ARCHIVE LIBRARY

HOW BOUT DEM TIGERS

by Jerry Honigman

It was a December night in 1979. Our band, the Romeos, was working on our upcoming album for CBS/Columbia Records at the Record Plant studios in Los Angeles with our producers, David Paich of Toto and Tom Knox. The record was getting close to being finished. It was coming together and sounding good, the holidays were upon us, and everyone was in good spirits. And by that, I mean we were partying and celebrating ourselves. One of our favorite expressions at the time was “I dig diggin’ me.”

Our friend, Rose Mann, who ran the studio, informed us of a Christmas party at Record Plant owner Chris Stone’s house. Rose would, in a few short years, marry another good friend, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning producer/engineer Ed Cherney, and, as Rose Mann-Cherney, would become half of one of my favorite couples of all time. Since we were already in multi-headed monster party mode, we loaded into a panel van – band, producers, our engineer Dana Latham at the wheel – bringing our cocktail supplies along with us. A moveable beast.

We headed to Stone’s lovely Hancock Park home. Upon arrival, it became obvious to us that there were many music business luminaries and heavy-weights in attendance, too many to list here. But, the one that had my attention from the get-go was Stephen Stills. Paich introduced us to him, albeit in a disingenuous, mocking sort of way. More nudge nudge wink wink than sincere, leaving a lot to be desired in the meeting. I vowed to try again later.

I had been a fan of his since the Buffalo Springfield days. One of the best things to happen to the music world was when Stills failed his audition to be a Monkee. We were instead the beneficiaries of a hugely talented artist and his widespread career. Because of Stills I played a Gibson Firebird guitar (and, because of his partner, Neil Young I had worn a fringed buckskin jacket in my late teens). I had all three Springfield albums and followed him in everything he did after: Crosby, Stills, Nash, and sometimes Young, his solo records, his band Manassas, and more. But I especially was pleased to note his Louisiana
connection through the years.

I had read that he lived in our state at some point in his life, and the picture on the back cover of his first solo album featured him on horseback wearing an LSU football jersey. That was PROOF, buddy! And then there was the first album by his band, Manassas (a terrific, if somewhat overlooked, double record) which featured a song called, “Don’t Look at My Shadow,” in which he sang:

Purple Peacock honky-tonk in Eunice, Louisiana
Bourbon whiskey free, son just tune up the piano
Workin’ clubs in New Orleans, bringin’ down a dollar
College boys drink beer and throw the bottles

What more did one need to know that Louisiana was in his heart? After a while, I noticed him sitting on a couch having a conversation and figured this would be my chance, my moment to bond with Stephen Freaking Stills. Time to let fly with one of my sparkling witticisms. I sat down next to him waiting for a break in the situation, and he finally turned to me with a questioning look. So, knowing that we were about to share a moment, I gave it my considered shot.

“How bout dem Tigers?!”

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