googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: Degrees of Separation By Buzz B.

Degrees of Separation By Buzz B.

It’s always interesting to play that ‘degrees of separation' game. I recently read of the death of disco music queen Donna Summer, who grew up in Massachusetts, and it got me thinking.
As a young musician I signed a contract with a record producer in California as a singer/songwriter. Growing up in a home half in Rhode Island, half in Massachusetts, I  moved to California. The producer I had teamed up with had other writers and musicians under contract including Lee Freeman who had been with the Strawberry Alarm Clock of “Incense And Peppermints” fame in the 60’s. Now, many years later, Lee Freeman had teamed up with Lee (Leo) Gaffney to form the Gaffney-Freeman Band.  The record producer had gotten them a record deal with Columbia records, and they recorded an album.

  I ended up playing keyboards in the short lived band, at least for rehearsals. I found out that Lee Freeman’s girlfriend worked for Donna Summer. Summer had a stage show at that time that used “street people”, extras really, and Lee’s girl was one of these. I also think that Lee’s girl, whose name I can’t recall, did some wardrobe work for Summer as well. Lee also played one of the “street people” and spoke highly of Donna Summer as a person, although she was being marketed as some kind of sexual disco goddess at the time. When I asked Lee about his days in the Alarm Clock, he told me a few stories that basically pointed to lots of friction among the band members and giving me the impression that it was not always a pleasant experience. I guess that’s the nature of the business. That was years after he had left the band, although he later joined a re-formed version of the Alarm Clock. He left the reformed version of the band due to illness and passed away in 2010, from complications due to cancer. Donna Summer also lost her battle with cancer.

   The record producer in question was Rick Jarrard. He had produced the iconic “Surrealistic Pillow” album for the Jefferson Airplane, “Everybody’s Talking At Me” for Harry Nilsson from the film Midnight Cowboy, and also produced Jose Feliciano’s records “Light My Fire”, “Felix Navidad” and other records.

  The Gaffney-Freeman band was done in by broken promises by Columbia records to use the band to open for some of their premier acts (Billy Joel was talked about), and to spend money promoting the album and the band. They did neither. Columbia records at that time decided to spend their money on established acts. And so ended my short lived membership in the Gaffney-Freemen band, along with those degrees of separation.
Other connections awaited, but that’s another story.   Buzz B.

1 comment:

  1. Talk about six degrees of separation, you worked with Lee Freeman of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, I lived next door to George Bunnel, the bassist for the Alarmclock and you and I worked together in The Tooners. Small world.

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