Dearly Departed of 2012

As 2012 comes to a close, we pause to remember those we lost this year. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but merely a list of departed individuals that made an impact on our lives at

Tom Ardolino of NRBQ (January 6)

Tom was a musician, music collector, and archivist of truly unusual treasures. It was truly a pleasure to shoot video of NRBQ and meet Tom at that infamous Village Music party in Mill Valley all those years ago. As I learned more about him, I discovered he was an incredible resource of musical information.

Terry Dolan of Terry & the Pirates (January 15)

Terry and the Pirates were one of the earliest bands I photographed when I bought my first 35mm camera, straight of high school. Years later when I worked with Jesse Block (fellows LOUIE co-producer) and Jim Draper on their documentary on John Cipollina, I reconnected with Terry Dolan and some of the other Pirates, and documenting some wonderful stories about their various adventures for posterity.

Kearney Barton, NW Recording Engineer (January 17)

Kearney Barton was one of the important recording engineers in the Pacific Northwest during the 1950s-1970s, and I’m very fortunate we were able to capture some of his stories for the LOUIE documentary.

Johnny Otis (January 17)

Johnny Otis did a lot of things in his life -singer, songwriter, disc jockey, keyboardist, drummer, bandleader, talent scout, music producer, television show host, record label owner, cartoonist, and so much more. A long-time associate of Richard Berry, Johnny was a generous man who understood the LOUIE project, and made sure I was always on the permanent guest list during his run as the artist-in-residence at the San Jose Fairmont.

Etta James (January 20)

A singing partner of Richard Berry for “Roll With Henry.” Mother-in-law for Richard’s youngest daughter, and mutual grandparent for three beautiful children.

A powerful voice with fans all over the world, she was truly a legend in the world of music.

Don Cornelius, host of Soul Train (February 1)
Don Cornelius created the TV show Soul Train as a national showcase for soul music. It was on this TV show that Barry White reminded America that LOUIE LOUIE was written by a black man, followed by a version that was a wonderful tribute to the original version by Richard Berry.

Michael Davis of MC5 (February 17)

MC5 was one of the great garage bands that opened the doors for punk rock before the genre was even defined as such, and Michael Davis was part of the band from 1965 to 1972, as well as various reunions. Kick out the Jams, Mo-Fu!

Danny Holiday, Seattle DJ / Music Historian (February 20)

Danny Holiday was a disc jockey in the Northwest with a great love for music history. He loved the LOUIE project, and we talked a couple of times, comparing notes on the Kingsmen, Revere & the Raiders, and the legendary riots of Seaside, Oregon.

Davy Jones of the Monkees (February 29)

One of my favorite video assignments was working on a video shoot of a Davy Jones concert in San Francisco on 10-10-10, courtesy of my friend Karl Anderson. As an old-time Monkees fan, it was a truly a treat to participate in this project, and hear some inside Monkees stories direct from the source. Absolutely no LOUIE stories from Davy, but plenty of other great ones, including a fun one involving Jimi Hendrix on a fishing adventure.

For details on this upcoming video release, be sure to visit

Jaime Rodriguez (sometime in March)

Jaime Rodriguez was a bass player connected with various punk bands around San Jose – Ribzy, Rogue Apostles, the Quirx, KerPlunk, Grimace, Sporadic Spontaneous, and Vacant Churches.

A nice guy with a funny sense of humor.

More on Jaime at

Dick Clark, entertainment icon (April 18)

Dick Clark was serious player in the entertainment industry, and played a big part in the career of Paul Revere & the Raiders.

Kathi Kamen Goldmark (May 24)

Kathi did some remarkable things when she organized the Rock Bottom Remainders – the all-star band consisting of big name writers. Who else could have coerced Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Matt Groening, Dave Marsh, and so many other talented literary types into performing as an actual rock ‘n’ roll band?

Kathi was a friend and ally for the LOUIE project. I had no idea she had breast cancer. WTF?

Doc Watson (May 29)

Doc Watson was one of the great guitar flatpickers, playing traditional American music for over 60 years. Doc worked with the LOUIE documentary team, with Jesse Block producing/directing the Doc Watson and David Grisman concert video that was released by Rounder/Guitar Workshops.

Sherman Hemsley, actor/ musician (July 24)

Sherman Hemsley was not only a gifted actor, but also a musician that put out a fairly unique version of THE SONG. Who would have guessed he was friends with the band GONG and loved psychedelic music? Certainly not me…

Phil Tiger (August 30)

Phil Tiger was a cantankerous, but lovable curmudgeon of the San Jose art / punk rock scene. An amazing illustrator (when he wanted to be), Phil was the leader of the band known as “The Bruces.”

Richard von Busack wrote an excellent obituary about Phil for the Metro weekly newspaper:

Tiger was a genius for stirring it up, but the talent for mischief shouldn’t eclipse his art. That artistic talent is demonstrated in pictures on Tiger’s Facebook shrine. So is the grief of those “who knew him or wish they did.” Tiger grew up in Saratoga. He was the student body president at Prospect High, according to his old friend Jan Bernstein Chargin. As an adult, Tiger joined with fellow artists Larry Eder and Steve Briscoe to exhibit at SCU’s Freight Door Gallery. These students put up more than 20 shows, despite the insignificant $100-a-year budget. Eder, today a publisher in Wisconsin, says, “Phil had the skill of a Dutch master, a real ability to draw.”

Phil was called many things in his life but he could never be considered “forgettable.”

You can learn about Phil’s more life by visiting this page…

or watching this video from the E.P. archives…

Kathi McDonald (October 3)

Kathi McDonald was a gifted singer that worked with Ike & Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, Leon Russell, Long John Baldry , and Big Brother and the Holding Company , who brought her into the band after Janis Joplin died. The LOUIE production team shot a few concert productions where Kathi was a special guest, but my favorite moment was at a special record release party for George Michalski’s album, where I wound up having a really nice little chat with her, learning more about her amazing career.

Patricia Molino (October 22)

Patricia Molino was a familiar friendly face on various events that hired the LOUIE production team. One of the best make-up artists in San Francisco, Patricia worked double-duty on Neil Young’s “Greendale” feature film, both as both make-up artist and actress in this very special production. She played the role of “Lenore the art dealer.” We were all devastated at LOUIE Central when we learned we lost our friend to cancer.

Spain Rodriguez (November 28)

Growing up with ZAP Comics, the artwork of Spain Rodriguez had a definite impact on the artistic-intellectual development of the LOUIE team. Years later, being able to run into the man himself at various events was a good reminder why we make the San Francisco Bay Area our home. Spain was one of the good guys- always approachable, and usually more than willing to provide a nice little sketch to anyone that asked.

Looking at his latest book, I saw that he gave a nice little acknowledgement of a Richard Berry song – “Yama Yama Pretty Mama,” as part of his lifestory soundtrack.

© Spain Manuel Rodriguez estate

Sadly, Spain was another one of those folks we lost with cancer.

Dave Brubeck (December 5)

Dave Brubeck was another other one of the super-talented, world-famous musical icons that the LOUIE team had the pleasure and honor to work with. Jesse and I both worked with Dave back in 1994 for the BET Jazz Central show, and then Jesse also worked with him years later at the Monterey Jazz Festivals, as video director for the live video feed.

I had a nice little off-camera chat with Dave during the Jazz Central sessions, where I asked him about a then-recent performance at the White House for President Bill Clinton a few weeks before. He mentioned that he actually played for almost every Presidential administration since President John F. Kennedy. The only exception was President George H.W. Bush, who apparently was not a fan of jazz music.

Mike Korek (November 27)

Mike Korek was the primary person running the main operations of the Smart Life Forum, an organization that focused on discovering new ways of extending one’s life expectancy. Each month, different people would come in and give detailed presentations about alternative therapies for cancer, diabetes, weight-loss programs and other health problems that still lack definitive cures.

Mike hired me to shoot video of these forums, which have been shared via webstream and YouTube. I’ve been working with this organization for over a year, and I’ve learned some very good things as a result of this alliance.

Mike will definitely be missed. I had no idea he was 82 years, as he certainly seemed younger than that…

John Thoennes (early December)

Back in 1999, John Thoennes put together an ambitious show in Seaside, Oregon, reuniting a handful of bands that hadn’t played together in 30 or so years. Jack Ely & the Courtmen (formerly Jack Ely & the Kingsmen), as well as James Henry & the Olympics were the main acts for this one. Jesse and I attended the event, and got some priceless footage, which tied in well with the LOUIE documentary project.

This year, I re-connected with John via the social networks, and learned more about his own career as a working musician. I was hoping I’d be able to meet up with him again in near future, but fate took another path…

Bubba the Dawg (December 23)

A few days before Christmas, I felt devastated by the passing of my beloved doggie companion, Bubba, who had some age-related ailments. Bubba was the first dog I bonded with as an adult, and I’m still coming to terms with his loss.

I miss my beloved foot-warmer, walking companion, dish-cleaner, and faithful friend.

Ray Collins of Mothers of Invention (December 24)

Ray Collins was the original lead singer of the Mothers of Invention, the band that propelled Frank Zappa into the spotlight. Ray only lasted for a few albums, leaving the band sometime in 1968. In the LOUIE universe, his claim would be singing “Plastic People” – the Zappa re-write of LOUIE LOUIE. Sadly, he stopped doing music, resisting efforts to join in new bands, or perform with the Grandmothers- the group consisting of former members of Mothers of Invention.

– written & assembled by Eric Predoehl, producer/director of LOUIE documentary + administrator

RIP: Ray Collins of Mothers of Invention / LOUIE of the Week

On Christmas Eve, Ray Collins, original lead singer for Frank Zappa‘s Mothers of Invention, died in Pomona, Calif. He was 76 years old.

Ray Collins began his musical career playing with Little Julian Herrera and the Tigers. When they recorded ‘I Remember Linda’ in the 1950’s, Ray sang high falsetto backing vocals. Shortly after recording this track, Little Julian was arrested and the band broke up a little later.

David Allen interviewed and wrote about Ray for a 2009 article in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:

Around 1961, Collins saw Zappa perform at the Sportsman Tavern in Pomona, across from the Broadside on Holt east of Reservoir, and introduced himself.

“We just liked each other instantly,” Collins said. They shared a love of a wide range of music, including doo-wop, and an admiration for TV comic Steve Allen. The two hung out and performed together sporadically as a mock folk duo, recording a single as Ned & Nelda.

Circa 1964, Collins joined the Soul Giants, an R&B cover band, by accident. When the band auditioned at the Broadside, the club owner insisted that Collins, his friend, would have to replace the singer if the band wanted the gig.

“I felt kind of awkward about it, someone firing someone else and giving me the job,” Collins says.

The band consisted of drummer Jimmy Carl Black, bassist Roy Estrada, saxophonist Davy Coronado and guitarist Ray Hunt. Hunt, however, was incompetent or purposely messed up to be spiteful, Collins relates.

“I was new to the band but it was up to me to get rid of him,” Collins says. After the deed was done – no punches were thrown, he insists – he made a fateful suggestion.

“I told them, `I know a guitarist in Cucamonga. His name’s Frank Zappa,”‘ Collins says.

Zappa auditioned and fit in perfectly, but he was a prolific songwriter and a new direction was called for.

“If you will play my music, I will make you rich and famous,” Zappa is said to have told them.

Ray’s association with Frank Zappa was not meant to last. After two records with the Mothers (rechristened as “Mothers of Invention” by record label), Ray quit the band in 1968 right before the landmark “We’re Only in It for the Money” album. Ray contributed to some other albums with the band, including “Cruising With Ruben & the Jets,” but his music career basically ended in 1968.

The David Allen article provided more details about his life after Zappa…

He moved to Claremont after a modest legal settlement with Zappa over his and other founding members’ contributions to the band, he says. Zappa died in 1993 of prostate cancer.

Collins turned down several offers to join the Grandmothers, a band made up of graying ex-Mothers.

Instead, he’s lived a hand-to-mouth existence, mostly by choice. His only income is Social Security and twice-annual royalty checks from co-writing the doo-wop song “Memories of El Monte.”

It’s enough to survive. “But not enough to pick up women,” Collins cracks.

Ray was admitted to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center on December 18 after being found unconscious in his van. Paramedics found him in a state of ventricular fibrillation, he was rushed to the hospital, where he was placed under a medically-induced coma.

Thanks to a Facebook fan page, I learned more about his condition, which ultimately came to an end on Christmas eve.

As a tribute to Ray, here’s Ray singing “Plastic People” (a mutant variation of LOUIE LOUIE) with the Mothers of Invention, from an unofficially released archival soundboard recording of a show in Denver at the Family Dog, dated May 3, 1968.


Please greet Ray Collins, Claremont’s own Mother– article by David Allen for Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (May 2009)

United Mutations musical history and discography for Ray Collins

Ray Collins fan page on Facebook

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.


James Henry & Olympics – Sloopy (LOUIE-mutant) of the Week

This week, the LOUIE of the Week spotlight goes out to a song that’s not quite LOUIE, but a close relative of the song… a variation that we in the LOUIE circle would refer to as a “LOUIE Mutant.”

It’s also an extra special tribute to our friend John Thoennes, who just passed away recently. John was the promoter/organizer of the 1999 event in Seaside, Oregon where this performance took place. It was a 30th year high school reunion that turned into a big reunion party for a handful Pacific Northwest bands that would play in Seaside on a regular basis.

My Girl Sloopy = pre-Hang On Sloopy

The clip I’m sharing today is by James Henry & the Olympics, a band fronted by Jim Manolides. The song is “My Girl Sloopy,” which was written by Wes Farrell and Bert Russell, and first performed by The Vibrations in 1964. James Henry & the Olympics recorded and released this song in 1965 on the Jerden label, but it became a major hit later that year when The McCoys released it with the new title of “Hang On Sloopy” for Bang Records.

Jim Manolides, the leader of James Henry & the Olympics, had a similar situation with his previous band, The Frantics. In the late 1950’s, this band discovered a cool song by Richard Berry that they liked to play in their home base of Seattle. They never recorded that particular song, but others beat them to the punch, including Rockin’ Roberts (with the Wailers), Little Bill with the Adventurers, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and The Kingsmen, who released the iconic recording of the song that inspired millions of garage bands all around the world.

That song was, of course, LOUIE LOUIE.

On this clip of “My Girl Sloopy” you can see saxophone player Jim Peterson really playing his heart out. Within 6 months, he would be gone, leaving this video clip as one of the few, if not the only footage that exists of him playing this song with the band.

Today, I pay tribute to James Henry & the Olympics, and the promoter that brought them together for their last reunion!

(Apologies for the less-than-stellar audio recording. Big plans for a decent audio documentation of the entire show ran into some serious technical glitches…)


Wikipedia on Hang On Sloopy/My Girl Sloopy

Seaside Memories with James Henry & the Olympics

RIP: John W. Thoennes, NW musician + promoter

I’m saddened to report that my friend John Thoennes has passed away. John was a musician from Seaside, Oregon that played with a variety of different bands – Patriot, Washington Merry-Go-Round, the All-American Band, Pretty Face, the Disko Band, and his latest band – Yellow Bird.

I first made contact with John back in 1999 when he was putting together a big musical reunion show in Seaside, Oregon. The headlining act would be Jack Ely & the Courtmen, formerly “Jack Ely & the Kingsmen” – the band assembled by Jack to capitalize on his lead vocals on the Kingsmen‘s biggest hit. Denied a chance to tour with the actual band that did the original recording, Jack worked with promoter Pat Mason to provide an alternative to the Kingsmen band fronted by Jack’s former partner Lynn Easton. During this period, Jack and Courtmen spent a lot of time in Seaside, living close to Pat Mason’s headquarters, with occasional appearances at the local Pypo Club.

Needless to say, this band only lasted a short time before it was stopped by legal actions from the other Kingsmen, and Jack was forced to rename his band. The Courtmen lasted until 1967, when Jack was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army.

Prior to this special reunion event, Jack’s band had not played together in over 30 years. As this event would take place at their old stomping grounds of Seaside, featuring their old promoter/manager Pat Mason, there were bound to be some very special memories shared at this one-time event. Naturally, I made plans to attend, and document this event for posterity.

In this photo you can see John Thoennes with Jack Ely & the Courtmen – from left to right it’s Wally Todd, John, Gordon Hirsch, Jack Ely & Bill Truitt.

A lot of other NW bands were reunited at this event. James Manolides‘ old band James Henry & the Olympics were also onboard for this one. James Manolides had a special connection to the LOUIE legacy, as he was a member of the Frantics, one of the very first bands to perform the song in the Pacific Northwest, years before the Kingsmen took control of it.

I lost track of John after the event. He wasn’t reachable for years until I recently linked up with him on Facebook. He had lost a lot of weight, moved to Portland, and re-entered college after some big changes in his life. On Facebook, I learned more about his musical career that began in the 1960s, sharing some cool photos from his past…

Here’s John with Washington Merry-Go Round in 1969. From left to right, we have Thomas Wallis, Greg Sage (RIP), Larry Sage and John.

Here’s a photo of John Thonennes and the All American Band in 1978, which later evolved into Patriot. From left to right, we have Kent Roberts, Dan Flukinger, John, Gary Baxter and David Levin.

You can hear some of John’s last musical productions at

Joh also had a Fandalism page where he discussed his musical influences.

Rest in peace, John. You will be missed.

Here’s one more of John with Jack Ely & the Courtmen!
photo by Eric Predoehl /

Martinsville High School Pep Band – LOUIE of Week

This week’s LOUIE is by the Martinsville High School Pep Band, captured on video with a nice little POV perspective from a band member in the horn section! The enthusiasm is contagious!

the best louie louie ever done by the martinsville highschool pep band! subscribe and tell me what ya think! THIS IS THE CRAZY DANCE SECTION OF THE PEPBAND WE GO ALL OUT FOR LOUIE LOUIE THATS WHY WE ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST!

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…