Monday, August 5, 2013

'A friend of a friend of ...': Greg Douglass

The year 1977 was a memorable one for me.  I started earning some decent money (for a teenager working part-time, anyway), and part of the money I earned was put toward padding my collection of vinyl record albums.  It was in 1977 that "Book of Dreams" was released by the Steve Miller Band, and I snapped it up.  I'm sure I still have it in my collection to this day.

Greg Douglass
A big part of what sold me on the album was the song "Jungle Love."  Thirty-five years later, I could claim that one of the song's writers and performers, guitarist Greg Douglass, is a "friend of a friend" of mine on Facebook.

All these years later, "Jungle Love" still gets played at a Steve Miller show, and if Douglass happens to be in the crowd catching the show he just might get called up to the stage to play the tune he co-wrote with Lonnie Turner years ago.  Not too long ago, Douglass was hesitant to talk about hooking up with Miller again for fear of coming across as a "name-dropper."  No, saying you're a "friend of a friend of ..." is being a name-dropper.  Having a part in writing one of the Steve Miller Band's greatest hits is being a part of rock music history.

But -- as they say on late-night infomercials -- that's not all.  Douglass' guitar playing can be found on the 1983 hit song "Jeopardy" by the Greg Kihn Band.  He's played with the likes of Hot Tuna, Van Morrison, Eddie Money, Terry & The Pirates, John Cipollina from Quicksilver Messenger Service, Duane Eddy, Dave Mason, Rick Derringer, Nicky Hopkins ... some rock-and-roll heavyweights.

Douglass is still active, performing and teaching his art.  Click on a YouTube video of him out there and you might find a few comments from a student of his, excited to see their teacher playing for the world to see.  And he's still selling CDs.

In fact, this Friday night, August 9, he'll be doing a special show at the Art House Gallery & Cultural Center at 2905 Shattuck Ave, in Berkeley.  Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with an 8:00 show time.

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