The 2008 Grammy “Album of the Year” and an Office Chair

For the first time in several years, I actually watched the Grammies.  Except for a few acts and other things, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially Aretha, Tina, John Fogerty & Friends, Rhapsody in Blue, and the tribute to Pavarotti.

When Herbie Hancock won the Album of the Year award, I was instantly reminded of one of my favorite things that happened at Caribou. The album is called “River: The Joni Letters”. The whole album is based on the songs and lyrics of Joni Mitchell.

In 1976 the L.A. Express (without Tom Scott) recorded Shadow Play at the ranch.Shadow Play They were on the Caribou Records label, and I was all excited because the members of the band were some of my favorite musicians. The group consisted of David Luell (saxes), John Guerin (drums), the late Victor Feldman (percussion and keyboards), Max Bennett (bass), and Joni Mitchell (vocals).

Joni was famous for several hits and albums already, and she always used great musicians. Heck, half the records I owned had John Guerin and/or Max Bennett on them!  In addition to Joni, they had recorded with Frank Zappa, Carol King, Mama Cass, Thelonius Monk, Steelye Dan, The Monkees, Jan Hammer, Seals & Croft, and on and on.

So, I was a fan of Joni’s songs, and a fan of John as a drummer. And at the time, they were also a “couple”. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to them record.

When the album was finished, and the instruments had been packed up, I went into the studio to straighten it up. I looked in the drum booth, and there was John’s drum throne. Only it wasn’t the usual drum throne. It was actually a black office chair with the back removed.  It had a nice soft and wide cushion – making it much more comfortable than most drum seats. In addition, he had cut the wheels so that they were square! That way it wouldn’t roll around on him. Ha!

Well, I immediately told John he’d forgotten it, and he said, “Oh well. Just keep it or throw it away.” So I asked him if I could have it, and he said “sure”.  I thanked him and took it home. It became my most prized drum seat from then until now. Yes, it’s in the room right next to the room I’m in now, sitting behind my drum set. Oh, one more thing.  If you turn it over, John’s name is stenciled on the bottom of the seat.

Now you know the connection between the 2008 Grammies and my favorite “souvenir” from my days at Caribou Ranch.


  1. Met Guerin who was Joni Mitchell’s boyfriend when she came up to visit him while LA Express was recording at the ranch.

    Also, Neil Young’s wife at the time, and photographer Henry Diltz; Billy Joel and America’s Gerry Beckley. Remember Carol King when she came up?

    I have to find all my old photos and the Caribou News! I have the originals. Luv and thanks Tom,

  2. Thanks for visiting, Max. I will try to find more pics.
    Whoever gave me the picture had it labeled wrong, but I should have remembered.

  3. H, Great to see the pics,etc. I had no idea this existed. I was wondering if you had more pics of the L.A. Express? Also, in the pic on the other site, the back of the head of the person sitting next to me on the right was not Victor. Vic was bald. Again, thanks for creating this!!! All the best!! m


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