Moby Grape

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zoomboogity
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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 01 Feb 2012, 16:36

Interesting stuff, Charlie. As time goes on and more information comes out, the whole thing about The Grape being innocent victims falls apart. Sure, those things did happen, but it's only part of the story. With a manager who had their best interests at heart and understood how to forge a long-term career and not make enemies in high places ("Look, Skip, you don't waltz into Clive Davis' office and put your feet on his desk"), things may have turned out differently.

Or would they? From all reports, both Spence and Mosley were pretty edgy characters from the start, long before the band formed and mind-altering substances came into play. Peter Lewis had told the story of playing with Joel Scott Hill in LA, and while looking for a bassist, Hill said something like, "I know this guy from San Diego, and he's a great bass player and singer, but he's nuts." "Well, shit man, nuts is cool, let's try him out!" All things considered, it's amazing they didn't implode before the first album.

Reading The Byrds' bio, there were similar problems, but those were more about ego than full-on mental instability. Plus, they had managers who nurtured them in many ways, including hiring Derek Taylor for PR to smooth over the edges when things got shaky. The story of Taylor smooth-talking an FBI agent out of raiding the studio session when two of The Beatles were visiting is just one example of that.

Then there's the whole label bidding war, including Paul Rothschild offering The Grape a percentage of Elektra Records. Sounds like an opportunity missed, but it just would have been one more thing they would have been ripped off of, along with everything else.



Here's an article by Jerry Miller reminiscing about running into his teenage pal after several years:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-mil ... 56699.html

Jerry Miller
Mods & Rockers Festival: Grapeful For Monterey
Posted: 7/18/07 01:51 PM ET

Psychedelic-blues-rock band Moby Grape performed at the Monterey Festival. Unfortunately for them, contractual disagreements led to their performance not being included in D.A. Pennebaker's iconic film of the festival. As the Mods & Rockers Festival prepares to present its 40th anniversary celebration of the festival- which will include showing some Moby Grape footage among the rare outtakes -- the band's acclaimed lead guitarist Jerry Miller reflects on Monterey, Hendrix and the music...

We played first on Saturday morning because everybody was arguing. Nobody wanted to play first and I said that would be fine for me. Not the best position for breaking into show business! We were perfect. We played everything exactly right. Had we played later at anytime on that show we could have done the same as anyone else. Our original spot opening for Otis Redding later in the evening was given to Laura Nyro. But the festival ended up pretty good.

At Monterey it was the first time I had seen Jimi Hendrix since a few years earlier when we used to watch together a lot of the touring bands who would visit the Seattle area. All the guitar players would show up then at the Spanish Castle, the Tiki or Birdland. Myself, Jimi and Larry Coryell we would all go. There was a guy we would check out, Jerry Allen, who was funky to a rat. He'd get up there with his Stratocaster guitar and arch his ass out. Man, he was the funkiest. We saw the Wailers, too. Later, after he was established, Jimi wrote a song "Spanish Castle Magic." It was a venue in Midland, right between Seattle and Tacoma.

Once time we saw Gene Vincent. We saw Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and Little Richard. Chuck Berry was unbelievable. Chuck opened the show for Ray Charles, La Vern Baker, Frankie Lyman and the Teenager in 1957. I even took a date with me. I was 12. When Chuck came out and hit the opening notes to "School Days" I knew "this was it!" Everyone went to these gigs in the late '50s and early '60s because if you wanted to be a guitar player you had to. In 1952 I also saw Hank Williams. I was 7. My dad took me down there in a truck and we rode in the rain. I couldn't be in the area where everyone was drinking and fighting.

At the Monterey festival I saw Jimi and Otis take over the show. I saw Jimi before his set, sitting in the music room, the dressing room, hanging out. Brian Jones the guitar player from the Rolling Stones was there. We chatted. He was all over the place. He was having fun. As a guitarist, I don't think you can set things apart. Jimi's set at Monterey was extremely right. Monterey was perfect. I was sitting right in front of Jimi at Monterey. It was wonderful, especially with a pipe coming from your right and a pipe coming from your left. Pretty soon you're sitting there spinning. We sure had a good time. And Jimi got to see me too. We were both left-handed guitarists. Here we are a couple of schmucks from Seattle ...

In the movie Monterey Pop you get to see Jimi. What Jimi did was that he did the full chord thing. Anybody can play lead a hundred miles an hour. But to do a full package with a three piece, and have the P.A. and the lights. It was his day. It was beautiful. He had it. The sound was right, the color was right, And it was the chords. The Stratocaster and the Marshall amps. It came out with the full body flavor. The Marshall amps gave the bottom a nice hairy bottom and a full six-string blend with meat. The meat and potatoes.

After his show at Monterey Jimi was signing girl's breasts. They would pull up their sweaters, hand him a tube of lipstick, and he'd sign his autograph. I said to him, "That looks like a nice job."

Subsequently I saw him at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood when T-Bone Walker was gigging with John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed. I jammed with T-Bone and Jimmy Reed, and the people wanted Jimi to play, but they called out for "Purple Haze," and he didn't want to do it again.

At Monterey I saw Otis Redding deliver. He's in the Monterey Pop movie. What I saw that night was Otis turn that great big place into a living room. That's what you want to do. Jimi played for the big place, and filled the big place up. But Otis earlier when he got up there he turned the big place into a living room. And it was that intimate. That's what you call an artist that can bring it all in. I had never seen anything like it. Even in the very back, because I roamed around the place and they felt like they were in his living room. And Booker T. and the boys, Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, were so familiar with the material they set it all up. Just magic. From every place in the whole are it was good to hear and no one yelled. Cropper was always so clean and fine. And the band was always so clean and fine, yet soulful. Those tunes are classics. Cropper's guitar playing is beyond reproach.

The Monterey movie shows the community. It's wonderful. The Monterey festival, and the movie live on, even though some people who performed (who were friends of mine) like Jimi, Janis Joplin, Pig Pen, Jerry Garcia, are not with us. But their music lives on. That's pretty cool. It's not good that they're not here. I'd love to see them. Sometimes they become immortal by going out quicker.


The Grape's saga has a real "blind men and the elephant" thing to it - Jerry suggests they went on early because no one else wanted to, while others (e.g. Lewis, David Rubinson) say it was because Katz made demands to Lou Adler about headlining and being paid a million dollars to be filmed, with Adler moving them to the afternoon slot as punishment. If the full story ever gets told, there will be a lot of conflicting stories by people who were all there at the time!
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"Quite."

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 12 Jul 2012, 07:26

Jerry and Don (and maybe Peter) will play on July 28 at Louie Fest (a festival in Seattle named after the Kingsmen song) - a one-off, it seems, at least for now. (Other members TBA, but no Mosley or Omar Spence.)
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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 10 Oct 2012, 02:26

Peter Lewis is doing a solo gig at Berkeley Art House And Cultural Center on November 17. Actually not solo, as his daughter will be joining him. I wish I could be there, but my annual road trip to SF isn't happening this year. You locals should go, he still sounds great (and may have a new cd ready to sell at the gig, also mostly solo acoustic).

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 28 Nov 2012, 07:11

Mike Bloomfield, Skip Spence and Paul "I am standing!" Simon backstage at Monterey Pop Festival

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 03 Mar 2013, 20:12

So... I wasn't sure if I'd be physically up from the drive, but last Friday I got up, took some pain medication to steel myself up, and thought, "Yup, I'm goin'!" I picked up my friend in North Hollywood, then he drove the rest of the way to Santa Barbara so we could see Peter & Arwen Lewis perform at Cold Spring Tavern, a little spot up in the mountains.

We managed to miss most traffic despite not leaving LA until almost 3pm, which was great - by that time of day, especially Friday, the traffic could have ben jammed all the way to SB. But we sailed. Now that winter is coming to an end, the weather was really nice too - a little hotter than we expected that afternoon, but nothing that rolling down the windows couldn't help.

The show was a lot of fun. Just the two of them playing guitars and singing for two hours in front of a small audience of what were probably mostly friends (Arwen grew up in the area). A couple solo turns each, but mostly duo. She's still developing as a stage performer, and sometimes her pitch isn't exactly on, but she has an appealing voice and an engaging stage presence, which you can't "teach" someone - either you have it or you don't. She certainly has no problem figuring out her way around a guitar fretboard. The rest will fall into place over time. It's only their second gig. And they sure do look happy onstage together, which alone made it worth for me to see.

At one point Peter called me up to the stage, simply to let people know that a friend of his drove 100 miles to see him. Folks gave a round of applause, I waved back, then turned to him and asked, "Am I going to sing with you guys, or am I just waving?" "Just waving." Which was good, as I wasn't prepared to sing. I sat back down, and he dedicated Pictures Of The Past (which he knew is one of my favorite "newer" songs of his) to me and my mom, of whom he is extremely fond.

They also dipped into the Grape catalog a bit, not just Peter's songs. Besides Fall On You and He, there was Indifference, Omaha, Motorcycle Irene, Hey Grandma, It's A Beautiful Day Today, and a maybe a couple others I don't recall offhand. Hung a bit after they finished the gear slog, then back in LA by 1am.

Listening now to the 12-song CDR demo they had at the gig. Nice version of Journey To The Crossroads. Great to see Peter looking so energized. He's far from done, he's just revving up again. Great night out, I'd do it again tomorrow.

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby Charlie O. » 03 Mar 2013, 21:02

Sounds like a nice night/roadtrip!
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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 25 Nov 2013, 02:50

A new CD by Peter Lewis & David West, recorded live at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA - nine live duo recordings, plus two quartet studio recordings:

http://www.hhpohle.com/items/tx2087.htm

Arwen Lewis' new site:

http://www.arwenlewis.com

And a few photos to round things out:

At the Monterey Pop Festival, 1967

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Late '90s - Jerry, Peter and Bob with Sam Andrew

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Jim Sawyer & Skip Spence, 1965

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 17 Nov 2014, 16:17

Peter Lewis sings one of his new songs, Be With Me, at the Berkeley Art House, 15 November 2014. Joining him are his daughter Arwen (guitar), granddaughter Olivia (violin) and Sam Andrew (guitar).



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Re: Moby Grape

Postby der nister » 17 Nov 2014, 17:04

thanks, zoom

Is that Big Brother's Sam Andrews?

He looks great for 72!
It's kinda depressing for a music forum to be proud of not knowing musicians.

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 17 Nov 2014, 17:08

zphage wrote:Is that Big Brother's Sam Andrews?


Yup.

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby der nister » 17 Nov 2014, 17:11

zoomboogity wrote:
zphage wrote:Is that Big Brother's Sam Andrews?


Yup.


real nice moment, all four of 'em up there
It's kinda depressing for a music forum to be proud of not knowing musicians.

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby Matt Wilson » 13 Apr 2015, 16:19

Went to Zoomboogity's benefit yesterday and had a good time with some BCBers and a bunch of folks I hadn't met. Peter Lewis and his daughter played (Toomanyhatz on bass) and Bobzilla's band opened (he is a kick-ass drummer!). It's always fun to talk to people older than me who can actually remember the sixties and have seen more bands than I ever will. I spoke to Peter more than the last time I met him and asked him if he preferred the first Grape album in mono or stereo and he said mono.
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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 13 Apr 2015, 19:27

Thanks for being there, Matt (and everyone else). Peter and Arwen had a blast. I asked Petra Haden and Paul Roessler to do solo sets, but they decided on playing together. It was their first public performance as a duo, and it was amazing - by the end of their set, people were staring with their mouths open (in a good way, of course). I believe the term would be "gobsmacked." Hopefully there's lots more where that came from. Third Grade Teacher and Backbiter were great too. Overall, a truly magical day. We could all use more of those!

Some cool photos at https://www.facebook.com/cafeNELA/posts ... 8256144497
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Re: Moby Grape

Postby billy » 14 May 2015, 18:00

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Tomorrow is Moby Grape day - go and dig out all your records now!
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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 15 Jul 2015, 14:44

Happy 70th birthday to Peter Lewis!




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Re: Moby Grape

Postby Charlie O. » 22 Dec 2015, 22:32




I just referenced Grape Jam on another thread, and it got me thinking about that album's incongruous closing track. I rather like it, though I wonder if the band did! It always kinda reminded me of "In The Hour Of Not Quite Rain," which was the result of somebody winning a magazine or radio station contest to "Write a song lyric for Buffalo Springfield"; I always wondered if "The Lake" was the same sort of deal (the lyric is credited to one Michael Hayworth, who even gets a spoken credit at the end of the recording). Anybody know the story? zoomboogity?
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Re: Moby Grape

Postby Six String » 23 Dec 2015, 02:27

Charlie O. wrote:


I just referenced Grape Jam on another thread, and it got me thinking about that album's incongruous closing track. I rather like it, though I wonder if the band did! It always kinda reminded me of "In The Hour Of Not Quite Rain," which was the result of somebody winning a magazine or radio station contest to "Write a song lyric for Buffalo Springfield"; I always wondered if "The Lake" was the same sort of deal (the lyric is credited to one Michael Hayworth, who even gets a spoken credit at the end of the recording). Anybody know the story? zoomboogity?


I had that album in my teens/early twentys. I don't remember what happened to it though. i do still have my mono Moby Grape album with the finger.

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby zoomboogity » 23 Dec 2015, 03:28

Charlie O. wrote:I just referenced Grape Jam on another thread, and it got me thinking about that album's incongruous closing track. I rather like it, though I wonder if the band did! It always kinda reminded me of "In The Hour Of Notha Quite Rain," which was the result of somebody winning a magazine or radio station contest to "Write a song lyric for Buffalo Springfield"; I always wondered if "The Lake" was the same sort of deal (the lyric is credited to one Michael Hayworth, who even gets a spoken credit at the end of the recording). Anybody know the story? zoomboogity?


Yes, that's exactly what happened. I think he's also the same person who's singing. He certainly doesn't sound like anyone in the group. In a way, it was sort of a cool idea, an interactive thing involving the audience in the process, but judging from this and the Springfield track, it was probably better in theory.

Six String wrote:i do still have my mono Moby Grape album with the finger.


There's another variation on that cover. There was an American flag behind Skip, and for some mysterious reason, later pressings had it airbrushed into orange and black. When Don Stevenson was interviewed for the Vintage liner notes in 1993, he said, "You're kidding? I never even noticed that."

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Re: Moby Grape

Postby Charlie O. » 23 Dec 2015, 03:47

zoomboogity wrote:I think he's also the same person who's singing. He certainly doesn't sound like anyone in the group.

Sounds like Mosley to me!
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Re: Moby Grape

Postby Charlie O. » 23 Dec 2015, 03:48

As for the cover, I never knew there was a black version of the flag!
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