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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Hmm, must be something in the water here in Canada... lol Aww Jen, I'm blushing... :) I don't know that I deserve that honor but thanks! I don't claim to know all the answers but to me, music is like oxygen and studying it feeds my soul. Why do you think I love Michael so much? Well, that's one of the reasons... ?D Thanks again for the compliment sweetie... Take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Sylvie - I've listened to the demo clips quite intently now. Here are my preliminary thoughts:

I preface this by saying that it's going to be hard to narrow down the particular year without doing some more research, which I'm happy to do, so these thoughts are based more on the vocals/music than on tangible facts.

"If I Ever Lose You" has MB most certainly playing the acoustic guitar. The particular rhythm of the guitar strumming is unique and reminiscent of "Dream While You Can" - on which MB also played acoustic guitar. Being a guitar player myself, I can appreciate the type of rhythmic "pulses" that almost "tap" in between strums: it's a great way to establish a tempo that is easy to maintain while singing at the same time. Also, the use of Maj7 chords is something that appears on his other acoustic guitar playing. The open tuning, finally, is similar to "Everybody Needs a Reason," on which he also plays. I'm not sure if any other instruments appear in the rest of the song, since we only have this short clip, but I would suspect the answer is "no." The second half of the clip seems to be the end of some sort of bridge: typically if there were other instruments they would appear in a bridge, or they might also crescendo into the chorus/refrain (which seems to be the first half of the clip). Without knowing for sure where these clips feature in the entire song, of course, this is a bit of guesswork.

"Ooh You I Love You" (I'm sorry, but come on Hilly...that can't be the title. It's too ridiculous) is a bit of a different story. I recognize Hilly Michaels' drumming patterns instantly, but I'm stuck on the piano. At first, I thought it might be Marc Friedland, but if it's after 1974 it couldn't be. And I do believe it's from after 1974: although MB is still singing from the chest, there are inflectional moments where his voice "thins" into the nasal register that he first began experimenting with on EDOML (one thinks of the first verse of the title-track, for instance, or the line "your love is liftin' me higher" in "You've Got the Love I Need"). There's a chance, then, it's Patrick Henderson on piano, but he often used double-octave left-hand chords, and there aren't any here...or at least they're not audible in the mix. Another interesting feature of this clip is the barely-audible electric rhythm guitar. I admit I didn't hear it at all the first few times, but it's there. It's most audible as it strums upward on the third beat of every bar. Electric guitars were much more prominent in nearly all of the tracks on EDOML (if I had Billy Elworthy playing for me, I'd feature it too!), so this must be from a session after that album was done and out of the way. So that takes us past the first half of 1976. We know MB didn't tour for EDOML because the label didn't pick up his option. We also know that he was playing around CT when Bruce and Bob Kulick met him in 1978. They were on tour with Meat Loaf for most of that year, and the co-writes between MB and Bruce are copyright 1979. If they had begun rehearsing and writing in late 1978, that would leave a window of late-1976 to early-1978 for this demo. Therefore, tentatively, I uphold Hilly's assertion that these demos (with more musical evidence in "Ooh You I Love You") are from 1977-early '78. The reason I'm still a little tentative is that by all accounts of opening bands at the time, MB was moving in the heavier direction of Blackjack by 1978 in his live performances (remember that Polydor signed him on the condition that he be promoted as part of a group). Since he wasn't yet writing for other artists (at least with a publishing deal), this wouldn't have been a songwriting demo; why, then would he be recording something like this to attract Polydor, a label which was entirely focused on AOR acts like Foreigner? The more I think about it, I might push for 1977 for this demo.

Anyway, those are my preliminary thoughts. I must get to work on other stuff now! Take care. And anyone else, of course, can feel free to argue against anything I've said!
Hi Jeremy, I'm just sitting here, smiling and basking in your knowledge and being awed! My heart, body and soul are spoken for, but I'd like to go out for coffee with your brain sometime! lol The fact that you're a musician explains a lot of your expertise. I suspect I'd give you a run for your money if I could read the liner notes though... :) I'm sure you could have a short and concentrated 15 hour conversation with Michael about this sometime... I hope you do get some answers to your questions in his autobiography, whenever Michael finishes it. Seriously Jeremy, very seriously now, are you sure the research work you're doing right now as a job, is this what you want to do with your life? I'm just thinking you should use this power for good! Take care Jeremy and please keep sharing your analysies, I'm keeping this one too! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Hi Sylvie,
You are giving praise where little praise is due, my dear. There are plenty of people who are far more knowledgeable than I am! I just find music research fascinating, and it's a welcome reprieve from the work I do nearly every day of the week. I, too, hope to get some clarifications on many of these speculations, but I also know that such microscopic details don't exactly cater to the masses. Oh well. And as for the research work I do in "real life," it, too, is a power used for good! Trust me!

In terms of the music, though, nothing interests me more than an artist's musical development. I know MB has said in recent years that he dismisses his early work as the work of an "undeveloped artist," but aren't we ALL undeveloped artists in some sense? If you go back to articles like the one in the Aquarian from 1975, or to the Kerrang! issue from 1987, there's a sense of real passion for the work that, while it may not have aged well in some cases, recapitulates the journey of an extremely talented, unique and driven artist who has earned success through years of sheer determination. Sure, "Your Love" sounds jarring these days. "Love Me Tonight" could have had a fuller sound. "Everybody's Crazy" would never get played on the radio today. But these songs are all snapshots of dedicated talent and unrelentless musicianship. It's all about the journey, to me; the destination is always ongoing.

Phew. Perhaps a little too philosophical. Anyway, I'll keep sharing my thoughts as long as there's someone around to hear it!
Hey Jeremy, I am giving praise where I feel it’s due, sir.  I’m sure there are a lot of people who know more than you do, but they’re not sharing their views with us, now are they? I just appreciate to hear a musician’s point of view because obviously, you have some insight. Any of my observations only have to do with the sheer pleasure of just listening to his voice and enjoying the ride of singing with him… I’m a nutball when it comes to music trivia and especially when it comes to my favorite subject to study! May I ask about your research work “In real life”? In any case, I’m glad all that brain power is used for good! Lol I haven’t heard about Michael dismissing his early work but I full-heartedly agree about everyone being a work in progress. I also appreciate the evolution of his voice and artistry and I personally listen to all his albums and accept them for what they are. Your “snapshot” analogy is very fitting. OMG Jeremy, do you have those 2 articles handy? I would love to read those and any other vintage article of that sort! Oh please, do keep sharing your views and philosophies, I know I’ll be listening! It’s funny, I was reading your description of a dedicated artist and thought that maybe you should write the back cover of Michael's autobiography! :D Take care Jeremy, it’s wonderful talking to you! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Hi Florin, I just wanted to say thanks for the info and thanks for the link, I'll look up the album! Take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Jeremy, today was the first time I checked into the forum since going to Albany on June 6th. "The Early EARLY Years: What We Know So Far" is great reading! It's been such a pleasure over the years (10 plus for us) to share every tidbit that I could find, knowing that you were the one to piece the puzzle together.

You asked [Question: unclear what year MB actually joined George’s Boys—can anyone help?] According to Paul Lepri "The New Haven Sound 1946-1976" it was 1964. This little book has far too many names, dates, and facts for my brain to sort out. Since your field is research and your brain is decades younger than mine, look for a package coming your way soon. I know it will be in good hands. Besides, you need more reading material....ha!

Also, on the "November Children" LP, there are four tracks by Joy, the three you list plus "Cowboys Theme" which is an instrumental. Is this possibly the fourth song? I'm thinking this fact slipped out of your memory, as surely I shared this in the past.

Sally
Where is the time zone that he played with Oasis? Then played with and wrote with KiSS> not to mention the others that Mchael has written songs to collaberate with, that hit many years later. Such as Cher! Marc or many others who have done recordings, written lyrics with Michael should be proud. Just to have said.,they had the chance. Just as myself for Carlos Santana for instance. By what you can call : Stand Up Artist, in your eyes, maybe just be the real Artist, and someone else behind the scenes reaping the reward!!! Being the Front Man who gains from it all monetarily. Is it The Artist or the Producer?
Many times the Writers are left unoticed.

Kellie
Sylvie: I will see if I can find the Aquarian and Stephen Holden articles. I know I have them somewhere, but that "somewhere" could be here, or in storage at my parents' -- I'll check!

Florin: of course, you're absolutely right about the Bolton/Mangold/Nova song. I should have remembered that, since I own Mystic Healer (thanks to Sally, that is). I think you're also right in saying that Nova probably contributed at a later date, though, so I'm not sure it fully qualifies as a Bolton/Nova collaboration. Still, thanks for pointing it out. We should have another conversation in the near future--I'm so busy it's hard to pin me down, but I'm sure we could find an agreeable time at some point.

Sally: hey, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have amassed the little bits of history at all! Folks, this lady has done more for me in the last ten years than you can imagine. She's an absolute star, which I'm sure you already know. One of the most selfless, thoughtful, expressive and warm people on the PLANET. And if Paul Lepri says 1964, I'll go with 1964. I'll be interested to read what he says about that whole New Haven garage-rock scene in which bands intermingled, shared players, morphed into side projects, and basically made a music history fan's job incredibly difficult. Not that I should be reading it as intently as I will...since I have 110 other volumes of literary and cultural theory to plow through before September. Time management will be key!

As for the November Children info, I swear you never shared the details about Cowboys Theme with me before. It sounds like it could indeed be the fourth song (how anticlimactic...an instrumental when here I was thinking there's a lost track with MB's voice on it somewhere). With that in mind, as well as some of the other info that has come out of this thread from others, I'll edit the original post to reflect the latest information. But not tonight, sadly...perhaps tomorrow. I'd also like to, eventually, carry it through a little further--first to 1983, and then to 1987. That way I can map out the songwriting demos, song pitches and placements before The Hunger. After The Hunger, as we know, his career is pretty well-known. I like the obscure stuff! But you know that already...

Kellie: I wish I could comment on your reply, but I'm afraid I'm not entirely sure what you mean. If you feel like clarifying and you're looking for a response from me/others, I'd be happy to do so.
Jeremy, my dear, in fear of boring the readers here, I will only say that all the kind words you wrote about me, I can honestly repeat about you....and then some!

Let me assure you that "The New Haven Sound " book will be akin to kindergarten reading for you. Paperback size and only 120 pages, this is NOT Deleuze. Hopefully you will piece together some tidbits that I've missed. I'm currently wondering how Michael would feel about our fascination with all this minutia. Flattered? Mystified? Muttering that we need to get a life???

When did you discover that "November Children" was issued as "Nightmare County"? Poking around I found this review(the only one) on LMDb. It sounds like the movie title change was certainly appropriate.

"I saw this movie more than 30 years after it was shot with me as an extra in it. That was in 1971. I don't know why it shows a release date of 1977. It probably sat on a shelf somewhere for six years waiting to find someone willing to distribute it. I spent three days in San Fernando Valley shooting my part (which lasts on the screen all of 4 seconds during the opening credits) Even as a naive 21-year old with no movie experience, I could tell that this was an awful, budget movie that was going nowhere. The best known actor in the movie, Jodie McCrea (son of Joel McCrea) didn't even appear in the credits. He must have felt it was worse than any of those goofy beach movies he was in back in the 60s and asked that his name be left out. I won't spoil the movie for any of you who still want to see it (why, I'll never know) Let's just say that whatever money the producer rounded up to make this movie surely didn't go into production values. The sound is bad, the acting is worse and the directing is embarrassing. Enough said."

The movie is also available for download on some site....Google it if you must. Since we would only be interested in hearing the Joy songs and the reviewer says the sound is "bad", I'll be content with listening to the LP, which isn't the best sound either. BTW, IMDb doesn't list the Joy instrumental "Cowboys Theme" though I can assure you that it does exist.

Bonne nuit mon ami..............
(No, Sylvie, I don't speak French!)
Wow, Jeremy! What a great history!!! I'm amazed that you could collect all this info! Wouldn't it be a huge treat if Michael would stop by and fill in some of the blanks?
Hi all:

Nice stuff here... but as an ex-New Haven resident, fanatical Bolotin follower from the mid/late 70s...

I'd love to hear from anyone who might have recordings from that period - from Michael's bands that included Patrick Henderson, Steve Buslowe, Jan Mullaney, Pat Rush, Bobby T., the Kulick brothers, and the great songs of that era, which I think stand up - in my mind at least - to anything out there. I'm talking about My Love Is Stronger, Please Come Home, Ain't That Peculiar, Tell Me How You Feel (yep, I know it's on that first CD, but the live version was something special), etc., etc.

TIA,

Dave

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