Greetings from Portland – the Mike Mitchell memorial + the LOUIE plaques

Two weeks ago, yours truly made a little visit to Portland, Oregon.

I wanted to pay my respects to Mike Mitchell, a founding member of the Kingsmen. From 1967 until his passing this year, he was the only member of the original band that recorded LOUIE LOUIE that was still part of the Kingsmen in 2021. He passed away on April 16th – his 77th birthday.

On Sunday, September 26th, there was a celebration of Mike’s life at the Aladdin Theater in Portland. There was music and memories shared by friends and family of Mike Mitchell.

Mike’s last incarnation of the Kingsmen, led by longtime member Dick Peterson, featuring Mike’s Brother Dennis Mitchell, provided most of the music that evening, joined by Mike’s son Max Mitchell on bass, special guests Mike Skill (of the Romantics), Tommy Tutone, Greg Georegeson, Danny Schauffler, Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson guitarist), and various others whose names escape me. Phil “Fang” Volk and Jim Valley also performed a short set as an abbreviated version of Paul Revere & the Raiders, assisted by Alex Hart (son of longtime Raiders manager Roger Hart) on drums.

The program began with assorted video testimonies from friends of Mike, which included both Paul Shaffer and Will Lee of David Letterman‘s old TV show, Merilee Rush, Gary U.S. Bonds, Arnel Pineda of Journey and original Kingsmen member Don (Gallucci) Caverhill, among others.

I was fortunate to be able to document this evening with the assistance of my friend and LOUIE associate producer David Jester of Pro Video Productions of Portland. You can see some of that footage at the end of this post, with more to come later.

All in all, it was a great evening to celebrate Mike’s life. Hats off to Terry Currier and Alex Hart for producing this fine event.

While I was in town, I was able to obtain some relatively rare archival footage and shoot some new segments for this documentary of mine, including some moments with the current caretakers of the two LOUIE LOUIE plaques (1993 + 2013) – Sean Ely (son of Jack) and Terry Currier (co-producer of event / owner of Music Millenium / chairman of Oregon Music Hall of Fame).

In closing, here’s a snippet from Mike Mitchell’s memorial. This is the big LOUIE LOUIE finale, featuring a lot of guitar solos as a special way of paying tribute to the guitar legacy of Mike Mitchell.*

I’ll try share more clips from that show…which are still being assembled..

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net

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* – Yes, we know that Mike Mitchell replicated Rich Dangel‘s guitar work on the Rockin’ Robin Roberts (Wailers) LOUIE LOUIE recording of 1961. Mike has acknowledged that in interviews.

The First and Long-Lost LOUIE LOUIE plaque of Portland?

Last month, I was shocked when I stumbled upon a certain LOUIE LOUIE plaque being sold on eBay.

The Kingsmen Louie Louie cast bronze dedication plaque Vintage
14 inch x 20 inch Mint condition
This Item has been in my store as a display item for the past 20 years it has a board mounted to the back and Velcro attached to it so we could hang it on the display wall
would look great in your music room or office

The 1993 LOUIE LOUIE plaque of Portland, Oregon

This looked exactly like the plaque installed by the Oregon Historic Society on July 3, 1993 at the former site of Northwestern Inc., the former recording studio in Portland where both the Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders both recorded the song LOUIE LOUIE in April 1963. This special event was attended by Richard Berry – the original singer-songwriter of LOUIE LOUIE; four of the original Kingsmen that recorded this song; Mike Korgan aka “Ken Chase” – the original producer of the Kingsmen recording, Roger Hart – producer and manager of Paul Revere & the Raiders, and Robert Lindahl – the original owner and chief engineer of Northwestern Inc.

Richard Berry, Roger Hart (Portland DJ and former manager of Paul Revere & the Raiders), Mike Mitchell (partial view) and Chet Orloff of the Oregon Historical Society.

The Kingsmen semi-reunion of 1993 = Dick Peterson, Bob Nordby (hidden behind Dick), Jack Ely, Mike Mitchell, Lynn Easton, Norm Sunholm, Barry Curtis, Todd McPherson

Marlene and Robert Lindahl (original owner/ operator of Northwestern Inc recording studio). I have no idea these other people are…

A few years later, this plaque was stolen and never seen again, or so we thought. As fate would have it, this plaque had some misinformation on it (the Kingsmen did not record the song on April 13th), and a brand new plaque was installed at the same location in 2013 ….. which was later taken down when it also became a casualty of vandalism.

When I saw this eBay listing, I immediately thought it was the long-lost first plaque. Was it stolen, and then displayed at a record store in Martinsburg, West Virginia for 20 years?

I reached out to members of Oregon Historic Society to see if they had any interest in recovering this lost plaque, but received no response.* (SEE UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE)

I also alerted my friend Sean Ely, son of Jack Ely, the original Kingsmen vocalist, who was super-excited to see this thing being sold! Sean reached out to the seller, and received assurance that this plaque was NOT the original stolen plaque.

Sean did wind up buying this plaque, which he just received this week.

I can’t think of a better person to give this special plaque a loving home.

Sean Ely – new owner of the 1993 LOUIE replicant plaque

Jack Ely and Sean Ely at the 1999 Courtmen reunion at Seaside, Oregon, featuring a photo bomb by Courtmen guitarist Wally Todd and a partial view of promoter John Thoennes between Jack and Sean.

*UPDATE:
Apparently, I missed the reply from O.H.S., which somehow got lost in my email pile.

Here’s the reply I received from Nicole Yasuhara, Deputy Museum Director of O.H.S.:

Thank you for contacting the Oregon Historical Society. I appreciate you taking the time to contact us about this listing. The plaque is not the property of OHS, it appears it was dedicated by OHS, but the plaque was likely gifted to the building, and they would be the owners.

I did forward your email to our security department to report the listing to local authorities.

Reference Links:
The (Temporary) Rebirth of a Recording Studio
The Portland LOUIE celebration of September 2013 – the Lindahl report

LOUIE at the Movies – August 2021 update

It’s time for yet another update for the ongoing “LOUIE at the Movies” investigations!

Here’s a few you might have missed*…

In September 2020, there was “The Way Back” (titled “Finding the Way Back” in the United Kingdom), starring Ben Affleck as a once-successful basketball star that walked away from what could have been a great career in sports. He reluctantly accepts a coaching job at his alma mater, with a chance to redeem himself.

As I recall, LOUIE was performed by a nondescript marching band.

I’m not sure if I mentioned “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” (Netflix), the 2018 biographical comedy-drama film based on Josh Karp’s book of the same name, starring Will Forte as the late Douglas Kenney, one of the great guiding forces behind the National Lampoon magazine. As this film is based on the real life story of Mr. Kenney and this magazine, it does include a segment on National Lampoon’s first foray into motion pictures – the unforgettable “Animal House,” which of course, included LOUIE LOUIE by the Kingsmen and John Belushi.

Recently on PBS, there was a great mini-series entitled “ICON: Music Through the Lens,” which focused on stories of music photographers

Early on in episode 1, photographer Chris Floyd shares a great analogy that references the concept of LOUIE LOUIE as part of a three-step assembly of what he considered photographic perfection . . . which of course I loved.

As a longtime fan of the band Sparks, I was quite giddy to learn that the Mael brothers would be the subject of a wonderful documentary entitled “The Sparks Brothers.”

Did I expect Ron Mael to acknowledge the song LOUIE LOUIE in this documentary? Of course not!

Do I think that if Ron and Russell ever decided to record their own version of LOUIE LOUIE, it would be truly amazing? Absolutely!! Love these guys!

If you have no idea who this “Sparks” band is, go visit their YouTube channel! Fun stuff!

Last, but not least, my favorite LOUIE guru/advisor – Jeff Stretch Riedle provided a LOUIE update on a movie he just watched, which he kindly allowed me to share on this webpage…

OK, here’s the story. I randomly pick a bad movie to watch on Amazon Prime. It’s got a sex theme so why wouldn’t I watch it? A 2010 movie called “Meet Monica Velour“. About a 17 year old kid who wants to meet his porn star fantasy woman. The movie is about his travels to find her, sell his weiner truck to an art collector, and then settle down with her and her daughter. Problem is now the porn star, played by Kim Cattrall, is 49 years old.

At the end of the movie the kid comes back home and gets a girlfriend his own age. One of the pictures on his scrapboard wall show’s both of them wearing a restaurant bib that says LOUIE’S (King Of The Clam Strip). So standing next to each other it says LOUIE’S LOUIE’S.

And as I again randomly watch some of the credits, it’s obvious this movie was shot in parts of Michigan near my old home. And the kicker is they thank the Livonia School System. Know where I grew up and went to school? LIVONIA, MICHIGAN!!!

No musical connection in the movie, however, to LL.

* – some of these were shared at the Facebook LOUIE LOUIE Party, but not all of ’em.

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Reference Links:

The Way Back
A Futile and Stupid Gesture
ICON: Music Through the Lens
The Sparks Brothers
Meet Monica Velour
Sparks – official website
Sparks – official YouTube channel

August update for 2021 dearly departed

It’s August 2021 and time for an update on more folks that are no longer with us

Death, the inevitable factor in this cycle of life, continues in it’s natural path. We continue to lose people we care about, in spite of all efforts to delay such final conclusions.

Joey D’Ambrosio

Joey D’Ambrosio (aka Joey Ambrose) was the original tenor sax player with Bill Haley and Comets, one of the earliest groups to be credited as a “rock ‘n’ roll band.” He was a member of the band from 1953 until 1955, and was part of the original recording session of their massive hit record “Rock Around the Clock.” He left the band along with four other members to start another band that would be known as the Jodimars, which lasted for approximately three more years.

Joey D’Ambrosio, Dick Richards and_Bill Haley

Six years after Bill Haley’s death, Joey along with his four fellow former Comets/Jodimars (Marshall Lytle on bass, Johnny Grande on piano, Dick Richards on drums and Franny Beecher on guitar), reunited as the Original Comets in 1987.

In 2004, the LOUIE team was honored to work with the Original Comets, producing a concert video at Bimbo’s nightclub in San Francisco.

A few days ago we just learned via Facebook that Joey passed away on Monday morning – August 9th. Joey was the last surviving member of Bill Haley’s original Comets.

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Roy Gaines

Roy Gaines was a Texas blues guitarist with a long history in music. His older brother Grady played saxophone with Little Richard‘s Upsetters, and Roy was consumed by music as a young child. At the age of 14, Roy met his musical hero, T-Bone Walker, and made such a strong impression with his talents that he was thereafter labeled as “T-Bone Jr.” As his career progressed, he would move from Houston to Los Angeles at the age of 16, joining Roy Milton‘s band, which was followed by a stint working with Chuck Willis. In the course of his career, he would wind up working with Bobby Blue Bland, Junior Parker and Big Mama Thornton in the 1950s, and would later work with such artists as Ray Charles, Everly Brothers, the Supremes, Bobby Darin, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight in the 1960s.

Roy was another great music legend that the LOUIE team was proud to work with, collaborating with him on the Blues Express TV show. His death was announced on Facebook by his daughter Carolyn Gaines. He died on August 11, the day before his 86th birthday.


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Deb Adams

Deb Adams was a longtime friend of the LOUIE documentary project. We made contact in the 1990’s when she was the publisher of a music ‘zine known as 60s Beat. She was passionate about music from the 60s, and absolutely loved the music of Paul Revere & the Raiders. She provided many great leads for the documentary project, and will be missed.

Deb Adams and Paul Revere

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Dusty Hill

I’m seeing a lot of love for Dusty Hill, the ZZ Top bassist that recently passed away.

The late Buck Munger, the former Sunn Music + Fender representative that became the publisher of the TWO LOUIES music newspaper, was a good friend of ZZ Top. He told me than whenever ZZ Top played Portland (Oregon), they would always perform LOUIE LOUIE at the sound check, paying tribute to the hometown guys that had a big hit with that song. While I still haven’t been able to track down any recordings of those sound checks, I do have a photo of Billy Gibbons with those hometown guys – Lynn Easton, Jack Ely, and Mike Mitchell, the three founding members of the Kingsmen that are no longer with us.

photo courtesy of Buck Munger

Lynn Easton, Billy Gibbons, Jack Ely and Mike Mitchell


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Liz Day Sidebottom

Liz Day Sidebottom was the wife of Bob Sidebottom, the legendary comic book store pioneer of San Jose, California. Bob was one of the earliest people to open up a comic shop in the USA, running the Comic Collector Shop from 1968 until his death in 1993. In addition to running a shop, Bob also published a series of underground comic books during the 1970s. with such titles as “California Comics,” “Barbarian Comics” and “Barbarian Women Comics.”

Bob was a good friend that taught me a lot about music and comic books. He was a solid supporter of the LOUIE project, and it was a wonderful day when I was able to bring Richard Berry into Bob’s shop, where they could yack about Charlie Parker, Fats Domino, and all sorts of other cool music in the 1950s (Check out the YouTube clip of that meeting)

Liz kept the Comic Collector Shop going for a few years, even publishing a brand new version of “Barbarian Women Comics” in 1995, before finally shutting down all operations and moving away from San Jose in 1996.

click on picture to view the full editorial

Liz died of natural causes on June 11, 2020. Their daughter, Parker Day is currently a successful photographer based in Los Angeles that recently appeared on Hulu’s “Exposure” reality TV game show.

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As I was finishing this blog post, I learned about the passing of yet another musician I’m fond of.

Nancy Griffith

I can’t think of any Nanci Griffith LOUIE connections, but she was a great singer and will be missed…..

In the meantime, I’m hoping the grim reaper will slow down a bit.

Les Yper-Sound’s Psyché Rock – direct inspiration for Futurama theme song

This week, I’m recycling our friend Clay Stabler‘s addition to the LOUIE LOUIE Wikipedia page.

In 1967 French composers Michel Colombier and Pierre Henry, collaborating as Les Yper-Sound, produced a musique concrète work based on the “Louie Louie” riff titled “”Psyché Rock“. They subsequently worked with choreographer Maurice Béjart on a “Psyché Rock”-based score for the ballet Messe pour le temps présent. The full score with multiple mixes of “Psyché Rock” was released on the album Métamorphose. The album was reissued in 1997 with additional remixes including one by Ken Abyss titled “Psyché Rock (Metal Time Machine Mix)” that, along with the original, heavily influenced Christopher Tyng‘s Futurama theme song.

Listen to the original here:


https://youtu.be/TKz4qVmUz84

… and here for comparison is the Futurama theme song:


https://youtu.be/pkO1u2hrwxA

Memorial for Mike Mitchell of the Kingsmen

Music Millennium (of Portland, Oregon) announced this special event on Facebook.

In 1963, before Beatlemania here in the states, there was a song that a Portland band recorded that inspired a ton of guitarists to play guitar …..Louie Louie by the Kingsmen. The Kingsmen’s guitarist was Mike Mitchell, an amazing guitarist and an amazing human being. In April, Mike left us. The Kingsmen asked me and my friend Alex Hart to help put on a show to celebrate the life of Mike Mitchell. This is going to be a night to remember. The Kingsmen and Friends will include the below guests plus a special set from three former members of Paul Revere & The Raiders….Phil “Fang” Volk, Jim Valley and Keith Allison!
Hope to see you there.
Terry

An Appreciation of The Dreamers to The Blossoms

The Dreamers – Annette Williams, Gloria Jones and Nannette Williams

This week, we’re pointing the mighty LOUIE spotlight at The Dreamers, a vocal group that would became the Blossoms. As music writer Jay Warner once declared, this band was “the most successful unknown group of the 60s.”

Richard Berry, the man who wrote LOUIE LOUIE, played a significant role in the early years of this musical group of teenage girls that included Gloria Jones, Fanita Barrett, twins Annette and Nannette Williams, as well as Jewel Cobbs and Pat Howard. When they met Richard, he was a recording artist that was transitioning from a member of the Flairs to a solo artist. He became a mentor and dear friend for these young ladies, as he brought them to Modern Records, where they were christened with “the Dreamers” name and signed to the Flair Records subsidiary label.

Their first recording, as The Dreamers featuring Richard Berry in 1954, included a cover version of “At Last” – originally a Glenn Miller song that would become a big hit for Etta James six years later, and “Bye Bye (Baby)” – a song that was probably written by Richard Berry, but credited to “Joe Josea,” an alias used by record company honcho Joe Bihari.

After an appearance by the Dreamers on Johnny Otis‘ radio show to promote this new record, Jewel Cobbs and Pat Howard found themselves at odds with their fathers over this controversial rhythm and blues music, and had to quit the band. The Dreamers continued to record for Flair Records, as Richard Berry & the Dreamers or simply “The Dreamers” before moving over to Flip Records, where Richard was recording with a band known as the Pharaohs.

When Richard Berry and the Pharaohs recorded the very first version of “Louie Louie,” Gloria Jones of the Dreamers, was the only woman singing backup vocals. As fate would have it, she is also the last survivor of that recording session.

After some semi-concurrent sessions with three Dreamers recording as The Rollettes for Googie Rene‘s Class record label, the Dreamers signed to Capitol Records in 1957 as The Blossoms. When Annette Williams took a leave of absence to have a baby in 1963, Darlene Love stepped in as a replacement, which changed the dynamics of the group.

Over the the course of 45 assorted years, members of the Dreamers-Blossoms did recordings for Phil Spector, and performed as backup singers for such artists as Sam Cooke, Gene Autry, Aretha Franklin, Doris Day, Tom Jones, Dick Dale and Elvis Presley.

Morgan Neville‘s 2013 Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” shared some of the stories of Dreamers-Blossoms

I’m grateful Richard Berry invited me to what turned out to be the final performance of Richard Berry and the Dreamers. Here’s a snippet from that performance that took place on February 24, 1996 in Long Beach,California…

There’s two great CD compilations of the Dreamers-Blossoms that I can recommend:

The Dreamers – They Sing Like Angels from Ace is an excellent compilation that focuses on their recordings on Flair/Modern, Flip and Class. The CD includes a 12 page booklet with extensive liner notes by Opal Nations. It also features the original LOUIE LOUIE, featuring the best transfer you’ll ever hear of this recording, as Ace did superb mastering from the original Flip tapes that they own.

The brand new CD from JasmineThe Dreamers To the Blossoms – Evolution of a Girl Group is the first compilation that collects both of these groups, as well as some of the assorted sessions with Duane Eddy, Ed Townshend, and Phil Spector. While not as encyclopedic as the Ace CD 12 page liner notes, the fold-out liner notes by Roger Dopson are also superb with some information that’s unique to this collection.

With this particular CD, I discovered “Little Louie” – a recording by the Blossoms that was released as a 45 single by Capitol Records in 1958.

Perhaps this track is reminiscent of another song named LOUIE, like maybe that other one that came out in 1957?

Hmmm…. you tell me…


The Blossoms – Little Louie on Capitol CL14856

This is also a good chunk of vinyl to own.

While there’s NO liner notes or even photos of the Dreamers with this album, the music is quite wonderful, and the Fazio painting is well worth framing!

… also available on 8-track…. if you can find it! (I got mine)

For more information on this band, I would encourage you to seek out additional articles by Opal Nations, Jay Warner, Steve Propes, Galen Gart, and Electric Earl, as well as the book by Darlene Love.

(check the links below)

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Reference links:

Electric Earl (Doo Wop Society of Southern California) – The Dreamers & The Blossoms

The Opal Nations website – a great resource for roots music history, including a wonderful article on the Dreamers and a cool illustration of Richard Berry. (A fun webpage to get lost in)

American Singing Groups – Jay Warner

L.A. R&B Vocal Groups, 1945-1965 – Steve Propes & Galen Gart

My Name is Love – Darlene Love

The Dreamers – They Sing Like Angels

The Dreamers To the Blossoms – Evolution of a Girl Group

LOUIE REPORT – Gloria Jones’ 80th Birthday

LOUIE REPORT – RIP: The Last of Richard Berry’s Pharaohs

The Subtle Sounds of LOUIE

Some of the most inspired variations of LOUIE LOUIE aren’t even called LOUIE LOUIE.

RIP: Rusty Warren, comedian

Rusty Warren, the groundbreaking bawdy female comic, died in her sleep on Tuesday morning at 91 years old.

Warren was a lounge and nightclub performer who released a bunch of comedy albums containing songs with naughty lyrics. At the height of her success, alongside such contemporaries as Lenny Bruce, Redd Foxx and others, she was breaking down comedic boundaries during the 1960s.

Like LOUIE LOUIE, Rusty Warren’s success came from recordings considered naughty by the public.

Like LOUIE LOUIE, both can credit Boston for providing a proper nurturing ground.

LOUIE LOUIE became a national hit record in late 1963, thanks in part to Boston disc jockey Arnie Ginsburg, whose audience embraced the Kingsmen recording in a major way, reaching the #1 spot on the Cashbox Hit Singles chart and the #2 spot on the Billboard Hit Singles chart for a couple of weeks.

Rusty Warren grew up in Milton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.

Rusty’s first records were released by Jubilee Records, with such album titles as “Songs for Sinners” (1959), “Knockers Up!”(1960), “Sin-sational” (1961), “Rusty Warren Bounces Back” (1961), “Rusty Warren in Orbit” (1962) and “Banned in Boston?” (1963). Known as the “Knockers Up Gal”, she has frequently been called the “mother of the sexual revolution”

To say she was part of a beautiful movement would be a serious understatement.

Reference Links:
Wikipedia- Rusty Warren

Odd Man Out / Ray Stevens II – LOUIE of the Month

Today, we’re going to shine the LOUIE spotlight at San Jose music legend, and longtime associate Ray Stevens II. Ray’s been in a bunch of fun punk/rock bands – Los Olvidados, The Faction, Drunk Injuns, and Clay Wheels, among others, and today we’re going to share a very special clip of him with one of those bands, playing that special song we’re quite fond of on this website..

The band was Odd Man Out, and this was a performance at the very first LOUIE LOUIE parade of San Francisco, which took place on May 2, 1988, captured for posterity by yours truly. The band consisted of Ray Stevens on bass, Steve Caballero on guitar, Marc Gonzales on drums, Chris Cisper on vocals and Karen Heimgartner on keyboards.

Sadly, this week, Ray is in the hospital, fighting off Covid-19. We’re all wishing Ray a very speedy recovery.

As Ray has also been dealing with some other health issues, a special GoFund account has been created to help him and his wife deal with these illnesses and the incidental costs associated with his recovery.

If you’re here, you know Ray or he has touched your life in one way or another, through his music (Los Olvidados, The Faction, Drunk Injuns, Clay Wheels, and others), DJ-ing, skating and traveling, or just by being the legendary guy who he is. Ray is currently in the Stanford ICU, on oxygen, and battling Covid. For those who know him, he’s had a few medical battles over the last year or two. Although he has insurance, there are going to be huge bills to pay and tons of incidental costs associated with his recovery. Anything you can contribute will help, and please send your prayers and positive vibes and leave him a message here if you want. We will be adding updates as we get new information. We are all wishing him and his wife Kim the best as they cope with this latest setback.

E.P. with associate producer J.B. of LouieLouie.net

UPDATE: Ray was released from hospital and is recuperating nicely at his home!