“But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter, and if this little town, and the immortal hills around it, was not the only home he had on earth? He did not know. All that he knew was that the years flow by like water, and that one day men come home again.”
In the early 1970’s, the Eagles were one of the hottest groups around. In the Sunland Tujunga area sandwiched between the San Fernando Valley and Angeles National Forest, Clean Slate was the hottest group in an area with many excellent groups and musicians. Time flew by and just like John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac and the Yardbirds, many different people played with Clean Slate before going on to other groups or retiring from music. The members of Clean Slate also played with many different types of groups, from various forms of the rock-based Clean Slate to jazz bands and Chicago/Chase/BST type groups. In the high school days, some of the members even played with the Verdugo Hills HS band, orchestra and even the Dons, VHHS’ marching band.
Fast forward to the present day and you’ll see that the Eagles had a big influence on the various members of Clean Slate. So much in fact, the several of the members formed “The Boys of Summer”, an Eagles tribute group. Acknowledged by many as the best of the Eagles tribute bands, the “Boys of Summer” keeps a heavy road schedule, traveling across the country to such places as Twin Falls, Idaho, The Carson Valley Casino in Minden, Nevada, Harrah’s Reno, Tulalip Casino in Washington, the Hilton Doubletree in Grand Junction, Colorado, Napa, California, Salt Lake City, Utah, Deadwood, North Dakota and the Artichoke Festival in Monterey are just a few of the places they have played.
Saturday night, The Boys of Summer went home to Tujunga, playing at the American Legion Hall. The word had been sent out that this was not only a show, but all alumni who had ever played with the band members were invited to come enjoy the evening and even sit in on some songs. Thus resulted an incredibly interesting evening of some great music and great memories.
Two members of the group have been playing together since growing up in Sunland Tujunga. Jimmy Williamson, drums and Darrel Monson, guitar and lead vocals, are the two original members of Clean Slate that form the nucleus of “The Boys of Summer”. Craig T. Fall’s last gig was as guitarist on Glen Campbell’s farewell tour. Chris Turbis on keyboards and vocals along with Bill Winkler on bass and vocals round out “The Boys of Summer”.
The first half of the show was “The Boys of Summer”. The boys proved why they are considered tops at what they do—–good harmonies, superb musicianship and the ability to get the crowd moving on songs like ‘Heartache Tonight’ show that they love what they are doing. ‘Hotel California’, Peaceful Easy Feeling’ and ‘Witchy Woman’ showed how adept they are are covering different stages of the Eagle’s history. Most of all, they played the tunes that people wanted to hear, showcasing the Eagles in a way that very few groups besides the Eagles themselves can do.
The second half of the show went into some other songs besides just the Eagles. Guitarist Mike Casey came up to do a few tunes with the band. The audience figured out what the Hammond B3 organ, the organ that created the classic 60’s sound for groups like the Allman Brothers and Procol Harum, when organist Scott Luke and the group launched into Procol Harum’s hit, ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’. Dean Knight, another alumni of the band, came on to play bass on ‘Outlaw Man’ and several other songs. ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ got the house jumping just as it has for since rock began.
Not only was the music great, but it was a nice opportunity to see people I’d played with from my old musician days. And if Saturday night was any indication, “The Boys of Summer” are certainly in it for ‘The Long Run’.