Note: all photos are by Tom Weschler.
Time With Cream
Cream’s last gig in Detroit was at Olympia Stadium in Oct. 1968. I was driving down there early so I could meet up with LB (one of the show’s promoters) and secure permission to photograph the gig.
On my way I saw an Avis truck stuck under a low bridge on Second Ave. Two guys were letting air out of the tires so the truck could proceed. I stopped to ask if I could help, in an English accent one of them asked if I knew where Olympia was. After they got the truck out and refilled the tires at a gas station I had them follow me.
When we got to Olympia I started to head toward the parking lot, one of the guys yelled and waved me over to follow them in to the loading area. I got to park right inside Olympia!
I helped them unload some Marshall amps and other equipment then went looking for LB. When I found him he said to come with him to the dressing room where the band and my two new friends were.
The two roadies had told Eric Clapton about my assistance and He offered me a Bud! Eric and I shared some stories about the road, I told him of my adventures setting up for Jimi Hendrix, The Yardbirds and others. He told me about his time in The Yardbirds and when he was with John Mayall. A very nice ‘chap’ indeed.
Cream on the way to the stage at Olympia.
Eric Clapton (Cream) at Olympia 1968.
Time With Sammy Hagar
It was my forth or fifth time out on the promotion streets of Detroit with Sammy Hagar. This time we were in a limo going to radio stations with the Capitol rep. Craig Lambert and Sammy’s manager Ed Leffler.
The conversation in the car turned to rock vocalists. Sammy said he admired Seger and Paul Rodgers, then asked me who’s voices I liked. I told him I liked Bob and Paul Rodgers too.
Then he mentioned Andy Fraser, Free’s bassist. I didn’t know he was a singer. Sammy had the driver pull into Micky Shore’s music and stereo shop on Woodward Ave. in Royal Oak. He came out with a cassette of an album by Andy Fraser.
Sammy wanted to turn me on to Andy Fraser so he put the album on in the car. I was very impressed with his voice. When we got to the next radio station where Sammy was going to do an interview he gave the cassette to me.
Me in the Limousine with Sammy and two Capitol Records promo men (Craig Lambert with glasses on) 1978.
Sammy Hagar at The Royal Oak Theater 1978.
Sammy Hagar and his manager Ed Leffler were all about the performance and Sammy was very good at that on and off of the stage. He was just out of Montrose, a San Francisco band and going solo suited him just fine. Then a while later David Lee Roth quit Van Halen and that band drafted Sammy as their new vocalist.
You could say that worked out well!
Time with Fleetwood Mac
In 1968 Fleetwood Mac came to The Grande Ballroom in Detroit as a four-piece blues band. Peter Green was the lead guitar player and immediately became worthy of being in the top five of my personal best players the first time I heard him.
Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) Grande Ballroom 1968
The band played around Detroit and the rest of America for a few years as a Blues band, added another guitar player: Danny Kirwin. Then they met up with Buckingham and Nicks and formed a hit record band. They are one of the top selling groups of all time.
Fleetwood Mac at the Grande in 1968. John McVee on bass Jeremy Spencer on slide guitar, Mick Fleetwood on drums and Peter Green lead guitar.
Time With The Who
When The Who played their second date in Michigan in November of 1967 I was working for a music store called Artist’s Music, I was the truck driver and delivered amps and drums and all the other equipment we sold there. The day The Who played Southfield High School I delivered Sunn amps to the venue. When I went backstage I met a very cool girl named Denise Gildersleeve, she was interviewing Peter Townsend, the band’s guitar player. We talked briefly after her interview for the school paper. Denise and I met many years later in the driveway of my home (a carriage house in Bloomfield Hills) she shared that driveway as her house was at the top of the hill next to our home. That was in 1987 twenty years after our first meeting. As we talked it became clear we had met before and that was quite a nice thing. Here is a photo from that Who show at Southfield HS, it was taken by Donnie Henderson the guitar teacher at Artist’s Music and former student of the school. The guy peeking through the curtains on the right is me.
Time with Deep Purple
The last story here is not exactly from a roadie’s point of view although there is a roadie involved. In late January 1985 I had a photo engagement to go to WRIF Radio and shoot an interview with Deep Purple on the air with the famous DJ Arthur Penhallow. My wife was expecting our first child very soon. We didn’t have a name for the baby yet, a boy and as I entered the studio where the band and Arthur, a very good friend of mine were waiting. Arthur blurted out: “Tommy, you got a name for the boy yet? How he knew it was a boy was a mystery to me but I said we did not. Ian Gillian said: “How about Ian”? That sounded perfect to me for our new son. I was excited and grabbed the studio line and call Lisa, my wife and said: “How about we name him Ian”? To my surprise she agreed!
I had her wait on the line while I told Arthur and the band. Ian Paice and one other Ian there (a roadie) all yelled out: “All right it’s gonna be Ian”! Back on the phone Lisa asked what all that yelling was about? I said I would explain later.
Our son Ian now 38 years old still loves that story.