This day-by-day diary of Clear Light's live, studio, broadcasting and private activites is the result of three decades of research and interview work by Nick Warburton, Gray Newell, and Bruno Ceriotti, but without the significant contributions of other kindred spirits this diary would not have been possibile. So, we would like to thank all the people who, in one form or another, contributed to this timeline: Ross Hannan, Corry Arnold, Marc Skobac, Ralph Schuckett, Doug Lubahn, Alan Brackett, John Einarson, Paul D. Grushkin, Brian Hogg, Terry Hounsome, David Peter Housden, Vernon Joynson, Pete Long, and Greg Shaw.
CLEAR LIGHT #1 (formerly THE BRAIN TRAIN) (EARLY 1967 - JUNE 1967)
Sunday, March 26, 1967: ‘Easter Sunday Love-In’, Elysian Park, 835 Academy Road, Central Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA. Clear Light were on the bill along with Other Half, The Daily Flash, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, The Rainy Daze, The Factory, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Flamin’ Groovies, Steve Miller Blues Band, Sopwith Camel (canceled), Iron Butterfly, The Turtles, The Nazz, Grateful Dead, The Seventh Son, Firesign Theatre, New Generation, and West Coast Branch.
The recording sessions for the band’s debut album begins. Two of the first tracks completed are a reworking of Black Roses and a Robbie Robison composition titled, She’s Ready To Be Free. Around the same time, the group lands a cameo role in the movie, The President’s Analyst, starring James Coburn.
Sunday, April 30, 1967: ‘Freedom of Expression Concert’, The Hullabaloo, 6230 Sunset Boulevard, Downtown Hollywood, Los Angeles County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Jay Walker and The Pedestrians, The Factory, UFO, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Canned Heat, The Doors (canceled?), Barry McGuire, Taj Mahal, Hamilton Streetcar, Robert Baker, Hearts & Flowers, Ladybirds, New Generation, The Rain, Rick Martino, Biff Rose, The Poor, Lovin' One, Blues Express, Yellow Brick Road, Elliot Mintz of KPFK (MC), and Kaleidoscope (in attendance but did not play). Sponsored by The Los Angeles Free Press, KBLA, and The Omnibus, these evening shows - one from 7:00pm to 10:00pm, and one from 10:30pm to 2:00am - were held by The Freedom Of Expression Committee to collected funds that will be used for legal fees to defend the sale of "The Love Book" at the Freepress Book Store and to permit singing in coffee houses.
Friday, June 2, 1967: ‘Oracle Benefit’, Valley Music Theatre, 20060 Ventura Boulevard, Woodlands Hills, CA
Clear Light adds lead singer Cliff De Young (b. Monday, February 12, 1945, Los Angeles, California, US).
Clear Light were on the bill along with Kaleidoscope.
Despite having put down most of the tracks for the album, Elektra decides that Robison’s acoustic approach is incompatible with the group’s new electric direction and he is dropped from the group, although he remains part of the entourage, operating his own light show, set up at the group’s live appearances. After auditioning many guitarists as possible replacements, including Doug Hastings of Buffalo Springfield (and formerly of The Daily Flash) they eventually decide to go with keyboard wunderkind Ralph Schuckett. Schuckett overdubs keys to several of the tracks already in the can as well as collaborating with fellow newbie Cliff De Young.
Clear Light embark on a cross country tour driving non-stop to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the band goes on strike, forcing Elektra to fly them to New York. The group is met by Danny Fields, who checks the musicians into Albert’s Hotel.
Thursday, July 13 - Wednesday, July 19, 1967: Steve Paul's Scene East, The Delmonico Hotel, Park Avenue at East 59th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York City, NY.
Clear Light were originally scheduled to play there until Sunday, July 23, but supposedly on the night of July 19, Ralph Schuckett lambasts the crowd for not paying attention to the group’s performance and it is fired. The next day, Steve Paul places the group at his main club, The Scene.
Thursday, July 20 - Sunday, July 30, 1967: Steve Paul’s The Scene, 301 West 46th Street, Theatre District, New York City, NY
Clear Light were on the bill along with Monty Rock III (20-30), The Triangle (20-30), Tiny Tim (20-30), Keith (20), and The Rich Kids (25-30).
Saturday, August 5, 1967: 'Smoke-In', Tompkins Square Park, 500 East 9th Street, East Greenwich Village, New York City, NY
Clear Light were on the bill along with Country Joe and The Fish, and NGC-4594. The 'Smoke-In' was organised by Abbie Hoffman.
Thursday, August 31 - Sunday, September 3, 1967: Magic Mushroom, 11345 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, Los Angeles County, CA.
Clear Light were on the bill along with Kaleidoscope.
Saturday, September 30, 1967: Earl Warren Show Grounds, 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Blue Cheer, The Van Morrison Group, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.
The group’s eponymous debut album, “Clear Light” (Elektra EKL-4011 (Mono), EKS-74011 (Stereo)), is released in the US, climbing as high as #126 on the Billboard album chart (originally the album was scheduled to be released in September 1967). The band’s debut single, “Black Roses / She’s Ready To Be Free” (Elektra EK-45622), is also issued in the US at the same time, to support the album. The debut album is subsequently released in the UK, and although it is not a hit, it is greeted with interest, particularly on the underground scene. The debut single was also released in the UK in December 1967 as Elektra EKSN 45019 (Clear Light’s records are regularly featured on John Peel’s Top Gear radio show). The debut album was also released in France in 1967 for Disques Vogue (CLVLXEK. 212) and in Germany in 1968 for Elektra (EKS-74011). The debut single was also released in Australia in 1967 for Astor Records (AP-1429) and in New Zealand in 1968 for Elektra (EK.45622). In the meantime Bud Mathis licences The Brain Train demos to Titan Records in order to cash in on the release of the Elektra album.
Friday, October 20 - Sunday, October 22, 1967: Cheetah, 1 Navy Street, Santa Monica (actually just over the line in Venice Beach), Los Angeles County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Electric Flag.
Thursday, October 26 - Saturday, October 28, 1967: Fillmore Auditorium, 1805 Geary Boulevard at Fillmore Street, Fillmore District, San Francisco, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Lee Michaels, and Pink Floyd (the latter had been scheduled but were still in England awaiting visas).
Monday, November 6, 1967: 'Pat Boone In Hollywood', KHJ TV Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles County, CA (broadcast date.....the show was filmed around late October 1967)
Friday, November 17 - Sunday, November 19, 1967: Cheetah, 1 Navy Street, Santa Monica (actually just over the line in Venice Beach), Los Angeles County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with The Nazz.
Wednesday, November 22, 1967: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Merry Go Round, Hour Glass, Inrhodes, East Side Kids, and Fusion. Lights by Flash Spectacular Light Show.
Saturday, November 25, 1967: Earl Warren Show Grounds, 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Youngbloods, Canned Heat, and Merry Go Round.
Thursday, November 30 - Sunday, December 2, 1967: Fillmore Auditorium, 1805 Geary Boulevard at Fillmore Street, Fillmore District, San Francisco, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Blue Cheer. Lights by Holy See.
Friday, December 8 - Saturday, December 9, 1967: Boston Tea Party, 53 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA
Clear Light were on the bill along with The Street Choir.
Tuesday, December 19 - Sunday, December 31, 1967: Cafe Au Go Go, 152 Bleecker Street, West Greenwich Village, New York City, NY
Clear Light were on the bill along with Richie Havens (19-24), and Tim Buckley (28-31). After much behind the scenes manipulation and Svengali–ism by Paul A. Rothchild, the band starts auditioning guitarists, including Ken Pine, who curiously had joined The Fugs just a month earlier, and Allan "Jake" Jacobs formerly of The Fugs, on the club’s stage to replace Bob Seal, who has come to blows with the producer. Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar, who has previously played with New York groups, The King Bees, and The Flying Machine (with the not yet famous James Taylor), and now with The Fugs, quit that latter band and takes over lead guitar in Clear Light from January 1, 1968. Oh, by the way, contrary to some reports, "Kootch" never tried out or played any notes with The Supergroup (later Rhinoceros). When Paul A. Rotchild put together the band in his Laurel Canyon's house, Los Angeles, to rehearsal in September 1967, "Kootch" was actually there, yes, but just to watch, because he wasn't never really interested in this project at all. Bob Seal meanwhile relocates to the Bay area and, disillusioned with playing six string takes up the bass – gigging but not recording with Gale Garnett & The Gentle Reign. He later takes up the six string again, replacing the original guitarist in the Transatlantic Railroad. He subsequently teams up with former Salvation member Joe Tate in Redlegs, a popular Bay Area group.
CLEAR LIGHT #4 (JANUARY 1, 1968 - JUNE ??, 1968)
1) Dallas Taylor
2) Michael Ney
4) Cliff De Young
5) Ralph Schuckett
6) Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar lead guitar
January 5 - January 6, 1968: Grande Ballroom, 8952 Grand River at Beverly, 1 block south of Joy Road, Detroit, MI
Clear Light were on the bill along with Gypsy Blue (5), and Children (6). Lights by Trans Love (5-6).
Clear Light's second single, "They Who Have Nothing / Ballad of Freddie & Larry” (Elektra EK-45626), was released in the US.
Friday, February 23 - Saturday, February 24, 1968: 'Dance Concert', Shrine Exposition Hall, 665 West Jefferson Boulevard and 700 West 32nd Street, South Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Jefferson Airplane, Charlie Musselwhite, and The Ceyleib People.
Sunday, March 17, 1968: 'St. Paddy's Medicine Show', Pasadena Exhibition Hall, 300 East Green Street, Pasadena, Los Angeles County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Jackson Browne, Penny Nichols, Gordon Alexander, Bluesberry Jam, Alexander's Rag Time Band, The Rockets, The Fields, and The Peace Officers.
Sunday, March 24, 1968: 'Benefit for Radio Strike fund for KMPX and KPPC djs', The Kaleidoscope, 6230 Sunset Boulevard at Vine Street, West Hollywood, Los Angeles County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Sweetwater, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Tiny Tim, H.P. Lovecraft, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Firesign Theatre, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, and Genesis.
Friday, March 29 - Sunday, March 31, 1968: The Kaleidoscope, 6230 Sunset Boulevard at Vine Street, West Hollywood, Los Angeles County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Peanut Butter Conspiracy, and Bo Diddley. Lights by Omega's Eye.
Clear Lights's third single, "Night Sounds Loud / How Many Days Have Passed" is released in the UK, but is not a hit.
Saturday, April 13, 1968: Utah State Fairpark Coliseum, 155 North 1000 West, Salt Lake City, UT
Clear Light were on the bill along with Blue Cheer. Lights by Jerry Abrams Headlights.
Thursday, April 18 - Tuesday, April 23, 1968: Cheetah, 1686 Broadway at 53rd Street, Manhattan, New York City, NY
Clear Light were on the bill along with Harvey and The 7 Sounds.
Friday, April 26 - Sunday, April 28, 1968: The Trauma, 2121 Arch Street near Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Mandrake Memorial.
Friday, May 3 - Saturday, May 4, 1968: Boston Tea Party, 53 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA
Clear Light were on the bill along with Tim Rose.
Friday, May 10 - Saturday, May 11, 1968: The World, Biscayne Boulevard at Northeast 142nd Street, Miami, FL
Clear Light were on the bill along with Blues Image, and Bangles.
Saturday, May 25, 1968: 'McCarthy Is Happening', Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Road, San Jose, Santa Clara County, CA
Clear Light were on the bill with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, H.P. Lovecraft, Flamin' Groovies, Stewart Brant's "War: God", Marion Andus Jazz Ballet, Crystal Syphon, The Anatolians, Le Aloha Dancers, Ruiz de Luzuriaga, Azziza, Randy Conger, The Great Darv, Chloe Scott, George Gershwin, Big Michael Dinga, Jack Jones and Jill Saint John, The Womb, Jimmy Nite & The Nite Caps, Dhantasmagoria, La Bloth Feeling Aid Center, Anonymous Artists of America, The Howl, The Ching, Day Blindness, Paul Curtis Ballet, Shango, Dave Gabe, Peter Donner, Vickey Drake, and Rikudom.
Friday, June 14 - Sunday, June 16, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, 1268 Sutter Street at Van Ness Street, Polk Gulch, San Francisco, CA
Clear Light were on the bill with Buddy Guy, and Frumious Bandersnatch. Lights by Electroluminescence.
mid/late June 1968
Sessions for a second album begin but after a few recordings Cliff De Young quits to return to college. He later pursues an acting career. Two tracks from the sessions survive – Darkness of Day (a Schuckett/De Young collaboration) and Kortchmar’s What A Difference Love Makes.
CLEAR LIGHT #5 (JUNE ??, 1968 - SEPTEMBER 1968)
1) Dallas Taylor
2) Michael Ney
4) Ralph Schuckett
5) Danny Kortchmar
Clear Light unofficially splinters. Doug Lubahn continues to play as The Doors' studio bassist for another year, before forming jazz/rock band, Dreams with ex-Blood, Sweat & Tears member Randy Brecker, while Ralph Schuckett and Michael Ney (in the guise of Michael Stevens) join The Peanut Butter Conspiracy for a summer and winter tour of the Pacific Northwest. Schuckett also does session work for people like James Cotton. Dallas Taylor, who initially works with ex-Lovin’ Spoonful singer/guitarist John Sebastian is subsequently introduced to Stephen Stills. Around this time, Taylor, Lubahn and Schuckett do a recording session with Stills at TTG studio in Hollywood. Taylor strikes up a rapport with Stills and is chosen as drummer for Crosby, Stills & Nash. Danny Kortchmar and Michael Ney join Carole King's City, although the latter will soon be replaced by Jim Gordon.
Elektra's news letter, Revelation, announces that Clear Light have split up.