Someone asked if I knew the Beatles. No I never did meet the band or any individual members. John Lennon did come and see a Savoy Brown show (I believe it was at the Academy of Music in New York City) and I was disappointed he didn’t come back stage. A friend of his did and said how much John had enjoyed the show!
It got me to thinking. “Who did I know from the 1960’s”? I was quite young when I turned professional. Probably seventeen or eighteen years old…so everyone else was three or four years older. That meant, in high school terms, I was a freshman and they were seniors. Therefore I didn’t hang with Clapton, Page or Beck although I have played many gigs with them….and stories…even did a gig with Page when he was in the Yardbirds, prior to his forming Led Zeppelin.
I did see Peter Green quite often and have always admired him more than anyone else….though I am a “Slowhand” fan, having watched him from his early Yardbirds days.
John Mayall I have known since I was that teenager starting out. I have jammed with John many times. The last time was a couple of years ago when I opened for him, solo acoustic on a tour of Hawaii. He was friendly and a lot of fun to be with. And his band were good people to be with too. A memorable experience.
So, anyway, I am not ”friends” with many from the early “blues boom” days but I have crossed paths with everyone from touring together. I think being young, naive and shy stopped me from bonding with my fellow musicians…though I can’t be objective, really. Sometimes I hung out with the “older” guys at drinking clubs (I jammed and spent an evening with Jimi Hendrix for instance….but never formed a friendship). I had heard he liked my playing. That meant a lot to me.
Whilst not being close to anyone, I have met and talked with most of my contemporaries…some have been pleasant to me and some have been miserable. One wondered at the time “is it me?”…now I know some people are just that…miserable. And, of course like all of us, catch us one day and we can be friendly, the next… not so.
By the way, Jimi was very down to earth and pleasant.
Long John Baldry was always great to be around and I was a big fan of his from the Alexis Korner days. The latter musician was quite cool to me maybe because he was generally that way to the school of players that came after him and had more success. But I don’t really know if even THAT’s true. Maybe I caught him on BAD days!
I have many stories that include the names I have mentioned and all the other 60’s participants but maybe I’ll leave those stories for the book I suppose I need to write…..I have left SO much out of course. And this long letter started because of a simple “did you meet the Beatles” question!
All the best and may music bring joy to your life and help make it sweeter,
NY, June 2016