Friday, January 24, 2014

Playing an Everly Brothers Guitar

Playing an Everly Brothers Guitar
Peter Burg
© 2007

The Year was 1982 and we just formed a trio called The Rangers with Scott Hunter-guitar/vocals, Hunter Crowley-drums, and myself on bass/vocals. We tossed around other names like The Cameros and The Romeos but The Rangers stuck.
At this time I was working at Palisades Music store as manager, guitar instructor, and 4-track recording engineer, located in Pacific Palisades, California. The location of this music store was right next to a health spa/gym and the likes of Michael Landon (Actor), Randy Newman (composer) and Bruce Johnston (Beach Boys) would stroll by and pop their heads in and say hi on a regular basis. In fact Amos Newman, Randy Newman’s thirteen year old son, recorded with his punk band, a rather explicit song directed at the Palisades Honorary Mayor, Ted Night of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. As I remember it was called #*!% You Ted Night.
I had known and played with Hunter Crowley in several different bands in the Palisades and he was a young aggressive inventive drummer who filled up the sound of our trio just right. Scott Hunter I met through Amanda Barnett, a young local vocal talent, in a group called Play Things. Scott was the picture perfect blonde model GQ type (perfect for front man). He was the son of Jeffery Hunter . Jeffery Hunter was an actor of westerns and other genre in Hollywood, but most notably for being the first captain of the Star Trek’s TV pilot, The Cage, which was a great episode and I have seen it several times.
The Rangers rehearsed in the basement of Scott’s home. A gated driveway, lush tropical garden, California Spanish style estate tucked just off a curve, located on the bluffs in the Huntington Palisades, a posh neighborhood infested with Hollywood actors, lawyers, doctors and an array of professionals. Sometimes coming over in the morning, the maid would escorted me to the backyard patio over looking the Pacific Ocean and have breakfast with Scott. She would tend to us by brining orange juice and coffee to the table.
In the Rangers I played a Fender P-bass with a Gallien Kreuger amp. Scott played a cherry red Les Paul out of a Marshall half stack. He like to use an e-bow. The songs were a mixture of new wave punk/Clash and Pop/Duran Duran, bunch of rock’ n roll and originals. My song at the time was “Capital Lies” and Scott’s was “I’m not your Romeo”.
During this period, Scott was dating a stunning young high school girl named Erin. On several occasions Scott would pick me up in his bombastic brown Jeep Wrangler with oversized knobby tiers and we would tear over to the valley in Encino just off Ventura Boulevard and visit Erin, at her mom’s house. This was Scott’s latest romantic interest which I think had double allure. Not only was Erin a knockout drop-dead gorgeous chick but she was also the daughter of Don Everly, of the famous Everly Brother “Wake up Little Suzy” duo of the late fifties and early sixties.
I have always loved the Everly Brothers even back then. We did a mean version of “Lucile” in The Rangers. Other songs such as “Let it be me”, “Cathy’s Clown”, “Claudette”, and “All I have to do is Dream”, I still love hearing. I think the Beatles developed their tight harmonies based on the Everly’s style.
One night Scott and I drove out to the San Fernando Valley to the Palomino Night Club to see Don Everly perform but something happened and we didn’t get there in time. We were going to meet Erin there and go over to Don’s house in Studio City. Well things were SNAFUed so we drove over to Don’s house anyway and waited. The stars and entourage were not yet there except for a maid and baby sitter. We were to meet Erin there sometime later.
Scott and I wandered around the house and met Don’s little son who showed us out to the pool. All of a sudden it dawned on me that we were in Don Everly’s house. The house that might contain the famous Everly Brothers black Gibson J-180. These were smaller then the J-200 and a little brighter.
I was on a quest. I eased myself away from the pool side and signaled Scott to follow. We ambled from room to room in search of the treasure. Low and behold there it was in a small room of to the side of a living room. I just stood there and gazed cherishing the moment. Then of coarse I took the bold move and picked it up and strummed it. The strings were extremely dead and it weighed more then I expected but this was the sound and feel that the Everly Brothers had. The great intro of “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake up Little Suzy” were ringing in my head.
By this time in there careers both Phil and Don were considering a reunion after ten years of solo careers. They would go to England and have a sell-out performance at the Royal Albert Hall with Albert Lee directing the band behind them.
We hung out there in the room playing until Don’s little son came running in and so we put the guitars down and attended to other matters. Apparently everyone was delayed and never would show at the house so Scott and I left.
The Rangers worked up a group of 30 tunes, played a few party’s and recorded some demo’s. We even met with a producer named Dude Mclean of Legendsong Music in Burbank and he listened to a six song demo and said he’d get back with us, but as with so many bands we drifted off to do other things. Come summer, I formed a Top 40 Band and was off for a three month gig in Anchorage, Alaska at the Sheraton Hotel (the young local vocal talent Amanda Barnett was our lead singer). Scott was involved in modeling and college. Last I heard at the time, Hunter was in demand playing with other groups.
Chain of events and people are what make life so interesting. Surfing through the waves of all those events and people you get splashed and drenched with great stories. Not to mention playing an Everly Brothers guitar.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You weren't at Don Everly's house. It had to have been Erin's Uncle Phil's house. Phil raised Don's kids. Complicated pair, they were.