Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Riding the South East Tour, Pt. I, with the Brian Faith Band

by Joel Anderson

July/Aug sp 2010 - Issue 28, Pg. 18/19: After Woodstock, there was The Love Valley Festival [July 16-18, 1970, N. Carolina]. Some say was more inspired by a wave from the West Coast; the best of those beautiful times of brotherly love and sharing, where you could thumb a ride anytime, but that time had piqued just a few years before in San Francisco. “The Vibe” was now reaching into the Deep South, and rock was here to stay! This Article (Short Link): http://bit.ly/2saSrJa

Said Brian Faith Band’s Ernie Joseph, “It was during our extended tour, The South East Tour. We were playing college tours and some of the bigger clubs in the Carolinas and Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and also Florida, and they love the family structure there in the South – the way they reinforce each other....we’re in this together attitude..... the people invited me into their houses, ‘Feast brother, would you like to eat something?’ and really friendly and.... you know just trusting. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

As it turned out, The Love Valley Rock Festival, near Greensboro, North Carolina, was promoted by and manifested on the property of Andy Barker (now 85), Love Valley Mayor, who had originally founded the spot as a “Christian Cowboy Community,” back in ‘54.

Barker charged just $5 bucks - cheap to get in for the whole 3 day rock festival, with many more (of the estimated 100,000 to 250,000 people) walking in free through the nearby woods. This was at a time, when “professionalmobstyle music promoters hadn’t injected their afflicting greed into the music and sucked the life, as it clearly is doing today.

Anyhow, the list of musicians on the Billing from near and far including Santa Barbara’s Ernie’s “Big Brother”, and perhaps not quite as extensive a list as at Woodstock, included The Allman Brothers (original band), Terry Reid, Wet Willie, the Hampton Grease Band, Flood, Kallabash, Sacred Irony, and perhaps a few others.

Said Ernie, “Get this, Love Valley was like a movie set.....they had this saloon right out of a 50s hollywood movie set, right out of a cowboy movie, and Barker owned all these buildings. It was like you were actually there in the West. There was a little hill, then down and at the end of the street was a big arena, the stage was there at the other end of the block, trees were all over the place you know. It was just perfect, kind of reminded me of Ojai at the time... just beautiful trees and there was a lot of positive music vibe there, and Barker let the bands live in these places. We followed the band, Kalabash....those guys took off their clothes & jumped off the stage before we went on..... yeah they were a hard act to follow....hahaha,” said Ernie.

“There were several band members that loved it so much they resided there, including us, yeah I lived there for a little while with the mayor.... his wife took care of everybody, must have been 10 musicians from different bands... and we used to have dinner. A few times he would invite different bands for dinner....there would be like a huge room and his wife would make dinner for like 15 or what....20?

“We all had dinner with these people, and The Allman Brothers members too... and after the festival they’d just jam with us for fun at the old saloon; they had a couple amps in there and we’d all jam together.... Duane Allman, Richard Betts primarily... he showed up more than anything, the guitarist, but they were friendly and both Duane and Gregg too... The old piano style; one guy would be playin’ at the piano and all these bands....

“Anyway getting back to as far as describing The Allman Brothers; they’re very concise you know, that harmony guitar and that’s just... a lot of southern bands were influenced by them.... Yeah, a whole slew of Southern rockers influenced all through the South...

“I remember they influenced us.... They do a lot of slide work and they inspired me to get into slide guitar, Cory (Orosco, guitar/keys/ dual leads, BFB) and I got into the slide, the electric slide, and yeah those guys... they showed me, they got me started actually. I was influenced heavily by the Southern rockers where I played; (Atlanta-Piedmont Park & The Candy Store Americus/Athens/Savannah/Georgia — The Dome-Virginia Beach & Richmond-The Zodiac Club & Robins Park/Martinsville/Roanoke, VA. — Grove City, PENN, — Birmingham Tuscaloosa/Mobile/Enterprise/ Greenfield, ALA. — Tallahassee/Daytona Beach/Winterhaven Miami/Jacksonville/Pensacola, FLA. — E.Tenn.State at Johnson City, TENN. — Meridian/Biloxi/Gulfport, MISS. — Statesboro/Atlantic Beach/Boone/Charlotte-Haskell’s Hut & Civic Center (w/The James Gang) & Paul’s Lounge/Greensboro (Love Valley)/Hickory-Hickory Speedway (Blue Oyster Cult), N.C.Myrtle Beach-College Spring Break-The Beach Club/Charleston-The Pier (w/Swinin’ Madellions) & Gaillard Municipal Auditorium (w/Chamber Brothers)/Darlington/Greensville-Clemson U./Rockhill-Winthrop College (outdoor concert w/Ed King (Lynyrd Skynyrd-Strawberry/Alarm Clock)/Spartanburg-Sitar Club (w/The Marshall Tucker Band), S.C. — and more....), yeah Slide guitar.... kind of hawaiianish and The Allmans were tight.... those Southern guys... they thrive on that and that culture.... I learned about dual lead guitars; how two guitars can have this harmonious sound..... two guitars..... playing. Yeah playin’ the fifth and the third.... the same way you would vocals and that would amaze me. The Allmans would be playin’ in unison and breaking into harmony riffs.... it went on and on and on...... I thought, god, these guys are hard workers, you know ? It just goes on and on, their whole work, their ethics.... And it rubbed off on me.

“Yeah, they’re real modest you know and.... just were not into boasting, just into playing. They played for money and for fun, and they still be playin’.....”

The Brian Faith Band’s Ernie Joseph (then under the band banner, “Big Brother Ernie Joseph” also featuring the almost-still-current BFB line-up; Cory Orosco-guitar/keys/dual leads, Stevie “D” Dunwoodiedrums {famous for his “fire” stix later with the Grateful Dead}, Brian Faith Bass/Sax, “SamboJ. Robison-Bass) had begun their South East Tour supported by their hard working mastermind L.A. Manager, Bill Holmes/All American Records (classic vinyls, UNI Records, feat. Greg Mumford & The Giant Crab/Strawberry Alarm Clock, Elton John, Bill Cosby, Neil Diamond); the tour of which stood the test of time for nearly five years for Ernie and the band.

Said Ernie, “He had connections all over you know, because he was still our producer. He masterminded the whole Tour, if it wasn’t for him.... he knew how to take care of people.... did everything, bought us dinner, he would bring his checkbook....did everything he could, like a brother you know? Our whole band. bought us clothes you know?

“He’s a spiritual man, and ethics, with a Southern background. He went to L.C. Humes High School in Memphis, Tennessee at the same time as Elvis Presley. Small world huh?” said Ernie.

In fact, Holmes was like a Father/Mother/Brother to the band in his direct all-inclusive and honest approach to managing.

“On the road you know he was just straight out. I’d go to a pay phone and call him up, he’d tell me where to be, where to go.

“He’d say, Ernie, Now, listen get a piece of paper and pencil and write this down; I just called this agency, now this is what you’re doing…. they say you’re gonna get this gig, I’m gonna get the deposit, and you’re gonna get on a plane, you’re gonna go meet the guys there, then you’re going to fly over here, you’re going to call at a college concert in the afternoon, and then I got more tickets and everything and you’re going to the airport and you’re going to play Nashville, Centennial Park (with Roy Orbison/Bruce Springsteen and Steel Mill, and others) again.....

“He helped all the people,” said Ernie “Yeah he would say, kind words, taking you there and telling you how to work hard. ‘Just keep your ethics and just keep going forward, you’re always going to get shot down, remember the highs are going to be extremely high and soar with it, because people can’t envision that. That’s what you have to do; look for good results with your sacrifices. You could be a disaster if you don’t practice your asses off, or they can love you and just keep booking you..... keep touring.

‘Going out of your comfort zone and then leaving beautiful California to go elsewhere?.... and you get homesick on Christmas but you gotta play the gig, you gotta play no matter what! No more surveying, no more girlfriend, no more Valentine’s Day... just get your ass out there dude.’ Said Ernie,“Bill (Holmes) was like Jeff SanMarchi, he’s relentless, San Marchi who would’ve said ‘that would be a short South East Tour, yeah dude....all the way. There’s only one way, the right way, dude.’

Yeah Holme’s would say, ‘You start getting tight, and not screw around... you can do that, but I won’t be your manager..... If you do what I say, then I’ll be your manager.’ He’d just up the threat with you like that, ‘If want you to work it. You wanna make it, then work it?... You knew The Tour would be short if you get to screw around and chase, which can be common in a band.....you get invited constantly to parties, you could easily get into trouble.... they can get to thinking they own you....oh man, you can get arrested but then they can get arrested too.”

Now, you know what I’m saying? But hey... I had my band and everything. We just always stayed focused on our music you know. You spend time with the boys more and just go with the “A” plan.....always pushed the driving force. If you’re not a driving force you don’t deserve to be in it....you motivate the band, it pumps them up for you to be the best you can be, and that’s helping the band. We have to live up to our word because Bill’s bookin’ this tour.”

Said Ernie, “Holmes....he got down to the nitty-gritty with us, he was the savior.....helped us in coming up with ideas, lyrics and everything, always, and back during our Giant Crab days. He just really deserves a lot of adulation, because he was an honest guy – just right out of the 50s... got us with everybody, once we got out there, he always looked for the next agency, was always ahead of it - worked like 15 hour days, had quit medical school to manage groups. Yeah that’s the kind of person he was... relentless. The stable of people that he handled... but not everyone, he had a lot of offers to manage other bands, but he said ‘I have enough here you know, I can’t spread myself too thin.’

Said Ernie “The ones that were going to get their asses out on the road were the ones he was gonna get behind. Not the ones that were “Thinkin’....” ‘Who’s gonna make me a star?’ Yeah know like, ‘I do want to go, but we probably won’t make any money, that’s too far.... 3,000 miles to travel? I wanna stay home and play with my cat and play guitar.... my girlfriends house.... they won’t like me or they’ll kick our asses, I heard there’s a lot of rednecks there.... my long hair? Call me when you book the Hollywood Bowl, or Anaheim Convention Center.... I might be out surfing or at my girlfriends house with my cat.....’

Said Ernie, “Yeah, ya gotta get dirty and go out and tour... Can’t thank him enough, Bill Holmes.....he’s so down to earth compared to all these other people you know.

“He wasn’t crooked or anything. He even hired a vocal coach for us, which now is very unusual for a manager to do... the late Howard Davis, who was also a teacher. What Bill has done for us... that’s why we’re kind of the way we are. Today, how many managers are still managers in their heart like in the 60s...? That innersanctim was just great.”
– Joel Anderson
Editor’s Note: Keep tuned into the Brian Faith Band in coming issues of The Ojai and Ventura VIEW, and VIEW Issue #29, Sept. 2010, Part II of "The South East Tour" (Pg. 18-19) as the Saga continues....
Upcoming Projects: for The Brian Faith Band/SRS Studios include Max Jones, BFB’s Johnny Podz and Karen Perry, ICU’s Jimmy LeRoy, The Snobs, Renaissance Rose, Nicky Shane Band, Orlando Napier, ICU’s Eric Cuellar, Soul City Survivors’ Jon Chapman, Blues Prophecy, Black Angel Band, Dave Fitzpatrick, Tina Stephens, Jamie Shane (Canned Heat), Christian Love (Beach Boys), Dylan Fleming and Sunshine, Sam Strange, Steve Henry, David and Ben Hazen, Josh Biegen, Mark Rainey, Shawn Ball, Richard Moore (The Trogs), Janie Reding, Linda Hart, Gail Fenton,
Tommy ‘’T’’ Perreault.

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