Greppart Frog on acid
We watched as Greppart Frog was down on all fours in the medical tent. His name was really Mike, but somewhere along he line he'd decided to call himself Greppart Frog. None of us had a clue where this came from or what it meant, but since his life was so fucked up with acne and red hair and a dysfunctional family, we weren't going to give him a bunch of grief over a stupid name.
He'd done some acid. Well, he'd done a whole lot of acid. And there he was, down on all fours, his eyes rolling crazy in his head, and a sort of happy drool coming from his mouth. The so-called doctors at the medical tent just said, "He'll be OK. It'll wear off in a few hours."
I said, "We're just supposed to put a leash on the fucker and lead him around for a few hours? Can't you give him a hit of some kind of downer? I think he's gong to scare some folks if he doesn't take a nap."
Medical Professionals don't like to be told their business. So we led Greppart Frog out of the medical tent and went back to our campsite. Just as he was starting to calm down, a huge limousine slowly rumbled by. Our campsite was right next to the dirt road leading to the entrance gates. This was not that slick white limo that you had for your prom; this was an old Cadillac, maybe 1962, painted a deep blue, with tinted windows (that was a fairly new look back then). It was rolling along at maybe 5 MPH, and no one would have probably noticed that car on that dirt road leading to the entrance of this pop festival that had gotten totally out of hand, except for this:
On the hood of the car, there was a naked man. He had on a long velvet jacket, with tails that reached the hood. But that was all he had on. He stood on the hood where the ornament should have been (or was, I guess) with one leg out in front, like a runner getting ready for a sprint. He blew a long horn: The kind of horn that you see in those old movies about King Arthur. He blew the same three notes over and over as that limo went by.
This didn't do Greppart Frog any good. No good at all. In fact, it sort of unnerved me, as well. Who could be in a car such as that? Had there ever been an entrance made more pointedly, to a rock concert?
Greppart Frog with Money
Greppart Frog's dad died, and his mom was damn glad. (They didn't get along that well.) He was around 20 at the time, and his mom gave him a few thousand bucks from the life insurance and basically said, "So long, son." There was a sister involved who was the apple of mom's eye, and the redhead with terminal acne and bad grades had pretty much run his course with parental affection.
Greppart Frog didn't appear to be too annoyed with the situation, but I could see the hurt underneath. I wasn't going to bring it up. I hadn't come from the most functional family myself, so I knew the scars that were there. I could see them, even though some of our other friends acted like everything was cool.
I think it was around $20,000 he got. This was early 1970's money, so it was more than what you think of today. He got an nice apartment, a new Oldsmobile, and some snazzy black leather furniture. And we began to party.
He seemed determined to spend this money as fast as he could, as if he didn't really want it in the first place. We'd go out to eat at fancy restaurants, so high that if he hadn't palmed the maitre d,’ we'd have never gotten in to begin with. In one such restaurant, with a huge glass entrance, Greppart Frog waltzed right into the glass at full walking speed. Blood began to spurt from his mouth and he pulled out an entire front tooth. We wondered if this would break this high he was on and make him think about how he was wasting all this money.
He looked me right in the eye and tossed the bloody tooth over his back. He began to sing, with a huge toothless smile, Cast Your Fate to the Wind. (It was a hit on the radio at the time.)
Greppart Frog in the Music Business
Those nights in Greppart Frog's apartment began to get weirder and weirder. In fact, it was one of those nights that we coined a phrase that has stayed with me all my life. If I ever stay up until the sun comes up, I refer to it as "Big Eyeing It." Of course, it takes a lot of grit and determination to stay up all night with just a fridge full of beer, a couple of bottles of whisky, and some bad weed.
Greppart Frog found the remedy for that problem. He had become friends with the drummer for the Hourglass. They were a band from the panhandle of Florida, but the drummer lived where we did. His dad owned a hardware store, and we started going over there to hear this band practice. The guitar player was hot. He had this long blonde hair and sideburns, and he could take that Gibson Les Paul into little corners of the room that I'd never been before.
His brother also had the long blonde hair and the sideburns. He played the Hammond B3 organ (about as well as I could) and seemed to be developing a singing voice of some kind. It sounded sorta guttural to me.
Anyway, Greppart Frog somehow talked these blonde headed boys into making him a roadie for them. (I suspect that he gave them the rest of the money he'd not managed to spend by that time. In fact, was he the financial backing these guys needed to make it in showbiz?)
It was only a year or so later that these boys would put out, Live at the Fillmore East: The Allman Brothers.
Unfortunately, that venture helped Greppart Frog about as much as is did Duane.
Greppart Frog in Miami
Duane Allman got a call one day from his own personal god, Eric Clapton. Clapton told Duane, "Come on down to Miami and help us on the project we're doing." Duane was there, dude, and Greppart Frog was invited along, as well.
The sessions in Miami were sweet, sweet chaos in her purest form. Greppart Frog would later show us the photos that did NOT make it into the Layla album inside cover. He said that the boys would get up around mid-afternoon and go to the studio where there was a chest-high round table in the middle of the room. It would have a mountain of cocaine on it. They would play until it ran out, around dawn, usually.
There's no doubt that you can hear the influence of the cocaine in that Derek and the Dominoes effort, so I never doubted Greppart Frog's story of his week in Miami. The three manic guitars soloing all at once at the end of Keep on Growing pretty much told the whole story. A production idea like that does not come from a mind working on inspiration alone.
Greppart Frog would spend hours telling us just which guitar lick was Duane's and which was Clapton's and who was doing just what at which particular hour of each perfect day he spent. . . . Each perfect day he spent becoming addicted to cocaine.
Cocaine is fun, for a while, Greppart Frog found out. Then the constant depression that this drug left with him had to be filled by another drug. Heroin seemed like a logical choice. Duane had told him that it would be OK. In fact, Duane had been the first one to stick a needle into Greppart Frog's arm and show him how easy it was to shoot dope. And, if a guy can play a guitar like that and get into a studio with Eric Clapton (who had enough tracks to make stick men connect the dot figures on both his arms), surely his judgement must be good.