New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
When the history of Los Angeles rock 'n' roll is told, bands like the Beach Boys, the Byrds, and the Doors
typically are mentioned as founding fathers. As great as those bands are, many other acts have played important roles too. The inaugural LA-A-GO-GO concert shines a spotlight on some of these beloved local music heroes in a remarkable gathering happening November 4, 2017 at the Regent Theater in downtown L.A.
Organizers Manifesto Records exec Dan Perloff and Rhino Records founder and Shout! Factory owner Richard Foos have assembled an exceptional lineup for the first-ever LA-A-GO-GO. This "Rock & Roll & Surf & Soul Revue" draws its inspiration from New Orleans' fabled Ponderosa Stomp festival; however, the show focuses on Southern California-grown heritage acts.
The Grammy-nominated instrumental titans Los Straitjackets will play a vital central role at this concert. Besides doing a set of their own, they will also be backing several of the performing acts: Chris Montez, Big Jay McNeely, The Honeys, Davie Allan, and the Legends
of Surf Guitar: Bob Spickard of the Chantays, and Paul Johnson
of the Belairs, Will Glover of the Pyramids and Jim Masoner of the Lively Ones. It's impossible to think of a band better suited for this honor than Los Straitjackets since these versatile virtuosos are skilled practitioners of surf, blues and rock 'n' roll music.
LA-A-GO-GO celebrates the many roots of L.A. rock. The Chambers
Brothers made their mark blending Southern soul with Southern California rock 'n' roll. Their signature song, the 11+ minute "Time Has Come Today," was a rallying cry in 1968 that remains relevant today. Love fashioned an eclectic, influential psychedelic sound around its mercurial frontman, the late, great Arthur Lee. Love Revisited features the group's original guitar Johnny Echols, who grew up with Lee in Memphis, along with Lee's latter-day backing band Baby Lemonade. They will salute the 50th anniversary of Love's seminal Forever Changes by playing the album in its entirety, complete with strings and horns.
Willie G, the fabled voice of Thee Midniters, filtered early rock 'n' roll through East L.A. on hits like "Whittier Blvd." and "Jump, Jive & Harmonize," and then sent it out to the rest of America. Hawthorne-born Chris Montez found success, both in the U.S. and abroad, with pop gems like "Call Me
" and "The More I See You."
Best known for the 1970 cult fave "Total Destruction to Your Mind," Swamp Dogg has been compared to Frank Zappa and George
Clinton; however, his often raunchy, frequently satiric mix of funky R&B and rock 'n' roll is uniquely his own, and has proven to be a favorite for sampling favorite. The 90-year-old tenor sax icon Big Jay McNeely began his career before rock 'n' roll but he has been an influential with his highly-energy juke-joint R&B sound.
Davie Allan created the famous rock instrumental "Apache '65" with his band the Arrows. Allan's distinctive "heavy fuzz" style has earned him the title of "The King of Grunge Guitar." Hailed as the first all-girl surf band, The Honeys were a vocal group that collaborated with the Beach Boys
and Jan & Dean (and Honey
Marilyn Rovell was Brian Wilson's first wife). The Legends
of Surf Guitars - Bob Spickard of the Chantays, Paul Johnson
of the Belairs, Will Glover of the Pyramids, and Jim Masoner of the Lively Ones - certainly rank as quintessential players of this native Southern California sound.
Tom Kenny and Hi-Seas will have the honor of kicking off the LA-A-GO-GO. Kenny, the actor/comedian well known as the voice of SpongeBob, is a long-time musician and American roots music fan. He has put together his own rock & soul ensemble that will get the concert off to a rousing start.
About the Performers:
Los Straitjackets: Acknowledged as one of the world's best instrumental groups, these masked marvels have infused surf-guitar twang into all sorts of musical styles, from Tex-Mex to Xmas; their current CD is a tribute to Nick Lowe. While the band typically is seen being Nashville based, their rhythm section, bassist Pete Curry and drummer Chris Sprague, actually live in Los Angeles, and they also have collaborated with Southern Californian roots music standouts as Big Sandy
and Deke Dickerson.
Brothers: During the mid-to-late '60s, the Chambers
Brothers cooked up a unique brew of gospel, funk and rock 'n' roll that is best exemplified in their epic hit, the aforementioned "Time Has Come Today." The song was a surprise hit in 1968, and remains well known from its frequent use in TV and film soundtracks. The Chamber Brothers, one of the rare biracial rock bands of its era, are still led today by brothers Willie and Joe Chambers.
Willie G: "The Godfather of Brown-Eyed Soul," Little
Willie G (a.k.a. Willie Garcia) rose to prominence as the singer for the trailblazing East L.A. band Thee Midnighters. The group, which Allmusic Guide's Richie Unterberger proclaimed as the "indisputably the greatest Latino
rock band of the '60s," delivered such memorable tracks as "Jump, Jive & Harmonize," "Whittier Blvd.," "Chicano Power," and their version of "Land of a Thousand Dances." Little
Willie G later sang with the Northern California Latino
rock band Malo and, more recently, has worked with folks like Los Lobos and Ry Cooder.
Love revisited: Maintaining the legacy of the groundbreaking psychedelic rock band led by the late Arthur Lee, Love revisited features Johnny Echols, original Love guitarist (and Lee's childhood friend), along with members of the acclaimed L.A. group Baby Lemonade. Lee picked Baby Lemonade to serve as his backing band in Love starting in 1994, and the group continued in this role until Lee's death in 2006.
Chris Montez: The Hawthorne-bred singer, who attended high school with Brian Wilson
and his brothers, scored his first hit at age 19 with "Let's Dance." The song's popularity took him to Europe
where the then up-and-coming Beatles
opened for him. Under Herb Alpert's guidance, Montez returned to the charts in the mid-'60s with tunes like "Call Me," "There Will Never Be Another You," and "The More I See You." In later years, Montez (born Ezekiel Christopher
Montane) garnered success overseas performing songs in English and Spanish.
Swamp Dogg: Described as "one of the great cult figures of 20th century American music," Swamp Dogg is a real character — and just not because he actually is R&B songwriter/producer Jerry Williams. Williams created his gonzo alter ego in 1970, and Swamp Dogg's idiosyncratic music defies simple categorization. But go listen to his early hit, the twisted soul gem "Total Destruction to Your Mind," and his 2015 song "The White Man Made Me Do It," a funk slice of political science, and you'll get a snapshot of Swamp Dogg's delightfully wild world.
The Honeys: Sisters Marilyn and Diane
Rovell and their cousin Ginger Blake
formed the Honeys — often called the first all-girl surf group — in the early '60s. After Brian Wilson
discovered them, he got them signed to Capitol and produced singles for them, such as "Shoot the Curl," "Pray for Surf," and "Surfin' Down the Swanee River." The songs never reached high on the charts, but the local trio found success as backing vocalists for acts like the Beach Boys
and Jan & Dean. Marilyn Rovell also earned a place in rock history for being Brian Wilson's first wife.
Davie Allan: After "Apache '65," his hit with the Arrows, San Fernando Valley native Allan developed the now-influential "heavy fuzz" guitar sound that figured prominently in indie genre flicks like Wild Angels, Thunder
Alley and The Born Losers, leading Rolling Stone to dub the Arrows "the boss hogs of biker flick soundtracks." Allan's playing style also has made him known as "The King of Grunge Guitar."
Big Jay McNeely: The tenor sax giant has been hailed as "the King of the Honkers" for more than seven decades. The Watts native began his music career in the late '40s — before rock 'n' roll was born. His raucous sound and exuberant performance style has influenced generations of musicians, be it R&B, rock or blues. McNeely, who recently turned 90, released a new album last year entitled Blowin' Down the House.
of Surf Guitar: Bob Spickard, Paul Johnson, Will Glover & Jim Masoner: Spickard formed the instrumental band the Chantays with his Santa
Ana High School classmates in the early '60s. He co-wrote the band's first hit, "Pipeline," which became a #1 single and stands as one of the pillars of the surf sound. Johnson's band, the Belairs, also was among the first wave of Southern California surf acts. The South Bay-born group scored their biggest hit with "Mr. Moto" in 1962. While Glover's band the Pyramids had their biggest hit was the instrumental "Penetration," the Long Beach group also did many songs with vocals, with Glover serving as the lead singer. He also was one of the few black musicians in the '60s surf music scene. Masoner was known for his energetic live performing style as lead guitarist for the surf band the Lively Ones. Quentin Tartarino introduced millions to the band when he prominently features their song "Surf Rider" in his 1994 film Pulp Fiction.
Tom Kenny and the Hi-Seas: One of Hollywood's top voice actors, Kenny has worked on an impressive array of TV shows and films — most people know him as the voice of SpongeBob. He also is a huge fan of American roots music and has played in bands over the year. With the Hi-Seas, Kenny gets to share his love for vintage rock and soul music.
Besides experience this stellar lineup of historic acts, concert-goers should expect some surprise guests and special MCs, and there are plans for audio-visual elements. It all adds up to be a memory night that should keep LA-A-GO-GO rockin' into the future.