Jump to content

Oakland Incident?


Swan_Song
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • 5 years later...

This from Chris Welch, author of Peter Grant: The Man Who Led Zeppelin...

"...when Bill Graham's posthumous account of the Oakland (1977) incident was first published, Peter Grant rang his friend Ed Bicknell, the manager of Dire Straits, at his office in some distress. Bicknell: 'He was in tears on the telephone. He was really crying. I thought something tragic had happened. He said 'It's terrible, this book has come out and it tells the full story.' He gave me the details and I said to Peter, 'This sounds pretty bad, is it true? And he said 'Yes, it is, but I don't want to be thought of as a bad person."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...
On 12/6/2014 at 11:37 AM, SteveAJones said:

This from Chris Welch, author of Peter Grant: The Man Who Led Zeppelin...

 

"...when Bill Graham's posthumous account of the Oakland (1977) incident was first published, Peter Grant rang his friend Ed Bicknell, the manager of Dire Straits, at his office in some distress. Bicknell: 'He was in tears on the telephone. He was really crying. I thought something tragic had happened. He said 'It's terrible, this book has come out and it tells the full story.' He gave me the details and I said to Peter, 'This sounds pretty bad, is it true? And he said 'Yes, it is, but I don't want to be thought of as a bad person."

Thought I'd bump this thread , as this post from SAJ is very thought provoking. When I see pics of them performing on July 24 77, I can't help feel that gloom one sees in photos of a crowd just before a disaster hits. 

Edited by porgie66
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, porgie66 said:

Thought I'd bump this thread , as this post from SAJ is very thought provoking. When I see pics of them performing on July 24 77, I can't help feel that gloom one sees in photos of a crowd just before a disaster hits. 

40 years gone from the beginning of the end.

 

IMG_0002.JPG

Edited by TheStairwayRemainsTheSame
Link to comment
Share on other sites

and from what Freddie Bannister wrote in his book "there must be a better way" on the Knebworth festivals, featuring a lengthy piece on the Zeppelin 79 performance  Peter Grant hadn't changed his ways at all since Oakland and was still acting in a very unpleasant manner

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the things about Zeppelin which always baffled me was Peter Grants position in the band. Was he their manager? Their road manager? Now of course it is on record that Grant was manager and Cole tour manager but the way it actually played out was weird. Typically, the groups manager does not actually tour with the band, hence the need for a road manager. The bands manager is typically too tied up with the financial aspect overall, promotion, glad handing, marketing, working with the record companies and tour sponsors, and getting the logistics down and organizing the tour. Once the band hits the road the tour manager takes over, making sure all of the managers instructors and organizations are carried out and ensuring the road crew does their jobs all while babysitting the band. I understand Grant wanting to be on the road with the band in the early days due his changing of the actual system, but from 70' or 71' on, he had much bigger fish to fry behind a desk. Also, if the actual manager is touring with the band, why pay a road manager? It seems a bit of a redundancy.

I have talked to a few band managers in my time and no manager I talked to ever did this or structured things in such a way. Does anyone know why Grant kept going with the band on the road when he should have been taking care of business in London? Especially from 74' on. Once Swan Song was created Grant should have never went on the road as his obligations were to Swan Song and his new acts (this fact is brought up in countless Zep biographies). Of course it is well know that Grant's lack of attention to Swan Song doomed the label.

I can understand wanting to have a bit of fun from time to time but at the end of the day you still need to do your job. A manager partying with the band on the road is not really doing their job IMO and looking at Grant's decision making and general behavior from 77' - 79' makes this glaringly obvious. Of course there will be people on this board defending Grant and saying things such as, "well, the tours went off fine for the most part so it looks like he was doing his job," or "what the hell do you know, you weren't there." These are both valid arguments to which I will reply even a broken clock is right twice a day and, as I have brought up before, it appears the real secret behind Zeppelin which allowed the machine to keep going with so much against it was Steve Weiss. I personally believe Weiss was the true support genius behind the band, especially in the later years.

Thoughts???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well if the choices are:-

1) Go on the road with the World's greatest rock band & enjoy all the excesses of sex, drugs & rock'n'roll or,

2) Stay in London & sit behind a desk pushing pens all day

I know which one I would be going for. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, IpMan said:

It appears the real secret behind Zeppelin which allowed the machine to keep going with so much against it was Steve Weiss. I personally believe Weiss was the true support genius behind the band, especially in the later years.

Thoughts???

I reckon a "telll all" book about Steve Weiss would make Hammer of the gods look like Mary Poppins. Cole said the rumour that went round back then was that Weiss' father had worked for Meyer Lansky

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, IpMan said:

 

I have talked to a few band managers in my time and no manager I talked to ever did this or structured things in such a way. Does anyone know why Grant kept going with the band on the road when he should have been taking care of business in London? Especially from 74' on. Once Swan Song was created Grant should have never went on the road as his obligations were to Swan Song and his new acts (this fact is brought up in countless Zep biographies). Of course it is well know that Grant's lack of attention to Swan Song doomed the label.

Did any of the managers you talked to do this? "Peter Grant ensured that the vast bulk of ticket profits wound up in the hands of the band rather than in the hands of promoters and booking agents, and is reported to have secured 90% of gate money from concerts performed by the band, an unprecedented feat. By taking this approach he set a new standard for artist management, single-handedly pioneering the shift of power from the agents and promoters to the artists and management themselves." Or, did any managers you talked to manage to secure a record deal with full artistic control for their bands? I've never heard anything but admiration from other big time managers concerning Peter Grants handling of Led Zeppelin, and jealousy from the many many other bands who were ripped off by their managers, wishing they had had a manager like Peter Grant. 

"Grant should have never went on the road as his obligations were to Swan Song and his new acts". Really? I guess Peter Grant didn't do things in the normal way that others did, it seems to me to have been a very successful venture all around especially in comparison to any other band in history that I'm aware of. 

Edited by blindwillie127
Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, blindwillie127 said:

Did any of the managers you talked to do this? "Peter Grant ensured that the vast bulk of ticket profits wound up in the hands of the band rather than in the hands of promoters and booking agents, and is reported to have secured 90% of gate money from concerts performed by the band, an unprecedented feat. By taking this approach he set a new standard for artist management, single-handedly pioneering the shift of power from the agents and promoters to the artists and management themselves." Or, did any managers you talked to manage to secure a record deal with full artistic control for their bands? I've never heard anything but admiration from other big time managers concerning Peter Grants handling of Led Zeppelin, and jealousy from the many many other bands who were ripped off by their managers, wishing they had had a manager like Peter Grant. 

"Grant should have never went on the road as his obligations were to Swan Song and his new acts". Really? I guess Peter Grant didn't do things in the normal way that others did, it seems to me to have been a very successful venture all around especially in comparison to any other band in history that I'm aware of. 

I guess you missed my comment referring to his actions from 68' - 71' being the exception for the above stated reasons. Grant had established all of this and more for Zeppelin by 71'. My concern was for post 71' and especially post 74' in particular. After the 73' NA tour, Zeppelin had cemented their place and legacy in R&R history, no one, and I mean no one was going to mess with Zeppelin after this point with the dealings and reputation of Grant, Cole, and Weiss after 1973 in particular.

So again, once all of this had been secured, did Grant go on the road with the band instead of taking care of business in London as a manager is supposed to do? Or let me re-phrase since Mook pointed out the exact reason Grant went on the road with the band: Why didn't anyone ask the obvious question why the manager is on the road with the band when they employ a road manager for that job, and, if the manager is on the road with the band, who exactly is back minding the store so to speak?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, IpMan said:

I guess you missed my comment referring to his actions from 68' - 71' being the exception for the above stated reasons. Grant had established all of this and more for Zeppelin by 71'. My concern was for post 71' and especially post 74' in particular. After the 73' NA tour, Zeppelin had cemented their place and legacy in R&R history, no one, and I mean no one was going to mess with Zeppelin after this point with the dealings and reputation of Grant, Cole, and Weiss after 1973 in particular.

So again, once all of this had been secured, did Grant go on the road with the band instead of taking care of business in London as a manager is supposed to do? Or let me re-phrase since Mook pointed out the exact reason Grant went on the road with the band: Why didn't anyone ask the obvious question why the manager is on the road with the band when they employ a road manager for that job, and, if the manager is on the road with the band, who exactly is back minding the store so to speak?

#1 To count the money, after each gig which was in cash (serious shit right there).  #2 Stand on side of stage with arms folded while band plays...watching everything and keeping his crew on point as he always did. #3 Deal with the promoters and all their shenanigans, Cole could only do so much and he certainly had his hands full. #4 Keep band out of jail. Sans the Oakland incident, I'm sure that Grant 'managed' to prevent these hooligans from being arrested many many times, that must have been a full time job in itself. #5 this is a quote from a link below that I have added..."He was the hands-on manager who always travelled with the band, made sure costs were kept down, and that promoters paid up.

Grant did more for LZ than what 99% of the managers from that era or this one ever did for their artists, the history of this speaks for itself. 

http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-11-21/the-last-days-of-led-zeppelin-g-force

 

Edited by blindwillie127
Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, blindwillie127 said:

#1 To count the money, after each gig which was in cash (serious shit right there).  #2 Stand on side of stage with arms folded while band plays...watching everything and keeping his crew on point as he always did. #3 Deal with the promoters and all their shenanigans, Cole could only do so much and he certainly had his hands full. #4 Keep band out of jail. Sans the Oakland incident, I'm sure that Grant 'managed' to prevent these hooligans from being arrested many many times, that must have been a full time job in itself. #5 this is a quote from a link below that I have added..."He was the hands-on manager who always travelled with the band, made sure costs were kept down, and that promoters paid up.

Grant did more for LZ than what 99% of the managers from that era or this one ever did, the history of this speaks for itself. 

http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-11-21/the-last-days-of-led-zeppelin-g-force

 

I understand what you are saying however all of those duties generally fall to the tour manager. If Grant was doing double duty as both manager AND tour manager, what was the need for Cole? Was Cole in essence not the road manager but actually a combination of "Director of Entertainment" for the band as well as head of security?

Another important question I wish to ask which again circles back to Mr. Weiss. What many people are not aware of is the mobs control over segments of the record industry but, more importantly in regard to performing, the venues, promotors, and all the union workers which ran those concert halls. This more than any other reason is why bands were exploited to such a degree before Grant came along, after all, who is gonna screw with the mob? This again brings me back to Weiss. If Weiss indeed had mob contacts which has been suggested, I believe this more than anything else would have aided Grant in changing the industry. Grant my have been a savvy, tough guy but the mob would have had him for breakfast with little effort if he caused them problems. However if Weiss was behind the scenes, making payoffs, or what they used to call a "skim" back in the day, everything begins to make much more sense. If Weiss had the mob connections and Grant could use this, it would have made his job much easier indeed. Most know that both Grant & Cole had connections to the London & Essex Firms, after all, the Bindon boys worked for both the Richardson & Kray Firms. However, I doubt either one would have had any connections to the American mob which ran and controlled all of those concert halls and venues. I guess the combination of Grant and Weiss is what actually changed the industry, at least that is what makes the most sense.

Thanks for that link BTW, I never knew Grant suffered from serious back issues and later Diabetes and other illnesses. That would surely explain the drug use, at least insofar as pain management is concerned.

Again, not minimizing Grants contribution in any way, I am just very curious about what exactly Weiss did and if he did indeed have mob connections which aided in Grant's success.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Noel Monk was VH's tour manager and he bitterly complained that the manager should've been out on the road more. Perhaps not to the extent of Grant but more than a few shows. I'll have to re-read as to why, it's in his latest book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My comments are this:

I think that Peter Grant was the greatest and most influential Manager of All-Time. 

I think that Richard Cole was the greatest Road Manager of All-Time.  RIcardo. 

From what I have read (and I have read about Led Zeppelin since I was 13 years old), Steven Weiss was very well connected to one or more of the 5 New York "Families".

What I do not know and what I would Love to know is what "Families" Steven Weiss was connected too.

The Bonnano, Columbo, Gambino, Genovesse, or Lucchese

I read a lot about the Mafia and as Swan Song was based in New York City in the mid 1970's, with the millions of dollars Led Zeppelin were generating at that time, one or more of the above Families were in control or generating income from some aspect of a run of Led Zeppelin concerts beginning from 1970 through 1977.  I also believe that the NYC Mafia had a hand in the 1973 Drake Robbery.  I think that the Mafia actually got to Peter Grant and threatened him to say that the $203,000 was stolen by an employee of the Drake. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, NealR2000 said:

Touring was a cash business in those days and Zep were breaking records. Grant needed to make sure that he did all the collecting and expense payments. I think he trusted Cole, but only so much. 

Yes, this makes sense. I completely forgot it was a cash business until, roughly, the mid to late 70's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, kingzoso said:

 

From what I have read (and I have read about Led Zeppelin since I was 13 years old), Steven Weiss was very well connected to one or more of the 5 New York "Families".

What I do not know and what I would Love to know is what "Families" Steven Weiss was connected too.

The Bonnano, Columbo, Gambino, Genovesse, or Lucchese

I read a lot about the Mafia and as Swan Song was based in New York City in the mid 1970's, with the millions of dollars Led Zeppelin were generating at that time, one or more of the above Families were in control or generating income from some aspect of a run of Led Zeppelin concerts beginning from 1970 through 1977.  I also believe that the NYC Mafia had a hand in the 1973 Drake Robbery.  I think that the Mafia actually got to Peter Grant and threatened him to say that the $203,000 was stolen by an employee of the Drake. 

Too bad Henry Hill is deceased as he was an associate of the Lucchese Family and operated during this very period. I bet he would have had a bit of insight.

Now regarding Oakland, what a tragedy. I remember in the late 70's with Creem always on with the black magic and bad karma shit regarding Zeppelin. I distinctly remember after Plant's son Karac died them running a story about a combination of Page's occult practices and the bad karma from the Oakland incident as the likely cause for Karac's death. Some sort of karmic retribution. Even as a kid reading that I was outraged and thought this went beyond bad taste, to start laying blame for the death of a child like that. I don't know who the editor of Creem was in 1977 - 1980 was when all these crazy stories started coming out but the guy was a real asshole to allow such trash. I stopped buying Creem after that. As bad as RS was at least they were not throwing around Weekly World News or National Enquirer level bullshit around.

That being said I recently heard a few songs from both Oakland gig's and both were pretty good, especially the 24th as Strider pointed out. I really liked the 24th show and if things would have worked out the remaining dates would have likely been on par with the NY & LA runs.

Regarding the make up Chicago gig as an all request show...I highly doubt that one. Just imagine some punter yelling out for Johnny Paycheck's I was the only Hell My Momma ever Raised, or Paper Lace The Night Chicago Died. Now THAT would be a concert to remember! Even if they stuck to only Zeppelin material I wonder what they would do if someone requested In the Light or an old chestnut like As Long As I Have You????

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was definite mismanagement in that situtation!  "if" bonham was roped into it by grant, that was a huge mistake by grant. Of course the whole thing should have never happened, cooler heads should have prevailed. Stupid situation....

Maybe free led zeppelin memorabilia, souvenirs and t shirts for everyone backstage would have made everyone happy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing has changed for years in the gangster industry. Where's there cash you will find mobsters. The 70's scene especially was a cash industry. Like the drug/pornography business which was based wholly on cash, the mob would not be too far away. Wouldn't be too surprised that that robbery in New York was a convenient way of handing over 200 grand to the mob for a bit of "taxing".

The 77 incident? John Bindon as a "security" man. Fuck me. It's like asking an alcoholic to go a wine tasting tour

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, kingzoso said:

My comments are this:

I think that Peter Grant was the greatest and most influential Manager of All-Time. 

I think that Richard Cole was the greatest Road Manager of All-Time.  RIcardo. 

From what I have read (and I have read about Led Zeppelin since I was 13 years old), Steven Weiss was very well connected to one or more of the 5 New York "Families".

What I do not know and what I would Love to know is what "Families" Steven Weiss was connected too.

The Bonnano, Columbo, Gambino, Genovesse, or Lucchese

I read a lot about the Mafia and as Swan Song was based in New York City in the mid 1970's, with the millions of dollars Led Zeppelin were generating at that time, one or more of the above Families were in control or generating income from some aspect of a run of Led Zeppelin concerts beginning from 1970 through 1977.  I also believe that the NYC Mafia had a hand in the 1973 Drake Robbery.  I think that the Mafia actually got to Peter Grant and threatened him to say that the $203,000 was stolen by an employee of the Drake. 

Interesting theory about Weiss, never heard about it, but it makes a great deal of sense.  Someone has already mentioned Meyer Lansky, obviously Weiss' connections would have been to the Jewish mafia ("Kosher Nostra"), which has always been more powerful than the Italian mafia (hence the role of the latter has been over-emphasized by Hollywood, for obvious reasons), or the "Russian" mafia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Barney Hoskyns' Trampled Underfoot there's a long section on Knebworth, and Freddie Bannister's assistant Tom Fry describes a backstage encounter when the row over how many attendees there had been at the first show was going on. The encounter is with a bloke "who looked like he'd stepped out of Mean Streets", and he was convinced said bloke was a mob man. Whether this relates to Weiss, or whether Weiss' connections were real or rumoured I don't know. But as other posters have said, Zeppelin were generating a huge amount of cash, and where there's cash business...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, 76229 said:

In Barney Hoskyns' Trampled Underfoot there's a long section on Knebworth, and Freddie Bannister's assistant Tom Fry describes a backstage encounter when the row over how many attendees there had been at the first show was going on. The encounter is with a bloke "who looked like he'd stepped out of Mean Streets", and he was convinced said bloke was a mob man. Whether this relates to Weiss, or whether Weiss' connections were real or rumoured I don't know. But as other posters have said, Zeppelin were generating a huge amount of cash, and where there's cash business...

I doubt that was Weiss. Weiss is seen in some of the backstage footage in TSRTS, He is the guy the building manager is talking to when Grant says, "Talk to me, I am the manager of the group," at which point Poindexter wheels around and addresses Grant. But the guy with the glasses he is originally talking to is Steve Weiss. As you can see, Weiss was just a typical looking chap, and, was a very low key personality in general. Weiss is described as one of those people with a strong quiet confidence, he did not scream at people or even threaten. He knew who he was and what he was as did most everyone else in the business. Typically, one simple polite call from Weiss was enough to get whatever problem or issue they had solved. I highly doubt Weiss would have been involved in such a way. 

To me Mr. Fry sounds like he is talking about Richard Cole. Now old Ricardo did look like a mob soldier, and could be know to act like one as well (obviously...Oakland).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On July 25, 2017 at 11:53 PM, kingzoso said:

I read a lot about the Mafia and as Swan Song was based in New York City in the mid 1970's, with the millions of dollars Led Zeppelin were generating at that time, one or more of the above Families were in control or generating income from some aspect of a run of Led Zeppelin concerts beginning from 1970 through 1977.  I also believe that the NYC Mafia had a hand in the 1973 Drake Robbery.  I think that the Mafia actually got to Peter Grant and threatened him to say that the $203,000 was stolen by an employee of the Drake. 

How bout this thought, there never was a robbery. Maybe, it was staged. Ya' never know with these guys except for one thing...never believe what they say :lol: 

If the premise is that "the mafia got to them" then it would make sense that there would be no need to put that cash in a safety deposit box. Just hand it over to the mob, pretend there's been a robbery and get the money back from the insurance company. According to Grant, they actually got back more than they lost. Sounds like a win win situation if you look at it that way, not to mention the publicity it generated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I doubt that was Weiss.

To me Mr. Fry sounds like he is talking about Richard Cole

 

sorry, should have made it clear. I meant "was the involvement of these people at Knebworth related to Weiss' supposed relationship with the mob" (re: kingzoso's theory in post further upthread). I agree Tom Fry clearly isn't describing Weiss but the "Mean Streets" bloke was an American so definitely not Ricardo Cole either.

 

On the other side of the ledger Freddie Bannister said one of the people on Grant's side he dealt with during the schemozzle, identified himself as a retired Met Police inspector! Make of that what you will.

Edited by 76229
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the movie, the song remains the same, there is grant yelling at venue management over bootleg merchandise....minimal shit really. Then you have a guy in oakland ca trying to do his job and maybe too much....again over minimal stuff. I guess overreactions were peter grant's way. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...