A friend who always talked about you
Back in the early 80’s, I lived in the Los Feliz/Atwater area. I spent many a night walking my dog with my neighbor Bud Mason, ne Wayne Mason, who told me stories about growing up in 50’s and 60’s. He seemed to have a story about everything. To give you an idea of how wacky his childhood was, when Oregon went to the Rose Bowl in 1958 they found out Bud had a pet duck. They gave him free tickets in return that the duck could be their mascot for the game. That was the kind of stuff that happened to Bud, and I spent a lot time cracking up at his escapades. He spoke of his days in the navy, hot rodding up and down San Fernando Road, ordering Zombie’s from a black bartender named Ben at Gazzarri’s, and rocking out to a band named “Stark Naked and the Car Thieves.”
I was just a kid back then, but the name was instantly cool to me and remains so to this day. I decided to google your band for kicks, and it is nice to finally be able to put a face to the name. Bud has been gone for a few years now, but every once in a while I think about him fondly and laugh. I have regaled my own son with some of Bud’s stories… and yes, about a band called Stark Naked and the Car Thieves.
Thanks – Anthony
Fri 8/6/2010 12:03 PM
I want to thank you for your evocative email regarding our group, Stark Naked and the Car Thieves. It’s wonderful to get an email like this. For most of us who have been out of the music business in any fashion for the last 30 years or more, most of our own acquaintances and a large number of family members don’t see us in the role of entertainers, musicians and recording artists. Your email helps remind us of those times and places. It seems like another lifetime ago that we experienced what was to become known as the ‘Summer of Love’ in San Francisco, the ‘Laurel Canyon’ days of southern California in the late sixties and to play for the best part of three years helping rock music break into the major hotels there. The experiences for us as transplanted Midwesterners having no idea what we were in for are almost impossible to relate. We met the most entertaining characters and personalities on a regular basis.
We only played at Gazarri’s once for a week in 1969 yet it is amazing to me how many people seem to remember that week. Usually, our home club in Los Angeles was in North Hollywood. What had happened was we were playing at the Pussycat-a-go-go in Las Vegas (at the time the best rock spot there) and got an audition to open the new lounge at Caesar’s Palace. We passed the audition and were to start in four weeks, however in doing the audition we got to Los Angeles too late to catch our plane to a gig in Mexico City. So we were out of work on short notice. One of those weeks we filled in with Gazarri’s. It was kind of disappointment for us since they would pay us so little and we were so different from the bands that usually played there. We had little original music prepared for stage and felt badly out of place and intimidated there despite the warm reception we got. However we went on to Caesars and were one of the first break-through acts to get into the big venues there. Probably not a lot of artists go from the stage at Gazarri’s to Caesars.
In the early eighties I lived in Los Feliz as well, on Edgemont for a couple of years and then on the upper end of Normandie. I loved the area and hated moving away. There was this great little family Italian restaurant, Palermo’s I think, on Vermont that my son and daughter just hung out at. It is such a great area to live in.
Thanks again for taking the time to write the note to us. I’m forwarding it on to all my band buddies. You have warmed the hearts of a few guys in their sunset years.