Clark ~ Drums
Bryce Davidson ~ Vocals
Kirk Forsland ~ Keyboards, Vocals
Randy Hiatt ~ Drums, Backing Vocals
John Morris ~ Guitar, Vocals
Tim Valente ~ Bass, Saxophone, Flute, Vocals
Ovation at the Alpine in Everett
Ovation was originally called Gandharva (then Refugee). We acquired the new name from our first manager Buzz McCleod, owner of the General Store Tavern in Snohomish. Buzz would book us in the General Store whenever we didn't have a better paying gig (we played there allot). Changing the name was a good move, but Ovation?... I guess it was to obtain higher class gigs in better lounges and dance clubs. We became a funkier/rock/pop outfit (combating the Disco era), with matching suits (platform shoes) that were so popular in the early 70's horn/show bands. We developed a show of sorts but mostly we were just funny and friendly on stage (and off). There were even times our 1st set was played during the dinner hours.
Bryce Davidson (younger brother of singer Brad Davidson) did a good job as front man, handling the audience as well as hand percussion and even rare appearances on drums. Kirk Forsland was a great Hammond organ player and could sing like a bird (high range). Kirk was instrumental in laying out our multi-part vocal harmonies (everyone sang). John Morris (now with Shyanne) was a true guitar star and strong lead vocalist with his many Fender Strats and Rickenbacker 6/12 string. His work ethic was motivational, each morning he would do his routine, exercises, eat right and practice his guitar. When he soloed people would often stop dancing and just watch. When the solos were his own creation they were worked out, note for note, he would have them polished, musical and meaningful, even when playing with his teeth, behind his back, thrown in the air or any other bizarre position he contorted himself into. Tim Valente was very talented on bass, sax, flute and backing vocals. He was our mini horn section with Kirk playing the additional voices while kicking bass on the keys. I played drums and had a mic if I wanted to help in the backing vocals or jabber. Our 4 part harmonies were solid so my vocal addition was never required (a good thing).
Our set list was varied and danceable... Steely Dan, Beatles, Average White Band, Tower Of Power, Stevie Wonder, Doobies, Deep Purple, Hall & Oats, Patty LaBelle, .... We had a few originals thrown in for good measure. Other titles escape me now.
Some of the clubs we played:
Adlib (Kent), Embers (Seattle), Pier 70 (Seattle), General Store (Snohomish), The Spar (Lewiston), Black Anvil (Caldwell), Lands End (Spokane), Golden Spur (Aberdeen), National Bank (Phoenix), Flying Tiger (Tucson) Holiday Inn (everywhere), GoodTime Charlie's (Bellingham), Ray's Golden Lion (Richland), Lumlees (Corvallis), Backdoor (Eugene)......
What started out as a prank one night for a few friends in the audience (Adlib) ended up being a skit we used when ever we were bored or it was a slow night. Bryce, John and I would start a "debate" on stage about how unfair it was that us drummers (sitting in the back) never got the limelight like front men or guitarists. This turned into a put up or shut up challenge, John offering me his guitar to play a song, Bryce offering to play my drums. I took Johns spare guitar (made out of a real toilet seat) and then proceeded to "play" air guitar like the best of them, John doing the actual playing just off stage and out if sight. Knowing John's solo style made this easy and having access to his effects pedals etc made it all the more believable. I'm sure this was much more fun for me then any of them but I really loved it. Some onlookers even said I played better guitar then John! Eventually I think John tired of my show stealing antics because he began to trick me by being "unconventional" in his riffs... forcing me to be flexible (who's your daddy now).
I had the same name (Randy Hiatt) as a popular local musician (Brady, Hiatt and the Sonics) which became a good, odd and/or bad thing at times. Playing the same rooms as he I often found myself talking to people who felt they knew me while I had no clue who they were or what they were talking about, not an uncommon situation in a musicians life however. I even had people telling me I wasn't really Randy Hiatt (but I didn't fall for that). A woman came to me after a dance once and said we were childhood neighbors growing up in Everett, that she was friends with my younger sister and would hear/watch me practice. She knew my sister and mother by name as well as my middle name and age. Having never lived in Everett I was starting to doubt whether I had (after all it was the 70's), seems the other Randy Hiatt and I have a lot in common (odd thing). I think Randy may have saved me from paying most my union dues as we were both in the same Everett Musicians Local. When ever the local union rep did a member/dues check at a club (I never had an up-to-date card) they would have to call in to the Everett union who always said I was paid up (good thing). One night asleep at my parents home on a school night (2:00AM) my dad awakes me with a phone call from an irate woman (asking if I was RH the musician etc) she said I stood her up after a gig at Pier 70 that night and being half asleep I just couldn't convince her she must be mistaken,... she read me the riot act... so did my dad (bad thing).
Warm up act for Gary Lewis and the Playboys (turned down invite to replace his band).
Warm up act for Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts (turned down invite to replace her band).
Being able to pay rent and survive by playing in a band.
Should not have turned those offers down by Gary Lewis or Merrilee Rush.
Hammond organ falling off the stage in Tucson.
Our matching suits.
Randy Hiatt, May 2006