Saturday, May 05, 2012

Brian Naughton, Musician, Friend, and Stagehand, Lived for Today

When I first got in IATSE Local 33 I was lucky enough to get a call with Brian Naughton, lead guitar player for The Grass Roots in 1971 and 72. He was a well-known stagehand who I wound up working with many times in my career. He was always patient and kind when I was first starting out. He showed me all kinds of things I needed to know, and he did it kindly and well. He loved to talk about music. I remember the time I visited his home, I was lucky enough to hear him play one of his great guitars, and I did my best to keep up.

I also worked with brother and bass player James Naughton, in the ABC carpenter shop, where I started calling him "good for Naughton," even though he's actually a damn good bass player and carpenter. I just couldn't resist the nick name.

Brian, James and Brian's son Corey Naughton started a band called the Naughtones (their MySpace page has more music):
In 2006 the Naughtones won a L.A. music Award for Independent Classic Rock Album of the Year for their debut album entitled "From the Nut." They were also nominated for Best Male Singer/Songwriter for their song called "Around Me."
In 2008 the Naughtones realeased their Sophmore album. The album is a five song EP that is featuring the group in its new state as the best they have ever been. The album is a Self titled EP that has won the L.A. Music Award's 2008 Producers Choice Award for Rock EP of the Year and also was nominated for 2008 Rock album of the Year by the L.A. Music Awards.

Biographies Brian Naughton started playing guitar at age 12. His first group was a surf band called the Velaires in 1961. In 1965 he joined a national surf group called the Persuaders. In 1969 Brian formed his own group called Rock Candy. Rock Candy was signed to MGM by a man named Mike Curb. In 1970 he took the opportunity to join the International super group called the Grass Roots. Brian toured and did T.V. shows (American Bandstand, Sunny & Cher, and Kenny Rodgers) with the Grass Roots until 1972. After that he played for a short while with a group called Peanut Butter Conspiracy. PBC had a big hit called "It's a Happening Thing." Always in his pursuit of his own original Rock and Roll, Brian left PBC to form a group called Rockit in 1973. By 1976 RSO Records signed the band and renamed them Rockicks. The band was managed by Warren Entner who also managed Quiet Riot. Rockicks shared a rehearsal room with Quiet Riot and also did gigs with them. They played all over the country and locally at places like the Roxy, the Aquarius Theater and Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Rockicks had radio commercials and a lot going for them until a show opening for Blondie at Whiskey was given Tom Petty. This was Tom Petty's big break show and the beginning of the end for the Rockicks. By this time his son Corey was about three Brian began his first day job at the age of thirty. Although Brian began earning his money behind the scenes as a stagehand he never stopped writing, singing and playing his guitar in little bands and local jam nights. Now Brian's life is all about the Naughtones and blessing the world with his amazing skills.

Brian's son Corey reports that Brian died of a heart attack, on the golf course, and that it was quick. I can report that the world needs more people like Brain Naughton, not less.

Start your engines, Brian. We'll miss you.