Happy Together, again: rocker relives glory daze

Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:44pm EDT
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - They say that if you can remember the '60s, you weren't really there.

But Howard Kaylan, the lead singer with the psychedelic pop band the Turtles, found himself in the center of the action, cavorting with the likes of the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.

And his memory is undiminished. In fact, he is about to release a DVD dramatizing the Turtles' 1967 adventures in "Swinging London" shortly after his band attained its own short-lived stardom with the No. 1 hit "Happy Together."

Kaylan, 61, hopes the comedic film, "My Dinner with Jimi," set for a June 23 release via Rhino Entertainment, will be merely the first of many stories he gets to share about his psychedelic exploits.

"As long as I have the will power and love power to tell these stories, I'll try. I want to share some revealing stories about those people in those days without getting my legs broken," he joked.

Kaylan, who lives in Seattle and plies the oldies concert circuit, began writing "My Dinner with Jimi" in 2001, aiming to show how a "fat little American kid" got to mix with rock 'n' roll royalty. The low-budget movie, directed by Bill Fishman, hit the film-festival circuit two years later.

"We met Graham Nash, Donovan, Brian Jones and the Beatles all on the same night," Kaylan recalled. "I wound up having dinner with Hendrix at 4 a.m."

The first half of the film shows Kaylan and bandmates muddling through the Los Angeles club scene and running into the likes of Jim Morrison, Mama Cass and Frank Zappa. After "Happy Together" tops the charts, they venture to London, reuniting with their old friend Nash.   Continued...

<p>Actors Royale Watkins (L) as Jimi Hendrix and Justin Henry as Howard Kaylan of The Turtle's in a scene from "My Dinner with Jimi". The film is due out on DVD June 23rd and dramatizes the Turtle's whirlwind tour of 1967 London. REUTERS/Fallout Entertainment/Handout</p>