Las Vegas Rock Reunion Hall of Fame: Induction and Concert

When Michael Selinsky wrote me via Facebook, about being inducted into the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I was very excited. Not only would I see  my band-mates again, but we would play, together again, on stage.

You see, when I was a teen, I didn’t date, and take time to go to the movies. I rehearsed and played gigs every weekend and summers in Lake Tahoe with college boys. I grew up very fast and loved it.

First I started as a solo artist as Jessie Paul, a stage name Capitol records gave me. Then I moved to Las Vegas from Southern California. Dennis Hunt was the DJ at KENO Radio, and he played my songs. Then some local Valley high bands started hiring me. First was The Little People, where I met my first love, Michael Friedman. Mike’s dad was co-owner of one The Desert Inn Hotel. He lived on the golf course on the grounds of the property. He was really raised by the nanny, so we had the run of the place. Michael died in the 90’s and we had  re connected at that time.

Steve Miller, Jessica Marciel, Dennis Hunt

Steve Miller, Jessica Marciel, Dennis Hunt

The Little People morphed into The London Fog, and it was a really good band, but I was known as the Grace Slick of Vegas. Then,” Free Circus”, asked me to join them. Roby Bennett, the guitar/singer, wrote all the songs! Wow, originals! That’s what I was looking for. We did a Janis Joplin song once in awhile but mostly we had our own vibe.

All inducted: The Little People, Glen Cooper, Mike Friedman, Steve Harvey, Howard Salstein

Mike Lyman and me.  London Fog: Mike Friedman, Bob Lily, Mark Leonard, Me, then Georganne Rock,

Free Circus in Concert 5/1/11

Free Circus in Concert 5/1/11

Free Circus: Danny Barnett, Roby Bennett, Bob Bjornsen, Larry Gann, and me.

As Free Circus, we opened for: Cream, Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Santana, Sweetwater, Grateful Dead, Iron Butterfly, Electric Prunes, and many more.

The first fame meeting we found out the name, “Rock and Roll Hall  of Fame” couldn’t be used, due to copyright infringement. So they settled on Rock Reunion Hall Of Fame.

The first meeting at Linda Freeman’s home. What a great reunion, and she had so much food,  it was quite amazing! We had the meeting finally after stuffing our faces. We realized how difficult this was going to be!

The venue, staffing, public relations, rehearsing, the line up, who would be where, who would be nominated. Who would sponsor, how long would this take? The first thing we decided was that people like ME, who were a nominee, should not be at the meetings, because I can’t nominate myself! So that was the last meeting  I attended.

Kickin it with Free Circus at the Meet & Greet

Kickin it with Free Circus at the Meet & Greet

I got in touch with Roby, and Dan. Bob passed away, in the 90’s, from cancer. I told the guys I had a drummer, Conrad, and Roby said his brother, James, could play bass, because we could not find Larry Gann.

Roby just wanted to do originals, that was fine, I kind of wanted to do ONE Cold Blood or Joplin song, I just wanted to wail a bit and let people know I could still sing. The excitement of being with guys again, outweighed everything. When Roby got to town, we met and I swear we were giddy!

I was so happy to just be in Roby’s presence. We drove to the venue to see it: The Henderson Pavilion. I had been there to work an event. My students opened for Jesse Mc Cartney at the place and I had been in and out of the loading dock all day!

After seeing the venue, we went to look for some doggie flea meds for Roby’s brothers dog. So I took him to the District, then time to go home.  Finally, Danny and Conrad, and James were in my studio and wham!, We were back! It fell together fast, I think we only had three rehearsals and one vocal rehearsal.

Seeing everyone at the Meet and Greet at the Four Queens Hotel was a trip. I saw Dennis Hunt… and Stan Irwin, who brought the Beatles to Vegas, I also saw  Keith Austin, Steve Miller, Mike Tell, the promoters who had hired us back-in-the-day.

The bands were there, Sidro’s Armada, Beverlee Brown, Jerry Lopez & Santa Fe, The Teenbeats, Pork and Beans, Bill Rosevear, who started it all with Scatter Blues. Who’s the Father, members of Wolfticket, Batdorf and Rodney, Sailon (who became prominent after I moved to Los Angeles)

Free Circus: Wonderworld Concert

Free Circus: Wonderworld Concert

The hosts  were:

  • Lanny Irwin (I knew from High school, took lessons from daddy, and I crushed on.)
  • Lark Williams
  • Freddie Woods
  • Dennis Hunt

The day of the concert sped by, Right before we went on, Roby and I started dancing backstage to the break music, I had no idea anyone was clicking away but it’s all on film. What fun we had, we got all winded right before going on, brilliant, but it was worth it. Danny’s Rheem organ needed repair and the guy got there 30 minutes before we went on! Talk about a close call.

After we performed, it was time to go to the Interview Room. We talked about the band for half an hour, I found out how Roby named the band! It was great, can’t wait to see it.

We played four songs, saved the rocker for last, we rocked it that day and the video, thanks to my student Joey Miceli is on my YouTube channel.  Leaving was bittersweet, we went to Ricardos to eat, and James grabbed the check.  We all said goodbye in the parking lot. I looked back at Dan, then Roby one last time, knowing, that because of this concert and recognition, we will never lose our friendship, ever again. We will always be “Free Circus” dancing backstage freestyle hippies who love each other.

I floated, off the ground, for weeks after the concert. It’s a rare feeling, and one I won’t soon forget.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

It’s all about the ‘juice’ – Wayne Newton and more

In the 60’s and 70’s, you had to know someone to work in Las Vegas. In the 60’s. I was too young for casinos  and didn’t care, because I was rocking the concert scene as an opening act, in big arenas.We were the “FREE CIRCUS” and quite good. Performed mostly originals, some covers. Opening for Santana, Three Dog Night, Cream, The Grateful Dead, Steppenwolf, Electric Prunes, Sweetwater, and every super-group that played Las Vegas.

Wayne Newton

Wayne Newton

Then I was in plenty of lounge groups as the “chick singer”, The Sunshine Company, Spiral Starecase, and Commonwealth, the best group that toured the Playboy clubs. I got plenty of life lessons from living on the road, touring all the clubs, and living out of a suitcase.

When my bass player boyfriend in Commonwealth, Jorge Casas wanted to go back to Miami to finish his college degree, I was opening for Gallagher at the Marina Hotel, and we kept getting held over week after week after week. I just didn’t want to leave. He went to Miami, got his degree, paid his dues and in the 80’s was discovered by Emiio and Gloria. Jorge has been with Gloria Estefan ever since!!!

After the Marina showroom engagement ended, it was time to really roll up my sleeves, and make a name for myself. Ha! I couldn’t get arrested. No One would even give me an audition.

The entertainment directors were not interested in me at all. At that time, my dad , Irv Kluger, was the vice president of the musicians union.  He suggested I call Wayne Newton for “juice.” That is what we call a connection, in the biz.

Wayne had wanted to import a musician from out of state, and dad gave him the OK, so he owed daddy one. And he liked daddy. I called Wayne using dad’s name. He told me to come see his show that night , visit his dressing room with a demo and he would see what he could do.

I was 26 or 27 and dressed up pretty hot, and played him my demos. He called in Walter Kane (Howard Hughes’ right-hand man), then in charge of all Summa hotels. Walter loved me, and told me he wanted to see my group on Monday at the Frontier Hotel. I put together a quartet, rehearsed a few tunes, and voila!, an open ended contract with Summa. We worked mostly at the Sands Hotel as “Jessica and Fantasy” I hired a public relations representative, Judy Gold. We worked non-stop for 2 years. My name in lights, and even on the Sands postcard!

Even with all that publicity, tv, radio, news print, when Summa started selling off the hotels, we were let go, and guess what, I couldnt get arrested!!!  AGAIN!!

I wound up auditioning for Donn Arden and driving to Reno for the big production show “Hello Hollywood Hello” at the MGM Grand Reno. After that, “Casino De Paris” at the Dunes.

Without juice, my name was never in lights again.

When you hear the term: show business, the business can be nasty. It is all business and don’t ever forget it. Learn from it and remember that who you know is often more important than what you know.

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