Howard Kaylan’s “Shell Shocked”. likes. Howard Kaylan’s life has been a dangerous ride that he is only too happy to report on shocking tales of. Howard Kaylan recalls his days as part of a hit-making band, a friend to a musical giant, and his tenacious grasp on his dream. —And Gives The Final Word On Six Legendary Rock ‘N Roll Myths! Words and Photos By Anne M. Raso. Howard Kaylan’s autobiography Shell Shocked.
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If you snocked not picked up Shell Shocked yetyou are in for the best rock and roll tales of your life. Kaylan born Kaplan but who changed his name because he thought Kaylan sounded hpward started out being raised in Brooklyn, then his family settled in LA after a brief stint in Utica, NY. Once in LA, Kaylan stole 45s from the local record store, pulling off the labels and writing his name on the remaining paper.
When he dropped out of UCLA inhis folks freaked out but he promised them he would have a hit record within kaylann months–and HK made good on that promise. He even treated his folks to a new Chevy and Hawaiian vacation. He and longtime partner Mark Volman aka Flo were no loner allowed to use the name The Turtles in after a dispute with their label White Whale Records, and so they wound up in Frank Zappa’s newfangled version of the Mothers, not only bringing in beautiful harmonies but a comic element as well.
Kaylan’s conservative parents were not pleased with his sometimes raunchy Eddie persona shll were more concerned about his illegal substance intake and failure as a family man. But out of all rock and roll excess comes unbelievable tales. Kaylan recaps numerous orgies, funny moments with Frank Zappa in the studio and on the road, the burning down of the Casino at Montreux where the band only salvaged a cowbellrecording with and being close friends with Marc Bolan, being a KROQ deejay on the air after Howard Stern, and more.
I sat down with Howard, aka Eddie, to discuss his absorbing book over blueberry crepes at a quaint Euro style coffee house and bar in the lobby of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Tribeca recently. He knew all these folks, and some very intimately.
Howard has inside info and pulls no punches so in my opinion, he is the “final word” on these people who changed the world and mold popular culture. The only thing I would ever question him about is his view of Lou Reed—whom he refers to in his book as hilarious, LOL!
I went to high school with Squeaky Fromme. She went to Westchester High and signed my yearbook.
She was Squeaky back then before she was Squeaky to the world. She was a really nice girl in high school. I know that Manson was a real hypnotic presence to be around. He was a fairly well known musician in Hollywood when this murder stuff took place—not just because of his friendship with Dennis Wilson but because he had shopped his music around to pretty much everybody.
They had all passed on it but it was close to getting him a record deal. Some of his stuff was actually pretty good. You listen to his album that never came out because no one would dare to release it and it is not bad. I have heard a lot worse records come out. I think he got a bad shake but I do not think that is what ruined his mind. I think he was a natural born killer and a psycho from the get-go but you would never know that at the time he was looking for a record label —there are so many weirder people walking the streets of Hollywood now or on these streets in New York.
You would never look twice at a guy like Chuck Manson until he did something that made the scales tip and he certainly did that. I ran into him once or twice but it was just with Dennis Wilson.
He was just a Hollywood guy. I never took him for being the leader of a cult or anything. He was not murdered! Kaylan says it was an accidental drug overdose. You are going to ask me about the Brian Jones story soon! Brian Jones drowned because of an asthma attack in his poolpossibly after being pushed in by construction workers working at his home. Also, he had been let go by The Stones for being unreliable and unpredictable. I think Brian was murdered. I am not certain if it was those construction people that had been named on and off in books and articles and I am not sure if they were construction people at all but I know that Brian was messed with and he had it coming.
He got himself into a lot of trouble and people that knew him knew he was in trouble.
It was not just the drugs he was taking; he was involved in some shady dealings and people were out to teach him a lesson. The Stones let him go because he wanted to take the Stones in a different direction. He wanted to go into folk music. I mean, he was a very strange guy.
When shockex tried it on Satanic Majestiesthey just got ripped by the press. They just got torn a new one from every critic out there and they realized that that was not the way people wanted to perceive the Stones. They were the anti-Beatles. He was an experimenter. He wanted to take the Stones in new directions–plus there was all that weirdness with Anita ,aylan. Plus, there was all the shady stuff that he was doing on the side outside the Stones that they got wind of through mutual friends and checked out and found to be true.
Bobby was a bad boy. That is all I will say. Even when I knew him, he was a bad boy. When you ask his brother Randy or anyone else in his band, they are really hush about it.
CRR Interview – Howard Kaylan: A Turtle Comes Out Of His Shell
If this was a natural situation or something he brought upon himself, I think they would be quicker to talk about it. So I was always suspicious about that particular death and I do not believe that it was a natural occurrence.
Dick Clark took payola at one point although he was never caught while other rock personalities like Alan Freed went to jail. Still, shekl bands of the 50s and 60s loved him. He was always so supportive of us. He loved our band so much. He loved us and he loved our kids. He was a wonderful man.
Of course he was involved with payola early on in his career. In the Cameo-Parkway days when he was doing American Bandstand out of Philadelphia and all those Chancellor and Cameo-Parkway acts like Shockfd Checker were getting play on his show, of course he shll getting payola. It was okay to get payola then. He had the biggest music show in the country and he was almost beyond reproach.
He stopped—as far as I know, he stopped when the show moved to California. But he was one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met in my life. He was one of the fairest men I have ever known.
If you did him a solid, he would remember you for the rest of his life, and he would owe you and he would keep paying you back. I think he was one of the best people we have ever had in kaylaan business. Jim Morrison died of a heroin hodard as opposed to having a heart attack in the bath as listed on his French death certificate. That was heroin; that was nothing but heroin.
He was an abuser. It would have been sadder had not everyone having seen it coming but when he moved to Europe, it was kind of sgocked beginning of the end and the band guys wrote him off. I mean, they were prepared before his death to replace him.
Those clowns are still out on the road trying to replace him with lead singers of all different races and religions and stuff…trying to find the guy to be the next Jim. They will never find a guy—and if they do, that guy would have to be crazy to work with those three because they are out of their minds.
They are totally gone. The only person who is going to be remembered as a Door is Jim Morrison. Ray, John and Robby they do not care about—and to these guys, it is the most frustrating thing in the world, because as far as they were concerned, they were the first band to write everything as a group.
They make as much money as the Morrison Estate does for those incredible records. So, they are well off enough to just sit down and shut up and I kind of wish they would because playing together today with new singers is kind of a disservice to their name.
No one can go as high or sing as low as he did—he was incredible. I thought it was the biggest travesty in the world when Paul Rodgers was doing it. He is not meant to sing that stuff. So they do not know what they are doing and they are abusing their place in the rock pantheon and it pisses me off. Buy Shell Shocked Howaard Words and Photos By Anne M.