In 1972 I got a call from Ron Asheton, the Stooges guitar player. He asked what I was doing with myself musically. I said I was in between bands and thinking of moving to LA. I said I was selling my 1965 427 cubic inch silver Corvette to drum up money to finance my trip to Los Angeles.
Detroit was deader than dead. I needed a bankroll and I did not want to sell that car, but you have to reach out and take risks to move forward in life. I sold it for $4,500 and now worth $150,000. The choices we make sometimes—sheesh…
Ron told me he had this great band together, a financial backer, manager, and needed a drummer. He wanted me in the worst way. He said I could live with him in his spacious apartment on Sunset Blvd. and check out the scene, but would I consider playing in his band?
I thought about it. And I thought about it some more. So I sold that beautiful Vette and bought a ticket to LA. I was flat broke after the Five disbanded and I was not ready to quit the music business at all.
Onward and upward mate.
I arrive at LAX with visions of a fantastic new life dancing rigorously in my head. I always liked Ron and I was thinking that this could be a really good thing. Wow I was on my way again! Little did I know…
We get to the apartment and it was big. I then meet Jimmy Recca. He used to play bass with the Stooges for a time. Guess what? I have now met the entire band! I was slack-jawed and completely floored. WTF! Now what?!!! This is what I get for having such high expectations...
So if I stay at his place, the pressure is on to join up. If I don’t, I need to get a hotel room with a weekly rate. But I really don’t have any Cali connections.
What to do? I began rehearsing with Ron & Jim. We rehearsed every day during the week. John Reilly, the backer/manager would drop us off at the rehearsal room and pick us up around six in the evening.
We had good ideas and Jimmy was a great bass player. We were making good music together and writing numerous tunes. Only one small problem we had.
No lead vocalist. None of us sang well enough to be the lead vocalist, just background vocals. Audition time. I do not remember how many knuckleheads we auditioned but there were too many I’ll tell you that much.
We finally tried this kid named Jeff. He had super powerful vocal chords but he really didn’t fit this style we were developing musically. I can’t remember how we let him go, but we did. Sorry, Jeff.
So at this point in time, we are eating “boot soup” which I named because the stuff was like army food. This is a soup with five different beans and a ham bone. Lasts for a week. We seldom ate breakfast, because we were individually stone broke. John watched the funds very closely to buy us the time we needed to get a record deal. We were lucky to get a case of beer on the weekends and couldn't even afford weed.
You see folk’s, it was all about the music with us. We were the Rock N’ Roll Soldiers.
Once Jimmy and I pulled a caper on Ron. We gave him a catnip joint, and told him it was the “bomb”. He smoked it and then says, “this is really good pot.” We laughed our asses off and told him it’s just catnip.
He says very funny and we are on the floor rolling and laughing till tears come out of our eyes.
Our next mission, as we still hunt for a singer, is to find a second guitarist. I know of one living in Detroit.
Keep tuned for Part Two. Dave Gilbert (former Rockets lead singer and Ray Gunn (Virgin Dawn guitarist) join the band, and of course, more is revealed…