Sunday, October 1, 2023

Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues

artist: Blue Cheer 
songs Summertime Blues b/w Out of Focus
label: Philips

Do you all mind if I throw out a music story?

I was raised in Los Angeles, California and went to high school in the San Fernando Valley during the late 1960's. Basically I was your typical proto-hippie valley dude. The band Blue Cheer pretty much summed up the crew I hung out with.  Their recording of "Summertime Blues" was a monster hit in the San Fernando valley. How many joints got rolled on the back of their first album "Vincebus Eruptum" is anyone's guess. 

Blue Cheer

Somehow I graduated from high school and even more surprisingly somehow I went to college.

During my college years I pretended to learn how to play the bass guitar. Hey, turn the amp up loud enough and smoke a lot of weed and your good to go.

Throughout the 1970's I played a string of engagements in assorted garages.

I did manage to wind up in a couple of bands that actually played gigs in various dingy Hollywood dives. The beer was cheap and the flies were free and what the heck, I cherish the memories.

Sometime around 1979 I was playing in a band called "The Symptoms." (I've still got our old demo tape in one of the boxes. Maybe I'll burn a CD of it and really embarrass myself). 

By that time I was in my late twenties and certainly the old man of the group. I think the next oldest was the keyboard player who was maybe twenty-one and kind of my friend but at twenty-seven I was old enough to make our association tenuous at best and when we went to clubs he pretended he didn't know me.

Our lead singer was a cool raven haired Mexican girl named Jaime who actually could sing. She was nineteen, I remember Jaime quite clearly.

We, the Symptoms, went through about five drummers. One day Jaime told us she had met a new drummer through the Recycler. He was going to drop by that evening.

That evening the drummer showed up. We were all there in Jaime's parent's garage setting up and Jaime introduced the new drummer to us.

"This is Paul." Jaime said.

I looked over at the guy.  Paul was the picture of your long-haired drummer type. He gave us the nod as he tightened the screws on his drum kit.

Jaime was eager to sell this new drummer to us.

"Hey," she said to Paul, the new drummer, "Didn't you say you were in a band in the sixties that had a hit?  What was the song called?"

We were all busy setting up and only half listening but Paul said off hand. "Summertime Blues."

None of my younger band mates paid much attention to that but for me... time stood still and everything became quiet. 

"What band were you in?" I asked.

"Blue Cheer" he said.

Paul Whaley, Blue Cheer's drummer.

I looked at him and, my friends, I about dropped a brick.

He looked back at me and grinned because he saw my expression.  No one else in that garage new but the two of us, we knew.  Paul Whaley, monster drummer grinned at me and for that one moment it was 1967 again.

An amazing moment that I will never forget.

Yes, Blogspot Massive, Paul Whaley played with my band "The Symptoms"... for a while. And for a brief period in Los Angeles musical history, Paul Whaley and Yours Truly were Drum and Bass. Maybe a month or so. Then he moved on.

I think playing garages and dive Hollywood joints was bit of a let down after Blue Cheer but still....

Summertime Blues bw Out of Focus

Blue Cheer:

Dickie Peterson- bass vocals

Paul Whaley - drums

Leigh Stephen - guitar

Hippie For Life

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