Saturday, April 21 , 2018, 5:06 pm | Fair 70º


Jeff Moehlis: Support Safety Harbor Kids with Paul Barrère​, Fred Tackett and Friends

Fred Tackett and Paul Barrère will be performing at the Lobero Theatre on Saturday  as part of a benefit concert for Safety Harbor Kids. (L. Paul Mann file photo)
Fred Tackett and Paul Barrère will be performing at the Lobero Theatre on Saturday as part of a benefit concert for Safety Harbor Kids. (L. Paul Mann file photo)

​​Safety Harbor Kids is dedicated to helping orphans, foster children and homeless children to be successful in their educational and career pursuits. A great way to support their mission — and to hear a lot of amazing music — is to catch the benefit concert for Safety Harbor Kids on Saturday at the Lobero Theatre.

The show’s headliners are Paul Barrère​ and Fred Tackett from the Southern-fried rock band Little Feat. Also on the program are Telecaster master Albert Lee, the incomparable Van Dyke Parks, singer-songwriter Inara George, who happens to be the late Little Feat guitarist Lowell George’s daughter, “Hurricane” violinist Scarlet Rivera and Santa Barbara’s own Dishwalla.

Tackett talked to Noozhawk about the upcoming show. Click here for the full interview, with his reminiscences on playing with Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr and others.

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Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming concert?

Fred Tackett: It’ll be a really fun time with lots of great music. Inara George will be there, who grew up with us and the rest of Little Feat and is a wonderful performer.

And then there’s Van Dyke Parks, who’s a composer and arranger here in Los Angeles. He has done amazing work with Little Feat over the years. He did the amazing arrangement on “​Sailin’ Shoes” for Little Feat, and he also did a lot of work with Brian Wilson on Smile and all kinds of Beach Boys songs. The good ones. (laughs) “Surf’s Up,” you know, things like that. So anyway, he’s going to be there, Inara’s going to be there.

And our old friend Albert Lee. When I met Albert Lee he was the guitar player in Head, Hands & Feet, a British band. And of course Scarlet Rivera is going to be there, who is famous for the “Hurricane” song with Bob Dylan. And a local band who’s very famous called Dishwalla is going to play as well.

So it’s going to be a very interesting night of music. Paul Barrère​​ and I are going to play some Little Feat tunes and a couple of songs of ours, and Inara and Van Dyke are going to do some stuff from their recordings.

Albert Lee and I are going to play a song called “The Highwayman” that was written by a mutual friend named Jimmy Webb, who was a very important person in my life. He found me in Hawaii and brought me to L.A. where I met my wife, Patricia.

You know, it’s going to be a real fun night. We don’t get a chance to see each other very often, so it’s going to be a good chance for us to reminisce, hang out, play some music — all for a good cause, Safety Harbor Kids.

JM: That brings me to my next question: Can you tell me a bit about the mission of Safety Harbor Kids?

FT: They work for foster kids, homeless kids, orphans. There’s kind of a dysfunctional system in place up to age 18, which is not the greatest in the world, but there is a system of some kind. But once you’re 18 years old, they basically show you the door and say, “Good luck, kid.”

For example, they might take the kids over to Geoffrey’s Restaurant (in Malibu), and the guy there will tell them about how he started off as a dishwasher at Geoffrey’s and eventually owned the place. Talking about things like that. There’s so many people who became really successful without a college education.

But the other thing they do is mentor kids for a college career — teaching the kids that they can go to college if they do this and this. So it’s basically showing these challenged orphaned, homeless and foster kids how to strike out into society and how it works. At the same time, they’re doing academic tutoring.

There’s a child who showed a lot of musical abilities, so they’re channeling her. They got her a guitar and some music lessons, and so she’s going crazy with that and picking up piano and stuff.

It’s just encouraging personal growth, things like that, these kids, trying to give them a clue.

JM: Sounds like a very worthy cause.

FT: It’s a niche that doesn’t get covered a lot.

JM: You and Paul go way back — you played together on some of the classic ’70s Little Feat albums. But I understand that you weren’t an official band member of Little Feat back then. Why not? Were you too busy with the session work at the time?

FT: Number one, they had a good guitar player (laughs). They had both Lowell and Paul.

I met Lowell George through my wife, Patricia. She lived next door to him in the Los Feliz area.

I was working exclusively with Jimmy Webb at the time. When I met Lowell he only played sitar. Patricia brought him over to Jimmy Webb’s house, where we all lived in this big mansion. It was like a reality TV show where you had a rock ’n’ roll band that lived in this former Philippine embassy in the middle of Hollywood, right down the street from Ozzie and Harriet’s house. It was 1967, and a wild, great time was going down.

One night Lowell shows up, all dressed in white, and he’s sitting in the middle of the living room playing the sitar. I went up to him and I said, “Hey man, we could retune that and play some psychedelic music.” And he was like, “Oh no, I only play traditional Indian music.”

And then about two weeks later he was in The Standells, and about two weeks after that he was in Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention doing Uncle Meat.

I had written a song over at Jimmy’s house called “Fool Yourself” and played it for Lowell, and Lowell said, “I want to record that.” So on the Dixie Chicken album, which is the first album that all those guys played on, I came in and played acoustic guitar, and we cut “Dixie Chicken.”

It was a very fortunate crowd to get mixed up with, at a very interesting time in Los Angeles music history. I don’t know if it could ever go down again.

It was the weirdest time. I mean, you’d go into a recording studio and there would be a mirror taped to the console desk. Lots of people were doing blow, and there was Blue Nun wine everywhere.

Now when I go into a studio it’s much more under control, and nobody’s drinking wine and there’s no mirrors taped to the console board. Things have — I guess some people would say — grown up a bit. But at the time we were having a real good time. Of course, it didn’t work out so good for a lot of people, but it was a big party going on and things were very loose. It was a different era.

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Click here for the full interview with Fred Tackett.

Saturday’s Safety Harbor Kids concert starts at 8 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido. Click here to purchase tickets online.

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, The opinions expressed are his own.

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