SONS OF ADAM - Words by Michael Stuart-Ware,
taken from his book 'Pegasus
The place was packed and the crowd was in the
palm of their hands. At that moment I had to have
been thinking, “Man, I would give anything
to play drums with the Fender Four.” I mean,
they were dynamite.
During a break, the group members sat at a table
with their girlfriends and talked to the patrons
who came over to buy them drinks. Pretty soon,
it was time for the next set and the Fender Four
commenced to knocking ‘em dead again.
After a couple of songs, I felt somebody slide
into the chair next to me and a female voice asked,
“Are you guys in a band?” I looked
over and was surprised to see the girl who had
been sitting next to the bass player. Smiling,
stunningly beautiful. “I’m Donna.”
She held out her hand and we shook. Then, without
me asking, she began to tell me about the Fender
Four, “All the guys are from Baltimore,
except the drummer. They found him in LA. They
call themselves ‘The Fender Four’
because the lead guitar player, Randy, hustled
a deal with Fender to get free equipment in exchange
for free publicity.”
Donna looked at the group and leaned over close
to me. “Quite honestly, I don’t think
they’re completely happy with the drummer.
They’re sort of looking to replace him,
eventually. You don’t happen to play the
drums do you?”
After the set ended, Donna introduced me to Mike
and Randy and told them I was a drummer, and they
said something like, “Well, hey, maybe we
can get together and jam, sometime,” and
they took my number. But it was understood they
were talking about an audition.
The next day, Randy and Mike called and asked
if I wanted to jam, and I said, “Sure, come
on over, we can jam at my house, no problem,”
which was crazy. I was still living at home, and
things were already a little on the shaky side,
what with me dropping out of school. I had no
regular means of support. But what I did have
was hair that was getting longer by the minute.
More and more, my folks were beginning to give
me this look that said, “What’s the
matter with you?”
So around noon, Mike & Randy pulled up to
the curb in front of my house and unloaded their
equipment and brought it in and set it up, and
in a while we started playing. And, whoa, it was
amazing! And ear-splitting.
After running through a few tunes, Randy and Mike
set guitar and bass down, lit a couple of Viceroys,
and we sat around and talked for a while. Then,
in a minute, Randy looked up and told me, “Michael,
this group’s going to the top, and we want
you as our drummer. How about it?”
Randy not only looked unique, but his playing
style was unique as well. He taught himself to
play guitar, note by note, from records, and then
he taught Jack and Mike their rhythm guitar and
bass parts for each song. Extremely focused, Randy
was a dynamic and powerfully talented guitarist.
Blessed with blazing speed, his hands always shook
just a little when he wasn’t playing, as
if they couldn’t wait, such was the level
of his intensity; and he hit the right note every
time. He was a consummate perfectionist who hated
leaving anything to chance. A groundbreaker of
heavy metal, his product was fire and the guitar
was his incendiary device. He was awesome every
Jack Ttana was our rhythm guitarist. The showman
of the group. Great stage presence and personality.
Conjure up a mental image of Frank Sinatra, with
long hair and glasses, and you’ll have a
rough visual concept of Jack. In fact, he even
had a framed picture of himself in a Frank Sinatra
pose on his bureau. Head tilted casually to one
side, sports jacket draped over his shoulder,
looking back at the camera. Walking out the door,
smiling nonchalantly. Like the publicity shot
used for “Come Blow Your Horn”.
Jack talked to himself in the mirror a lot, if
he thought nobody was around. Like, if he was
in the bathroom combing his hair, working real
hard, trying to get it to look good.
“Now if I can get it to stay over here,
on the right… yeah, that’s it. Who
do those people think they are anyway? I’ll
show ‘em they can’t mess with me!”
But, you know, non-stop, jumping from one subject
to another in a running monologue. If he heard
footsteps, of course, then he would put it in
pause, get real quiet, wait until the coast was
clear and, when he thought he was alone, he would
start rapping again. Jack was a hell of a good
singer. Carried a tune, right on and despite not,
by traditional standards, being a “pretty
boy”, he had a whole lot of beautiful women
chasing him – and he was talented.
Mike Port was our bass player. Thin, soft features,
baby face, gentle, expression, but the other guys
had filled me in. As a kid, Mike was forced to
fight his way through one of the toughest neighbourhoods
in Baltimore everyday, to get to the store and
buy his Mom a pack of camels, so he got tough.
Mike was in a bunch of fights in the time I knew
him, and he won all of them. I don’t remember
him ever getting hit. Not once. It was always
more or less total annihilation of the opponent
by what was, essentially, a fighting machine.
He had to be. It was a dangerous time, and his
soft, delicate looks gave him the appearance of
a pretty girl, from a distance, in the dark; which
is the way most drunk dudes saw him for the first
time. But looks can be deceiving. He couldn’t
As soon as I joined up with Randy and Mike and
Jack, we moved into a house together in Pacific
Palisades and began to play the beer bar circuit.
We played Cisco’s, in Manhatten Beach, and
The Mirage in Santa Monica, and the Warehouse
IX in West L.A., and a few others; and we continued
to build a following.
One night, when the group was playing the Beaver
Inn in Westwood, we got word that a Hollywood
entrepreneur named Kim Fowley was coming down
to check us out. At the break, he met us over
by the edge of the stage and introduced himself
and told us he liked the group and he thought
he could get us some work in Hollywood. Then he
said, “Hey, ‘The Fender Four’
is a dog shit name, man. You guys should call
yourselves ‘The Sons of Adam.’”
He said it with flair.
We had a gig at The Cinnamon Cinder in the valley
for a couple of months, back in early 1966, when
it was owned by Bob Eubanks, the game show host.
Every Wednesday night was “guest star”
night and we would serve as the back-up band for
whatever star showed up on Wednesdays. The really
astounding part of the plan was the lack of preparation
involved. The star would just show up about twenty
minutes before the set and we would meet in the
dressing room during the break and run over a
few songs, and then we would go out and introduce
the star and the star would emerge and take the
stage with us. Then we would back them up on their
hits and a few other songs and that would be it.
It was an ok system, I guess, I mean we never
had any major foul-ups that I can remember, other
than an occasional wrong note. No big deal. The
Sons of Adam were pretty good at picking things
up first time. Guests included Glen Campbell and
Dick & Dee.
Earlier in 1965, The Sons of Adam had played a
gig at the Long Beach Auditorium with The Stones,
during their first American tour.
The director, Sydney Pollack, saw the group one
night and decided to cast us as the club band
that would appear in a film he was about to begin,
featuring Anne Bancroft and Sydney Poitier, The
Slender Thread. We shot our part on an enormous
sound stage at Paramount Studios, in Hollywood.
I didn’t think the film was that great,
really, but at least Sydney Pollack had the artistic
insight to shoot it in black-and-white, so there
was a visual dark mood and depth of character
that gave the story a lift. The Slender Thread,
featuring The Sons of Adam, is on American Movie
Classics once in a while, and listed in all the
videotape catalogues, with a four star rating.
We even got a billing in the closing credits.
Check it out.
Some of the fans who came to see us at Gazzarri’s
and The Whisky also went to Bido Lito’s:
the things they told us tweaked our interest.
They told us rock groups playing other clubs in
Hollywood often went to Bido Lito’s on their
nights off, to sit in and do guests sets for free;
and the house band, Love played a unique style
of hard-rockin’ folk.
Mike and Jack and Randy and I decided to go ahead
and arrange a guest set at Bido Lito’s on
our next night off at Gazzarri’s. Love was
playing. Arthur started the tambourine intro that
lead into the hit single off their first album,
‘My Little Red Book’. The crowd went
crazy. No doubt about it, Love had Bido Lito’s
in the palms of their hands. His was Love’s
But then it was time for our set. And that night,
we were on fire. The audience responded and we
took it away from Love. We could see it in their
eyes. Midway through our set, I looked over to
my side of the stage and Arthur and Bryan were
standing together, arms outstretched to me, grinning
fiendishly and wiggling their fingers and grabbing
the air, like when you knead bread dough with
After the group had finished its set, I made my
way back to the bar to get a cold drink. Arthur
was sitting on a stool, waiting. He shook my hand.
“Hey, man, you guys were out of sight. But
can I tell you something? The Sons of Adam are
never gonna go anywhere. They’re just another
band. My group Love is about to record some shit
that’s bound to blow everybody’s mind
and I want you to be the drummer on those records.
We want you to be our new drummer.” I wasn’t
shocked, or surprised, or anything. It was no
secret that the group considered Snoopy an interim
member and that, collectively, they hated his
drumming and were looking for a replacement, but
Arthur had picked the worst possible time to ask
me. I had never been happier in my life, and my
brothers in The Sons of Adam were part of that.
Besides, we had just got through kicking their
brains in. Really. The Sons of Adam were the better
band that night. So, I turned Arthur down flat.
Thanks but no thanks. And then I forgot about
it. Sort of.
Over the course of the next few months, Arthur
began to regularly drop by The Sons of Adams’
house in Laurel Canyon, to hang out and exchange
ideas. Sometimes he brought Johnny or Bryan with
him, sometimes he came alone. One day he said,
“I have a song I want to give you guys.
It’s perfect for The Sons of Adam,”
and then he picked up his black Gibson acoustic
and played us ‘7 and 7 Is’.
“Naw,” Randy said, “It’s
a little far out for us. We don’t want it.”
A few months later Love recorded it with Snoopy
on drums and it became a big hit. Needless to
say, I was somewhat miffed.
For the next several months, The Sons of Adam
bounced back and forth between L.A. and San Francisco,
promoting the single we had recorded, ‘Mister,
You’re A Better Man Than I’. Our legion
of fans continued to grow. Nevertheless, Arthur’s
prophecy for the future of the group was about
to manifest itself in the present. The Sons of
Adam’s time together was about to come to
Ronnie Haran became a kind of unofficial manager
of Love, and as the booking agent for the Whisky,
she had formed a close working relationship with
members of The Sons of Adams, as well, so I wasn’t
really surprised when I got a call from her, one
night, asking me to meet her in her upstairs office
at the Whisky. “Michael, I have to take
a run up to Terry Melcher’s house to talk
over some business,” she said. “My
car’s in the shop, feel like giving me a
It was nearly almost midnight when we left the
Whisky. As we wound our way up Benedict Canyon,
Ronnie reached over to turn my car stereo down.
“You know, Michael, Arthur really wants
you to join Love.”
I nodded, “Yeah, I know, Ronnie, but what
about Snoopy? He did a great job on ‘7 and
7 Is’. He sounded fine to me. Are you sure
they want to get rid of him?”
“Does a bear shit in the woods? The session
was a nightmare,” Ronnie explained. “They
had a hell of a time getting it right. Arthur
hates Snoopy’s drumming and they’re
totally committed to making a change as soon as
possible. Love is about to break new ground on
their next album and they want you in the group
really bad, before they go into the studio.”
Frankly, I had already been thinking about it.
For the last few months, The Sons of Adam had
been in a kind of holding pattern. No movies,
no modeling assignments, our record deal had gone
flat, and lately we had found ourselves playing
the same old clubs over and over. But more importantly,
our lack of a really outstanding lead singer was
becoming more of a noticeable detriment than ever
before. It seemed to be something we simply couldn’t
get past. Our manager had even mentioned it. Not
that a rock group couldn’t achieve success
The day after, Ronnie called, “Michael,
the group has a weekend gig in Fresno and they
want you to fly up with us. You know, just come
hang out. It’ll be fun. Shall I make the
So I agreed to take that little plane ride to
Fresno with Love and Ronnie. My buddies in The
Sons of Adam knew what was happening but they
understood. Arthur had made no secret of the fact
that he wanted me to join the group, and I had
been spending a lot of tie with Ronnie. More importantly,
Randy, Jack and Mike were as aware as I of the
insurmountable difficulties facing our group.
Each of us was looking for a “Plan B”
and, as far as I was concerned, Love was quickly
becoming mine. That weekend in Fresno would prove
to be the catalyst for the decision I had to make
regarding my future because, during the next few
days, I would come to know Arthur and Bryan and
Kenny and Johnny well enough to realize, for the
first time, that I might one day feel as close
to them as I had with the members of any group
I had played with professionally.
At the first gig on Friday night, the atmosphere
was filled with the kind of magic you expect,
when a great rock group comes to perform in a
town like Fresno. As soon as we walked in, we
knew the audience was pumped. Love indeed had
something special which almost always captured
the imagination of any audience: a unique style
and power that foretold a level of future success
with virtually no limit. I told Ronnie later that
night that I would give my notice to The Sons
of Adam when we got back home.