Bit: SOL's Legends of Rock presents: The Band That Played 'California Lady'

Episode: 1007- Track of the Moon Beast

Transcribed by Jeremy Blomstedt


(Mike is wearing earphones and reading from a paper script. Next to him is a monitor--a STONY, in fact--with the image of the Seventies folk-rock trio from the movie on it.)

Mike: (brightly) Tonight on SOL's--
Crow: (off) Lower, please, Mike.
Mike: (in a lower voice) Tonight on S-- (He clears his throat, then in a bourbony, bikery voice) Tonight on SOL's Legends of Rock--
Crow: (off) Okay, good!
Mike: --the tragic story of The Band That Played 'California Lady'.

(As Mike continues, scenes from the movie are played, with many zoom-ins, reverses of images, and other visual effects.)

Mike: The Band That Played 'California Lady' began as a duo featuring The Fish-Lipped Guy and The Eskimo. They developed their sound playing this kind of music in hard-scrabble bars before a growing circle of fans. It wasn't until they added The Friendly-Looking Backup Singer the The Band That Played 'California Lady' finally hit it big with 'California Lady'. The pressures of success were huge and The Fish-Lipped Guy, who took on the public role of creative genius, began to take refuge in drinking and a new circle of fast friends, as he and The Eskimo drifted apart. That summer, The Band That Played 'California Lady' played before nearly 300,000 fans at Watkins Glen, New York, sharing a bill with Wet Willy and Toots and the Maytals. Backstage, though, The Fish-Lipped Guy's drinking was beginning to get out of hand. Creative tensions mounted and a haze of alcohol served only to cover up The Eskimo's increasing drug use. It was a hopeful sign when The Friendly-Looking Backup Singer checked into a rehab clinic to have her blood replaced, but The Fish-Lipped Guy's out-of-control womanizing led The Eskimo into an ever-more-deadly spiral of drug use and drink. Drug-addled recording sessions produced The Band That Played 'California Lady's follow-up album, the more-melodic 'Rhode Island Lady', but it failed to crack the charts as The Band That Played 'California Lady's audience did not follow them into this new territory. By this time, the drugs, booze, and womanizing had begun to replace the music. Friends were troubled as an opportunity to open for Brewer and Shipley on a world tour went by the boards when The Eskimo slipped into a long-term alcoholic coma. The Fish-Lipped Guy turned increasingly to booze, drugs, womanizing, and out-of-control gambling, and The Band That Played 'California Lady' was no more. (Mike is back on-screen.) Happily, the last years have seen a reunion and a new generation of fans have discovered the magic that is The Band That Played 'California Lady'.
Crow: Okay, thank you, that's a wrap. And we have Movie Sign!
Mike: (oblivious) The band can now look forward to the the return to the drinking--
Crow: Mike?
Mike: --drugs, gambling, womanizing, tax fraud....