Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

"Memories of nearly 50 years in the Biz"

Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby Brian Lord » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:11 pm

Brian Lord’s Radio Stories

Dave McCormick hides Jan and Dean; An Experience with the Mamas and the Papas.


The Following tales both involve Dave McCormick. As I’ve mentioned Dave was Music Director at KMAK Fresno while I was Music Director at K/MEN in San Bernardino. We were both beholden to Ron Jacobs who had organized the kick off of both stations and was a vice president of KPOI Broadcasting with head offices in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was Jacobs who dreamed up the K/MEN call letters and the DJ’s were all one of the K/MEN. In Fresno he added a small case “e” to the end of KMAK (KMAKe) and the DJ’s were the KMAKers. That’s what some Rock stations did in those days. (The Honolulu rig called their DJ’s Poi-Boys). Some kind of an Identity thing.

The first tale involves Jan and Dean of whom I have talked about before. Now remember, this was the period when Surf Music was popular, especially in California, even landlocked Fresno, and this gave rise to bleached-blonde buzz cuts on the guys and the girls wore as little clothing as was legal. Surfing wasn’t just music it was a way of life, a tough sport, and few of the young people that flocked to the beaches were actual surfers. The girls and the larger percentage of guys (known as gremmies) sat on the sand and watched the surfers. The girls commenting on their butts and the guys commenting on … well T&A was the big thing.

A real surfer had a car called a Woody, not in the rude sense we use today but a vehicle with wood paneling: a station wagon. And if he was good he had a following of both guys and girls, it was a big thing in the early 60’s.

Anyway, K/MAKe was throwing this concert featuring Jan and Dean and I’m gonna let Dave tell you in his own words what transpired before the concert began…

Our radio station, K/MAKe, was the “presenting” station. My on-air duties at the station also included hosting the Saturday afternoon shift. On the afternoon of the concert, I heard a pounding on the back door of the station. (Like today, on weekends, radio stations’ front offices are closed, and only a few on-air people are in the building.)

I opened the door, and there stood Jan & Dean, all out of breath, they had parked their vehicle, a hot new Sting Ray, out back, and out of sight. They asked if they could come in, and just hang around the station until they were scheduled to show up later, at the concert venue. Of course I agreed and escorted them into the control room, where they sat on the floor!

Considering this a major coup for our radio station, I suggested that they sit in the guest chairs in the control room, and go on the air, live, with me, for a “Welcome to town, we’re looking forward to your concert tonight” live interview, but they both refused -- adamantly. This seemed strange as most entertainers jumped at the chance to go on the air, to promote their records and their concerts.

However Jan and Dean asked me, in confidence, not to mention that they were “hiding out” in our radio station, as the California Highway Patrol may be looking for them, and might be listening!

They had been speeding (Joy riding) up the freeway, in their new “short”, when a police cruiser spotted them, and took off after them, with siren wailing. The police car couldn’t keep up with this 400 horsepower Sting Ray but Jan and Dean figured they’d probably written down their plate number, with a description of their car, and would be looking for them. So they asked if they could just hang out for a couple of hours around our radio station! Which they did.

No interview, no mention of them being IN the radio station. I obliged.


Both these two along with the Beach Boys with whom they worked closely were really just average young guys and I doubt they realized how popular they were at this point. Sure, they were leaders of Surf Music from an entertainment standpoint but they and the Ventures, Dick Dale and the Deltones and a host of clones really had their feet on the ground and the worst thing they were guilty of was “joy riding”. It was several years later that drugs first entered the picture.

--

The Mamas and the Papas came to town. West Covina, a suburb on the eastern fringe of LA had a Theatre in the round (360 degree seating, duh) and was the house used for a lot of big name acts that gave indoor concerts in Los Angeles. When they played the venue, The Mamas and the Papas had scored big chart numbers with California Dreamin’ and Monday Monday . They were also a highly visual group with larger than large Cass Elliot and the incredibly beautiful Michelle Phillips, two good looking guys, Michelle’s husband John Phillips and Denny Doherty. They also had developed a unique harmony that made them sound different than any other group of the early to mid 60’s era. Their first LP Can You Believe Your Eyes and Ears was aptly named.

The DJ’s from the area radio stations had freebies and Dave came down from Fresno. It was a great show but my story involves what took place afterwards at the media bash. We all took advantage of the free booze and after a half hour or so, the Mamas and the Papas came out and we got our tape recorders and interviewed them. I was especially interested in interviewing Mama Cass because she had the best voice and anyway she was a hell of a lot of fun on tape.

When the crowd thinned out and the announcers from other stations drifted off, Dave and I were still there and so were the Mamas and the Papas. Dave got involved in a long conversation with Denny, who was a Canadian (he died in 2007 in Mississauga). I stuck with Mama Cass. I also had some more to drink but was far from blotto, just half-tanked and this led to a lot more talk – kibitzing, really -- between Cass and me.

What nobody has ever understood that has heard this story from either Dave McCormick or myself was what possessed me to start necking with Mama Cass. She was not a good looking girl but she had a magnificent charm about her and anyway she invited me to sit on her lap. That was as far as it went. Cass signed the back of my copy of their LP with the words, “here’s hoping we meet in a love tryst” which I had framed and hung in the Radio Station. Dave thought I was nuts. Drunk and nuts.

About two weeks after this incident, the phone rang while I was doing a Saturday afternoon radio shift and it was Cass; she and the rest of the band were in a car heading for Big Bear, a resort in the mountains behind San Bernardino and she asked me if they could pick me up and bring me along. I couldn’t of course, I was on the air but had I been able to I probably would have gone. Star attraction. I don’t know what would have happened but it was about that time that Denny began an affair with John’s wife Michelle and the group went into a break up phase which is a completely different story.

Cass Elliot died of a heart attack in London several years later. I’m not the least bit defensive about necking with Cass Elliot although a lot of people would question my taste. She was big, that girl, but we had fun and who knows what would have happened at Big Bear …

Next time: the Beatles.
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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby Steve Sanderson » Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:14 am

Great stories Brian!! Though...I believe you must have been at least 3/4 tanked
to make out with mama Cass!! :shock:
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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby Russ_Byth » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:01 pm

Hey, it was the 60's! :mrgreen:
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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby Brian Lord » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:26 am

Well that may be true Sandclan but Mama Cass had "a great personality"

Russ... were you even born in the 60's? If you were, one of the best places (or possibly the worst places) to be was California...North or South
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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby Russ_Byth » Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:42 am

Brian Lord wrote:Well that may be true Sandclan but Mama Cass had "a great personality"

Russ... were you even born in the 60's? If you were, one of the best places (or possibly the worst places) to be was California...North or South


Hey Brian... I was born right in 1960...so have vague memories, but was pretty much (and by that I mean completely) relegated to what my folks were doing... but that did include a trip to Disneyland. So that was my California experience. :mrgreen:
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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby Brian Lord » Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:02 am

Russ... Well what more could you want?
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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby kat » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:45 am

Brian Lord wrote:Brian Lord’s Radio Stories

Dave McCormick hides Jan and Dean; An Experience with the Mamas and the Papas.



What nobody has ever understood that has heard this story from either Dave McCormick or myself was what possessed me to start necking with Mama Cass. She was not a good looking girl but she had a magnificent charm about her and anyway she invited me to sit on her lap. That was as far as it went. Cass signed the back of my copy of their LP with the words, “here’s hoping we meet in a love tryst” which I had framed and hung in the Radio Station. Dave thought I was nuts. Drunk and nuts.

About two weeks after this incident, the phone rang while I was doing a Saturday afternoon radio shift and it was Cass; she and the rest of the band were in a car heading for Big Bear, a resort in the mountains behind San Bernardino and she asked me if they could pick me up and bring me along. I couldn’t of course, I was on the air but had I been able to I probably would have gone. Star attraction. I don’t know what would have happened but it was about that time that Denny began an affair with John’s wife Michelle and the group went into a break up phase which is a completely different story.

Cass Elliot died of a heart attack in London several years later. I’m not the least bit defensive about necking with Cass Elliot although a lot of people would question my taste. She was big, that girl, but we had fun and who knows what would have happened at Big Bear …



I'm really having a hard time losing he visual I have here Brian. Had you gone to Big Bear and had you and Mama Cass done the wild thing, would she have been heard screaming "Oh Oh Oh Lord, Don't Stop, Oh Oh Oh Lord" ?

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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby jon » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:55 pm

I'm waiting for the upcoming chapter when Brian tells us about his affair with Janis Joplin.

And how she got a song out of it: "Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?"
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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby Neumann Sennheiser » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:47 pm

..and then there was Supertramp:

"Lord,Is It Mine?"
"You don't know man! I was in radio man! I've seen things you wouldn't believe!"
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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby Steve Sanderson » Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:06 pm

Neumann Sennheiser wrote:..and then there was Supertramp:

"Lord,Is It Mine?"


I don't think Brian slept with Supertramp!!
:shock:
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Re: Part 14: McCormick, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas

Postby radiofan » Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:11 pm

sandclan wrote:
Neumann Sennheiser wrote:..and then there was Supertramp:

"Lord,Is It Mine?"


I don't think Brian slept with Supertramp!!
:shock:
:wink:


Or Cheap Trick

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