Glen Yarborough was the artist and he had a big hit at the time too. I'm talking 1967, 68, round there. Song was "Baby The Rain Must Fall" and it was the theme to a major hit movie starring Steve McQueen. So off I went. Had to audition first though. Sat and played in the studio with 150 other hopeful guitarists that answered the same ad and damned if I wasn't the one they chose. $150 a week and you pay your own hotel room but hell, it was a tour with a real artist and a bonafide hit record. It don't get better than that when your 18 and star struck.
You learn a lot about the road when you're out there too, Like how to handle the boredom and the way the days and nights seem to run together. How to hang with the hustlers and grifters and not be a mark. How to find the cheapest eatin' in the shortest amount of time no matter where you are. How to handle the women too. You had to be quick cuz you was leavin' in a few hours and at eighteen you had quite an appetite for the ladies.
Three months on the road. That's all it takes. Then you've got it down to a science. That's how it works out there. You learn quick.
Of course there's always a future to think about too. You can't always live for the moment y'know. So once I got back to L.A. it was back to playin' the studios again, and even a contract with Charlie Green, a famous producer back then. Oh yeah, he was producing Sonny & Cher (known as Anthony and Cleopatra at the time), Iron Butterfly, The Trogs, Buffalo Springfield, all kinds of famous acts. I would do lots of their recording sessions and made friends with a whole lotta folks.
One was a fellow session player, a gravel voiced pianist from New Orleans named Mac Rebenack, otherwise known as the legendary Voodoo Man, Dr. John. Had a hit album out called "Gris Gris" and another one in the works called "Remedies". We worked on that album for awhile and went out on tour to promote it. Lord, what a time! We drove all the way to New York City in a rented equipment truck. Talk about a street education. Most of the band was doin' dope and drinkin' at the time, and I was introduced to a whole new world of pimps, hustlers, dealers, and the rest of the underbelly of the music scene.
Mac would actually cast voodoo spells before each gig just to make sure everything was gonna be allright and we played some of the weirdest gigs you can imagine. Like the Halloween date in Providence where Dr John had to use a huge knife and sacrifice the "Virgin Pumpkin" at midnight. And the all nude Summer college in Goddard, Vermont where people were walkin' around with everything hangin' out.
I toured that way for a couple of years, then went to Europe. By then, Mac and I were clean and sober and I had developed some notoriety in the music scene.
Back to the states to a fun spell in Las Vegas playing with a Rock & Roll band at the Flamingo. I'd never been to Vegas before. Sin City, Glitter Gulch. It was amazing. Wasn't long before some more famous folks came by to hear me play and soon, an offer from Bobby Darin who, at the time was one of the biggest superstars on the planet. "Welcome to the family" Bobby told me on my first night at the Landmark Hotel showroom. "Let's make some music". I was terrified. But make music we did all over the country, on the road, in the studio, and over the airwaves. Bobby turned out to be quite a friend and mentor and I learned how to play just about every genre of music including bib band arrangements from some of the best writers in the business. Even tried a little writing and arranging myself and it wasn't half bad either.