My family moved into a new home in Suisun City, California and the previous owners had no place to put their little spinet piano. It remained in the house, and I quickly laid claim to it. I'd banged around on the school piano a little bit and liked it, but now I had one in my own house! I took formal lessons for a few years, but more importantly I discovered I could pick out melodies and chords off the radio and in my head. From Mancini's "Moon River" to Brian Wilson's "In My Room" (what's that chord in the bridge under "Laugh At Yesterday"?) the fuse was lit and I couldn't get enough music in my life.
J.C. before there was rock? Not really. I already had a 'group' going (as we said back when) and it was a lot more fun than high school band! Here we see the Armijo High School Marching Band upon our return from the All Western Band Review in Long Beach, California; the state's biggest marching band competition. It was the first time the band had won anything; the first trophy ever in the band room. That's Yours Truly on a pals' shoulders, foreground, in my H.I.S. sweater, stretch Levis and Bates Floaters. The following year I wasn't allowed to march because I wouldn't cut my hair . . .
That's me, "John" on bass! Only a few years previous The Beatles changed the face and sound of pop music, and in every town across the country any kid with an ounce of musical talent wanted to "be in a band." I was no exception, and I was in awe of the local groups popping up around our county; bands like The Tallyrands, The Donnybrookes, The Oxford Circle and a dozen others. In the Fall of '65 I entered high school, and no more than a week into it a "Suisun Boy" named Russell tried to get me in a fistfight with a "Fairfield Kid" about my size (back then after-school "duke-outs" were commonplace the first couple weeks of school). Instead, Robert Koehn and I found some serious common ground in our passion for music, and at only thirteen years old (we were both 'advanced' a year) Rob was already a hell of a guitar player! I convinced my folks to buy me a bass guitar, we found a twelve-year-old drummer named Jeff Pehan, an eleven-year-old guitar player named Jeff Murray, and the game was on; my first band "The Furlanders" was born! I don't think a picture of the band exists, but we had this cool pink business card! I also recently discovered a recording - probably cut the summer of '66 - of us running through Rufus Thomas' "Walkin' The Dog" with Yours Truly on lead vocal. "Walkin' The Dog" at thirteen? Thank you very much KDIA, the hippest soul station on the West Coast . . .
After The Furlanders fell apart all the local bands knew Koehn, Pehan and I were up for grabs (the other Furlander quit the business at about 14 years old). Cary Schultz lived down the street and had a band called "The Curbstones," which I thought was a very cool name. In fact, (though their musical chops weren't up to our standards) The Curbstones' "cool factor" was off the charts; they looked dynamite! At some point in time Cary disbanded the group and recruited us, this time with myself as the keyboard player/second vocalist (my folks traded the piano for my new Vox organ), and "The Yewess Army" was born. This picture was shot on a hot summer night at our "practice shack" out in the Suisun Valley. From left to right: Jeff Pehan, Cary Schultz, Bill Yoha, a shirtless Yours Truly, and part of a shy Robert Koehn.
Yewess Army, February 1969
In my element! At sixteen years old I had the hottest up-and-coming band in the county, we're booking dates, writing songs & getting along with each other. Only a few months later would things start to unravel. It was my last semester of high school (supposedly,) I received A's in band and choir, then something less in all my other classes.
The Yewess Army setting up for - what else? - a high school dance . . . probably shot around the Spring of '69 because my hair's longer. From left; Jim Harter (back, band pal and "guy with the truck,") Yours Truly on the Vox organ, Cary Schultz (back), Jeff Pehan, Bill Yoha, Robert Koehn, Joyce Cochran, friend and fan. (Photo courtesy of John Cochran)
Surely the last picture of the band (unless someone's got an older one!) because our original bass player had been replaced by a Vacaville fella named Steve Merritt. We were playing a benefit on the U.C. Davis campus for out-of-towners protesting the Vietnam war. The following month I'd put a couple horns in the lineup (Koehn and I were big fans of Nick Gravenites and Mike Bloomfield's "Electric Flag") and it seriously shook up the band's direction. I remember us opening up for Linda Tillery's "Loading Zone" in August of that summer - biggest and last show we ever played - and between the band's fragmenting musical direction and high school graduation, my stint with The Yewess Army was over.
"The Roving Horns"! Andy Abara was part of The Yewess Army horn section I had added in the summer. After the band breakup, the two of us spent several months running around Solano County jumping other bands' stages (unannounced) with his trumpet and my sax. This time we roved all the way to Altamont Speedway because the concert was free, it was a great band lineup, and at the time it was considered our "West Coast Woodstock." How could I not attend? With a million ears pinned to KSAN (the hippest FM station in the land) the venue kept changing moment to moment, finally settling on Sears Point Raceway, about twenty-five miles from my home town. My mom dropped us off at an I-80 freeway entrance at about 7 A.M. to hitchhike over, equipped with nothing more than a couple bucks and a bag lunch (pictured). What I didn't tell her was that at the last minute the venue had changed to Altamont, about seventy miles away . . . At one point during the concert Andy just wanted to lay down and sleep, so I seized the opportunity to finagle my way on the stage for a close-up view of The Flying Burrito Brothers. It was the first time I'd ever been so close to a major performing act in the act - in front of a half-million people - and I'll admit it was intoxicating; it got in my blood. Eventually a Hell's Angel shooed me off the stage, and somehow I managed to find Andy in the throng. This woud also be my last haircut for several years; my mother wanted my senior picture to look like everyone else's . . . (Photo courtesy of Roland Brady)
1969 was a pretty tough year for me on many fronts, but my saving grace was graduating from high school (a semester late, thank you) and heading straight to college to discover a whole new set of friends, musical and otherwise. That Suisun West Wind blew hard and scattered The Yewess Army all over the valley, and some bandmates I never saw again. Among my new acquaintances Ricky Lowe was, hands down, the best guitar player in the area. As soon as he discovered I was looking for something new he scooped me up. We knew each other a little from high school and I had a deep respect for his band, kind-of a rock-folk thing at the time. But my horn influence, singing and arrangement capabilities would soon change that, much to the encouragement of my pal "Rickshaw." His folks lived smack-dab in the middle of an orchard, and our rehearsal barn, "The House Of The Rising Sun," was the clubhouse to beat all clubhouses. At one point part of it was sectioned off as living quarters for certain bandmates and their "old ladies" (a perfectly acceptable, endearing term for the times) and for the first time in my life I felt like I really had something going. It was the year of my independence; the year I grew up. Pictured, top row from left; David Luke, Bob Gridley, Ricky Lowe (I could never call him Rick,) Lach Loud. Front from left; Kevin Jones, Yours Truly with cowboy hat and cigarette, Doug Decker. (Photo courtesy of Dudley Owens.)
Probably shot in 1971 since we had a new horn player in the lineup. From left; Winston Wallace, Kevin Jones, Yours Truly. (Photo courtesy of Dudley Owens)
The hair's longer and I didn't own a guitar strap; in fact the guitar wasn't mine! I remember I had just written my first song with it, so I'm sure that's what we were playing when this picture was shot. The band was starting to get pulled in several directions (musically and otherwise) and the musical influences were coming from more than just a couple guys. We had a horn section, but at times the other two players jumped on keys while I jumped on guitar, changing the entire sound of the band. Interesting, very creative stuff; but us college kids were experimenting too much with tempo and time changes, the lead singer's wife was pregnant, and people just wanted to dance! Those who weren't going to school were getting called up for the draft, and the band was standing on some pretty shaky ground here in 1972. By the end of the year Cottonmouth would be history. From left; Ricky Lowe (with his Trini Lopez!) Yours Truly sitting with guitar, Doug Decker on drums, David Luke on Bass, Bob Gridley, vocals. (Photo courtesy of Dudley Owens.)
Cottonmouth right at the end, most likely Spring of '72. I was working days in a waterbed factory and our singer was commuting (by thumb) from Sonoma County for rehearsals. Our keyboard player was selling ice cream out of a truck (he called them "Bozo Cones" and dressed in a clown outfit) and our bass player worked in the Vacaville onion factory, one of three places a 'longhair' could find employment in the county; I was about to draw a bad number in the draft lottery, but by the summer everything would work out fine.
As things were unravelling for Cottonmouth, I was having a few problems of my own. I took a break from school in '72, took on a real job, and immediately got called up for the draft. That summer I met a young woman from Southern California visiting friends in town, and our meeting convinced her to attend Sonoma State College. We drove over to the area to look for a place to live, this band was playing at the local club, and they were hot! Being the shy, coy type, I strode up to the drummer, introduced myself, and told him what they needed was me! A week and 2 rehearsals later I was a full-fledged member of "Sound Hole." This shot was most likely taken some time in the winter of 1972. From left; Brian Hogan, Yours Truly, Mario Cipollina, Bill Gibson, Dan Schallock.
Same night, Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, California. From left; John Farey, Mario Cipollina, Bill Gibson, Dan Schallock.
Not more than a few months after this show we lost Dan and his parents to a terrible tragedy. I had the honor of playing with Danny, one of the most gifted guitar players I'd ever met (at nineteen years old!) for only a handful of months, but in that short time his playing and personality left an indelible mark on me that will last forever.
Sound Hole Transition, 1973
After the initial shock of losing our pal Danny, we realized Sound Hole still had several obligations on the calendar. One of those was what a lot of Marin County, California folks will remember as Sir Francis Drake High School's "Nova Hop". More of a gag than a gig, the dance had a fifties theme and everyone dressed accordingly. Filling out the lineup with the extraordinary Archie Williams on guitar, we gagged it up a bit ourselves. At one point in the set I sat on the drum riser, cross-legged with my hair down, strumming & singing "Blowin' In The Wind," when a few of the guys came out of the wings, smashed the guitar and carted me offstage, mumbling "F*#*ing Hippy!" under their breath.The humor was a welcome relief after all that had recently happened. Top row, from left, Yours Truly, Bill Gibson, Mario Cipollina, Dave Farey, Archie Williams. Bottom row from left, John Farey, Brian Hogan.
Sound Hole's first promo shot, probably 1974. The picture actually captured the R&B, pseudo jazz/pop thing we were doing at the time, but this would change soon. A sweater in a promo shot? Guess I dressed for the weather rather than the image . . . From left; Brian Hogan, Bill Gibson, Brian Marnell, Mario Cipollina, Yours Truly, John Farey.
Sound Hole and Van Morrison - 1974
Van lived in Marin County at the time, and his road manager was a big fan of ours. In fact I suppose Van was a bit of a fan as well; he hired us (along with Vince Guaraldi!) to play for his 30th birthday party at San Anselmo's late, great Lion's Share! To the best of my recollection, Van had recently dismissed his "Street Choir" and he wanted to try on something new. Sound Hole was convenient, local, and (behind The Sons Of Champlin) we were the designated R&B "Muse-Os" in the county. Van hired us, we had a handful of rehearsals, then played a string of college dates back East. Back home we did a couple local shows, including a taping/filming at San Francisco's Orphanage. It was the first time I'd ever been in front of a three-camera shoot, and I was petrified . . . from left, Dennis Langevin, Van, Bill Gibson hiding behind a cymbal, Yours Truly.
The details are fuzzy, but this show took place at the Mount Tamalpais Amphitheater; an absolutely beautiful spot with an amazing history. We nicknamed the occasion "Day In The Dirt" (a play on Bill Graham's then-popular Days on The Green) simply because everyone was dancing and kicking up the dirt like a pack of wild stallions. In fact some were dressed similarly . . . This photo was taken after the show - at my request - to memorialize our pay for the day; about $23 bucks in change passing the hat! Musically, we were in a pretty good place and Marnell hadn't found his "Rock 'n Roll Legs" yet, hence the disco outfit. From top left; Yours Truly, Brian Marnell, Bill Gibson. Bottom left; Brian Hogan, Mario Cipollina, John Farey.
This was a promo shot for Sound Hole's first (and only) single, and if you know how this pose ties in with songs called "Back To The Summer Of Love" and "Everyday", you're doing better than me! In any event we got the record out and sold about thirty copies, then started working on another demo with Bill Champlin at the helm; the demo that broke up the band . . .
Bill Graham's Winterland, 1975
Did we pass our Winterland audition in '74 with Earthquake and Grayson Street, or did Mario's big brother John get us on the bill? Details aside, this show in November of '75 featured Quicksilver Messenger Service as headliners, and Little Feat in the second slot (suffice it to say Sound Hole opened the show). What I took away from the night was my first taste of Paul Barrere, Lowell George, and one of the loosest, funkiest bands I'd ever heard! I don't know why they weren't on my radar earlier, but I quickly became a fan. Little Feat taught me what the musician's term 'big pocket' meant - loose, but on time - and Sound Hole was anything but that. I'd observe the same thing a year later playing with Sly.
I think it's safe to say this was Sound Hole's last photo session, our last attempt at a new promotional shot (which we never used!) Beyond the faces, what we really see here is a splintered band; dissension in the ranks; a band on the verge of breaking up. Couple guys sporting disco outfits, a few guys with one foot still in the summer of love, different length haircuts, and Marnell searching desparately for a new image (I think he borrowed a girlfriend's fur). The music at the time reflected all this as well. In a few months Farey and Yours Truly would be gone, and not many months later Sound Hole would be over for good. For me it was on to the next thing; Sly and The Family Stone.
Sly & The Family Stone, 1976
Outtake shot from the photo session at Sly's house in Novato, California for our "Heard Ya Missed Me, Well I'm Back" release; my debut with a major record label. From left to right; Joe Baker, Bianca Thornton, Yours Truly (flanked by two impressive afros,) Cynthia Robinson, Sly, Virginia Ayers, Dwight Hogan, Dawn Weber, Steve Schuster, John Farey, Anthony "Zap" Warren. Within the year Virginia would be replaced by Lynn Mabry, we would tour with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, and Dawn "Silva" and Lynn would soon become "The Brides of Dr. Funkenstein." (Photo courtesy of Herb Greene.)
Sly's "Heard You Missed Me" back cover
This shot was from the same Herb Green photo session up at Sly's Ranch in Novato. I'd just celebrated my twenty-fourth birthday. Top row, from left to right: Joe Baker, Steve Schuster, Bianca Thornton, Dwight Hogan, Sly Stone, Dawn Weber, John Farey. Middle: Cynthia Robinson. Bottom row: Yours Truly, Dawn Weber, Anthony "Zap" Warren.
With Sly Stone, Showtime, 1977
Sly's authentic "Nudie" Jumpsuit? Priceless. My homemade Jumpsuit? Hilarious.
This night at Cotati, California's 'Inn Of The Beginning' must qualify as the first time Huey and I played together on the same stage, and to the best of my recollection it was on his urging. I was playing with Sly at the time (hence the same horn line-up) and Clover would soon be shipping out to England. From left; John McFee, Huey Lewis, Alex Call, John Farey, Yours Truly, Steven Schuster, John Ciambotti. (Photo courtesy of Ralph Merzlak)
Airplay was a short-lived attempt at the big time post-Soundhole, during Sly, and pre-Huey & The News. At the time I had just resigned from Sly's band, playing some spot gigs with Jerry Martini's Rubicon, while quietly conspiring with Huey to start something new. Airplay convinced Huey to let the band to perform at one of our first "Monday Night Live" shows as an audition for Bill Graham. Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna) was also in attendance that night, and like a lot of successful "mid-career crisis" musicians, he was rooting around Marin looking for something new and creative to do. That night he cherry-picked Brian Marnell and Gibson from our band and went on to form "The Jack Casady Band", soon to be renamed "SVT". For me it meant the end of Airplay and Rubicon, and I shifted all my energy toward Huey, "Monday Night Live," and "American Express." From left to right; Bill Gibson, Mario Cipollina, Yours Truly (doctoring up a hot dog,) Bill Burgess, Brian Marnell, unknown shirtless dude with tatoos before they were trendy.
Airplay cutting tracks at The Church in San Anselmo, California. From left; Yours Truly on piano, Mario Cipollina, Brian Marnell, Bill Gibson.
. . . Took a lot of guts to post this shot . . . Marnell and I had big plans and small money, like none! We had the band down to two singers, so I suppose you could call this our "Jagger/Bowie" phase; trapped there in the late seventies between glam and disco. In other words, clueless. We were one showcase from the end of the band.
I can't remember the precise details, but out of the blue one day I get a call from Jerry Martini (Sly & Family Stone alumnus) asking if I wanted to play in his band. I'd met Jerry previously when our paths crossed in this studio or that, and we'd both done our time with Sly. Rubicon had a bit of a hit with "I'm Gonna Take Care Of Everything", I had several different projects going at once, and I figured one more wouldn't be a stretch; anything for a payday! It didn't take long to realize Rubicon's days were numbered, but it was the opportunity to play with some fantastic musicians and singers. Max Haskett had come out of Lydia Pense's Cold Blood (and spent some time with HLN!), Jim Pugh was one of the best B-3 players I'd ever encountered, and Jack Blades, Brad Gillis and Kelly Keagy went on to form Night Ranger. It was an interesting few months, to say the least! Pictured from left; Jimmy Pugh, Brad Gillis, Jack Blades, Max Haskett, Jerry Martini, Yours Truly.
Johnny & Jerry Martini, Rubicon, 1978
In all honesty I have no clue how I ended up playing this show held at San Francisco's Cow Palace, but I did, and what a what a spectacle it was! This was the fifth annual ball held by Margo St. James and the COYOTE organization for the legalization of prostitution. But as you can imagine, in another "only in San Francisco" moment, the event was much more than that. Advertised as a freaky mix of "Belly Dancers, Glitter, Flash, Nuns, Witches, Wizards and Sheiks," it was also an all-night free-for-all sexual escapade; the real show was out in the audience! I'd moved back to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, Huey and I were starting to work together, and our "Monday Night Live" shows were already underway. Pictured from left; Roger "Jelly Roll" Troy, Marcus Grossman, Boots Hughston, Yours Truly, and a scary hunch-backed Merl Saunders.
Not all that meets the eye here! We had a long-running band joke that we never needed a business card to be successful. Well . . . somewhere around 1989, when things were not quite going as they had earlier in the decade, I had these cards made up as Christmas gifts for the band and management, the not-so-subtle gag being that maybe it was time to have that business card after all . . . turned out things worked out just fine without it.
Every variety show needs a theme and, uh, well, this show had one! 'Willie and The Hit Men' was ex-Clover singer Alex Call's new band, and 'Wet Nurse' was a bunch of local friends taking a stab (tongue firmly in cheek) at the recent punk rock craze with tunes like 'I'm Tired Of Everybody Hittin' Me Up for S*it' and 'Bar Wars', a play on local George Lucas's recent success. Fun stuff! 'Huey and The Fools' were a band on the way somewhere, but none of us quite knew where yet.
When Huey came back home from England, the plan was to try and get a band together and see how far we'd get. The vehicle for that was "Monday Night Live," which was a loose take on SNL. Or maybe closer to The Gong Show, I don't know. In any event we had an emcee spewing national and local topical jokes for the times, jugglers, divas, belly dancers, skits, and local bands. The show became so popular folks like Elvin Bishop and Ricki Lee Jones were showing up for guest slots. "The Monday Night Live Band" was the house band, and one could say HLN was loosely derived from that; a few of us were conspiring. At one point a lot of local musicians weren't sure if they were in or out of "Huey Lewis and American Express," but when we started writing songs and performing as a six-piece it answered everyone's questions.
Backstage at Uncle Charlie's goofing off . . . in all fairness I'm responsible for both bunny ears. From left; Yours Truly and Sean Hopper.
Who said Huey and The News were never edgy or trendy? Go back and listen to our first LP! This rare shot was taken in San Franciso between takes shooting videos for our self-titled debut release. If you sniff around the internet you can find HLN's "Some Of My Lies Are True" video and see we have the same outfits on as in this picture. We shot two videos in as many days on a budget of $1,200 bucks ~ those were the days . . . From left to right; Chris Hayes, Sean Hopper, Huey Lewis, Mario Cipollina, Bill Gibson, Yours Truly.
Young and hungry, touring behind our first release.
My best guess is we're performing somewhere in the Bay Area (since our buddy Ralph Merzlak took the photo) promoting our first release; probably playing "Some Of My Lies Are True" because that's the first song I two-parted with Huey. But who knows; anyone have a better guess? From left; Huey Lewis, young Chris Hayes, Mario Cipollina, Yours Truly.
Moments after puttin' it to KLOL Houston on the diamond. Yours Truly, far right.
Rockin' Tokyo with the Tower of Power Horns. From Left; Greg Adams, Lee Thornberg, Mario Cipollina, Richard Elliot, Doc Kupka (obscured) Emilio Castillo, Chris Hayes, Bill Gibson, Huey Lewis, Sean Hopper, Yours Truly.
Showin' the rookies how it's done; talk about fish out of water! Coming off their first historic Super Bowl Trifecta, a few notable Forty-Niners came in the studio at our request to 'shout' the outro on "Hip To Be Square." Believe it or not, they were having a hard time copping the "Here, there, and everywhere" line! With a little coaching (and beer to fortify testosterone levels) we finally got the performance we were looking for, and the rest is history . . . From left; Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana, Yours Truly (back) Dwight Clark, Ricky Ellison.
If you were lucky enough to buy a R.S. some time this year, you got this free HLN postcard as a tear-out . . . took us right back to the top!
"Doin' It All" Video Still, 1987
Careful what you wish for . . . because I smoked cigars at the time, I wanted to use a stogie as part of my character. Pretty fun stuff the first hour or so, but by the end of the day I'm fairly certain my cigar-smoking days were over. In fact I'm not so sad about high-production videos being over for HLN . . .
Bay Area Music Awards, 1988
Dennis Erokan's Bammie Awards was another one of those "only in San Francisco" events that really didn't have much to do with the awards. It was a good excuse to get all the local music luminaries together to kibitz and maybe even jam a bit. This shot of HLN and The Grateful Dead is a great example. From left; Huey Lewis, Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia, Brent Mydland, Merl Saunders, Yours Truly & Sean Hopper, probably playing "Good Mornin' Little School Girl." (Photo © Susana Millman, 1998, mamarazzi.com)
One of the nicest guys in the world gives the kid a sax solo . . . (© Susana Millman @ mamarazi.com)
Steve Douglas Memorial, 1993
Same night, performing together for Saxman Steve Douglas's memorial. That's Steve's Tenor Sax propped up between myself and Ry.
What's wrong with this picture?! As I mentioned on the discography page, Yoshihiro Ichikawa wanted his "News" on a few tracks, I arranged three tunes, commissioned the band, wrote some horn & BV charts, and he got three great tracks out of it; great guy, and we had a wonderful time.
Huey and a lot more News, 1995
This is a rare shot taken right before we hit the stage. We'd just released "Four Chords and Several Years Ago" and made the decision to go out as an expanded band. It may have been one of the most fun tours I've ever done, what with taking many players over to Europe for their first time. Top row, left, Mario Cipollina, the late, great Ron Stallings, Marvin McFadden, Rob Sudduth, Sean Hopper. Bottom row from left, Chris Hayes, Yours Truly, Conesha "Monet" Owens, Bill Gibson, Sandy Griffith, Huey Lewis.
Way Out West Recording, 1998
My first real 'room'; that is, a proper studio of my own big enough to record a band in. I worked with a myriad of musicians here in San Rafael California, and eventually turned the place into HLN's rehearsal/recording studio. We cut a million demos and overdubs at this place, and one track actually ended up on our "Soulsville" CD. This particular shot is downbeat day one; the first Lucky Devils rehearsal.
The 'Other Rat Pack' posing in front of Caesar's marquee in Las Vegas; arguably our coolest promo shot ever (certainly is my favorite!) We had to get up about 5 in the morning to set for this shot so the light was right, and as many of us know that's usually bedtime in Vegas. Back row from left; John Pierce, Bill Gibson, Rob Sudduth, Marvin McFadden. Front row; Huey Lewis, Chris Hayes, Yours Truly, Ron Stallings.
Johnny & The Lucky Devils, 2000
I've done everything late in life and the career's no exception . . . . Although I released my first solo effort some time around 2000, I'm embarrassed to say I actually started the project several years previous when HLN took a small vacation. Unfortunately, when the our coffee break was finished, my project wasn't! Working around the band's schedule, it took me another couple years to release "Lucky Devil." I put together what I thought was the best line-up to push the CD, and true to HLN form, being a "good guy" was as important as the playing. From left to right; Michael White, Billy Lee Lewis, Yours Truly, Ric Wilson, Henry Salvia, Gary Vogensen.
"Lucky Devil" Outtake, 2001
The 'other good shot' from my 'Lucky Devil' photo session; a bit too moody for the title, eh?
In the winter of 2003 Huey and I (sans News) went over to Germany to perform a handful of shows for a production called "Night Of The Proms." (If you've never heard of it go to www.notp.com) Toto was also on the bill with us, we'd done a few shows together back in the eighties, and it was the perfect opportunity to get reacquainted after so many years. This tour was also where I bumped into a choir girl on her way to dinner, and four years later she would become Mrs. Christie Colla ~ trip worked out pretty well for me! From left to right: Mike Porcaro, Steve Lukather, Bobby Kimball, Ricky Lawson, Tony Spinner, Greg Phillinganes, Yours Truly.
Johnny & some Lucky Devils, 2006
This is an interesting shot taken out in West Marin somewhere; my superb backing vocalists are (from left) fishing pal & sometime writing partner Dave Fredericks, my beautiful wife Christie Colla, and my handsomer-than-dad son Ryan Colla! I don't know when that will happen again, if ever, and I'm grateful to photographer Bob Hakins for capturing the moment.
My Hero, and I have more grey hair than him! I sent pal Jeff Foskett (Brian's musical director) a rough mix of Wilson's "Our Prayer," the first cut on my CD "I Hear Voices!" My hope was that Jeff would play it for Brian and I'd get some sort of meaningful, constructive critique; something along the lines of, "Well, third phrase, bar two, second alto part should be a C instead of a D." Instead, Brian simply said, "It needs more bass." Guess what? He was right! From left; Yours Truly, Brian Wilson, my lovely wife Christie Colla.
Miss Gabi Wilson duetted with me on "Slow Twistin" ("I Hear Voices!") and absolutely knocked it out of the park! A few months later the HLN boys trusted me enough to have Gabi come up and sing the same tune with us during our a cappella segment. This picture - shot at Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California - shows a glowing Gabi, a deeply impressed Huey, and Yours Truly; the 'gloating father-figure' applauding wildly! (Photo courtesy of Bob Hakins)
Arrested for assault with a friendly weapon . . . beautiful people!
A lot of San Francisco Giants fans hanging out with one of our childhood heroes, the great Lon Simmons. Known for his edgy tone and quick, offbeat humor, Lonnie and Russ Hodges called Giants games on the radio throughout my entire childhood and teen years. From left to right; Marvin McFadden, Sean Hopper, Alex Murzyn, Johnnie Bamont, Bill Gibson, Lon Simmons, Huey Lewis, unidentified L.A. Dodgers fan, Yours Truly, James Harrah.
Hold on . . . is that Joe Cocker holding a "Voices!" CD autographed by Yours Truly? What's wrong with this picture?? HLN's recent stint with Joe & company may qualify as one of the most enjoyable tours I've ever experienced, from the crew on up. He's an English gentleman to the heart, and the band was a pure delight from the beginning. I only hope we can do it again some day. (Photograph courtesy of Norbert Fimple)
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