Sunday, April 20, 2008

Earthquake!!!

I was sleeping peacefully in my bed in the house on Providencia, which the whole band shared with various rotating house visitors. I always went to bed with my little transistor radio playing music on the local rock station. It was sometime in the late hours/early morning transition of time that I was woken up by the sensation of violent shaking. I thought someone had grabbed me by the shoulders and was shaking me as hard as they could!

After the shaking stopped I went out into the living room. Our house guests who were sleeping out there said the chandelier was swinging from ceiling to ceiling. I don't think the house sustained any damage, but I believe we were all pretty affected by the experience. That was my first major earthquake, and years later the Northridge quake was a reminder of that first one I was in. It is a fact of life that earthquakes happen here on the west coast, but you always remember your first.

Tommy Smothers and the Swimming Kitten

SmoBro Talent managed the Stony Brook People. Dick Smothers was usually busy with other projects and his car racing, so we mainly dealt with Tommy Smothers. On many occasions, the group hung out with Tommy at his house in the Hollywood Hills. I should mention that Tommy rented this particular house from Robert Montgomery (the father of Elizabeth Montgomery of “Bewitched” fame). As with many houses located in the Hollywood Hills, this house was cantilevered over the edge of a hill. After driving up the winding road to the house you would see a very non-descript wooden fence and the garage door. Housed in the garage was a dark green bathtub Porsche (probably a mid-60’s Porsche Speedster) and a customized 1956 Chevy Nomad 2-Door Wagon. To enter the house you had to go through a gate in the fence. Once through the gate you found yourself walking on a stone pathway, which led to the front door of the house. To the right of the pathway, among the plants in the lush landscaping, was the top of a stone waterfall that emptied into the built-in swimming pool, which was also cantilevered over the edge of the hill. If I’m not mistaken, I think I remember Marc Levine actually diving off the top of the waterfall into the pool below.

On one fine afternoon, we went up to meet with Tommy and generally hang out. We found Tommy in the swimming pool, being very careful not to get his hair wet. :) As we all sat down on the patio furniture next to the pool we noticed that Tommy was not alone in the pool. Swimming right next to him was a very small kitten. Of course, this freaked us out and we asked Tommy why the kitten was in the pool. He explained that he and his girlfriend had discovered the kitten swimming in a flooded area somewhere (I just can’t remember exactly where) and rescued it. After bringing it home, Tommy noticed that the kitten would pace up and down next to the pool every time Tommy would go for a swim. Eventually, Tommy picked up the kitten and took it into the pool with him. To his amazement, the kitten began to swim right next to him and didn’t seem to be in any distress. From then on, Tommy would have the kitten accompany him every time he went for a swim. I do believe that some of the local TV stations picked up on the story and broadcasted film of the kitten swimming with Tommy.

So there you have the story of Tommy Smothers and the Swimming Kitten. More stories about our experiences with Tommy will appear on our blog in the near future. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Our Other 45's On Columbia Records

This is the flip side of "There's Tomorrow".
This is a Radio Station Copy. Notice that George's original song, "He's Back Again", got the "A" side designation? Way to go George!!
The flip side of "He's Back Again".

Saturday, April 5, 2008

There's Tomorrow



Just found a picture of the label of one of our 45's on Columbia Records...There's Tomorrow, composed by George Reich.

Friday, April 4, 2008

How I met Jimmy Durante in the Ladies Room

As the house band at the Factory, in Beverly Hills, CA, we got to see and meet many famous people. One of my favorite encounters happened in, of all places, the ladies room there.

Between sets, one evening, Leah and I had to use the ladies room. In keeping with the rest of the Factory’s d├ęcor, the ladies room was a lavish affair with lots of marble and a lounge area with heavy red drapery tied back with golden cords and a couch covered in red velvet.

While Leah and I were in separate stalls, taking care of business, we could hear a commotion in the hallway outside. In a flash, the door of the ladies room flew open and a number of people entered. Hushed voices expressed concern regarding a woman, who had collapsed in the main room of the club, as she was placed on the red velvet couch to rest. One of the men, who had carried the women into the ladies room, asked where her brother might be. Leah and I both stole a peek out of our respective stalls, but not wanting to intrude, we quickly closed them again. At that very moment, the door to the ladies room flew open again and the unmistakable voice of Jimmy Durante met our ears. Apparently, the woman who had collapsed was his sister and he was anxious to see how she was doing.

Now, Leah and I had a problem, because all of this had taken a good deal of time and we had to get back on stage for our next set. After conferring, under the dividing wall between our stalls, we decided that we just had to get out of there. We opened the stall doors, walked over to the sink area and washed our hands. Then, in order to exit the ladies room, we had to walk past the lounge area where Jimmy and a few other people were still attending to his sister. We mumbled something about how we hoped his sister was feeling better and tried to work our way past him to the door. Jimmy turned, thanked us and told us that his sister seemed to be better. He then smiled and told us how much he and his sister had enjoyed the band that evening and hoped they would be able to come and see us again. He shook our hands and Leah and I left with a memory that most people would never be able to match. And that’s how I met Jimmy Durante in the Ladies Room.