The 30th Anniversary of the
Farewell of Cream
One for Eric, Jack, and Ginger
from Banish, Oakley and Coogan
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
I’d been thinking about doing a special
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
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
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.)