When it comes to seeing bands from the past such as The Sloths, one is given to thoughts of "what ifs" such as what if memories from their past performances being rockin' good times or are you operating on the fumes of past memories from back in the day and the band was really not all that good?
Relax, The Sloths really did come through and “brought it” to their recent show at Amoeba Music in Hollywood.
In fact, they might have been better than they were back in the day. The Sloths were performing at Amoeba Music in support of their return to the “scene" CD release “Back From The Grave.” Their set also included Love's standard “7 & 7 Is,” Chuck Berry’s “Carol” and Them’s “Gloria."
The line-up is way different than it was in the 60s when they were well-known fixtures on the “Strip” music scene. Two original members have passed away from what original member Mike Rummans calls the “musician’s lifestyle.” That includes frontman Hank Daniels/Saperstein.
The Sloths now sport a new frontman who can deliver the goods in a very entertaining way. Tommy McLoughlin came on board in 2011 after a decades long absence from the “Strip” scene. McLoughlin had known The Sloths back in the day when he was performing with The May Wines. If McLoughlin’s name sounds familiar you have probably seen some of his horror flicks as he is the creative mind behind the “Jason” films. In addition, guitarist Rick Collins has played with “Strip Scene” regular Sky Saxon and The Seeds and toured Europe. Also in the resurrected band is Ray Herron on the drums and Mark Weddington on guitar and bass.
As I listened to The Sloths perform, a flood of memories came to mind and the high from those memories made their performance all the more enjoyable.
Rummans reminisced with me about those “we built this city on rock n’ roll” days and confirmed that The Sloths did indeed play gigs at the Teen Fair of 1965 at The Hollywood Palladium, The Hullabaloo, The Sea Witch and Pandora’s Box to name a few of the “Strip” scene legendary clubs. The Sloths and/or Rummans also appeared on teen shows such as Where The Action Is, 9th Street West, Shindig and The Real Don Steele.
McLoughlin brought props with him to the gig and I gotta say that when he electrocuted himself it snapped me right back to the show that was unfolding right in front of me. For the song “End of My Rope” he had a huge rope which he utilized in various ways. When McLoughlin sang “Lust” he came down from the stage and got in my face. Luckily for me, well-known music photographer Harold Sherrick was there and snapped a photo of it. Sherrick kept remarking how awesome this band is and how they remind him of Alice Cooper.
Rummans’ tenure on the “Strip” doesn’t vary much from most of the regs as he too would listen to music for hours at Wallach’s Music City and actually found bands on the bulletin board there, drink lots of coffee at the Copper Skillet and Canter’s Deli, and hang at the clubs to make the scene. We were able to share our curfew bust stories with a laugh. His at Canter’s and mine at the Whiskey A Go Go after an interview with The Grassroots.
During his hiatus from The Sloths, Rummans was in bands The Yellow Payges, Salt & Pepper with Rick James, The Hollywood All Stars and The King Bees. During this time McLoughlin went to Paris and studied Mime with Marcel Marceau which explains his lively performance on stage. When he came home he joined the Los Angeles Mime Troupe with Dick Van Dyke. And of course the “Jason” horror films.
While their CD’s name “Back From The Grave” is applicable for The Sloth’s resurrection, it is also a reminder of how intellectual property is easy fodder for any enterprising techie in that The Sloths discovered their work on a 60s garage band compilation titled "Back From The Grave." The band was never asked for the rights nor have they seen any residuals. Rummans boasted that "The Sloths are the kings of garage band music" and wasn’t surprised that The Sloths had been included on a garage band compilation with their single “Makin’ Love” which has a Bo Diddley beat similar to “Mona.” A new version of “Makin’ Love” with McLoughlin singing is featured on "Back From The Grave."
The Sloths have also found themselves on a channel in a YouTube post with thousands of hits and the only one making money is the person that posted The Sloths’ intellectual property…"Makin' Love."
The Sloths have booked a gig at the Maui Sugar Mill Saloon in Tarzana, CA on June 9 and the bands begin at 9:00pm.
In addition, The Sloths will be playing up North in July at Amoeba Music in Berkley, CA and will also be appearing on college radio at KALX and at Brick & Mortar in San Francisco.
While traveling around the Los Angeles music scene, two acts stood out with The Sloths - The Blessings and The Fab Four.
I caught The Blessings at well-known music photographer Heather Harris’s recent downtown LA POP Obscure Records and Art Gallery opening.
This is a tight, fun, bluesy band that reminds me of the Black Crows and then some. I ran into photographer Sherrick here as well. Harris’s work spans decades of masterful shots of up close and personal proportions and is for sale. I bought a shot of Jim Morrison at The Shrine Exposition Hall for my French discovery Nelson Vard. Harris could not remember what song Morrison was performing when she took the shot, but she did remember that he did not smell too good.
Definitely, I would go see The Blessings again should they play another gig that is easily accessible to me.
The Fab Four are a Beatle’s tribute band that I have heard of a lot and have listened to on Chris Carter’s KLOS 95.5 radio show Breakfast With The Beatles.
On this particular occasion, they were at The Whiskey A Go Go doing the AXSTV show World's Greatest Tribute Bands.
The Fab Four performed the entire Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band LP with sitars included for George Harrison’s "Within You Without You." In full Sgt. Peppers’ gear, this band was impressive as a tribute act. I’ve seen The Beatles live at The Hollywood Bowl as well as many Beatle's tribute bands so there is a point of reference.
The thing that really impressed me was the fact that the drummer who plays Ringo had on the “ring.” I’ve never seen a tribute band have a drummer that had on the “ring."
I am dedicating this issue of my blog column to Mario Maglieri, King of The Sunset Strip who passed away on May 4, 2017, at the age of 93. Maglieri always made sure that the regs were always taken care of and oversaw our “safety” along with the Sunset Strip Godfather Bill Gazzarri.
Maglieri owned the Rainbow Bar and Grill, Whiskey A Go Go and The Roxy (for a time). He did much to keep the rock scene happening and growing. He will be truly missed. There will always be room at our table for you Mario.
This is my last column for awhile as I am going on hiatus in order to have the freedom to do some projects. You can find me @ wordpress: carolinemcelroy.wordpress.com and the title of my music blog is News From The Front;Twitter @musicmaven9; Instagram as @musicmaven9; Facebook at Caroline McElroy/Music Maven.