Murray the'K'

Music in the Fifth Dimension

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Packaged tours, comprising a set array of several bands, were the pop music business norm for the greater part of the '60's. Bands would be severely restricted in what they could play with time extending as you moved up the hierarchy to the headline act. Up to this time all the UK invasion bands had worked within this, except for the Beatles when they became THE Headliner - The Animals, Yardbirds etc.

Murray Kauffman was a middle aged DJ who had taken to wearing a Beatles style wig over his balding pate. He was nationally syndicated and had some influence in the industry. Murray had been doing this Easter holiday show for a few years but 1967 was his most ambitious as he tried to really capitalise on the new pop music. This packaged show marked the end of an era as one of the main providers of talent for the show, Frank Barsalona, developed an alternative and far more successful approach to marketing his artists. All artists hated this type of show but they accepted it as a marketing and money making tool.

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Murray with The Who

It was an incredible bill with Mitch Ryder headlining with Wilson Picket and Smokey Robinson, who never turned up. 'Extra added attractions" included 'The Blues Project', among others. The lesser acts were "The Cream" and "The Who" both "Direct from England". The minor acts included Canada's 'Mandala' members of whom went on to the 'James Gang' and 'Guess Who' but most importantly for Murray - 'Jackie and the "K" Girls' "Wild Fashion Show". Jackie was Murray's wife and as the show progressed she demanded that "those damn bands" have less time and her dancers more.

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The Blues Project with Al Kooper on piano

The shows ran over 9 days from Saturday March 25th to Sunday April 2nd at the RKO Theatre. Five shows a day starting at 10.15 and finishing after midnight.

Cream were allocated 8 minutes and by this time a short song for them was 4 minutes plus. Murray was a bit shocked when they could barely fit in two songs - "I Feel Free" and either "Spoonful" or "I'm So Glad".. As the shows ran overtime and Jackie wanted more space they were told to cutback to one song and then were told to shorten that!

The Anecdotes

Everybody had to perform the same way each show - "I'm So Glad" had to always include the Marseilles quote. The Who had to auto-distruct but Murray advised Townshend to do it while causing "as little damage as possible."

The Who auto-distructing 5 times a day resulting in 22 destroyed mikes, 16 drums, 4 speaker cabs but only 5 guitars as Pete spent most of the between performance time repairing guitars.

The Who taking special delight in using Murray's personal mike in the auto-destruction routine whenever they could.

pridden.jpg (20757 bytes) The roadies, specifically The Who's Bill Pridden and Cream's Ben Palmer, quickly sorting out the sharing of equipment for speedy change overs. Problem was it was The Who's Vox gear that Chris Stamp had desperately arranged as a promo deal. It rapidly deteriorated with more having to be begged from the supplier to keep things running.

 

 

The legendary Bill Pridden who still works with the Who to this day

Steve Katz, The Blues Project"s rhythm guitarist on 1st meeting Ginger Baker at 9.00 in the morning: " …I'm trying to wake up and the door swings open and this lunatic with red hair and these kaleidoscopic eyes comes in, clutching a bottle of vodka - at 9 a.m - and he looks at me and throws the bottle! He says, 'Here, have a drink.' It was Ginger Baker, and he scared the shit out of me."

Murray questioning Ginger Baker's ability to perform when finding him stretched out under the dressing room table with an empty bottle of Bacardi  - Baker's response "Don't fuckin' worry, I'll be all right".

As the boredom escalated so did the pranks - flooded change rooms, flour fights, smoke bombs getting smokier and louder and increasing antagonism towards Murray.

Wilson Picket finding that the antics of the Who and Cream unprofessional as they were the leaders in the mayhem - think about it: The Moon, Baker, Townshend and even Clapton was pretty wild at this time! pickett.jpg (24243 bytes)

Murray providing regular performance criticism to Cream, The Who and Wilson Pickett!

Mitch Ryder avoided the performance 'advice' but had to perform on the battlements and towers of a very rickety "castle" set.

The back stage jams were fun with Danny Kalb of the Blues Project and Eric trading licks and members of Wilson Pickett's band jamming with the white popsters.

The after show jams included Ginger Baker and Wilson Pickett's light weight drummer, a certain Buddy Miles, being ejected from a club after damaging the house drums.

Steve Katz closing a car door on a Clapton finger.

Clapton seeing the Mothers of Invention and hearing a wah wah, being used by Frank Zappa, for the first time.

Al Kooper warning about Acid at Sunday's "Be-in" at Central Park and then getting himself dosed.

Clapton getting a large bag of chemical enhancers including LSD.

The Who, Cream and The Blues Project planning to wreak some mayhem on the lovely Jackie for the final show. Unfortunately Murray got wind and called a meeting to issue a warning. He didn't appreciate the guys sitting around in rubber monster masks ignoring his diatribe but in the end they didn't bother and were just relieved that it was all over.

chrisstamp.jpg (7835 bytes) The show was a financial disaster for Murray resulting in the bands not being paid, as usual, except for The Who as Chris Stamp had regularly got cash advances from Murray to cover the Who's expenses ie pay for trashed rooms etc!

 

Chris Stamp

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In the dressing room

Graeme Pattingale, 2001