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The 30th Anniversary of the Farewell of Cream

One for Eric, Jack, and Ginger
from Banish, Oakley and Coogan

 

 

Free Music Downloads
 
White Room, vocal: Berry
 
Born Under A Bad Sign, vocal: Berry
Politician, vocal: Fran

 

A special and fun one-night event that sticks out in my mind was The 30th Anniversary of the Farewell of Cream at Luna Park in Hollywood 24 Nov. 1998. (Now called Pearl)

I’d been thinking about doing a special tribute show to Cream or Derek and The Dominoes because they’re such enduring inspirations for me. I remember when I was about 11 years old, Watching a Midnight Special TV show that had a Clapton feature on it. Wolfman Jack narrated. I taped it on an audiocassette and pored over the excerpts from the Cream Farewell concert. And I was mesmerized by Clapton’s demonstration on his psychedelic SG and wah-wah. I was obsessed. It was like a mini guitar lesson that I always wished for. I perfected the licks…I still remember them! In 1998 the Cream Anniversary show came together with the right players: Berry Oakley Jr. and Scot Coogan.

I’d caught Berry Oakley Jr. playing Bass and singing with various bands including the Robbie Krieger Band and The Oakley-Krieger band, sometimes with Duane Betts. Drummer friend Alec Puro of Deadsy introduced me to Berry. Berry’s bass work grooves immensely and he sings great too.

I’d been buddies with Scot Coogan. We’d been playing out with some of my original material and enjoying common ground with our love of the Beatles, Cream, Hendrix and Zeppelin. Scot is a powerhouse talent, who understands groove and swing, and the power of contrasting lightness and bombast. Importantly, he digs Ginger Baker’s playing.

We were fortunate to have soul sisters and brothers in attendance who grew up in LA and San Francisco, who were at Cream shows in ’67 and ’68. Rik Besser and Marcia Berris stepped in with graphics and photography.

We got only a short rehearsal in before the gig. Berry had been up in San Francisco with The Allman Bros. Band playing at a Duane Allman tribute show at The Fillmore. I thought that was a freaky coincidence*- I wished I was up there for that one!

I planned on recording the gig with a stereo pair of mics at a sweet spot in the middle of the room, audience perspective. After a great soundcheck dialing in the vibe and levels, and about a half-hour before show time, the club manager stormed in and ordered us to breakdown the recording gear. He claimed we could only record if a record company had struck up a deal with him prior. We tried offering some pocket cash to him, but he wanted $1800. Ouch! As I started breaking down the mics, the soundman offered to reset them up and hide them in the sound booth. So we did capture most of the show, though a little boxy sounding ;)

The recording gear snafu threw off the schedule-I live 5 minutes away from the club, and planned on driving home to change into some appropriate psychedelic regalia, but there wasn’t enough time. Scot loaned me a vest he brought that had been a uniform from gigs with Paul Gilbert. It’s hard to see in the pics, but Scot ended up wearing groovy striped flared pants, shirtless with a black feather boa!

I played my ’63 Gibson Les Paul SG through a ’93 JLA 2x12 18-watt Marshall style amp which have served me well. Anthony Deane loaned me a 335 dot-neck reissue in case of a string break. Previously, only the players and a few serious fans heard the recording. We had a great time and here’s some highlights. Enjoy!

*I’ve got a ’71 Triumph 650 Bonneville chopper with Forking by Frank. I survived a near death experience accident on August, 16 1991 - Robert Johnson’s death day. Curiously, I found out Duane’s Harley Sportster had Forking by Frank, and Berry Sr.’s last ride was on a 650 Bonnie. (File that under trivia for Hittin’ The Note folks.)

 


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