Pablo Cruise Palo Alto roots

Pablo Cruise was all over the radio in 1977 “Place in the Sun”.
Years later it was Gil Draper of Draper’s Music who hipped me to the fact that the band had Palo Alto roots.

Here is a glib from People Magazine of the time, although it actually describes the band as part of the Marin County scene.

Pablo’s roots go back to the Greek-descended (Corey) Lerios’ band at Palo Alto H.S. His classmate Steve Price signed on as a roadie (because he owned a van), then switched to drums. After brief passes at college, they joined with Jenkins (originally from Ypsilanti, Mich. and the group’s only non-Californian) in a San Francisco band called Stone-ground. They split off to form Pablo Cruise in 1973, working at first for $25 a night and, in Jenkins’ case, surviving on food stamps. The fourth member, Day, who once played in a high school band with Carlos Santana, joined in 1977.

I got onto this today because Terry and I plan to ride our Schwin’s to Rinconada Park at 7 to hear AJ Crawdaddy band, part of the City of Palo Alto Twilight Series, that features Angelo Rossi, who is also from Palo Alto and apparently an associate since the old school days of Lerios and Price and played with Pablo Cruise in 1981-1982. His site says he is now a realtor in Woodside. All close enough for the Palo Alto Rock and Roll Archive that exists only 1) in my head 2) in Plastic Alto and 3) maybe or maybe not in Steve Staiger’s desk, or at the archive of Palo Alto Historical Association, at Cubberley, three doors down from where “The Wave” took place.

One of the possible positive outcomes of the 2014 Palo Alto City Council elections would be the actual enactment of the Palo Alto Rock and Roll Archive, and maybe an exhibit and series of events at Palo Alto History Museum, at old Palo Alto Clinic Park, near Heritage Park (which itself needs to be re-named). Karen Holman, probably running for re-election despite her failure to clearly separate from the corruption at 250 Hamilton (Grand Jury Report, 6/6/14), is or was in leadership with the effort to develop the old clinic as a cultural historical site.

Here is Pablo Cruise on Kirshner 1977 circa:

And here is Angelo Rossi pka AJ Crawdaddy at Club Fox recently:

Not to be a hater but I wonder if these types of bands are “buy-ons” meaning they pay to play at the Rinconada Park or do we the taxpayers pay them to perform for us? In the case of Moonalice, the band fronted by big-time VC and music nut — of not unnoteworthy chops — Roger McNamee if we paid them rather than the other way around we are suckers. And I just checked to find that Moonalice as part of the annual Twilight Series may have only been a two-year run, in 2011 and 2012 — both post-dating Suzanne Warren’s long-time curation of the series. I do recall stopping McNamee in 2011 post-hit  to ask him to get involved with the Save the Varsity Part 2 campaign — he is part of ownership of the group that runs Slims and GAMH or was.

I would much rather give the gig to someone between the ages of 18 and 30 and not over 60. But I also, if I am not painting myself into a corner, believe in paying union wages or a modified version to all performers at City Sponsored or city-produced or co-sponsored events, $75 per service (90 minutes) for individuals and $150 for a group. My understanding or lasts I checked the Sunday farmers market on Cali Ave pays their performers a flat $35. Maybe I am like the Indian guy crying in the old pollution ads but when I go to these events it is more to contemplate what could be and not to groove or rock out.

Meanwhile, and as a type of add-on, when Terry and I got back from our week in LA-LA, Nielson Buchanan we saw at Sally Rudd’s moving sale and he was holding the local newspaper that said that former Planning and Transportation Commissioner Eduardo Martinez had died, of cancer, at 67. I did not know him well but will remember that when I applied for PATC he sent a note to me (and I presume the other candidates) thanking us and offering to follow up with us with other concerns. I would say that reaching out and even acknowledging fledgling activists and candidates is a rarity here; mostly leadership and the Establishment circle the wagons and fold their arms. (The other exception: Gary Fazzino).

The title would overstate my respect for Martinez or condolensce to his family and friends but I did see Carlos Santana play an acoustic version of this, at Bill Graham’s public memorial, at SF’s Sherith Israel or Emmanuel, and he said it was based on a Yiddish melody, taught by Graham to him:


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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One Response to Pablo Cruise Palo Alto roots

  1. Oldskewl says:

    I just saw this tonight. Better late than never. Got a kick out of it. Especially the comments regarding Roger MacName’s ensemble. I do practice Real Estate in the area. But I also own and operate The Cave Recording Studio out of our family’s old building that housed Mike Rossi Liquors, recording local blues and soul acts. I play blues guitar under the moniker of AJ Crawdaddy and contribute to the local Blues scene, here in the South Bay, Mid Peninsula and SF. I run the Friday Night Blues Series at The Carlos Club/Rail in s Downtown San Carlos and you can buy my recordings here Thank you for your kind words and support of ‘Live” music, Mark. #findyourplaceinthesun #whatchuwanttohappen #inmemoryofjoaquinvillegas

    Good to know, AJ. Reminds me of my night or a couple hours hanging out with Steve Lacy and his band — he was staying in San Carlos and performing in Andy Heller’s studio slash storage space — because I didn’t think he would fill Cubberley — and we were in the Carlos Club and had one or two rounds — they had all just gotten off the plane from France — but then we got chased from the bar because the Karaoke was starting. Nineteen hundred and ninety-nine. Speaking of trying to find your place in the dark. Thanks for playing for the free people of South Palo Alto.

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