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Peter and Steve showed up. They sat down with an inexpensive bottle of Almandine wine, and had a few. After discussing the situation further for a while, we got kind of tired and proceeded to pick up an acoustic guitar and started fooling around. It’s pleasing to note that we really did enjoy each other’s company. But reality set in. They came to realize that they were stuck in a solid contract. I had a friend who was an attorney. His name was Bruce Grakel. Bruce had clients such as Jimmy Webb, Harry Nilsson, and Ringo Starr, just to name a few. My wife at the time, Patty, got to know Bruce and his wife Ronnie well and socialized often. On one occasion when we were together, I happened to tell Bruce about the situation that Peter and Steven faced with GTO. Being the good friend that Bruce was, he assured me that he would investigate the matter from a legal perspective.

After some legal maneuvers, we did find a legitimate and ethical way to move forward, and Steve Kipner, Peter Beckett, and I succeeded in creating a viable band, under its first name Riff Raff. On a daily basis, Riff Raff rehearsed tunes written by members of the band. Steve’s song was Square Peg in a Round Hole, Peter’s song was Childish Games (Foolish Pride). We began composing additional original material while rehearsing at the famous Whiskey-a-Go-Go on Sunset Boulevard. In my possession, I still have the rehearsal tapes of Riff Raff as well as the basic tracks that were recorded at A&M Studios on La Brea and Sunset. The band had progressed to the point where instead of sending cassettes to prospective producers’ offices as was customary, we literally went in and performed as a trio, using acoustic guitars and small amps. We performed live for such people as Bill Halverson, engineer for Crosby, Stills, and Nash at his home, and Phil Ramone, producer of Paul Simon and Billy Joel. Steve Kipner was still part of the deal when we performed for Bill Halverson. Steve left the band, and J.C. Crowley, who was living in his car at the time, moved into my house and lived with my wife Patty and me.

With Crowley aboard, we had been scheduled to meet with Steve Barri. We actually met and performed for Phil Ramone at ABC Dunhill Studios on Beverly Boulevard. We sat down in the studio and played acoustically for him. Original songs included Cancellation, Love Is Where You Find It, and Movin’ Up. Phil Ramone tended to gravitate toward J.C.’s songs, which did not go over well with Peter. That was the first moment I realized Peter’s desire to control the group. He seemed to have a sense of possession over it. Needless to say, things did not work out well with Phil Ramone. At about this same time, we discovered that another band out of England on the RCA label had ownership of the Riff Raff name. This fact caused us to change the name of our band to Bandana.

I had a talk with Ronnie, attorney Bruce Grakel’s wife, and mentioned the frustration I was experiencing. Ronnie talked to Bruce, who was negotiating a record label deal for Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, both of whom were previous songwriters for the Grass Roots. An audition was set up through Ronnie and Bruce Grakel and the existing negotiator Bob Ellis, who met with Dennis and Brian. A six-song singles deal was negotiated, and we signed with Haven Records. Such songs as Melanie, written by J. Crockett but lead vocals by P. Beckett; Love Is Where You Find It, written by J. Crockett, J.C. Crowley and myself but lead vocals by Peter Beckett and J.C. Crowley; Movin’ Up, written by J. Crockett, Steve Kipner, and myself but lead vocals by P. Beckett; and Cancellation, written by J. Crockett, S. Kipner, and myself but vocals by P. Beckett. Peter Beckett had maneuvered around his prior commitment to GTO by changing his name to J. Crockett.


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