4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

101.5 KGB

DJ: Cookie "Chainsaw" Randolph

Station: 101.5 KGB

Shift: 6·10:00 a.m., Monday·Friday

Back in December of 1974, I was an average white player for the Modesto Junior College basketball team in Central California. My teammate Bill Wilson, a smooth-playing guard from the Brooklyn projects, had a surprise for me. "Hey, Wolfie (the first of my many nicknames), check this out." From his eight-track player came the opening refrains of "Pick Up the Pieces," booming out of the giant speakers propped up on the backseat of his 1966 Cutlass Supreme.

"And these boys are white!" hollered Bill, as we bomped down College Avenue on the way to practice.

I tried to remind Bill of the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his dream of citing character over the identification of color, but Bill just laughed. The Scottish lads' naming their band the way they did kinda blew up that whole "color blind" thing anyway.

AWB's "White" album swept across America like a mini British Invasion, ten years after the real one. The notion that a white group could play funky soul music so well was not only novel, but something of a sensation. So, when AWB was making their debut on the West Coast, my girlfriend and I were on our way to San Francisco's legendary Winterland.

We drove the 90 miles from Modesto and parked blocks away. Arriving without tickets, we were lucky to purchase our pair moments before they sold out. We made our way to the balcony and enjoyed the first two acts: the Chambers Brothers and Etta James. Now, this is the Winterland balcony, 1975. Contact buzz, anybody? They could have called it "Bongland." Like being inside a giant hookah. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

Anyhoo, during intermission, the buzz of excitement was not just from the smoke. This crowd was alive. Out they came. Their first song was "You Got It," from the "White" album. I could tell the boys were a little jittery because the performance was not very tight. Just a few months before, original drummer Robbie McIntosh died of an overdose. Singer Al Gorrie was kept alive that same night only because Cher kept dousing him with water, so the legend goes. It would be unfair to suggest they partook in any preconcert enhancements this night, but hell, they'd be catching up with the audience. Their new drummer Steve Ferrone was the first black member of the previously all-white AWB. Not that anybody ever claimed "false advertising" or asked for a refund.

After a few songs, the group tightened up, and by the time they introduced the title cut of their next LP, Cut the Cake, my girlfriend was imploring me to take her downstairs near the stage. I was content to just kick back upstairs, but down we went. She led me to the front of the stage, which had room for us directly in front of the lead singer.

We danced all night. I couldn't believe it. MLK would have been proud. Whites and blacks dancing and smiling together in sheer joy. Then came the moment: the opening refrain of "Pick Up the Pieces," just like Bill had played for me weeks earlier. You know, where the guitar strum precedes the signature saxophone riff. Well I'm here to tell you that guitar strum lasted a good three minutes. They milked it for all it was worth. The sax guys took their sweet time resetting the microphones, fidgeting with their horns -- to the point where guitarist Onnie McIntyre gave them a look as if to say "So start, already!"

When the saxophones took wing, it was shivering ecstasy throughout the hall, long-version style. The band cooled us off with an inspired encore of "Heard It Through the Grapevine." Even more miraculously, I found my car and drove us safely home through the Central Valley fog.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Cecily Fox Smith: with a nautical theme

An English poet best known for her maritime folk poems
Next Article

Mira Mesa First Assembly of God Church: a life transformed

Keeping the world out of the church and getting the church into the world

DJ: Cookie "Chainsaw" Randolph

Station: 101.5 KGB

Shift: 6·10:00 a.m., Monday·Friday

Back in December of 1974, I was an average white player for the Modesto Junior College basketball team in Central California. My teammate Bill Wilson, a smooth-playing guard from the Brooklyn projects, had a surprise for me. "Hey, Wolfie (the first of my many nicknames), check this out." From his eight-track player came the opening refrains of "Pick Up the Pieces," booming out of the giant speakers propped up on the backseat of his 1966 Cutlass Supreme.

"And these boys are white!" hollered Bill, as we bomped down College Avenue on the way to practice.

I tried to remind Bill of the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his dream of citing character over the identification of color, but Bill just laughed. The Scottish lads' naming their band the way they did kinda blew up that whole "color blind" thing anyway.

AWB's "White" album swept across America like a mini British Invasion, ten years after the real one. The notion that a white group could play funky soul music so well was not only novel, but something of a sensation. So, when AWB was making their debut on the West Coast, my girlfriend and I were on our way to San Francisco's legendary Winterland.

We drove the 90 miles from Modesto and parked blocks away. Arriving without tickets, we were lucky to purchase our pair moments before they sold out. We made our way to the balcony and enjoyed the first two acts: the Chambers Brothers and Etta James. Now, this is the Winterland balcony, 1975. Contact buzz, anybody? They could have called it "Bongland." Like being inside a giant hookah. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

Anyhoo, during intermission, the buzz of excitement was not just from the smoke. This crowd was alive. Out they came. Their first song was "You Got It," from the "White" album. I could tell the boys were a little jittery because the performance was not very tight. Just a few months before, original drummer Robbie McIntosh died of an overdose. Singer Al Gorrie was kept alive that same night only because Cher kept dousing him with water, so the legend goes. It would be unfair to suggest they partook in any preconcert enhancements this night, but hell, they'd be catching up with the audience. Their new drummer Steve Ferrone was the first black member of the previously all-white AWB. Not that anybody ever claimed "false advertising" or asked for a refund.

After a few songs, the group tightened up, and by the time they introduced the title cut of their next LP, Cut the Cake, my girlfriend was imploring me to take her downstairs near the stage. I was content to just kick back upstairs, but down we went. She led me to the front of the stage, which had room for us directly in front of the lead singer.

We danced all night. I couldn't believe it. MLK would have been proud. Whites and blacks dancing and smiling together in sheer joy. Then came the moment: the opening refrain of "Pick Up the Pieces," just like Bill had played for me weeks earlier. You know, where the guitar strum precedes the signature saxophone riff. Well I'm here to tell you that guitar strum lasted a good three minutes. They milked it for all it was worth. The sax guys took their sweet time resetting the microphones, fidgeting with their horns -- to the point where guitarist Onnie McIntyre gave them a look as if to say "So start, already!"

When the saxophones took wing, it was shivering ecstasy throughout the hall, long-version style. The band cooled us off with an inspired encore of "Heard It Through the Grapevine." Even more miraculously, I found my car and drove us safely home through the Central Valley fog.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The return of the day of the Locust

Breaking out the bug suits one more time
Next Article

Mira Mesa First Assembly of God Church: a life transformed

Keeping the world out of the church and getting the church into the world
Comments
1

This was a part of Cookie's story we had to edit for length. I thought it was a cool ending, and thought I'd post it here:

Fast forward 32 years to the Summer of 2007. My wife and I are in New York City with tickets to two shows one particular night. A pair for AWB at B.B. King's on 42nd Street, and for HBO comedienne Susie Essman at Caroline's on Broadway. Our friends Jim Lee and his girlfriend Rebecca were also in Manhattan that week, and I offered them AWB. We rendezvoused in front of 30 Rock, handed off the tickets and off we went in separate directions. During Essman's wonderfully vile show my cell phone beeped. A pix-text from Jim of AWB on stage, just blocks away.

A week later, I see Jim in San Diego. He had a gift for me. It was an AWB live CD, autographed by sax genius Fred Vigdor.

It reads: "Thanx 4 not showing up Cookie, Fred."

Feb. 19, 2008

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close