Alice Stuart

Meeting Frank

 

Alice Stuart graphicWhen I met Frank, I was just becoming interested in playing the electric guitar. I really didn't have a clue about how to do it. I'm figuring this was 1965, and I had been playing acoustic guitar for 5 years or so, a lot of Delta Blues and Dylan songs (what a combination) and was firmly rooted in the folk club and festival scene. I was very excited about the possibility of playing in a ROCK band.....wow. So, because of my insistent whining, Frank got me this silly little red fender with terrible action that was almost impossible to play. I think he just wanted to squelch my ideas of playing electric; he really wanted me to play acoustically. Believe it or not, we did ‘Hey, You Get Off of My Cloud’ – that and some Muddy Waters’ stuff. I only played a couple cheesy venues in East L.A. and somewhere else I can't recall.

As far as the way I was treated goes, I don't know that anyone in the band actually took me seriously. I mean, Frank had this wild hair idea about how this would just be so cool - this fusing of my delta guitar playing and his electric thing. The band was pretty much a blues band at the time. He hadn't figured out exactly what he wanted to do; he was experimenting too. Women in the music business are always judged more harshly than men. And it was worse back then. I do think it was especially true at that time that a woman had to be a little better than her male counterpart to get much credit. But, I always figured I would earn respect and didn't want it unless I could deliver.

I'd like to tell you the strange story of how Frank and I met. We had come into this coffee house in Hollywood, separately, called the 5th Estate, I think. We were both in there for a couple of hours and we were the only people in there. Finally, he introduced himself and asked me why I was hanging around so long. I told him I was there to meet a friend, Steve Mann (a fabulous guitar player). Well, it turns out that's why HE was there, too. We got to talking and waited another hour or so, and finally gave up on Steve. We spent the next few months together, both musically and personally. If I hadn't been such a mess at the time emotionally, I might have never left. [Alice Stuart]