Posts Tagged ‘Rolling Stone’

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Patti Smith Goes To School

October 17, 2008

I continue my retrospective of rock ‘n roll concert venues I attended from ‘back in the day’ with a last minute concert at Oberlin College, home of the famed Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio. It was the only time I attended a concert at the college’s Finney Chapel, a small theatre with great acoustics and sightlines and it was, as stated, a last minute decision to go.

One late afternoon on a weekday in the latter part of summer or early fall of 1977 (I can’t recall the month) I stopped to get gas in my hometown of Orrville, OH when two acquaintances, Steve and Russ, spotted me and stopped by with a plan. They were headed to Oberlin College to see the Patti Smith Group and did I want to hitch a ride with them? I didn’t even know they were playing that night but what the hell, I’m in.

I had heard Patti’s first LP and an early single and was well familiar with her and especially her guitarist, Lenny Kaye, from all of his work in the various music magazines of the day. In addition to writing for Creem and Rolling Stone magazines, Lenny also served as editor of Rock Scene and Hit Parader magazines. Thanks to Lenny, and lots of other New York based media, Patti Smith was turning up in all of the rock ‘n roll magazines and fanzines.

We checked out a map at the station, I parked the car and off we went to Oberlin College. When we got there we tracked down the location of Finney Chapel, scoped out the nearby scenery and then made our way to the boxoffice to buy tickets and find our seats. I was a month or two from turning 20 but I felt o-l-d. The students who attended the concert and who we mingled with at the concession areas seemed young for some reason. A different vibe, but not negative.

When Patti Smith and her band took the stage I was expecting a garage band performance and I got that and a whole lot more. The band put on a hell of a show, the music was rockin’ and Patti was captivating. She put a lot into that show and the music was new, exciting and…. different. Patti Smith made me take a good hard look and listen as ‘punk’ arrived and that performance, and subsequent albums, broadened my musical tastes considerably.

But looking at that concert on performance alone, they hit a grand slam and I’m glad I went. Factoid: Some time after, Liz Phair attended Oberlin where she studied art.

Finney Chapel at Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH.

Finney Chapel at Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH.

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‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt.1

September 7, 2008

Terry Knight of Terry Knight & The Pack

Way back in the early 1960’s at the Atlantic-Richfield gas station on West Market Street in my hometown of Orrville, Oh ‘sock hops’ were held during summer evenings. I was too young to attend but my older brother and sister went to them. A couple years later a couple dances with live bands were held in the parking lot on the north side of Smith’s Grocery on South Main Street and even though I was too young to attend I do remember one dance in particular, circa 1966, that my sister and her best friend attended that featured Terry Knight & The Pack.

 

Dad & Mom drove Cheryl and her friend, also named Cheryl, in to Orrville and dropped them off at Smith’s while the rest of our family went several blocks away to my uncle and aunt’s home until the dance was over. Another uncle & aunt were there so eventually a cousin and myself walked up Oak Street to Main Street to Clyde Matthew’s Union 76 gas station to get a bottle of Pepsi. Several blocks south we could hear the music so we decided to walk down and take a peak.

 

Once we got near Smith’s Grocery (we were across the street and intimidated by all those rowdy teenagers) we hung around for about a half hour and watched the band and the high schoolers having a good time before walking back to our uncle’s.

 

After the dance both Cheryls walked up to where our uncle lived and man were they exited! Terry Knight & The Pack (never heard of them prior to that night) had a couple records being played on Cleveland radio and to the two Cheryls they were big stars! You’d have thought they died and went to heaven (they had some of their 45 singles).

 

Fast forward to 1971 and I’m a typical male teenager into Grand Funk Railroad. I knew they were managed by Terry Knight but imagine my surprise when, after reading various articles and interviews with Mark, Don and Mel in Creem, Circus, Hit Parader and Rolling Stone I discovered that Grand Funk’s Mark Farner and Don Brewer were in Terry Knight & The Pack! Cripes, I saw 2/3 of Grand Funk Railroad several years prior and didn’t know!

 

Not long after that discovery I was able to catch Grand Funk Railroad in concert in Cleveland and I think somewhere around ’73 or ’74 I caught them in Indianapolis when a carload of us went to see them.

 

Terry Knight, from Flint, MI, was a DJ in the early 60’s (including a stint at the legendary CKLW and credited as the DJ who broke the Rolling Stones in the USA – some referred to him as the ‘Sixth Stone’) before deciding to become a ‘rock star’. He started Terry Knight & The Pack in 1965 and served as frontman and singer with Don Brewer on drums, Mark Farner on bass, Carl Johnson on guitar and Bobby Caldwell on keyboards.

 

At least a half dozen of their records made the Top 40 regionally (Detroit, Cleveland, New York) and among the singles were Mister, You’re A Better Man Than I, I (Who Have Nothing), This Precious Time, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Tears Come Rollin’, How Much More, Better Man Than I, and the song they are most identified with, A Change On The Way.

 

Soon after Farner took over as lead guitarist.

 

The band was big in Cleveland and appeared numerous times on Don Webster’s UPBEAT TV show and throughout the region opened for bands like the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Dave Clark Five and others.

 

By the end of ’67 Knight left for a solo career as a singer (that failed) and producer (that succeeded). As a producer/manager he helped put together Grand Funk Railroad with Farner, Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher in 1968 and took them to the top before a major falling out in 1974 that resulted in Knight more or less retiring from the music business.

 

Knight, born Richard Terrance Knapp, was born April 9, 1943 and was tragically murdered on November 1, 2004 by his daughter’s boyfriend. The boyfriend, out of control on drugs, was fighting with his daughter when Knight stepped in to protect her. He was stabbed 17 times.

 

I always thought my first ‘big time’ concert was Alice Cooper in Akron after that band made it big (I had seen them prior to becoming superstars at Chippewa Lake Park) but perhaps, in retrospect, my first was really Terry Knight & The Pack.

As far as I know the next ‘big time’ name band to play Orrville was Kim Simmonds’ Savoy Brown on September 1, 1979 at Wayne County Speedway.

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Confession: I Read 16 Magazine (44 Years Ago)

March 1, 2008

I have a confession to make. I once read 16 Magazine. Now before you call my manhood into question let me elaborate. Back in ’64 when the Beatles hit my older sister Cheryl and cousin Sue were your typical early 60’s teenyboppers and they had Beatlemania like you wouldn’t believe! Cousin Sue had all the LPs and 45’s and got all, and I mean all of the magazines like 16, Tiger Beat and the rest. You couldn’t go into a drug store or grocery store without seeing them in the magazine racks. 

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I can remember when the British Invasion was in full force Sue and her family moved to Ghent, OH. When visiting them and, loving the Beatles and all things rock ‘n roll, I would go through her stack of teen magazines and read them (I was all of eight or nine years old). More often than not when we would visit Sue would invariably give Cheryl back issues of the ones she missed. (If there was a poster of the Beatles, Tommy James or Sonny & Cher, for example, Cheryl would have them on her bedroom walls or school locker.)

 

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 Fast forward a couple years and it soon became apparent (due to peer pressure…and taste) that 16 Magazine (and the rest of that ilk) were for girls only and no way would a guy buy or read them! So by 1968 they were off limits. Once the 70’s hit I remember my kid sister, five years my junior, buying those magazines plastered with David Cassidy, the Defranco family, Donny Osmond and whoever else was the flavor of the month. I vividly remember giving her hell and constantly teasing her for reading such ‘baby crap’ magazines when she could be reading my Creem, Rolling Stone, Circus, Crawdaddy or any of the other ‘true’, ‘adult’ magazines.  

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Of course, (*harrumph*) when I read 16 Magazine for a couple years it featured the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Who and all the rest of the ‘mature’ rock bands, no bubble gum in sight (have I justified myself yet?). But in all honesty, it would be a kick to be able to leaf through and read a couple of them from 1964-1966 today, just for the sake of nostalgia and to remember the innocence of a different time and era. 

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Do they still publish the thing?

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For my recollections (and obession) on 70’s rock ‘n roll magazines visit this entry: Biology & Rock ‘N Roll ‘Literature’

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Biology & Rock ‘N Roll ‘Literature’

February 14, 2008

Way, way, way back in the early 1970’s when I attended Orrville High School I had a pretty good time (more on ‘good times’ another time soon) and for the most part the academic end of the high school experience came somewhat easy for me considering I never took a book home after my freshman year. I got decent grades, in some classes damn good grades, but there were two subjects that I just couldn’t get into no matter how hard I tried.

 

 

 

One was math, and the other biology. During my sophomore year biology was a required course and the lecture part of the class was taught by John Wiant who was a brilliant and extremely intelligent teacher but I just could not get into it.

 

 

 

After the first couple weeks it became obvious that I’d rather read my rock n roll magazines during class than listen to Mr. Wiant and take notes. A buddy of mine, who sat to the left of me, was Bug Jones and he shared my apathy for the subject.

 

 

 

To the right of me was a girl named Brenda S., a very pretty cheerleader who was pretty hip, too. She got Bug and myself through that course.

 

 

You see, why we laid back and read the newest issues of Circus, Creem, Rolling Stone, Rock Scene, Scene and the rest she was busy taking notes and when quiz time came around would pass her paper over to us to copy. Of course, we’d always miss a couple to get that ‘C’ grade as Brenda always got ‘A’s’.

 

 

 

The lecture class was held in the school auditorium and we sat back far enough that Mr. Wiant never realized, or let on, that while the majority of the class was doing the right thing (once we set a chair on fire, nevermind…..), Bug and I were reading about the latest exploits of Led Zep, Mott The Hoople, T.Rex, Rolling Stones, Montrose, David Bowie and the Spiders, Alice Cooper, Slade and all the rest.

 

 

 

We made it through the whole year reading rock n’ roll magazines and I passed with a ‘C’ on the year….thanks to Brenda S.!

 

 

 

 

I recall a lot of people used to borrow my rock magazines especially in study hall (hello Beth C.!). I tried to use study halls to do whatever homework was required for the following day because when that final bell rang for the day school never entered my mind until the next morning.

 

 

 

 

Throughout the 1970’s, until the end of the decade, I had complete 1970 runs of Circus, Creem and Rolling Stone with stacks and stacks of Hit Parader, Rock Scene, Crawdaddy and any others that came along that featured hard rock. Including stacks from the mid-to-late 1960’s.

 

 

 

 

I also purchased, when I was able and could find them, music newspapers/magazines from England like Melody Maker and New Musical Express, among others. Those two were, and probably still are, the top music rags in Britain and the newsstand store at Rolling Acres Mall in Akron back in the 70’s carried imported magazines including NME and MM, among the occasional other rock publication from the UK which I dutifully would buy.

 

 

 

 

I devoured all of those magazines from both sides of the pond and I think it was a huge influence after high school when I published Bangagong Magazine.

 

 

 

There were places around Orrville to buy the magazines, like Buehler’s grocery store, Bigler’s, and Dick Zarle’s drug store uptown (good ‘ol Dick once told me, I swear to God (!), “Hey, kid, this ain’t no library!”) and it seemed like the magazine rack at the Three Sisters Restaurant always had a good selection and often got them sooner than the other places in town, plus they were always open for breakfast as I headed for school (and sometimes stopped for breakfast, too).

 

 

Wish I still had all of them!

 

And rest in peace Lester Bangs!

 

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