The New Santa Monica Flyers
The New Santa Monica Flyers
"Bruce Berry was a working man, he used to load that Econoline Van"
- Neil Young, opening lyrics to Tonight's the Night
The New Santa Monica Flyers will be performing a set from Neil Young's fabled "Tonight's the Night" album on April 9 at Valentine's Music Hall in Albany, New York.
In 1973, after the deaths of band mate Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry, Neil Young and his group (dubbed the Santa Monica Flyers) entered the studio with the sole purpose of unloading their grief and having as much fun as possible. The result was the very dark, ragged, loose and powerfully emotional "Tonight's The Night album."
Fueled by tequila and cheeseburgers, the album represents a dark chapter in Young's career. Winning almost no acclaim upon its release (that would come years later, as "Tonight's the Night" ranked #331 on Rolling Stone's Top 500 albums of all time in 2003), it did, however, influence numerous artists, including Johnny Rotten (the Sex Pistols) and Wilco. It was so dark and raw that Young's record company, Reprise, delayed its release for two years.
Though the album's history is well documented, the short club and theatre tour that followed is not. Today's fans are well aware that Young's musical style is subject to change at the drop of a hat. But in 1973, as Young was enjoying a streak of commercially successful albums -- "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere", "After The Goldrush" and "Harvest" -- his ever-growing fan base had no clue what Young was about to unleash. As the crowds waited patiently for popular material, it was instead treated to a tequila-fueled, live version of the as-yet-to-be-released "Tonight's The Night" album.
During these shows, the band took the same raw emotion of its studio sessions and released it on the stage, which was strangely decorated with a large palm tree, a wooden Indian, dozens of glittered boots and hubcaps. They played new song after new song, laced with drunken ramblings about Bruce Berry, Danny Whitten and Miami Beach, where "everything is cheaper than it looks, ladies and gentlemen."
It was dark and messy, yet heartfelt and raw. And most importantly, it was necessary.
On April 9, a group of Albany-based musicians will load that Econoline Van and head to Valentine's Music Hall for the 4th Annual Root-A-Rama and do their best to recreate the vibe and atmosphere of the "Tonight's The Night" tour of 1973, complete with hubcaps, glittered boots, a palm tree and a wooden Indian. You may recognize them from other local bands, but on April 9 they will be going incognito. They will be ... The New Santa Monica Flyers.
Doors open at 7PM. Show starts at 8PM. Other performers include Diego (West Sand Lake, NY) and Overland Gunslingers (Greenwich, NY).
See Diego Home Page.
Thanks Don! Mellow my mind.
Also, more on Neil Young's Ditch Trilogy and the ditch classic Tonight's The Night.