Wildfire 1977

First Off……Allow me to explain myself……This whole project started

with a call from Scott Shannon when he was doing radio- sales-promotion at Casablanca Records in Hollywood.

He asked me to re record a track he’d sent me and after listening to it, I said yea we can do that…..The song was a remake of the 1950s hit “ Here Comes Summer “ and apparently the Dave Clark 5 had covered it but never released.

I asked Eddie Bayers, Paul Worley, Dennis Burnside & Rick Maness to join me in the studio Scott had booked for us with Mike Settle at the old Mercury Studio on Music Row. The complex had been rennovated and operated by a consortium and one of the owners was Gary S. Paxton…..

We’re recording the track and I picked one of the studio amps to run Paul’s guitar into because it was a small Fender and you could get great overload sounds without a tremendous amount of volume.

That was a Saturday in the spring. The next day we carried the 24 track tape to Lee Hazen’s Studio By The Pond and Paul & I did all the vocal parts then we mixed it and left.

On Monday, I took the tape to Masterfonics and they did some mastering tweets after which I overnighted the package to L.A.

About a week transpired and Scott called to say I needed to get to L.A. ASAP…..Flew out the next few days and got to his house in Studio City. One morning I got up and met Scott in the kitchen…He suggested I hang out by the pool and listen to the top station in L.A. I was drifting around the pool when all of a sudden I hear my voice on the radio singing “ Here Comes Summer “……Needless to say I was flabergausted at how quickly everything went down……pausing for a nanosecond to think…Hey…this is easy ! Ahahaha….Well

Little did I know much about the way record companies worked…..It was fun being on full rotation at the top radio station in L.A….A lot of fun……Back in Nashville I’d hired a photographer to get pictures of the guys at the studio both in town and out at the lake hoping Casablanca would pick us all up as a band…..After I get to L.A., I discover the whole enchelada got turned around on me and I had little control over what was going to happen….I’d learned early early on about how Film & Record Companies deal with talent from my pal Jeremy Krongsberg…..Jeremy wrote a screen play once and Warner Brothers & Clint Eastwood signed the option to make a movie based on Jeremy’s screenplay. The movie was “ Every Which Way But Loose “ and Jeremy had written some pretty great songs to accompany the project. The label & Eastwood felt otherwise and made another clandistine deal with Snuffy Garrett to record some Nashville people instead…., Eddie Rabbitt being one artist. When confronted about the artistic breech, the WEA C.E.O. stared at Jeremy and flat out said sue us…….We have a whole floor of lawyers in Burbank…..We will bankrupt you……1970s era.

This was the first problem in my memory I’d ever been aware of in the business I was wanting to be a part of…..Casablanca decided to pick a model for our front cover…..Telly Savalas girlfriend holding a Star Wars light sabre …….The guys got credits in the wee tiny liner notes but absolutely no pictures or press about our efforts in the studio, circa 1977.

Within a month we’d blasted out an album that was embarrassingly speedy tempo wise and not so well planned out. We had a small budget to finish it off and some of it went to stimulants of various kinds…..The album get panned, the single made it to 42 on the Billboard Pop charts before a great record, and R & B tune called “ Best Of My Love “ assumed my chart position and went to No.1.

It was a better record……So ya see, even the best laid plans of mice & men couldn’t have fortold just how all this would go down and as for contracts……They’re only good if both sides honor it.

Some Of The Tunes:
Breakaway
I lived down the street from Mike Love, Manhattan Beach, in 1968….He invited me to Brother Records office on Ivar in Hollywood where he brought out this new song they’d just recorded at Sunset Sound. Needless to say, as a long time student of The Beach Boys I wanted to try to replicate….Fans will try stuff like that if they’re musician types.

Heartbreaker

Back To The Beach

It’s Too Late

Lonely Nights

Sarah

Highway Of Love