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You're Out of the Band

This is always a tricky and delicate subject, because when people get canned from a group, more often than not, it’s not their fault at all, and in fact, can be a blessing in disguise for the “cannee”. I’ve obviously had a lot of experience within bands and also back-up bands (which are still BANDS!), and many incidences of either having to get rid of a particular member, or defend myself from being kicked out!

A perfect early example was when I was playing in a group called “Janey and Dennis”, and we had just done a big-budget album for Captiol records. We were getting ready to tour, opening for the Bee Gees across Canada, and we had a drummer rehearsing with us named Max Weinberg. Well, at that time, the only gig Max had done of any real professional level was touring with the Peggy Fleming ice skating tour! It was kind of funny, because he had all these anvil road cases for his drums with “Peggy Fleming” stenciled on them! He also would drink an entire 6-pack of Dr. Pepper at each rehearsal, and even though I like Dr. Pepper now, it was inconceivable to see someone in New York, in 1974 consuming that much of that drink! But that is totally besides the point…

Well, as it turned out, I was getting extremely against his being in the band for many reasons, but the top one was simply that his style of drumming didn’t fit our music. The other members agreed, after a long deliberation, and so we fired him. I only found out years later from talking with him, how much this devastated him…..still, he literally owes me everything, because 5 days later, he got his famous gig with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band! It turns out that Bruce was recording in the same studio as us, and he needed a drummer at the time. The recording engineer, Larry Alexander, suggested Max to him, and the rest is history!

The Harbor Band, NYC, 1975

Many years later, I had an appearance on Conan O’Brien, along with Danny Gatton, who had just recorded with me on “Toolin’ Around”. I spoke to Max, he told me how hurt he was by my firing way back when, and not only that, he didn’t want Conan to even KNOW about it!! Later on, after the show, I told Conan the story, and he was just furious that he couldn’t use that little ditty on his show with me and Max!! Later on, Janey and Dennis became The Harbor Band with me still on lead guitar, but our record contract and record got dropped, and The Harbor Band was no more very quickly! All I know is Max owes me big time for being “out of the band!” More on this at a later date!!

Arlen Roth


Posted: 3/4/2009 8:27:25 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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