You know what Im talking about. It okay to talk about this kind of stuff now.
Simon and Garfunkel
Queens, 1953. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel both appeared in their elementary school production of Alice in Wonderland. What parts did they play? C’mon, you know you’re curious – Paul was the White Rabbit and Art was the Cheshire cat. Spend a while thinking about the significance of that.
Hall and Oates
Philadelphia, 1967. Darryl Hall met John Oates at the Adelphia Ballroom. Both leading groups at a battle-of-the-bands – Darryl the Temptones and Oates the Masters – They wound up in the same service elevator in the chaos after shots were fired between rival gangs. In other versions of the story they were at a show by the Five Stairsteps (“Ooh Child“). But what were the gangs called? What were the gangs called? No, I cant tell you that one. Neither one of them has written back to me.
Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee
Sonny Terry first met Brownie McGhee while he was playing harmonica with Blind Boy Fuller, the short-lived but greatly influential Piedmont-style blues guitarist. Fuller died at the old age of 33, leaving the two younger men without a mentor. McGhee even recorded an elegy, The Death of Blind Boy Fuller, and briefly took on the performing name Blind Boy Fuller no. 2. Once teamed up together, Sonny and Brownie were a successful touring act, and they performed and recorded together for 40 years.
Loggins and Messina
Pasadena, 1975. While working as engineers on the Voyager program, Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina discovered a shared interest in pop music. Jim had left the music industry after performing and recording with Buffalo Springfield and Poco to pursue his interest in aerospace technology, and Kenny was an aspiring songwriter with a small home studio. The two worked on the Carl Sagan-led Golden Record program, which ultimately included works by Mozart, Guang Pinghu, Stravinsky, and of course “Changes“ from the 1974 Loggins and Messina LP Motherlode.
The King Crimson guys
McDonald and Giles are being included even though they only flirted with the idea of being hetero lifemates because the result of their entirely natural love was the 1971 album simply titled McDonald and Giles. If you have never heard this record, its the King Crimson LP you wish they would have made after Starless and Bible Black.
King Crimson is band I started really enjoying here in this record shop. I had a couple albums when I was a teenager because I liked the loud riffs but now I like the quiet parts. I guess that’s what happens to us.
Uncomfortable with the relationship, the guys chose to be photographed for the jacket alongside their girlfriends. And then they broke up.
The Flight of the Concord guys
Wellington, New Zealand, 2005. Flatmates while studying at the Victoria University of Wellington, they liked to watch Black Adder and It’s the Garry Shandling Show. I’m guessing they smoked a lot of dope.
Sam and Dave
The Chitlin Circuit, 1960. Actually not a very interesting story. The met on the touring gospel circuit and formed a call-and-response act together. I just didn’t want to get a half dozen emails asking why I left them off the list. Anyway, they weren’t hetero lifemates at all, but fellow prisoners of the same enormous cage.
Check out this book by Gerri Hirshey which we read courtesy of our friend Ty. There’s a pretty sad, sometimes seedy back story to most of the great 60s and 70s R&B acts, including Sam and Dave – Who went a full 13 years without speaking to each other. They traveled in separate cars, had separate dressing rooms, and didn’t even make eye contact on stage.
Flatt and Scruggs
Somewhere on the road, Tennessee, 1945. Lester Flatt had been with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys for a couple years before Earl Scruggs joined the group in the winter of 1945, rounding out the first great – And possibly still the best – bluegrass group ever assembled. The group toured seven days a week in a stretch auto purchased by bandleader Monroe. After playing the Opry on Saturday nights they would often travel 400 miles or more just to play a Sunday matinee.
Earl Scruggs was a revolutionary banjo player from the beginning and his influence on bluegrass music cant be overstated. He was also a lot like me in the sense that he did not like to leave his hometown behind. In 1958, worried about his mother back in Cleveland Country, North Carolina, he left the band. Within a couple weeks Lester Flatt and bassist Howard Watts (aka Cedric Rainwater) left as well. Earl described what happened next in an interview here
When I got home, Lester called and said I don’t think wed be happy going back into the mills. Let’s think about this. He said we could stay close around home if I wanted and I could still look after my mother.
And so Flatt and Scruggs put together a group, the Foggy Mountain Boys, and joined the Grand Old Opry. Over time they did travel, overtaking Monroe’s outfit as the most well-known bluegrass group in the country. Earl and Lester wrote a catalog of original material for the group, too, much of it credited to Certain and Stacy (The maiden names of their wives). Eventually, Earls progressive tendencies were too much for Lester the traditionalist, and they parted ways.
Tyler and Joe
I asked Tyler Haag from the Annandale Cardinals how he met bandmate Joe Killem, and this is what he told me.
Joe and I met in mrs spiegeler’s third grade class. we both had the same knock-off Charles Barkley shoes. The black ones with silver polka-dots (see picture). I had a Shaq three ring binder. Joe’s seat was next to mine.
He like my binder, I liked his shoes. He moved his desk closer to mine…and squashed the spine of my binder on accident. If only I had known that I was in for nearly 20 years of accidental spine squashing. But yeah, after that first day we were pretty much inseparable.
No, the Stills-Young Band does not count. Neither does Crosby-Nash. They were just, um, experimenting with a hetero life-mate lifestyle. And yes, one of these stories is not true.