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August 12, 2014

When We Were The Boys

A great new book from Stevie Salas

posted by Mike Walton

Stevie Salas who many of you will remember from his days touring with Rod has a new book set to be released 'When We Were The Boys' comes out early September, It's a memoir about Stevies leap from his San Diego High School band This Kids to Rod Stewart and the 1988 Out Of Order tour....It's about a boy trying to become a man in a band full of his hero's.

Stevie has been a friend of SMILER for many years and our long time members will remember the fantastic interview he gave John Gray in 1988
And here he has given us a sneak preview of When we were the boys with this great story ..

That’s when my phone rang. “Stevie boy, it’s Rod. Where ya at? Come up to my suite and have a drink with the boys.”

I jumped up and headed to Rod’s suite. When I got there, he and Tony Brock were already completely smashed, pissed out of their heads, as the Brits would say. Also there was Rod’s valet, Don Archell, the Silver Fox. We lovingly called him dad, since he and Rod used to tell the ladies they were father and son while pulling birds singing soft shoe like Hope and Crosby. They were the Brits in our travel party, and when they got lit, their accents and conversations became almost unrecognizable. They’d start saying things like, “’Ello mam, old ya tits for ya . . . you reckon ee’s a woolly? . . . A wooly woofter? . . . Ah bollocks, ee’s a bleeding cunt that’s what ee is! . . . Ahh ee’s all right I reckon, ee just cant keep the ’ands off his block and tackle . . . Not the wedding tackle! . . . ee’s gone too far . . . ”

It would go on like this all night.

I walked over to where Jimmy Roberts, Jeff Golub, and Nick Lane were drinking and grabbed a cocktail. When I returned to the living room, Rod and Tony were gone. Where the hell did they go? I quickly forgot about them and took a seat with the rest of the boys, drinking, cussing, and telling tall tales. After about thirty minutes or so, Rod and Tony returned; soon, we were up to our old tricks, singing old songs and acting like hooligans. For some reason unknown to me, Rod fell to the ground and started to roll around like a wet dog drying his fur.

Then I noticed something weird. While Rod was rolling on the floor, a metal object fell out of his chest pocket. It looked like the round mic you would find in a hotel phone handset (with the old house phones, you could unscrew the mouth and ear ends of the phone handle and remove a round microphone piece). Rod saw it fall onto the carpet . . . and he also noticed that I saw it. He made an Inspector Clouseau face (not on purpose, mind you). He quickly grabbed the mic and shoved it into his pocket and continued rolling around with Tony.

A short while later, we said our good nights and headed off to our rooms. After all, we had just played a show, we needed to play again the next day, and sunrise was quickly approaching. Keep this in mind . . .

Rod and The Faces were known as a notorious party band—and it didn’t stop there. The Faces formed in 1969, with Rod taking over lead vocals after leaving The Jeff Beck Group. He was accompanied by Ronnie Wood on guitars, Ronnie Lane on bass, Ian McLagan on keyboards, and Kenney Jones on drums. Probably their greatest hit was “Stay with Me.” The Faces are one of the most important rock ’n’ roll bands of all time, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. I used to read magazine stories and book accounts of crazy Rod Stewart and Faces parties, and I know for a fact that Ron Wood kept the tradition alive and well, since I attended many of Woody’s hotel-room parties later during Rolling Stones tours. One of the things that I would read about as a young boy, and then hear about firsthand while in Rod’s band, were legendary stories about how rock stars would trash hotel rooms. Well, Rod could trash a room as good as Keith Moon, Joe Walsh, or the boys in Led Zeppelin.

When I returned to my hotel room in Kansas City and opened the door, guess what I saw? My room looked like a bomb went off in it. First of all, the furniture was gone. At least, I couldn’t find any of it at first sight. There was no art on the walls or lamps anywhere, and all the curtains and drapes had been torn down (apparently to

ensure that if the victim attempts to ignore the room trashing and simply pass out on the floor, the early-morning sunlight will make life miserable).

When I say this room was trashed, I mean it was destroyed! As I entered the blast area, I found pieces of furniture on my balcony, some tied over the side. The bed was in pieces, the mattresses were hidden in closets, and the blankets not used for tying together the Christmas tree–sized mountain of furniture in another area of my room were nowhere to be found. Even the pillows were gone. I walked through the room, giggling like a high school kid, feeling like I was now a true part of rock ’n’ roll history. I loved it. I took a few photographs and then sat on the floor and thought about what to do next . . .

That’s when I smelled it: someone had taken a slash in my trashcan (that’s British slang for peeing). It grossed me out a little. I may be a pig, but I am a cultured pig. I didn’t want to give Rod the satisfaction of me asking him or anyone else in the band for help, so I decided to call the front desk and ask for a new room. I would tell them I had a problem closing my curtains, I was worried about the light waking me . . . fucking genius!

I dialed the front desk. “Hello, Mr. Salas, can I help you?” the desk clerk answered.

“Hello, ma’am, and yes you c . . . ”

“Mr. Salas, are you there?”

“Hello, ma’am, I am here and I . . . ”

“Mr. Salas are you there?” Click.

After she hung up, I called back. The same conversation happened again, just like the first time.

Then it hit me like a sausage to the head. I remembered the round piece of metal from inside the phone that fell out of Rod’s chest pocket. Motherfucking Rod Stewart, you got me again! He knew I would pick up the phone first thing and call someone for help, so he took the microphone out of the phone so no one could hear me.

I would have to deal with the matter in person. I grabbed one small suitcase from the rubble, along with my bathroom bag, and walked downstairs to the front desk. The girl working the overnight shift was hot and knew I was the lead guitar player for Rod Stewart. (In 1988, people weren’t used to seeing celebrities or even semicelebrities like me up close and personal. It’s not like that now, with social media giving us front-window views to what a celeb does 24/7, and where talentless nobodies are famous for doing nothing.) We were rock stars playing sold-out sports arenas and appearing on MTV, and she was excited to see me.

I explained to her that I was really tired and, because my curtains wouldn’t close properly, the sun would surely wake me. “Oh, I am so sorry, Mr. Salas, but the hotel is sold out,” she said. “Let me see what I can do.” After a moment, she came back. “We do have one of our beautiful two-bedroom suites available, so take that for tonight, and when our maintenance man shows up tomorrow morning, I will have him fix those curtains.”

“Thank you, my dear,” I said. “Write your name down and let me get you backstage passes for the concert tomorrow night.”

Her voice instantly flipped from a thirty-year-old’s proper businesslike voice to that of an eighteen-year-old squealing girl. She was indeed excited. I know what you’re thinking . . . did I invite her up to my room for a little slap and tickle?

No, no, no. I was indeed tired, but I think she would have paid a visit if I’d asked.

My new room was a palace. Not as nice as Rod’s suite, of course, but still better

than anything I’d had before. I slept like a baby.

You can read the end of the story and many more when the book comes out in September and tomorrow we will tell you how you can pre-order the book and also give you a chance to win a signed copy!!

When we were the boys press release;

This book is a backstage pass to the ups, downs, and all-out craziness of growing up rock—deep discussions with Rod Stewart, jamming with legends like Mick Jagger and Simon LeBon of Duran Duran, gaining groupies, and striking out solo. Stevie Salas was one of many boys coming of age in the 1980s—when the American dream was music superstardom. As lead guitarist for a San Diego band, Salas played backyard parties and school dances, and even scored the music for cult classic Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. When he auditioned for Rod Stewart—where he was the youngest band member by a decade—Salas’s career truly hit a turning point.

Salas pulls no punches to describe the initial skepticism and hazing he faced as the youngest member of Stewart’s band, the night he stood up for himself on the tour plane, and the pivotal heart-to-heart talk with Stewart that helped turn around the Out of Order Tour. Yet they became a band of brothers and formed a camaraderie they share to this day. When We Were the Boys revolves around the year Salas began as a musical prodigy and finished as a seasoned rock and roll veteran—more mature as a man and musician.

About the Authors: Stevie Salas has worked with artists from Rod Stewart to Mick Jagger to Justin Timberlake. He served as the musical director for American Idol, is executive producer and co-host of Arbor Live!, and executive producer and narrator of RUMBLE: Indians Who Rocked the World, a documentary on Native Americans in pop and rock music. As an artist with an Apache heritage, Salas has also received the Native American Lifetime Achievement Award. His solo albums have sold several million copies. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Robert Yehling is the award-winning author of eleven books, editor of The Hummingbird Review literary anthology, and has worked with many high-profile people as a ghostwriter or collaborator. Yehling has been a concert and album reviewer, a contributor, and the editor of American Idol magazine. He lives in Oceanside, California

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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