Riot at Smashed! Blocked!, Beauty Bar, New York City
Smashed! Blocked! featuring resident DJ Josh Styles, DJ Honky plus Go Go dancers (Georgi), people.
This is "New York City's Monthly Freakout," a great Mod/Psych/Soul DJ night that's always packed. So it was a real kick to do the live DJ thing during the first hour or so, with a packed dance floor and people really movin'. Here's the set list of records I played, all from '60s L.A. groups, and featured in my book Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood. We wailed until closing time at 4 a.m., doin' the club's traditional yellout/danceout/singalong to the Sunrays' "I Live For The Sun," for the last 20 minutes of the night.
The Standells -- Riot on Sunset Strip (from the movie "Riot on Sunset Strip")
The Hollywood Persuaders -- Drums a Go Go
Kim Fowley -- The Trip (from the movie "Popcorn")
The Beaten Path -- Dr. Stone (from the movie "The Cool Ones")
The Knack -- Time Waits For No One
The Modern Folk Quartet -- Night Time Girl
Lyme & Cybelle -- Follow Me
Preston Epps -- Afro Mania
The Girls -- Chico's Girl
Pat & Lolly Vegas -- Robot Walk (from the movie "The Nasty Rabbit" starring Arch Hall Jr.)
The Magnificent "7" -- L.A. Go Go
Ed "Kookie" Byrnes -- Kookie's Mad Pad
Friday, August 10, 2007
Riot at the movies in Philadelphia, PA
Tonight, Secret Cinema in Philadelphia hosted a screening of the 1967 film Riot on Sunset Strip, along with my 1966 Sunset Strip Slide Show and a couple of clips from other movies, all shot on the mid-'60s L.A. teen scene.
The place was the Latvian Hall (opened in the late 1800s and last remodeled in 1965), and the setup was cool because there was a bar downstairs, where after the films, DJ Silvia and I spun records until 2 a..m. The added bonus is that drinks could be brought upstairs to where the films were screening, so the crowd was really havin' a good, loose time. I noticed that everyone, during Riot on Sunset Strip were laghing and oohing-and ahh-ing at all the right moments. A very hip crowd came, to the number about 134 admissions, all havin' a good time. I hosted from a podium, we had a rousing question and answer session, and one cat asked about the Venice Beats (!) Man, it was a swingin' time. Jay Schwartz, grand poo-bah of Secret Cinema, brought along, and cued, film clips of Pat & Lolly Vegas playing at The Haunted House on Hollywood Boulevard (from the 1966 movie It's A Bikini World) and Debbie Watson strolling down Sunset Strip (from The Cool Ones ) past deVoss boutique, Wil Wright's Ice Cream Parlor, Pupi's and other outdoor dining places on Sunset Plaza, then down to her pad at the Sunset Tower. The whole time, the audio is playing "This Town," appearing in the movie to be sung by Debbie Watson, but we think it was "ghost-sung" by Nancy Sinatra. See, the great Lee Hazelwood did the music for The Cool Ones, so there was some discussion about Hazelwood in the Q&A, as the great man passed away just last week.
After a break, Riot on Sunset Strip screened, and to be honest, I've only ever seen it on TV. So the expanded size was really helpful in terms of all the cool people you see walking by on the screen. Also it was pretty intense to see the Chocolate Watchband, the Standells and The Enemys that huge. I was very, very impressed. Jay did a great job setting this whole thing up special, in a room that has only a stage, bringing in his own screen and projectors just for the event. DJ Silvia and I had a lot of fun, and I can't remember all the records we played, switching off half hour sets between us for the rest of the night, but I do remember hearing at least 4 songs by the Chocolate Watchband, and 4 songs by the Standells. At one point, when I played "Sittin' There Standing" from the Riot on Sunset Strip soundtrack, I heard more than one excited dancefloor participant exclaim "This is just like bein' in the movie!"
I hope that by doing these events, we can all achieve that a whole lot more often.
Nashville Ramblers: Tom Ward, Carl Rusk, Ron Silva w/ Genine and Riot author Domenic Priore (Brooklyn, New York, 8/12/07). Photo by Audrey Moorehead.
Sunday, August 12:
Riot at Academy LPs/CDs, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The Nashville Ramblers performed a 90-minute set in conjunction with the release of Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood, playing songs discussed in the book. A crowd of around a hundred people came to this in-store and heard "Let Her Dance" by the Bobby Fuller Four, "It's No Use" and "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" by the Byrds, "She's Not Just Anybody" by the Dovers, "That's When Happiness Began" by the Addrissi Brothers, "Just a Memory" by the Leaves and a whole bunch more. Significantly, the set closed with "Baby Don't Go" by Sonny & Cher, a really overlooked group in actuality. People have been telling me that during the 1966 Sunset Strip Slide Show, that it is completely refreshing to see color photos from their performance at It's Boss, because "all you ever see is pictures of them from their '70s TV show anymore"... which of course is well after their cooler mid-'60s recording career. It's one of the main points of the book, something Nashville Ramblers drummer and vocalist Ron Silva and I used to discuss about a lot of acts; "The earlier, the better".
Ron started out as lead singer of the Crawdaddys in 1978, and later joined with guitarist Carl Rusk of the Mystery Machine in 1985 to form this amazing harmony duo, with a sound akin to the Everly Brothers records of the mid-'60s. Carl can get into a groove with the sound of James Burton on those LPs like "Gone Gone Gone," "Beat & Soul," "In Our Image" and others. The Everly Brothers had actually moved to L.A. druing that era, performing at the Hullabaloo club just after it opened in 1965. They became a regular act on the Shindig! television show and also made an appearance on the Where The Action Is TV show at The Trip. So the Nashville Ramblers were right in that mode, playing "Wrong Before" from the Hollies-backed "Two Yanks In England" album in their set as well.
Bass player Tom Ward came to the Nashville Ramblers from the Gravedigger V. In time, he became not only a fine-tuned bass player in the rhythm section with Ron, but part of the vocal mix as well. The group now features tremendous three-part harmonies that went especially well with Tom's lead vocal on "Baby Don't Go". My thanks go to Tom, Carl and Ron, who also did an incredible set at Magnetic Field later that evening that sounded as if they were playing on the set of a television Variety show, which is fitting for New York City on a Sunday night. If it were up to me, they'd be on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Thursday, August 16
Riot in Soho, New York City
This evening, McNally-Robinson Booksellers Inc. (52 Prince Street, Nolita) hosted the fourth book store event this summer in New York, based on Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood.
After so many events, I wasn't sure there'd be enough interest to draw another crowd, but to the contrary; The Nashville Ramblers appearance the previous Sunday at Academy LPs/CDs, the Smashed! Blocked! DJ night, the WFMU broadcast, and buzz from the Barnes & Noble, Spoonbill & Sugartown Inc. and Bluestockings Radical Books events all created enough word of mouth, so that a tide of new people came out and filled up McNally-Robinson Booksellers.
It also didn't hurt that The New Yorker, out of all the book events in the city that week, chose this one to write up as a pick for the week (along with 3 others). That is something for a sunbaked, beached-out surfer from Los Angeles, believe me; to get a writeup in The New Yorker feels like a real honor. My father, who lived in New York from 1915 until 1954, used to always tell me "You should read The New Yorker, there are a lot of things that I think you'll like in there." Thanks, dad, and a hearfelt thank you to the The New Yorker.
Several veteran journalists in the audience picked up on this from that writeup (most of the audience at my book events tend to be people under the age of 50... too young to have "lived through" the '60s). One recieved a volley of applause when it was revealed that she had been a writer for Hit Parader back when it was cool. Now, for the past 30 years, Hit Parader has been a truly awful publication, just the worst, but, during the '60s, it was actually the best. In-depth interviews about music with The Byrds, Love, Frank Zappa, The Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and many others appeared regularly.
The subject of her question summed up the evening well; the unintentional, ubiquitous interaction between Pop art, Pop music and the Animation industry during the '60s, and how the Flower Power and garage vibe of mid-'60s Sunset Strip wound up having a tremendous influence on successive generations via syndication and re-runs (that always seemed backdated to "1966"). Thankfully, Joly MacFie was there to videotape the event, which you can take a look at here by clicking or copying and pasting the links below:
http://punkcast.com/1188 and youtube
note that the whole thing is on google vid at
The strangest thing about the evening was a bizzarre appearance by a guy claiming to be "Mark Loomis of The Chocolate Watchband." When I shared the clip with someone close to the band, Alec Palao, his reaction was immediate. "That guy in your video is not Mark Loomis, founder of the Chocolate Watchband," said Palao, "but some sad imposter spouting a load of tripe (the real Loomis was too busy doing acid at home in Cupertino in 1966 to be familiar with the liquor laws on the East Coast - he'll get a tickle out of the fact he has an impersonator tho')." Before Joly could take the guy's conversation off Punkcast, Dave Aguilar of The Chocolate Watchband also noticed the imposter, and gently pointed out that it was not Mark Loomis. So anyone who was there that night, and journalists everywhere, remember, double, and triple-check your "sources," every time. No one remembers everything correctly, and some people just make stuff up, in the extreme. Like, who would choose to pose as the relatively obscure "Mark Loomis of The Chocolate Watchband"?
Nonetheless, we had a great time at the event, and afterward, nine of us (including Frank Max, formerly with The Fad, and Tom Ward of The Nashville Ramblers) made it down to Lombardi's Coal Oven Pizza (est. 1905) at 32 Spring Street. It's my favorite in New York. The evening "wound down" with a performance by The Swinging Neckbreakers at Arlene's Grocery in the Lower East Side.
Thursday, August 23
Riot at Club Royale, Park Slope, Brooklyn, The Wang Dang Doodle club
For the final night of my six-week New York City/Philadelphia book tour, my old pal from Los Angeles, Phast Phreddie (formerly of the Rhino Records store and now, a resident of Brooklyn + host of some of New York's best DJ nights, including this, and Subway Soul Club @ Riffifi) had me join him for a full night of mid-'60s L.A. records. Not much else to say, it was well attended, and it gave me a last chance to see pals like Billy & Miriam from Norton Records, and many others who live in and around the neighborhood. Take a look at this list, and you can see how deep the subject matter can go, concerning the music discussed in "Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood". Club Royale has perfect velvet booths and much like the 1964-1982 version of Whisky a Go Go, they are elevated above a cool dance floor. Here is what people were groovin' by on the night...
"Sunny" by Billy Preston, recorded live at The Trip, 1966
"Cruise" by The Ambertones
"Huggie's Bunnies" by The Blendells
"Poquito Soul" by The Brown Brothers of Soul (Li'l Ray with Little Willie G. of Thee Midniters)
"Henrietta" by Rick and the Ravens (early Doors recording with The Byrds on backing vocals)
"My Little Red Book" by Cal Tjadr
"Tina Delgado is Alive!" by The Real Don Steele
"Good Lovin'" by The Olympics
"Billy's Bag" by Billy Preston (with Preston Epps on bongos)
"Everybody's Goin' Mod" by Johnny Wyatt
"The Oogum Boogum Song" by Brenton Wood
"Baby You Got It" by Brenton Wood
"Saturday Night" by The Bobby Fuller Four
"Abba Zabba" by Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band
"Who Do You Love" by The Preachers
"Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go" by Sammy Lee & the Summits
"(I'm Not You're) Steppin' Stone" by The Monkees
"Puddin' and Tain" by The Alley Cats (produced by Phil Spector)
"Out of Sight" by Cannibal & the Headhunters
"Poochum" by The Mixtures
"Never Knew I Had it So Bad" by Thee Midniters
"Live" by The Merry Go Round
"Call Me" by Chris Montez
"La La Time - Part 1" by The Salty Peppers (pre-Earth, Wind & Fire)
"Secret Agents" by The Olympics
"I'm Under the Influence of Love" by Felice Taylor
"Peter Gunn" by Sandy Nelson
"I Got Love" by Viola Wills
"Gonna Get Along Without You Now" by The Vibrations
"Tainted Love" by Gloria Jones
"'Bout Love" by Clydie King
"Pigmy (Part 1) by The Delegates
"Apricot Brandy" by Rhinoceros
"The Beat Goes On" by Buddy Rich with Cathy Rich, lead vocal (Shorty Rogers, arrangement)
"Harlem Shuffle" by Bob & Earl
"Whoop it On Me" by Brenton Wood
"Unconscious Power" by Iron Butterfly
"Have You Seen Her Face" by The Byrds
"Almost There" by The Turtles
"It's Love Come What May" by The Bobby Fuller Four
"Don't Do It" by Mickey Dolenz
"The Frog" by Sir Frog (Downey Records)
"Tecumseh" by The Spacewalkers
"Buzz Saw" by The Turtles
"The Rebel Kind" by Dino, Desi & Billy"
"Wild Honey" by The Beach Boys
"Nobody" by Larry Williams and Johnny "Guitar" Watson with The Kaleidoscope
"Sins of a Family" by P.F. Sloan
"It's Gonna Rain" by Sonny & Cher
"Nau Ninny Nau" by Cannibal & the Headhunters
"Drag City" by Jan & Dean
"For Mods Only" by Chico Hamilton
Thank you, New York, and good night (Below, a 1978 Whisky a Go Go menu featuring Phast Phreddie as a top menu item, culled from our mutual days as early L.A. punk rockers, and well before Whisky a Go Go went bunk in 1984. - Domenic Priore)