Ian Anderson 1:30 p.m., Nov. 20
Jamming with 2 AC/DC Drummers Is Just Another Week For Greg Douglass
"Man, what a week," says Escondido guitar godling Greg Douglass. "Did five shows in seven days with David Bennett Cohen's band, doing a lot of piano-based New Orleans, blues, roots music. Amazing musicians, vine-ripened at their peak. Cohen OWNS that Professor Longhair style!"
"Came back, drove to L.A. to rehearse with AC/DC drummer Simon Wright for [Monsters of Classic Rock] shows in Little Rock and Destin Florida this week. My chops are getting to that warm, fuzzy place I love so much from playing different types of music constantly. And I be making some coin, too!"
The rotating members of Monsters of Classic Rock have played with AC/DC, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Huey Lewis, and other well-known acts.
One frequent Monster is guitar heavyweight Rick Derringer. “Going toe-to-toe with Rick and surviving made me happy to have been born,” says Douglass. “Lovely guy, too.”
Monsters has also at various times included Joey Molland (Badfinger) on vocals and guitar, Carmine Rojas (David Bowie, Rod Stewart) on bass, Terry Ilous (from '80s metal monsters XYZ) on lead vocals, and a stellar group of various drummers, including Carmine Appice, AC/DC drummer Chris Slade, and Donny Baldwin of Starship.
Douglass and his fellow Monsters will play Florida's State H.O.G. Rally on Friday, October 21, with the lineup slated to include Terry Ilous on lead vocals, Simon Wright AND Chris Slade from AC/DC, Mario Cipolina from Huey Lewis and The News, Sam McCaslin, and Tim Murphy.
Here's a clip of Douglass performing "Highway to Hell" with Chris Slade, Terry Ilous, Sam McCaslin, and Mario Cipollina:
You may not be familiar with Douglass, but you’ve probably heard him play: he performed on Greg Kihn’s single “Jeopardy” (1983), and he’s toured and recorded with Van Morrison, Duane Eddy, Link Wray, Hot Tuna, Dave Mason, and Eddie Money. In addition, he cowrote and played on the Steve Miller Band hit “Jungle Love” (1977).
"I'm not even sure where ['Jungle Love'] fits into the Everybody Loves Raymond mythology," laughs Douglass. The tune was used as the theme song for the final three seasons of the TV sitcom.
With Steve Miller Band bassist Lonnie Turner, Douglass wrote "Jungle Love" as a demo for British guitarist Dave Mason. "Instead, the song turned into Dr. Seuss on acid," and Miller opted to include it on his next album. Douglass was asked to join the group after Miller had trouble duplicating his riff in the studio.
Douglass admits that "Jungle Love" was the second attempt to recycle the tune's signature guitar part. "It was used by [my mid-'70s trio] Mistress; I wrote a song called 'Paul' that used the same riff. And I also tried it while I was in Hot Tuna in a co-write with Jorma Kaukonen, but it never really gelled."
Released as a single in 1977, "Jungle Love" was an instant hit, though "It only reached number 22," says Douglass. "At the time, it was a little disappointing. But the song has been very good to me ever since...it helped buy my house."
The song is included on numerous Miller compilations, including Greatest Hits 1974-1978, the 35th-biggest-selling album of all time (13 million copies sold).
Douglass moved to San Diego in 1992.
“I’m currently living in a big, beautiful house out in Lake Hodges, in the Del Dios-Escondido area,” he says. “We survived the fires, and it’s lovely here. It’s like Mayberry on acid.” Though he could probably live off the royalties from “Jungle Love,” Douglass remains one of the county’s busiest musicians.
“My musical plate is so full, it’s unreal,” he says. “I do solo finger-style gigs, concerts, weddings, funerals, dogfights: you pay, and I’ll play.” Among his current ensembles: the Fabulous Pelicans wedding band (“We get paid elephant bucks for traveling to exotic locations”), and surf rockers Mo’ Wasabi (“I’m a Ventures junkie”). He also plays with Quicksilver Gold, a tribute to the music of Quicksilver Messenger Service led by Joli Valenti, son of Dino Valenti, the band's late lead singer.
Douglass also has two instructional DVDs available from http://www.iconsofrock.com, one on lead guitar and one on fingerstyle guitar. He has released two solo CDs: The Natives Are Restless and a Christmas collection, Holiday Classics.
On July 9, 2010, at Pechanga, Douglass played “Jungle Love” onstage with Miller for the first time in around thirty years. Douglass says, “I was strictly there as just another middle-aged guy taking his wife on a date.”
After the first encore, “My wife Jeri wondered aloud why they hadn’t played ‘Jungle Love.’ Just as I was beginning to take that personally, Steve started talking about how the song came to be recorded. He then announced that the writer of tune was in the audience and asked me to stand up! I stood and waved, the spotlight hit me, and Steve said, ‘Well, get on up here and play your song!’ I ran up onstage and, two minutes after being just another guy in the crowd, I was playing ‘Jungle Love’ with the band for the first time in 30 years. The audience went nuts...my wife was in total shock.”
Backstage after the show, “I told Steve, ‘Christ, I come to the show trying to enjoy a quiet night off, and you make me work!’ Slave-driving bastard!”