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Memories of Gold

The 1st Bus Tour - Jan. 30th, 1969

   I remember us leaving the office in Beverly Hills, for the beginning of our first bus tour. We were excited and ready to get after it. We had a bus driver named Wendell, that early on had had enough of us and all our "locker room boys" mentality on the bus. He once stopped the bus in Pocatello, Idaho, I think, and told us all to stay on the bus, while he went inside the place where he had stopped. We waited, and he returned a half hour later, after having had a sit down meal. He just got on the bus and started driving again, without a word. What a guy! We would have all loved to have gotten something to eat, but he didn't want to get hung up, so he just lied to us. He was more interested in making good time on the road. Later, he completely bailed on us and a new driver took over. These were times of great anticipation, and not to glorify it, permeated with "herb of the day" for our travels. Again, a 60's thing. I'll just speak for myself and the musicians. How's that? A glorious trip it was. I was just 21 years old and on the road promoting our new record. Way good. What I had waited for, ever since I picked up a guitar. This was no dream. It was finally happening.

   We arrived in Boseman, MT in the dead of winter. Snow was everywhere. Fine with me. I don't remember the gig, per se, but the driver (Wendell) and the snow is what I remember the most.

   Then we swung to the Northwest, Oregon and Washington. Cool. Another area I had never been to, except once as a child, when my family went to Crater Lake in Oregon. The shows went wonderfully and the audiences received us with open arms. The Northwest area was really where our career was launched. To this day, we hold the fans there in high esteem, and owe a special "thanks" to Seattle disc jockey and dance promoter, Pat O'Day who was highly responsible for the initial radio play we received in that area. Pat, also started Concerts West which was instrumental in our bookings. Take the time to read his book, "It Was All Just Rock -'n"-Roll II" (A return to the Center of the Radio & concert Universe, Ballard Publishing, Inc.) when you have time. Way good!

  When I was writing this book, and was almost finished, I came upon some photos of the band in 1969 sent to me by Craig Folkes from Washington State. I'm just thrilled to have them, but there's a problem inserting them after I have completed so many chapters. What I have decided to do is to make a few pages of these photos available here by a link, with return links provided of course. Just click on Craigs name above to view them. There's also a second set of 1969 photos taken by Dian Lawrence that were given to me by friend Chuck Stenberg. Click on Dian's name to view them.

    While in Portland, Jimmy and I took a walk down by the river. We were walking along and a kid approached us. He pulled out a gun. We looked at each other. He was obviously as nervous as we were. After a few seconds, he bailed on what was probably a diverted robbery attempt and said, "you guys wanta buy a gun?" We said "no thanks, man. Appreciate it, but, .... no thanks." So was the first good story from the tour zone.

   Holiday Inns were the staple of the tour. Every room, looking exactly the same as in the previous city. It added to the fog of doing one town after another, making it harder to distinguish just where the heck you were, when you woke up. Some old road pictures, taken in the rooms are indistinguishable from one another, as to which city it was taken in. Holiday Inn, at that time, was a fairly new chain of hotels, at least to me. No big lobbies or fancy covered swimming pools or convention meeting rooms. Just rooms. Dependable, reasonably priced, rooms. Cool with us. We were loving it. Finally, to be out doing it like we wanted for so long.

An itinerary of our first bus tour in 1969. We should have bought stock in Holiday Inn.


   The Sacramento gig brought a special memory, due to the fact that after the show, Steppenwolf threw us a "tour celebration dinner." Great guys and we were proud to be touring with them. At that time, their band consisted of John Kay (vocals), Mike Monarch (guitar) , Nick St. Nicholas (bass guitar, wearing a dress of sorts, many times. Another 60's swishy thing that seemed to add to the "Everyday is Halloween" attitude of 60's rock n roll), Goldy McJohn (Hammond organ), and Jerry Edmonton (Drums). Jerry's brother wrote "Born to be Wild" and used the alias Mars Bonfire. They had an endorsement from Sun Amps. Of course, there was some natural, healthy inherent rivalry between groups, but these guys were really good and had hits before us. Stories of us "stealing the show" too often may have some basis in fact ( stories started by us, no doubt. Nyuk) , but Steppenwolf really rocked and DID headline the shows. They were, undeniably the established rock stars, who always gave great performances. Inspirational, really. John has remained good friends with us to this day. He has become an icon in the rock n roll field. They were, and are, a great rock band. I still love playing shows with them, although the members have changed over the years. Steppenwolf, a Canadian group originally called "Sparrow" that went on to become an American cultural legend. They are burned into the public's memory, with songs like the ever present, "Born to be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride," as well as many others. I'm very proud to have shared so many times, making rock n roll memories with these guys.

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