Saturday, April 02, 2005

Circlewood's own Johnny Townsend sent a SUPAH Clapton story so my wish wuz granted.

Johnny Townsend

Here is Bobby Dupree and Keith Brewer's version of Jimi's Cream Farewell Party.It differs from Townsend's

On the 18th and 19th of October, 1968, Cream played at the Forum in LA in what was billed as the Wheels of Fire Tour, but also was known as their Farewell Tour. Keith and I were sitting at the house in Studio City and Russ Shaw showed up at the door. He asked where the other guys were, and we told him that Rusty and Ed had dates, and Townsend was shacked up in his room with his girlfriend Lisa. He said to get dressed quick; we were going to a party. We hurried up and jumped in his car and took off toward the canyons. We arrived at Jimi’s house, and after being cleared at the gate we went in. Jimi was throwing a party for Cream’s Farewell Concert, and we were lucky to have been invited. We went in and there were lots of folks, some eating the finger food, some with drinks. As I stood there I saw Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. Jack was playing this M or L model Hammond organ, and Ginger was nervously knocking things off the tables. Keith remembers, “Ginger still had a couple of teeth in his head and he looked a little unstable, but I think that was his normal appearance.” Keith and I just mingled as much as we could, but didn’t really fit in that crowd. There was a room off the living room downstairs that had a pool table, so we wandered down there. Keith started playing pool with this skinny guy and I sat down on the fireplace hearth, my elbows on my knees. I was looking down and saw two legs walk up, wearing high top black Converse All-stars and tuxedo pants. I looked up and it was George Harrison. I just about went into shock! As he walked by, I got up and watched him go outside and climb up on a large rock waterfall that connected to the swimming pool. He sat up there and just gazed at the stars.
After a couple of hours Russ brought us back to the house. Keith remembers, “Right before we left the party, some guy came downstairs where me and this guy were playing pool and said, ‘Hey Jeff, let’s go. We’re all going somewhere to jam.’ It was only then that I realized I’d been shooting pool with Jeff Beck.”

I had just turned 21 and had been in Los Angeles about 8 months with a
named Heart (not the one with the Canadian chicks in it) consisting of
members of the Rockin' Gibraltars from Montgomery and me. I got a call
night from this promotion man at Warner Brothers, who had taking a
liking to
us and he said for me to get ready he was coming by to pick me up. He
say where we were going, just to be ready. No one else was around at
time, so I got dressed and went out on a spontaneous adventure.
We were down the freeway when he decided to let me know where we were
headed. As it turns out, we were going to the Forum in Inglewood to see
final appearance of Cream
. Being a "wet behind the ears" kid from
Alabama in
those days, I was completely hypnotized the whole evening, standing
off stage by the monitor console watching the concert. After the show,
went backstage where I was introduced to Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger
and a host of others.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself cruising up Benedict Canyon in the
Hollywood Hills
headed for some other destination unknown to me.
The house we wound up at was then owned by some rock n roll groupie who
happened to be the VP of some steel company. He rented it out to rock
luminaries of the time when they were touring in the area. The current
resident was a left handed guitar phenom named Jimi. As we passed
the gate, my friend Russ pointed out a number of names written on the
large stone wall that lined the driveway. Apparently the owner of the
had many of his guests sign that wall. Among the signatures I could read
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimi, Janis.... and on and on. When we
got to
the front door, we were met by Ginger Baker riding a Harley through the
living room, and it got better from there. There were instruments being
up in the vacuous living room while lots of folks were gathered around
pool on the patio. I found myself some liquid refreshment and victuals
wandered around the house on my personal grand tour. I hung out in the
billiard room shooting 8 ball with a skinny English guy who I could
barely understand. It wasn't until much later, I learned his name was
Beck. We drifted back upstairs when we heard music playing and got
just in time to see Buddy Miles and Eric plugging in and warming up.
wandered over and picked up a black strat and it all started to come
together in my mind just who this cat was. I had told him while we were
shooting pool that I did a little singing, so he encouraged me to
grab a
microphone. Over the course of the next hour, I was priviledged to sit
and sing with 3 of the all time great rock n roll guitar players
, Eric
Jeff Beck
and of course this left handed black kid named Jimi
wandered out of his bedroom to show them a few licks they missed. I got
so good, no one could talk to me for a week.
I got some great
from everybody. I sang Higher and Higher with Buddy Miles, and got to
Stormy Monday, Crossroads and Rollin' and Tumblin all by my self with my
"back up band". Over the course of the evening, Eric and I sat and
mostly about music and being away from home. I remember him asking
Muscle Shoals and his intention of doing some recording there. As
wound down about daybreak, I couldn't find my friend that I came with
so I
called a cab and went back to the place where my band was staying and
the sleep of the innocent all day and most of that night. I never saw
any of
those guys again but that night always comes fresh in my memory every
one of their names comes up. I realize it's not altogether an Eric
story, but it's the one I have to tell. Getting to play with those guys
to be THE highlight of my young musical career
Mo Later,
Johnny Townsend
Just wanted to make one correction to my previous story about Clapton
et al
I did see Jimi Hendrix again after that night. Apparently, the
of my performance that night at the party plus my friend, the promotion
at Warner Bros., got us hooked up with some tour dates with Jimi a few
months after. We did a half dozen dates with Jimi, Mitch and Noel in
California. That experience had to rate right up there with the night
"The Party".
Mo Later,
Johnny Townsend


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