What was it like dancing with The Byrds on tour? I always thought that Michael Clake the drummer of The Byrds was really good looking in his prime-- what was he like in person? What was it like going to Veto's studio and all those crazy parties you used to go to? What was the Sunset Strip like back in the sixties? I bet it has really changed now, hey? What are you doing now? You ought to write a book on your past experiences.
In 1965 we were asked by the "Byrds" Management, to go with the band for a thirty day tour in the USA Midwest, starting in the mile high city of Denver. There we were all treated like Royalty by the producers and the people that came to see the show. The band's music and the way we danced, and the crowd's approval blew all our minds and this was our first performance together, we were not on any drugs. That's why Jim McGuinn wrote the song “8 Miles High.”
Now. Jim or Roger did not want the dancers on the tour because he thought we would upstage his band. But after leaving Colorado, when we were in Wyo. or Kan. we stopped for a break on the tour bus, and he asked me what I thought of his song “8 Miles High?” I thought then he was giving into the idea of us dancers, performing with the Byrds. But we never did dance on the stage with them and got none or no credit for being there dancers. Our fame was because we first started dancing with the Birds at a teen dance that Vito put together at a hall on Melrose Ave. It was a 300 people Success. By the way it was a STOP THE WAR in Vietnam Dance. with placards and posters saying, STOP THE KILLING!!!!!!! STOP THE WAR NOW!!!!!! DON"T GO TO VIETNAM TO KILL PEOPLE!!!!! this was a teen dance and it's 1965 in Hollywood, California.
The very next night at Ciro's on the SUNSET STRIP we danced and then any other place the Byrds would have a gig. We became inseparable and that started a dance movement never seen before. But later on, at the Midwest Tour we were not a happy group. because the dancers were never given any acknowledgment. And today as I watch TV Roger McGuinn now shows the dancing and the dancers of that time, but not the tour dancers that made him famous and rich.
Michael Clarke was a Beatnik, a congo drummer a beach dude, he hung aloof from the Byrd's and didn't perform on the Records they made, A sweet guy who loved women, a poet that didn't belong to a group of guys that had to do 78 takes in a recording session, and couldn't get it right. And the blood did roll. ask the manager, Jim, he got bloodied too.
And VITO, our teacher, loved Hollywood, I met him as a business man looking to buy a painting from one of his students. a young woman painter. Within a short time I became one of his proteges . So I was at all the parties and happenings and events. Hollywood was so turned on because we wore clothes like in the Movies and right out in the street U saw people wearing garments from all the costume stores that the studios were selling, also Vito's wife Sue was making and selling her Sculptured Garments. At any party it was all the people and actors and actresses from the studios hanging out and being involved with one another, love and kisses everywhere, like the movie “King of Hearts” and we seemed to be free of all tyranny until, we had to stop, because Acid was being dropped in all the punch bowels and Timothy Leary's curse screwed up everyone’s mind. And of course the police wanted to get rid of anything we proposed to do.
The Sunset Strip was a battle ground for free speech with Lenny Bruce as one of our guides and walking every night on Sunset Blvd. to protest no fancy Stores and High Rise apartments and not being busted for wearing different clothes. The change is, U can't breath the air and more cars to pollute and all people want is more money. Otherwise I wish I could live there.
I’m making Movies about the Local Indian Tribes, this is my 4th and two others about Artists I know. I still dance whenever I can. I can still do about an hour if the band can play that long.
I’m Hungry Freaks Daddy,
carl o. franzoni