(in the back are Bob Yeazel standing and Jerry Corbetta, in the front are from the left, Bobby Pickett standing, Bob Raymond, Bob MacVittie, and Bob Webber)
Above we have a nice publicity photo of Sugarloaf. Bobby Pickett joined the band on May 16, 1971. This shot was taken sometime between then and mid-June 1971. (from the personal collection of Bob MacVittie. Thanks again Bob!!) Click here to see an enlarged version of Al Cunniff's above write up about Sugarloaf and their performance on WDCA. This write up on the band would have had to have taken place a couple of months prior to being used for this publicity photo because their performance aired on March 13, 1971. If anyone has a copy of this live performance please contact me at leswebmail at comcast dot net (using proper symbols and no spaces)
On May 22, 1971, Sugarloaf made a guest appearance on American Bandstand. Although it had been taped slightly prior, this was the original air date. The show featured performances of "Green Eyed Lady" and their just released new single (at the time), "Mother Nature's Wine". Also appearing on this particular episode was Buffy Sainte-Marie singing her current single, "She Used To Wanna Be a Ballerina". Below at the bottom right is the TV listing. Note that this is from the Eastern time zone.
Here is what Bob Yeazel had to say about the experience:
yeah, let me tell you about playing on American Bandstand. Most young people now
have never even heard of it, but it was a big deal for many years in this
country before the advent of cable and M.T.V.
(Shit, I sound like my grandma
describing nickel bread and flappers.)
It was the only place to see
the music being “performed” (see; lip synched) by the artists themselves.
Later, Ed Sullivan got into the act. His weekly variety show started giving time
slots to the newest and hottest acts live like The Beatles, The Rolling
Stones, and many others. It was the first time American audiences were exposed
to the “British Invasion.”
After “Green-Eyed Lady”
became a hit, we were invited to play on Bandstand. This was the official notice
that we had arrived, since Bandstand was seen around the world in God knows how
The show was shot in the same
studio where “Let’s Make a Deal” was filmed. After moving around and
flipping different cardboard and glitter painted backgrounds, the sets were
interchangeable in less than an hour. Dick Clark was, and is known inside the
entertainment industry as being very shrewd and innovative. He liked to shoot a
months’ worth of shows in an afternoon to save time and money. He even had a
talent pool of different teen-aged audience members out in the parking lot
waiting for their chance to be on T.V.
He would do a show, they would
send out the audience, bring in a new batch of kids and a new band, and shoot
another one. One show right after another. There was no messing around on the
part of the crew or Dick Clark.
I remember being a groupie and trying to meet all of the famous and not so famous people and artists we performed with. Buffy Sainte-Marie was very soft spoken and nice, very petite, and was traveling with her husband. He had an old Martin steel string 00018 with abalone inlay around the bindings. That (model) was one of the most incredible sounding guitars I have ever heard or played.
The Staple Singers were also friendly and real, and treated us young white boys from Denver like we were old friends. I ran into "Pops" Staples in Bobby's Music back in Denver a couple of years later and he actually remembered me! (He said he did anyway, making my day.)
I honestly don't remember much at all about the fourth act. (Note: this would have been Bobby Bloom performing "Montego Bay"). Dick Clark himself talked to us before we went on. He seemed very genuine and real to me. Even though it still ranks as a great honor, I couldn't believe that something as hallowed as American Bandstand could be so cookie-cutter mundane, anti-climactic, and cardboard set cheap. Welcome to Hollywood. It still looked great and exciting on TV!
I asked Bob MacVittie what his memories were of being on American Bandstand. This was his reply:
When we played the Dick Clark show we thought we were really too hip to be there but if you had the chance, you did it because it was good business. We got there and went into the studio to set up. Clark came over and introduced himself, which was pretty humble in itself because of who he was and it was his show. We started talking and he asked if we had been assigned a dressing room yet. We said no so he said why don't you use mine. So we got directions and went there. He always taped six shows at a time. The only evidence that it was his room was a rolling rack with six suits on it. No drinks, food, flowers or any of the other accoutrements that were usual for the star of a major network show. But, he did have refreshments sent to us. When he interviewed us he was very personable and acted like it was the first time he had ever talked to a band who had just had a hit record. Of course it was just his professionalism for the most part, but we came away realizing that in spite of being the major industry figure he was, he was not self impressed at all and was a genuinely sincere and nice person. We were humbled by this and spent many days after that singing praise of Dick Clark.
I had another question for Bob in regards to playing American Bandstand: It is common knowledge that the songs played on Bandstand were mimed. To me it always seemed like miming to a song would be much more difficult for a musician than actually playing it, and I always thought the hardest job would be the drummer's. How is it done? Do you actually hit the drums?
You are correct, make the drum playing look real when the band is lip-synching is very difficult. The studio monitors usually were not loud like when playing live. So, if you just hit the drums and cymbals as you would live you drown out everything and usually got off beat. The solution I came up with was to tape the underside of my cymbals and use tape and cloths or paper towels to muffler the drums. It helped a lot but was far from perfect. If you watch those old shows closely you will see all of the players just going through the motions void of emotion. Television production has come a long way today. Now television monitors have "live" quality frequency response and volume capabilities. They even play the music underneath their live performances so they can blend it in if the artists lose it or mics go down. That happened recently when Shania Twain played halftime at the Super Bowl. During a solo she went down to the audience and didn't get back to her mic in time for the vocal to start again. The sound engineer was right on top of things and brought the track up until she was back. People called in complaining that they lip-synched, but the show was live but for that one moment. The lengths they go to now for flawless production are amazing. So is the price of ads on the Super Bowl broadcast, so I guess the effort and expense is justified.
(from left to right are Pat MacVittie, Bob Raymond, Bobby Pickett, and Bob Yeazel)
From the same time period as the publicity photo at the top of the page, here are three shots taken inside the Sugarloaf dressing room. (from the personal collection of Bob MacVittie. Thanks again Bob!!)
And another of Bobby below.
And a shot of the entire band from a different dressing room.
The above show in Charlotte, NC on June 16, 1971 sounds like it would have been great! Bob remembers it as being a very fun night.
The same week that "Mother Nature's Wine" hit the charts, Sugarloaf played the 99 Cent Concert at the Hollywood Bowl with other major acts on United Artists. All of the artists that performed that night were given a plaque commemorating the event. The price of admission was 99 cents and a souvenir program was a penny.
The above poster advertising this event is the actual poster that was attached to a pole across from the Whiskey A Go Go.
Above is a newspaper advertisement for the event.
Above is a Sugarloaf bio page from the souvenir program, and below is Bob's plaque for participating in the event.
footnote from Bob: I was stunned to see Bob "the bear" Hite backstage being physically restrained from attacking Mike Stewart, then president of U. A. Records. After the performances of the first three acts, in full view of everyone, he screamed profanities and demanded to get monies owed to his band. Little did I know we would be the next band to get horsefucked by U.A. Records! More on this later. B.Y.
Click here for another shot of the group from the above mentioned souvenir program that I've not seen used elsewhere. There are also several magazine advertisements and reviews of the concert on the page.
NOTE: The sound clip that opens this page is of a song that Bob wrote called "Magic Man." Sugarloaf used to perform it on stage. This clip is from a live Brother Son concert. If you have any live audio or video of any of the groups that Bob was in, please contact me at leswebmail at comcast dot net (using proper symbols and no spaces.) I would be very appreciative. Do you have any memories of Sugarloaf concerts that you attended that you would like to share? I'd love to hear them. Please send them to the same address listed above. Thank you!
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