Bryan MacLean   BIOGRAPHY








THE SONS OF ADAM - Words by Michael Stuart-Ware, taken from his book 'Pegasus Carousel'.

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?”
Oh, yeah.

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 night.

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 be beat.

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 place.
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 your hands.
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 an end.
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 lift?”
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 without one.
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 arrangements?”
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.

Some pictures featured here come from Torben's Love website and Randy Holden's website, both contain further reading on the band.