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We had two dates coming up the following weekend, during which time Ricky Coonce performed with the band. Rick was one of the greatest guys you would ever want to know and have as a friend, but there was a problem. Rick had absolutely no sense of time and rhythm when it came to drumming. Upon our return from the gig, I informed Warren, “If he stays, then I’m leaving.” I believe Rick Coonce now lives in Vancouver, Canada and is employed as a social worker.



I recall Warren asking, “Who are we going to replace him with and still keep our costs in line?” I had befriended a guy by the name of Joel Larson. His girlfriend, Janice, made incredible ribbon outfits and purses. Joel had been part of the original Grass Roots from the San Francisco area, that had a hit record called Mr. Jones. From what I understand, the band was then invited down to Los Angeles and, to my understanding, recorded a P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri song called Where Were You When I Needed You. Again to my understanding, after having recorded the song, one or another of the band’s members--other than Joel--fell victims of the drug world. The group had disbanded. Henceforth, Warren Entner, Rob Grill, Rick Coonce, and Creed Bratton constituted the reformulated Grass roots in 1967. Now, going back to the reformation of the Grass Roots, I asked Warren, “Since Joel Larson was the band’s original drummer, and due to the fact we had so little rehearsal time, why not use Joel as a drummer? Warren mentioned the idea to Rob Grill, and there was a big to-do about Joel. Apparently, there were some unfinished business matters pertaining to Joel that left a bad taste in Rob’s mouth. Nevertheless, eventually the disagreements were worked out, and Joel once again became a member. The band was now reformed.

The Grass Roots performed in many and diverse venues, including a performance to be aired on the innovative ABC show, David Sontag’s In Concert, and Wolfman Jack’s Midnight Special on NBC. A true highlight in my career was performing two shows, on Friday and Saturday nights, with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Just imagine the thrill of performing Grass Roots songs backed by an 87-piece world-class orchestra. A magnificent harpist played directly behind me. I heard heavenly glissandos that I never heard before or since. The conductor had completed the orchestral charts just a couple days before the actual performance. The charts arrived in the luggage of the conductor, who flew in the day before the rehearsal. The rehearsal was a white knuckle flight. We had only a single run-through. But after all was said and done, both shows came off flawless. I had many wonderful, exciting times while performing for the Grass Roots. To this day, I thank Warren Entner for letting me tag along, and I consider him a good friend. I deeply appreciate his support at those times when I really needed it.

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