The Magic Mind
Susie and I had moved from San Francisco in 1972 after some
issues with the DEA. We had initially camped out on a Russian River beach for the summer, then found an abandoned 3 bedroom house on River Road in Cloverdale, the nearest town. We had kept
a room in the flat we had sublet to friends in San Francisco. Soon
after making the house livable, we bought our gear up and I started looking for people to play with. Dave Solari, keyboard player for
Sparky, had moved to the area when we did. I answered an ad on the local bulletin board and hooked up with Rick Miller. We were
on the same level playing-wise. Rick played guitar, bass, slide, and banjo. We started playing with a sax player named Chris, who
had a brain tumor. Rick brought in his friend Johnn Murphy to play drums, Rick played bass, I played guitar, Chris on sax, and Dave Solari on keys and that was the original line-up for the Magic Mind. Chris and Dave left the area soon after our 1st gig, and the band became a 3 piece, playing numerous gigs and recording all of the time with Susie Foot engineering.
In 1973, we got word from our old friend that he had landed a job at a recording studio in Hollywood, and he invited us down. We packed our gear in a U-Haul trailer, and headed down in a Red Ford Mustang borrowed from our friend Mahlon Farley Jr. The studio was Larabee Studio, and it was very professional. It was Chris's first 1st engineering session. We had driven straight to Hollywood from Cloverdale, well over 500 miles, set up, got some levels and counted off "I Can See It", nailing the first take. That would become the "A" side of our 1st record, with "So Hung Up" on the "B" side.
When Susie got her job at Wally Heider's, we moved back to San Francisco and The Magic Mind was over. Rick and I worked together on a few songs with Susie at Heider's under our Captain Karma & The Honkytonk Stardust Cowboy moniker. Rick left town and we never got back together again musically, although we did keep in touch from time to time until he passed away. I recorded his song "City Blues" in 2017.
"I Can See It" was later re-mixed by Susie Foot and COREY BAILEY at OAK STREET STUDIOS in Burbank after a CAPTAIN & TENILLE session wrapped up. COREY was an engineer for HAJI SOUND. HAJI was recording LOGGINS & MESSINA at the time. We also did a later
remix of a couple of those songs at WALLY HEIDER's, muting all but
2 or 3 drum tracks.
Back in 1973, The Magic Mind had a gig at the local Hippy bar, the Depot in Cloverdale. Most everyone was someone we knew from town, but there were these two guys who kept knocking over our mic stand as they danced drunk-wild. It started to look like they were knocking into things on purpose. On a break, one of these jokers started some shit with the waitress, who was a friend of ours, saying he had given her a $20, getting change for $10. The guy was real testy, and Rick stepped in and told the guy he'd give him the $10 to leave. The guy said he wasn't leaving, so Rick asked him to go outside. We all went out to the sidewalk, and the two squared off. After a very brief tussle, Rick had his powerful then-bass player hands around the guy's throat, pushing him over a short, sturdy picket fence, fence boards jabbing his back. He gave up, and him and his friend left.
A few hours later, the gig was over. We were breaking down our gear, and everyone had left except for the bartender. I took my amp out the side door to put in the car, and noticed the two guys sitting in a car across the street, with two other guys, one a very big dude. They get out of their car, and the big dude has a chain, and the other new guy has a bat.
I run inside the door, and Rick, Johnn Murphy and I grab mic and drum stands for defense. We open the side door, and they are still in front of their car across the street, looking menacingly. All of a sudden, a big crowd of our friends, led by the only black guy in town (the head of the Karate school) come around the corner. He didn’t need a weapon, and when confronted by our friends, quickly got in their car and drove off, after yelling to us the we’d “better not ever show up in Healdsburg”.
We had a gig in Healdsburg at a party a couple of nights later. We were hoping they didn’t show up, and we never ran into those clowns again. Rick was a good guy, and that day, he was also a tough guy.