Danny and Janis
[I was putting up Shrine '69 reviews and came across this Danny mention]
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) , January 7, 1999
Section: E CUE
TWO VETERAN ROCKERS RECALL RAUCOUS PASTS
STEVE MORSE - BOSTON GLOBE
Two bloodied but unbowed rock veterans have just released entertaining autobiographies. Both live in the Boston area and are grizzled pros who have seen their share of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.
One is Al Kooper, the former Bob Dylan organist whose "Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastards" is as colorful as its title.
The other is Dinky Dawson, a madcap sound engineer who has worked with Fleetwood Mac and Steely Dan and whose book, "Life on the Road," reads like a Jack Kerouac adventure story.
Both tomes have been published by Billboard Books and both are labors of love from authors who have lived life to the fullest.
"It's good fireside reading," says Dawson, who lives in Plymouth, Mass. "Have a couple of Red Stripes or Newcastle Brown Ales, and you'll drift into it."
Actually, you'll careen into it, which is how Dawson's career has gone.
The son of a steel mill foreman in Yorkshire, England, Dawson shares trenchant memories of a picaresque life of getting a beer bottle thrown at his van by The Who's Keith Moon and watching the Hell's Angels hand-deliver a shipment of West Coast LSD for the Mac, which promptly consumed it that night. And these tales are just the tip of the iceberg.
Dawson, 51, wrote the book with the aid of Carter Alan, author of "Outside Is America: U2 in the U.S." They created a real page-turner that has been selling fast through Dawson's Web site.
The anecdotes keep coming, as Dawson recalls seeing Janis Joplin chase (and catch) Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan for a romantic tryst. He also recalls seeing a young Rod Stewart working in a coatroom in Club Mojo in Sheffield and hearing a jam session with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and the Mac's Peter Green, though no one taped it.
Frankly, it's a miracle the book was published at all. Dawson, who also mixed sound for the now-defunct Channel club in South Boston, suffered a near-fatal brain disease a couple of years ago. He recovered, he says, through "acupuncture, vitamins and walking five miles a day."
He also has inked a deal with Salem-based Rykodisc to release a CD next month of a 1969 Mac concert at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Kooper's new book is a humorous account of his 40-plus years as a multi-instrumentalist and a producer for Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Tubes, among others.
Kooper, now 54, grew up in Brooklyn and talked his way into his first recording session with Dylan, offering to play a Hammond B-3 organ (he had never played it before) on Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."
Kooper also accompanied Dylan at the famed 1965 Newport Folk Festival, where Dylan went electric and was booed. Kooper says the crowd didn't boo Dylan because he went electric, but because he had rehearsed only 15 minutes of material. As for going electric, Dylan already had been preceded that day by electric sets from Paul Butterfield and the Chambers Brothers.
In addition, Kooper tells of introducing Joni Mitchell to Judy Collins (who recorded Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" for a big hit) and of playing in the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, though he pulls no punches in putting down the direction that BS&T went after he left: "If they can live with `Lucretia MacEvil' and their Las Vegas desecration of `God Bless the Child,' then God bless them."
Kooper talks about his wild days as a swinger and Percodan-abuser, a habit he eventually kicked by himself. He also recorded the acclaimed "Super Sessions" (with Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills on guitar), plus served as assistant stage manager at the Monterey Pop Festival. Kooper never fit in well with corporate structures, but did work in the artists and repertoire departments of Sony and PolyGram.
It's instructive to learn how much of a rock lifer Kooper is. Even when he was 14, Kooper played with the Royal Teens ("Short Shorts" was their hit) and didn't get home until dawn on his first gig with them.
Kooper recalls "sitting in the back of that taxi cab . . . with my Sears guitar and cheesy little 25-watt Ampeg Rocket amp in the seat beside me, watching the first sunrise I'd ever seen against the Manhattan skyline. Then pulling up in front of our house in Queens one step ahead of the milk truck. Passing my father on the front walk, he on his way to work, me just returning from mine. And that look on his face as he hurried past me, as if an inner voice was telling him, `Your son has been lobotomized by Martians carrying electric guitars. He'll never be the same again.' . . . Thus ended any pretense I might have had about leading a normal existence."
Neither Kooper (who now teaches at the Berklee College of Music) nor Dawson has led a normal life, but they've both written unusually good books about their travels. ------------ Dinky Dawson's Web site: www.dinkysworld.com