Savage Grace interview with Al Jacquez
Short chat with Detroit’s Savage Grace. They recorded two albums in the early 70’s, which are great examples of hard rock. Both albums were released on Reprise Records. They played many festivals while touring the States.
Thank you very much for taking your time for the interview regarding Savage Grace. First I would like to ask you about your childhood and teen years. Where did you grow up and what were some of your influences?
I grew up in Ft Knox, NY City, Upstate NY and Ann Arbor, MI. As a “child” I heard Swing, Broadway, Opera and Classical Music at home and when visiting my artist Grandfather (Albert) in Woodstock. I listened to radio as well, so I heard whatever was being played as “Pop”.
What was the scene in your city?
I first became aware of a “scene” when living in Ann Arbor. I started playing guitar during junior high school. Our teachers exposed us to Blues, and R&B and suggested we listen to the artists who influenced the “British Invasion.” So. . . we listened to BB King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sam & Dave, Motown, and some folk artists. Ann Arbor had many opportunities to play including frat parties, teen clubs, teen dances – I also worked in musicals w/ Junior Light Opera.
Were you in any other bands before forming Savage Grace?
I formed The Hideaways w/ Jeff Jones. We also had a band called Dunning Maze. We played frat parties, teen clubs and band battles. Those bands did not release any product. We usually played 3 gigs a week and got paid for our efforts.
When and how did you guys came together to form Savage Grace and why this name?
I got involved in early 1969. I knew one of the roadies for Scarlet Letter. When SL decided to change from a 5 piece to a 4 piece band he suggested they check me out. That band became Savage Grace. Jerry Lubin came up with the name at a rehearsal.
How did you get signed up with Reprise? I know you released a couple of singles and then you started recording your debut.
Scarlett Letter released singles. Savage Grace started working after three months of rehearsal, and we worked a great deal. The scene in Michigan was blossoming. Vince Pernicano, a promo man for Warner/Reprise liked the band and convinced MO Ostin to check us out. I believe Vince was influenced by a show at Olympia w/ CCR. During that show we earned a standing ovation. Mo then came to see us at a gig at a local synagogue. We negotiated our deal in a face to face meeting w/ Mr. Ostin in John Seanor’s Mom’s living room.
In 1970 you finally released your debut. I would like to know what are some of the strongest memories from producing and releasing your first LP?
That’s a tough question. It was a very exciting time.
What gear did you use?
I played direct to tape – I am sure the engineer used a bit of EQ and compression to even out the signal.
What can you say about the cover artwork?
We shot many pics w/ Ed Thrasher, the art director at Warner’s – Warner’s picked the cover.
Where was your touring territory?
We played Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin – there were festivals all over the Midwest – we also toured parts of the East Coast and South.
Savage Grace 2 is your second and last LP…
Ron Koss and I recorded also a third CD – “One Night in America” – it is available on iTunes.
What were you doing after the second LP and what are you doing these days?
I never stopped singing. I have done commercials, acted, worked in the training industry and continued working in bands. Since SG I sang with Guardian Angel, Lightnin,’ Custom Eyes, The Suspects, Burning Circle and Measured Chaos – I recently released “The Blues According to The Gospel”.
I heard you are planning to get back together?
Savage Grace featuring the Grande All-Stars played at the Detroit Music Awards on April 27. I am doing gigs as Savage Grace w/ Measured Chaos (keyboard added) in Michigan. First date is Friday, June 8 at The Magic Bag in Ferndale. We have other dates and I am receiving more offers. The set begins w/ “Come On Down” and ends with “All Along the Watchtower”.
Thank you very much! Would you like to send a message to readers of It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine?
Thanks for your interest – please visit www.facebook.com/SavageGrace2012 and www.measuredchaos.com and aLJacquez.com
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012