The Byrds are the best!
Who doesn’t love driving down the 1, where Davenport turns into Santa Cruz, listening to “Notorious Byrd Brothers” start-to-finish? (Albeit grimacing through “Dolphin’s Smile” and straight-up skipping “Space Odyssey.”)
The Byrds are especially cool because they left a lot of performance mistakes in their final records.
Usually the mistakes were by their hapless drummer Michael Clarke, who, to his credit, improved tremendously over time, and eventually slayed the traps in the Burrito Brothers.
(That said, he really flubs the transition from the solo to the last verse in “Change is Now.”)
In fact, given his pervasively choppy, white-boy sloppiness, I was pretty surprised and impressed by his playing on “Mr. Tamborine Man” and their 1967 jam “Goin’ Back.” So nimble. So crisp. So tasteful. So effortless.
Well, I did some research and my surprise was well-grounded: Michael Clarke did not play drums on those songs. Hal Blaine did. Of course he did.
Hal has played on more records than anyone ever – or ever will – and beyond being one of the top 10 drummers ever, he’s also featured in the film The Wrecking Crew, which we’ll screening on Friday, May 27th at the Henry Miller Library.
If Hal isn’t a household name, don’t feel bad. While he and his Wrecking Crew comrades have played on all the best records ever, they remained in the shadows and never got the respect they deserve.
I mean, seriously, there should be a Mt. Rushmore in the Hollywood hills featuring their 30-or-so heads. Something is VERY wrong with a world in which a red-haired, duplicitious, slave-owning weasel gets his puffed-up mug etched in granite, yet the genius who played the piano on “Malibu People” has to clip coupons to buy Rice-A-Roni at a some bombed-out Ralph’s in Culver City.
This fantastic, award-winning film will help to right this historical wrong.
It was directed by Denny Tesescdo, whose father was part of that infamous bunch. Denny will be in attendance during the screening!
Tickets are a mere $10 in advance at henrymiller.org; $15 at the door.
So do come join us Friday, May 27th, and connect with your criminally under-rated and un-recognized musical forefathers and mothers.
Wrecking Crew for President!