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In the Pipeline: A fitting garage tribute to beloved musician

December 10, 2013|By Chris Epting
  • John Blair, Kit Potamkin, Tim Ferrill, Mary Espinoza, Dusty Watson, Matt Quilter, Bob Knight and Bruce McCoy.
John Blair, Kit Potamkin, Tim Ferrill, Mary Espinoza,… (Chris Epting / HB…)

They all gathered in a Huntington Beach garage, which was fitting, given that they were honoring a garage band legend.

On a chilly and rain-spattered morning, the men started in the kitchen, sharing stories about an old pal over pizza and beer. Then things moved out to the garage, where they literally began putting together pieces of their friend's life.

Two weeks ago, Dick Dodd passed away in Fountain Valley. Dodd was the drummer and lead vocalist of the legendary American garage band the Standells. Their seminal hit, "Dirty Water," is a rock 'n' roll classic that over the years has been embraced by Boston's professional sports teams since the song is a good and gritty ode to Beantown. But Dick Dodd was full-blooded Southern California.

Tim Ferrill became friendly with Dodd after meeting him at a surf music festival in Huntington Beach. They would hang out a lot, and Ferrill even drove Dodd to what ended up being his last gig — in June at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.

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After Dodd passed away, Ferrill helped the family by storing the drummer's gear in his garage. And so on this morning, he had invited a bunch of Dodd's friends and bandmates to reminisce and, most importantly, set Dodd's drum kit up for old times' sake.

Dodd's show business career actually started in 1955 when he was cast as one of the original Mousketeers on "The Mickey Mouse Club" TV show.

One day, he paid fellow Mouseketeer Annette Funicello $20 for a snare drum, and soon after that he became a member of two surf rock bands, the Bel-Airs and Eddie & the Showman. He also performed as a dancer in the 1963 cinematic musical "Bye Bye Birdie" and appeared on other TV shows around that time.

But his heart was in rock 'n' roll, and it was that hit from his next group, the Standells, in 1965 that made Dodd a star. His punkish, sneering and bluesy delivery reminded many of Mick Jagger, and the Standells actually wound up touring with the Rolling Stones in 1966.

Dodd left the band in 1968 and continued to perform over the years in various reunion versions of the Standells, along with many other bands that he put together.

In the garage, the stories flowed easily and with much good spirit. There were tales of Dodd touring with the Stones and working with many showbiz legends, including Jack Benny and Phil Spector.

Keyboard player Kit Potamkin spoke about how thrilling it was to get the call earlier this year inviting him to join Dodd's new band.

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