Caught Sly Stone on the Grammy's . . . didn't recognize the old guy with his platinum Mohawk, but, hey, I can't remember the last time I saw him. Might have been when he got married that time at The Garden back in the 70's, so the new look was a jolt.
Who knows, maybe the guy's looked like this for the past decade. I'm glad to see ol' Sly is still alive and kickin'.
Joe Perry and Steven Tyler were on stage for the Sly tribute.
They've been very visible for all the ups and downs of their amazing career. I realized that if I hadn't seen Tyler, or Keith Richard, or Sir Paul since the 70's I might be jolted by the way they look now . . . aging is a bitch!
Anyway since I have seen Aerosmith year after year their current look seemed fine. If I hadn't seen them in two decades . . . who knows what my reaction might be?
The very first time I ever saw Tyler we were both a lot younger. I'm talking about '65 -'66, somewhere in there. To help set the scene, my neighborhood looked like the one in the film "Bronx Tale."
It was a lazy summer afternoon I was walking by The Lighthouse Tavern. I heard some live rock music and looked in the window. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was looking at the backs of a live rock band playing "Time Is On My Side." This wasn't the typical high school group with a Vox organ and amps from Sears. These guys had long hair, fur jackets, striped shirts, and professional equipment . . . it was The Stones!
I ran to my friend's house and gave him the news. He was, understandably, skeptical, but when we arrived at the window he too saw the Stones . . . in our neighborhood at 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon!!!
Underage and uninvited we crashed what turned out to be a sweet sixteen party. The band was incredible, more professional than any group we'd ever seen at a school dance or battle of the bands.
They weren't The Stones. They were Thee Strangers. They went on to become Chain Reaction, and then still later their lead singer, a kid from Yonkers, became Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith.
Point is, since that summer day, I've seen Tyler age for over 40 years . . . I think he looks pretty damn good.
Almost every successful band started out in bars, The Beatles did it in Germany, The E Street Band were on the Jersey shore, The Rascals out on Long Island, but for every group who made the big time there were hundreds who paid their dues, had great followings, but never got to the big show.
A local group that I followed when I was in college was The Orphans, a band that hailed from the suburbs of New York City. A childhood friend of mine, George Sotomayor played bass, and a guy named Bob Mayo, who had a taste of success when he played keyboards on "Frampton Comes Alive," played Hammond B3. Unfortunately, both guys are gone now done way too soon but The Orphans packed 'em in at bars like The Fore 'n Aft, The 42 Club, and Foley & O'Brien's. They were one of many sensational rock groups with names like: Moving Violation, Rat Race Choir, The Town Cryers, Soul Company, Saints & Sinners, The Bag, The Pilgrims, and The Gas House Kids, who entertained hundreds of fans but, for any of a million different reasons never broke through to the big time. Often it wasn't lack of talent, but other variables such as bad business deals, the draft, or just plain lack of a break.
My good buddy, George Napolitano, was a member of one of these bands called Oxbow Incident. Through the courtesy of 60sgaragebands.com we present an interview with George and one of the ex-members of the band, Joe Sirico. It offers a first hand look at what it was like to be a member of one of the great 60's bands who could have been a contender.
Click here for interview