Martha during filming of "Only The Lonely" video, 1982
Val Garay was our new producer. Val was a talented engineer who had lucked out with "Bette Davis Eyes." He had a very special personality.We began recording April 1, 1981, a bad omen. We cut Only The Lonely and Tragic Surf. The next day we recut both songs and cut Art Fails. Meanwhile I had got a publishing advance and bought a beautiful Yamaha piano. Jul 1 to 15 we continued recording the album we named "Apocalypso," finishing Aug 8.
Capitol didn't like the record at all! Not commercial enough, too wierd. It was wierd, yet some stuff was brilliant, some was truly self-indulgent noodling. We continued cutting songs for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Tim and Martha were breaking up, while he was still in the band. What could be worse? We went on what we called the Vibe Tour, with Tim brooding and flipping out.
On November 10 Tim left The Motels. We began recutting songs for our album with Val firmly in control, and bringing in other players to "enhance" our music. In all honesty, I understood why. None of the Motels were trained musicians, or "studio players." I had great ideas, but my execution of those ideas wasn't so hot. So we "enhanced" the record with other players. I did, however, play all the sax.
On November 30 I broke up with my girlfriend for the second time for keeps. I had been workin on a song called "Take The 'L' " for a while, and we cut it Dec 7 in one take/first take/only take! I was ecstatic, and was extremely enthusiastic for the rest of the record project.
This song was to prove my most successful composition, receiving plenty of FM airplay, at least one instance of graffiti, and many compliments from Motels fans everywhere.
Saw Del Shannon at The Country Club and played sax on one song I had cut with Del. Fun! God Bless Del Shannon.
Heard Benny Carter, the great jazz sax player, play at The Parisian Room, and he autographed an album of his for me. New Years Eve we played at Wong's West.
In 1982 we played more gigs in March, and the album came out Apr 5, one year after we started, whew! We fired Fritz Turner management and for awhile Val Garay managed us, a big mistake.
June 24 to August 10 we went on what we dubbed the Love Tour. We had two new players, Scott Thurston (who played with Ike and Tina Turner and The Stooges in the past) on guitar and keyboard, and Guy Perry on guitar. At this point in our career everything was kissy-kissy and the tour was a pure joy. We opened for J. Geils Band Aug 17 to Sep 7, a tough opening slot. Sep 28,29 and 30 we played the Universal Ampitheater to universal acclaim, having Sold Out, finally.
This was a big year for The Motels, we toured Oct 1-26 some more, then Nov 7-26 we played Australia and New Zealand, Dec 1-13 we played New England. I had a new girlfriend at this time, Claudia Stewart, and we saw Peter Gabriel at the Universal Ampitheater and he was great. We played New Years Eve at the Beverly Theatre.
In 1983 we began recording Feb 14, 1983, a seemingly good omen, Valentine's Day, with Val firmly at the controls once again. I bought a Memorymoog keyboard Apr 5. Jeff, meanwhile, had formed his own band called the Flames, and I saw them play on Apr 28.
On July 28 I was lucky enough to attend a Duane Eddy rehearsal, because his sax player, Steve Douglas, was a friend of one of Val's employees, and Steve gave me a sax lesson. Duane had Hal Blaine on drums and Ry Cooder on second guitar. I was in awe of these players, having grown up listening to Duane Eddy, and Hal Blaine was simply the most recorded drummer of all time. Ry was no slouch either. Years later he was the driving force behind the Buena Vista Social Club record, a classic Cuban music recording.
Aug 15 we finished "Little Robbers," and Val decided we needed another drummer. We had Brian play percussion and we auditioned 10 drummers Aug 18.
August 23 we played Solid Gold, a popular music TV show of the era. We played the Hard Rock Cafe Oct 5 at the Beverly Center in West L.A. We played the Universal Ampitheatre Oct 11, 12, 13, selling out all three shows.
These three dates were probably the peak of our professional career as a live act. We were tight musically and we had an elaborate stage setup. Actually, all the UA gigs collectively were a high point for me in terms of performing.
On Dec 6th I saw the ARMS concert , which consisted of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck playing at the Forum. Serious guitar playing!
We played New Years Eve, 1983 our fourth New Year's Eve gig in a row, at the Long Beach Arena with X and Los Lobos opening for us. We began the "Little Robbers" tour Jan 16, 1984, and we ended the first leg Feb 4 in the hideous El Mocambo of Toronto, the least rocking town in North America. See the Canadians sit on their hands between songs. We then fired Val Garay as our manager. Bye! On Feb 17 I saw UB40 at the Hollywood Palladium and said hi to Bob Dylan, who was wearing a parka. I asked him if he liked UB40 and he said, and I remember this moment very clearly--- "Yeah."
Dylan has always been cryptic, but this response really threw me for a loop.
One day I went for a ride in the Goodyear blimp with some KCHR-FM radio station people and a few soap-opera starlets. Here I am in the blimp. After I shared my experience with my bandmates, The Motels, to a member, decided that personal blimps--one for each member--would be the ultimate status symbol in L.A., a sign that we had finally "made it." Unfortunately, this is as close as I got.
A blimp ride is a special experience. I divide my life into before
the blimp ride and after the blimp ride. It's impossible not to.
April 25, 1984 The Motels flew to Japan and played a festival along with The Romantics, INXS, Paul Weller's Style Council. We took the bullet train, drank sake and played Tokyo and Osaka. We played in Hawaii May 4 on the way back.
As my personal fan base grew, an embarrassing trend emerged. Extremely famous people began seeking out me, Marty Jourard, hoping for a rare photo-op...you know, something to show their grandchildren. Depending on my mood, some were even allowed this privilege. Here are just a few photos of me with the grateful stars. As you can see in the David Lee Roth photo, I hadn't learned to keep my mouth closed when photographed. If I seem particularly happy with my arm around Marianne Faithful and her friend, in a London pub.... it's because I am.
David Lee Roth!
John Carradine and Bobby Carradine (during Suddenly Last Summer video shoot)
Time for another album! We began July 4. I turned 30 on August 25 and Martha threw a big party and Don Henley, most of TP and the Heartbreakers and some football player for the Rams was there. No one knew who I was, it was just a party.
During this year the Motels recorded songs for two movie soundtracks, "Moscow on the Hudson" with Robin Williams, and "Teachers" with Nick Nolte. December 14 to 22nd we recorded more of "Shock" at Capitol Records Studio B. Richie Zito was producing us, ex-guitarist for Elton John and one of Giorgio Moroder's staff musicians.
Looking back over the years, "Shock" was my least favorite album, as we delved into the hideous world of overproduced mid-80s techno-rock. My contributions to the Motels had peaked on "All Four One" and for this record I came up with not much more than a few keyboard textures and three or four sax solos. Martha's writing had become professional but to my mind the craft was replacing the passion. But we soldiered on, continuing to work on songs for "Shock" into 1985.
1985 was another very L.A. year for our narrator. Notes from this year:
Attended the American Music Awards and sat behind Waylon Jennings, who was very nice and talked to me about his cool abalone-encrusted acoustic guitar.
I broke up with Claudia, my girlfriend of 2 1/2 years. Let us have another moment of silence for all the breakups in the world.
Hanging out in Palm Springs visiting a friend getting very drunk on red wine.
I was a puppeteer for a horror movie, Fright Night. My job was to push a syringe full of green goop and an effervescent substance on cue, sending the foaming crud through a tube and into a wax dummy of a head that was going to be melting.
We recorded a bunch of songs in Martha's garage and at Hillslope Studios, an eight-track demo studio. Three of the ten songs Martha wrote made it to the Shock album: Shock, Shame, and Icy Red.
If you've read this far, you may be interested enough in this saga to listen to Songs That Didn't Make it to Our Last Album. These are in my opinion the best from the demo sessions and seem to have, that sort of Motelicity, "atmosphere" that Martha created with her special blend of melody, singing style and lyrics.
We continued recording for the album at Giorgio Moroder's hi-tech studio in the San Fernando Valley,the aptly-named Oasis.
Moroder was the real thing. He had recorded all of Donna Summer's big disco hits in the 1970's in Hamburg and released them on his own label. He spoke fluent German and Italian and was a very astute businessman. He had a Lamborghini Countach with the best audio soundsystem I'd ever heard in a wheeled vehicle. Adorning the walls of the office were posters from movies he had written the soundtracks for: "Cat People," "Midnight Express," etc. Expensive synthesizers and tech gear was everywhere, and he had all digital recording gear. We finished the records and did a video for "Shame," our first single, on July 6.
We began the tour by flying to San Juan Puerto Rico Aug 1, 1985. We played a stadium opening for Men At Work. Colin Hay had a great voice and they were friendly guys. I thought San Juan was wild, in old San Juan people were drinking in the streets and whooping it up. Met a Puerto Rican model at a wedding dress fashion show. She wore it as we went dancing that night.
After San Juan, we flew to Dallas, L.A., then to Tahiti and Sydney, Australia. We were in Australia from August 4 to September 2, it was a wild coast-to-coast tour co-billed with Australian Crawl, we played on TV, did radio interviews, and played lots of shows.
October 1985 was spent touring with Supertramp, or a bullshit version of the band that didnšt include Rodger Hodgson, the main guy. On this tour, on November 10, 1985 I met Sarah Keenan, my future wife (of nine years, anyway). We ended the tour in Seattle on November 18. We played New Years Eve 1985 at the Hollywood Palladium where my spare Yamaha tenor sax got ripped off after the gig in the crazy backstage scene.
Our next-to-last gig at Mony Mony's in San Diego. It's true...at the very end of our career, we did sell out!
Feb 13, 1986. The Motels began working on songs for the next album. We worked five days a week in Marthašs converted garage/studio on songs, songs, songs. Rather uninspired ones at that, if memory serves. Most of 1986 was spent working on songs that never made it to a record. Scott Thurston wisely quit and went off with Jackson Browne and actually made money. Because we were off the road and working on songs, yet were on salary the whole year, we went on half-salary.
On November 25 I started working at a computer store in West L.A., building and selling clones of the IBM-XT.
This was a dark year, I donšt remember much about it.
January 5, 1987
Martha explained that we were out of money, that the record would start Feb 2nd and it was to be produced by Richie Zito again, and a guy called Gary Chang was going to play most of the parts on a Synclavier, but we could stick around and watch.
On Jan 19 Guy Perry quit the band. I stuck around for two more weeks, and on Feb 13, one year to the day from when we started the next Motels album, a Friday in fact, Martha took each of us to a bar nearby as we each showed up, she would buy a drink, and then explain she was dissolving the group.
I was devastated.
The record turned into a Martha Davis solo album called "Policy" and it was a flop. She was dropped from Capitol soon after. Ten days after the band broke up, I played sax in an "All-Star Band" (Bob Glaub on bass, Stan Lynch on drums, Al Kooper on guitar, etc) for a benefit for KMET. It was fun. So thus ended my career as a Motel, an eight-and-a-half year run. We had simply run out of leadership and had lost the purity of our original artistic vision.
(l to r: Jeff Jourard, Marty Jourard, Richy Stanojev, Robert Williams.) Photo by Bob Witkowski
A year or so after the Motels ended, I formed a band called Locomotive, the sole purpose of which was to play all the saxophone and R&B tunes I ever wanted to play, and to sing. I could sing. I asked my brother Jeff, who was the King of White R&B guitar players, in my opinion, to play guitar. He agreed, and we got Robert Williams, who you may recall as a member of The Best in a previous band I was in, on drums. We had a rotating keyboard slot over the year we were together, for some reason no one could play the Secret Keyboard Riff, a New Orleans-style riff that I could play but no one else could. These guys who played KB were all in three bands at once anyway, tellwiddem.
Locomotive at the Sunset Saloon, Venice, CA 1987
We had fun, and made an album that received airplay on KLOS Local Licks show. Our finest hour was probably playing The Lighthouse,in Hermosa Beach. I was sitting at the bar eating a pre-ordered hamburger (so it was available moments after I left the stage) and this very large guy with a little red beard, a guy in his fifties, leaned over and said "I've been coming to bars for thirty years and this is the first time I've ever heard a cover of King Curtis' 'Soul Twist.'" This comment made me very happy because the guy was the sax player from Sha-Na-Na, the only real vintage rock 'n' roller in the band. We did songs by King Curtis, Earl Bostic, Jr. Walker, Nappy Brown, The Buckinghams, The Clovers, Elvis, Slim Harpo, James Brown, Muddy Waters, and some originals. We were a fine band and people loved to dance to Locomotive. And life goes on.
And In Closing...
The Motels had quite a run. Most bands don't get record deals or stay together to make five albums. Most bands don't have a member who can write, sing and perform like Martha Davis. The luxury of releasing two albums that sell only moderately well and remaining on a label that believes in the band to the extent that they get a third chance and the record becomes a hit; well, that's rare too. Fifteen years after the band broke up, new product has been released: Anthologyland, a collection of B-sides, soundtrack cuts, live performances and demos. Most Motels albums are available on CD and there is a Best Of the Motels collection.On January 2002 another Motels hits collection was released, and several of our songs are on vast quantities of '80s and Easy Listening collections (that's what happens when you record a mid-tempo ballad that makes the Top Ten).
There are even websites that describe the history of the band. Gee whittakers!
FLASH! Motels to be on VH1's "Bands Reunited" Sept.2004
At S.I.R. in Los Angeles May 18,2004
Just when I figured it was all in the past, and it certainly was, since we broke up eighteen years ago...I get an e-mail from an Evie Shapiro, who "wants piano lessons." So I answer the front door on April 21, 2004, and it's not Evie Shapiro, it's the host from VH1 Bands Reunited, Aamer Haleem, with about fifteen video crew people and two video cameras. They come in, interview me, and ask if I want to reunite with the band for one show. Why not?
On May 15th the original band members (according to VH1, that's me, Martha Davis, Brian Glascock, Guy Perry and Michael Goodroe) are flown to L.A. and we stay in separate hotels. Then we meet in a rehearsal room at S.I.R. Studio Services, in Hollywood, make nice, rehearse for one day, and play for a group of enthusiastic fans in a concert facility at S.I.R., we did five songs, and it was extremely fun, we played our asses off, and it will be the premier one-hour episode of the fall season, to air in September. What a trip. The world's a funny place.
The Motels 2004 Male Members: Adrian Peritore (Guy Perry), Marty Jourard, Brian Glascock, Michael Goodroe
The Beat Goes On 2005--
Well, nostalgia is great but what about the present? Just thirty short years after I was in Southpaw, I have formed a bossa nova band called novabossa. Featuring the stunning vocals of Brazilian singer Marcia Tavora, we have begun playing in the Seattle area. We wear all black and play mostly songs by Brazil's greatest composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim. This music has the most sophisticated chord progressions I've ever played. Heck, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a F sharp minor seven flat five until recently, although for sheer wistfulness nothing beats ending a song with a nice major seventh sharp fourth. I keep thinking I'll use up all the music in the world but it hasn't happened yet. Find out more at novabossa and you can even hear our four-song demo. Trust me, it's good.
From the Airmont Classic to Novabossa in just 37 years! L to R: Peter Caruso, Fred Cockfield, Eric Larson, Marcia Tavora, Marty Jourard
Tim McGovern Corner
Good musicians don't die, they just keep playing, often for the sheer heck of it. For example, I just went down (Easter Sunday 2006) to a biker bar in Algona, Washington, because there was a rumor that Tim "Clams Casino" McGovern, ex-Motel (1980-1981) ex-Blue Herpes, ex-Burning Sensation, was appearing in a band he started called Knucklehead.
It was true. There stood Tim, nursing a serious hangover, playing guitar with his usual facility...tunes by Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Snoop Dogg, Robin Trower, Led Zep, and some songs I was permitted to played sax on, such as "Mustang Sally" and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking." Tim is one endlessly rockin' motherfucker...in case you missed it, check out this video of Tim 26 years earlier, playing a gig with the Motels on Dec. 12, 1980 in Bradford England. Here is a photo of us having a fairly large time during a break.
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