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.