Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women (So Ya Wanna Be A Rock&Roll Star?) Chapter XIII 1/28/20

With “Please Forget Her”
still #1 on the charts.

My baby girl Candis
grabbed hold of my heart.

Time to grow up
and be a man

But I still kinda miss 
being just a kid in a rock&roll band.

Not long after hearing Hal Ross of London Records say, “Hell, I’ll release that,” a box of our first release, “Until You Do” shows up just as I was leaving for an out of town gig.

The timing was perfect because we had to drive right by CKY on our way out of town, so we dropped off a few for Jimmy Darin and the rest of the KY Good Guys.
Then
as we reached the outskirts of town, we hear Jimmy Darin say, “Ladies and gentleman a CKY exclusive Until You Do by The Jury.”

There is no way to describe the feeling you get when you hear your record on the radio for the first time. The closest I can come is to say that it’s better than sex.
I would venture to say that even the big record stars can still tell you what they were doing and exactly where they were when they heard their first release on the radio.

I used to sit in my basement bedroom practicing my guitar and dream about someday hearing my record on the radio.
I always believed that when you became a recording artist, you also became a member of an exclusive club. Now your only problems were figuring out what to buy next, but unfortunately, dreams and reality have very little in common.Ral-DonnerThe first hint I ever got about how it all worked showed up when I was doing a short tour with Ral Donner, Troy Shondel, and Ernie Maresca. I, of course, though, wasn’t listening.

We were all sitting around Ral’s hotel room having a beer after having played our last show. Ral, who used to be a demo singer, was excitedly telling us that he was going to see Bobby Darin at the Copa the next night.
What I didn’t pick up was that Ral knew that he wasn’t in Bobby Darin’s league just as Bobby probably knew that he wasn’t in Sinatra’s.

Only after having a few records released did I come to realize that we’re not even close to being equal. After thinking about it for a few years now, I may have finally figured it out.

Imagine if you will, a pyramid-like structure that is seven stories high, and on the top floor, you have all the legends like Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, Michael Jackson, Elton John, The Eagles, Neil Young, etc.

One level down is the Hall of Famers. Rod Stewart, Johnny Cash, Dion, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Beach Boys, the Everlys, Chicago, The Moody Blues, Bobby Darin. And Tom Petty, to name a few.

Hanging out on level five are, The Guess Who, BTO, Freddy Cannon, Tommy Roe, Bobby Vee, Bruno Mars, Ral Donner, Del Shannon, Maroon 5, and a bunch of others who have had several top 10 hits.

On level four is where you’ll find the Winnipeg groups who have released a few records but haven’t gone national yet. The Devrons, The Galaxies, The Jury, The Eternals The Quid, The Shondells, Sugar & Spice, The 5th, Brother, and others.

Level three contains the hopefuls; you know, the acts who deserve to be signed but for whatever reason, aren’t.

Level two is the place where the folks who have just learned to play Louie Louie or whatever the entry-level tune is now that gets you thinking about starting a band.

On the bottom floor, you have all your dreamers. These are the kids who are thinking about buying a guitar and maybe becoming a rock & roll star just as I did when I first saw Elvis on TV.

The reality of the situation is that you better be making music for the love of it because the money doesn’t start to show up until at least the fifth level.After releasing “Until You Do,” we knew that it would be a while before the checks would start showing up, but surely Dick Clark would be calling to ask us to appear on American Bandstand soon? While waiting for big things to happen, we went back into the studio and cut our second release, “I Tried To Tell Her,” hoping that it would move us a little closer to stardom.

Unfortunately, the only thing rising faster than our records on the charts were our expenses, and oh yeah, where the f**k was the call from Dick Clark? When “I Tried To Tell Her” slipped off the charts, back into the studio, we went and recorded “Back In My World,” but nothing changed, so we decided to give it one last big push. Not only did we book Kay-Bank studios in Minneapolis, but we also changed record companies hoping a smaller label might have more time to promote us.

Out of the Kay-Bank session came “Please Forget Her,” which went on to become the #1 Canadian record in Canada. (see above)On the flip side was, “Who Dat?” which ended up becoming a cult favorite and covered by a few Grunge acts years later. It was also recently listed in a music publication as being 50 years ahead of its time. When I saw it listed on E-Bay the other day for $125.00, I wondered what the hell I did with that box of them that I used to have?
Would you like the Canadian or American version of it, sir?

Johnny-CashI knew that my band days were numbered when the butterflies stopped showing up before a performance. But even though it wasn’t as much fun anymore, I still got very excited when we opened for legends like Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. (shown above).

While watching the Ken Burns Country Music documentary on PBS, I loved the segment that they did about the Carter Family.
Although I did have to smile a little when both the documentary and the movie, “I Walk The Line,” portrayed June Carter as a rather saintly person.
However, I remember standing backstage with the Statler Brothers, watching Mother Maybell Carter and the Carter Family, after opening for Johnny Cash one night. They told a whole different story about how June had appointed herself as the leader of the band shortly after moving into Johnny’s suite even though they were both married to other people.
I guess the Statlers didn’t appreciate being told by a backup singer how and what to sing and used the “C” word with which to describe her.

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