Paul Revere and the Raiders Ride Again at Sycuan

| November 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

Paul Revere and the Raiders, who Paul Schaffer from the David Letterman show called “the greatest show band on earth,” headed by Paul Revere himself, the man Reno Gazette writer Guy Richardson dubbed “the Madman of Rock and Roll” make a rare appearance at the Sycuan Casino’s Live and Up Close series for two back to back shows on December 10 at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.  The Raiders will be opening the show for Chuck Negron, the “voice” of Three Dog Night, so the evening will be filled with hits you will remember from the 60s and 70s.

In a thoroughly enjoyable phone interview, I spoke with Revere, who started the band in 1958 (originally called “The Downbeats”) with Mark Lindsay.  The band scored their first hit in 1961, with “Like, Long Hair.” The song had enough national appeal that it peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard charts on April 17, 1961. When Revere was drafted for military service, he became a conscientious objector and worked as a cook at a mental institution for a year and a half of deferred service, while Lindsay pumped gas in a small Oregon town.  Lindsay, on the strength of their Top 40 single, toured the U.S. in summer 1961 with a band that featured Leon Russell filling in for Revere on piano, a little known fact about the iconic Russell’s half century career. By 1962, Revere was back with the band, and they took off with what is arguably the very first recording of “Louie Louie,”, although that’s been in dispute for years with the “Kingsmen” also taking that credit.  What is not at issue is that both bands recorded the song in a Portland, Oregon studio within days of one another.

The band appeared regularly on national television, most notably on Dick Clark’s ”Where the Action is,” “Happening ’68” and “It’s Happening,” the latter two of which were co-hosted by Revere and Lindsay. Here they were presented as an American response to the British Invasion. Playing on Revere’s name, the group wore American Revolutionary War soldier uniforms, and performed slapstick comedy and synchronized dance steps while the ponytailed Lindsay lip-synced to their music. This farcical, cartoonish image obscured the hard rock sound that their music often took.

In mid-1967, with three gold albums to their credit, The Raiders were Columbia’s top-selling rock group; their “Greatest Hits” was one of two releases selected by Clive Davis to test a higher list price for albums expected to be particularly popular, along with “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits.”  The band has had more the 30 personnel over the years; but today’s lineup is not a bunch of ‘newbies!”  Indeed, Revere notes that his lead guitarist and bass player have been with him 42 years, the keyboardist for over 30.  The ‘new kid on the block’ is the drummer, who played with the Buckingham’s (“Kind of a Drag”) for 25 years and has been with Paul Revere for about four years now.

Revere today says the band’s longevity can be chalked up to the fact that “we put on an entertaining show; we’re the Marx Brothers of Rock and Roll — we have great music, shtick, comedy and a slew of hits.  We take them back in time to re-visit those songs and they never get tired of hearing them.  We cover all the big hits and chart medleys and we don’t leave anything out. It’s always a good show, wild and crazy, and it’s never the same show twice!”

Lest you forgot, those chart hits include “Kicks,” from 1966, ranked number 400 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” “Hungry,” (1966); and the Number 1 single from 1971 “Indian Reservation” (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian ).

The second act of the evening will be Chuck Negron, the iconic lead singer of “Three Dog Night,” backed by the Raider’s band members, minus Paul Revere.  You’ll hear a lot of familiar sing along Three Dog Night hits like “Joy to the World,” “(Just) An Old Fashioned Love Song,” “and of course, the Hoyt Axton-penned “Mama Told Me Not Come.”

Tickets for both show are $35 and $45 and can be reserved by heading to Sycuan’s website at www.sycuan/entertainment/paul_revere_and_the_raiders/.

Paul Revere and the Raiders, courtesy of

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