News From The Front’s Music Maven has been MIA for quite sometime for a good reason…working toward getting into an Artist’s Colony in the NoHo Arts District. This has been a two year effort and is a big deal for NFTF to have finally achieved this important goal. During this time many wonderful memories have taken a stroll across our vast memory of life in North Hollywood as a youngster in order write an essay and artist’s resume for consideration by the selection jury.
It’s overwhelming to think sometimes about the amount of talent that has crossed our path. This includes hanging with Vito in his sculpting studio, to interning with Duffy Of California in his junk sculpting studio and so many more talents such as Joel Wachs who is now the President of The Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts, and bands such as “The Grassroots” at The Whiskey A Go Go in 1966 who were playing with “The Beau Brummels at this very important and impacting event…more on this later.
Music Maven had been writing and dancing during this time which allowed NFTF access to many talented people including the avant garde Frank Zappa to Paul Butterfield at the Hollywood Palace one night where he promised Music Maven a place in Rock N’ Roll. Due to NFTF’s recent stroll down memory lane, many events from their past have begun to resurface such as a Love-In at Griffith Park by the Merry-Go-Round in late August where “Love’s” Johnny Echols sang songs to an acoustic guitar and keyboard symphony by several scenesters including local faves Don Adey and Top Hat sporting Cosmo Topper.
How does one fit all this into an essay without going over the one page allotment? It wasn’t easy and a lot had to be cut, but the point is that Music Maven got in!
When working our mind trying to remember what youthful event stood out NFTF would have to say meeting “The Grassroots” back in March/April 1966. NFTF recently checked with Dave Stensen (Gunga Dave) who was “The Grassroot’s” bass player at the time and this is the date he gave us. NFTF really liked their version of “Mr. Jones” by Bob Dylan and when asked to cover an interview with this talented rocky folk band NFTF was more than happy to oblige.
NFTF’s friend Patty came with and we set out to connect with this group of young men. NFTF had assured Patty that they were a good bunch of guys after a very late and lengthy conversation with Joe Dougherty the night before. NFTF’s mom could be heard yelling in the back ground about how late it was and how this person had no respect. “Maw, he’s a musician and he just got my message!” was our typical retort.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Gunga Dave who led us upstairs to the communal dressing room where an impromptu interview took place amid a lot of playful flirting. Too bad NFTF was only 15-years-old at the time. We also got to meet the “Beau Brummels” and were told that Dobi Grey lived up the street.
After a lot of giggles, Patty and NFTF made our way back onto the Sunset Strip and began walking back toward more familiar territory “Pandora’s Box”. On our way we ran into a couple of older guys with a Panel Truck which had the four feet of missionary style painted on the side of it. They asked us to ride with them and we were declining when a cop car came and hauled Patty and NFTF off to the local police station…drat curfew. Although NFTF had had another run in with the law over at The Hullabaloo for dancing when we were not 18, curfew was much worse as they called our moms.
NFTF’s mom yelled all the way home and that was it…curfew was obeyed after that to a degree as we never were busted for it again. NFTF did find out that one of the older boys from that night went on to be a DJ on Pirate Radio. Cannot remember his name tho.
“The Grassroots” are currently touring in the mid-west playing fairs and have had a few changes in it’s line up, but they essentially play their greatest hits and they are naming this tour the “Happy Together Tour” which also features “Flo & Eddie” (The Turtles), “Mickey Dolenz”, “Gary Puckett and the Union Gap” and also “The Buckinghams”.
While researching for the insert of “The Grassroots” we stumbled upon some information that was just too coincidental. Prior to “The Grassroots” officially signing with Dunhill Records and naming themselves “The Grassroots”, Arthur Lee of “Love” fame had been booking his band for local Hollywood gigs under the name of “The Grassroots.” He had to stop doing that and officially settled upon “Love” for his band’s moniker. Prior to signing to Dunhill Records, “The Grassroots” had called themselves “The Bedoins” and were friends up north.
And now, here we are ready to embark on a new path which will be very interesting as this was meant to be. The reason NFTF found this opportunity is that the bus NFTF was riding broke down and an alternate route had to be taken. On the path NFTF took to reach our destination a Hawk feather was found. Hawk is the messenger of news.