Just a reminder to check out the Carolina Rock & Roll Remembered Facebook page for lots of cool finds, songs and photos of the music and scenes that we covered in There Was A Time. Ever wondered who the Jesters, of "Wrong Ticket" were, and where they were from? We recently uncovered that, with photos to boot! Stop in and say hello, and tell them that There Was A Time sent you. Thank you all,
New photos and interviews posted over at danielcoston.com, and my Instagram page. Loads of recent event photos posted over at danielcoston.photoreflect.com. Stop in here or there to say hello. See you again soon, and we'll meet again, some sunny day.
Daniel Coston: You first saw the Beach Boys around 1964, at a dance.
Ann Moses: When I was in high school which was 1963 to ’64, the kids from school, when there wasn’t a school dance, we sometimes would go out to Disneyland, because some of us worked there, so it was free to get in. Other friends would just pay the admission, and we would all meet in Tomorrowland, and we would all dance to Kay Ball and the Spacemen, and that was really fun. On other nights, we would go to the Retail Clerks Union Hall, which was right across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm, and bands like the Standells played there. It was kind of the up and coming garage bands. But that the first time that I saw the Beach Boys.
They were different in that all were wearing matching shirts. That was not common with other groups. They were striped shirts. Because the kids went there to dance, and it was kids from all the surrounding high schools, so you would see other kids that you knew. The stage was, like, four feet high. It wasn’t a super-tall stage. You could stand in front of the stage, if you wanted to. But in those days. everybody would just go to dance. So, even though it was the Beach Boys, and even though they were singing surf music, everybody just danced to it. It wasn’t like we were there to see the Beach Boys perform. We were kind of taking them for granted, like they were every other band. Who knew how huge they would become?
I didn’t see them again until . I originally interviewed them for Rhythm & News, and then it was reprinted in NME in February of 1966. The interview was done in the fall. It was done in their dressing rooms at the Andy Williams Show. Mrs. Wilson spoke up at one point during the interview. Carl had said that all of the material was written by Brian, and I asked if they still worried about their next single becoming a hit, and before he could even answer me, his mother spoke up and said,, “If I may comment, Brian goes through Panicsville every time a new record is released.” Carl then went on to say that Brian will say, “This one is going to be a bomb.” Of course, in America, a bomb means, a failure. And in Britain, it means, a success, so when they published it in New Musical Express, they had to explain that to the readers. [Mrs. Wilson] then said that he’d worry like crazy, and he’d see it enter the charts, and he’d stop worrying, until the next one comes out. That sounds very Brian, because he cared the most, because he had written them.
Coston: What were your impressions of the band, when you interviewed them?
Moses: Because that was so early in their career, most of them were a little bit older than me. I think that Carl and I were the same age. Particularly the Wilson brothers, they were just like all of the boys I’d known at school. In that, they had grown up in southern California, in a very middle-class family. Even though they had begun having hit records, and here I am interviewing them while they were doing the Andy Williams show, they were still those middle class boys from southern California. They did not exhibit any of the attributes that I would see later in some of the groups that had become famous. [The other groups] might be kind of full of themselves, but that is certainly not where the Beach Boys were at when I met them. I think that because we had that commonality, I just felt totally comfortable with them. I wasn’t awestruck, because the first time I’d seen them had just been at a high school dance.
I would see them in the years following, when I started working for Tiger Beat. When Carl got married, and we featured that story about how he married Annie Hinsche. They still hadn’t gone Hollywood, at that point. At that point, Brian was writing, and Bruce Johnston had come on to take Brian's place onstage. In fact, Bruce dated our receptionist at Tiger Beat for a long time. I can’t remember her name, but she was a knockout.
They just weren’t like the big stars. As you can read in the interview, Carl said that he loved his beard. He said, “Have you ever seen a golden beard?” And he said that they made him cut it off for the TV show. I’m sure that their parents still had a big influence, at the time. They were saying, “No, you’ve got to be clean cut.” They didn’t want them looking like hippies, and they didn’t want them to look like the Beatles, because they were distinctly different.
I can’t remember which interview it was, but the article says that I left the interview with an autographed copy, and I don’t recall that at all. I wish I did. That’s how those things often happened, in those days.
Coston: Tell me about interviewing Brian. How did that go?
Moses: I interviewed Brian in August of 1966. I have no idea what the drug situation was at that point in his life. I just remember that he was just this nice, shy person. He was kind of shy. In essence, he was the bandleader, but he just hung back, because he was not one of those personalities, like “I’m going to be out front, and be the spokesperson.” He was more reticent. I’m sure it was his creative mind that played a part in that. He was really nice to talk to.
Reading through my interview now, it’s really cool. I asked him if he was going to use the sitar. I ask him what his favorite song that he’d written thus far. It was, “Don’t Worry Baby.” He said, “I think that my favorites in the current batch are things I’ve done for Pet Sounds, our new album. I like a couple real well than anything else we’ve done.” He said, “I worked for about four or five months on that album, writing and planning the overall sound for it.” Which is kind of interesting, because Pet Sounds was such a huge game-changer for them, and the listeners.
I think that they really went through a tough period from when I first met them, and then when the Beatles became so famous. Derek Taylor was doing everything he could to get publicity for the Beach Boys. Derek had come over from England. He had been the Beatles’ publicist, now he was publicizing all of the artists on the Dick Clark Caravan Of Stars, and certainly the Beach Boys. He was really pushing me. “Will you come out and interview them? Will you do this story?” I thought that they had been taken for granted, at that time. They were this group that had had surf songs, and were integral in starting the whole California surf music. Along with Jan & Dean, and Dick Clark. They were so important, but it was as if it was less important, once the Beatles came along. Everybody was just overwhelmed and shocked by this new sound in music, and they certainly found it irresistible. But I think it was a particularly hard time for the Beach Boys, because they had been this hit group and sold a bunch of records, but then all of a sudden, all anybody wants to take about is Beatles and long hair, and she loves you, yeah yeah yeah (laughs).
In the interview, I ask Brian, “You have been a part of the record business for a long time, in the life of a pop star. Was there ever a time when you wanted to give it all up? And he says, “Right about the time that we made records like ‘Dance Dance Dance’, I was in a rut on the road, you know. I couldn’t expand and grow naturally, like I knew I could. Like I have been doing in the last few months. I never wanted to quit the music business, I just wanted to get off the road, which I did. It was a big turning point with the group. It was a big hassle, and sort of had an emotional revolution. I told the group that I wasn’t able to produce records effectively, and travel, both.” Even Brian says, “We must find a good replacement for me, for the gigs, and Bruce Johnston was perfect.”
And then I asked him what the group’s reaction was to your announcement, and he says, “They were bugged. It was at a recording studio one night when we were in the process of making an album called Beach Boys Today, which was in January of 1965, and I had gone through what I would call a minor nervous breakdown.” That’s really interesting that he was speaking of it, at the time. I think that it would become a more complex situation, and a royal mess, later on.
It’s really interesting to read this now. It’s a capsule of one little period of time, in what has been a long, amazing career. I would love to see him now. That would be a really good show.
All of these years later, there’s such an appreciation for what they created, and how you feel when you hear one of those songs. Whether it’s "Little Deuce Coupe” or “God Only Knows”, every time you hear it, it just takes you back to that time, and boy, they have survived well.
Coston: How did you come to meet Dino, Desi & Billy?
Moses: I was hired by Tiger Beat in December of 1965, to begin in January of ’66. I was still finishing my last semester of junior college, but I got credit in communications class for working 20 hours a week for Tiger Beat. That was a time when Dino Desi & Billy were starting to hit it big, and the girls were seeing them on TV. So one of my first assignments was to interview them. I write about it in my book. I went to Dean Martin’s house, and it was arranged by their manager. I had not met them, so I go to the Martin’s. It was such a gorgeous house. It was the neatest house I had ever seen, at that time. Just a beautiful, two story brick house in Beverly Hills. I went in, and their manager said, “I’ll go get the boys.” So I’m sitting in this little parlor. It wasn’t a big living room, it was more of a comfortable sitting room at the front of the house. And in comes Dean Martin, and he introduces himself, and I’m definitely standing there in awe. And he goes behind the bar, and he says, “Would you like a drink?” You can’t make this up. And I said, “Yes, I’ll have a Coke.” I really doubt that he was offering me a cocktail, but the way he said, I’ll never forget it. Dean Martin offered me a drink!
Then, the boys came in, and they were introduced to me. So we went up to Dino’s enormous bedroom, and did a really long interview. Because it was one of the first concerns, finding out all of the facts, and their favorites. The innocuous first interview. Then, we were planning to do a story on 24 hours with Dino Desi & Billy, so I also took pictures that day. And they were such young boys. They were 14, 15, 16, maybe. They were really young. I remember that following summer, I went with them to Hawaii, and I’m riding on a motorbike with Desi, and he was 15. They were still really young, and they goofed around, and had a lot of fun. They were typical teenage boys, and they were all so nice. Both Desi and Dino, when you met them, you wouldn’t know that they were children of major celebrities. They were loads of fun.
At the end of the interview, because we hadn’t taken a photographer along, I believe that their manager just took my camera and took the picture I have of them pulling my little ponytails. I had pigtails coming out the side of my head. We had so much fun, and every time that I would be around them after that, it was always a joy. They were happy to be getting publicity, but they always made it fun, and that’s why it was so neat to be around them.
Coston: You later did an interview with Carl Wilson and Annie Hinsche.
Moses: She was 16 at the time, and I think that she was Billy’s older sister, We did this spread about them being young and in love. Some people were kind of taken aback that she was so young, and she would get married at 16.
Carl seemed like a straight guy. He wasn’t wild, like Dennis. I would hear stories from this one writer that would travel with them. He told a few eye-raising stories, but who knows? But I never saw that, myself. Not at all. Someone asked, “You were at the show were [the Beach Boys] all took LSD. What was that like?” And I was like, “I don’t know.” I actually think that we actually left while they were still on stage, because Dino Desi & Billy had performed, and Desi said, “Let’s go ride on a motorbike.” And I did until the cops stopped us, and said, “You’re out after curfew, you’d better go home.” (laughs) He asked for Desi’s license, and he didn’t have one, so I showed him mine, so he said, “Well, you kids are out after curfew, so if you go straight home, no problem.” So, Desi dropped me off at my hotel, and the band was staying at a house together, that they had rented. That was a wild, fun time.
Coston: Tell me about meeting Jan Berry, and how Davy Jones took the time to be with Jan, while on the road with the Monkees.
Moses: Jan & Dean was the first album I had purchased. I had bought it with my window-washing money, and I listened to it endlessly. I was at the Dallas and Houston shows on the first national Monkees tour [in August of 1967], and those shows would have been about a year after Jan’s accident. He had been in rehab, and his manager had been putting out these things. “Oh, he’s doing fine.” And I was blown away. I didn’t know about Davy befriending him, and the times that Davy had taken him into the studio. But that was part of Davy’s plan. He felt that if Jan could get into surroundings that were familiar to him, then it would be helpful to his progress. Getting back his memory, because he had suffered some brain damage.
Jan came out to that dinner in Houston, and I was blown away. Here he is, walking on crutches, and what I didn’t anticipate that he was still having to learn all his ABC’s, and how to read. Those had not come back yet. During dinner, he was writing with a crayon. He was enjoying being around people. He wasn’t being shy, and he was in no way embarrassed about his condition. I guess he felt comfortable, because Davy was next to him. and they had been spending time together. But he said very proudly to me, “I know my ABC’s!” And I said, “That’s incredible!” And he said, “Do you want me to show you?” It’s like he had a long way to go in his rehab, but it just blew my mind that Davy had done this. Here’s the guy who’s life was pretty darn full at the time, and yet, he carved that time out to help Jan out. I felt fortunate to experience Davy’s generosity, but also have a first-hand look at how Jan was coming along. To me, it was progress that he was re-learning these basic life skills. It was positive, in my mind.
Coston: Did your paths cross with the Beach Boys, after that?
Moses: I don’t recall doing any stories on them. By that time, I really was focusing more on the big teen idols of the time. The Beach Boys were never, in my mind, teen idols. They sold lots of records, they had fans all over the world, but that still didn’t mean that they were teen idols. I guess you could say that Dennis was the biggest heartthrob, but even so, that only got him mentions in magazines like Tiger Beat, because they weren’t seen as teen idol status.
Coston: When you hear the Beach Boys records now, what do you think of? Or Dino Desi & Billy’s records, for that matter?
Moses: I always think about the time, I guess. Because they take me back to my youth. Both the high school, with all the surf music, and certainly the Beach Boys have stayed with me all along. You can’t think of watching Love Actually, without thinking of the incredible ending [with “God Only Knows”]. I’d say, more than anything, they’re just nostalgic for me. I always felt fortunate that I got to experience the 1960s and 70s. To me, they were just a really awesome time. Interview done 2018. -Daniel March 23, 2020
Coston: How did Ann Moses get in touch with you about the book?
Wicker: In 2012, when Davy Jones of the Monkees died, I wrote a blog about seeing the Monkees in 1967 and eventually getting to meet Micky Dolenz and Davy when they (along with Peter Tork) played what was then Blockbuster Pavilion in August of 1996.
Here’s the beginning of my blog:“When I was 12, in my daydreams, I was Ann Moses, the editor of Tiger Beat, my fave teen magazine that featured stories and photos of bands and actors. She always wore groovy clothes, white or light pink lipstick, and had bright red hair. She talked to Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz on the phone. Bobby Sherman called her “babe.” She was cool.”
Some time later, Ann and some women in her office did a search on “Ann Moses and the Monkees” or something along those lines, and the blog came up. She read the blog and emailed me a comment. I was thrilled because she truly was one of my heroes, back in the day, and I had no idea what happened to her after Tiger Beat. Later, we continued to email a bit, and she learned I was a writer and editor. We talked about the book I edited, Making Notes: Music of the Carolinas, and through those “talks,” we felt we’d be a good match for crafting her memoir.
Coston: What was it like to sit down to edit, and write her book?
Wicker: Actually, she did the writing. I felt from the beginning that it was important that her story be told in her voice—the voice her fans would recognize from Tiger Beat. I coached her on where she needed to expand the story and dig deeper on details. I also copy and line edited the early drafts—basically grammar and fact checking. For example, I helped with the research on dates of events and such. Memoirs are sometimes difficult; memory can be faulty. Luckily, Ann has a good memory, and her mother kept all the letters Ann sent her parents from her various trips.
Coston: What surprised you the most about Ann’s story?
Wicker: That she had the audacity and the tenacity to get ahead at a tough time in a tough business for women. How she really was just a normal teenager before she was thrust into the celebrity spotlight via her work at Tiger Beat.
Coston: When did you first start reading Tiger Beat?
Wicker: Gosh, I’m not sure. Probably when I was 11 or 12. I was certainly reading it by the time I saw the Monkees at the old Charlotte Coliseum in 1967. When I was cleaning out my late mother’s house I found a whole box full of them that I’d kept.
Coston: What were your favorite bands?
Wicker: Then and now? The Beatles, always. Back then, besides the Beatles: the Monkees, the Association, Sonny and Cher, The Mamas and The Papas, Simon & Garfunkel—whoever they were playing on Big WAYS. I liked Elvis, too. Now: The Spongetones (and lots of other local folks), Traveling Wilburys, Roy Orbison, Don Dixon & Marti Jones, Carrie Newcomer, Bob Margolin, Southern Culture on the Skids, Bobby Darin—too many to name, really--there’s a lot of good new stuff out there.
Coston: How did reading Tiger Beat affect your future writing and editing career?
Wicker: Ann was a role model, for sure. I mean, since Tiger Beat ran photos of her with the bands and actors, I learned that by being a writer, you could possibly meet the people you admire. Much later, when I did get my first job as a journalist at a small daily newspaper, I learned that I was much better at writing features than serious investigative journalism—but I also learned that both types of writing/reporting have their place.
Coston: What’s it like to be friends with Ann Moses now, and her co-author?
Wicker: Fun! She has a great sense of humor, and we discovered we have a lot in common. We’re both liberal politically. We’re both foodies, and she’s an accomplished chef. Most important, we both believed in her story—she has a truly unique perspective on that era.
Coston: What meant the most to you in putting together this book?
Wicker: That Ann trusted me to help her put together the best manuscript we could. And that we got to be friends in the process.
My parents would occasionally take me to see concerts once we moved to Charlotte. In retrospect, they picked some really good ones. Tina Turner on the Private Dancer tour, with Bryan Adams opening. Hall & Oates, with General Public opening. Billy Joel on the Innocent Man tour. Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond. Lionel Richie, on the Dancing On The Ceiling tour, All of these shows were at the Charlotte Coliseum. The Oak Ridge Boys and a whole host of acts at Carowinds. The WSOC country music reunion with the Desert Rose Band, Ronnie Milsap and others.
The Monkees, on my 14th birthday in 1986. I could have gone with my family to see Whitney Houston in 1987, but I passed on that one. Even then, it wasn't my thing. However, I did see Kenny Rogers headlining at the Coliseum in 1985.
I honestly don't know if my dad or I took photos of the show. But I still remember it all. The in-the-round set-up. We arrived during the Righteous Brothers' opening set, who were playing to an somewhat not interested room, despite having a boatload of hits. Larry Gatlin being high as heck with the Gatlin Brothers. If any of you remember the story he told about his mashed thumb, and how he mashed said thumb. Uh, yeah, way freaking high.
Then there was Kenny. The white suit, which seemed to light from within when the spotlights hit it. The grown women shrieking when he walked towards him. How we slowly moved and acknowledged everyone around the stage. Even then, it seemed that Kenny was tired of doing the show this way. But the fans loved it. It's interesting now to look back and realize how undefinable Kenny was throughout his career. Rock, then country. Balladry, pop, you name it. Kenny Rogers did transcend all of those genres. Regardless of what you were into, people came to see and hear Kenny Rogers. He really was, and is a genre unto himself. Especially when he stepped out on stage.
Safe travels, Gambler, from the kid in section 211.
John Cohen passed away last September the same week as my mother-in-law, Jan Barley. I was too numb from her passing to really reflect on the loss of John. At the end of that same week, I opened my biggest exhibition to date, at the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, NC. It all seemed unreal. The state of North Carolina, the state I been living in for 36 years as a wayward New Yorker, was now sponsoring the show, and an all-day series of events celebrating myself and the work. No time to dwell on the good or bad, just enjoy it all while the moment was here. In my speech welcoming everyone to the show, I did not mention Jan, for fear of losing it in front of a rooom full of people. I did however, acknowledge John Cohen, and one moment with John that said it all, for me.
John Cohen was one of those whose work showed me a window that I’ve been trying to dive through ever since. A musician, historian, filmmaker, photographer, teacher. A member of The New Lost City Ramblers with Mike Seeger, John brought new life to the voices of the past. His films, his song catching trips, his photos. All of which captured an America that was changing rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s. He took some of the first photos of Bob Dylan, after Bob first arrived in New York. In 1965, Dylan exclaimed on the back of Highway 61 Revisited, “John Cohen, your rooftub has been demolished,” meaning that the person that Cohen had documented that day was now gone. Yet the only person that truly understood that line was Cohen himself, who could continue to quietly change the roofs under which created throughout his own life. To the day he left this place, John Cohen never stopped creating and documenting. No big pronouncements. He just kept going.
The first time I met John, they were holding an exhibition of his work at UNC-Greensboro in 2003. The same magical summer that saw me photographing Johnny Cash, Les Paul, Arthur Lee, and so many others that changed my worldview. John arrived with Alice Gerrard, a famous North Carolina musician that I was thrilled to finally meet. Members of The New Lost City Ramblers and Hazel & Alice playing in an art gallery! This was also the first art opening where I noticed that I was the only one takiing photos. This has happened several times over the years. A famous photographer shows up to exhibit his work, and no one wants to document their arrival. This has at times perplexed me. I understand if people don’t want to take photos of the artwork, especially in our shoot-and-grab age. But for me, these were The Photographers. The people that created this work. They were my Rock Stars. And I wanted to photograph them, like any other Rock Star.
The Moment came with John near the end of this night. I introduced myself, and told him that I was trying to do now what he had done during the 1960s. John looked at me and sighed, "Good luck, man.” That was all John said. It really was all had he to, to be honest. The highs and lows was docmenting what you love, and how little you can get in return. Forget the lack of money, the exhaustive and overwhelming feelings of ambivalence run many from this road within a couple of years. Or it turns others that stay on the path into embittered shells of the dreamers that started the journey. I understand the difficulty of the balancing act more with each passing year. John Cohen understood all of this. His answer was the most honest that I ever got from anyone that has been on this journey. Good luck, man. Amen, brother.
I so wanted to have a friendship with John Cohen. I wanted to talk to him the way I had been trying to talk to his work for years. But I recognized that it was not possible. I was not in his regular orbit. I was not one of his students. I did not work the festivals that he frequented. All I could do when I saw him was say hello, wish him well, and occasionally send him a photo that I’d taken. No need to bug him, even though I could have tried. Do I wish that I could have talked to John the way that his work had spoke to me? That would have taken years. Years that will continue on, just as his work lives on. Sooner or later, that is all we can wish for. The roofs may change, but the work goes on, shining for whoever catches the light. No matter which window you see it through.
Friday, photos and camera work for two episodes of Carolina Business Review, spring photos at Rosedale Plantation, and back on the writing wheel after some time away. Essays coming soon. Hang in there. This will all take more time than we would like, but we will get through it. An ambulance only goes so fast. See you there, and see you on the road. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LTiKJlB62g&fbclid=IwAR22WOLacDpDNq9-yKBt1gAj7rEoKFdn-N_lI9UttHLXY6WprxT0xZSlHvs
While the world has come to a full stop for a while, this would be a great time to catch up on all of those photos that I've taken of many of you over the years. Stop in anytime to danielcoston.photoreflect.com for many events, luncheons and galas that I've photographed over the years. And if the event that you're looking for isn't on there, email me and I will post it. Thank you, and hope to see you all again soon. -Daniel March 18, 2020
Happy St. Patrick's Day, wherever you are today. And happy belated 103rd birthday to my grandmother, Mary Collins King, wherever she is tonight. A toast to you and George from your ol' kid. See you in the stars, and see you on the road. -Daniel March 17, 2020
Thursday and Friday, photos of Eddie Z and the Playroom gang at the Evening Muse, Sherrard Georgius' 29th birthday party, and one live recording at Middle C Jazz. Stay healthy out there, and see you on the road. -Daniel March 14, 2020
For those of you that like to follow these travelogues (and thank you for doing so) when my schedule turns epic, yesterday was one for the history books. Literally.
Wednesday, photos of the Humane Society's luncheon, then back to Myers Park Country Club for Humane Society evening event, then over to the Ivey Hotel for the launch of Berhan Nebiouglu's new adventure, with lots of groovy friends. Then back to the Country Club to finish the Humane Society event, then drive to Greensboro to photograph the last ACC tournament game that we may see for some time. All while overseeing via text and emails the conclusion of the Cyrkle's first recording sessions in 53 years. Oh yes, more on this last item soon.
Stay healthy, and stay safe out there. Keep yourself alive, and see you on the road.
Thursday, photos of one luncheon, Center For Children's Rights gala, John Howie Jr & The Rosewood Bluff at the Visulite. Stand up for news next week about an exciting new project in the works. See you soon, and see you on the road. -Daniel March 5, 2020