Groovies move and shake with the times

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - WHAT’S ON -

ANEC­DOTES? Cyril Jor­dan is burst­ing with them. Some rock ’n’ rollers of his vin­tage can’t re­mem­ber their room num­ber.

Jor­dan, gui­tar player and found­ing mem­ber of cult leg­ends The Flamin’ Groovies seems to re­mem­ber it all in pho­to­graphic de­tail.

Like his teenage days in San Fran­cisco in the ’60s when he formed The Flamin’ Groovies with Roy Loney, whose big sis­ter had a mas­sive record col­lec­tion and so be­gan his mu­si­cal ed­u­ca­tion on ev­ery­thing from Gene Vin­cent to new­com­ers like Eric Clap­ton – which re­quired get­ting hold of a Gib­son Les Paul gui­tar, just like Eric’s.

Pretty soon Jor­dan is at San Fran­cisco’s famed Fill­more tuning up be­fore his band opens for Cream. Clap­ton walks in and makes a bee­line for the kid with the groovy gui­tar. He says, ‘‘I’ve got one like that.’’ Jor­dan: ‘‘I know, it’s the only way I can get your sound!’’ So be­gins the long, wind­ing story of The Flamin’ Groovies. There was, for in­stance, the time in the ’70s when punk rock hap­pened and a bunch of bands dis­cov­ered the Groovies’ Shake Some Ac­tion al­bum from 1976.

One of th­ese fans was Dave Faulkner, later of The Hoodoo Gu­rus, which is why the Groovies – fea­tur­ing Jor­dan, Ge­orge Alexan­der and Chris Wil­son from the band’s clas­sic ’70s line-up – are tour­ing Aus­tralia on the Gu­rus’ Dig It Up! tour.

Or in the ’90s when Jor­dan re­ceives a let­ter from Para­mount Pic­tures ask­ing for the Shake Some Ac­tion song to be used in some film with a bunch of ac­tors he has never heard of. With noth­ing to lose he agrees, and the movie, Clue­less, turns out to be a mega hit and Jor­dan ac­tu­ally makes some money from his mu­sic for a change.

The Groovies’ story is filled with so many ex­am­ples of rise, fall, star­va­tion and rise again that you’d think it comes from a script some­one made up about a rock ’n’ roll band. Like the time the Groovies made their way to the UK in ’72. Jor­dan tells the mu­sic press the band is there to record at Rock­field stu­dios with pro­ducer Dave Ed­munds, whose hit I Hear You Knock­ing, recorded at that stu­dio, is like a touch­stone for the Groovies. Word gets around and Ed­munds is there that freez­ing, rain­ing night when the Groovies ar­rive at the stu­dio and record many of the songs that would be sta­ples of their ’70s out­put in a 10-hour ses­sion. It was a good thing Jor­dan had blabbed to the rock pa­pers about it be­cause no one from the Groovies’ record com­pany had both­ered to ask Ed­munds along.

Jor­dan knows he is sit­ting on some great songs yet by ’73 he spends a long, frus­trat­ing month in Los An­ge­les try­ing to tell record com­pany ex­ec­u­tives they should know his band.

‘‘I get ‘no, no, no’, and I’m run­ning out of com­pa­nies, I even got knocked back by Motown.’’ About to re­turn to San Fran­cisco emp­ty­handed, Jor­dan is driv­ing down Sun­set Boule­vard when he sees a mas­sive bill­board poster ad­ver­tis­ing a Capi­tol Records tal­ent quest. And the pho­to­graph used to il­lus­trate it is of Cyril Jor­dan, taken in the late ’60s. Of course, Jor­dan fig­ures, what the heck.

‘‘The pres­i­dent of Capi­tol is Bob Buziak so I ring his of­fice and say: ‘Is Bob there?’ like I knew him. Th­ese guys meet hun­dreds of peo­ple a month, he might have met me and for­got­ten.’’

Jor­dan plays it cool, say­ing he’s only in town for a few hours. A week later he’s in the door at Capi­tol and not long af­ter that The Flamin’ Groovies are record­ing again. What hap­pened out of that? ‘‘The whole sixth floor at Capi­tol got fired!’’

It would be an­other three hard years be­fore the Groovies would get a new al­bum out to the world, but when they did, peo­ple were lis­ten­ing. Like Dave Faulkner, and the fans all over Aus­tralia who are wait­ing to see this clas­sic line-up of The Flamin’ Groovies shak­ing some ac­tion again.

Dig It Up!, with The Hoodoo Gu­rus play­ing their Mars Needs Gui­tars al­bum, The Flamin’ Groovies and Blue Oys­ter Cult plays Twin Towns on to­mor­row.

– NOEL MEN­GEL

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