And our 40th Bonus Post!
Glad you guys are enjoying this enough to keep those comments coming.
We've got a brand new batch to share with you today ...
Along with some memories from Jim "Hooke" Pilster of The Cryan' Shames about The Summer Of Love and their big Chicagoland #1 Hit "It Could Be We're In Love" ...
From Jim Pilster of The Cryan' Shames ...
as James said, we all remember differently.
We don't have a lot of old clips from back then - we were SO early that any pictures you have of us were taken on a Brownie - I don't think I really have ANY film of us from then either - we didn't do a lot of television - it was tough being the first one out of the box - and in this city, we really were the first. We were the first one to sign to a major label - I think The New Colony Six may have had a record or two out before we did, but their dad ran their label.
I didn't really go out and try to join a group - I mean, I didn't really play anything - my voice is not that good - I just always had a lot of enthusiasm - and a friend of mine, Fred Bohlander, who managed The Shames before they were The Shames - The Travelers - he was one grade ahead of me in high school - and we got to be friends and I saw the group play at the high school one time - and I think they might have even had a girl singer at the time - and I liked it and it was fun and Fred was trying to help them and he got them some gigs and somehow he got me up on stage and then my mom and I had a down rod and we made a hook with a screw in it and I started wearing that so that I didn't have to bang my hand on a tambourine and it got to be kind of a little thing - I mean I wasn't really lookin' for this, it just kind of happened, and I never really wanted it - I just wanted to be out there - and movin' - I've gotta keep movin', ya know. Fred ended up owning Monterrey Peninsula Artists, a giant booking agency that at one time handled everyone from Aerosmith to Huey Lewis and Bonnie Raitt ... and he is still working. We dedicated our first album to him.
And then when I started wearing that big hook, that was REALLY weird. At some point, I cut everybody in the group - to where our only rule on stage was "Hooke, don't hurt anybody!" It was REALLY sharp when I first got it, but we honed it down and tried to keep it safe - but along the way I cut me, I cut everybody in the group.
I really hated recording - it was really boring and Doody and I would go out and walk around while Fairs worked on getting his special sound for a day and a half. He really was the producer on that album - I don't care what anybody says or what it says on the cover - he produced it. Golden and Monaco were up in the hallways while Fairs got drum sounds for ten hours, bass sounds for eight hours - he produced the whole thing because he knew what he wanted.
We really got control - when we went to the studio in Chicago, we had four-track mono studio, which I didn't like - me and Doody slept underneath the piano while they were doing all the tracks. We would go up and play in Wisconsin, do our show, and then drive down to the studio and then be there all night. And then we'd be driving home and hear the song we were doing in the studio that night on the radio - it was crazy times.
Things could have been so much bigger and better than it was with Columbia - but the live shows really carried this band, at least at the beginning. Doody and me jumping around on stage and these guys putting down really good music in the background - and, to be honest with you, the harmonies in the group live were kind of a joke because the PA systems back then were so terrible - SO terrible - we had a sponsorship with Shure - Shure sponsored us with microphones and PA's - and we ended up using their PA as monitors - and if you look on the back of the original "Sugar And Spice" album, you'll see us at the original Arie Crown Theatre at McCormick Place before it burned - we were opening for The Byrds - which we did for like $600 because we loved The Byrds - and we got to meet The Byrds - and we loved them so much we would have done the show for free just to meet them - but if you look at the back cover, we were using Shure columns for guitar amps, which was crazy. PA systems were so bad that people would hear them on the record and then you couldn't really hear them when we played live because everybody played SO loud and the PA systems were SO bad - but even after we had the hit record and it went to #1, we'd still go back and play Dex Card's Wild Gooses and The Green Gorilla, The Purple Penguin or whatever it was - and we'd play wherever we could because there really weren't that many places to play. We didn't play nightclubs until right at the very end - downtown - no big concert venues.
We played The Auditorium Theater with Procol Harum - and that was great - that was a great show - Procol Harum and Mavis Staples and Rotary Connection - that was a great show - tickets were probably ten bucks.
We were the first ones - the first rock band - to ever play The Aragon Theater - which was the worst place to play ever - We played with The Turtles on Wacker Drive - we did some great shows.
Keep up the great work,
It's tough, I know. I asked James Fairs one time why he didn't just do "It Could Be We're In Love" like the record and response was "Because I've already done that."
I get it ... as a musician ... as an artist ... you need to grow ... but within the context of this particular show, THIS is what the fans want to hear ... and The Cryan' Shames should present their best collective effort to make their set stand out with all the others. It's not "playing it safe" ... it's giving the fans what they want and what they came for.
The Cryan' Shames will be appearing (on their own) at The Arcada Family Theatre at Pheasant Run on October 27th - tickets are available now at www.oshows.com. They'll be back at The Arcada Theatre on Saturday, November 25th (Thanksgiving Weekend) as part of The Cornerstones of Rock Show that will also feature The Ides Of March, The Buckinghams, The New Colony Six and The Shadows Of Knight. (kk)
I really like Tom's piece; filled with detail.
Yes, it's a great piece.
Actually more 'on subject' than my 'ramblings' ... but then I'm a circuitous writer anyway. I have NO idea what Mr. Hooke's memories will be, but I'd guess that he'll remember the way the gigs, crowd and vibe changed. I'm hoping he does, as that would fill out the whole picture. The kids started jamming the venues, just to hear 'that song' (ah, the power of radio).
I remember the cars parked for miles around "The New Place" in Algonquin. There was a smile on everyone's face. So cool. They may have enjoyed the song in a way that we never could. We were more or less like the car-maker, who had to design, work with a budget, make compromises ... the kids got to drive the car, throw some theme music on that fit 'The Summer of Love' ... and take off into the world.
Thanks for running this feature, and all the best,
Clark Besch (who wrote the liner notes for all of The Cryan' Shames Sundazed Reissues a few years back) sent in these vintage newspaper clippings announcing Shames appearances all over the area. (How'd you get these living in Lincoln?!?!?) Cool stuff to be sure. (kk)
>>>I have a tune called "A Teen Poem To God" that could be a great new single (we'd need one). (James Fairs)
(written by James Fairs)
Of everything goin' on
And the song was everywhere
(rock / rock rock and roll / rock / rock rock and roll)
I am absolutely addicted to the weekly charts - I hope this keeps going for 1968!
I know how time consuming doing something like this project is, having spent 20+ years working on my book, so let me commend everyone involved once again for a TOP NOTCH job! I’d be first in line to buy the book for the REAL CHARTS 1960s decade!
If you haven't already done so, be sure to bookmark the Daily Calendar Page ... and check it every morning. Some GREAT stuff lately ... and lots more coming up.
Start your day with Forgotten Hits ...
Breakfast of Champions!