Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Austin de Lone ROCKS
When I was a teenager, I saw ALL the bands play at London venues like UFO, Middle Earth and "Implosion" events at the Roundhouse in the heady days when Jeff Dexter was THE most famous disc jockey in England. I even attended the 'exclusive' Doors and the Jefferson Airplane double bill (when I was in diapers of course!). If I remember correctly (!) Jefferson Airplane had top billing, but of course Jim Morrison stole the show. I used to (primarily wear Biba and Ossie Clark clothes) and hang out with a lot of musicians in those days too. It must have been a long time ago, because "Lemmy", who is best known as the founding member of the heavy metal band Motörhead used to be good looking in those days!
Back then, everyone on the London 'Scene' seemed to be heavily involved in the Music Industry and I thought nothing of hanging out backstage at rock concerts (like "Blind Faith") in Hyde Park, and eating dinner in boxes (usually reserved for royalty) at the Royal Albert Hall, while seeing major artistes like Janis Joplin perform. Jimi Hendrix (whom I saw devour his guitar several times) even tried to run me over in his car on the Zebra Crossing at Marble Arch once!
I used to be crazy about West Coast rock at the time (The Grateful Dead ensemble was one of my favourites), and one of my biggest fantasies was to marry an American rock star and live in San Francisco. It didn't happen, but my sister Lesley did marry the legendary and versatile musician called Austin de Lone, who was 'gonged' with a "Milley" award in 2007 for bringing national and international honour to Mill Valley. Keyboards are his speciality ..... he also reworks bands as well as being a composer, songwriter, and producer. (He also helps organise benefit concerts in the name of Richard de Lone, his Prader-Willi Syndrome son).
Austin ("Audie" is his nickname) started the pub rock movement in England during the early Seventies with his legendary band, "Eggs Over Easy", and has worked and played with everyone in the Music Industry, including rocksters like Huey Lewis, Bruce Springsteen, David Crosby, Lightening Hopkins, Nick Lowe, Commander Cody, Loudoun Wainwright, Boz Scaggs, Howard Tate and Elvis Costello to name just a few. He currently resides in Mill Valley, California. He is the only musician I know now, so it was a huge treat to hang out in Mill Valley during Christmas and the New Year and listen to his pulsating sounds.
I now very rarely see live music in London (there aren't that many rock venues left now), so it was a delight to see Austin and his talented daughter (my niece) Caroline (I dedicated "Crushed", my YA novel to her) perform while I was there. On New Year's eve, we saw one of Austin's groups, the tight AUSTIN DE LONE'S SOUL BLUES EXTRAVAGANZA perform at the beautiful non-profit 142 Throckmorton Theatre.
Guest artistes included the brilliant Dan Hicks (he performed his haunting song, "I Scare Myself") and The Swizzle Sisters, a raunchy blues singer called Lisa Kindred (her "Steppin' Up In Class" CD is addictive!), Maria Muldaur, the youthful and sensational Lorin Rowan (of the Rowan brothers), does he have a portrait of himself in his attic?!) and the charismatic Caroline de Lone. Will Durst's Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show who opened the act were hilarious.
'Los Angeles is hell frozen over,' was one of their many laugh out loud wisecracks.
I also, caught Bonnie Raitt and Caroline (again) guest at the Mabel John show (after she left Motown, she was the director of the Raelettes, who backed Ray Charles), plus her magical musician son, Paul Collins also at the Throckmorton Theatre. Caroline is only sixteen (going on seventeen), but she is a natural performer with a belting big voice. Bonnie Raitt predicts she will do very well with her singing career. Praise indeed!
Other highlights of my action-packed holiday included a visit to George Lucas's lot in San Francisco (he lives in Mill Valley alongside all the old West Coast rock stars), and an intoxicating visit to Francis Coppola's Rubicon Winery in Napa Valley. I loved the film memorabilia upstairs which included antiquated magic lanterns. I had an exciting time, but the most positive thing about my trip was getting ideas for my work-in-progress novel, and a sizzling idea for a rock 'n' roll screenplay. There's nothing like a holiday to get the inspirational juices going!