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.
n 1965, I wanted to be James Bond as much as every other acned adolescent boy. In the darkness of the Van Nuys Fox Theater, I watched the short skateboarding film Skaterdater that was used as the intro to Thunderball. The music score was terrifying. The massive theater was filled with the fuzz drenched guitar sound of Davie Allan & the Arrows.
Davie Allan, also known as King Fuzz, provided the soundtracks for over 40 of the coolest cult films of all time. With close ties to director Roger Corman and the production of Mike Curb, The Arrows became the best selling instrumental band of 1967. Their hit single “Blues Theme” from The Wild Angels would be responsible for the formation of countless garage bands for the next four decades, including Van Halen, who worked the song up as their first number. The iconic photo of the 6’5″ Davie Allan holding a double neck Mosrite guitar is forever etched in the minds of cave-teens worldwide.
I couldn’t watch a teen dance show on TV without seeing the Arrows. They were ringers for other Tower recording artists, including Max Frost & the Troopers, the Hands of Time, and the Chocolate Watchband. The Arrows appeared on TV’s Get Smart, and in Corman’s film The Hard Ride. Davie is also the uncredited vocalist on the theme song of Corman’s Glory Stompers. Needless to say, I became Davie Allan’s biggest fan.
My friend Chris Ashford is the man who first released the Germs on his indy label What? Records. In 1993 Chris was producing Davie Allan’s new album, and he asked me to play bass. Original Arrow Drew Bennet was also in the band. For the first two years we played LA shows with bands like X and Agent Orange, and became Hollywood’s cool party band. When the film Pulp Fiction was released in 1995 the Instro scene exploded. Even though the Arrows weren’t on the soundtrack, we were rediscovered by a new generation of fans. Rhythm guitarist Drew Bennet did not want to tour, and was replaced by the lovely miss Carman Hillebrew, formerly with the Dayglo Abortions. Together we played on bills with Link Wray, Dick Dale, and the Lively Ones. We also toured Europe, and sold out a show at the Garage in London. Davie and I happily continued to write and record songs for Roger Corman soundtracks too.
When we played on the starting line of LA’s gigantic annual motorcycle rally/charity fund raiser, the Love Ride, there were ten thousand Harley Davidsons revving up their engines as we launched into “Blues Theme”. But the real chaos was yet to come.
Jerry Lewis, the event’s host waited in his dressing room trailer as celebrities like Peter Fonda and Pamela Anderson mingled with the crowd. The radio DJ Doctor Demento was our MC. Ten kids in wheelchairs had been rolled on stage, and were placed right in front of our powerful amps. The kids had Muscular Dystrophy, and were to be interviewed by Mr Lewis. Our drummer had very specific instructions to play a long snare drum roll, as a cue to bring Mr Lewis to the stage, but first there was to be an unveiling of the original oil painting of the new Love Ride poster.
Over the years many of the world’s greatest living artists such as David Hockney and Peter Max had donated their talents to the charitable cause, and this year’s poster art was painted by my hero Stanley Mouse. Even if you don’t know the name, you’ve seen his work. His 1960’s psychedelic posters for San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom are American treasures, and the originals fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars. Stanley Mouse looked like a real hippy as he stood in the crowd next to Anna Nicole Smith who was asking for his autograph.
During the unveiling, our stupid ass drummer played the long snare roll too early, and Jerry Lewis came bounding to the stage. Jerry Lewis quickly realized that this was a miscue, and defaulted into his famous slapstick mode. He grabbed the painting like it was a 10 cent vaudeville prop, and proceeded to stretch it over his head. The fat biker security guards tackled Stanley Mouse to the ground as he ran to the stage to rescue his valuable masterpiece.
Mr Lewis then stood on Stanley Mouse as he taunted him with a “Hey Biker Biker” in his best Nutty Professor voice. To add insult to injury Jerry Lewis successfully ripped his head through the painting, and danced like a striper as he wore it like a beauty contest sash. Dr Demento turned to me and said “Looks like the King of Comedy is a little out of control this morning. Why don’t you play a song?” But we couldn’t without blowing out the eardrums of some unfortunate children.
Later that same day, The Arrows played behind a transsexual fashion show in Silverlake, but it was like a midwest ice cream social in comparison. Davie and I are still good pals, and I’m sure we’ll play more crazy shows together.
- Dave Provost