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Johnny Echols



October 24, 2005

[I’ve been asked many times, how the Grassroots, became LOVE: I shall attempt, too explain this “very” bizarre episode]

The scene opens, on Melrose Ave. In Hollywood Calif. at a club called: The Brave New World! Arthur Lee and I had been appearing there, for several months,
as the Grassroots. After much “soul-searching,” we had made the difficult decision___too replace, our “current” rhythm guitarist, Bobby Beausoleil, with Bryan Maclean! [That’s right, (that) Bobby Beausoleil, who later, became a member of the Manson “family”] We will delve into that, in a future installment!

The reason for our choice, was entirely pragmatic___Bryan, came complete, with his own “entourage” known as, the Sherwood Forrest Crowd, (a name given them, by a reporter from the L. A. Times, because of their eclectic style of dress). This was a loose Knit group, of one hundred or more, of the so-called “Beautiful People” who had, at one time “followed the Byrds, from club to club. These were young actors, directors, cinematographers and [others] from L A ‘s “highly influential,” film community, who could be counted on___too be “Where The Action Is”!

Now that the Byrds, had become (huge) Rock Stars and were no longer appearing, at the local night spots; the (SFC) was now without a band, too follow! Bryan___who had once been a “roadie” for the Byrds, was in the “perfect” position___too win them over to the Grassroots “camp,” ( since most of them, knew and liked him)! Additionally, Bryan had a great personality and showed (huge) promise, as a singer songwriter/musician!

Though we regularly filled the club___too capacity, before the change (according to the Fire Marshall), the addition of Bryan and (co.) made it possible, for us to open an outdoor space, as well! The club (owners) partitioned the parking area, added loudspeakers and charged admission. After a few months of playing together, with our (new) lineup, the Grassroots, were beginning___too attract more and more attention, from the Record Company’s. One night in particular, stands out: I’ll refer to it as a night, too remember!

Bryan and I, were on break, standing outside of the club, when we were approached by a (clearly) “smashed” Record Company Exec. Lou Adler. He had a completely, “over the top” young lady with him, who was as beautiful as (he) was “snockered”! Lou___as he insisted we call him, was profuse, in his compliments, “Embarrassingly” so. He was going to turn the Grassroots, into this (huge) “Super Group,” bigger than the Stones and Beatles combined! He was going to make us wealthier, than Howard Hughes ever “dreamed” of being! Under his “guidance” we would become the most successful Rock Group (ever)!

We “politely” listened, too him, (after all, he was the head of a very successful label) even though it had been “totally” obvious’ from the moment he walked over, that this whole thing, was (more) about “impressing” the young lady, with how “powerful” he was, than about “signing us,” too a record deal!

Then one of us, committed an “unpardonable” sin, I’m not sure, if I did it, or if it was Bryan, but one of us, or both of us interrupted him and explained that our break was almost over and “suggested” that he speak with our manager, concerning his “offer”!

All of a sudden, the man’s face, turned absolutely crimson, the brightest red I had ever seen on anyone, then he exploded and the expletives flew! How dare, we speak to him like that, did we know who (he) was, who did we think (we) were, (he) was a “star” maker, (we) were “nothing, nobodies”! On and on it went, one “drunken” barrage after another, this guy had a “vocabulary” of swear words, that was truly impressive; and he used this opportunity___too express each and every one of them!

Then he crossed the line___ and went too far, he said the “magic words,” I knew he was going to, but I couldn’t believe he actually did!

That did it___Bryan and I started laughing and laughing and we could not stop, the more we laughed, the madder he got, until he finally turned and stormed off; leaving a bewildered young lady behind!

About three or four months later, “Beatle Bob” one of the regulars at the club, stopped by, (while we were setting-up our instruments) with the astonishing news, that he had heard our new record, on the radio! What record, someone asked?
Bob___surprised at the question, (said) “the Dylan song, you know___Mr. Jones Humble Harve, ( a local disc jockey) has been playing it all day and each time he played it, he would announce, here’s the new one, from our very own___The Grassroots!” We just sat there, “stunned,” how could this “happen,” was all anyone could say!

How it “happened,” (was), not very long after our run-in at the club___Lou Alder had put together, a group of “studio musicians” in San Francisco and called them the Grassroots; knowing full-well, that the name had already been registered___by us. This was not just “payback” time, there was a sound, (well) thought-out business reason___behind his actions! He was very much aware, of the “ambiguities” in the trademark, copyright laws! So even if we had, filled a lawsuit and won, time was (still) on his side.

The man knew his way around the business, and took (full) advantage of its “weakness.” In the sixties___long before all the record stores, were “Wired” as part of a computer network, they would use “test markets,” as a method of judging how well, a particular record was selling. The record department, of Music City in Hollywood, was a key part, of the “test market,” system!
So when the “crowd” from the Brave New World, heard that “their” Grassroots had a record out, they went right over to Music City and purchased it by the “hundreds,” thereby causing a “skewing” of the numbers. which caused it, too appear as though Mr. Jones by the Grassroots, was garnering (huge) sale’s “everywhere,” thus giving it a strong push up the Charts; this caused more sales, which caused, more movement up the charts and so on and so on and so on. There was definitely, method too (his) madness!

We discussed the situation, weighed our options and came to the conclusion, that we would choose a new name: Welcome, too the Music Business!

Just another day in the life

Johnny Echols