Thursday, April 9, 2009

(Part 52) Steve Clark, Curt Boettcher, And Bobby Jameson

FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2008

                                                                 curt boettcher

In 1966 I was at a crossroads in my life. The war in Vietnam was heating up in a big way and was taking it's toll on America with the split between anti war forces and pro war forces. Many of the arguments of today, I heard then and they were as wrong back then as they are now. There's one reason to leave and a thousand reasons to stay. It takes a lot of guts to leave, but it is the only way to allow what is going to happen to happen and then heal. In the 60's it was the same, and the streets of West Hollywood and Hollywood saw their share of huge violent street demonstrations against the "Vietnam War".

I don't think I missed one of them in all the time they occurred. I knew in my heart that I had been spared by being busted for drugs, but I couldn't just forget about Vietnam simply because I didn't have to go. Sometimes on the "Strip" guys just out of boot camp would show up to beat up on "hippies" who they regarded as "pinko commie fags". We actually had a gang of people who were always ready to go at it with these guys when this occurred so there was a lot of street fighting in the middle to late 60's over the war.

At the intersection of Crescent Heights Bvld. and Sunset Blvd. there was an island in the middle of the street. This is where "Pandora's Box" was located. Across the street from that was the "5th Estate" another well known 60's coffee house and "hippie" hangout. We fought with 1,000 LA cops and sheriff's officers there one night over the war and curfew's and loitering laws so it would make sense to keep this in mind when thinking back to all that the 60's offered. There were real people with real ideas about important things that swept this country into turmoil then. It was by no means a musical drugged out dreamworld only. The drugs and music were ever present but so was a lot of other stuff that represented the dynamics of the time.

I showed up at the Vine Tower to meet Steve Clark and Curt Boettcher at the arranged time and was unsure of what to expect. I had been told by Phil Turetsky, as I said, that Steve was an easy guy to get along with and that turned out to be the exact truth maybe a little too easy to get along with. None the less, I was welcomed into Steve Clark's world of Our Productions as a long lost child and felt immediately at home in those surroundings. I told him about the "Monkees" thing I was up for and that I was going to have to make a decision about it pretty soon. He asked what was holding me back and I told him I was somewhat reluctant to end up a TV "bubble gummer" no matter how good it sounded.

Steve was somewhat aware of my past and asked about the Billboard ads and Tony Alamo. He was also interested in the fact that I'd recorded with Mick Jagger in London. We talked for awhile about my goals in the music business and then he told me he wanted me to meet with Curt who was waiting in another office. I waited while Steve went to round up Curt Boettcher and tried to anticipate what he would be like. When Curt showed up at the door and said, "Hi!" I knew that he was nothing like I'd envisioned. He was not an arrogant record guy at all. He was small and fragile looking like "Peter Pan" and had one of the most friendly interested smiles I had ever encountered.

He introduced himself and I returned the introduction of myself to him as we shook hands. His voice was almost like a child, but filled with interest and respect. He spoke to me as if he were thrilled to be there and appeared to relish every moment of the time we spent together that day. He asked about my music and I told him the best way for me to explain it was to play it for him which he was eager for me to do. We sat in that office for an hour or more while I played him song after song that I'd written in the past year or so.

There was nothing that I played for him that he didn't like. From "Jamie" to "See Dawn" and "Candy Colored Dragon" etc., he was just pleased about what he heard coming out of my mouth. He said, "We have to work together." "I can already hear the arrangements for everything your playing," he said. He was like some frantic genius in full animation in front of me. His excitement was catching and I began to get excited right along with him. I seemed to know at that moment that Curt and I were fated to work with each other from that time on and that Our Productions would be my new home and Curt and Steve Clark my new best friends. When Steve finally came back to join us he could see how well Curt and I were hitting it off. "I guess every things OK eh?" He asked. "Every things wonderful," said Curt, "better than wonderful!"

                                                      me and steve clark 1968

There were a lot of details to work out before our new arrangement became a reality. I told Steve that I hadn't made a penny up until then and that I was bound and determined to get paid something before I said OK to any more record deals. He asked what I was talking about money wise and I told him I wanted a $100 a week for a minimum of a year. This may sound like a very small sum now, but from where I was coming from then $100 a week for me was a fortune. Steve looked at me and smiled a big "Dennis The Menace" smile, that's what Steve looked like, a 250 lb huge "Dennis The Menace" and said, "I don't think that's a problem."


  1. Steve would always say, "Where ever you go, there you are." I still repeat that.

  2. or.... " I feel more like I do now than I did before"