The Scrapbook - Part 1
A collection of photos that I'm always wanting to show everybody, which don't really fit onto any of the other websites I do. Complete with the stories that go along with each. Most pictures have larger versions that can be seen if you mouse click the smaller versions, below.
Suzi Quatro in April, 1975. Suzi was one of the first female heavy metal acts in the early 1970s and her popular songs included 48 Crash and Glycerine Queen. In 1978 she did Stumblin' In with Chris Norman. But she's most well-known for playing the role of Leather Tuscadero on the TV series Happy Days.
Suzi was on tour with Alice Cooper and came by WROV for an interview that day with midday man Dave Hunter. Dave made the mistake of telling Suzi "Gee, you play the guitar pretty good for a girl!" which pissed off Suzi, who then stormed out of the studio and out of the building. Fortunately, Cliff Beach and I—who were there to interview her for the Cave Spring High School newspaper—got to see her BEFORE this happened!
An interesting note: I was asked to be Alice Cooper's "gopher" that night. My parents wouldn't let me do it because six months earlier I'd committed to participating in a Calvary Baptist Church choir event and this is when they chose to give me a "you need to honor your commitments" lesson. Alas.
Wolfman Jack in April, 1975. Wolfman was at WROV about two weeks after Suzi. My involvement with this came about because I had become the unofficial photographer for WROV. This, because I had a darkroom in the basement and would do the pictures for free—in exchange for the opportunity to be let in there to shoot them in the first place—and owner Burt Levine LOVED this arrangement.
It was an interesting night. Vince Miller remembers: "You know I think that night could be made into a play. You had all these egos and personalities changing with the wind. Grownups acting like children and children acting like babies." Everybody was like a kid with Wolfman. You had to have been there or, at least, listened to it on the air.
The photos of me were terribly out of focus because they were shot by the local Air Force recruiter—a client of the radio station—who was there that night and was three sheets to the wind (off he went, into the wild blue yonder...). In fact, at age 17 I wasn't old enough to drink and I think I was the only completely sober person in the building. The complete story of the Wolfman's visit to Roanoke can be found on the WROV History Site and is well worth the read.
Rick Nelson. Summer of 1975. Rick was appearing at Salem's Lakeside Amusement Park. WROV's Rich Randall was doing a remote there and I went along. Prior to the show we all got to see Rick and get photos taken. Though I had absolutely no idea at the time because I didn't recognize him, 1960s WROV star Jack Fisher was also there. Jack had been a friend of Rick for years, going back to his big Atlantic City Steel Pier show in 1958 (Rick drew about 43,000 people to this show which was A LOT, especially back then).
Rick was one of the nicest, most down-to-earth celebs I ever met. He treated everyone politely and with respect, and made you feel like he'd known you all your life. After the photos were taken I rode a few rides at Lakeside, hung out with Rich at the remote board, then watched Rick's show on the stage at the end of the Lakeside picnig shelter. A very fun night for a guy who wasn't even yet a senior in high school. Note that Rick obviously knew how to pose for a photo and I didn't.
Willie & Emmylou. Spring of 1978. Cliff and I both worked at WFIR at the time. I can't recall if the station arranged this or if Cliff arranged it through Willie's office, but off we went that afternoon to see Willie in his room at the Williamson Road Holiday Inn. Cliff knocked on the door and we were standing there talking about "what should we say, 'hello Mr. Nelson?'" when a clean shaven Willie opened the door prompting Cliff to say "WILLIE! What the hell have you done to your face?" Willie said "I shaved it off. It gets hot in the summertime.
We went in, spent about forty minutes with Willie and smoked a joint with him (and it was HIS, not ours). We then headed over to the Roanoke Civic Center (across the street) and got our backstage passes. It was backstage that we saw Willie's opening act, Emmylou Harris, who posed for this picture (remember that old song by the group Brush Arbor named Heaven Is A Girl Named Emmylou?? So very true!).
Chicago, October 1978, Johnson City, TN. I had just started back to junior college two weeks earlier, had met a beautiful girl and had been out with her two or three times when—out of the blue—a friend in Bristol, TN called and told me Chicago would be at East Tennesee State University's Freedom Hall that Friday. Chicago keeps mysteriously popping up at major and significant junctures in my life and this was no exception. I had him get tickets then we drove down there from Roanoke (about three hours) and saw the show.
This was back during the good old days when you could walk into any venue with your camera and shoot pictures and you weren't harrassed by the arena goons for wanting to rip off the band by taking your own photos, accused of being a terrorist and having a hidden weapon in your camera lens, etc. Freedom used to be a wonderful thing. But I digress. This was one of the first tours of Chicago's first tours after the tragic death of guitarist Terry Kath that previous January. L to R, top to bottom: Peter Cetera; the horn section (Jim Pankow, Walt Parazaider, Lee Loughnane); Robert Lamm; Peter with Laudir De Oliveira; Peter with Donnie Dacus; whole group.
November 1978. The WFIR "Oldies" Show featuring Chuck Berry, Sam The Sham, and Jewel Akens & The Coasters. This was a fun night. I got to have dinner with the "Grandfather of Rock & Roll" Chuck Berry (I was one table over from Chuck, but still, he was there!). Later that night I got to meet Sam The Sham (of Little Red Riding Hood and Wooly Bully fame) and Jewel Akens (The Birds & The Bees) who was now fronting The Coasters (Charlie Brown). I asked Sam about one of my all-time favorite records, 1967s I Couldn't Spell !!@!" (!!@! is apparently how you spell the sound of a fart). Sam said he didn't even have a copy of that one and was surprised that I did.
Jan & Dean were also supposed to appear at this show but were snowed in somewhere in the NW. Jan & Dean's backup band were supposed to back up the other acts but couldn't because they were also snowed in. So at the last minute, the promoter had to find some local band who could step in at the last minute and do this. The band he found looked like a bunch of high school guys. They did their best but all throughout the show kept missing chords, prompting angry looks from the stars (especially Chuck, who appeared to be absolutely livid a time or two). I felt sorry for those guys!
Barbi Benton, St. Jude's Telethon, February 1979. WSLS-TV 10 in Roanoke was hosting the Danny Thomas St. Jude's Children's Hospital telethon and Danny was there. I grew up watching Danny Thomas and his show has always been one of my alltime favorites. He devoted his life to loving children. I loved him and look to him for inspiration when I'm about to lose my patience and strangle mine. Also, Larry Bly and Bart Prater of WROV were there serving as MCs. So I headed down there. Seems like Cliff was there, too.
We got there ten minutes after Danny had left so alas, I did not get to meet him. But I did get to meet Barbi Benton, former Playboy Playmate and girlfriend of Hugh Hefner; also a star of TV's HEE HAW and a country singer who'd just done an album. Barbi was nice.
The other star who was still there was George "Goober" Lindsay, formerly of The Andy Griffith Show. Goober's character on the show was a nice, shy, mannerly country boy. So I was kind of surprised to meet the actor who played him in person and find that he was a COMPLETE TOTAL ASSHOLE. He acted annoyed and angry to be there and pissed and moaned about everything. He signed an autograph for me but I decided I didn't want it and threw it away.
The Beach Boys, Spring, 1979. Doug Matthews, the General Manager of WFIR/WPVR, liked having his photo taken with celebrities and knew I had a camera and decided that he'd use his sales contacts to get me and my girlfriend backstage at the Beach Boys concert so that I could bring my camera and take photos of him with all of the Beach Boys. Which I did.
I remember Mike Love being in the white "pimp" outfit. He was polite and signed autographs and posed for pictures but definitely seemed kind of impressed with himself. Dennis Wilson smiled and nodded and signed autographs but was very quiet and almost seemed shy.
Brian was not supposed to be there. This was during that period when he was supposedly seeing the shrink and having all sorts of problems. Yet, while bopping around backstage my girlfriend opened a door and there he was, sitting at a lone table in a big room all by himself eating a steak dinner. She wanted his autograph. I reasoned that her—being a beautiful girl—stood a much better chance of approaching him without him wanting to kill her than did I, so she went in by herself and came back with his autograph.
Carl was the nicest one of the bunch. Ricky Fataar—session musician who played the "George" character in the Beatles spoof The Rutles was their drummer.
Rick Nelson, Summer, 1979. Rick was another celebrity that Doug wanted his photo taken with so he got my girlfriend and I into the show. I'd met Rick before and knew he was a nice guy, so leading up to this I'd found and bought a copy of his very first album, entitled RICKY from a local record collector named Henry that I'd worked with at WVWR. This show was at the Roanoke Civic Center Auditorium (a separate building from the Coliseum) and there was a big backstage area used for staging theatrical shows and the like.
We got there early and got to spend about an hour with Rick and his band. I pulled out the album and asked him to autograph it and he seemed truly amused and amazed that somebody still had a copy of this. He said "Can I borrow this?" and I told him "of course you can" and he took it around and showed it to every guy in the band, saying "Hey, what do you think of this? My idea for the cover for our NEXT album!" All of the band got a hoot out of it, too. He then signed it for us and posed for pictures.
Rick died in a plane crash in early 1986. I was working on the air at WKSF (Kiss-FM) in Ashville, NC when the story came across the wire. When I saw it I ripped it off the teletype machine, took it back to the FM control room, read it, then sat there and cried.
The Monday Extra Section, August 1979. This was the infamous newspaper article that got me fired. Woody Holton, the son of former Virginia governor Linwood Holton, was a writing intern for the Roanoke Times & World News and was doing a feature story on the all-night disc jockeys at Roanoke's top four stations. He interviewed me at WFIR, Steve Finnegan at WROV, Tom Ohmsen at WLRG and Chris Michaels at WSLC.
During this interview I told him that I liked working overnights because you can play records at night—which were marked with a red dot—that they don't let you play during the day (something that's generally been true at every radio station since Marconi invented the thing). I also mentioned that we'd recently done a Chicago weekend and I'd brought in some of my Chicago albums to play. Well this came out on a Monday morning. I'd gone home and gone to sleep. The phone rang and woke me up at 10:00 AM. It was our Operations Manager and I was being fired for "giving out the station's format and admitting that I played my own records on the air." WUEZ's Scot Morris was hired to replace me.
I thought "oh great" and went back to sleep. Around 11:00 it rang again. It was my friend Bucky Stover who was the afternoon guy at WUEZ who just found out that I'd been canned and Scot hired to replace me. Bucky told me "well, looks like we have an opening and you need a job" so I told him "sounds good, I'll be up there this afternoon and you can show me the board." I went back to sleep. The phone rang again about 1:00. It was the WFIR General Manager who told me "the operations manager had no authority to fire you without asking me first, so you have your job back." I woke up around 2:00 and called him back and said "thanks but I've already accepted a job at WUEZ." I went to WUEZ, was trained by Bucky, worked one hour on the air and was put on the schedule to do middays starting Tuesday.
So in the course of about six hours I went from having one job to no job to one job to two jobs to one job. Ain't that just like the radio business? The other interesting thing about this article is that lots of people saw the photo and saw the name Pat and thought I was a girl. This is why I grew my very first moustache.
Willie, April 10, 1980. For a while, Cliff and I could talk our way into anything. Especially country and western shows because Cliff had become friends with most of the major acts at the time. We'd met Willie in 1978 (see above). Then we saw him again when he was on tour with Leon Russell in 1979 (and my girlfriend ran over and hugged and kissed Leon, who looked like he was flying so high that he didn't even notice her doing this). This was our third Willie show in three years.
This was the day that we found out that the band was staying at The Hotel Roanoke and gone there and found the room of drummer Paul English and gone up there to party. Don Bowman was also there. Don is famous for writing the song made famous by Jim Stafford, Wildwood Weed so it was kind of appropriate that we were sitting there enjoying some with him. We hung out there until the band had to board the bus and head to the Roanoke Civic Center coliseum then we walked over there (a stone's throw away) with our passes and hung out backstage.
We didn't see Willie until he came in at showtime. He had on a pair of big sunglasses with red, white and blue striped frames which matched his r-w-b guitar strap. We got to sit on the side of the stage, behind one of the speaker columns, for the entire show and that's where I snapped this photo.