On October 8, 1972 The Spiders From Mars tour came to the Motor City. The Fisher Theater was the venue. I thought it was an over opulent place for this Rock’n’Roll show but what the hell, David Bowie was an over opulent Rock star.
Punch Andrews and I managed a band called Julia; they were on our record label Palladium. Julia was added to the Spiders show as the opener. Great for us as the show was already sold out.
I went with the band down to the Fisher and set up for sound check that afternoon. We were told that no one but the band was allowed back stage, David Bowie had four body guards that were, according to the show’s promoter, Black Belt chop-sake artists. So we shouldn’t try to go anywhere near David Bowie.
Julia did a very good set in front of a Detroit audience that knew them and loved them. After their show I went to get paid by the promoter who’s office was behind the curtain back stage. I approached the door that led to the forbidden area and was immediately stopped by a six foot five man dressed in a tuxedo. He said: “where do you think you’re goin’ mate”? in a perfect English accent. I told him I was the show opening band’s manager and I was going to get paid. He told me that would be all right and pointed me up the stairs to the right of the stage to where the promoter was. I thanked him and proceeded across the back of the stage where it was dark behind the curtain.
I saw a man sitting on the stage floor struggling to put on some very large silver boots, I couldn’t make out what he looked like but I did ask if he needed any help. He said: “That’s very kind of you but I’ll manage.” I went on my way and got our money. Upon returning through the back stage area where it was now lit up, I saw David Bowie standing there in some huge silver boots. He looked at me and said to me: “Thanks again sir.” “You are welcome and have a great show!”was my reply.
I went to my band’s allotted seats and watch with them: The Spiders From Mars performance with Mick Ronson on guitar and of course the very opulent David Bowie.
Tony Williams Lifetime
April 24, 1970
When Tony Williams came to perform at The Palladium in Birmingham,
Michigan, we were off the road for a few days. I was Bob Seger’s road manager at the time and also worked for Bob’s manager Punch Andrews, owner of The Palladium. Bob was recording in the studio. All of us on the road crew weren’t needed in the studio so Punch asked me to go to the airport to pick up Tony and his band.
I got there in the early afternoon and met the band, Tony Williams (drums), Jack Bruce (bass), John McLaughlin (guitar), and Larry Young (organ). They were walking toward me in the terminals’ hallway at Metro Airport when I said: “Hello, I’m here to give you a ride to The Palladium”. Jack Bruce, in a rather condescending way said: “Well, good for you.” Tony immediately told Jack to “cool it.”
John McLaughlin was the only one of them that had his instrument with him; I asked what kind of guitar was in the case? He said: “It’s a 345” (A Gibson stereo 345).
John McLaughlin and Tony Williams
When we got in my car (a very large Ford LTD) Jack Bruce was in the back seat with John and Larry, Tony and I were up front. I pulled out an 8-track of the just released ‘Live Cream’ album and put it in my tape player. As soon as it came on Jack said: “What’s this?” I told him I just got it from the record store. He was genuinely surprised to hear it, saying he was not aware the record company released it so long after they recorded it and after Cream broke up. He was happy the rest of the way to Birmingham, listening to his former band and pointing out the great bass licks he was playing on the live tracks. This bit of music made it so Jack Bruce and I got along just fine for the rest of ‘Lifetime’s’ three-day gig at The Palladium.
We recorded at a few studios back then, one of them was Pampa Recording in Warren, Michigan. The owner of Pampa and it’s chief engineer Jim Bruzzese was also a first class drummer who had recorded for Motown and was in the jazz band that played for the Detroit Lions football team. When we were setting up for Bob’s session the day before Tony Williams was due at The Palladium I told Jim that Tony was gonna play there. He told me Tony was “the best fucking drummer in the whole world!”
A Memory of Dr. John
Born Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. in New Orleans November of 1941 passed away June 2019.
A very interesting musical man he was. Played piano and bass guitar on many recordings, wrote and sang songs in his most unusual way and left a voodoo style impression where ever he went in the 1960s and 70s. That’s when I met him and photographed one of his promotional tours in Detroit.
When we were about to leave the last radio station on the schedule he approached me and thanked me for helping his record company promotion people. He handed me a plastic bag with what looked like weed in it, I thanked him and asked what it was? He responded “This is gree-gree you wish for one gonna get two.”