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It’s 1:29 in the morning and we’re racing east on the 46 between the 101 and the 5, listening to Low Power Jazz, dark road ahead and summer solstice full moon overhead, earth vibrations underneath, smell of cut hay summoning days when the farmer yearned for the distant city lights, night was black, and the dawn was real.

Paul Marshall’s on road ahead of us, driving home with daughter Stephanie, and Rob, Paul L, Shawn and Rick Shea are amped, the drive passes quickly in animated discussions, including Bush’s plan for annihilation/reclamation of the Middle East. Another topic:

Rob Waller: 1991 The Obvious Power pop with influences like St. Louis’s completely unknown and forgettable Pale Divine band, later influences include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, and Smashing Pumpkins. Original song titles: “Let It Go,” “Spiraling,” “Indian Summer,” and “Still Can’t Stand It,” The Obvious became Oblivious, then Merangutan, playing fraternity parties, sorority functions, house parties and bars in North Carolina, eventually moving west to San Frnacisco and evolving into Apple Pork Four. The Magic Of Television was the final page of this musical book where Rob met and began playing with Lacques brother Anthony who later formed the Hawks. Mark Follman was in all versions of this experiment in musical Darwinism.Paul Lacques: 1973 Andromeda This was a cover band at the outer edges of early metal, covering “Cracked Actor” by David Bowie, “Theme From An Imaginary Western” by Jack Bruce, and “Easy Living” by Uriah Heep. Bassist/lead vocalist Bruno played a Gibson EBO bass and sang with his eyes closed. Bob Gurske played the biggest, loudest drum kit ever invented, and went on to play in many L.A. metal bands. Paul played a telecaster through a bandmaster, and doesn’t remember how the band tuned up. The other guitar player was squeamish about blood. Once, he was changing his guitar strings, poked his finger, fainted and hit his head, blacked out and missed the evening’s gig. In typically schizoid style, Paul was at the same time putting together his acoustic duo The Flatpicking Fools, with partner/guitar teacher Gregg Gold.

Rick Shea: 1968 Essence Of Black Mold Someone in San Bernardino told Rick Shea that “Black Mold” was an extremely strong strain of pot, although it never made its appearance. They kept the band name for two weeks until they realized they’d never get any school function gigs, changed the name to Crossroads. Rick says the band wasn’t quite capable of learning songs, although they made some good noise with their electric guitars. A crucial first step.Shawn Nourse: Mid-80s Secrets They rehearsed a handful of
times in Shawn’s bedroom and once or twice in the Anaheim High School band room. Their big debut ws the “Anaheim High School Talent Show.” They only learned three songs, they were: “I Wanna Know What Love Is”, by Don Henley; “Johnny Be Good”, by Chuck Berry, and another song that
escapes Shawn right now. The band members were: John Park (Shawn’s best friend at the time) on rhythm guitar, Jose somebody (Anaheims hot shot guitar ensemble dude) on lead guitar, Tony Kanal (before he landed in permanent spot in No Doubt) on bass, and Shannon Smart (a very attractive choir singer). Shawn’s second band was The Inside Cover They also played that talent show, was also very short lived, did a total of two shows. Then came Eyez Chick singer. Control freak who really believed she could sing. No one had the courage to face her down and tell her otherwise.
Paul Marshall 1964-5 Verne, Paul, and Nancy A folk group modeled after Peter Paul and Mary, with a stunningly original name. Hey, it was Junior High. Nancy Burba even looked a
lot like Mary, with long straight blonde hair. She was quite lovely. Paul played guitar. Verne Willis played banjo. VP&N covered a lot of Peter, Paul and Mary tunes, Dylan, Joe
and Eddie, etc. This group morphed into the Beauchemins, soon to be signed by Bob Keane for his Mustang label.

Rob’s getting serious about gear. He’s grilling Rick Shea about acoustic guitars as we motor through the dark San Joaquin night. This road is featureless, very few lights on the horizon. The moon is watching over our right shoulder. You see the bunny, I see the man. Rick is comparing the merits of Taylors and Martin guitars. You have to work at a good sounding Martin, says Rick. Taylors are smooth and consistent, easy to play, but a Martin requires that you learn its ideosyncracies, find its sweet spots. Jesus, it’s getting late. Is that the Grapevine? Yes it is, we fly up and over, 5 to 110 north, hit Highland Park at exactly 4:30 a.m., transfer of musical instruments to battered L.A. vehicles, blurred words and farewell hugs and the Hawks and Rick go their separate ways. A muted blue announces the dawn. End of a mighty fine tour.