EDIT: I have attached a Word file of an updated version of what appears below. Please feel free to download it to your computer. Cheers, Jeremy


I'm in the process (in between work and studying) of gathering/assimilating the tiny threads of information out there surrounding the Joy years. I must preface this by saying that in no way to I want to step on anyone's toes. Buy Michael's music as before, and support him in the wonderful ways you all do. But given his iconic status (well, at least to me, anyway) as a vocalist and composer, it's only right that this history be as complete as possible for those of us who are fascinated by his musical journey. This is quite long, but I'm pasting it from a Word document for you to browse and contribute to as you will/might/are able. For questions I still have, I have indicated them in italics. For updates and information that is new (at least to me), I've indicated so with "Update" in bold. Enjoy!


The Early EARLY Years: What We Know So Far


1965-66: MB meets Marc Friedland at a party at the home of someone named Jimmy Rozen,
who was apparently a bandmate of Friedland’s in The Sensations in 1965.



1966: Marc Friedland joins a band named The Zyme; had first recording session. Versions of the band included the following members:

Marc Friedland

Bobby Goodman

Gary Barnett

Michael Hillman (aka Jay Michaels, Hilly Michaels; he co-wrote the song "Every Day Of My Life" with Patrick Henderson)
(others included Jeff Coopersmith, Mark Magin)

Band was aka The Outsiders, The Unexpected, The Coconut Conspiracy


Side note: Marc mentioned to me awhile ago that someone else was chosen over MB for lead singer of The Coconut Conspiracy, much to his chagrin!



1968: Friedland joins already-established George’s Boys, which soon became Joy [Question: unclear what year MB actually joined George’s Boys—can anyone help?]. Joy (temporarily) moved to East Oakland, CA, returning to CT by the end of 1968 and renting “Joy House” in Woodbridge, CT. Members (or entourage) who moved to East Oakland:

Marc Friedland
Michael Bolotin

Fred Bova

Bob Brockway
Richard Friedland
Denise (?)
Chip (?)


Update: George's Boys soon became known as The Bram Rigg Set, according to various new sources. The band itself did not morph into Joy. Another local band, The Shags, had Orrin as a roadie, and they took The Bram Rigg Set under their wing around the time that Joy was first rehearsing.

 

1969: Joy demo session at Syncron Studios in CT, earning a record deal with CBS on Epic Records (Marc Friedland mentions only “Bah Bah Song” and “It’s For You”). Joy rehearses in a loft owned by Bill
Haughwout. Joy plays the Electric Circus in New York, The Exit in New Haven, and various “Yale mixers.” [Question: when/where did Joy record “Going Back to New Haven” and “Cookie Man”? It’s possible that it was at the same session, but this needs to be verified]

 

Update: I have now learned that “Going Back to New Haven” was written by Tom Pollard. I’m not sure where he fits in, relationship-wise, to
the Joy musicians, but I’ve heard his performance of the song and it’s definitely the same song.

Also, Syncron Studios, by 1969, was already known as Trod Nossel Productions Recording Studio. Syncron, which was originally a microphone testing business, was purchased by Dr. Thomas Cavalier in 1966 and renamed. It still exists today, and has become quite famous on an international level. Its location is 10 George Street in Wallingford, CT. Dr. Cavalier was a dentist who switched careers to manage The Shags.

 


1970: Joy dropped from CBS.


 

1971: Marc Friedland moves to Venice, CA and received publishing deal (solo or group?) for Dimension Music (he mentions the
names Michael Gordon and Steven Lewis in conjunction with this, but I have no info on these names). Several New Haven musicians join him. The roster now includes:

Marc Friedland
Michael Bolotin

Michael Hillman (aka Jay Michaels, Hilly Michaels)
Fred Bova

Glenn Selwitz
Orrin Bolotin
Tony Corolla (?)

Group rehearses in their school bus (Oogy Ahhgy) parked at Helen Bolotin’s apartment complex on Coldwater Canyon Blvd (Helen Bolotin lived in CA at some point? I didn’t know that). The circulated colour photo of MB and his bandmates sitting on the ground with the back of their school bus behind them is from this period in CA.


 

1971-early 1972: Joy records “album” for Pentagram
Records. Marc Friedland phrases it as such: “[1971 & early 1972]: Recorded album for Pentagram Records. Did sound track for the movie ‘November’s Children.’ Plays gigs – ‘Image’ in Van Nuys etc.” Michael Hillman does not mention the film, and specifies the conditions of the contract: “We had an LP deal with Pentagram

Records," he recalls, "and they gave us a $500 advance to do an album. We only got to do four songs though, because the company had to pay us union dues and they couldn't afford to do that and finance the record. We split our dues and the advance seven
ways."
[Question: do we know for sure that the songs recorded for Pentagram are the songs on the November[’s] Children soundtrack? Only two songs have been unearthed from the soundtrack: “Running Away from the Nighttime” and “Where Do We Go From Here.” Both features MB’s vocals, and he is credited as sole songwriter of the former song]



Update: I have now learned the following. November Children (no “’s”) is aka Nightmare County and Nightmare of Death, according to copyright document V3054P214-216. The plot synopsis is as follows: “In this 70's drama, the candidate who was supported by a coalition of fruit-pickers finally gets elected in their farming community. But the local law enforcement agency does not like this and begins to terrorize his supporters.” At 75 minutes long in theatrical release in 1971, an 87 minute version was released to video in 1977.



More importantly, for us, is the song information I have finally obtained. There are three songs on the soundtrack performed by Joy: “Running Away From the Nighttime” (words & music Michael Bolotin), “Where Do We Go From Here” (words & music Michael
Gordon, aka Michael Z. Gordon), and “Our Town” (words & music Larry Quinn).



This leads me to an interesting conclusion: we now know the four songs the pre-1971 lineup of Joy recorded: “Bah Bah Bah,” “It’s For You,” “Going Back to New Haven,” and “Cookie Man” (although the last one, to my knowledge, hasn’t been heard). We also know the three songs the 1971 lineup of Joy recorded for the film. What we still don’t know is whether the Pentagram songs are the three November Children songs (plus one more that didn't make it on the soundtrack), or if they are four different songs (in which case songs for which we have no information at all). If it's the first case, what is the name of the fourth song they recorded for Pentagram?


Finally, I now believe the Michael Gordon name Marc Friedland mentions alongside the publishing deal for Dimension Music (see 1971 above) is the Michael (Z.) Gordon who composed material for the film. I’m assuming Steven Lewis was somehow also associated with this film soundtrack project. However, this is even more curious, since a publishing deal implies composition—Friedland isn’t listed as author of any of the songs on the soundtrack, and MB is only listed once. So what exactly was the nature of this "publishing" deal?


1972:
Joy (according to Marc Friedland) now consists mainly of Marc Friedland and MB. Marc Friedland and MB open for Leon Russell (3 concerts, one of which is performed in Philadelphia, PA, with an attendance of around 10,000 at each).

 

1974: Marc Friedland travels to Tulsa, OK with MB to record a four-song demo at Leon Russell’s house (according
to Marc Friedland
). [Question: do we know for certain that this occurred in 1974? MB began recording tracks in New York for the “Michael Bolotin” album in late 1974. Stephen Holden mentions hearing MB’s demo of “Dream While You Can” in his office before signing him to RCA. Between the recording in Tulsa, the meeting with Holden that took place with MB and Orrin, who was acting as his manager, and the recording of the album, that’s quite a bit happening in the space of less than a year]

 

The last little tidbit for now—even though Marc Friedland worked for years with MB before his debut solo album, he doesn’t actually play on it. He
moved back to CA in 1974 after getting married, and wanted to explore other opportunities. Gotta respect that! I also respect that he does not circulate items in his collection relating to MB for obvious reasons: while many folks, myself definitely included, are interested in these items from a musical history perspective, they could very easily fall into the wrong hands. No one

should ever be making money off of these things except copyright owners. Plus, Marc is a stand-up guy by all accounts. So I ask you please not to go pestering any of the people I’ve mentioned for photos/recordings etc. I just felt the need to conclude with that, for now!
Enjoy!



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Hi Sally, my pleasure sweetie! You know, you beat me to it about sharing the other thread with Marc. I was re-reading it this afternoon and thinking Marc could not only appreciate Jeremy’s assessments but have more of a clue , being a musician himself. I’ll tell you: I’m sitting on my hands and I can’t wait to witness this exchange between Marc and Jeremy. I just hope we won’t scare the poor man off! :D I also can't wait to hear if Michael will consider sharing the vintage clips: let's keep our fingers crossed... Take care Sally, good to see you posting! Big hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Oh...my ....goodness!!! This is just so exciting!!!!

I love reading al lthis stuff about the early days of Michael and Orrin.

I cant wait to find out if you have any further information Marc, I would love to come to meet you and have a real in depth conversatio nwith you. Infact, I think we all would!! Ha Ha!! This is very interesting stuff.

I've just managed to order a copy of 'The New Haven Sound' book that Sally refers to and cant wait to get my grubby little hands on it!!

I have to admit that I dont uinderstand a lot of what you're talking about as I dont know as much about Michael and Orrins historys as you do, but i;m really enjoying none the less. So thank you. all.

I've also managed to get hold of another copy of 'Bah Bah Bah' ( or The Bop Bah Song!! Ha Ha!!) so thats two copies I have now.

Looking forward to the next episode.

Love Jennifer XX
Here you go early history enthusiasts ---
I know there’ll be more questions - This should be a good background start for you on
The Bop Bah Song
Back to New Haven
Pentagram
November Children
George’s Boys

(Bah Bah Bah) The Bop Bah Song:

There are actually 2 different versions, one with the drums with an added phased/leslie effect and the other version without any effects on the drum, and I believe the length of each version is different, but I’ll have to check that out for you to be certain.
I’m pretty sure that no matter which version you have -- the length of the song indicated on each record is incorrect, another example in a long line of mistakes.

As everyone knows, the wrong title appears on all the records and says Bah Bah Bah.

And of course Michael’s last name spelled Bolotkin instead of Bolotin.
This may be “one” of the contributing factors to the name change to Bolton, easier to remember, say & spell and Michael obviously didn’t want a repeat of that kind of mistake.

Shortly after the release of the record I did a radio interview with my friend Billy Papoosha who was a DJ at The University of CT, and I explained that just about the only information that was correct on any of the records was the spelling of Epic and the producer’s name Ken Cooper.

Michael Bolotin played Rhythm Guitar and sang Lead & Backing Vocals
Fred Bova played Lead Guitar and sang Harmony Vocals
Bob Brockway (not Hilly Michaels) played Drums
Yours truly, Marc Friedland played Bass Guitar

It was the exact same configuration for the “B” side Lennon & McCartney’s “It’s For You”
Michael did not play rhythm on this one though – Fred played the only lead/rhythm guitar and I played Lead Bass.
Jeremy Steig was brought in to overdub Lead Flute.

I had my own creative way of expressing myself on bass guitar, with a slightly unusual perspective of phrasing. In the studio, when listening only to the bass, no one other than me could understand how it could possibly sound good in the song, but once the drums & other instruments were added, everyone saw that it all worked and fell into place, or at least I convinced them so.

The song appeared at #60 on the WNHC Boss 60 chart in New Haven CT, the week of Nov. 19 – Nov. 25, 1969. In reality, the sales numbers didn’t actually reflect that, but my friend Kathy at Cutler’s Music Store played a major role in seeing that The Bop Bah Song made the chart.

Going Back to New Haven:
Orrin Bolotin & Tom Pollard did not contribute on The Bop Bah Song, but did participate on the follow-up single, Back to New Haven with Cookie Man on the flip side, though I’m rather certain that record was never released and distributed.
On Back to New Haven, Michael sang lead and Orrin and Michael both sang backing vocals. Tom sang backing vocals too & also played organ.
On the last verse, Orrin sang the lead with Michael evenly matched in volume and it sounded really cool.
Michael played Lead Guitar on this one, not Fred. And Michael also played all the neat sounding guitar fills throughout the song. Some of the ideas for those little guitar licks throughout the song were created by our new producer Sandy Linzer. Coincidentally -- Michael & Sandy met again and I believe worked together many years later and reflected on their 1st meeting in 1969.
BTW – Shortly after the release of The Bop Bah Song, our producer Ken Cooper was no longer affiliated with CBS. I have no idea if it had anything to do with him hiring us, and I strongly doubt it.

In-between Epic & Pentagram 1970/71:

My brother and I opened up a Natural Food Restaurant in West Hollywood, California, called Natures Door, a title to a song Michael had recently written.
During this time period Michael had gotten together with Fred Bova, Hilly Michaels & Glenn Selwitz to record some of his new material. I wasn’t there because of running the restaurant - my understanding is that they recorded the songs in Michael’s apartment taking advantage of the kitchen, bathroom or hallway wherever they could get the best live sound on the reel-to-reel tape recorder.
Michael on Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Fred on Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals
Hilly on percussion
Glenn on Bass Guitar & Backing Vocals
The songs they recorded were:
The Time is Right
I work for Freedom
The Fire Keeps Burnin’
Running Away From the Night Time (Though this version didn’t show up on the new demo tape)

After Natures Door ended in May of 1971, Michael sent out this new 3-song demo to my brother to shop around in L.A. & Hollywood.
For those that may not know, my brother Richard (Ribs) Friedland was Joy’s manager for the entire time that Joy existed.
Ribs shopped the demo & got interest from Michael Jordan & Steven Lewis’s Company, Dimension Music. And they paid for us to bring everyone out from New Haven.
The 2 biggest music projects that Michael Gordon achieved for us was a recording contract with Pentagram Records & recording the soundtrack to the not-so-good movie November Children, released about 5 years later as Nightmare County.

On previous posts I listed all the songs recorded for Pentagram.
Here’s the line-up of players:
Michael on Lead & Backing Vocals
Michael on Lead Guitar (Fred was no longer involved) BTW – Michael did an excellent job taking over on Lead Guitar - I don’t know if many people are aware of his skills on Lead Guitar.
Orrin on Lead & Backing Vocals & some Guitar
Hilly Michaels on Drums (Bob Brockway is no longer involved)
Glenn Selwitz on Bass Guitar & Backing Vocals
Yours truly, Marc Friedland on Piano / Organ, & some Guitar (no longer on Bass Guitar)

For the November Children movie soundtrack –
It was the same lineup of players as on the Pentagram Album and additionally –
Larry Quinn on Lead Vocals & Organ & Electric Piano
Larry played keyboards on most of the songs he wrote, and I played on all the rest.
Tami Smith on Lead Vocals & Acoustic Guitar on the theme song November Children
Other than Michael’s Running Away From the Nighttime and Michael Gordon’s Where Do We Go From Here, the music & words to all the other songs were written by Larry Quinn.
Running Away From the Nighttime was the ONLY song that appeared in both the Pentagram Album & November Children soundtrack, and it was a “slightly” different version in each.

Well – Pentagram went out of business before releasing our album, which of course was disappointing, and unfortunately one of those things that sometimes happen in the music business.
By around the beginning of 1972, Joy consisted only of Michael & myself, as the other members became discouraged with things not going farther than they did & sort of went their own ways.
It was June of 1972 when Michael & I did the 3-city tour opening up for Leon Russell that I talked about in a previous post. I have more interesting stories leading up to and adding to that adventure, but I’m going to save that for another time.

Back in time to -- George’s Boys:
Michael & Orrin allowed their dad George Bolotin to believe that the band was named after him, which I think was a good idea.
Actually --- The 1st Joy drummer, Bob Brockway, was already in a local band called George’s Boys, and we sort of stole him and the band’s name for our own benefit.

That’s all for now--
Marc
Marc,

This is all fantastic information. I will spend some time this weekend updating/fixing my initial post and responding to many of the things you and others have mentioned. It's the morning of my PhD comp, but I had to say thanks before I got going!
Cheers,
Jeremy
I'm absolutely speechless!!

Thank you thank you, thank you so much Marc for providing all us ' History Enthisiasts' with such an interesting and detailed account of 'Joy' 'Georges Boys' and the Pentagram experience.

Thank you also to Jeremy for offering to update your original post over the weekend. If you get time of course after your PhD comp that is. (good luck with that by the way.)

I will have another go at collating all of your wonderful information into some kind of order that I can understand and can read it through properly and digest it all. (this will purely for my own personal use of course)

My biggest thanks and deepest appreciation to you guys for such a wonderful accounbt of what is obviously a very interesting and chequered history for both Michael and Orrin and indeed yourself Marc! Ha Ha!!

Love Jennifer XX
Wow, THANK YOU for giving us all this wonderful history on your music career back in the day with Michael. I love all this information..
Robin :)
From Jeremy's Facebook this morning.........hoping he forgives me for posting this.

Jeremy Greenway is feeling particularly doctoral and comprehensive today. Next up: Jeremy gets back to the real world after 1:30pm. Stay tuned.

All this info from Marc will put him on a definite high in the Bolton part of his 'real world'.

Thinking of you all morning, Jeremy.

Sally
Oh my goodness Marc, wow! Thank you again so much for posting! What terrific insight! When you talked about the way you played bass, were you an enthusiastic self-taught musician, have lessons or did you come from a musical family? Out of curiosity, I believe you’ve mentioned you still owned GBTNH, do you own “Cookie man” as well? If Michael would agree to it, we’d love to hear it! Some of us have found GBTNH on-line and yes, it sounded terrific; I told Orrin I thought it should have been a hit! Oh wow, it really boggles the mind to hear what an artist or a band is willing to do to get noticed… You’ve mentioned the 3 song demo your brother had in 70-71, did you have time to check out this entire thread? There are 3 mp3 files of demos that were offered, we believe by Hilly, on EBay last year and I was lucky enough to get samples and have uploaded them on this thread for Jeremy. Is there anything you can tell us about them? It truly is inspiring to read in such wondrous detail the degree of dedication Michael’s had from the beginning… Please forgive me for bombarding you with questions Marc, but I’m asking as I read your post… This is just so fascinating to me… My thoughts are with Jeremy right now and I know he’s super excited at the perspective of updating his documents and I know he can’t wait to just plunge into this great body of knowledge you’ve just served him! Thank you again so much for your generosity Marc! As you can see, it’s very much appreciated. Take care and God bless. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Sylvie – In time I will try to get to all your questions. Do you know what page the 3 demo songs you mention are on?

On one of the earlier pages of this Forum there was talk about an instrumental cowboy theme on November Children. Perhaps this is what you’re referring to.
On this cut – we were told it was intended to be used in a chase scene.
Larry Quinn wrote it (at least I’m pretty sure he did, I’ll ask him next time we talk)
Larry Quinn on Electric Keyboards
Glenn Selwitz on Bass Guitar
Hilly Michaels on Drums
Michael Bolotin on Electric Lead Guitar
Marc Friedland on Electric (clean sounding) Guitar

Since there are no Vocals on this track, I feel it’s probably OK to share it without getting permission.

Marc
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Jeremy – Good Luck!!!

Get in touch as soon as the opportunity presents itself, I’ll be looking forward to it.
I know you also want to talk about music equipment & specific parts played – we will get to that -- I remember almost every part I played on every song back then, and most of what everyone else played too.

Sylvie,
Cookie Man is one of the only things I don’t have an original or copy of in my personal possession. Now that I think about it, I don’t think anyone ever received a copy of our recorded version.

Florin,
Thanks for posting that snippet.
No, that song was not one of the songs on the 3-song demo I’m referring to.
BTW - That song sounds like it was recorded in a Studio, definitely not in a bedroom or bathroom.

Pre-CBS Info:

No – not everything, that would take way too long!! – Primarily just before the 1969 record deal with Epic / CBS.

After going back to New Haven (pun intended) in December of 1968 following our Oakland, California adventure – we rented 555 Amity Road in Woodbridge CT, and that became The Joy House for a few months.

We practiced in that house until we were ready to go into the Studio to record a Demo of 2 songs in the beginning of 1969.
When the demo was complete, our Manager, Ribs (my brother) began shopping it in NYC.
In order to get the opportunity to play the demo for anyone at CBS, he had to wait there all day until an executive finally came out of their office. Ribs persistence paid off.
Interest was stirred, and an arrangement was made for Ken Cooper, a Producer working for CBS to come hear us in a live situation. By this time, we were no longer residing in The Joy House. We had to set up our equipment in our friend Bill’s Karate Dojo in downtown New Haven in order to play for Ken. Ken liked what he heard well enough to offer us a recording contract. He made a decision that The Bop Bah Song was going to be our first single. We thought we had stronger songs in our arsenal, and didn’t feel The Bop Bah Song represented the direction of music we were most interested in, but accepted his decision.
Ken also arranged for us to receive a modest amount of up-front money to buy some gear and prepare to do some live performances. He then got us a gig at The Electric Circus in New York.
Well that’s it -- the few months prior to The Bop Bah Song.

Trivia Time:
The up-front money was $2,000, but the check they sent us had an extra zero in it, and was written for $20,000. Michael, my brother & me debated over whether we should cash the larger check. We listened to my dad and others, and finally decided not to cash it, and have them send us a check for the correct amount.
It may have just been a typo, but I think it’s because $20,000 was more in line with what they were paying groups to sign at the time and we were too inexperienced to realize it – I guess we’ll never know.

Marc
Hi again Marc, thanks for the update about “ Cookie man”, that’s really too bad… So chances are that if you don’t remember either of you getting a copy of it, that it’s virtually impossible to find it out there, as opposed to many of Michael’s 80’s demos that have been uncovered here in the past few months. Thank you so much for sharing the pre-CBS info: it pretty much completes what we’ve heard from Michael over the years relating to Joy, fascinating! You have to wonder how experienced Ken Cooper was as a producer, judging on how he advised you… Well, thanks again for this episode of “Joy of our lives” Marc, you’re a sweetie! Take care and we’ll look forward to hear more from you, as I’ve said before, whenever you’re ready. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Thanks for sharing that Florin!!!!

Love Eileen xoxo

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