|Paul Revere & the Raiders LIVE at Glacier Rod Run 2000
Kalispell Raceway Park
Photo/Review by Michael Evans
The 'Street Rods' rode up, welcomed by 'Gus' Gustavson,
for a long summer weekend "kicked" off by some 60's Rock N' Roll.
It's the year 2000 -- Raul Revere & the Raiders are playing Rock & Roll for a thousand people at Kalispell Raceway Park. Every woman over the age of 8 is sighing over Carl Driggs, their handsome lead singer. The small electric combo is tight, the singing is good, and the music's got a beat you can DANCE TO. They're wearing bright red and black Revolutionary War uniforms and putting on a SHOW. Over to one side, behind his keyboard, Paul Revere keeps the audience in stitches with his hilarious patter - intros to songs, self-mocking jokes, set-piece raps, and wild spur-of-the-moment stories.
Carl Driggs, Ron Foos, Paul Revere (twice!), Doug Heath,
and Dan Krause -- Paul Revere & The Raiders.
Flash back to the year 1965 - Paul Revere & the Raiders are onstage
at an amusement park in Utah. There's a thousand or more people, plus they're on KNAK AM radio. The teenaged girls are screaming at the very sight of Mark Lindsay, their handsome lead singer, wearing his bright blue Revolutionary War uniform, like everyone else in the group. The electric combo is tight, and Paul Revere runs this high-energy show with lots of feel-good humor, from behind his keyboard.
"Fuzzy Dice" in a street rod, and "Fuzzy Dice" on Paul Revere's Edsel keyboard.
(He calls it "Bessie," and jokes that he used to own half the cars on display that night.)
Top 40 AM Radio was Rock & Roll's main medium for selling single 45 RPM records in the 60's. The Raiders played their own versions of various popular songs to start with, but by 1965 they were starting to make their own hits.
Their audience stuck with them for the next half-decade or so - mostly because they were so unpretentious and entertaining. It also helped that they were on TV regularly - eventually hosting their own show where they performed their latest records, and introduced major artists like Linda Ronstadt, or competitors like Three Dog Night. (Who helped push the Raiders out of the charts.)
Raiders came and went back in those days - Keith replaced Harpo, who replaced Derek, etc.
Mark Lindsay left around 1974, after a dozen or more years in the band. NOW the story is different...
A drummer's-eye view of the gig.
"Where ya' been for the last THIRTY years?" says Paul Revere today.
He's PROUD of his group, and the fact that they've been with him for a quarter-century, on the average. Omar Martinez, the drummer, has been sitting on the throne since the days of "Indian Reservation" in 1971.
Paul Revere never really left the scene. When the baby boomers stopped buying records and started taking their kids to places like Disneyland, or local fairs - there was Paul Revere & the Raiders -- sounding as good, or better, than ever, and funnier than before!
Bassist Ron Foos used to do sessions with legendary Seattle diva Merrilee Rush. Drummer/singer par exellance Omar Martinez has 29 years with Revere.
Carl and Doug just before the show --
back from a half-mile drive to and from their dressing area 300 feet away. (Paul was counting the cars.)
On July 28, 2000 they started their show with "Steppin' Out," a shouting, sinuous rocker, featuring Doug Heath's lead guitar. I was pleased - that tune was always my favorite jam of theirs.
Later in the set, the singers got to shine: Carl Driggs unleashed a fine growling performance of Neil Diamond's "America," and Omar Martinez nailed Stevie Winwood's "Gimme Some Lovin" from behind the drum kit.
They teamed up on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" as part of a tribute to Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
(Lyricist and composer of "Kicks," the record that established the Raiders as stars in the Top Forty Firmament - oh yeah, they played that song too!)
Ron and Dan, on bass and keys, sang good backup, melding perfectly with Omar and Doug. Paul took a solo spot on Dan's piano in an audience shout-along version of "Great Balls of Fire."
In the mid-60's, the audience would shout along with "Ooh Poo Pah Doo."
This summer it was "Great Balls of Fire!"
Paul Revere & the Raiders went right inside the soul of the 60's when they did "Louie Louie" and a medley of "Louie" clones like "Hang On Sloopy," and "You Really Got Me." "Louie Louie" was their FIRST hit in the pre-Beatles days of 1963.
Paul Revere tells the story himself:
"I got a little record … a kid gave me a copy, and said, 'This is a great song that the Wailers recorded.' It was on Etiquette Records, and they'd put it out about two years before, and it sold a few copies up in Seattle… I was down in Portland…we were playing the dances and stuff. I just learned it off of their record and we just started doing it and started getting so many requests that Roger Hart, who was a disc jockey said 'It's going to be a hit!'
We went into a studio in Portland and recorded it, and a week later the Kingsmen …recorded it, and they didn't know we recorded it, we didn't know they recorded it…Our version came out first on Columbia Records, and their version came out shortly after that, and was picked up by Wand Records.
Ours started getting airplay like crazy in the West. It was the number one record in San Francisco, Oakland and that area ... Honolulu ... Seattle ... Portland … and the Kingsmen's version wasn't getting airplay - at first.
The Kingsmen's version started getting airplay in Boston, and then it got banned!
There were no dirty words, but they thought there were because they couldn't understand what the kid was sayin'…someone with a dirty mind… As soon as it got some press as being a "no no song," then all it did was catapult it into being a hit!
Ours was a West Coast hit, and theirs was an East Coast hit … which is where the population is!
We were the first Rock group to sign with Columbia Records, and Columbia did NOT know how to promote it. Here was the world's biggest record company. We had it out first. We had everything going for us - except they lost it. They lost it! They dropped the ball. They knew it…they didn't believe it was a hit in the first place…
It was just the PERFECT Rock and Roll song. (laughing) 'Junk-Rock' song is what I call it!"
The highlight of a Paul Revere & the Raiders show IS Paul Revere - he's the first performer onstage, and claims the audience right away. He jokes a lot about their trademark uniforms:
"We're Captain Crunch & the Wild Bunch!"
Holding aloft a tiny pair of black dolly tights, he says:
"This is what our pants look like before we put 'em on! Thank God for Spandex!"
"I was standing on the Continental Divide!" he says,
"I've got one foot on the Pacific side, the other foot on the Atlantic side, and all these Japanese tourists clicking pictures! I was the ONLY person dressed like THIS!" (Drum roll and hit.)
Even after the show, he joked about his "stoopid-suit," especially when he was looking for his hat box, boot box, etc. in the darkness. (Those outfits aren't cheap.)
The show goes on at the autograph table.
After the audience was deluged with all that Raiders energy, they
lined up at the autograph table and gave it all back. The whole
group signed picture after picture for hundreds of fans, while Cheryl
sold merchandise. They posed for photos in the Hot Rods in their
uniforms, smiling all the while.
As the folks drove their precious rigs to the next Rod Run event, Paul Revere & the Raiders shared in the fun.
("Hey Carlo!" Ron says, as he waves
from an illuminated Deuce Coupe)
Dave Stephens, the road manager, said it best: "We mostly get paid to travel - These shows are the FUN part!"