Hell House Nov 30, 2009 12:06:50 GMT -5
Post by ekforum on Nov 30, 2009 12:06:50 GMT -5
It was a cabin at the end of this field. It was owned by this guy who lived a couple of miles up from the cabin near the road in a little town called Green Cove. The cabin was on a creek. Alligators would come up out of the creek and sit on the shore and listen to the music; it was real fun.
One of us had to stay there every night. Before I joined the band, they left the cabin unattended at night. Somebody came up the creek in a boat and stole some Marshall amplifiers. It was a pretty scary place to spend the night. There were gators and there were noises like you would not believe. I slept with big bright lights on all night long.
If you've got a copy of the vinyl version of NUTHIN FANCY, all of the inner sleeve photos are taken at Hell House. The color photo in the middle of the book with the boxed set is also Hell House.
They may have started using it a year before I got there (in Nov. '72).
Ronnie would come pick us up at about 8:00am and we would practice till the sun went down. We sweat like pigs out there. We were constantly wiping our guitars down to keep the sweat out of the pickup & control cavities!
I'm guessing but I'd say it was 20 X 30. SMALL.
I think there is the possibility that wood will adjust to temperature & humidity if it's kept constant. Our guitars were routinely played in 100 degree heat and near 100% humidity. I can't testify to the others having to adjust their necks (we had a good guitar tech in Atlanta that we visited often) but I can recall tweaking my Fender neck once or twice a week.
I like old strings. I think the others did, too. As long as you wipe down, you can get miles out of them.
As if the natural heat out there wasn't enough, imagine the heat coming from 2 Marshall amps, an Ampeg SVT, 2 Fender Quadreverbs and Billy's amp set up....on top of that, a couple of Crown amps for vocals. I'm talking SERIOUS HEAT!!!
It's no wonder when we played this rock festival in Tempe, AZ in July '74, we breezed through our hour-long set....no problem. EVERY OTHER BAND COULDN'T DO MORE THAN 15 MINUTES! WUSSIES!
Q - How much Drinking went on during the Practice sessions in the seventies?
None. Zero. We couldn't afford it. No hard liquor at rehearsals and no shooting drugs ever.
Q - Does that include weed too?
I guess there was enough money for that!! (I KNEW that question would be next!) Psilocybin mushroom tea only in the evening! Gotta take it easy on that stuff or else NOTHIN' gets done. On the farm surrounding Hell House, there were plenty of psychedelic mushrooms. Make sure you pick the ones with the purple ring around the stem. They're FREE. WHOOPEEE!
NUTHIN FANCY (Jan. '75) was written in the studio ... so that was a departure from Hell House. Actually, I'd have to say that after Nov.'74, we never went back there. We did some rehearsing in a warehouse/studio in downtown Jacksonville. I think that 'upgrading' was not really on our minds. We all had a lot of respect for what had been accomplished out there in the swamp. But the long ride out to Hell House just became inconvenient over time. We sort of ran out of time. Plus we developed that 'up-all-night' mentality. The folks who lived up-river from Hell House wouldn't have appreciated the noise at 3 AM. So we moved it in-doors.
It burned down about 10 years ago.
I recently met NASCAR team owner Lee Rollins. He purchased the CONCRETE SLAB at 'Hell House'. Hasn't figured out what to do with it. He thinks that slab holds a lot of energy from all the songs that were written there.
Q - When you guys went to Hell House to practice, was there a "usual crowd?" Did wives come? You've mentioned Jeff Carlisi, what about Donnie VZ and Johnnie VZ? Your girl-friend?
Was it hard to stay focused on practice with folks around...or did RVZ (Mr. Iron Fist) kick them out? Was it 8AM till whenever every day of the week back in 72-73? I'll bet your hearing (what's that you say), took a beating.
We'd get to Hell House no later than 9 AM every day. Every day, without fail. We stayed until dusk and we rehearsed the entire time taking very few breaks. There wasn't any fooling around or sitting idle...though fishing down at the creek was allowed.
There were never any hard drugs at Hell House...a little pot and some beer...never any hard liquor. It was all business. Visitors of any kind were HEAVILY FROWNED UPON. It was RARE that someone other than a band member would be at Hell House. The only ones I can recall were Carlisi, Alan Walden, and Joe Osborne's sound company (the day he auditioned for the job he brought several generators and set up all the sound equipment up outside on a flat bed trailer and TURNED IT UP).
Women were NEVER there. My first wife showed up one day unannounced...I yelled at her and she promptly left! We were separated anyway. Even the road crew didn't spend much time out there unless there were equipment issues.
I don't know about the other guys but I stuffed tissue in my ears. Billy used these cabinets (for his elec. piano) called "Eliminators" and he had them stacked behind him. One day he took a solo and it was SO LOUD that it literally KNOCKED ME DOWN. Yeah, it got loud in there. And hot. A lot of amplifiers, a lot of outside Florida sun beating down and no air conditioning. We were constantly wiping the sweat off the guitars.
It was great.