Monday, June 1, 2015

Secret Agent Man

While I was traveling, I often felt a bit like a double agent. Inside I could be feeling like a groupie or hanger-on, but outside I was being viewed as a Rock and Roll star. The line became a little blurred sometimes, like the time I met Janis Joplin, where it was all I could do to not come off like a gushing little teeny-bopper. Many times, though, I would waltz onto the back of the stage and nod, as coolly as possible, to someone like the drummer of a group such as Santana, and make connections by being more of a peer than a fan.

More than once we got a chance to jam with big stars, like Steve Miller, Boz Scaggs, Buddy Miles, Duane Allman and other traveling musicians of the time, when we were on the road. If we were staying in our home-base of L.A., waiting for the next tour to begin, we would sometimes end up getting together with other musicians at their homes or rehearsal studios, clubs in town or at Columbia studios, where we did most of our recording. There was never a shortage of players or road people to hang around with, jam with, drink or smoke with or engage in other diversions.

Speaking of diversions, I once had an L.A. studio musician ask me if we were freaks. Though he was a little sinister looking, with dark eyes, long black hair and a goatee, I just guessed that he was asking if we partied or something. When I answered that we were, he said, "We're gonna whip this chick down in Studio B at Columbia tonight and get it on film and tape, if you want to come by." I think he saw the shock on our faces, much as we tried to hide it, when he added, "It's cool; she's into it." I don't remember for sure about the other guys, but I took a pass.