Woodstock Revisited 2005

By Lorraine Kay

August 2005 – LAS VEGAS, NV – Woodstock is visiting Las Vegas next week as some of its more outstanding bands perform in concert at The Cannery Hotel on Saturday, August 20. Headlining the concert is Canned Heat, Mountain and The Family Stone, all of which performed at the original Woodstock in 1969. Also joining the three 60s bands will be Jimi’s Image – a Jimi Hendrix tribute band.

Canned Heat headlined at the Woodstock Reunion show

In exclusive interviews with drummer Fito de la Parra of Canned Heat and with Mountain, both bands made it clear that these guys are not ready to lie down their instruments.  They promise to rock just like they ever did – if not better. And in the immortal words of Bob “The Bear” Hite of Canned Heat, who died in 1981 –  “Don’t Forget To Boogie!”

Fito de la Parra original drummer at Woodstock

Bassist Greg Cage Replaing Larry Taylor

Canned Heat’s last surviving  original member, de la Parra heads up the band promising to preserve the integrity of the original sound and energy of the band and its music. Fans remember songs like “On The Road Again,” “Let’s Work Together,” and “Going Up The Country,” from the 60s, but this band doesn’t just rest on its hits of the past, they are continually creating and recording new music, with the latest CD “Friends in the Can”. Saturday’s concert assuredly will take a walk down memory lane, but fans can expect to be introduced to some of the new tunes as well.

Dalls Hodge on Guitar and Lead Vocals

Canned Heat guarantees that the audience will have a good time because that is the only reason they plan on being there – to have a good time and play music. Just returned from a long European tour, the latest line-up featuring Stan Behrens (flute, saxophone, harmonica, vocals), Barry Leverson (guitar), Dallas Hodge (vocals, guitar), Greg Kage (bass, vocals), and Fito de la Parra (drums, vocals), has been together for five years and according to de la Parra “It is a very strong line-up it sounds good and it comes across with the people very good.  We play, of course, all our hit records, our most famous ones and we play them as faithful as possible to the originals, which is something that I have always been very careful with.  And then we also play some new stuff that is on our current CD ‘Friends in the can’. So that’s what you are going to see – basically a band that plays nostalgic hits so that people don’t feel left out or something but also we’ll introduce new stuff because we really don’t want to be just a jukebox band that is just repeating the old hits all the time. That can become very boring.”

Barry Leverson on Lead Guitar

Talking about what drives the band to record, when others avoid the studio, de la Parra explains, “that has never been the nature of Canned Heat.  We’ve come up with new CDs almost every year. We’re still meeting the challenge of putting out new music every year and that keeps us more interesting and more interested in playing music.”

The latest CD “Friends in the Can” brings together a number of Canned Heat’s musical friends from the past and present to join them in this musical collaboration and celebration of 36 years of Canned Heat music. “It’s a bunch of friends getting together,” says de la Parra. “We invited people like Walter Trout, Roy Rogers, Taj Mahal and we have actually the last cuts of John Lee Hooker with three original members of Canned Heat including Larry Taylor, Henry Vestine and me. It is basically a jam with friends and also a tribute to John Lee Hooker (who passed at 84 in 2001).  John Lee Hooker is the God of The boogie and we are the apostles of The Boogie.‘

De la Parra has also published a book about Canned Heat, “LIVING THE BLUES“. It is available through the band’s website at www.cannedheatmusic.com and at most popular book outlets. It is the complete and outrageous Canned Heat story of “Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival” along with over 100 captivating pictures from their past.

Mountain is another band from the 60s that has continued to play with very little down time over the past 35 years. Original members Leslie West and Corky Laing revived the band a few years ago after enjoying other configurations and collaborations with blues and rock greats including Jack Bruce of Cream with “West, Bruce and Laing”. Currently, Richie Scarlet is filling the very large shoes of bassist Felix Pappalardi, (who died in the early 80s at the hands of his wife). They will be performing everyone’s favorites, including “Mississippi Queen”, Nantucket Sleigh ride,” “Theme From an Imaginary Western,” “For Yasgur’s Farm,” and “Never In My Life.”  The band recently released a two CD set of live performancesentitled “Erupted” that featured Scarlet on one CD, performing some of the band’s biggest hits and a few covers of their favorite tunes. Because the band is preparing to go into the studio to record a new CD that showcases one of their all time favorite artists – Bob Dylan.  The CD will be called simply “Mountain Does Dylan”. . “We did some arrangements of some of Dylan’s stuff,” said West. “Not so much folksy but some of the lyrics I really like. We’re doing them our way. The new stuff is definitely Mountain.  When I hear it, it sounds like us. I know where I came from.”

Mountain is definitely not showing any signs of slowing down or even peeking at retiring. According to West, the band has not mellowed over the past 35 years.  “I’m still out of my *@&%$*# mind. I’ll be playing until somebody shoots me in the head, or I shoot Corky in the head.”

In addition to sell-out concerts the band and its members are using time off the road to be in the studio both on projects for the band and solo projects, plus some fun time with old friends. “Got Blooze” is a collection of blues standards done only the way Leslie West can do it, mean, raw, loud and in-your-face blues. It contains the kind of guttural vocals and soulful bluesy guitar playing that have established West as one of the greatest talents in the history of rock and roll and delivers the kind of high-level performance, which West fans have come to expect. Also making the charts, West recently did guitar tracks on Ozzy Osbourne’s remake of “Mississippi Queen,” which is the number one requested track by Active Rock and Rock Radio.

The Family Stone – formerly known as Sly and the Family Stone will also be on hand, minus Sly Stone. Clever, cutting-edge and color blind, Sly & the Family Stone was the 1967 confabulation that made race a moot point and put women on the instruments and creativity on the line. The brainchild of Sylvester Stewart, the band was doomed to an early demise by drugs and circumstances. An almost original [missing bassist Larry Graham] Family Stone reunited as recently as 2003, but Sly was again and probably forever missing, dealing with persistent drug, legal and now health problems. A tribute album called Sly 2K featuring covers by Maroon 5, The Roots, Lenny Kravitz and others has an anticipated 2005 release.

Saturday’s concert is sure to generate more than a few memories. The Family Stone wasn’t just another rock band. Their style was a combination of psychedelic, dance beat, jazz, R & R, R & B and funk with a soul undertone that was neither black nor white but integral. A Whole New Thing, released in ’67, described the music’s style, an approach that was so popular that it pushed 1968 single “Dance to the Music” to national top-ten. “Everyday People”, from 1969 album Stand! was a number-one hit that immortalized the phrase “different strokes for different folks”. Nearly every one of their hits has become an anthem over the years and continues to “make you want to dance.”

For more information contact The Cannery Hotel at 702-507-5700.