SIX DEGREES OF STARK NAKED

Though I did almost four months of research before really getting my teeth into this memoir, I still have to periodically find things to help me when I’m writing. Recently I have been writing about Jimmy O’Neill, who was our personal manager for a little over a year and a half, starting in 1967. Jimmy had been a big time DJ for KFWB, wrote for Teen Magazine, started the first teen nightclub, Pandora’s Box on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and had been married to songwriter Sharon Sheely until shortly before we met him at the Rag Doll in North Hollywood. Though not everything went smoothly, Jimmy did a lot for us.

He was especially important to me. Before there was a glimmer of a thought of us ever leaving Indianapolis, the same group of us who recorded In The Still of the Night, had also recorded an audition tape for Jimmy O’Neill for Shindig! the television he was going to host. If I remember correctly, we read about an open call for audition tapes to become the backup vocal group on the show in a music magazine. With an astonishing amount of naivete we worked hard to get three songs ready, sang them, and sent off the tape. While I don’t remember exactly which songs were on that tape, and how that tape eventually wound up in New York City, and sent us another adventure that I’m leaving out of the memoir, one of them was a Beach Boys song, either In My Room, or Surfer Girl. We must have had another copy of at one time because somehow, it found its way to WIBC radio and the Bouncin’ Bill Baker show. He played it all of a day and a night offering a prize to anyone who knew who the artist was. I must admit, it was a solid copy of the Beach Boys, Dave sounded breathy, exactly like Brian Wilson, and the rest of sounded like we had sand between our toes.

Of course, everyone guessed the Beach Boys until Bill broke the news that it was The Reflections, as we were known them. But the point was we sent this to Jimmy O’Neill and never heard anything back. When the show came on, there were the Wellingtons, who had become the backup vocal group. The Blossoms were the girl vocal backup group, with none other than Darlene Love. The musicians called themselves the Shindogs and had such luminaries as guitarist James Burton and songwriter/guitarist Delaney Bramlett. I was just dying with the thought of what might have been.

Four years later, Jimmy O’Neill, who lived near where we were playing at the Rag Doll in the San Fernando Valley, dropped in to see us, as a guest of Tony Ferra, who owned the club. A few short weeks later we signed on with him as our personal manager. We were so excited, at least I was; he brought us to Greengrass Productions and Ed Cobb, a member of a fantastic vocal group, the Four Preps. I thought our future was made. Jimmy was partnered was Burt Jacobs who later went on with Reb Foster and Bill Uttley to build and manage Three Dog Night, and that friends, is a story for another night.

Anyway, I stumbled across the following interesting website, Six Degrees of Stark Naked from Iowahawk, you should definitely visit. It starts in one place and wanders via video in weird ways to several others …

Larry

Larry Dunlap produces for Easy Street Productions 1981

A view from the control room into the main studio.I recently found some masters produced by Easy Street Productions from my old recording studio, City Recorders. It was located in the basement of the Sunset Gower Studios near the corner of Sunset and Gower in Hollywood. These were from my last music producing sessions in 1981.

There is life after memoir, and though I didn’t have a clue what that afterlife would be when I left the band to manage it in 1971, ten years later I owned a studio, a production company along with a personal management company. But I was sick to death of the music industry and was getting ready to make a big leap into a new business offering computer games over cable television after these recordings.

These last three tracks are instrumental only; I was never happy with the vocals and decided I’d rather leave them off. These tracks remind me of the great a sound we could get out of the joint and how talented some of the people I got to work with back then were. The credit for these sessions go to Neil Diamond’s fantastic musicians, and arranger, our inhouse rhythm section, and mainly to Wizard (Richard Hart) our chief sound engineer, and Mark Evans, who was second engineer for these sessions, drummer, and my inestimable studio manager. You can HEAR THEM HERE, if you would like.

Finding time to produce was difficult because there was such a need to keep the rooms booked to pay the lease and the staff, and occasionally to find a few bucks for me. And producing was the main reason I got into the studio business, but like a drug you want better and better equipment and it costs more and more and you need more and more customers…