. you name the outsider weirdo and chances are he was pals with them.

as a result, i got to work on covers with some of the most interesting illustrators and cartoonists in the world. this is a fine example here. this is actually the crumb family xmas card from that year. denny was on their xmas card list and he loved this thing (each member of the crumb family drew themselves). denny got in touch and asked if he could use it for his xmas issue cover. they said, “SURE!”

the result was that i had to take this little xmas card and turn it into a magazine cover. but, my design cartouche for the covers of NW EXTRA was so bare bones, generic and flexible (intentionally) that i could adapt to just about anything i was handed to make into a cover. throw some red ink in there (for xmas, ya know?) and voila! done!

i also worked with michael dougan, karel moiseiwitsch, s. clay wilson, carol lay, lynda barry, drew friedman, peter bagge, j.r. williams, harvey pekar, several more crumb covers, and a host of others i can’t recall off hand. it was a wonderful opportunity to have worked on this thing with denny. it’s hard to imagine a world without denny eichhorn in it.

Dennis was also a “manager(?)” of the legendary Wild Man Fischer, who provided him with wild stories which were illustrated by J.R. Wiilams and Pat Moriarity for the REAL STUFF comic, and collected into a very entertaining standalone book!

Wild-Man-Fischer-book

Once again, Dennis Eichorn was one of those people I wish I spent more time with, as he was filled with a wealth of incredible stories.

Luckily for me, I’m still hearing more stories about him from his friends.

I leave with this image of Dennis Eichhorn, created by R.L. Crabb. This is from REAL STUFF #20 – the final comic of that series. A fitting way to good bye…

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For MORE on Dennis Eichhorn, please check out:

R.L. Crabb’s tribute to Dennis Eichhorn

The Comics Journal obit on Dennis Eichhorn by Tom Van Deusen

The Stranger obit on Dennis Eichhorn by Sean Michael Hurley

Last Gasp obit on Dennis Eichhorn

The Idaho Statesman obit on Dennis Eichhorn

The InkStuds obit on Dennis Eichhorn

The Comics Journal – MORE tributes to Dennis

The Boing Boing Denis Eichhorn Collection

RIP: Gail Zappa, wife of Frank

gail-and-frank

Gail Zappa, beloved wife to Frank, mother for Dweezil, Moon, Ahmet & Diva, and keeper of the Zappa legacy, has left us.

The official Frank Zappa Facebook page provided this statement:

January 1, 1945 – October 7, 2015

Gail Zappa, nee Adelaide Gail Sloatman, age 70, departed this earth peacefully at her home on Wednesday, October 7, 2015, surrounded by her children.

Married to Frank Zappa at age 22, Gail was a doe-eyed, barefooted trailblazer, giving equal value to her domestic and professional responsibilities as matriarch of the family and overseer of all Zappa enterprises. She devoted herself to partnering with her husband in the music business and raising their children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva.

Gail enthusiastically executed her role as guardian of her husband’s creative life and, with his passing, strove to ensure his legacy as one of the leading American composers and musicians of the 20th century. In this and all business endeavors, Gail passionately advocated to establish clear definitions of intellectual property and copyright laws on behalf of not just her husband, but all artists. While she conducted intricate legal negotiations with corporations as grande dame of the Zappa Family Trust, she never failed to impart the sense of humor that was part and parcel of her indomitable and formidable personality. Gail, self-described as a pagan absurdist, was motivated by love in all aspects of her life, kept her authenticity intact, unbowed and, simply put, was one bad ass in the music business and political world.

Gail will forever be identified as a key figure in the creative renaissance that is Laurel Canyon. But more than any singular accomplishment, she defined herself in her personal relationships, happiest when surrounded by loved ones and artists, often one and the same. The memories she leaves behind are indeed her own art form. Her searing intelligence, unforgettable smile, wild thicket of hair and trailing black velvets leave a blur in her wake.

There is no further information to report. This is the only statement that will be released by the family.

My thoughts are with her family.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Zappa.

* * * * * *

Reference:

Frank Zappa family official Facebook page

TMZ Obituary on Gail Zappa

Daily Mail Obituary on Gail Zappa

The (UK) Guardian obituary on Gail Zappa

Frank Zappa & LOUIE LOUIE

RIP: Lady Bo, rock legend + Max LOUIE performer – LOUIE of the Week

ladyBo-WallyMalone-KFJC-radio

I was so very saddened when I learned that Lady Bo passed away last week.

When I first began what turned into a rather unique journey documenting the legacy of the song LOUIE LOUIE, Lady Bo was there at the very beginning.

The KFJC Maximum LOUIE LOUIE marathon was ground zero for this special adventure. This small radio station in Los Altos Hills, California created a marathon to collect and broadcast every single version of this song, and Richard Berry, the author of the song, was the very special guest. Lady Bo and her band the Lady Bo Trio, featuring her husband Wally Malone on bass and George Ostrander on drums, was originally supposed to back up Richard Berry. A few hours before the event, Jack Ely, the original vocalist for the Kingsmen, flew in from Portland, Oregon. This was the very first time Richard Berry had ever met a member of the Kingsmen, which had a national hit record with their interpretation of Richard’s song.

It turned out to be a more elaborate performance than expected. Richard Berry played the keyboards, Jack Ely became a second bass player and local musician Ricky Sludge of the Readymades brought in his trumpet. It all took place in a college classroom that was converted into a makeshift recording studio. An audience of KFJC DJs and local musical enthusiasts squeezed their way into this room, with many audience members becoming actual participants singing portions of the song to a live radio audience.

While the marathon itself received a lot of local news coverage, I was the only one that brought a video camera to this once-in-a-lifetime performance. Using a somewhat bulky 3-tube video camera and portable 3/4″ U-matic recorder that I borrowed from a local public access channel, I was able to capture something that nobody else was getting.

Here’s the first ten minutes of the historic performance by Richard Berry, Jack Ely and the Lady Bo Trio at the KFJC Maximum LOUIE LOUIE Marathon.

This is the FIRST TIME this footage has ever been shared publicly.


https://youtu.be/y5bL7lcCwuM

I also assembled a special video clip that focused on Lady Bo at this event, including some interview footage and a portion of this performance that included some inspired scat singing.


https://youtu.be/7mTQU0S3y8Q

Lady Bo had quite a career in the music biz. She played rhythm guitar with Bo Diddley‘s band in the late 1950s and early 1960s, becoming one of the first female rock guitarists in a famous rock ‘n’ roll band.

She was often called the “Queen Mother of Guitar.”

lady_bo_1960s

AfroPunk provided a wonderful history lesson on her career:

Peggy Jones, aka Lady Bo grew up in New York City, attending Manhattan’s famed High School for the Performing Arts (of Fame fame) as a singer and dancer. She studied tap and ballet and trained in opera. She had been playing guitar for only 2 years when a chance encounter with Bo Diddley before a show at the legendary Apollo Theatre led to a life-changing gig as Bo Diddley’s lead guitarist. Diddley was awestruck by the sight of a beautiful young woman with a guitar and struck up a conversation. When Jerome Greene (the single luckiest maraca player in the history of music) ran out to tell Bo that dinner was being served in the dressing room, Bo invited Jones in. Jones recounts in an interview with Lea Gilmore:

After a while he opened his guitar, asked me to grab mine and play something. When I opened my case he laughed louder than anyone I’d heard before. I wanted to know what¹s funny? Hysterically he said what is that? He had never seen a Supro guitar. I said, “Now that’s a dumb question! First you probably never saw a girl carrying a guitar down the street before and want to know if I played it, did you think that was funny?” He said, “NO!” I continued, “then you insult my ax and I listen to Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Charlie Parker and I THINK I’ve heard of you! Do you think that’s funny?” He said, “No, but I like your attitude, let’s play something.” I said OK and the rest is history.

SheShreds provided an overview of her career after her initial run with Bo Didley:

In addition to her work with Bo Diddley’s band, Jones had a rich solo career. She formed her own band, The Jewels (also known as The Family Jewel, Lady Bo and the Family Jewel, The Fabulous Jewels, Little Jewel and the Family Jewel, and Lady Bo and the BC Horns). Jones left Diddley’s band in 1961 to focus on her work with the Jewels which went on to become one of the most popular touring bands on the East Coast. During this time she also released singles with groups such as the Bop Chords and the Continentals and even briefly joined James Brown’s backing band. When Jones rejoined Bo Diddley in 1970 her entire band came with her and became his new backing band. At their first show back together the crowd was so excited to see them back on stage together that they chanted “Lady Bo”—thus creating Jones’s famous nickname.

My friend Dave Seabury took some great photos of Lady Bo performing with Bo Diddley. Here’s one of his photos from an appearance at the Keystone Berkeley sometime in the 1970’s…

boDiddley-LadyBo-Berkeley1970s-Seabury-1

Lady Bo’s death was announced on Facebook by her beloved husband / longtime band member Wally Malone. Eighteen days after she was diagnosed with cancer, she died on September 16th at the age of 75 years old.

Today is one of the saddest days of my life. My wife and partner of 47 Years has been called up to that great rock & roll band in the heavens to be reunited with Bo Diddley, Jerome Green and Clifton James.

Details for her memorial / celebration of life will be announced in the near future.

Reference:
Wikipedia on Lady Bo (Peggy Jones Malone)
AfroPunk obit on Lady Bo
SheShredsMagazine obit on Lady Bo
Ultimate Classic Rock obit on Lady Bo
David Blakely’s tribute to Lady Bo – comprehensive overview of her career
The official Lady Bo webpage
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RIP: Lady Bo (short version)

lady_bo_1960s

I received word that Lady Bo (Peggy Jones Malone), whose band backed up Richard Berry and Jack Ely at the KFJC Maximum LOUIE LOUIE marathon, has passed away.

I will be sharing more words and a video tribute within the few days

My heart goes out to her husband / musical partner Wally Malone with the loss of his beloved companion.

RIP: Gary Abbott, drummer with Kingsmen

gary-abbott-kingsmen-1963

Here’s something I just found out about. Gary Abbott, the second drummer with the Kingsmen, passed away recently.

Gary had a short run with the Kingsmen. He joined the band sometime after LOUIE LOUIE vocalist / guitarist Jack Ely and bassist Bob Nordby quit the band on August 16, 1963. There was a big falling out when Kingsmen drummer Lynn Easton told the rest of the band that he registered the name for himself, and decided to install himself as the new permanent lead singer of the band. Lynn also wanted Jack to be the permanent drummer. Jack decided this was unacceptable, and quit the band, along with Bob Nordby.

The Kingsmen enlisted Gary Abbott to play drums and Norm Sundholm to play bass, joining himself, Mike Mitchell and Don Gallucci for the new line-up.

I’m not sure how many gigs this variation of the Kingsmen performed, but I know they definitely performed a big show sometime October 1963 at the Chase nightclub, which was recorded live for the first Kingsmen album released by Wand Records. I believe Gary was also part of the Kingsmen when they did a three-week Midwest tour in December 1963.

Sometime after that tour, Dick Peterson replaced Gary Abbott on drums, and Barry Curtis replaced Don Gallucci on keyboards.

After that, I’m not really sure what happened to Gary Abbott. I never tracked him down for the LOUIE documentary, and there’s not much information I could find about him on the internet.

Thanks to the powers of internet social media, I was able to find out via Facebook that Gary passed away in his sleep on April 10th. Seventeen days later, Jack Ely passed away on April 27th.

I’m sorry I never had a chance to chat with Gary.

Rest in peace, Gary.

gary-abbott-21st-century

REFERENCE:
Gary Abbott’s Facebook page

RIP: Wally Todd, member of Jack Ely & the Courtmen

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I lost my friend Wally last week. On May 14, Wally Todd, guitarist with Jack Ely & the Courtmen, died of a sudden heart attack less than three weeks after the passing of his old bandmate.

I met Wally back in 1999 when the Courtmen did a big reunion show in Seaside, Oregon in 1999. I was lucky to witness this very special reunion of friends that hadn’t played together in over 30 years.

Here’s a photo of what the band looked like in 1966.

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Here’s what they looked like when they reunited 33 years later.

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The Courtmen took us a walking tour of Seaside, showing off their old stomping ground, including the housing complex where the Courtmen were living during the summer of 1966.

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Here’s a photo of the band right before they went on stage. From the left, we have Wally Todd (guitarist), John Thoennes (promoter of this event, passed away in 2012), Gordon Hirsch (drummer), Jack Ely (singer, leader, bassist, died less than 3 weeks ago), and Billy Truitt (keyboards).

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It was really wonderful to see the camaraderie of old friends getting together…

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Here’s some video we shot with Wally at the reunion…


https://youtu.be/HF7GtodbvMM

..and of course, a performance of THAT SONG!


https://youtu.be/jC1h5jx8HIk

Rest in peace, my friend.

– ERIC PREDOEHL of LouieLouie.net

Continue reading

More thoughts on Jack Ely … and a LOUIE of the Week

jack-ely-foodmarket-cu

Yes, we’re still thinking about our friend Jack Ely

This was a heavy hit at LOUIE Central, and some things just take longer to process..

My first posting on the passing of Jack Ely felt like the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There’s so many other things I could have posted on Jack, but so much of this will have to wait.

Jack Ely was born on September 11, 1943. I remember trying to add this piece of information to the September 11 page of Wikipedia.org website years ago, but i kept running into resistance by the administrators of that page.

Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead also shares the same birthday + year. Jack was a fan of the Grateful Dead. I’ve worked with various members of the band. With my co-producer Jesse Block, we’ve shot some great concert footage of Jerry Garcia and David Grissman that appeared in the “Grateful Dawg” documentary. I have a handful of friends that are friends with Mickey. I was hoping somewhere in my travels I might be able to arrange at least a telephone call between these two guys that shared the same birthday, but unfortunately that never happened.

I was able to talk Jack into singing “Happy Birthday / Louie Louie” over the phone to my sister Ann Casey, who also shares a September 11th birthday, which was extremely cool of Jack. (… and NO, there was no recording of this version)

Anyways, there’s more I could share, but it’s Friday, and I still haven’t named a LOUIE of the Week, so here’s something for your pleasure….

Jack had his own YouTube channel, sharing a lot of the new music that he was working on.

He also posted his own LOUIE LOUIE YouTube clip, which used his 1966 re-recording of the song with the Courtmen, released by Bang Records. I’m not sure who worked with Jack on this video clip, but his wife Wendy tells me it’s probably Gordy or Daryl. I like it a lot – lots of fast cut editing!


https://youtu.be/K3gDitUGRNE

In other Jack-related news, I found out some interesting things via Facebook.

whoopie-View- LL

Thanks to my friend Denise Lamkin, I found out Whoopi Goldberg acknowledged Jack’s passing on The View on April 29th.

jack-Ely-endorses-OR-Gov-1982

Did you know that in 1982, Jack Ely endorsed a gubernatorial candidate for Oregon that wanted to establish LOUIE LOUIE as the state song? Bravo to Frank Peters for a wonderful idea that was also attempted years later in Washington state!

Here’s a handful of recent articles that acknowledge the passing of Jack Ely…

New Yorker – Is This the Dirtiest Song of the Sixties?

BBC News – Smashed Hits: Louie Louie

Washington Post – Jack Ely, whose garbled version of ‘Louie Louie’ became a sensation, dies

Los Angeles Times – Jack Ely dies at 71; vocalist on the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’

MOJO Magazine – 10 Great Versions Of Louie Louie

The Bulletin (Bend, OR) – official family obituary on Jack Ely

There’s also the NPR radio show featuring a voice some of you may recognize..

NPR Weekend Edition -‘Louie Louie’: Indecipherable, Or Indecent? An FBI Investigation

Let’s not forget the efforts by the Ely family to raise funds for a proper celebration for Jack!

… to be continued…

ERIC PREDOEHL
producer of upcoming “Meaning of LOUIE” / mastermind behind LouieLouie.net

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RIP: Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate, co-writer of Brother Louie

erroll-brown

On the heels of Jack Ely‘s passing, we have another loss in the LOUIE Universe.

Errol Brown of the band Hot Chocolate, had liver cancer and passed away at the age of 71 years old at his home in the Bahamas.

Errol Brown, along with Tony Wilson, wrote and sang the song “Brother Louie,” a song that many people have confused with “LOUIE LOUIE.” It was a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart for the band in 1973, and became a bigger hit in the USA when it was covered 6 months later by The Stories (aka Ian Lloyd & the Stories), reaching the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100.


https://youtu.be/rTELjv4_7f0

Errol Brown’s musical career started in 1969 when he and some friends sent their own reggae version of “Give Peace a Chance” to author John Lennon. John loved their version, and signed the band to release their recording on the Beatle-owned Apple Records label.

Mavis Smith, who worked for the Apple Corps press office, came up with the idea of naming this group “The Hot Chocolate Band,” which was later shortened to simply “Hot Chocolate.”


https://youtu.be/XykJhHDdgt4

Hot Chocolate later had a stream of hits during the disco era of the 1970’s, including “You Sexy Thing,” “Every 1’s a Winner,” and “”So You Win Again” to name a few. When the band broke up in 1986, Errol Brown pursued a solo career. In 2003, Errol Brown received the MBE; and in 2004, the Ivor Novello Award for his contribution to British music.

REFERENCE:
BBC News – Errol Brown, Hot Chocolate singer, dies aged 71