HAIR and Hollywood Nights

Program, and my fav souvenier

Program, and my favorite souvenir

I seemed to breeze through my first audition for ‘HAIR’ But had a call-back so had to wait a few more weeks, to know if I was hired.  This wouldn’t have been a problem if  not for my  agent.  He had started taking me around, looking for an apartment for me.

I hadn’t yet done the call-back for HAIR , and probably could not afford an apartment.  That is when the agent said,

 “Oh no, you don’t understand, I get you the apartment, you have all the freedom you want, I will always call first when I come over to spend the night!”  

SAY WHAT????

Shortly after he said that,, he paid me a visit at my  motel, he said he was so tired and he  plopped down on the bed, and asked me to rub his neck.    I was tearfully afraid and not wanting to be thrown out on the street, I rubbed his back, and then I started to cry. He tried to  grab me, and get close, and I freaked out and just started crying.  He was mad,  He told me he would give me a few days to be out! I am so fortunate to not have been raped. I was a very frightened girl, and had lost touch with my Los Angeles school friends from the time I spent growing up here. I never felt so alone.

I had this little market I had found for my vegetarian diet. This is the one I met Charles  Manson in,, another post I did,,,,,

I had met a young woman and her little girl in the same market. Her name was Mrs. Bloom. Her daughter was Heather. I went to a phone book, and looked for her number. She needed a live in babysitter… like–yesterday!  I asked her to PLEASE come and get me. I rang up the theater and gave them my new number.

What a relief, I would walk her to school, then pick her up and make her a snack and that’s it. I loved it. Then came my callback to HAIR,  I thought I did all right, and on my way past Ted Neeley, he said “Jessica, Hold On… How do you feel about nudity?” I WAS TAKEN ABACK,  I had no idea it was a play with nudity. I said very confidently, ‘I am not ashamed of my body’    Ta Da DUM

What kind of play was this?  I had never seen it, I was so busy with my bands and concerts. I made it back to the Bloom apartment, and resumed life, there.  Then a few days later, the phone rings,

“How would like to start rehearsal tomorrow? You will have to go to Actors Equity and join, and sign the papers, so, can you start right away.”

the tickets for Hair

Tickets for Hair

I am IN! I am in HAIR; the biggest musical of the decade. ME, right out of high school! How lucky can I be!!!!    BUT, I had to tell Heather and her mom, I had a job. She said I could stay awhile, but I had no car, and needed to be closer to the theater to walk to work.

I chose the Hollywood Bowl Motel. It had a community kitchen, and I hated to go out and eat alone.  To say I was lonely was the understatement of the century. I was so lonely, that my record albums were my friends. Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Joni Mitchell.  It took awhile, but I finally made some friends in the show.

I was at a shop, somewhere on the Sunset strip, when I ran into Jennifer Joseph, who, in Vegas was the band manager for Free Circus. Her dad owned an apartment building on Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills.

She asked, ‘Where are you living?‘  I said, ‘the motel,’  she responded,  “NO way, you stay with me.” Great,  She moved all of me thongs over to her place and I was farhter away, with no car, but she drove me to work. Here I am in Beverly Hills and livin the life… THEN things got even BETTER…..

tony good - jessica kluger marciel

Tony Good and I at the opening of LION COUNTRY SAFARI

Jen and I went to Jeans West on Sunset. A George Harrison lookalike  appeared; in tight jeans and gorgeous hair and eyes, walks over, “Hi Jennifer, who’s your friend?” … “Oh, Tony, this is Jessica, we went to school together and she is in Hair.”  

Our eyes locked and I swear, I was going to marry him!   He asked for my number, “Jenn, what’s your number??”  She had helped me move into her apartment in Beverly Hills, and now I had the hottest guy I had seen in the town!

THANK YOU Jennifer Joseph!   Well, you wouldn’t know it to look at him, but he was  36 years old…  hmm.. My folks were gonna love this!  I was only at Jenn’s about a month when I moved back to Hollywood to live in Tony’s flat off Hollywood Blvd. We were happy and in love.

After a few months, Tony was offered to go across the Sunset Strip and manage North Beach Leather, good for him, because he was from the San Francisco Bay Area, and was familiar with the store. He had clients like Sly and the Family Stone, Raquel Welchmany big names. Hugh Hefner‘s secretary was a big client. That’s how Tony and I got to go to parties at the Playboy Mansion, because of her.

Life was great,  a trip to Santa Barbara to see HAIR producer, Michael Butler, play polo. Whiskey A Go Go nights, and so much to do. We hit the MGM auction… wow, the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of OZ!

I loved being in the show, and was promoted to the role of teeny bopper, Chrissy, who sang ‘Frank Mills. ‘ I understudied the fabulous Jeannie role played by Teda Bracci, and even got to perform that role one night!.

Tony and I really bonded with Red Shepard and his lady Karalee Phillips. She and I are still friends, and I call Red in Texas when I can. We had parties at their rented mansion.  Big parties!  lots of fun, and vegetarian food. We cooked all day for these parties. Crazy, wild people and lots of film stars. You have never seen so  much Fettucine, date nut bread and salad in ONE house! And we rode in a Rolls Royce to the market!

While there, I met people such as David and Keith  Carradine, their girlfriends Christina Raines and Barbara Hershey, Karen Black, and many colorful characters.

Sly and the Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone

I almost got busted with Sly of the Family Stone. One night Tony was locking up. Sly came to pick up a coat. His car wouldn’t start, we said we would give him a life. He said he had recording equipment in the car, so we started to put it in our car. Just then the police saw what we were doing and pulled in the lot. We were cuffed and knocked onto the hood of the car. I was terrified, Sly had coke in his car, and he swore to them we were not with him, they let us go, Close call.

One September night, a Sunday, with the show dark on Monday, Tony and I left for Las Vegas to see my mom on her Birthday.  It was very very windy out in the desert. When we stopped in Baker for a bite to eat. Tony said he was tired, and asked me to drive.  I took the wheel and the last thing I remember was a big swoosh, and the car spinning. I woke up in the hospital four days later.

Tony had broken his collar bone, but I had fallen out down an embankment and over the controls and broke every bone in my body. A trucker saw the headlights on and called 911.   He saved our lives. I had been in a coma. When I was moved to a room, I remember Ted Neeley came to see me. Wow, I will never forget that.  My injuries were pretty serious and my time in the show was over.  It was shortly after this we were told we were closing!  So sad.  I was allowed to sing Frank Mills on my crutches in the very last show. Then we cut an album, for a memory of the great Los Angeles cast.

After my recovery I started acting school, and we had a house in Nichols Canyon. We lived off our savings and disability, then unemployment. Life was still good, I kept in touch with Red and Karalee, and Red had started REVOLUTION RECORDS, with Michael Butler.  I sang on a few albums for him, including a rock version of Handel’s Messiah. Got to meet and work for  Clydie King, the queen of the background studio singers. It wasn’t until I moved back to Las Vegas that show biz became un forgiving, and quite tough.

So, I will start my next post as I move back to Las Vegas and where my path goes from there!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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On the road with Sonny Charles, learning to dance, and much more

When I was in The Los Angeles cast of “HAIR”, I was in a terrible car accident on my way to Las Vegas to surprise my mom for her birthday.I was leaving Baker, California, and the wind was really kicking up badly. My boyfriend Tony Good was getting tired and I said I would take the wheel.

Tony was the manager of North Beach Leather on Sunset Blvd., and we were together for about a year.  We had a very small English car, right hand drive, and the wind really blew it around.

I vaguely remember losing control of the steering wheel, and waking Tony with my screaming. We were off the highway, on the sand, spinning around and skidding at a very high speed. That is the last thing I remember  before waking up four days later at UMC Hospital in Las Vegas. I had been in a coma.

My leg was broken in three places, my ribs and lungs collapsed. I had a neck brace on and a lot of cactus in my limbs. Tony had shoulder and arm injuries, but wasn’t as injured as me. A passing truck driver had spotted our upside down car off a reveene with the headlights still on, he pulled over and started looking for people. He called 911 and we were transported to Vegas.

Tony was on a different floor, and they wheel-chaired him to see me. He told me that at that same night our best friend Frank had died of an overdose. He was devastated. Frankie owned Head East Jeans on Sunset and La Cienega, Tony had manged that until North Beach Leather grabbed him away.

Many of my Hair buddies came to Vegas,to see us.Teddy Neeley, being one, he was so sweet  to do that. Tony’s other  friend Cliff who lived with Frankie, moved in with us when we returned to Los Angeles. We had a beautiful little house in the Hollywood Bowl hills and it had about a hundred stairs, so we had to find a new house.

Tony went home while I recouped at mom and dad’s in Vegas. He found a great house in Nichols Canyon in a cul de sac with a stream running through it. he did all the moving and I never saw the Hollywood Bowl house again.

I had a lot of recouperating to do. HAIR was closing, they let me do the last show on crutches and sing “Frank MIlls”. Everyone either went on to “Jesus Christ Superstar” or the Mercury Tour of HAIR. I lived in that house on the mountain, on disability.

In time, everything was spiraling, and Cliff died of an overdose. Then his girfiriend killed herself over his death. It was a time when I started acting classes. I was with Justin Smith right there on Santa Monica and La Cienega. I loved classes. In my class was Michelle Phillips, and Helen Reddy.

It started to distance me from Tony though. We hung in there for another year. We became close to former “Berger” In HAIRRed Shepard, and his girlfriend Karalee Phillips. They had a rented mansion with an elevator and huge kitchen where we would throw a lot a parties. Keith Carradine, and a lot of actors of that generation were at the parties. Red had started Revolution Records with Michael Butlers help. I sang on a lot of the sessions.Keeping up with the likes of Clydie King and others was a challenge.

On a trip to Vegas to see my family, I stopped into Gus Gallo’s, a local club with live music. I sang with the band, and Sonny Charles of the Checkmates asked for my number. Sweet Louie, Sonny’s bandmate, was in prison at the time. Sonny was traveling alone with a band.

Shortly after that, Sonny called from Fort Wayne, Indiana, could I come right away and be a back up singer with his niece Regina Warfield. Tony and I were done by then, and off I flew to a wonderful adventure.

When I got there, I found out the drummer, Billy ,was a student of daddy’s.  Every night after a show, Regina and I were off to Sonny’s room for dance class. How fun was that?

Also, the golf courses were a big part of Sonny’s road life.I would caddy for him a lot, and learned the game. The shows were fun, exciting, and always brilliant.  One night Sonny asked me to his room and we talked and spent a lot of hours together. we got very close and I have always cherished my one night with him. After a few months on the road, I got close to the bass player, Jim Strauss.

Jim was a tall, skinny, Jesus look-a-like! He was from Los Angeles. and his girlfriend at home was on a big billboard all over the city as the bikini’d babe on the Coppertone ad. Then she appeared in a clothing pictorial for men’s clothes in Playboy magazine. I had a huge crush on him but knew I wasn’t in his league. Well, he returned my crush and we began a relationship.

Despite his girfriend Peggy! Shame on me,, I was young and that was not right. Peggy was so nice, she let us stay at her house when we got to Los Angeles. AWKWARD! when she was out of the house, the anwswering machine for her was ringing with calls from Warren Beatty! She was going to be fine!

Jim and I got our own place in Hollywood, near Sunset and starting keeping house. Sonny stopped touring, and I found a job with a band called “The Sunshine Company” I was now on the road and Jim stayed in Los Angeles.

Let me teach you something that took me a long time to figure out. When a guy cheats on his girlfriend with you, he will also do it to you. He did and I learned the hard way, life lessons.

My one night with Sonny was always a bright spot on my heart and I have never talked about it. It was just a moment and something that seemed right and that is all it was. I remember his mama’s cornbread, sweet potato pie, and those lovely visits to Fort Wayne. I remember the whole band seeing “Play Misty For Me” together one afternoon.  I remember when Sonny played the Hammond B3 and sang “Your Song” and gave me chills every night.

Now he is with the Steve Miller band. and what a thrill for people to still see and hear this great performer. Try not to miss them if you get a chance. This was one of my greatest memories of the business and my youth. I am one lucky girl!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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