Andrew Loog Oldham Kind Of Remembers His Westport Days

An “06880″  post following the recent death of Johnny Winter drew a flood of comments about his time in Westport. Yet he — and REO Speedwagon — were hardly the only rockers in town during the late 1960s and early ’70s.

Andrew Loog Oldham — manager/producer of the Rolling Stones, co-founder of Immediate Records (Rod Stewart, Nico, Humble Pie) and producer of recordings by Donovan, Jimmy Cliff and Marianne Faithfull — bought a house in Wilton in 1969. But he spent a great deal of time in Westport. 

Andrew Loog Oldham (left) and Mick Jagger.

Andrew Loog Oldham (left) and Mick Jagger.

Here’s what he remembers — sort of — according to the website Music Museum of New England:

A few months ago I saw Ronnie Spector singing to support Haiti at the Westport Country Playhouse. But things were not always good between myself and New England.

When I settled into Wilton (in 1969) my friend Noel Harrison came to stay. He was hot with “the girl from UNCLE,” and was doing summer stock at the Westport Playhouse.

Westport was a wasted hoot and Vietnam horror show. All of the rich kids were 4F and more wasted than Keith Richards. Joe Cocker stopped by and mused, “so this is what is between New York and Boston.”

Westport looked pretty, and had Sally and her great record store at the back of Klein’s on the main drag, but for all its Stepford Wife properness the Westport train station was a nightly procession of lost and drunk Jack Lemmons pouring themselves back into station wagonerama, as drunk as their kids were stoned.

Back in Andrew Loog Oldham's day, the area behind the old library -- at the corner of Post Road and Main Street, across from the YMCA -- was called "Needle Park." It was a popular teenage hangout.

Back in Andrew Loog Oldham’s day, the area behind the old library — at the corner of Post Road and Main Street, across from the YMCA — was called “Needle Park.” It was a popular teenage hangout.

America was at the crossroads — Vietnam had done the Robert Johnson on the lot of you, and a sorry state was your lovely nation for that while.

I saw Bridgeport jail a few times, driving under the influence of you name it. I blacked out more than once on the Merritt Parkway, coming to just in time for Exit 40….

On more than one occasion I saw Mr. and Mrs. Paul Newman driving around Westport. I had a wonderful time. I cannot think of any place I’d rather have been the first time I heard Harry Chapin’s “WOLD.”

Eventually I got much, much better and as New England keeps on doing that, we are all doing well.

 

 

3 responses to “Andrew Loog Oldham Kind Of Remembers His Westport Days

  1. Gee, sounds like a lovely guy. I guess Westport people were so boring and bourgie that it would have been okay to knock a few of them off while driving under the influence. To paraphrase an old cliche, I guess rock music albums are a little like sausages: you might like the taste, but it’s better not to see the people who make them.

  2. Jim Honeycutt

    When Andrew signed Repairs after discovering our band playing on Jessup’s Green in summer of 1972 at the first Earth Day celebration, we introduced Andrew to Doc Cavelier, the owner of Syncron Recording Studio in Wallingford, CT. With Andrew and Doc in the next two years, the band recorded three record albums – two for Motown and one for a German label. The albums though interesting really never got much traction even in spite of Oldham’s connections and vast amounts of talent. Eventually I left the band late in 1973 and the remaining band members eventually broke up a year later or so. But the Doc and Andrew remained close after his time with Repairs. While Andrew may not remember much of his days in Westport – consider that he had lost the Stones and other big acts and had moved to the U.S. out of necessity – he was fortunate to develop a lifetime friendship with Doc Cavelier, who himself had a medical career before buying the recording studio and moving into music. Frankly, I think Doc was a huge positive influence on Andrew and ultimately helped Andrew pull his life together. Andrew is healthy now and is still around today. He is still vastly talented and interesting as he has moved on to satellite radio and is still producing bands. But having spent years with Andrew in Westport, I can say that he loved the Town as much as many Westporters do today.

    • Jim,
      I remember Repairs. I also did some recording at Syncron with Andrew Oldham. For some reason I ended up with a couple acetates of your band, they’ve been sitting on a shelf in my music studio for years. Would you like to have them? Find me on Facebook and message me.
      Keep on Rockin’,
      Jon Manners