COUNTDOWN TO A DECADE:
Sometime around March, 1993, Rusty and I handed Tom Sweeney a demo tape of our new band, BABY LEMONADE. Tom was booking (although he said he was managing) Arthur Lee on a regular basis. We noticed him buying LOVE records at the Indie record store we worked at and couldn’t help but shamlessly plug ourselves. Thre weeks later, Tom called us back and asked if we wanted to open up for the man himself. We jumped at the opportunity, being big fans of all those 60’s and 70’s LOVE records, and really just wanted to meet Arthur. The show was at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California, where Santa Monica Bl. and Doheny street intersect, just 25 ft. from the Beverly Hills city limits.
The date was April 29, 1993. We went on around 9pm and played a 40 min. set. Someone told us afterwards Arthur was watching our whole set. Later on we thanked him and Tom for having us, packed our gear and drove back to our studio in Baldwin Hills, roughly a 20 min. drive. The next morning, our Manager at the time, Jeff Davis, got a call from Tom Sweeney; Arthur dug Baby Lemonade and wanted to know if we’d be interested in backing him as LOVE. We thought it over (can you believe that?) and decided it was a good opportunity (duh) that we couldn’t let slip by and said yes.
The next night, A.L. came by and we did “7 & 7 is”, “Signed DC”, “Alone Again Or” and 3 more songs i can’t seem to recall. It felt great to play those songs (as you can imagine) with his incredible voice leading the way, but i have to say we were all a bit nervous. He went home afterwards and called us a bit later that night and pretty much said he wanted us to be the band. And, for all intents and purposes, we have been LOVE since that day. It is worth mentioning that Arthur has played with Das Damen, The High llamas and Shack backing him in that time as well. We were his west coast band. mainly for economic reasons, as there was no real “manager” around with a sense of vision and a feel for continuity; it was always “What’s the best way to save money?” Of course, all that changed in 1996 when (Manager/ promoter) Gene Kraut, Arthur and Baby Lemonade began working on a regular basis and toured Europe that summer. So, the “Countdown” represents the notes I kept on each and every show we played as LOVE, more or less.
Show #1- June 2, 1993 at RAJI’s
The first show! Our friend, Paul Rock, hosted a tribute to Brian Wilson at his house before the show that also featured “Daisy Chain” and the “Wondermints.” We’d never heard of either of these bands but walked away impressed with the musicianship and that get together in general. Daisy Chain actually opened up for us at Raji’s later so it was a real fun vibe. I remember us rocking out like crazy. I also remember Steven McDonald (Redd Kross bassist) in the audience with a big smile on his face. The line-up was Rusty (guitar), Daddyo (drums), Henry Lui (bass) and myself, and this is the line-up we used up until early 1996.
Show #2-June 20, at The PALOMINO
Word has it, the guys in Weezer were at this show, way before they had a record deal. I remember thinking to myself that i was in a “red neck” bar. I remember this show as being a lot of fun, alot of energy. I think some weird group called the Buffalo Cheese band opened up.
Show #3-July 3, at The WHISKEY
Imagine US playing the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and them forgetting to put Arthur’s name on the Marquee. That’s exactly what happened. Of course, they fixed it, but not without catching some hell from Tom Sweeney. We were opening for that Doors copycat group, WILD CHILD. I remember the Singer, Dave, acting just like Morrison EVEN BACKSTAGE. Rodney Bingenheimer introduced us and we proceeded to blow those guys off the stage.
Show #4-July 7, at RAJI’S
This was to be our last show at Raji’s, as a 6.7 earthquake hit Los Angeles 5 months later and practically levelled the whole building. Too bad. Raji’s was a cool place. Back in the day, you could go see Stone Temple Pilot every saturday night for $7. I remember a guy named “Trudy” yelling out songs over and over again from the audience. And some woman wearing a leopard skin body suit who asked if i wasnted a ride home.
Show #5-August 20, at The CLUB LONGERIE
We played this on bill with Robbie Krieger (Doors…duh!) and the highlight was when WE played Roadhouse Blues with Robbie and Arthur trading versus. We also did “Love me Two Times”, which was a little rough, since we’d never played it before, but the spirit was right there. Afterwards, i chatted with Robbie and i have to say he was a perfect gentlemen.