Bootleg History

One (bootleg) label that I have never read anything about was LA based Death Records, a Wizardo sub-label slotting in nicely into WRMB’s 500 series and sharing its cover design. Despite the morbid name, this was one cutting edge label in its time, up there with TAKRL, although with about 5% of the output. They certainly took some chances, produced a couple of legendary titles and worked very economically by sometimes recording both the opening and the main act and releasing both. They also made the most out of their ‘field trip’ to Seattle in April of 1977. Audio quality was not one of its stronger points though but that is balanced out by providing us with the only source for these recordings in almost all cases. At least these were not copied from other labels or common nationwide radio broadcasts.

Doing research on this label is tough, as the name was, of course, irresistible to many punk and death metal publishers. If you enter “Death Records” into popsike, you get 25000 hits! It’s like searching for a couple of needles in a really big haystack.If there are any missing releases, please let me know and I will add them.

352 Paul Simon & George Harrison “Live From New York…”

507 Jefferson Starship live ‘L.A. Forum Sept 30 1976′ [alson on WRMB 507, titled 'Live']

520 Heart ‘Frostbacks Live, L.A. Forum’ – September 30 ’76 [Heart opened for Jefferson Starship]

521 Peter Frampton ‘In London’

525 Runaways ‘No Olds Allowed’ – Santa Monica Civic, April 1, ’77
526 Cheap Trick ‘In Concert’ – Santa Monica Civic, April 1, ’77 [supporting The Runaways]


529 George Harrison & Bob Dylan ‘When Everybody Comes To Town’                                                      530 Dolly Parton ‘Live In Hollywood’ – The Roxy, April 15 ’77
531 Procol Harum ‘Snails and Pentagrams’ – Seattle Arena, April 20 ’77 [supporting Supertramp]
532 Supertramp ‘Live’ – Seattle Arena, April 20 ’77
533 Tangerine Dream ‘Fotzenslecker / Netz-Lautstärke’ – Seattle Paramount Theater, April 21 ’77
534 Nils Lofgren ‘Old Grey Whistle’

536 Jefferson Airplane ‘Flight Log’ [death / Canyon release]

I did not find any cover images for the D. Parton and Procol Harum releases and for N.Lofgren just for the limited K&S re-issue “In London” but I will cover all the others in detail, I have the Cheap Trick LP documented quite well as I used to own and recorded it some 30 years ago.

[Picking up where we left in part 7 but written years later as a summary.]

I’d have to dig out the notes I took while corresponding with Segal, but I remember that he was extremely open with me and was more than willing to crack open his memory cells and recollect all that he could. It was during the first call when he credited Derek Taylor as his tape source, and from there we pretty much went backwards to flesh out his broadcasting history and professional relationship with Tom Donahue. There was one chronological detail that didn’t quite fit, but I didn’t press him on it.

I sent him his radio broadcast (burned a copy of the Vigotone CD), as he had ever heard it.

I don’t think I mentioned in that mess of a story that I had finally located Jefferson Kaye in early ’05; Dan Neuvert invited me to call him (Dan), so I did, and while ironing out some of the details of his 1969 trip to Toronto to purchase the tape, he gave me Kaye’s home phone number. Now I knew him well — or rather his radio personality well — when I was a teenager in Baltimore, listening to him on WBZ in Boston in the early months of 1966. I was a big fan of the Boston station and tuned to it nightly, atmospheric conditions permitting (also regularly recorded it and, shortly later, WKBW and WLS — I hope to someday get them online before they dissolve).

Jefferson left WBZ for WKBW that March, ’66, so I would catch up with him there. He introduced his listeners (or, at least me) to Jefferson Airplane’s “Come Up the Years” that spring — this wonderful, strange music airing over a commercial pop station was unheard of back then.

In his later career, Jefferson had become the Voice of NFL Films for many years before he was stricken with throat cancer, which forced him to retire. So I called him, and after I explaining to him  John and my little project, he filled me in on what he remembered that Friday, September 19, 1969. And he remembered everything to the smallest detail — the anonymous phone call from this guy in Toronto and the directive to Dan to go get the tape the following day. What he couldn’t recall was the caller’s name. (He was about to go on vacation that weekend, so he was out of the loop by Saturday.)

Once we pretty much exhausted that topic, I decided to ask him about something I wanted to know for 38 years: back in mid-April, 1967 (Wednesday, April 19, to be exact), WBZ in Boston, at 11:30 PM that night, debuted “A Day in the Life.” This had the full intro (no fade-in from the Pepper Reprise). This was over a month before stations were allowed to air pre-release promotional copies of the LP. It was a huge deal at the time, and the song went into heavy rotation the following day, Thursday, April 20. That Thursday evening was the first I remember Kaye playing the track in Buffalo, likewise putting it in heavy rotation. Now, the prime-time deejay at WBZ then was Bruce Bradley, and he regularly taped his Friday evening program on Friday afternoon. So that Friday night, listeners heard Bruce regularly tease us with a number of upcoming re-airings of ADITL. But throughout his 3 1/2-hour show, the song never aired.

The following Monday evening, Bruce, now back live on the air, apologized and explained to his audience that, yes, he did tape his Friday show earlier that day, and he did include the song for broadcast,  but sometime between his taping and the evening broadcast, the station received a cease-and-desist notice, so the song was edited out of that program’s tape before it aired, but Bruce’s teases were left in. The song never aired again until a month later.

I noticed that WKBW was also no longer airing the song that Friday, April 21, and figured that they, too, were likewise prohibited.

So that’s what I wanted to ask Jefferson: How they got the song in the first place and why they suddenly stopped airing it. Without missing a beat, he gave me the story: he got the tape directly from Capitol! And, yes, they, too, had received a cease-and-desist notice, which seemed odd, considering from where they got it, but they complied.

It was a couple of weeks later when they learned that the notice was a fake, sent to them by a rival radio station in the area. As soon as they realized that, he said they returned to airing the song again.

(I tracked down Dick Summer, the WBZ all-night deejay who followed Bruce’s show that mid-April evening, to ask him about how his station got the tape, but he just couldn’t remember. I remember trying to find Bruce but don’t think I had much success.)

Another odd ‘n’ end was meeting up with David Dalton in June, 2005. I posted that little tale here in February ’07:

Thought I’d post here communication I had in mid-2005 with David Dalton, co-author (with Jonathan Cott) of the Get Back book that was included in the original UK LIB LP package. Some here have already suffered through this, so I figured everyone else should have the same privilege. :)

In early June 2005, I attended a little-publicized event at a nearby culture center here in NYC. It was a Q&A with Brian Wilson, David Leaf, and David Dalton. Around 30-40 people showed up in a small room. The purpose was a discussion of Leaf’s “Beautiful Dreamer” documentary that had just been shown in a theater on an upper floor. Dalton had interviewed Brian during the summer /fall of 1967, so he was invited to share his memories with Leaf and Wilson and answer questions.

(A podcast of the Q&A with Brian, David L, and David D is available here:

Unfortunately, only the first half is included; no Q from the crowd here.)

I brought with me the September 20, 1969, Rolling Stone article/preview of the GB LP, author unsigned, but London-sourced. Also brought along the GB book.

After the discussion, I went up to David D. and showed him the GB book. His eyes lit up; he’d been looking for a copy for decades. I then opened the Rolling Stone issue to the GB article and asked, “Did you write this?” He recognized it immediately and said, “Yes.”

I summarized for David the little research project our fearless leader, John Winn, and I had been pursuing then (analyzing the earliest GB bootlegs and contacting those at WKBW and WBCN who broadcast taped dubs of the first two GB acetates in 9/69 — John later wrote it all up in his _Lifting Latches_), and so we agreed to correspond further after he returned home.

(And yeah, I did have a few solitary moments with Brian afterwards — he had left the room, and while I was chatting with Leaf, after the room had emptied, Brian returned, and I found myself having a conversation with him with just 2 or 3 others around. Words here fail.)

Back to David D. — I wanted to learn where he had heard the GB material for his RS article, whether it was tape or vinyl, and what he remembered about the GB book. Here’s what he told me over the phone a week later:

– Derek Taylor had first approached Cott in, probably, early February 1969, to do whatever was to be done to put together a GB book; no one had any clear idea. David said that the Rolling Stones had wanted to assemble a book for their Rock and Roll Circus, so perhaps the idea for a GB book came from that.


– When Cott got the assignment, David asked to get involved, and Cott said sure; he didn’t want to wade through the 1/69 tapes. (Note: I had talked with Jonathan a few months earlier, and he said the same thing: he left the the tape listening to David; that’s pretty much all he could remember.)

– David shared a 4-bedroom, 2-story house in London with his then-girlfriend Andie, artist Stanley Mouse (poster guy from SF) and Derek’s assistant at Apple, Richard DiLello. (Later, author of
_The Longest Cocktail Party._ He’s now a screenwriter in Hollywood.)

– Derek provided David and Andie with _all_ of the 1/69 tapes. Boxes and boxes were delivered to their house. David assumed they were dubs, but he and I both determined that they were, in all likelihood, the original Nagra tapes. (We couldn’t imagine anyone spending hundreds of hours making dubs.) Derek also loaned them two reel-to-reels. David says that he and Andie listened to the entire batch, then dubbed for themselves (via the two tape recorders) 17 hours of what they considered the “best” material, and they then began to transcribe dialogue from those dubs.

Nagra IV-L

David returned the original reels to, he thinks, Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

David didn’t know why Derek loaned them two tape recorders. Perhaps Derek assumed that David and Andie would split up the work evenly, each listening and transcribing different reels separately, who knows. But that’s what David used the tape recorders for — to dub 17 hours for later transcription.

– Friends would drop by and listen to the tapes, but after awhile they’d zone out, the stuff too tedious to hear for too long a stretch. I asked David if anyone there had ever thought of distributing the material further — i.e., making more dubs — and he said no. I pressed a little further, mentioning that some of the B-reels they transcribed for the GB book ended up on bootleg, but the reels themselves had since gone missing (I think I have that right; maybe not), and so I wondered whether he or his friends might have perhaps been the source for that initial bootleg distribution. David said that he never even considered the thought of dubbing any of it for others. He did it for himself solely for the transcription work.

He still has his 17 hours of tapes somewhere in his home. (He may, perhaps, have a copy of Nagra reel 117A buried somewhere.)

– The Beatles — or at least Ringo and John specifically — read through the transcripts and offered their edits. Ringo told David, “I wasn’t chewing gum” (David had written that he had, so Ringo wanted to correct him). And David had transcribed John saying, “Masturbating doesn’t make you blind, just short-sighted,” but Yoko had that sentence removed.

– David’s access to the Apple offices was easy; he and Cott had established themselves there, so he never had any difficulty walking in and out. He now thinks that he wrote the RS LP article /preview after listening to the material in the Apple offices, but he still can’t recall whether it was on vinyl or tape.

David put me in touch with both Andie and Richard. I corresponded with both, but, unfortunately, neither remembered a thing.


Dat’s it; take of it what you want.

Then there’s the tediously-long story of how the acquisition in 1971 of the 9 1/2-minute version of  Buffalo Springfield’s “Bluebird” helped make this entire story possible 34 years later. But seeing this is a Beatleg board, it’s prolly WAY off-topic. :)

The END ***

The Great Elusive “Get Back” Radio Search: Part VII

The WBCN Branch, Chapter 3: Final Contact

A month and a half passes — nothing from Joe Rogers. All leads have gone cold, the hunt stalled.

Then, the evening of February 2, I got an IM from Charles. He’d like me to check out how accessible something is in his web site. I obliged, then mentioned to him that Joe had never returned my e-mails. Charles wrote that he’ll “nudge” Joe a bit.

Sure enough, four days later, Joe finally wrote back and asked me to elaborate what I’m looking for. At last! Direct contact with the one person everyone else had claimed as the source, the keymaster, if you will (sorry — one too many Matrix allusions, or maybe that was Ghostbusters).

By now I’d acquired enough background information from all of the parties previously located and contacted — Andy, Charles, and Sam from the East and Ted from the West — that I now began to appreciate the processes involved. So I fed all this to Joe, finally putting him at some ease that he wasn’t dealing with a fish completely out of water.

He responded the following day (Feb. 7):

– “By golly you do seem to be in earnest. I don’t believe I can really help, but I will give you what few clues that I can.

“I don’t remember the [9/22/69] broadcast, but Steven [Segal] was a well connected dj at the time and might have gotten the material from a wide range of sources. Yes it might have come from KPPC, but he also knew nearly everyone in radio on the west coast including Tom Donahue.

[This was the second reference of Steve's association with Tom. Sam Kopper had mentioned this in December.]

“Could it be relevant that Steven was from Buffalo and traveled there regularly?

[subsequent answer to this possibility: not all that much]

“We will have to find Steven.

“I have tried before and failed, but I will try again. The last time was a lengthy process that began with tracking down his brother and then his ex wife to get a phone number for Steven that he never answered.

“Maybe you can track down a person named Rob Barnett who (within the last two years) was a pretty big shot at VH1 making music videos and a music documentaries. He and Steven had many plans and projects for working together that never quite happened, but Rob may know where Steven is.”

Joe then gave me the last address and phone number he had for Steve, but he said that this was long ago and may not be valid now. He then ended his e-mail with this:

– “I will do what looking that I can. I would dearly love to find him.”

I called the number Joe gave me. Got an automated operator message that told me that the number had changed to another. Hmm. So I called the new number. Got an answering machine from someone who addressed himself only as “Steve,” that he wasn’t in but left his cell phone number. So I called the cell phone number. A man answered.

I ask, “Is this Steve?”

He says, “Yes.” I continue, “Steve Segal?”


I apologized for the evident wrong phone number and explained how I had gotten it, then asked if he knew of a Joe Rogers or a “Steve Segal.” Again, “Sorry, no.”

Ooh, so close and yet so far away. The door cracked open, then slammed shut.

So I tried the other route: who was this Rob Barnett and where could I find him? Googling an answer came quickly this time — Rob is presently Senior Vice President of Original Programming at Infinity Broadcasting, whose offices are right here in NYC.

The next morning I called the main office line at Infinity and asked to be connected with Rob. Immediate transfer. Phone rings. No answer. Get an answering machine. Left a message
mentioning only that Joe Rogers had suggested I contact him regarding the possible present whereabouts of Steve Segal. Gave him my phone number and hung up.

Two minutes later Rob called back. I’m finding that name-dropping helps in ways I never appreciated before. We talked as old friends, relating our non-shared experience with all of the folks with whom I had recently communicated. Rob even mentioned Norm Winer, with whom I had e-mailed only briefly (see Part V). When the neurons begin to interact with each other, the world is indeed a small one.

Rob leafed through his personal pocket phone booklet and found the last phone and e-mail address he had of Steve’s but warned me that this information was 2 to 3 years old. Most
encouragingly, the phone number he had was different from the one Joe had. Rob also warned me that even if I _did_ find Steve, he might not remember a thing. I thanked him and we said our goodbyes after I promised I’d e-mail him with any new developments.

So I called the number Rob gave me. Man picked up the receiver: “Hello?”

“Hi; is this Steve Segal?”

“Yes; yes it is.”


The concluding Part VIII is next.*

The Great Elusive “Get Back” Radio Search: Part VI

The California Context

No one knew where Steven Clean/Seagull Segal was these days. Joe Rogers wasn’t returning my e-mails. Sources were drying up. It was time to explore the history of alternative radio from the West Coast point of view.

Came up with the name of Ted Alvy, who was B. Mitchel Reed’s assistant, then soonafter his producer. Ted and I then carried on an intense 2-week e-mail tutorial of the early days of alternative FM radio at KPPC and KMET and his close association with the legendary BMR, who also worked at KPPC before moving over to KMET. Again all relatively off-topic to the present project, but Ted provided a rich context for the times and the people who were instrumental, who went where, who worked with who, all that.

But there was this comment from Ted when I asked from where he thought KPPC might have gotten the copy of the 1/69 acetate, assuming that it was that station that had sent their copy to WBCN:

– “i suspect it was from derek taylor.”

I asked Ted to elaborate. He did. Ted writes in a stream-of-conscience manner, so bear with him. The elipses and paragraph breaks are mine for some sense of clarity; punctuation is Ted’s:

– “bmr knew derek taylor from his daze at wmca nyc (february 1963 thru february 1965); … [BMR] help[ed] to start rock music on fm from the pasadena presbyterian church basement[*] (on december 31st 1967 he rang in the new year 1968 while people camped out for the new years rose parade outside the church)…

[* Pasadena Presbyterian Church = PPC]

“i met bmr at monterey pop and became his producer a week later (kfwb then kppc-fm then kmet-fm). derek taylor ran the june 16-18 1967 monterey international pop festival press office (two
us us l.a. valley college radio deejays got press passes from him after he recognized my radio free oz button [a knowing reference to Firesign Theatre] … and he cut press passes in half for some publications like life magazine on the second day of pop fest due to too much crowding in press areas; we had tickets for all 5 concerts).

“bmr’s old lady and future wife worked with derek in that festival grounds office. derek brought bmr the promo copy of first procol harum lp at kfwb in 1967 with a surprise refreshment inside;

“i last talked to derek circa march 1968 when he visited kppc before his send off party, as he returned to england in april 1968 to head apple for the beatles after doing publicity for the likes of
the byrds, who were good friends with bmr, especially crosby and mcguinn).”

Ted also confirmed on bit of information suggested by all of the former BCN announcers:

– “at kppc, we did exchange stuff with wbcn folk; i believe they got us the studio version of don’t you do it that todd rundgren engineered for the band (issued in poor condition on band cohoots reissue), but sam [Kopper] might know for sure.”

And as for Steven’s return to California a few months after his 9/22/69 BCN broadcast:

– “steven clean returned to l.a. at kmet before the stones altamont fiasco. he then joined pd[*] les carter at kppc again april fool’s day 1970 (i returned to kppc in mid-may).”

[*pd = program director]

So, according to Ted’s amazingly detailed memories (once you get these guys going, the floodgates pour open), BMR and Derek Taylor had an association with each other that extended as far back as 1963. No smoking gun, no evidence even that BMR had ever aired the 1/69 acetate — indeed, Ted wrote that he “never saw get back (whether lp or tape)” — but an awfully tantalizing bit of information.

Ted _did_ recall that BMR had “received the beatles get back lp from one of his sources, but then he was warned (via telegram?) not to air it.” Ted was referring to an aircheck of BMR explaining to his listeners of this precise event on KMET. The aircheck exists on a web site and on a CD collection of radio airchecks.

The aircheck can be heard here:

And It comes from the CD “The Golden Age of Underground Radio, Vol. 2″ (track 12):,_vol._2/1/

In the aircheck, BMR says that he was in NYC “Tuesday and Wednesday,” and the album had “arrived” at the station “yesterday.” But also awaiting him at the station upon his return was a cease-and-desist telegram (yes) from an attorney at Northern Songs, who refers specifically to several song titles that were on the banned LP.

BMR read the telegram:

– “The undersigned is the attorney for Northern Songs, Ltd., copyright owner of the musical compositions entitled ‘Teddy Boy,’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down,’ ‘Dig a Pony,’ ‘I’ve Got a Feeling,’ ‘Two of Us
on Our Way Home,’ ‘Dig It,’ and ‘All Across the Universe,’ some of which are contained in the new Beatle album, ‘Get Back’.”

Why “Don’t Let Me Down” is banned seems at first rather bizarre, since the song had already been released as a single months earlier, no matter when this telegram was written. It makes sense only if one considers the blind ignorance of music attornies who don’t know one song from another, who don’t know the proper titles of songs, and, most importantly here, who appear to be basing their titles on what they’ve seen on a bootleg LP they’re gotten their hands on.

And that’s the key: BMR had to have been referring to a bootleg LP and not a tape of an original acetate, since there _was_ no actual legitimate vinyl LP of “Get Back” that had found its way to
the States; just copies of tapes of acetates.

The date of this aircheck was a mystery until Ted listened to track 14 from the above CD aircheck collection (this track wasn’t available on the web), which was on the same day as track 12. (Track 13 was Harry Nilsson’s “You Can’t Do That” montage.) (In other words, Tracks 12-14 comprised one uninterrupted aircheck.)

According to Ted,

– “track 14 [0:58] bmr talks about 2nd annual kmet free clinic marathon on saturday january 31st (1970); he says this saturday between twelve noon and 2 a.m. and also saying he might have mentioned it before his ny trip.”

Aha — we now have a relative timeframe for the aircheck: the week before Saturday, January 31, 1970.

Because the attornies included “All Across the Universe” [sic], the bootleg in question was most likely “Silver Album” or, as John suggests, “a variant thereof”; it was one of the first, if not the first, to include ATU. (“Kum Back,” which contained tracks from the 1/69 acetate, did not.)

Thus, despite the close relationship BMR evidently had with Derek Taylor, there’s no evidence whatsoever that Derek had passed along the 1/69 mix to BMR. BMR never played that mix, nor was he allowed to broadcast the bootleg LP of what was most probably the _other_ (5/69) mix (plus ATU) over four months later. Sure, it’s possible that Derek might have given BMR, via KMET, the bootleg LP, but by this period — early 1970 — bootlegs were, relatively speaking, beginning to become widely available (far more widely available than, say, copies of acetates being sent to selected radio stations). Derek’s connection to KMET’s acquisition of a bootleg LP in late January 1970 appears very slim.

There’s little doubt that had he access to the tapes; BMR would have aired them (before any cease and desist order from Capitol). But he didn’t (Ted said he saw neither a Get Back tape nor an LP; his recollection of BMR wanting to air an LP was based on that CD aircheck), so he didn’t.*

[*Note -- all of these "Parts" were written months before Rizzler's post in here re a West Coast station airing "For You Blue" 9/69. To be elaborated later.]

Having exhausted the source material on the West Coast, it was time to return to the East and hope for something to turn up.

On to Part VII.

The Great Elusive “Get Back” Radio Search: Part V

The WBCN Branch, Chapter 2: Contacts & Brick Walls

So Charles called me from Hawaii and suggested I play him portions of the “Posters” CD over the phone. I did. He immediately recognized the announcer: “That’s Steven Clean!” Bingo. Finally a name at last. Which, looking back, made perfect sense: Andy Beaubien had referred to him specifically as the one who provided BCN with material he had acquired while still at KPPC. I never put 1 + 1 together.

Steven also went by the radio names of “Steven Seagull” and “Obscene Steven Clean.” More obscure sites referred to him as “Steven Segal,” which turned out to be his actual name.

Charles told me that Steven had worked at KPPC in Pasadena in 1967/68 and then left for WBCN just after a radio strike there. Steven had gotten the job for Charles at BCN. The WBCN schedule then, by December 1968, when Charles arrived, was:

6-10 am: Sam Kopper (program director)
10am to 2 PM: Peter Wolf (yeah, that Peter Wolf) – replaced by Charles
2 to 6 PM: Joe Rogers
6 to 10 PM: Steven Clean

(Late-night shifts: unknown or forgotten for now; not crucial)

I read to Charles Andy’s e-mail, in particular this: “I seem to recall that [Steven] used to share some of the un-released stuff that they [KPPC] had acquired.” _That_, Charles emphasized, was 100% true.

Charles himself had no memory of the tape, but he says thatSam Kopper, WBCN’s morning guy might; he was Steven’s boss and the station’s program director. He gave me Sam’s email addys. I asked Charles if he knew where Steve was these days. He had no idea but thought that Joe Rogers might. So he gave me Joe’s address as well.

Bingo again; one door is finally opening another.

Immediately after this phone call, John found a relevant passage from Dr. Demento’s site: in a Q & A, the good doc (nee Barret Hansen, says John) said this:

– “I did not ‘come up with a character.’ Starting in 1969, Steven Clean invited me to be an occasional guest on his show and play records from my collection. These segments were well received and in October 1970 Steven decided to make them a weekly feature.”

Hansen/Demento was referring to his appearances with Steven on KPPC. I subsequently learned that Steve was back at PPC by late ’69; the timeline remained intact.

Post-phone call I e-mailed Sam Kopper and Joe Rogers.

The next day I got a response from Sam, who gave me his phone number. I called him that night.

We talked for over an hour; Sam gave me a history of BCN when it began as an “alternative” FM station. Tons of detail that, as far as I know, has never been accurately portrayed in any of the web sites I’ve found regarding the station’s early history — the relationships between Sam and Steve (when Steve arrived in Boston to begin working at BCN, in the summer of 1968, says
Sam, Sam picked him up at the airport; Steve was carrying nothing but a wad of hash), between Steve and Charles (some “ego problems between the two”), Joe’s historic role (he was the first announcer for the “new” BCN; at midnight, March 15, 1968, Joe segued from Monteverdi to Cream’s “I Feel Free,” with a brief introduction by Frank Zappa’s Jimmy Carl Black), the myth surrounding Maxanne Sartori’s hiring. Again, way off-tangent for the project at hand, but fascinating none the less.

One further tidbit worth mentioning at this point: Sam told me that Steven mentored under Tom Donahue at KMPX in San Francisco and which was KPPC’s sister station. (The details of this
become clear later.)

(Charles didn’t think that Andy was there at the time, but Sam verified Andy’s tenure at the station at that time; Sam said that Andy had come to BCN the summer of ’69, just out of college, matching precisely Andy’s memory of arriving there “the same weekend as Woodstock.”)

To the tape itself, from Sam’s perspective: he wasn’t around for Steve’s show; Sam had done the 6 to 10 am show and usually left the station around 4 or 5 PM. So he was essentially out of the
loop as to particulars regarding tapes coming in from outside. But he likewise suspected it highly likely that the tape came from KPPC.

Any idea where Steve was these days, I asked Sam. “No idea; last I knew, he had done talk radio in Minneapolis in 1992.” Then suggested I contact Joe (done that) and the news director guy at BCN at the time, Norm Winer.

So I e-mailed Norm the next day, Dec. 15. Norm’s now a big shot at CBS. His reply:

– “Don – Actually, this subject came up recently when I was speaking to Joe Rogers. Fact is, neither of us have any idea how to reach Steven, nor where he might be. Last we heard, he’s in Milwaukee, because that’s where his son was living with his mother. But, personally, I’ve not heard from him in several years.”

And no word from Joe.

Flash-forward 2 weeks later, January 6: e-mail from Andy Beaubien:

– “First of all, thank you for the CD of the WBCN broadcast. The announcer is Steven Seagull (aka Steven Clean.) I recognized his voice immediately. This adds additional weight to the supposition that the source of the Beatles “Get Back” recording was KPPC in Pasadena. The broadcast must have been one of Steven’s last shows on WBCN before he departed for KPPC. I seem to recall that before his departure, he had supplied WBCN with one or more bootlegs that had originated from his LA contacts, the most likely of which would have been KPPC.

“Joe Rogers (aka Mississippi Fats) was also at the station at that time and he may recall some additional facts about this recording. I have copied him on this e-mail.”

We’re starting to go in circles now. I feel like Neo running from one subway station to the next, which turns out to be the same as the first. All roads appear to lead to Joe, and he’s not writing back. Steven “Clean” Segal seems to have fallen off the face of the planet. We’re hitting another brick wall. Time to explore the suggested West Coast connection.

On to Part VI

The Great Elusive “Get Back” Radio Search: Part IV

The WBCN Branch, Chapter 1: The Search

From Part II: “What connected the thread at this stage of the hunt was Charles Laquidara, who had worked at KPPC but, by September ’69, was at WBCN.”

Shortly after posting Part I last December, I received e-mail from fellow Beatleg member Dave Indri: “Anyone who grew up in the Boston area can tell you that the WBCN dj on “Posters, Incense” etc. is definitely NOT Charles Laquidara.”

No argument there; I hadn’t claimed that Charles was the announcer, only that he was at BCN at the time, but it was good to have that confirmed by Dave.

Dave then said that he knew someone who had worked at WBCN then, but that person was likewise unable to ID the announcer. That person told Dave that he’d try to contact another announcer then thought to have been there at the time, Maxanne Sartori, but that’s as far as that went.

After Googling around, I learned that Maxanne had been there the following year but not in 1969. I did, however, find someone else who was at BCN, Andy Beaubien: he filled the 6-10 PM slot in December ’70. While likewise over a year later than what we’re looking for, that timeslot matched the time when the 1/69 mix had been broadcast the previous year.*

(*Towards the end of the tape as heard on “Posters…,” the deejay invites listeners to turn onto television Ch. 7 “in this next hour” and watch the Beatles and Crosby Stills, Nash and Young.” This program was “Music Scene,” which debuted on ABC that night at 7:30 PM ET. Which puts the radio broadcast at that point at around 7 PM ET.)

So I searched, found, and e-mailed Andy Beaubien. His replies:

e-mail from 12/8/04:
- “Yes, I’m the same Andy Beaubien. I started at WBCN in August of 1969 (I think it was the same weekend as Woodstock.)”

From 12/13/04:
- “Here’s what I recollect about the Get Back tape. I remember playing the tape but I’m not certain whether the person in the broadcast was me or someone else. If it wasn’t me, it was probably Charles Laquidara. I seem to recall that he was on the air from 6pm-10pm around that time. I think I was doing afternoons as my regular shift. I had just started working full time in September of ’69 and I’m almost certain I was not on from 6pm-10pm. If I was on in that time period, I was filling in for someone else. However, if you have a copy of the broadcast, I’m sure that I can readily identify the voice.

_ “I don’t recall how we acquired the tape. It could have come from a number of sources. A likely source may have been KPPC in Pasadena, California. Steven Clean (aka Steven Seagull) had just arrived [from*] KPPC and I seem to recall that he used to share with us some of the un-released
stuff that they acquired. Being in LA, KPPC was very well connected.

(* Andy had written “Steven… had just arrived at KPPC…” but this turns out to have been a typo; Andy meant _from_ KPPC, not “at.”)

- “Perhaps Charles Laquidara or Joe Rogers might remember something about this. I can try to contact them. They’re both still around. Charles is retired and living in Maui and Joe is still in the Boston area.”

So — Andy played the tape, but not on the 9/22/69 broadcast. And as Dave Indri insisted, Charles wasn’t the voice heard, either.

I sent Andy a CD-R of the broadcast, and he got back to me, but more on that in Part V. (I’d like to maintain the timeline for the moment.) What’s notable is (1) his suspicion that the tape originated on the west coast, and (2) the folks who might know would be Charles and “Mississippi” Joe, the first confirmation that this guy, Joe, who was in the studio with the mystery announcer, was the key. And best of all: (3) that he remembered _any_ of this.

But Joe remained an elusive contact. Digging into the deepest caverns in Google turned up very little. All John and I learned was that in (I think) 1980 or so, Joe had owned a restaurant in the
Boston area. But, as the restaurant’s current owners told John, that was long ago and they had no idea where he was now. John and I were coming up dry.

All the while, I’d been e-mailing Charles but had never received a reply. I used the address that worked back in February ’03, when I first contacted him to thank him for the Buffalo Springfield
“Bluebird” tape he had mailed me back in 1971. No response from that address this time. Then tried the address that’s on his “contact me” web site. Nothing. And an AOL address that was no
longer working.

But for some vain reason, in early 2003 I had added his defunct AOL address from long ago to my AOL “Buddy List,” so it would appear if that screen name ever went online. Which would make little sense since that screen name had been dumped.

But then, on the night of 12/14/04, up popped his screen name on the Buddy List. So I began IMing him, apologized for the intrusion, asked if he remembered me from the year previous, and if he had ever received my current e-mails. He did remember me but had received nothing. Still, finally, contact.

I began to get into the history of the 9/22/69 broadcast, but it seemed somewhat cumbersome to explain all this via IMs. So Charles offered to call me. From Maui. I gave him my number and 20 seconds later the phone rang; it was Charles.

On to Part V

III. The WKBW Branch

For reasons to be elaborated in a future post, we’ve determined that WKBW probably aired their Get Back tape on or about Saturday, September 20, 1969.

Here are the contents of the broadcast as it survives on CD-R, the DJ’s comments dispersed throughout inbetween songs, and a taped announcement, “WKBW Exclusive!” popping up

1. One After 909 — aired twice, second time fades early
2. Rocker/Save the Last Dance for Me
3. Don’t Let Me Down
4. Dig a Pony — into the instrumental break, the track suddenly ends and is replaced with –         5. Across the Universe                                                                                                                                        6. Get Back — the song is first heard from its instrumental break, then fades near the end
7. For You Blue
8. Teddy Boy
9. Two Of Us/Maggie Mae
10. Dig It — longer 5-minute version
11. Let It Be (“take 27, sync to second clap”)
12. Long and Winding Road — into the second verse, a promo from CJRN, a Canadian station from Niagara Falls, suddenly cuts in, and then there’s silence; the KB announcer wonders out
loud if that’s the end of the tape. He assumes it is, begins recapping, but then, suddenly, the song quickly fades back in and resumes from near the second stanza of the first verse.

Finally, after this song ends, the tape ends, and the announcer recaps again, reading a small passage from an article on the then-forthcoming release of the “Get Back” album that appeared
in the September 20, 1969, issue of “Rolling Stone.”

Track 5, Across the Universe, is from a later broadcast. It’s from the “No One’s Gonna Change Our World” charity album, and it includes the birds s/fx intro and outro. The home taper had
recorded over the second half of Track 4 and the first half of Track 5 for this song, which would have been broadcast no earlier than December ’69. ATU was _not_ part of the “Get Back” tape that KBW aired that September.

The tape (minus ATU) represents a copy of Glyn Johns’ 5/69 mix. Tracks 1, 10, and 12 would be seen to contain clues as to the tape’s probable lineage. More on that in a future post.

* * * * * * * * *

Last week, John dug out these chestnuts from Belmo’s Beatleg News:

A letter from Rich Hannon in 1990:

– “I used to scour the east coast and Midwest radio stations for anything new on the Beatles. It was just days after the first playing of ‘Abbey Road’ that WKBW-AM in Buffalo previewd the ‘Get Back’ album. When they were playing it with ‘WKBW Exclusive!’ voices-over. I also heard a Canadian station’s call letters. WKBW was making a big deal about being the first ‘American’ station to play these songs, so maybe they got them from a station up north.” (published September 1990; Volume 4, Number 1/2, p. 17)

In a short reply, Belmo wrote, “I did write to the dj at WKBW you named but never heard back.”

Rich followed up two years later in ’92:

– “I had a chance to talk to Danny Nevereth [sic], who was a disk jockey at WKBW in Buffalo in ’69 when they played the ‘Get Back’ album. I asked him how they had obtained the material, and he said that they got it from Toronto via unofficial channels (he was too busy to elaborate). I think they must have taped the songs from a station in Toronto. I mentioned before hearing the Canadian call letters, and I’m guessing that John (or somebody with him; a dj? Ronnie Hawkins?) gave the songs to somebody when he was in Toronto for the ‘Live Peace’ concert.” (published August 1992; #32, Volume 5, Number 3, p. 7)

Quick reminder — John’s Toronto concert occured Saturday night, September 13.

Rich is, by his own admission, guessing, but it was nice to discover that someone else had once tried to make sense of this then-little-known broadcast.

Over a decade later, John and I had better success getting more information out of both the announcer who aired the tape, Tom McKay, and Danny Neaverth, who was referred to above by Rich.

* * * * * * * * *

First, how KBW acquired the tape:

Danny Neaverth is a mainstay at KBW. He’s been there, off and on, since the early ’60s. He’s there today, now doing the morning drive 6 to 10 am slot. In September 1969, he was the afternoon deejay.

John contacted him last December, and here’s Danny’s reply (punctuation cleaned up for clarity):

– “I was music director at the time. It was all very cloak and dagger. My wife, Marie, and I drove to Toronto where we were to meet a mysterious person who would, for money, hand over a copy of a tape of the album. It was actually pretty exciting, as he had a description of us and where we were to meet, and at what time, but we had no idea who we were dealing with; each person who passed our car became a possibility. Arriving about 15 minutes late we were handed the tape. We turned over the money — I believe it was something like $100 — and we were on our way back to Buffalo. [I] never did find out who the mystery person was. We were contacted by someone who knew someone who supposedly was able to make a copy out of the [Apple] studio. That’s really all I can tell you.”

In a followup, Danny continued:

– “Sorry, but I don’t remember who contacted the station regarding the Toronto meet. I also remember that we used to do a talkover on exclusives like this so other stations couldn’t record
off our air and use them; several times during the playing, an announcer voice would come on and say, ‘WKBW WORLD EXCLUSIVE.’ Boy, were we cool or what? I also remember that the quality of the tape was very poor, as if it had been secretly recorded, but because it was such a big deal no one cared. The whole exchange in Toronto was really like something out of a spy movie.”

Danny added a little more detail when I contacted him late last week:

– “Ok, here is what I remember. Jeff Kaye sent me to [Toronto] to get the tape. It was in an area out of the downtown. The guy who approached us was in his twenties, but I don’t believe he was actually the guy that Jeff dealt with, just a messenger. I didn’t hear the tape before it aired, and when I heard it, it sounded pretty crude, obviously snuck out of the [Apple] studio without the Beatles knowledge. [An] early bootleg.”

I’ve estimated that the car drive from Buffalo to Toronto and back totaled 190 miles (Buffalo to Hamilton to Toronto is around 95 miles.) Around a 90-minute trip to Toronto and a 90-minute trip
back to Buffalo, so approximately 3 hours total.

* * * * * * * * *

Contacting Jeff Kaye is our current quest. I called NFL Films last week (where he used to do voice-overs), but he no longer contributes. I talked to someone in the voice/over department who promised to forward my contact info to Jeff. But He hasn’t yet gotten back to me. To be pursued.

* * * * * * * * *

The story picks up with Tom McKay’s recollections. Tom had been working the all-night shift at KB for the past two summers while he was off from college at Notre Dame, Tom writes, “filling
in for the regular all-night guy, Roger Christian, who filled in for all the other jocks when they went on vacation. . . . Ironically, after a few weeks back on the all-nite shift, I was asked to fill in as the station copywriter and Production Director for ‘a few weeks’ — which turned into a year or two, and later an ad agency gig.”

It was during his second and last summer-stint as all-night fill-in when Tom came in one night and was instructed to play the tape that Danny Neaverth had appeared to have acquired just earlier that same day or perhaps even that very evening.

When I first approached him in December, Tom didn’t have much to contribute, his memory a blur:

– “You know, Don, when you mentioned that Jeff [Kaye] did a ‘KB Exclusive’ break between each cut,* I suddenly remembered playing the Beatles tape. Because that was the only time I remember us doing that. And the reason I don’t remember the event itself very much [is] because I probably just racked up the tape, hit ‘Start,’ and went off somewhere to ‘enjoy’ it properly — in the spirit of the times, if you know what I mean. ;-) (cough-cough)”

[*Actually, the break Tom describes wasn't between each cut, it was within each cut and elsewhere as well. More on this below.]

– “I suspect the real reason for the ‘WKBW Exclusive’ drop-ins, by the way, was to keep competitors (other radio stations) from taping and airing it — not to stop listeners. Well, that and bragging rights.”

But later, his memories began to perk up:

– “That night I was handed a reel to reel tape as I walked into the studio and told to play it. There was no time to audition it beforehand and see what was on it. Hell, I’m not sure *anyone* at the station had listened all the way thru. This was the BEATLES, after all! Anyway, that’s why I sounded so well prepared and “in the know” when I played it on the air that night. ;-)”

[Tom's being sarcastic here -- he's listening to the tape for the first time as he's playing it live on the air, and he's responding to it on the air thusly.]

– “I know as the all-night guy I was the first guy who got to play album cuts on KB, rather than just the 45s the daytime guys aired. (Did you know KB in those days had no formal format, per se? They trusted each jock to put together the music, within some general guidelines. It was even looser on the all-night shift, as you can imagine.)”

When I asked him about reading from the 9/20/69 Rolling Stone article (again, first available on newstands a month before, August 27), he couldn’t remember that actual moment:

– “Again, I have no recollection, Don, but I used to read RS religiously, so I might have just had it around.”

But he did offer a mental picture of the studio:

– “Well, the daytime jocks had an engineer, so there was plenty of room for our reading material. (It was set up for the jocks to stand, by the way — to keep the energy level up.) There was a large sloping desk for the log, misc.

“During the all-night show I ran my own board, and to the right were three giant 17″ RCA turntables — what huge beasts. They took about two or three seconds to get up to speed. I usually only used two of them, so there would have been room for magazines, etc. (I can’t remember what was to the left of the console; maybe cart machines or extra space, too.) But if I was running a tape, like that night, at least two of the turntables could have been idle. Besides, there was a little stand in front of the
mike for ad copy and material like the RS article. We read a LOT of stuff! Besides, RS was pretty small in those days compared to today’s version.”

Two months later, after he had received a CD-R of his broadcast, Tom and I continued our e-mail conversation, and after more prodding, he recalled:

– “I suppose it was Jeff [who] handed me the tape to play. I suspect Danny would have been home in bed by then. ;-) Actually, Jeff might not even have been there. It was probably just left for me with a note. That’s probably what actually happened.”

I asked him about the CJRN interruption that was aired live over KBW’s airwave and wondered whether that might have been the result of someone at the station accidentally punching in the
Canadian Niagara Falls station:

– “No, it wasn’t a live feed – surely you jest. (But maybe whoever dubbed it opened a pot by mistake?)”

And then offered this:

– “No, I didn’t do anything to the tape but hit the start button, Don. All those annoying “KB Exclusive” voiceovers were already there, no doubt dubbed on by one of our engineers — the talent wasn’t allowed to touch the boards (except for overnights). You’d get your hand slapped…”

However, after listening closely to the broadcast tape, John was able to determine that the “KB Exclusive” voiceovers _weren’t_ already on the tape. John measured the distance between each interruption during each contiguous passage on the CD-R and found them consistently spaced apart. They’d pop up while the GB tape was rolling, and they’d pop up while Tom was talking in between songs, with the GB tape stopped for those moments.This means that there was a loop of the “KB Exclusive!” spot prepared for the broadcast, perhaps dubbed onto a cartridge, and that loop played throughout, regardless of whether the tape was being played or not. So that little mystery is solved. The tape couldn’t have had that voice/over on it when Tom played it on the air.

Back to Tom:

– “The CJRN ‘oops’ was no doubt added mistakenly by whoever made the dub for us, presumably at CJRN. He might not have known it happened, or he was too scared and didn’t want to start the whole dub over from the beginning. I imagine that might have been a firing offense for him. Of course, I don’t know for a fact. But it was definitely on the tape we got — it wasn’t me accidentally
opening a feed from somewhere.”

Tom acknowledges that he’s speculating here. He doesn’t know for a fact _how_ that CJRN “oops” made its way onto the tape. But one thing he’s clear about — the CJRN interruption was on the tape itself. This sounds right.

I asked him if there was a formal business relationship/connection between KB and CJRN.

Tom: “I have no idea, Don, but I doubt it. I think in those days KB was a Fairchild station. Was CJRN? That might explain it. I knew no one there. But I assume somebody at KB must have known somebody that knew someone at CJRN.”

Me: “It’s hard for me to imagine that KBW didn’t have its own dubbing facilities.”

Tom: “Oh, we had multiple recording studios, Don. We just didnt have the master to make dubs from – and no one in their right mind would have ‘loaned’ such a master to anyone. Especially if there was a cease and desist order floating about. I’m sure whoever possessed it made the dubs. Then KB copied the copy while adding the ‘WKBW Exclusive’ voice-overs on it. Hence, at least a 3rd or 4th generation dub, maybe later.

“Now that I think of it, no wonder the sound quality was so awful – it was at least a third generation dub, probably fourth or worse. Of course, it was played on AM, so…”

Again, Tom is theorizing out-loud here. First, he’s making the (false) assumption that the “WKBW Exclusive” voice/over was on the tape. It wasn’t. Second, I believe that he surmises that, for some reason, the tape was first sent to CJRN to be dubbed — and that’s when the CJRN “oops” spot occured — before it arrived at KB. But Danny Neaverth says nothing about carrying the tape to another station to be dubbed first (though I’ll ask him about this later this week). It just makes little sense to have done that, especially when Tom says that KB had “multiple recording studios.”

For the geography students: Buffalo and Niagara Falls on the Canadian side of the border is around 30 miles away.

In a later post, I’ll try to explain why I believe that the CJRN interruption was actually on the tape that Danny Neaverth had purchased from the mystery messenger in Toronto, before any dubs of dubs were made at the Buffalo station or anywhere else.

A more detailed analysis of the tape contents forthcoming.

Thus ends Part III. Part IV begins the WBCN branch.

* * * * * * * * *

P.S. — Off-topic for this discussion, but I think folks here might be interested — Tom wrote about his involvement in KBW’s “Paul Is Alive and Well … Maybe” special that aired October 31, 1969:

– “Jeff and I also collaborated on several music specials, including one you may recall: ‘Paul McCartney is Alive and Well… Maybe.’ … I remember sitting on the floor in Jeff’s office late into
the evening, playing every freaking Beatles track backwards, looking for more ‘clues’ and making notes for the script. What a time it was! Years later Gene Chennault (of Drake-Chennault fame) mentioned that program to me when we first met. Could have knocked me over with a feather. Didn’t know the West Coast was even aware of KB, much less that program.”

In a later e-mail exchange, Tom went into more detail over how that program was put together:

– “FYI, on that special, the first track was narrated by (cringe) Sandy Beach, who was (imho) the epitome of the jive ‘AM DJ.’ (This from the ultra-hip <g> overnight guy!) You could hear it in his careless delivery and how he mangled a few words. (‘Posthumously’ – sheesh!) God, we must have done twentytakes with him. He was a radio ‘personality’ but he couldn’t read copy worth a damn. He really struggled with his part — even after rehearsals. He used to regularly butcher my carefully-crafted commercials, too. Many DJs could (can) ‘sight read’ copy – like some musicians can sight read a lead sheet. Just pick up the copy and read it perfectly, cold. Not Sandy. I could never understand why Jeff left it, especially as the leadoff. Well, I think he wanted to include all the daytime jocks, and make it seem like a real ‘station production.’ And I’m sure he sure didn’t want Sandy’s part coming in later, during the ‘good parts.’ But the special was really 90% Jeff Kaye’s work. His writing, his narration.

“Track 2 (Paul’s imagined car crash) was narrated by Dan Neavereath [sic], longtime PM Drive and later AM Drive personality. Still on the air in Bflo, last I heard. So his is son. Someone else did Track 3 — I don’t recognize the voice. Maybe Stan Roberts, KB’s morning guy. But it really doesn’t sound like him. I wonder if Jack Armstrong had started doing evenings by then? No, I think that was later. Maybe it’ll come to me. (Maybe you don’t really care.)

“The bulk of the special was written and narrated – superbly, for the most part – by Jeff Kaye (aka Martin J. Krimsky, but you didn’t hear it from me. ;-) Jeff was blessed with a great set of pipes, a
great sense of drama and imagination (witness the stuff he made up for this program!), and was a good writer, too. (Tough guy to work for, though.)”

* * * * * * * * *

Summary of Part I and the Followup Debunking

Ok — let’s recap what was determined, imagined, and posted here last December (12/7/04):

(1) WKBW

Sometime in mid-September 1969, WKBW in Buffalo broadcast Glyn Johns’ 5/69 mix, which was at that time slated for commercial release in December. The show had been taped by a listener; that tape was found decades later by someone else who then burned it onto CD and made copies for others; one of these others then made it available as a beatleg.

The broadcast occurred just a week or less after the station had aired a pre-release copy of “Abbey Road.”

On the broadcast, the announcer identified himself as Tom McKay. I located and contacted him, then sent him a copy of the broadcast.

On the program, Tom read the top few sentences of an article from the September 20, 1969, issue of Rolling Stone, which had been available on newsstands August 27.

It was my speculation then that the article had been written by either Jonathan Cott or David Dalton, the co-authors of the by-then-finished booklet “Get Back,” which consisted of photographs and transcripts of selected 1/69 Nagra reels and which was to be included as part of the “Get Back” LP release. (It subsequently was in May 1970, but only in the UK edition of the “Let It Be” LP.)

Which led to further speculation that either Cott or Dalton may have had a hand in disseminating a copy of the forthcoming “Get Back” LP to Rolling Stone, which then arranged for the
manufacture of the first bootlegs. Talk about traveling down the wrong fork in the road. More on this below.

(2) WBCN

In the early evening of September 22, 1969, WBCN in Boston broadcast Glyn Johns’ 1/69 mix. Also taped off the air, this broadcast has since appeared on both the vinyl and CD bootlegs, “Posters, Incense and Strobe Candles” (the CD version — Vigotone 109 — is complete with ads and “Abbey Road” tracks, again, before that album’s commercial release). (Yellow Dog also bootlegged the broadcast (YD 035), but the Vigotone CD remains the definitive version.)

[The first 300 copies of this 1993 LP included a package of Strawberry incense! I guess Apple 'flavor' was unavailable.]

The unidentified WBCN announcer mentioned Dick Summer (then at local station WMEX*) in a manner that suggested Dick’s familiarity with the tape, leading me to speculate that BCN got
their tape from WMEX. Another wrong fork, it turned out.

(* The transcript included in the vinyl edition of “Posters…” identifies the call letters as WNEX, which is a station in Macon, Georgia. But the deejay is clearly heard referring to WMEX, a station in Boston. He actually says “weh-mex,” using the shorthand abbreviation of the letter “W.” And Dick Summer is definitely at WMEX at this time.)

The announcer also said that “Buffalo had it first,” evidently referring to WKBW (even though he wasn’t aware that both KBW and BCN had aired different mixes).

And he referred to someone else in the studio with him at the time who he addressed as “Mississippi,” which co-researcher John Winn had determined was fellow BCN announcer Joe
Rogers. In the end, this turned out to be the key that eventually opened the floodgates.

All of which led me down these speculative theories last December: Paul McCartney the source for the 1/69 mix for Boston (this was a stretch) and David Dalton or Jonathan Cott the source for the 5/69 mix for Buffalo (a possibility — then); John Lennon had no involvement whatsoever (a near-certainty); Glyn Johns the source for both mixes (a slender possibility).

We left these speculations with the tantalizing information provided in Clinton Heylin’s book _Bootleg_: “California FM radio stations were to the fore of breaking the [George] Martin [1/69]
tapes. … Within weeks* the first bootleg version of “Get Back” was available in Berkeley, pressed (in L.A., as there were no plants in San Francisco) by an unknown small-time
entrepreneur.” [p. 57 -- this was the "Kum Back" boot that included tracks from the 1/69 mix.]

(*The “within weeks” timeline might be off by a few months; this is a topic for an entirely separate but major avenue of research that John’s just begun. More on this way later if at all in this saga.)

The FM radio stations were thought to be those that Heylin had identified earlier in his book when discussing the history of Dylan’s “Great White Wonder” bootleg (p. 46): KMET-FM and KPPC-FM, the former in L.A. and the latter in Pasadena.

What connected the thread at this stage of the hunt was Charles Laquidara, who had worked at KPPC but, by September ’69, was at WBCN.

* * *

That’s where Part I ended. John was waiting to hear back from two announcers who were also at Buffalo’s KBW in September ’69, and I was still waiting to hear back from Tom McKay — the
voice behind the KBW 5/69 broadcast — after he had received a copy of the show, and Charles Laquidara, then at BCN in 9/69. And both of us were still looking for Joe Rogers, aka “Mississippi.”

First things first — let’s debunk the December ’04 speculations:

1. McCartney as the source for the 1/69 mix — this was an admitted stretch, based on nothing but an overactive yet flawed imagination. Nothing ever came to light giving any credence to Paul’s possible involvement.

2. Glyn Johns as the source for both the 1/69 and 5/69 mixes — this was John’s speculation and, thus far, nothing credible has turned up that would add to it.

(John and I were also entertaining the idea of Billy Preston as the source, since his debut Apple album was released September 10, and we were thinking he’d be promoting the LP with radio interviews and perhaps providing one of the deejays with a copy of an acetate perhaps given to him by Glyn Johns 8 months earlier. But, again, we could find nothing beyond our imaginations.)

3. Lennon as the source for neither mix — well, it’s tough to prove a negative, but for all the reasons cited in Part I, this still rings true.

4. David Dalton and/or Jonathan Cott as the sources for the 5/69 mix — I searched for Dalton’s e-mail address, thought I may have found it, wrote whom I hoped was him, but got no response. Then asked Ben Fong Torres, who I know via a friend. He didn’t know.

Never could find Jonathan’s e-mail address, either, but then I had a crazy thought: maybe he’s in the Manhattan phone book. Looked him up and there he was. So I gave him a ring. He picked up the phone, we chatted, and here’s what he told me:

– He didn’t write the 9/20/69 Rolling Stone article/review of the “Get Back” album and doesn’t know who did.

– He has no idea where David Dalton is, nor does he know whether or not David had written the article.

– He and David were _not_ given access to the Nagra reels when they edited the selected transcripts of those reels for the _Get Back_ booklet. With what they were provided were the
transcripts themselves only. Which means that someone at Apple was given the chore of listening to the Nagras and write or type up the transcripts.

– He didn’t have a clue how the earliest Get Back tapes had spread. He said perhaps Dalton might but he didn’t know for sure.

At this point I decided to scratch Rolling Stone off as the initial dissemination of the bootlegs. And what I suspect now is this: the writer of the 9/20/69 article on the Get Back LP — be it Dalton
or someone else (but not Cott) — was probably invited to Apple and offered to listen to the record (either an acetate or tape) in the Apple offices. That was it. No possibility of making a copy either in the office or elsewhere.

So much for those theories.

Part III to follow (it’ll be devoted to the KBW branch) after I do a bit of digital A/B comparisons this weekend.

Since I spent so much time researching the last post and a. it’s the Beatles! and b. this is part of earliest bootleg & US radio broadcasting history, I would like to include this long description here and hope that its well chosen words will entice some of you non-Beatles fans to keep reading. Many thinks to the original writer and the researchers.

Hey, kids — this last weekend I invited our wonderful and patient host to accompany me on a trip through uncharted radio terrain in an effort to finally discover the correct Question to that Legendary Jeopardy Answer, “This person provided the Get Back tapes to WKBW and WBCN in September, 1969.”

I’m here to proudly report that we’ve put new meaning into the expressions “blind alley,” “dead end,” and “cul-de-sac.” As for John, well, he never returned. Let’s all bow our heads for a few
moments and pay tribute to the man who never met an Internet Search he didn’t like. As for myself, I was able to create more theories and scenarios — practically all of them shot down (my
personal fave being a possible mistaken identity involving famous radio personality Bud Ballou) — than Google could handle. That worldwide shutdown from overuse Saturday night? My bad.

But while John is still in parts unknown, probably buried underneath stacks of NME issues, allow me to divulge what we have learned besides the loss of our collective sanities and brain stems:

(1) John was able to locate Don Berns, who some here believed was the deejay who had played the GB material on KBW in Buffalo. We discovered, however, shortly before Don responded,
that Berns hadn’t arrived at the station until the following Fall. Blind Alley #1.

(2) I found Dick Summer — a deejay at WMEX in Boston (formerly at WBZ, also in Boston) who was mentioned on the WBCN broadcast as a familiar name with intimate knowledge of the GB
material — who told me that he and Murray Kaufman (Murray the K, in NYC) used to swap Beatles material throughout Dick’s tenure at WBZ. He said that Murray and the Beatles were “tight.”
Oooh — Potential Lead #1.

He could remember little else except this after some prodding: he doesn’t recall receiving anything from Murray after he left WBZ for WMEX (mid-1968). Potential Lead #1 –> Dead End #1.

(3) John discovered the identity of one of the announcers on WBCN — Joe Rogers, aka “Mississipi” — who was in the studio with the thus-far-unidentified announcer who actually aired the GB material. Joe remains hidden from public view, as does the mystery announcer. Presently Dead End #2 but Possible Potential Lead #2.

(4) The deejay who _did_ broadcast the GB material on WKBW was Tom McKay. I found and e-mailed him. Potential Lead #3.

At first, after owning up that it was indeed him on the radio 35 years ago, he initially had no memory of it. But when I offered some details about the program (such as a taped OZ-like
creature announcing before, during, and after each track, “KBW Exclusive!!”), it triggered some long-dormant memory cells, but little else. Dead End #3.

He recommended we get in touch with then-WKBW Program Director Jefferson Kaye (the OZ voice), who had come to the station directly from WBZ in March 1966, and who Tom
suspected might be an important link between Buffalo and Dick Summer and, by extension, the GB material in Boston (even though I tried to explain to Tom that KBW and BCN aired different
mixes of the GB material — KBW broadcast Glyn Johns’ May ’69 mix, while BCN the January ’69 mix [thanks to Mr. Winn for this fine scholarship], more commonly but perhaps inaccurately
known as Johns’ March ’69 mix).

At any rate, Dick Summer then told me that he had lost contact with Kaye when Kaye moved to Buffalo. Dead End #4.

John is awaiting word directly from Kaye, though (via e-mail that Don Berns was kind enough to forward to him) as well as from Danny Nevearth, who was also at KBW in ’69. I’m hoping to hear
from Charles Laquidera, who was at BCN at that time but likely wasn’t the announcer that night. Possible Potential Leads #3, 4, and 5.

(5) Both stations aired tapes, not records, of their respective GB material. Tom at KBW specifically recalled playing a tape, and the BCN announcer let it known that he, too, was airing a tape. So these are dubs provided to them. Barely Possible Lead #6.

(6) Towards the very end of Tom’s broadcast, he spoke as though he were reading copy — a commentary about the collection of songs he had just aired. (He actually said at one
point, “it says here,” reminding me of Lennon’s 1964 Christmas Message).

At first I was convinced that Tom had Capitol promotional material and actual Capitol test LPs (two one-sided discs — he says “double LP”) in hand, but after John slapped me back to
reality, I leafed through my collection of old “Rolling Stone” issues and, to my surprise and John’s vengeful yet delightful “I told you so” glee, located precisely from what Tom was reading:
a September 20, 1969 article about the GB record from an unsigned author in London. (The issue was available on newstands three weeks earlier, August 27.)

It’s highly likely that the unsigned author was either RS London writers Jonathan Cott or David Dalton. (Among many assignments, Cott had interviewed Lennon for RS in November ’68.) Both were mentioned just a few issues earlier as the writers behind the just- completed and -reported GB book (with photographs by Ethan Russell) that was to be included in the
then-soon-to-be-released GB album (but then later postponed for December, it says here). These were the two who were given legitimate access by Apple to some of the 1/69 Nagra reels from
which they had included transcriptions in the said GB book.

Here, in the September 20 issue, the author (again, presumably Cott or Dalton) offers a track-by-track analysis of each song from what’s easily discerned as the May ’69 mix. After I pull out
“Frederick James”‘s likewise track-by-track commentary in the August 1969 issue of “Beatles Monthly,” it becomes clear that the RS article is not a lift from BM; it includes specific song details not mentioned in the BM article.

I then learn that Dalton, born British, lived in NYC in the ’60s and returned to England in December 1967. He’s not just a writer; he’s a photographer. He’s deeply immersed in the pop/rock
music scenes in both NY and England. In fact, he sends photographs of rock stars in concert to RS founder Jann Wenner, who suggests he put some writing behind these pictures. He does, and a rock writer legend is born.

Also, and someone help me out here — my memory, as scattered as it’s become by now, has it that some of those Nagra B reels that were transcribed in the GB book and appeared in what was later collected in the GB Journals CD set have since disappeared and aren’t included in the grand Day-By-Day/Yellow Dog/Unicorn series. Is that halfway correct?

Regardless, we’ve got legitimate access to both the Nagra reels and the May ’69 mixes by two London journalists working for Rolling Stone, one of whom lived in the States less than 2 years
before. What does this tell us? Who the hell knows. But a possible Potential Lead Lucky #7, I say.

Meanwhile, John and I are ruminating over the long-assumed connection between Lennon’s appearance in Toronto in mid-September and the initial airings of both GB mixes a week later. I submit that the thought of Lennon carrying around with him acetates of both mixes made little sense; he could have cared less about those sessions. “And,” I rambled on, “the only Beatle who _did_ give a hoot about them, who carried the ball during those recordings, was Paul.”

Surprisingly, no by-now-feared slap from John. (Though I ended up having to slap him a few times after he suggested Toronto journalist Ritche Yorke as a potential source. Sillly, sad, lost
soul, that John.)

Paul and Linda had traveled to NYC shortly after their wedding in March. Paul could have certainly carried with him the 1/69 acetate, being the only one in the band who cared about them.
After all, two years earlier he brought his “A Day in the Life” acetate to the States in April, 1967, and it’s documented that he played the acetate for both Jefferson Airplane and the Beach
Boys while in L.A. And it was only a week later when a tape of that acetate found its way on the air on both WBZ and WKBW. So Paul’s involvement with at least the 1/69 mix might not be as
far-fetched as first imagined. What _is_ troublesome is why it might have taken half a year for that acetate to finally get broadcast. Could he have left the acetate in NY, and someone from the Eastman (or other) household later gotten his/her hands on it and then sent a dub to Boston? Potential lead #7 but hardly smoking-gun material.

[Big Aside -- can anyone here recall if WOR-FM in NYC also aired ADITL that April? This relates to Murray the K and Dick Summer swapping Beatles material. Mr. Winn mentioned that Brian
Epstein was in NYC in either late February or early March 1967 and was interviewed by Murray the K on the air on WOR-FM. He was also in NYC then to coordinate with Murray a week-long
music extravaganza at the RKO Theater in April, with Cream making their U.S. debut. (The Who also performed; I don't remember if this was likewise their U.S. debut.) Perhaps Brian also brought with him an acetate of ADITL and provided Murray with a copy. Thus the question of whether anyone remembers Murray airing it on WOR-FM a month later. If he did, it might help
provide that link between Murray and Dick Summer, who was the first to air the song on WBZ that April.]

Mr. Winn then reminded me that we shouldn’t forget perhaps the one non-Beatle who without a doubt had access to both mixes — Mr. Glyn Johns himself. John further mentioned that Johns was working on Steve Miller’s LP in London that Spring ’69, and so it seemed reasonable to suggest that he came to the States for further recording work and brought with him both acetates to play and perhaps allow dubs to be made for others. Imaginary but Potential Lead #8.

So here’s what we do know: mid-September 1969, KBW airs a tape of the 5/69 mix, believing it has an album’s worth of songs known about and fully described (including its cover) in both
Rolling Stone and — perhaps not to the station’s knowlege at the time — Beatles Monthly, and not due for official release until December.

Meanwhile, just shortly after, BCN airs a tape of the 1/69 mix but acknowledges that Buffalo “got it first” (without evidently realizing that what Buffalo has is different from what Boston has). BCN
also implies that they got their tape copy from WMEX, where Dick Summer works.

Beyond that, lots of gaps but several not-improbable scenarios:

(1) McCartney’s a passive source for the 1/69 mix for Boston, while Dalton and/or Cott are an active source for the 5/69 mix for Buffalo. I’m personally liking the Cott/Dalton scenario more and
more for the 5/69 dissemination (see more below).

(2) Johns is a source for both the 1/69 and 5/69 mix.

(3) Lennon had no involvement in the dissemination of either mix.

How these tapes fell into the hands of KBW and BCN remains unknown. (Which, naturally, was the point of this weekend project to begin with, thus reaffirming the altered adage, “That’s
three days I’ll never get back.”)

However, I’m beginning to suspect the tentacles of the “Rolling Stone” folk. It seems unimaginable that Jann Wenner didn’t “request” a copy from either Cott or Dalton. And, let’s recall, Tom McKay at KBW is reading from the RS article; what’s not clear is whether he’s reading it directly from the 9/20/69 issue or if a copy of the article has been included in the GB tape sent to the station, provided as sort of “liner notes.”

Meanwhile, John just informs me from his undisclosed location that, according to Clinton Heylin in his book _Bootleg,_ “California FM radio stations were to the fore of breaking the
[George] Martin [1/69] tapes [within the Fall of '69]. … Within weeks the first bootleg version of “Get Back” was available in Berkeley, pressed (in L.A., as there were no plants in San
Francisco) by an unknown small-time entrepeneur.” (p. 57 — this was the 1/69 “Kum Bach” boot.)

The FM radio stations were likely those that Heylin had identified earlier in his book when discussing the history of Dylan’s “Great White Wonder” bootleg (p. 46) — KMET-FM and KPPC-FM, both in L.A.

And — John kindly reminds me — Who worked at KPPC-FM before he went to BCN in Boston in ’69? Charles Laquidera. Here’s a guy who in 1971 sent me, a total stranger who was working at my college radio station, a pristine dub of Buffalo Springfield’s unreleased 9.5-minute version of “Bluebird.”

And so we finally reach Cul-de-sac #1.

More to come should events warrant. Everyone here welcome to add, subtract, multiply, or subdivide. English translation available upon request.

Thank you, god speed, and drive safely.

Tell me how you got involved in the record business to begin with. You came from a more legit side of things, right?

I was born into it. My dad owned Saturn Records, which, at the time, was the largest buyer of phonographic records west of the Mississippi. At least that’s what somebody told me.

So you just sort of fell into that as the family business?


How did you distribute your first bootlegs?

Dub had a friend who had deserted from the army just as he was to be shipped out to Vietnam, and then he sold them for us. However, he made a mistake. He went to the very first place to sell them, a place called Vogue Records on Hollywood Boulevard, and the guy who owned the store, a guy named Bill Bowers, bought them all. So we figured out that maybe we had a hit on our hands.

And you guys immediately started repressing it?

Well, yeah. We pressed another 300 copies and sold them, and then another couple 300.

You knew pretty much right away that this was potentially something that could make you some money?

No. Because, see, we were kids. I think I was like 20 or 21? And Dub was the same age, maybe a year younger. We thought what we were doing was, like, against the law. We thought we’d get in a lot of trouble and the stores knew us, so we had someone else go around to the stores. Meanwhile, the guys who made the big money, guys who started a bootleg label after ours, they had lawyers. They found out that it wasn’t against the law because it had never been done before. And so they made a living off these things.

It seems like at the time there was a combination of a lot of artists like Dylan, the Beatles, and the Stones that people were really, really obsessive over, and also these kinds of laws that were open enough that you could feasibly get away with something like bootlegging.

Yeah. But we didn’t know that at the time. I’m trying to remember what it was like when I was 21 years old. We initially didn’t do it for the money. We initially did it so that we could have copies of the records, and then the Stones came and Dub wanted to record them. So we bought a Uher tape recorder and a Sennheiser mic. We didn’t make a gang of money on the Dylan boot Great White Wonder. But we did a gang of money on the Stones’ Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be.

Was that when things started taking off for you?

I don’t know. I don’t know what taking off is. Taking off compared o what? I mean, it was good for us. We did OK because, remember, we were still kids. So you know, the records were taking off. We weren’t making millions of dollars or even tens of thousands of dollars. But we were doing OK. We were making rent. We weren’t buying property or anything.

I saw something in one of your blog posts about how Dub was living pretty large…

OK, yeah. I’m older now and I know what large really is. So we thought we were living large. We had new cars. I had a motorcycle. But I still worked. I never quit my job for years. I worked at Saturn and I worked as a social worker all the time I was doing bootlegs. I was working right up until, I don’t know, ’75 or ’76. I don’t want you to get confused. I don’t want you to think we made a million dollars.

I didn’t think you made a million dollars, but it seemed you were living all right for some younger dudes.

Yeah. We were able to go to Europe a couple times. We were doing all right.

You’ve said earlier that you guys didn’t get into it for the money, that it was a labor of love.

Well, for Dub it was a labor of love. For Andrew, who came later, it was a labor of love. I don’t think it was a labor of love for some of the other bootleggers like Rubber Dubber or Norty and Ben. I think they were doing it for the money. Although Scott seemed to really like music so maybe I shouldn’t include him in there. He was a Rubber Dubber guy. And then eventually for me it was not a labor of love, it was about money.

Do you remember what point it was that it became a money thing for you?

Yeah, in ’72 and ’73. But I always knew, unlike most of the other people who were doing it, and I’ve written this in a couple blogs, I always knew it was stealing. I never thought for a second that we had the right to give the music away for free to the people.

On the other hand, there’s sort of an outlaw aura to the whole bootlegging thing. It’s not letting the companies, or even the musicians themselves, determine what gets released. It’s like if the fans want a live record or if the fans want Dylan’s The Basement Tapes, bootleggers are sort of liberating the music for the fans. Is that over-romanticizing the situation, or was there an element of that?

You’re spot-on as far as Dub and a lot of the other people are concerned. You’re spot-on. Dub was really into Bob Dylan.

You mentioned you were working at Saturn while you were still doing some of the bootlegging. How was it having that double life, working both sides of the industry, like the legit and the underground, at the same time?

Well, in the beginning it was really strange because, for example, they kept saying they were trying to catch us, but our Capitol salesman knew who we were and what we were doing and he never said anything. A good percentage of the customers who came in who owned record stores knew who we were and didn’t say anything. I guess you would call them the cool ones—the ones who had the $2.99-record stores. At the time, records were going for like $4.98 and there was a lot of, like — I don’t want to say hippies, but young people… hippies, I guess—who had record stores and sold records for $2.99. They sold our kind of records. They knew who Dub and I were and they never told. More and more people knew and they never told. It wasn’t like we were really leading double lives.

Do you feel like you were able to take some of the skills and knowledge and contacts that you had from the straight business that you were doing and apply it to bootlegs?


It didn’t feed into it?

No. After the second record, after Live’r, we just walked into recording studios. When we did Stealin’ [their second Dylan boot], we just walked into a recording studio and the guy put it on and he was crying, “This is Bob Dylan!” Everybody, all the producers and everybody in the studio, just stopped and came in and listened to the record we had mastered, you know? And everybody thought it was really cool. Everybody in there knew that we didn’t work for Bob Dylan.

It seems like there was, in terms of pressing, a sort of hit-or-miss element in terms of figuring out how and where you could get records pressed.

Not really. It was pretty easy. In those days, people who owned record distributorships said, if the guy doesn’t steal more from me than he makes me, I can’t afford to fire him. I don’t want to say everybody was a crook… but just about everybody was a crook. We would just walk into a pressing plant and say this is what we have, and they would make it and we would pay them— in cash.

That seems like an incredibly gutsy thing to do.

Well, the first pressing plant we approached was a place called Wadell’s. They pressed Verve and Disney stuff. We had a friend go in to meet them because we were just frightened kids. Our guy who talked to them wasn’t involved in the record business at all. He figured, what did he have to lose. So he went in there and he said that they made the mold, put it on, listened to it, and—this was the Stones live record—they pressed it right alongside Let It Bleed. They would have to have been not very bright to not know that it was the Rolling Stones on our record. That’s when we figured we could be doing this ourselves.

Wow. You guys were going in and pressing stuff right—totally legit.

Live’r was literally pressed right next to Let It Bleed. But the only plants we didn’t use, obviously, were Capitol and Columbia.

Were there a lot of independent pressing plants back then?

There were. Are there any now? We used Wadell, Jack Brown, Louis, Korelich… we used one on Hollywood Boulevard whose name I can’t remember right now.

I know there was some time where there were some authorities interested in your operation, right?

Yeah. There was a guy named Pete somebody-or-other, whose name I can’t remember. He was a process server who worked for Columbia Records, and he was after us. The first thing Columbia did is that they issued a statement to Billboard magazine saying that it wasn’t Bob Dylan, it was someone who sounded like Bob Dylan. Well, obviously no one believed that. They said that about a bunch of people. Then they hired this Pete guy to get on our trail and find us, so that they could sue us. And he did actually serve me, but he served me a subpoena with Dub’s name on it. It wasn’t valid. Other than that, in those days, we were just, like, really careful.


Well… that’s a lie. We were not really careful. Some of us weren’t really careful. Dub went and gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine.

That was either brave or stupid.

We were kids. We didn’t know better. I think it was with Greil Marcus—but he gave Dub’s name as Vladimir.

That’s a really deep cover. Just giving a different name.

Well, yeah, because the next month they got his real name and we figured that that would be a problem if there were process servers looking for Dub. So I told Ben Goldman, who owned a store called Ben’s Records and who was Norty Beckman, our biggest competition’s, brother-in-law, that Dub and his girlfriend still lived in Vancouver and had just opened a gas station there. Lo and behold, there it was next month in Rolling Stone: Dub Taylor moved to Vancouver and opened a gas station, and that was the only guy I told.

That’s pretty sneaky. You guys were total hippies at the time?

Yeah, we were. We were actually like, “Fuck the man!”

It’s pretty common knowledge that the major-label record industry has always been really corrupt and kind of devious.

Well, I know lots of stories where they screwed over artists. I’m not going to go into those, but I have lots of stories. I never really liked the labels. I thought they were all just crooks. But then again, that meant that we were crooks.

Yeah. But at least you guys were kind of up-front about being crooks.

The difference is they wore suits and had short hair and we had really long hair and wore Levi’s and cowboy boots.

The labels weren’t above taking hints from the bootleg industry.

The Stones never would have released Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out if it weren’t for Live’r. [The Who’s] Live at Leeds looks just like a bootleg. Look at Bob Dylan. Are you familiar with the The Bootleg Series? My dad sent me copies of the first volume, and he checked off all the ones he thought they copied from us.

There are also things like B-sides and rarities collections, and even box sets, that started off as bootleg formats and have been adopted by the legit labels. It seems, in the end, bootleggers helped the record industry as much as they hurt it.

Scott Johnson, a Rubber Dubber guy, once told me that he had a friend who worked at Warner Bros. who said that he considered Rubber Dubber an unpaid advertising arm of Elektra / Atlantic.

What about artist reactions to your bootlegs?

Neil Young said something derogatory about a bootleg we did of his stuff, and so we stopped making it. We figured, fuck him. He doesn’t get to get bootlegged by us.

You guys had some balls on you.

Keith Richards was going into stores in Berkeley to buy up the bootlegs, and a lot of bootlegs were signed by Mick Jagger. I’ve got a photograph of a signed Mick Jagger Live’r [Click on ''Autographed Bootlegs' on the right to see it]. So, a lot of the artists seemed to like it. They realized they’d make a lot of money on concerts, and bootlegs are not costing them very much, and it’s good publicity.

Were there any times when things got really dicey or scary?

My dad had financed a good percentage of black record stores in Los Angeles. Since I knew pretty much everybody who owned those stores, and I knew what was selling, we got the idea that we would just pick the No. 1 and No. 2 single, which I think were “The Onion Song” by Marvin Gaye and something else, and put them back to back. Then we would hire a guy, because Dub and I didn’t want to go around to the black stores, because they knew us, and we didn’t want them to know it was us. So we hired a guy to go to those stores to sell these records. We figured we’d make a bunch of money really fast because it only cost 15 or 16 cents to press these things up. So we pressed up 300 and had someone run them to all the stores. No one would buy any. They all knew it was a bad thing. And then these gangster guys, they figured out immediately who did it and they came to my dad’s house within three or four days. My dad was having dinner when these gangsters came in. They hit him in the stomach with an ax handle when he tried to protest, and they told him they wanted his son and they wanted him now. My dad set up an appointment and we were going to have a meeting and they wanted all the money we made—but we didn’t make any ’cause none of those black stores bought these records, because they were smart. And in those days, black people didn’t have the same rights as white people did, and they didn’t have the same recourse with the law. So they had to take matters into their own hands. And that’s exactly what they did. They told my dad they wanted all of the stampers, all of the records, and all of the money we made. Dub and I figured we should throw in a thousand bucks so they’d think we made something and were giving it to them.

What was that meeting like?

It was in the back of my dad’s house. Myself and my two brothers, we cut little holes in the wall and we had guns pointed out at these guys when they came in. We were just dumb, scared kids.

Looking back on your bootlegging experience, what’s your overall feeling now about what you did?

Well, I moved to New Zealand and I wrote a book called Ragged Man. It’s a horror story, and in it, this monster guy kills all these bootleggers. That’s how I got it out of my system. I just spent six months killing them all. And when the book came out, it didn’t mean anything to anybody because people who read horror stories don’t care about bootleggers. I reissued it a while back [There is no trace of this book on the internet].

It’s sort of a shame, at least in my opinion, that there’s not the same kind of bootlegging now as you were doing back then. New bootlegs tend to be exchanged on the internet, but there’s something about the feel of having the tactile sensation of bootlegged vinyl in your hands. I mean, the fact that you know you shouldn’t have it makes it that much cooler.

Yeah, but the guys who wanted to give away the music for free won. One taper goes to every single Dylan show anywhere in the world— so he’s got to have a lot of cash—and he does a really good job and he puts them online for free. How can you compete with that? Now you can just get whatever you want for free.

Unreleased material and live shows come out online all the time now. With that, on top of file sharing and how the record labels adopted so many formats from you guys, it seems like your quest has been legitimized by history.

You know, I never thought about it like that, but yes! Because, you know, when I see how poorly the record companies are doing, I sort of smile.


[This interview first appeared in Vice magazine]


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