What did DAVIE ALLAN & THE ARROWS, THE DWIGHT TWILLEY BAND and THE DREAM SYNDICATE and all have in common? Bassist Dave Provost, that’s who. Who has played in musical aggregations with the likes of AL GREEN, SKY SAXON, and KATHY VALENTINE? Dave Provost has.
Dave is a kind of rock n roll Zelig, somehow popping up at all the crucial turns and twists in LA rock history during the past 4+ decades. Over the years his formidable musical & rhythmic chops got him seats next to some seriously world-class musicians, while his gregarious, outgoing nature had all the rest inviting him to their after-gig parties. And now, he’s now spilling the beans about it all, starting with this post.
This is really, really good news to those of us who appreciate just where this man’s walked and rocked in his lifetime. So please: do take a seat at the feet of Mr Dave Provost for a spell, and follow him in his search for lost rock n roll time.
teve Wynn was the college kid that worked behind the counter at my favorite record store. We shared a love of the same music: Television, The Fall, John Cale, Stockhausen, and Johnny Cash. He had a lot of chutzpah asking me to jam with his band Goat Diety.
When I arrived at the suburban tract home where they rehearsed, I was welcomed by chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven and a dog that I think played Lassie in the later films. It was the family residence of Kristi and Kelly Callan. I had met the sisters at a Textones show in San Francisco, and had seen them at LA shows hanging out with The Plugz and The Last. Their home-spun good looks set them apart from all the leather jacket punk chicks.
I had never experienced a functional family before. Their mother K. was a familiar face that I’d seen on TV playing the role of a supportive, nurturing mom. However I had never met one in real life, until now. She was a California casual version of Loretta Young. This might not seem important in a pop band story, but it’s a critical element of everything Wednesday Week.
The rehearsal was ragged at best. Steve was a commanding singer/guitarist, but the girls were just learning to play. There was a certain inexplicable charm in their songs however, and I saw potential. It would be a year before my next session with Kristi and Kelly. During that time the Callan sisters recorded a song under the name Narrow Adventure, with Kjehl Johansen of The Urinals on bass.
Goat Diety had auditioned a young guitarist named Karl Precoda. Steve and Karl hit it off and started their own band, The Dream Syndicate, with ex-Human Hands drummer Dennis Duck and bassist Kendra Smith from Steve’s childhood band The Suspects. But the name Goat Diety was often mistaken for Go Dee Dee, very much the same way that Australians misunderstood James Brown as singing “get down with your bat’s elf.” So Wednesday Week was now the name of the group, taken from an Undertones song title.
The Callan girls would stare at me blankly as I spoke of diminished 7th chords, roadies, and backstage deli platters. I lived vicariously through their innocence. Song like “I Hate Lying To Mom” and “Sad Little Dog” could have been outtakes from the Wiggin family girl group from New Hampshire that I’ve vowed never to mention. I rehearsed with them every day for a while, and they got really good. My analysis of Kelly’s drum parts made me rethink my whole approach to playing the bass. Kristi played guitar, and sang like a sexy city cousin of the Von Trapp family. They were a good kind of different.
I was used to playing venues with electricity and running water, but the sisters were fearless. We played Valley dives with heavy metal bands, and a few showcase clubs with The Last and Sylvia Juncosa. Every show was better attended than the show before. We recorded an EP entitled Betsy’s House at Radio Tokyo studios, with former Blue Cheer bassist Ethan James at the board.
I really had fun witnessing the birth of an indie band. Other commitments were requiring more of my time, and I stepped down. Soon afterwards, Wednesday Week had a popular video on MTV and major label distribution. But we are still friends to this day. Kristi and Kelly are beautiful women. Their mom is still acting, and still making cookies.
- Dave Provost