1972. Kim Fowley “I’m Bad”. Capitol Records. Hollywood.

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Kim Fow­ley. “Cal­i­for­nia Gyp­sy Man”. Pete Sears, bass & key­boards.

Kim Fow­ley. Title Track. “I’m Bad”. Pete Sears, bass & key­boards.

1972. Kim Fow­ley “I’m Bad”.

I played piano and bass on this album record­ed at “The Sound Fac­to­ry” in Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia. It was pro­duced by Jef­frey Cheen and engi­neered by Dave Has­singer for Capi­tol Records. Kim is one of the more pro­lif­ic and col­or­ful char­ac­ters in music…just Google his name.
I remem­ber one ses­sion for the album when a musician’s union guy came round to check that every­one was in the union…they some­times did that back then. We were in the mid­dle of a take when the engi­neer got a call from the front desk that a union guy had just come through the front door. Except for tour­ing with British bands when I would have an H1 work visa, I was still work­ing under the table in those days…and every­one at the ses­sion knew it. The engi­neer warned us through the talk-back, so we launched into the loud­est, most obnox­ious slight­ly out of tune rock n roll we could sum­mon (which wasn’t dif­fi­cult for us) and the engi­neer turned the vol­ume in the con­trol booth up to eleven. The union fel­low, wear­ing a slick three piece suit, sat down and wait­ed for us to finish…it must have been hell­ish for him; he looked like a jazz cat. We could see him just behind the stu­dio win­dow sit­ting on the sofa in front of the record­ing con­sole look­ing very uncom­fort­able, and slight­ly pissed off. We just kept play­ing as loud­ly as pos­si­ble until the poor guy couldn’t take it any­more and left in disgust…no doubt wish­ing he could chuck every­one in the stu­dio out of the union. That was a close call.
After record­ing we’d often go down to Sun­set and hang out with peo­ple like Rod­ney Bingemheimer…or Micky Dolen­ze of the Mon­keys.
1972 was a weird time for me to be in Hol­ly­wood actu­al­ly. I felt a dis­con­nect to reality…like I was adrift on a dark sea of super­fi­cial human inter­ac­tion. I sensed a light or some sort of epiphany beck­on­ing just below the sur­face of my con­scious­ness.

If you are at all inter­est­ed in what sort of fel­low Kim was, check out the 2010 movie “The Run­aways” about the all girl band of the same name which includ­ed the tal­ent­ed Joan Jett. It’s pret­ty hor­ri­fy­ing what Kim put them through as their pro­duc­er.
In spite of work­ing all the time, and plen­ty of atten­tion from the female per­sua­sion, it was real­ly a very low point in my life. My home base had firm­ly become the San Fran­cis­co Bay Area by now, and I only vis­it­ed Los Ange­les when I had a project to work on.
LA has this explo­sive ener­gy swirling around its core that can hold you in over­drive, skim­ming you across a sur­face of end­less par­ties, clubs and shal­low rela­tion­ships. How­ev­er, it’s an ener­gy that can blow up in your face, as I’ve seen it do for many a poor soul try­ing to make a go of it in music or the movies.
Hav­ing said that…I did have some very cool times in the “City Of Angels”.
Thanks to the phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess of “Gaso­line Alley”, “Every Pic­ture Tells A Sto­ry” and “Mag­gie May”, Rod had become a giant mega-star by now, and I cer­tain­ly enjoyed hang­ing out in LA and being asso­ci­at­ed with those albums.
I remem­ber check­ing out a new Reg­gae film at a pri­vate the­ater in Hol­ly­wood when Kei­th Richards came swag­ger­ing in clutch­ing a bot­tle of Jack Daniels. It was a cool film. I didn’t actu­al­ly meet Kei­th until years lat­er when I was back­stage at a Stones show in San Francisco…Ron took me to meet him in his dress­ing room…seemed like a nice bloke. I met him back­stage on sev­er­al Stones tours. Very down to earth actually…and with a wry sense of humor. The back­stage area was like Fort Knox. You need­ed a spe­cial escort from the V.I.P tent to get into the inner sanc­tum where the band and fam­i­ly actu­al­ly hung out. I remem­ber this tent was set up for fam­i­ly and close friends that looked like it belonged in the Ara­bi­an Desert instead of Pac-Bell Park where the show was being held. It was hung with beau­ti­ful shawls and drapes, and Per­sian car­pets lay every­where. Giant plat­ters of fruits and exot­ic meats filled the table­tops.
Ron showed me into Keith’s near­by dress­ing room and I remem­ber think­ing this guy may be in one of the most suc­cess­ful rock bands of all time…but he didn’t seem to have any airs…he’d come up through the trench­es of South Lon­don like me. To con­firm my sus­pi­cions he opens up a small can of some sort of meat stew, heats it up, dumps it out on a paper plate and begins shov­el­ing it into his mouth with a plas­tic fork…in spite of hav­ing a ban­quet fit for a Viking king just twen­ty feet away. I have always liked Keith’s blues roots…he’s a won­der­ful gui­tarist with his own sound.
I’m sure he has his down side like us all…but Kei­th is rock n roll real­ly.

 

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