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Interestingly, the second time that the Grass Roots appeared on the show, Warren Entner and I were talking in what was a sort of dressing room/closed-off hallway right next to the studio, which was approximately 25 or 30 feet by 30 feet. There was a doorway off to the side, and there was a ten-piece Hispanic band on, wearing mint-green tuxedos and puffy white shirts. The band was lip-synching a song. Warren said, “Hold it, Reed, I want to hear this song.” We both listened attentively. Afterwards, the Grass Roots were flying back to Los Angeles. Warren asked the lead singer of the Evergreen Blues Band for a copy of the group’s 45 that had previously been released locally. Warren commented on how much he liked the song. Upon returning to Los Angeles and getting clearance to record the song, which was produced by Steve Barri on the ABC Dunhill label, that song reached #2 slot on the national charts and became the Grass Roots’ biggest hit. It is the Grass Roots’ signature song, Midnight Confessions. At that time, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would eventually become a member of that band.

Popularity of the Destinations surged. We were performing throughout Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois. Largely due to playing on Art’s TV show, we gained a new level of exposure and success. I also made some important contacts and met some great people. The only drawback to doing Art’s show was the two-hour drive to play for one hour live, and then having to return to Wisconsin to perform that same night. Because of the frequent traveling from Milwaukee to Chicago and back, Dick Keskey, the guy who drove my car back and forth really got gutsy on the road. My car, a Corvair Spider, was so light that on one occasion, Dick actually drafted the suction of a Greyhound bus traveling in front of us and took his foot of the gas. Later he commented on how stupid that was, because we were literally traveling four feet behind the bus. Sometimes he would drive in excess of 105 to 110 miles per hour just to see how much time he could cut off the trip. One time, we were so late that Bill Wilson, our bass player who liked drinking beer a lot, was forced to relieve himself in a beer can. There was just no time and no place to stop. As every beer drinker knows, you don’t buy beer, you just rent it.

In 1968, the Destinations had achieved great success, but the Judas character in the band had motives of his own. In concert with the wishes of the manager Con Merton, this member of the band convinced the other members that maybe it was time to bring in another guitar player. Judas and Con staged a power play in order to gain more control over the band’s success and finances. Fred coined the phrase “Reader the Leader,” a line that caught on with the other guys in the group. I, you see, was the group’s most responsible member, as well as the one who wrote all the original music and who gave the band some sense of direction.

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