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Reed and the Prelude to Player

Upon leaving the Grass Roots in 1975, I took a bit of time off to detox from the rigors of touring. During that hiatus, I took some badly-needed personal time to relax and, in the process, build a huge radio-controlled airplane. At the point of realizing it was time to return to work, I received a phone call from Warren Entner, formerly an original member of the Grass Roots who left the group at about the same time I did. Warren had invested in a company called GTO, out of England, that had set up offices on Beverly Boulevard in the ICM Building in West Hollywood. Warren had joined ranks with David Joseph, who headed up GTO. I agreed to join in on a meeting with what was left of a band known as Skyband. I went to their offices at the ICM Building and met David Joseph and two of the members of Skyband, Peter Beckett and Steve Kipner. Warren had mentioned that Skyband had been signed to a multi-album deal with RCA records. I was to replace Lane Caudell in the three-man band. The group, to the best of my recollection, still had another album to complete in order to fulfill its obligations to RCA. I began to feel somewhat uncomfortable with David Joseph, as he continuously flipped his Dunhill cigarettes and matching Dunhill lighter on the table and staring me down, making the situation feel uncomfortable. He was talking down to me. “Yes, you were lead guitar player in the Grass Roots,” he said, “but here is an opportunity to really shine.” Becoming increasingly ill at ease, I asked Mr. Joseph, “What would be my financial participation with the group?” To my surprise, if I recall correctly, as I glanced at Steve and Peter, I was told that the group had accumulated a $380,000 deficit. After a moment or two of thought, I looked at David Joseph and asked, “Does this mean that I would be equally involved in debt?” To my astonishment, his answer was an arrogant “Yes.”

At that point, I looked around the room, thanked Warren (who even today I still consider a good friend) for thinking of me as a possible colleague in this venture. Then I looked at David Joseph and said, “I don’t think this is for me.” I thanked him and stood up. We shook hands, and I made my way to the elevator. Waiting for the elevator, I heard the thumping of footsteps behind me. I turned around, and to my surprise, saw Steven and Peter approaching me. They then proceeded to say, “Mate, what do you know that we don’t know?” I replied, “You guys are really in debt, and I just don’t want to share your debt.” I added, “I live down the street from here; if you want to get together, we can sit down and talk.” They accepted my invitation and agreed to meet later that afternoon at my house on Lloyd Street in West Hollywood.

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