The Dave Clark Five – First Times are Always The Best

by Ann Moses on September 21, 2012

Still in college I got my first interview with The Dave Clark Five. Here I’m interviewing Mike Smith backstage at Melodyland Theater in Anaheim, July 12, 1965.

If you have followed my blog posts over the past weeks, you might be saying to yourself, “she was so lucky,” or “how cool was that to meet the Rolling Stones,” or as Ann Wicker wrote on her blog www.eastoakmedia.com/ThatsAllSheWrote/  “When I was 12, in my daydreams, I was Ann Moses.” And when I read that, what came to mind was all the perks that came with my job. And while I never became jaded or blasé about limo rides, or touring with rock groups, or being on television and movie sets, it was when I experienced one of those perks for the first time that was always the high spot until the next first time.

Even before I started writing for Tiger Beat, I interviewed the Dave Clark Five and once that friendship was created I had some really great times with them. It never would have happened without the help of their tour manager, Rick Picone. I was working at Disneyland during the summers and weekends and I also was a volunteer usher at Melodyland Theater, a theater in the round, across the street from Disneyland, just two miles from my home. I signed up to be a volunteer usher because ushers would escort everyone to their seats, then if the theater was full we could watch the performance from the top back isle and if it wasn’t full we could find an empty seat and watch the shows for free!

It was a big deal in my family to make a special trip up to Hollywood to see whatever new musical had opened at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. We’d go in the early evening to Chinatown in Los Angeles and eat fabulous Chinese food, then we’d stroll around the front of Grauman’s looking at the stars’ foot and hand prints, then have reserved tickets for one of the new musicals like “The King and I,” “South Pacific,” “Gigi” and “West Side Story.” I loved musicals as much as my folks and my work at Melodyland allowed me to see so many live performances over and over again!

What I didn’t expect was the night I went to work and it was a first for Melodyland to feature several rock groups: little known duo Sonny and Cher, The Premiers, The Astronauts and headliners, the Dave Clark Five. I had heard the DC5’s hits on the radio and like all my friends I was so into anything and everything that was a part of the “British invasion.” So like every other night, I did my job, watched the opening acts and then when the DC5 took the stage I was mesmerized. They were unlike anything I had seen in person (of course we all had seen the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and it was love at first sight), and I said to myself, “I have to meet these guys!”

I was co-editor of my college newspaper at the time, so I managed to sweet talk my way into an interview with them, by somehow convincing their tour manager Rick Picone that I was on assignment and would he please, please let me do a short interview. He was such a nice man, he gave in to my badgering, wrote me a note allowing me backstage and between their afternoon and evening performances I got to meet each of them a conduct a short interview.

They were so genuinely nice and we hit it off so well, I ended up getting together with them every time they returned to the states. I mentioned how I had gotten trapped in a limo with them with fans pounding on the roof and hood in my post about becoming trapped by Monkees fans in Dallas. Well, on one of their later visits, I got another perk.

They were winding up their spring 1966 tour with an appearance on Monday, June 27, 1966 at the Carousel Theater in West Covina, California. I didn’t see that show, but I did see them several times at their hotel, The Beverly Wilshire, over the weekend, doing interviews for Tiger Beat, and going to some Sunset Strip clubs on Saturday night.

On Tuesday afternoon I was back at work and I got a call at my office. It was Rick Picone and he explained that one of the special lights needed for their traveling light show had gone out during the Monday night performance. They had already flown out of LA (they had a private jet for the tour) for their next appearance and he asked me if I could go to this theatrical lighting place in Hollywood and buy the needed light (remember, no Fed Ex or any type of overnight delivery back then!) and bring it to their next appearance in San Jose. “I’ll cover all your expenses, but we really need your help!”

It was always the same response from my Tiger Beat bosses when I’d ask, “is it okay if I’m gone for a day or two, I’ve got to do a favor for the DC5?” The answer was always, “Yes, but take your camera!” So, on Wednesday morning I located the specific light they needed, got detailed directions to an obscure warehouse location (no GPS or Google Maps!) and purchased the special light. I had already reserved a seat on a flight to San Jose. So, I was off to the airport with an overnight bag and a huge professional light that I had no problem carrying on the plane with me (in those days you could carry almost anything onto a plane).

Dave Clark and I poolside in San Jose, California. Doing a favor for the DC5 resulted in many perks for me. Too bad I didn’t think to pack a swimsuit!

They were so happy to see me arrive at the hotel. They had reserved a room for me and we all went out to dinner together on Wednesday night. We also hung around the pool on Thursday before their Thursday night performance at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. By this time I had seen them perform numerous times, but this show was just as spectacular as all the ones before and the fans were just as mesmerized as I was that very first time in Anaheim.

With all the hubbub of getting their light to them, I hadn’t even given a thought to how I would get back to LA. It was a one-way ticket to San Jose. So, after the show it was Rick who was very concerned about how I would get home safely. But since part of his job was being a problem solver, he made it quite simple. I’d just climb onto their private jet with them. Easy peasy. They were booked to fly to Las Vegas, which was just a refueling stop on their way to their next gig in Phoenix.

We didn’t take off until about 1:00 or 2:00 am, but everyone was still keyed up from the performance. We laughed and talked and just goofed off. I felt like a merry part of their little band. We landed in Las Vegas around 4:30 am and it was still dark. As the plane was being refueled I went inside the terminal and bought a ticket to LA on the first flight out at 6:00 am. I said my good-byes, and the best part, getting a good-bye kiss on the cheek from all the boys and my friend Rick, too. Then they were off.

I guess I could have just hung out in the airport terminal until my flight was called, there are slot machines everywhere, but I was under 21 so I couldn’t drink or gamble. I had never been to Las Vegas before, so I climbed into a cab outside the terminal and told the driver, “I’ve never been here before, will you just drive me down the Strip and downtown, so I can see all the lights, and I have to be back a little before 6:00.” It really was remarkable as we drove down the Strip, all the glorious lights and the streets were almost deserted. It was like I had it all to myself. So, for the first time it was really a thrill. The sun was just starting to rise as I made my way into the terminal at McCarran International Airport. I got back to LA about an hour later, but I went straight home and slept the whole day!

Good times. . .Ann Moses reporting about “back in the day.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Louise Tucker December 14, 2013 at 11:26 am

Hello Ann,
I used to look forward to any and all articles about the Dave Clark 5 that you and Gloria Stavers (from 16 Magazine would write. I also enjoyed all photos as well. I couldn’t wait for both the next issues of Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine to come out. You can bet that those photos always ended up on my wall for sure. Thank you for all that Ann. People used to look at me weird or as if I lost my mind when I’d tell them that my favorite band was the Dave Clark 5. I always felt like their music had more energy or whatever that the Beatles and The Stones didn’t have. I don’t know if they ever checked out any websites or not to find out they were my all time fave band or not. I guess I’ll never know and they’ll never know too come to think about it. I’m so glad that they finally made the Hall of Fame — even though it was long overdue for sure. Take care and thank you ever so much Ann.

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