Bob Stark

‘Ear ye!

It was probably something I had coming for a long time, but it really caught me by surprise when it happened. After all I don’t write these pieces because I get paid for them. I do it because it gets me some free records, gets me into the clubs for free, and a few other fringe benefits. Or so I thought.

So last Friday I set out for the Eastown to see Alice Cooper because I’d never seen them and I felt sort of guilty because the promo girl from Bizarre Records called me from L.A. to see if I wanted to talk to them and I hadn’t made it out.

So up to the door (along with Resa, who does the calendars) and what’s this! “Sorry, but no more free admissions to the press.” Hey! How come? “We’re losing money.” You ain’t gonna make any more by not letting me in. I can’t afford to pay. And what about Resa, she gives you a free ad every two weeks in the calendar. “Sorry, you can’t come in.”

Next day Resa talked to Eastown owner Bob Bageris on the phone and he told her that even though he had told her that he would let her in free in exchange for the listing, he could no longer afford to. Pretty weird logic considering that neither she nor I have any intention of paying to get in.

So we left\ there and headed over to the Grande to catch Savoy Brown and Terry Reid. And, low and behold, Gabe has installed a turnstile (though the urinals in the men’s john are still disconnected) and unless you have a Grande issued press pass (which probably won’t be in the mail till some time next week) you have to buy tickets, get a receipt, and mail to Russ who’ll send you back your money. So what do you do when you only have $7 to last a week and the admission is $4 a person, you go home and watch TV.

Anyway, getting back to the Eastown, last Wednesday (August 13) a local freak was caught with a joint in his hand by one of the Eastown’s rent-a-cops, who grabbed the kid, dragged him outside, and turned him over to the Detroit police who booked him for possession and released him on $1000 personal bond.

There is no excuse for people to be treated like that by Eastown employees. Take this as a warning, the rent-a-cops at the Eastown are pigs. The management either doesn’t want to, or can’t control them. They are not cool at all. The people who run the Eastown are not to be trusted. When the theatre reopens in September remember that you’re no safer with dope there than a police station.

The second WABX free concert August 10 was one of the most beautiful afternoons of the summer. About 6000 people showed up, drank wine, smoked, danced and generally had a great time in the sun with a couple of virtually unknown groups providing surprisingly good music.

The Gold Brothers had much of the crowd clapping and yelling with their heavy blues material. They played their asses off despite some equipment trouble (they just don’t have enough) displaying amply that you don’t have to sound like everybody else to be a blues band. They brought about a third of the people to their feet with their closing song, an original entitled “I’m Invisible, ‘Cause Next Time You See Me Baby I Won’t Be There.”

The Rumor also got a standing ovation for a set that included a rousing variation of the Catmother hit “Good Old Rock & Roll.” I just hope that the people who dug these bands for free will come to their paying gigs because there seems to be a feeling of reticence among some of the club owners to book the bands that played at the free concerts because they claim that people won’t pay to see them now.

Terry Reid and Savoy Brown provided name entertainment, though the former was hampered by an unbalanced sound system, and I couldn’t stay long enough to see Savoy Brown.

The next free concert will be August 24 on the Kirby side of the main library. The street will be blocked off on both ends, booths will be set up and anyone who wants to can bring goods to sell. The Amboy Dukes will head the bill. Much credit must be given to WABX (especially Dan Carlisle and John Detz) for staging the concerts this summer despite the many hassles, and lets hope for more next year.

John Angelos left the Gold Brothers shortly after the free concert last Sunday. John will join up with Roy Fernandes, formerly of the Family Medicine Chest and the Luther Pendragon light show, and an as yet unnamed bass player and drummer. The Gold Brothers will add a new harp player, and possibly a new piano player. They will make their first appearance with their new line up August 23 at the Silverbell.

One of the most talked about local bands last winter was the Train, led by former Fifth Estate staffer Wilson Lindsey. Just after the Rock & Roll Revival they dropped their chick singer, got a new manager and changed their name to The Second Coming. They have not been able to get work since. Rumor has it that this may be due to some personal ill-feeling between one of the influential local club owners and the band’s manager Earl Buchanan.

Dave Miller will be returning shortly as announcer at the Grande.

Punch and George from the Something Different and Silverbell will be staging a Rock & Roll picnic at the Benedictine High School football field on Sunday, August 31. Among the featured groups will be the Coliseum (whose great first album I reviewed two issues ago), Keef Hartley, another of John Mayall’s former drummers now fronting his own group, the Lighthouse from Toronto, and maybe Mitch Ryder, along with a lot of local bands. Admission is $3.50 at the gate, $3 in advance.


Fifth Estate #86, August 21-September 3, 1969