Sunday, July 6, 2014


If you like, or ever liked, the band Bad Company at any time in your younger days, or even today as I still do, forty years after their introductory album, then you should go watch this great 30 minute concert from Don Kirshner. It sure hit the spot for me and was very enjoyable. BAD COMPANY ON DON KIRSHNER'S ROCK CONCERT 1974

This Bad Co. show is just too much. There are extended versions of all songs, with Simon Kirke stretching way out from the drum parts played on the album. Boz and Ralphs are right on, as is Rogers in his singer, guitar playing and Fender Rhodes electric piano playing. In fact, the only disappointment was the fact that although the show begins with the song Bad Company, with Rogers playing the Fender Rhodes, it's abandoned on the next tune,  Ready for love, but the arrangement they play rocks so much that it makes the missing Fender Rhodes forgettable. 

I remember seeing this show 40 years ago. It was rocking. It still is.

Although rumors, and they are rumors, persist about various artists in the old days endorsing one drum brand yet using another to record, what we know from this Bad Arse Don Kirshner Rock Concert youtube is that the Ludwig drums that Kirke sported during that part of his career did sound great, even with the available mic'ing in those days, which admittedly wasn't that bad for drums with SM-74's and such.

What you also see is that this is a real band playing live and covering all the album multi tracked parts, and then some. With Kirke stretching out, Boz and Ralphs can adequately cover the solos with plenty of melodious bass playing, a benefit no doubt of Boz's time playing bass and singing with King Crimson. Rogers does pick up guitar and sit down at the Fender Rhodes, and he's a great player, but the real test of a 4 piece band is whether they can pull a show off live without an extra player or two.

Like Boz and his experience with King Crimson before joining Bad Co., and as with Rogers and Kirke having extensive experience with Free, Ralphs was no newbie and shows that by 1974, he was an old hand at live shows and had no problem keeping the songs melody going on songs where he is the sole guitar. As I mentioned, Boz and his playing helped greatly with the solos, and I make the parallel to Dusty Hill of ZZ Top filling in on the melody sorta as Billy Gibbons stretches out on solos. Kinda sorta the same, to me anyway.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a Classic Rock magazine special edition magazine and DVD on Bad Company. My wife thought it folly, but for me, it was great. It's got great shots and interviews and stuff I didn't know. For example, I didn't know Boz Burrell was an ace guitarist before joining King Crimson and picking up the bass. I thought he had picked up the bass more or less cold, but in any event, he's a stout bassist and one of my favorites.

Back then, in 1974 when the Bad. Co. album came out, I was in the throes of starting high school and all that goes along with being that age. By that time, I'd been playing drums and drum set for over 4 years, and was in school band and marching band and stage (jazz) band and orchestra and in addition to private lessons on both percussion items and set, by the time Bad Co. came around I was a pretty accomplished basic rock and jazz set drummer.

My friends and I had a couple of different personal band efforts during those early pre-teen and teen years, including some jazz trios and other jazz music but when 1974 rolled around a great little band opportunity came about.  All of the folks I had played with before 1974 were in the school band program, and some played guitar and bass on the side, as well as trumpet and sax.

So these guys were not in band, and my mom was not happy with that. Since I had been playing along to tunes like Can't Get Enough and lots of the other material we planned to cover, I met some fellows with some talents on guitar, bass and vocals.

Robert, the guitarist, is known throughout Hollywood these days and has an illustrious history as a player and instructor. He was great back then in 9th grade. He could play any tune I knew, and if he didn't know it could catch the tune itself by ear and learn the tune back to front in a couple of days. He played a nice cherry Gibson SG with twin humbuckers, that now resides in the hand of his high school buddy, jamming through some kind of Peavey tube amp.

The bassist, Jim, was playing some kind of Hohner Beatle Bass through a Marlboro bass amp. It was actually not a bad transistor amp at all.  Jim was a couple of years older than Robert and I and was already playing with a REAL high school rock band of older guys working school dances and such and making decent money. Jim had brought a...wait for it...Peavey PA for this nice guy dating Jim's sister, who Jim was forced to bring as our singer. The singer could sing, but had no experience singing with a band, no meter, no sense of time and although he had all the lyrics, he couldn't put them in the right place and the vocals were just a big old mess.

So although Robert and I had jammed together and had practiced to records, and since Jim was already in the band,  the first run in my parents garage went pretty well ticking off a list of current hits of the day, and starting with "Can't Get Enough". It went so well musically, we went right into "Ready for Love" and "Rock Steady".

Again, the vocals were a mess, that I well recall. About that time, Jim's sister, the girlfriend of the singer who was there watching her man make his singing debut, decided she needed to go somewhere and thus the singer was spirited away to entertain girlfriend.

At that point, we ran back through the songs, just a three piece, with Jim the bassist singing and Robert doing some backing vocals. It sounded a lot better than Ron's singing. The music just got better.

We didn't sound near as good as this Don Kirshner show.

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