hard luck boy or when 1969 calls, you answer

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hard luck boy

that’s what john harrelson was doing or starting to do back when i first met him.  it seems like a long time ago and well, it was, though i may have met him earlier when he was in some other band or another since we went to the same high school and lived in the same socal burg, de onta(ontario), ca.

at some point, back then myself and several other friends started up a light show company.  we bought the equipment from a guy in claremont who was tired of doing it.  the light show it that is.  i think we paid $400 for his equipment.   a chunk of change for the late 60’s.  i borrowed my end from my dad, explaining i would pay him back very soon.  he gave me the money and was very surprised and impressed when i did re-pay him a few weeks later.  for the younger ones, a light show was a show of lights.  sorta.  lots of overhead projectors, slide projectors, motion picture projectors, mirror balls, oils and food colors mixed with other messy stuff.  all of that was projected up on the stage behind a performing band.  hopefully adding to the experience of the band or maybe some sort of chemical.  or both.  all very nice indeed.

we worked around claremont a lot doing college dances there and promoting our own stuff as well at taylor hall,  along with other venues in the area.  somehow or another we even got to do a show with the sir douglas quintet when they performed at one of the colleges in claremont, ca.  they were impressed and wanted us to go on the road with them.  we declined as we were all still in school and stupid.

after the gig with sir doug, which whetted our appetite for more high end action, we somehow or another got hooked up with the guy who was promoting, hard luck boy.  which if i may say, was a great blues band and i’m not just saying that just to be saying it.  they were.

we jumped through some hoops for said guy and then sorta auditioned for him by doing a show with hard luck boy, as headliners, along with some other local bands at the swing auditorium in san berdoo.  we passed the test and got the job with the promoter.

we were still promoting our own shows and making some decent coin for that time by doing the shows.  however, by hooking up with that promoter it meant the big time for us and for a while it was.  one of the first shows we did was in either redlands or riverside at the university was with hard luck boy and lee micheals.  lee was amazing.  probably one of the loudest acts ever and it was just him on the hammond b-3, and his drummer, frosty.  i remember the windows in the place just pulsating away.  i thought they were going to break.  if i’m not mistaken i think we did another show or so with hard luck boy and lee before our big show.

our big show, and one of hard luck boy’s biggest shows, was in irvine at the university featuring hard luck boy, lee micheals, and led zeppelin.  if memory serves we were up in the sorta lodge section of the gym setting up our equipment.  the first time we turned all of our equipment on we blew a fuse or 2.  not a good omen.  however, things were fixed up by the campus electricians  and our light show went on without any more hitches.  the concert was one of the best i’ve seen and a mind blower.

i’m not sure if we worked with john anymore after that show.  because our light show act went in two different directions at once after that big gig.  internal bickering killing it off completely a few months later.  however, it was great while it lasted.  the memories might be hazy but they’re still there.  and more importantly they are very fond memories.

most of john harrelson’s cds, such as ‘mojave’, are available at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/harrelson

the poster from the led zeppelin show.  may 1, 1969.



6 thoughts on “hard luck boy or when 1969 calls, you answer

    ozarkmossman said:
    February 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Man, does this little story bring back memories…or does it?…I’m not clear, either. But I do remeber “missing” Woodstock, so hitch-hiked to San Francisco from Kansas City, just to stand on the corner of Haite&Ashbury and burn one. Growing up bluegrass and ancient country, Zep “blew my mind, man.” Cool story, groovy, far out. Also, thanks for the comment on Ozarks Saturday Night list. I can get into Hank III (Cocaine Blues), but prefer old, traditional stuff. My favorite song is Hank Snow’s version of Hank Locklin’s “Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On.” ~ozark

    johnhauge responded:
    February 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    thanks, ozark. i missed woodstock and haight ashbury as well. i spent my time on the sunset strip here in the land of the lalas listening to the music. i understand what you’re saying about the old country stuff. i love gene autry, bob wills, and spade cooley. though some of hank3’s stuff is pretty good. your hank snow tune is a good one too. can’t say i have a favorite but it might be a gram parsons tune. or maybe not. lol.

    Cheryl Timmons said:
    September 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Just catching up on my reading. Really enjoyed your light show story, John. We were young in a very special time, weren’t we?

    johnhauge responded:
    September 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    thanks, cheryl. yes, we sure were.

    Miss Demure Restraint said:
    November 22, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Hey homie. I grew up in Covina and lived in Chino for many years before moving to Seattle. I remember all the places you talk about and have particuarly fond memories on the Swing Auditorium. Those were the days.

    Led Zepplin . . . OMG.

    johnhauge responded:
    November 22, 2011 at 8:49 am

    oofa. small world isn’t it? my goodness. look for an email from me. we need to chat. i had relatives in chino.

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