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Thread: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

  1. #1
    Stuck on the Border Delilah's Avatar
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    Default Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    I came across this blog by Phil Volk (aka "Fang"), the bassist who replaced Randy in the Stone Canyon Band. It's somewhat of a rambling diatribe against Rick Nelson, but it does give a glimpse into Mr. Nelson's personality and traveling on the road with him. I've wondered about the dispute between him and Randy. From what I've read, Randy voluntarily left the gig on his own, but according to "Fang" this wasn't the case.

    [Nelson] mentioned that he was really impressed with my ability to sing difficult songs and play complicated bass lines at the same time. I was very flattered with his comments, but I probably didn't realize that he might have been setting the ground work for replacing his bass player in the Stone Canyon Band and winning me over to his camp, which eventually happened about a year and a half later at the end of December 1969. Rick's bass player at the time was quite a talent in his own right, none other than Randy Miesner, who went from Ricky Nelson to the Eagles. Apparently, Rick let Randy go because of some personality clashes they were having, but it seemed to work out well for Randy, because shortly after that the Eagles began their meteoric rise to superstardom. Unfortunately, Randy only lasted a few years with the Eagles and eventually went off on his own to pursue a solo recording career.
    (my emphasis)

    Interestingly enough, Mr. Volk had his own run-ins with Rick, and only lasted 7 months with him, despite Rick's admiration of his bass playing (Rick initially thought it would be impossible to replace Randy).

    http://www.philfangvolk.com/rickynelson.html

    Thinking of you and hoping for the best. Stay strong Randy!

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    Stuck on the Border NightMistBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    Randy has a different take on it, not surprisingly. Was it in the 1988 video interview where he said the reason Rick Nelson called him in latter 1970 to return to L.A. from Nebraska is that the other bass player (Mr. Fang) wasn't satisfactory.

    Fang has his dates a little muddled: Randy left the Stone Canyon Band after a dispiriting European tour in April 1970. Randy said he needed a steady income to support his growing family, and music wasn't providing that.

    Volk's essay ends up corroborating that, as he says the Johnny Cash Show was one of his first gigs as a member of Rick Nelson's band. That show aired April 29, 1970. Volk later says "a few weeks after being fired from Rick's group I was baptized along with my wife as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, July 17, 1970," so it doesn't appear that he was a member of the Stone Canyon Band for 7 months, more like 3 months.
    Last edited by NightMistBlue; 04-04-2017 at 01:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    In an interview with Rolling STone in 1972:
    Randy joined Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band, but "I was getting nowhere, just backing someone up," so he went somewhere - back to Nebraska , where he worked for John Deere tractors and played rock & roll at night."
    "Billy, whoever writes the songs, wins."

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    Stuck on the Border NightMistBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    He's a complex fellow, isn't he? He seems to have a long-term approach/avoidance thing with wanting to step out more and be a front man vs. wanting to not be in the spotlight and hang back by the amplifiers. Fascinating man.

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    Stuck on the Border Delilah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    I noticed that the year 1969 wasn't correct as well. In the 1988 interview, Randy says he gave up music for awhile and went back to Nebraska to be with his family. Rick Nelson then called him and said "they needed a bass player"...Randy sounds like he was about to say something else about it but then gives a short explanation, "they weren't playing the right part."

    Randy himself seemed a little unsure about that early period. He couldn't quite remember at first that he recorded "She Belongs to Me" with Rick or that he was with Poco before TSCB, lol.

    Thanks for that quote, UTW. That's what I remember Randy saying about it.

    Edit: good work with those dates, NMB!

    Thinking of you and hoping for the best. Stay strong Randy!

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    Default Re: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    Didn't Randy play with Rick Nelson both before and after his trip back to Nebraska? John Boylan was involved.
    "Billy, whoever writes the songs, wins."

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    Stuck on the Border Delilah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    Yes, that's right, UtW. Randy joins Rick Nelson early in 1969 and leaves the band in April 1970. He goes back to Nebraska and then re-joins TSCB around Jan./Feb. 1971. He records the "Rudy the 5th" album and quits again. He recruits his friend Steve Love to take his place and not leave Nelson in a bind. Sometime after this he plays with Linda Ronstadt's band and works on her album. Then on June 12, 1971, he backs her up with 3 other musicians at a gig played at Disneyland, and the rest is history.
    Last edited by Delilah; 04-04-2017 at 03:11 PM. Reason: To add info.

    Thinking of you and hoping for the best. Stay strong Randy!

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    Stuck on the Border NightMistBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    Quote Originally Posted by Delilah View Post
    He goes back to Nebraska and then re-joins TSCB around Jan./Feb. 1971
    Not to nitpick, but it probably would have been September 1970 that Randy re-joined the Stone Canyon Band. Rick had dates in the northeast, as well as two tv appearances soon after.

    Going back to Fang for a moment, one thing that rang true - at least according to a bio of Nelson that I read - is that he was a bit of a libertine and would routinely encourage his band members to partake of female companionship that he'd find/arrange for them.

    I have no idea what his spiritual outlook was, but being interested in astrology in 1969-70 was pretty much de rigueur one would think.

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    Stuck on the Border Delilah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    Ok, for some reason I had the impression he spent several months with his twins after they were born (May 1970?).

    Btw, UtW, I left out that John Boylan was Rick Nelson's producer when Randy joined up with him.

    Reading that Nelson seemed a little resentful of the attention Fang seemed to get, I wonder if that played a role with Randy as well. He probably got a lot of female attention, and that may not sit well with the lead singer/songwriter/star of the show. In the "Live at the Troubadour" album, during the introductions, you can hear someone whistle after Randy is introduced.

    Thinking of you and hoping for the best. Stay strong Randy!

  10. #10
    Stuck on the Border NightMistBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band

    You have good ears! I don't know of any rivalry but there's so much we don't know.

    From what I can gather, Randy spent at most 5 months in Nebraska in 1970 (April to September)*. When he was there, he started a band called Goldrush with Stephen Love, who was attending college in Scotts Bluff. Mr. Love later replaced Randy in the Stone Canyon Band when he left in 1971. He later joined New Riders of the Purple Sage.

    *Randy has given at least one account that he moved back to L.A. with Stephen to try to establish Goldrush, so he may have even left before re-joining the Stone Canyon Band.

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