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LOVE @ Upstairs at The Federal

Back in the fabulous, great time to be alive 60s, I was a Go Go dancing teenager who had two favorite local bands: LOVE and The Doors.

Sure I was dancing for dozens of bands and did their clips, shows, TV and film appearances, but LOVE was my number one, top, local band.

Problem was that they were so popular back in the day that it was hard to get into a show. I stuck mostly to the area around my homebase, which was The Hullabaloo and tried to get into Bido Lito’s in Hollywood as it was the closest to The Hullabaloo. Never made it into the actual club and would be standing around outside listening, grooving and socializing.

That all changed on June 2 at Upstairs @ The Federal where I was third in line to get into The LOVE Band’s appearance. Although this incarnation of this legendary act does not include Arthur Lee who passed away, the singing and artful guitar work brought me back to Bido Lito’s club and I was dancing in the streets. Crisp, clear and faithful to the original music and lyrics shot me through a time warp that could barely tell the difference.

According to Pollstar friend and features editor Debbie Speer, this show was the place to be as several people in the audience were journalists and publicists that were also fans. The standing room-only, packed show stands as a testament to the enduring musical genius of LOVE.

LOVE man Johnny Echols’ “old lady” Georgianna Steele Waller sat with my new friend Jolene Firgens and I during the show, which was a treat. I’ve known Echols and Waller for several years now and it is one of my life’s treasures that I am an actual acquaintance of LOVE co-founder Johnny Echols. But, up until June 2, I had never heard any version of LOVE in person.

While sitting there listening to the band, a fan of Waller’s came over and asked for her autograph on a copy of Waller’s book “In My Life So Far…” This really impressed me as when we do our annual Love-In reunions each summer this has never happened. Guess that there is a big difference between old hippies hanging out together at Griffith Park and a gig at a major happening spot in the NoHo Arts District.

The set list consisted of LOVE’s first three albums: “LOVE,” “Da Capo” and “Forever Changes.” I almost cried hearing “Alone Again Or,” which has always been music’s best love song ever. The band did an excellent job of replicating the song to a point that it really got to me.

In a recent podcast with Paint The Town hosted by friends James Shen and Teachr, I was introduced as “The Face” of the NoHo Arts District so as “The Face” of the NoHo Arts District it was my distinct pleasure to host my favorite local band…LOVE. When I said this to Waller at the show, she told me that “We have always thought of you as that.” This put me on a whole other cloud.

I’ve always been saddened by the fact that LOVE never went as huge as their friends The Doors. Some say that LOVE’s failure to tour is what took them out of the major touring contingency which in turn shut them out of their record label’s publicity deptartment. Depending on who you speak to, the reasons for this “no touring” mentality range from Lee’s “stage fright” to a “fear of raising racial tensions at the time because they were a racially mixed band.” Unfortunately, this has paved the way to an impression of obscurity which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Sadly, the recent film release “Echo From The Canyon” missed a great opportunity by opting to not include Echols in the rockumentary. Echols played a large role in the “happenings” on Laurel Canyon back in the day and was selected by the people that put together the yearly “Love Fest” in 2018 to play at the ceremony to rename the street by The Doors’ front man’s Laurel Canyon home “Love Street” after the song “She Lives on Love Street.”

Thank goodness Channel 7’s Tina Malave included Echols in her Laurel Canyon segment that she researched, wrote and produced for her show “Eye On LA.” This segment is a very well put together story and according to Malave was a “Work of love.”

More on “Echo In The Canyon” in July which will include the explanation as to why LOVE was omitted by Jayson Dylan and Andrew Slater.

As luck would have it, I ended up with a guitar pick tossed out into the audience and gifted to me by Waller as it had fallen into her lap.

Many thanks to the Mimosa Music Series that had the good sense to put this event together. And $15 for a bottomless mimosas is not a bad deal at all. If you want to see me actually dance instead of gyrating in a chair, then give me more room LOL.

The LOVE Band featuring Johnny Echols will be embarking on “The Farewell UK Tour” for June and July. They have also put Spain on their tour. Their shows will feature music from the albums “LOVE,” “Da Capo” and “Forever Changes.” Hopefully, the set list will be the same as the Upstairs @ The Federal show which included “Alone Again Or,” as I’ve already stated is the best love song ever…in my opinion. After decades of love songs being written it still showcases the genius of LOVE and has not been replaced by any love song du jour. For my UK readers and those in Spain, don’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy the masterpieces that this seminal band has crafted and still stand up to and above anything that is released today.

Johnny Echols and Georgianna Steele Waller…who loves you baby!?

Caroline McElroy

Author: Caroline McElroy

The muse struck at a young age and began with Ernie’s Record Shop on Lankershim Blvd. In North Hollywood where I purchased my first Beatle record “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and a record by Major Lance titled “Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um”. From there I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and I was hooked…on Rock N’ Roll. At the age of 13 it seems as if the magical world of Rock N’ Roll opened up and welcomed me. A trip to Indio with Frank Zappa and possee, and subsequent gigs as a dancer at The Teen Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium sealed the deal. As a trained journalist, I’ve written for magazines, newsletters,newspapers and blogs. In addition, I have run a nightclub by the name of The Cave. Music is the thread that weaves a patchwork quilt of genres, venues and experience out of my life and in the process have introduced many fine acts to my followers. For the rest of my story dear readers, read my articles and it will unfold like the petals of a lotus flower. Sometimes you’ve gotta wear the hat to remind people who they are dealing with. LOL

Caroline McElroyhttps://carolinemcelroy.wordpress.com/
The muse struck at a young age and began with Ernie’s Record Shop on Lankershim Blvd. In North Hollywood where I purchased my first Beatle record “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and a record by Major Lance titled “Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um”. From there I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and I was hooked…on Rock N’ Roll. At the age of 13 it seems as if the magical world of Rock N’ Roll opened up and welcomed me. A trip to Indio with Frank Zappa and possee, and subsequent gigs as a dancer at The Teen Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium sealed the deal. As a trained journalist, I’ve written for magazines, newsletters,newspapers and blogs. In addition, I have run a nightclub by the name of The Cave. Music is the thread that weaves a patchwork quilt of genres, venues and experience out of my life and in the process have introduced many fine acts to my followers. For the rest of my story dear readers, read my articles and it will unfold like the petals of a lotus flower. Sometimes you’ve gotta wear the hat to remind people who they are dealing with. LOL

1 COMMENT

  1. i love reading your rock memoirs. You’re right, the Love was hugely popular and lots of airplay. i never thought about them not touring. after reading this the other day, i read the wikipedia article on the love, interesting history they have. along with other bands it’s amazing how they managed to create anything at all, each artist was so creative and talented and gifted and somehow they put it all together and created a beautiful sound, their own. It was dumb to omit Johnny Echols and his story from the film, Love was so popular, everyone listened to their albums over and over and walked around singing the songs. thanks for mentioning Alone Again Or, i haven’t heard it in so long. you tube, it sounds so good and so timeless, so forever–i posted the link of facebook to the great excitment of some. i’m going to send my friend Jon a link to this blog, he said for him, Love has always been the greatest band there ever was, as great as everybody was. i didnd’t know he loved the Love. he’s a year or less younger than me and is from NoHo, grew up there, i met him on FB. we’re all in the same age range, experientially.
    i love reading your experiences.

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