THEY WERE THE GREAT...
Hello and welcome to Part 8 of my exclusive 9 part interview with The Soul Clinic of York.
In our last episode the gang got stranded on the eve of a breakthrough Midwest tour with Jay & the Techniques. When one door closes another opens and today the guys will tell you how their fortunes went from badder to better.
First, let's welcome back our good buddy Thom "Daddy C" Colson who says he remembers The Soul Clinic playing at a dance function called The Hangout which was held at the Lancaster YWCA .
LARRY SMITH: We played at The Hangout on Saturday
July 29, 1967, Friday December 15, 1967 and Saturday
May 25, 1968, the day after the big Wilson Pickett show.
S.D. KNIGHT: Daddy C also remembers The Clinic performing at Lancaster's Hullabaloo Club, the venue the band played a few hours after appearing at Willow Grove Park. Daddy C?
THOM "DADDY C"
I'll never forget the time
I saw The Soul Clinic at
The Hullabaloo. Their
main focus was their
Tony Scott...may he
rest in peace. That
dude was a true and
total entertainer, who
had the audience in
the palm of his hand
at every gig. In the
1st set, the band came
on, looking "so sharp" in gold colored shirts, and played an
instrumental to open the show. On the 2nd song, Tony
hit the stage and was wearing a pair of white gloves!
You know, the kind that pallbearers wear at funerals (LOL!).
The guy was actually wearing white gloves. At the time,
it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. And his hair...you
just know he had the doo-rag on all week to get his hair
processed so fine. I'm tellin' ya...the cat was cleaner than
the Board Of Health. And sing!!!...fugetaboutit - he sang
his ass off. Tony was truly the "real deal".
The Soul Clinic's sound was so powerful and so driving that
they just nailed you to the wall. The horn section was truly
a force to be reckoned with, by far, the strongest I had
ever heard in any local group from that era. While most of
the bands, at that time, featured a horn section consisting
of trumpet and saxophone, The Clinic included a trombone
to round it out for a fat, vibrant sound.
Rick Dillman, though only in his mid teens, was already a
seasoned soul veteran, having started with the Concords
at a very early age. His trumpet gave "the section" that
blaring, brassy sound that was so essential in 60's soul
music. Bruce DeLauder's saxophone playing came with
the utmost versatility. Whether the song called for a
smooth, breathy sax, or the raw, gutsy sound of Junior
Walker, Bruce could handle it effortlessly.
The inclusion of Clark Miller, on valve trombone, set
them apart from most of the other local bands at that
time. Clark, I believe, was originally trained on french
horn and coronet. When Mike Leash, their first valve
trombone player, left to join the Air Force, Clark easily
stepped in to take his place, as the fingering on the
valve trombone is the same as the coronet and french
horn. Even though Clark never really learned how to
tune his valve trombone (as it always seemed to be a
little flat), it gave it that funky, soulful edge. I had
never seen a valve trombone before seeing Clark play
his and it inspired me to buy one and learn to play it in
Custer's Last Band.
Larry Smith's drums were thunderous and right on the
money... very solid. Teddy Saxon thumped that bass
like nobody's business and it appeared his bass was
bigger than him. Mike Eads was an amazingly funky
guitarist. I remember him playing through a cheap Sears
Silvertone amp, that had just the right amount of distor-
tion, without using any effects. The sound he got from
that cheap little amp was just like Steve Cropper.
And last, but certainly not least, was Rick Terlazzo, wailing
on his Hammond C-3 organ. That organ had the exact same
guts as a B-3, only with a full body incasement, instead of
sitting on 4 legs. The wooden cabinet had these wonderful
carvings (crosses, I believe) around the top, as they were
widely used in churches. Of course, he played it through a
model 122 Leslie to give it that classic Hammond scream.
S.D. KNIGHT: Thanks for testifyin', Daddy C! Larry, could you refresh Daddy C's memory by telling us the exact dates that The Soul Clinic played at the Hullabaloo?
We played at the Hullabaloo
on Saturday, June 8, 1968 and
Friday, July 26 a few hours
after taping at Willow Grove.
The cool poster above was for
the show we did at Hullabaloo
on Saturday, September 14,
the day after we appeared at
Playland. We were back at
Hullabaloo on Friday, Novem-
ber 22, 1968. The only thing I
remember about any of those
Hullabaloo shows is that the acoustics were awesome and
we tore the place up.
By the end of the year
we were killin' it. Band
was really tight and we
had a stage presence.
The last time I played
at the Hullabaloo with
Rick Terlazzo in the
band (it must have
been that show in late
July after Willow Grove)
Clark had given me
speed in pill form.
He had taken it once
before and said it was
fun. It was the only time in my life I ever experimented with
that drug and I took too much. By the time we got to the
club I was feeling really good, but after the first song of
playing trumpet and doing my steps, I couldn't catch my
breath. Between sets I sat in the dressing room and
panted, sweating profusely. (Kids don't try this at home.)
I was very lucky that I didn't have a heart attack. The
stage was very high and during the show a screaming girl
tried to pull my pants down during a song.
S.D. KNIGHT: You shoulda thought fast, pretended it was
all part of the act, and launched into a rousing rendition of "Pants on the Ground."
RICK DILLMAN: We definitely burned that night. The place
was packed and wild. I remember even while feeling really
sick, we played our asses off. I was totally wasted after
the show and on the way home in Rick T's car, while riding
shotgun, I barfed out the window and unfortunately he had
the back window open so I made a mess of his backseat.
He made a beeline to the nearest carwash. Not a good
way to end the night.
RICK DILLMAN: I own my early life without regrets.
Learned a lot from making mistakes. By the way I should
mention that the last band we were in called Trained Labor
also played a matinee at Lancaster's Hullabaloo club.
S.D. KNIGHT: Continuing along the timeline, The Soul Clinic played at the Mustang Lounge in Perth Amboy, New Jersey around late September. Shortly thereafter the band reached another important milestone, one that altered its dynamics and trajectory. Ricko, take us through it.
RICK DILLMAN: On August 8, 1967, a few months before
I joined The Clinic, the band had signed a simple contract
with Stephen Alexander Associates (Bob Hubbard Jr.).
Bob Hubbard served as a booking agent, not a "manager".
He booked many good shows for us. Now it was a year
later, the fall of '68. The Magnificent Men were off doing
the real "big time" but helped us IE, hooked us up with their
manager out of New York City, Ron Gitman. When we
signed with Ron, Bob Hubbard said he fully understood
it was the right move for us and wished us well.
RICK DILLMAN: On October 8, 1968 we received the
contract and confirmation letter from Ron representing
Oceanic Productions Limited in New York. His office was
adjacent to James Brown Enterprises suites on 7th Ave just
off Broadway. In late October, shortly after signing with
Ron, we played a two weekend gig at a club in Belmar,
New Jersey called Dick Lee's. Gitman came to see our
show and told us he had great expectations for us. After
signing with Ron we went from a local band to a regional
band with designs on going national. Ron had great
connections to all the bigs in the recording industry and
quickly started booking us as the opening act for major
Soul and Rock musicians like the O'Jays, the Intruders,
Patti Labelle, Steppenwolf and Wilson Picket, after
which we would play their charts as their backing band.
"Cowboys to Girls" - The Intruders (May 1968, highest
chart position #6)
RICK DILLMAN: As I said before, our fun little soul band
had now become more like a business which changed
everything for us individually and collectively. It was
becoming more like a job for me with longer shows.
Clubs were now week long stays instead of weekend
S.D. KNIGHT: In addition to the gig at Dick Lee's being the first that Ron Gitman booked for The Soul Clinic, there was another reason why the two weekend engagement at that club was a turning point for the band. Can you explain?
RICK DILLMAN: Larry, Clark, Mike and I decided to try
some "psychedelics". This was 1968; half the youth in
the US were "expanding their minds". When we got back
to our hotel room, we got high and spent the whole night
listening to music and laughing! I think this weekend was
the beginning of both a closer relationship between the
four of us, and also a kind of changing of our relationship
with the band. It helped open up our ears to the "new
music" that was emerging - (Chicago, B,S,& T, Hendrix,
Led Zep, etc...) and, of course, to new ways of thinking.
"Hey Joe" - The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Original studio
recording reached #6 in the UK circa March 1967.
Single released May 1967 in USA remained uncharted.)
S.D. KNIGHT: Which other venues did The Soul Clinic play in the fall of 1968?
LARRY SMITH: On November 6 we played at Parsippany,
New Jersey High School.
RICK DILLMAN: The Unifics, who recorded "Court of Love,"
were originally scheduled to headline but canceled. Another
act was set up and also canceled. As a last ditch replace-
ment they found Gary "U.S." Bonds.
"Seven-Day Weekend" - Gary "U.S." Bonds
(July 1962, highest chart position #27)
RICK DILLMAN: At the Parsippany gig, U.S. Bonds did not
look and sound like he did in that movie clip from his prime.
I think he came out of retirement to do it. He came in with
Father Knows Best elbow patched sweater and pipe looking
like the proverbial grandfather, definitely not a rocker.
I remember us backing
Gary US Bonds because
I had college boards the
next morning and was in
a hurry to get home and
get some sleep. Hey,
guess what Patty and
I found this week when
we returned home to
York. Hidden away in
a locker we found an
old scrapbook she kept
during my year in The Soul Clinic! It includes notes I made
about some of the gigs we played. They indicate that we
backed up Jimmy Clanton somewhere along the line and
that we also did a show with the Vibrations. I remember
that Vibrations gig mostly because Ted didn't show up.
He got married that day and I had to play bass pedals on
the organ. I also seem to recall us backing the Four Tops
at some point but I can't remember where or when.
S.D. KNIGHT: Larry Smith just handed me an envelope. What's going on, Larry? Are you serving me with a subpoena?
A cease and desist order?
LARRY SMITH: Not to worry, Shady. Go ahead and open it.
As you're about to see I mentioned that November 6 Jersey
show Rick told us about along with other Soul Clinic news in
a letter I mailed that same week to Mike Leash, our former
trombone player, who had left the band two years earlier
for service in the U.S. Air Force.
S.D. KNIGHT: Cool! Let's all take a look at Larry's 1968 letter to Mike Leash!
S.D. KNIGHT: Ricky D, I noticed that Larry's letter makes mention of an upcoming Steppenwolf concert.
RICK DILLMAN: That's right. On Sunday, November 10th
we did a show with Steppenwolf at Wagner College in
Staten Island, New York.
"Sookie Sookie" - Steppenwolf (November/December 1968,
uncharted flip side of "Magic Carpet Ride.")
S.D. KNIGHT: What was it like sharing a bill with a big name hard rock band rather than a soul act?
RICK DILLMAN: We killed that night. Two standing O's and
encores. Steppenwolf members were so stoned, the bass
player almost fell off the stage. They were booed and no
encore. In the dressing room their manager screamed at
them for being blown off the stage by some high school
garage band... lol.. Blood Sweat & Tears were very popular
with college crowds and we played two of their songs
that night to screaming and dancing.
HOLDER: I remember
that night. I thought
man, what is a soul
group doing opening
for a rock group like
thought we were
going to get booed
off the stage. I re-
member the crowd
being awfully subdued for the first few songs. Then we did
"Old Man River" and I think that really turned the tide. By
the end of our set, they loved us! Like Rick said we got
TWO standing O's and it was Steppenwolf who got booed.
I believe people were leaving by the end of their show. Do
you remember the Steppenwolf drummer walking around the
dressing room we shared with them carrying a little personal
recorder and just "recording sounds" as he put it? Weird!
S.D. KNIGHT: Two weeks later The Soul Clinic was back on home turf and once again opening for the O'Jays, this time at Red Lion Senior High School. What stands out in your mind about that November 23rd play date with the O'Jays?
RICK DILLMAN: That was one of my favorite shows.
We played our set and then played their charts while
the O'Jays sang. The O'Jays are a class act. Great guys.
They talked about us going on tour with them but it never
S.D. KNIGHT: You dug their act and they dug yours!
"I Dig Your Act" - The O'Jays (January 1968, B side of
"I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Today)"
STEVE "CRUSTY" HOLDER: Patty's scrapbook shows that
The Soul Clinic was back at Playland with the Intentions in
December and I've got an ad showing that we returned to
play the 615 Lounge on New Years Eve.
S.D. KNIGHT: The Steppenwolf show at Staten Island in the fall of 1968 wasn't The Soul Clinic's only trip to New York and its environs. The band was back playing in The Big Apple in 1969, right Little D?
RICK DILLMAN: Right. In January of 1969 we played at the
Village Gate, an iconic club on Bleecker Street in Greenwich
Village. Village Gate was founded in 1958 and played a
seminal role in the history of jazz in New York. Several
albums have been recorded there but we played the base-
ment which is where the club began. A very high stage
and lots of tables, the quintessential New York jazz club.
The Village Gate gig was a showcase for big record
companies like Capital, Atlantic and the Jamie subsidiary
Phil-L.A.of Soul to evaluate bands and bid on them.
S.D. KNIGHT: Hold on a minute, Rick. In his letter to Mike Leash, Larry seemed to be indicating that it was a done deal, that The Soul Clinic was going to sign with Phil-La-of-Soul and that a new record was coming out by the end of the year 1968. What happened to all that?
RICK DILLMAN: The "Deal" was just conversations that
Gitman was having with the companies and he was leaning
toward Phil-La-of-Soul because the money thing was
better and the sound better fit us. We played that gig at
Village Gate a couple months later to up their ante as in a
bidding war hoping for mo money mo money. The record
was just wishful thinking as it was all just in the talking
phase. We had talked about covering "You Made Me
So Very Happy" by the B,S & T but it never happened.
They brought it out on 45 and it went to # 2. Would have
been a nice opening record for us but oh well. The Mag
Men originally were offered "Wichita Lineman" and we
all know how that worked out for Glen Campbell.. lol..
S.D. KNIGHT: Okay, so The Soul Clinic went to New York to play the Village Gate hoping to grab the attention of major record companies. Let me guess. Everything went absolutely, postively, 100% according to plan.
RICK DILLMAN: Not quite, lol. When we got to New York,
Tony disappeared. He staggered into our hotel an hour
later and said he met some dude who shot him up with
something, he didn't know what, and he could hardly walk
two hours before our most important gig. Keep in mind
that Tony wasn't into drugs at all. Bruce and Ted threw
him in the shower and poured coffee down his throat
trying to sober him up. We made our gig and he per-
formed well except that we had intended to keep as our
encore the tune "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know"
by Blood Sweat & Tears, a very dramatic tune and one
we did well. When the announcer came on stage and
asked Tony if we would play another tune, Tony said
sure... we are going to play "If I had a Hammer", which
we had only jammed to a year before at a New Year's
Eve party as a request by some drunken fan. We were
stuck having to ad lib on stage. Thankfully the audience
loved it and wanted more, so we got to play our best tune.
LARRY SMITH: We recovered nicely by doing a kickin'
version of "I Love You More...". HAA...
"I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know"
- Blood, Sweat & Tears (February 1968, track from album
Child is Father to the Man)
S.D. KNIGHT: I see that you still have your old play list from that Village Gate show. Did The Soul Clinic actually perform all of those songs at the Gate?
RICK DILLMAN: This was an early list and some of these
tunes were thrown out. Set lists changed right up till show-
time. At sound check we played a killer version of BS&T's
"I Can't Quit Her" but we had just arranged it and weren't
comfortable playing it out yet.
During the show we did a short version of Cream's
"Sunshine of Your Love" in instrumental form to bring
Tony on. We played a full set, probably around 6 tunes,
with the two encores to standing O's. I was told that
Merv Griffin was in the audience. After the show an old
dude came back stage for a group photo. I was told he
was the editor of Billboard Magazine. Our agent was
working it pretty hard to get us national. I felt we were
equipped to be a more funky Blood Sweat & Tears type
band ala Sly Stone or later Tower of Power sound.
S.D. KNIGHT: In May of 1969 the The Clinic had another opportunity to appear with and back-up Patti LaBelle.
I remember that trip.
We played at a place
called Peekskill Palace,
New York. Prior to the
show, Patti LaBelle
sang at rehearsal with-
out a microphone!!!!
I remember that and
how impressed I was.
S.D. KNIGHT: At the start of July the band returned to Gotham City for another important engagement, this time
at a club called Cheetah. What memories can you share about that venue?
LARRY SMITH: This was a two week booking. I'm not sure
but I think we arrived in NYC on the 2nd.
RICK DILLMAN: The Cheetah was a forerunner to
Studio 54. Full disco with lights and a large dance floor.
We stayed at the Gorham
Hotel on 52nd street with
members of Led Zeppelin,
Blood Sweat & Tears,
Blue Cheer, and Sly & the
Family Stone. Mike Eads
and I were sitting on the
couch in the lobby waiting
to walk down to our show
when two guys stumbled in obviously stoned and sat on
either side of us. They were goofing around us, chatting
through us, etc, when Mike asked them if they were in
a band. They laughed and said "Yea. Led Zeppelin". I slid
down in my seat, embarrassed, as I had their album in
my room listening to it non stop for two weeks. It was
Page and Plant, but we didn't know what they looked like.
S.D. KNIGHT: Letterman calls that a brush with greatness!
"Communication Breakdown" - Led Zeppelin (March 1969,
live performance on Danish TV show)
RICK DILLMAN: Yea, Led Zep, Blood Sweat & Tears,
Blue Cheer and Sly and the Family Stone were all in the
same hotel same time. So were the Magnificent Men who
were also in town to play a gig. Larry and I spent a long
night in a room at the Gorham debating Dave and Buddy
about the merits of the new Rock music. They were very
dismissive. They were on the side of Soul Music was the
Only Music and we were like Dudes, rock is the future.
Larry and I were very outspoken about it and you know
Dave and Buddy, lol.. We argued until four in the morning
then agreed to disagree. The following week Dave called
me to apologize as he had done some research and found
that he really liked the band Yes. I always thought that
was cool of Dave to call and say he was wrong. Dave's
the man.. lol.. I doubt that Buddy remembers it. He still
calls me Tom thinking I am my brother. lol..
Hey Little D, I do
were playing at the
Apollo at the time.
From rock to soul,
at the Gorham Hotel.
I remember getting
on the elevator to
go play, and there was
Rod Stewart & Jeff Beck
on the same elevator, they were going to work also. It was
The Impressions that turned us on to the Gorham Hotel.
S.D. KNIGHT: Thank you very much, Dave Bupp. It's an honor to have you here with us again today!
RICK DILLMAN: How about that line up of stars at the
Gorham? My teenage head was spinning that week. They
had no air conditioning there, only these weird box things
on wheels that you poured buckets of water into and it
drained over a coil with a fan blowing on you. By the way,
the only time we didn't wear tuxedos to perform was one
of those nights at the Cheetah. The white guys in the band
were wanting to go more toward progressive rock music at
the end and we just wanted to try going on stage dressed
down. The rest of the band wasn't too happy about it and
we went back to tuxes for the duration.