Thanks to Bob Nigg & Gary Graham
Guitar and Vocals: Gary Graham
Guitar and Vocals: Eldon Freese
Bass and Vocals: Bob Nigg
Drums and Vocals: Tom West
Live at PJ's
We had a man by the name of John Herring who was working with Trini Lopez at the time that wanted to manage us and we were excited. John had a lot of connections with clubs recording companys etc. I ll never forget John calling me three days after we signed on and telling me that he had us a job that started on monday and I had to set down when he told me that it was the Whiskey a go go in Holly Wood. You have to remember that I was just a country boy from a very small town in missouri (Lake Ozark) and wasnt even old enough to go to the Whiskey let alone work there.
I ll never forget the first night we worked there, I was up on the balcony and looked down on the crowd and all I could see was Movie stars the likes of Steve McQueen Jayne Mansfield Anthony Quinn and well you get the picture. Nervous to the point of shaking I went on stage and Bob said to me he would be playing the bass behind me and if I were you I would strongly recommend you get out there and sing your ass off. Fortunately I had a strong southern accent and the people loved to hear me talk and were amazed that i didnt sing like i talked. When Johnny Rivers returned we went to PJs on santa monica blvd. and enjoyed a eight and half month stand that resulted in the record deal, movie deal and a lot memories. We took a lot of celebs with us from the whiskey.
we did a movie at 20th century fox with Ed Wynn . It was called Your Only Young Twice. We also did a special with Robert Stack and Connie Stevens called This is Hollywood. We only worked the Whiskey and PJs as that was part of our contract with Paul Raffles and Elmer Valentine. It was quite a time in our lives as all of a sudden we were in the midst of people that we all had idolized. Just to name a few (Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Annette Funicello, Roger Miller, Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Bros. Elvis, Rick Nelson and the list goes on. I actually became friends with most. At that particular time those two clubs were the focal point of Hollywood. Imagine the Bobby Fuller Four and the Standells working on our nights off. Groups would actually beg to work there because it was the place where record execs and movie makers hung out. I remember one night i was singing a song and all of a sudden there was piano and damn good piano playing going on and i turned and looked back to where the house piano was and lo and behold it was Bobby Darin playing and singing right along with us.
We even had Bobby Darin sit in with us and the last night Sam Cooke was alive was spent with us and what a shock it was to wake up see those headlines and regardless of what any one says Sam was not drunk when i shook his hand and got him a taxi, my bass player and friend Bob was right there too. After PJs we were off to Las Vegas and after about two weeks there we got the news about the record delivered to us by Bobby Fuller of I Fought The Law and on the following monday we get the notice that Bob had been drafted.
We recorded that record in 1964 and released it in 1965. I Will Be Free got a lot of air play and was picked to it by Dick Clark on American Bandstand. Unfortunately, the record company was sued by CBS and all of their recordings, including ours, Linda Ronstadt’s and Chad & Jeremy were confiscated. That was basically the end of that record. I have heard it a lot over the years. Still love that song. It was recorded at United Recording, Hollywood, California.