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Author Topic: ID'ing guitars from New Year's Rockin' Eve 1974  (Read 4085 times)
metal flake paint
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« on: November 19, 2013, 03:45:50 AM »

Is anyone able to confirm/identify the following stringed instruments that are standing behind the guys in the following clip, from left to right: Bass guitar (unidentified), Old Yeller, banjo, Gibson Fireglow (?), Gibson 12-string

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvheRDXB9io

Any help to correctly identify these would be appreciated.
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"Quit screaming and start singing from your hearts, huh?" Murry Wilson, March 1965.
Christoph
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2013, 04:08:16 AM »

The bass is probably a Gibson Ripper, the other Chicago guitar seems to be a Gibson Firebird, on the right is one of Carl's 12-string Epiphones.
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2013, 01:47:04 PM »

Thanks Christoph. When you say Chicago guitar, do you mean manufactured in, or played by Chicago (i.e Terry Kath)?
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2013, 03:46:30 PM »

Christoph is correct, that is a Gibson Ripper bass, next a Fender Strat, next the banjo, then the Gibson Firebird VII (three pickup model, that's how I ID'ed that one), and Carl's backup semi-hollowbody sunburst.

I don't think they are Chicago's guitars, though. Chicago hosted the show, the guest musicians included the Beach Boys, the Doobie Brothers, and Olivia Newton-John.

In the videos of Chicago playing, Terry Kath is using his familiar Telecaster with all the stickers on the front, the some one he used on many 70's TV appearances and shows. If he didn't use that, he'd use a Strat, but I don't think that's his in the background.

For "Wishing You Were Here" with the BB's, Kath is shown playing bass, on the same white Fender P-Bass with black pickguard that the bassist backing the Beach Boys is playing. On "Dialogue", Peter Cetera is playing a walnut-wood finish Fender P-Bass. Various acoustics included Ovations, and there was a backup musician playing a Gibson jazz box too. Perhaps one of Olivia's musicians, I don't know for sure.

The only one on the bill that night who was known for playing a Gibson bass, a Gibson Ripper to be exact, was Doobies bassist Tiran Porter. He is most often seen with either his Alembic or a Gibson Ripper. So I'm guessing that's his.

I can't find or remember ever where I may have video of the Doobies playing that New Years broadcast. But I'm guessing if anyone does, I'll bet you'll see at least Doobies' guitarist Tom Johnston playing the Firebird, he says he had one and played it a lot until it got stolen. And Patrick Simmons did own and play a white '62 Strat, which could be that Strat on stage. The banjo...not sure, but if anyone used one that night I'm guessing it was the Doobies.

I'm just offering educated guesses based on what I know Chicago used, and none of those on stage would fit on my first instincts. No guarantees!  Smiley

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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2013, 03:51:18 PM »

I went out on a limb to say that yellow-ed Strat may belong to the Doobies rather than being Carl's "Old Yeller" Strat, because Pat Simmons owned and played that '62 Strat which had yellowed over time. And Carl's backup guitar would not be behind the bassist and Al on stage, but more likely next to his semi-hollow behind him for the set.

So Pat Simmons also owned an "Old Yeller" original Strat, which only confuses it more... Grin
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2013, 04:16:46 PM »

For "Wishing You Were Here" with the BB's, Kath is shown playing bass, on the same white Fender P-Bass with black pickguard that the bassist backing the Beach Boys is playing.

That would be Chicago manager and producer and Beach Boys manager and bass player at the time..........James William Guercio.

Surprised you guys spotted "Old Yeller"! 
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2013, 09:59:46 PM »

Thanks for all of the informative replies so far; much appreciated.

guitarfool2002, the three Doobie Brother songs feature Tiran Porter playing a black Fender bass with a reddish pick guard and beige coloured neck (sorry for the imprecise terminology). This seems to be different compared with the bass standing behind the BB. Interestingly, Tom Johnston is absent from the line-up, so the two guitarists are Patrick Simmons and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, both of whom don't play any of the guitars that are seen standing behind the BB.

I have only seen one photo of the BB playing this gig which shows Carl playing his 12-string:



Good Vibrations, Darlin', and Surfer Girl all feature Carl's 6-string Gibson, so they may have played more songs than we are aware of.  The A chord suggests that the song in question could either be Help Me Rhonda which was played in the key of A during this era, or Wouldn't It Be Nice.

The banjo suggets that they may have played "California Saga: California" as photos in Ian's and Jon's book reveal that a banjo was often present on-stage around this period. One photo in particular taken in 1974 shows Al playing a Fender Strat which could be "Old Yeller", although I defer to others more knowledgeable to determine this.

That leaves the Gibson Firebird VII. Perhaps Ricky was featured on guitar while Bobby took to the drums.

Ultimately, my theory is that the group played more songs than have been heretofore documented, otherwise why have those additional guitars prepared on-stage?
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2013, 10:38:19 PM »

I think Ricky had pretty much already left the band at this point but came back to do a few gigs and this is one of them.  Dennis was a no-show to this gig because he got in a fight with someone and took his ball and went home. Figueroa was primarily a percussionist but shared the drums with Ricky for this gig, then was the backup (and sometimes primary) drummer for Dennis. I have never seen Ricky play a guitar on stage with the Beach Boys. Not saying he didn't, and there might be a picture or two of him with a guitar in hand, but the only other instrument I saw him play on stage was the steel pedal (I think it was for Marcella).
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I, I love the colorful clothes she wears, and she's already working on my brain. I only looked in her eyes, but I picked up something I just can't explain. I, I bet I know what shes like, and I can feel how right shed be for me. Its weird how she comes in so strong, and I wonder what shes picking up from me. I hope its good, good, good, good vibrations, yeah!!
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2013, 11:24:28 PM »

Dennis was a no-show to this gig because he got in a fight with someone and took his ball and went home.

Did the fight have anything to do with his refusal to wear a matching suit?
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"Quit screaming and start singing from your hearts, huh?" Murry Wilson, March 1965.
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2013, 07:36:10 AM »

Could be, I don't remember now.  AGD knows, I think.  Ed Roach came on here once and confirmed some kinda argument over something.
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I, I love the colorful clothes she wears, and she's already working on my brain. I only looked in her eyes, but I picked up something I just can't explain. I, I bet I know what shes like, and I can feel how right shed be for me. Its weird how she comes in so strong, and I wonder what shes picking up from me. I hope its good, good, good, good vibrations, yeah!!
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2013, 07:48:30 AM »

In light of the information about the Doobies' setup that was broadcast, I have no idea what those guitars were there for! The Gibson Ripper bass was what i thought could have been a clue as to whose it was because Tiran Porter was definitely known to play one on stage, and unless I'm just forgetting or haven't seen the photos, the BB's band did not use a Gibson Ripper bass. Same thing with the Gibson Firebird, it's just not widely known as a Beach Boys guitar, yet one of the Doobies definitely played one.

And it complicates even more when you look at a handful of Doobies TV appearances and concerts from 73-76 and see Porter playing a number of basses, beyond the common Alembic and Ripper, and including some that look like custom or "Frankenstein" parts basses.

Lacking definite information, you try to connect the dots, but in this case even though the dots seemed to have connected, there are too many contradictions to say definitely what the answers are.

VH-1 years ago ran the Dick Clark "Rockin New Years" shows in sequence, which is where I believe the YouTube clips were taken, unless you see a timing code strip running at the bottom of the video. And some outlets are offering DVD copies of these shows for sale. If I had them from the VH-1 broadcast, I probably don't have them anymore. (I was and am a big Chicago and Terry Kath fan, so I would have taped them at that time...).

If anyone has a copy of the full broadcast, start to finish, let me know, I'd love to see it again, Doobies and all.

As far as getting to the bottom of what got played or rehearsed that didn't get played on air, that's going really deep. I'll bow out at ID'ing the guitars, the deep history on this show is beyond my scope. But in all honesty, the show was only so long, and organized down to the minute as all television is...I can't see why the Beach Boys or any of the other bands would set up their stage for too much beyond a few songs, especially since they were one of four acts and Chicago was the "host" and headliner.

If there is more to the story, keep us posted!  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2013, 08:00:31 AM »

I think Ricky had pretty much already left the band at this point but came back to do a few gigs and this is one of them.  Dennis was a no-show to this gig because he got in a fight with someone and took his ball and went home. Figueroa was primarily a percussionist but shared the drums with Ricky for this gig, then was the backup (and sometimes primary) drummer for Dennis. I have never seen Ricky play a guitar on stage with the Beach Boys. Not saying he didn't, and there might be a picture or two of him with a guitar in hand, but the only other instrument I saw him play on stage was the steel pedal (I think it was for Marcella).

Speaking of pedal steel, I've posted this before, as well as one of Carl and Ricky touring the Fender factory, but this one seems to be connected to a Fender endorsement of some kind from this era. I assume that because every piece of gear from the guitars to the clear Lucite guitar to the backline of amps were current Fender products. Note too that he's playing a Fender pedal steel, which never really caught on and isn't too widely seen as a collector steel, simply because it was not a success.

This is going really deep, but having seen the band or in any photos, is he shown playing another steel besides this kind of Fender? I ask because even then, Fender pedal steels were not used on stage that often, especially compared to Sho-Bud, Emmons, MSA, ZB, etc....

« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 08:17:49 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2013, 02:17:15 AM »

Is Billy playing a Gibson Firebird in this photo?



If so, perhaps he played it at the NYRE gig during an undocumented performance of Sail On Sailor.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 03:43:16 AM by metal flake paint » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2013, 07:49:16 AM »

Dennis was a no-show to this gig because he got in a fight with someone and took his ball and went home.

Did the fight have anything to do with his refusal to wear a matching suit?


I think the fight was about how he would look at 69


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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2013, 08:18:55 AM »

Is Billy playing a Gibson Firebird in this photo?



If so, perhaps he played it at the NYRE gig during an undocumented performance of Sail On Sailor.

That is a Gibson Firebird, and it looks like the same three-pickup model like the Firebird VII that I think was on the Dick Clark stage! Great call!

As far as what song it could have been, it's hard to tell, but that photo no doubt looks like the same guitar. Great work!
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
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