Elephant's Memory have been taping appearances on the Mike Douglas Show this week in Philadelphia, where the nationally syndicated TV show originates. The group did not appear as themselves, but with John & Yoko's Plastic Ono Band. The appearances are part of five shows that John Lennon and Yoko Ono are cohosting, to be aired in early February.
Elephant's main songwriter Reek Havoc said that although "Elephant's Memory has been politically active, basically it's the rock & roll that brought us together." Jerry Rubin, a percussionist in the Plastic Ono Band, played a tape of Elephant's Memory for John and Yoko and they liked it so much they decided they didn't really need to bring in their friends from all across the globe. The group rehearsed together at Magnagraphics Recording studio and also at Max's Kansas City, where Elephant's Memory recently played two long weekends.
Elephant's Memory plans to remain independent and perform and record both with and without the Plastic Ono Band. Other members of the Elephants Memory Besides Havoc are: Stan Bronstein, vocals and sax; Wayne Gabriel, guitar; Gary Von Scyoc, bass; and Adam Ippolitto, keyboards.
Lennon said, when asked about the team-up, "It's more like Bob Dylan with the Band than Paul and Wings." Which seems true enough because the Band were already together (in fact they had toured and recorded together for years) and have remained together after their Dylan touring, a totally independent group.
Plastic Ono Band personnel like Phil Spector and Jim Keltner have already sat in with the new group, and others will join later.
Other appearances besides the Mike Douglas Show are planned by the groups, but have not yet been scheduled.
This whole team-up is very significant because it is the first time Lennon has actually rehearsed original material with a rock & roll band for live appearances since the beginning of the Beatles.
And they're terrific. I caught some rehearsing and one (so far) Douglas taping, and it's really good to see John rocking again. It's also very good to see Yoko rocking, singing her own material- the jazz and some rock & roll songs. But, best of all, it's really good to see Elephants Memory rock & roll- any time, any place. The group has been playing different kinds of rock for four years, dating back to their "bubblegum" days with Buddah Records when they did the music for Midnight Cowboy, and had a couple of hit records. After recovering from various run-ins with businessmen and music industry people who didn't want them to get any money, they played benefits and free concerts around New York and built up a large local following. A hit single, "Mongoose," with Metromedia Records, and then an album, Take It To The Streets. But Metromedia took them nowhere, so they left that low-energy label, and will soon enough announce their future recording plans. Meanwhile, people all around the country have become familiar with such Elephant's Memory songs as "Power To The People," "Skyscraper Commando," "Power Boogie" and "Liberation Special." Plus the less directly political, but just as rockin' "Black Sheep Blues," "42 Down The Line," "Life" and "Damn."
If you're talking about rock & roll, you're talking about Elephant's Memory. And if you're talking about radical musicians, you're talking about Elephant's Memory. Especially, if you're talking about the right combination of the two, you're talking about Elephant's Memory. That's why John Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band, and many others have flipped out, and that's why people everywhere, as soon as they get a chance to see the group, will flip out.
by Toby Mamis
1. Liberation Special (Rick Frank, Stan Bronstein) - 5:29
2. Baddest Of The Mean (Elephants Memory) - 8:40
3. Crying Blacksheep Blues (D. Price, Rick Frank, Stan Bronstein) - 4:26
4. Chuck'N Bo (Elephant's Memory) - 4:31
5. Gypsy Wolf (Rick Frank, Stan Bronstein) - 4:07
6. Madness (Adam Ippolito, Rick Frank, Stan Bronstein) - 3:17
7. Life (Wayne "Tex" Gabriel) - 3:18
8. Wind Ridge (Gary Van Scyoc) - 3:22
9. Power Boogie (Chris Robison, Rick Frank, Stan Bronstein) - 3:52
10.Local Plastic Ono Band (Rick Frank) - 2:09
The Elephants Memory
*Gary Van Scyoc - Bass, Vocals
*Rick Frank - Drums, Vocals, Percussion
*Wayne "Tex" Gabriel - Guitar, Vocals
*Adam Ippolito - Keyboards, Vocals
*Stan Bronstein - Saxophone, Vocals
*John Lennon - Vocals, Piano, Percussion, Guitar
*Yoko Ono - Vocals
1969 Elephant's Memory - Elephant's Memory