“Most of us here in San Diego in the 55-70 age bracket grew up with these bands/musicians,” said the concert’s organizer, Paul Bolton of Electric Playground Productions. “They were a huge part of our youth, seeing them play in local clubs back in the day. I first saw Glory at Jerry Herrera’s Palace, which I consider the greatest all-ages venue ever, in 1970 when I was still in high school.
“Then in ’73, I saw the Blitz Brothers at Ledbetters, Neutral Grounds etc. The Beat Farmers were a band I saw in the early ’80s at many different venues around San Diego.” He notes that the three bands have never performed together on the same bill. “We thought this would be a great show. It’s a ‘remembrance’ of sorts for people around our age.”
Guitarist Jerry Raney will be doing double duty, playing with both The Farmers and Glory. The Farmer’s have suffered the loss of bandmates Dan McClain and Buddy Blue, but with an updated name, and a lineup that includes Raney, bassist Chris Sullivan, drummer Joel Kmak and vocalist Corbin Turner, they remain one of the most popular bands in the area.
However, Glory’s first gig in a decade is pure happenstance. “We really didn't have a plan to do a reunion, Electric Playground just asked us, and we figured it would be fun,” Raney said. During their initial run Glory opened for the likes of ZZ Top, Steely Dan, Howlin’ Wolf, and Bo Diddley, even backing Chuck Berry at a Jack Murphy stadium gig.
“He told me we were the best he'd had in many years.” He notes Glory, which also featured bassist Jack Butler and drummer Jack Pinney, had a youthful rebel spirit. “We had the attitude, and always felt like we were the coolest thing going,” he said good-naturedly. “We always rocked the place and made a big mess.
“We were proud to be banned from Grossmont High School and every other school we ever played. Grossmont sticks out though because Dan McLain (later Raney’s bandmate in the Beat Farmers) was the junior class president and hired us. He dug it.”
Though Glory never made it big, bassist Butler is proud of what Glory accomplished. “We were just a band that stuck to our guns and never played the typical popular songs all the other working bands played, we went for deep cuts and originals always,” he said. In 2001, Rockadelic Records issued an album, “On The Air,” featuring a live 1970 KPRI broadcast.
Drummer Pinney is looking forward to the gig. “It’s like riding a bike,” he said. “We’ll be playing old songs with new arrangements, Chuck Berry, The Pretty Things, The Yardbirds.”
Meanwhile, The Blitz Brothers have been back in action since 2011. In their prime, they were a major club draw, playing Jack Murphy Stadium with Cheap Trick and SDSU with Judas Priest, but the trio, now featuring drummer Calvin Lakin and bassist Barney Roach, isn’t resting on their laurels.
“We'll also be doing some classic Blitz Bros tunes, but also two songs from the upcoming (side project) ‘Sons Of Edison 3’ CD. One is an original tune that recently won runner-up in the song of the year contest called ‘Don't Look Away.’ It's about the current political world we find ourselves in. We'll also be covering ‘Tobacco Road’ and ‘California Dreaming.’ That one we re-envisioned as if Jimi Hendrix might have covered it.”
Livoni is clear on his favorite thing about the return of the Blitz Brothers. “It's seeing so many of our fans that have stuck with us over the span of 46 freakin’ years,” he said. “We have been so lucky to have their support. I still go out and there and give it everything I've got at every show. I think I'm really starting to get the hang of it.”
San Diego Rock Icons: Sunday, Nov. 3 at Winston’s, 1921 Bacon St. 4 p.m. $13. 21 and up. winstonsob.com.