Ask the aging rock star

Ok, we ( The Five Americans) weren’t the Rolling Stones or Beatles but we did have 5 chart records from 1965 to 1968… One record Western Union ,released in April 67, went to number three in billboard and sold a million plus copies. We toured with groups like The Rascals, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Beach Boys and Buffalo Springfield. We appeared on Dick Clark’s Bandstand twice, on Clark’s location show “Where the Action is” four times and the Steve Allen Show. We also did many local TV shows. Our largest venue was in St. Louis where we played in front of 80,000 people. We traveled all over the US and parts of Canada. We shared top billing with The Jefferson Airplane in Houston Texas and played the famous "Whiskey Au-go-go in Hollywood along with the Allman Brothers ( then known as The Hourglass). For a brief two to three years we had groupies, roadies, a road manager and a publicist. We traveled in our own twin engine beach, bought our clothes on the Loop in Chicago and ate New York steaks at Gene Autry’s Continental Hotel on Sunset blvd. Let me tell ya it was quite a ride.

So anyone wanting to know what happens on tour and what goes on in a even semi-successful rock artists’ life first hand can ask here. If you want to know how to get started in a hit group or what happens on the road or what kind of people other rock star might be like, you can ask here. If I know the answers I will get back to you. If I get a lot of responses I might not answer all questions right away as I am currently teaching two computer workshops. So if you are curious, ask away but be patient

PS. I hope this post is interpreted as a fun and interesting post on a topic that you don’t get to ask about everyday. If it comes off as tooting my own horn that I was a big rock star, believe me that is NOT what I had in mind. The 60’s were a long time ago and I have always just been proud of the fact that we were lucky enough to have some success.

Groupies: Can they really be classified by hair color?

Dear god, you remember the sixties? Why, I wasn’t even born until the Nix–

Er, never mind.
Really, though, a personal question that you’re welcome to ignore. How’s your financial situation? Did you, your bandmates, and other borderline groups (please forgive the term, I hope you know what I mean) make good investments by and large, or did y’all get into the 15 minutes by spending as fast as it came in?

I realize you never got rich, but the couple years must have seen a dramatic increase in income, yes?


Dear aging rock star,

Since you posted this in Great Debates was there something controversial we should ask you? Did you envision this like “Ask the gay guy” where anti-aging rock star people would weigh-in with imflammatory questions? If that is the case, then I have to ask, how do you sleep at night knowing you are still earning money for something you did so long ago? I built some great looking houses back in the '70s when I was foreman of a construction crew and believe me it took some real creative juices to frame up some of those complicated hip roofs, but all I got for my trouble was the $5.25 an hour they gave me at the time. Those houses still stand and serve their owners all the while increasing in value and I don’t get 2¢ per door slam or residuals on resale of the property.

So, what were you in it for? The sex? The drugs? Or was it really “about the music”?

What I want to know is what happened at the end, on the way down (if you will forgive the expression)? As someone who has never had a significant level of public success, I have always wondered: Do the creative juices just suddenly stop flowing? Is continued large-scale success more a matter of image than talent? Or do you make a decision & say “Enough of this!”?

Certainly but only after you dart and tag them.


Our manager, seeing our potential decided to put us on a “draw” against future royalties from the initial signing of our contract. It was to be a debt that we would never overcome according to his books. So all though we lived well during our 15 minutes we should have gotton wealthy. A sad but not uncommon story for 60’s recording artists. I went back to college after quitting the band and the road and earned a master’s degree and have been a principal and recently a music teacher in the public schools of okla. And my finanical situation ain’t too bad.
Wanderer sed:

I posted it here because there are serveral other topics like it in this forum that are not particularly inflamatory …ie ask the brit bloke. If the mods don’t want it here they will move it. However I am perfectly willing to debate any issue in regards to 60’s and record royalties and artists who were fucked out of them.

How do I sleep at night? Real good knowing that my intellectual property had some effect on world consciousness.

Adam yax:

Well two out of three ain’t bad…
Just kidding. Believe it or not the music was the driving force. The sex and drugs were just a side dish.
So far so good: Sedth

Song writers are only proflific for so long in my opinion. ( Heard a new James Brown tune recently?) We wrote a couple of “Commnuication songs”. One of them sold over a million. Our manager and record company pressured us to write more like it until the creative spirit kinda fizzled out. A musical group is a temporary condition any. ( except for the rolling stones of course. )

After 8 years together on the road we also got pretty sick of each other. Our manager, who got 20% off the top of every gig, worked us like dogs until we had had enough.

Damn, that’s right. I remember your saying that before, in your napster Pit thread.

You’re pulling some royalties now, though?

Andros yes we are now. I have always recieved writers airplay royalites ( the law forbids assigning those to anyone other than the writer of the song.) And only recently our crooked manager passed away and all future *sales *royalties revert to the original aritists…that would of course include me. :slight_smile:

Any thoughts of “One more” tour?
Also, how about a movie? An honest portrayal of your band’s rise and fall.
What I really would like to know is, what’s it like to play for 80,000 adoring fans? And, do musicians really get erections from being on stage? :smiley:

Was “This is Spinal Tap” an accurate portrayal of touring, life on the road, etc.?

We haven’t been asked to go on tour yet. However fox network did pay expenses to have us get back together in 87 at the hardrock cafe in Dallas.

A movie? No but I have a book about finished. You can bet I will let the SD know when it’s released. :slight_smile:

Playing before 80,000 people was in a lot of ways no different than playing before 80 in a nightclub. It’s hard to see the audience over the lights. However if 80,000 people are out there you can “feel them” more than see them. Mainly you just look into the lights and play and think of the possible poontain that will be back stage after the gig.

I was so fucked up during the 60’s that I was lucky to get an erection off stage much less on stage.

If the book is anywhere near as honest as this statement you’ve got one sold already. :wink:

I don’t really remember seeing Spinal Tap altho I may have or at least some of it. Let me just briefly describe it from my point of view though.

Touring and life on the road is pretty much the same for most groups. One holiday Inn or other motel/hotel after another. Booze, drugs and groupies are standard fare. Many times I awoke in a city and had no earthly idea of where I was. Many times I woke up with complete stangers ( female of course). I have seen band members do shit that no one would believe crazed on booze and drugs.

One thing we didn’t have to worry about in the 60’s was aids. Lucky for us. However the rest of the menu was out there, clap, crabs etc. We had a doctor who would send us penicillin or whatever else we needed in a medical way through the US Mail, when we were on tour.

Thanks Mangeorge,

What would be the point of writing a book and glossing it over with a bunch of crap anyway?

Dear Aging Rock Star,

Any chance that a VH-1 “Behind the Music” is in the works? Should the Dopers start calling and writing to demand it?

Do you have any gold or platinum (did they have that then?) records hanging in your living room?

When your book comes out, will you autograph it for me? :smiley:

yes bug the hell out of VH-1.

(did they have that then?)lolol…damn I am not that old. Yes one record and one BMI award for a million plays on the radio.

I most certainly will autograph a book for you. :slight_smile:

Thanks aha…When I asked “did they have that then” I was just asking if they had platinum records then. I knew they had gold. Didn’t mean to make you feel old. :wink:

Too bad my dad is not here. He was the king of '60s music and here I am talking to a real live rock star!

Aha, I have to reiterate that I love “Western Union”. I was only kidding when I digged at you above. I am in the process of moving from New Jersey to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I drove my car down last week and had my radio on the whole time. I was so hoping to catch “Western Union” on some station, but it was never on. I heard “Crimson and Clover” twice, but no “Western Union”. I am driving down with all my belongings next week and maybe I will catch it on the radio then.