A Bit Like You And Me Radio

October 01, 2012

The Aerovons - The Train (1969)

Today starts off a week-long journey back in time that will include five exclusive stories from The Aerovons' lead man, Tom Hartman. Never before has A Bit Like You And Me had an individual provide us with so much content that we needed an entire week to dedicate to the tales being told. Starting today and lasting until Friday, you'll be reading the first-hand accounts of Tom Hartman, his band, and their experiences with some of rock history's greatest legends. Sit back and relax, because you're in for a ride.

The song heard below Tom's story is from a single that the band released in 1969. It was featured as the A-Side and was complimented by the B-Side, "Song for Jane." The song was also added to the the 2003 release of Resurrection, a lost album recorded in 1969 by the band.



A Special Edition post with Tom Hartman from The Aerovons!
Part 1 of 5

If you'd like the summarized artist biography for The Aerovons, you can find it at our previous post. Once there, you'll also be able to hear their great song, "World of You," from 1969. But make sure that if you do head over there, that you find your way back here, because this is something you don't want to miss.
Meeting The Who
(or, "Did the Guy Who Sang 'My Generation' Just Walk My Dog?")

Well...meeting some of The Who more precisely. This was a huge moment for me in my youth; a night to remember. I thought I'd share it with fellow Who fans.

August 25, 1967, Kiel Opera House, St. Louis, Missouri.

The Who have come to my town, to open for Herman's Hermits, with the Blues Magoos opening the whole show.

I had been a Who fan since the My Generation album, and my band played several of their songs in our sets. They were pretty unknown in the United States at the time, but for us, it was going to be exciting to see them live. The first time I ever heard them was thanks to a high school friend and great guitarist named James Stonebraker, who pulled out a British import album of theirs once when I went to his home. Yep, that's how cool he was...he had a Britishi> album at his house. I only knew them from "I Can't Explain," but when I heard the explosive sounds of Pete's power chords on the album, along with the great harmonies, I was just totally knocked out. And I, of course, was the Beatles fan of all Beatles fans. But this music was quite welcome to my ears!

Our band attended the show with great anticipation. We were known around town for doing this "funny stuttering song," as the kids called it, ("My Generation") on our gigs and we were hopeful to hear them play it live. The audience was talking and making noise when, all of a sudden from behind the curtain, we heard the loud jangle of the opening to "Substitute;" then, the curtains opened and there they were! Roger whipped the microphone around like a lasso and Pete was beside himself, jumping and doing splits, while Keith threw his sticks up high in the air and caught them just in time for the next drum fill. It was like watching a great sounding circus act! They were thunderously loud and I can't imagine how the Herman's Hermits fans dealt with it, but we were thrilled.

Now, one of the guys in our group had heard that they would be staying at the Holiday Inn in downtown St. Louis; so, my mother, who had driven us there and dropped us off, was talked into driving by there on the way home when she came to pick us up. Also aboard was a new German Shepherd we had taken in as a pet from a family that couldn't keep him anymore.

We parked at the Holiday Inn and mom waited in the car as myself and my three band members got out and walked into the lobby with our drummer going up to the receptionist and talking for a minute. The rest of us gazed into the restaurant area to see if we saw The Who or any related Who crew.

No luck.

As I remember, I don't think the hotel confirmed that they were even there. So, nice try. We looked around again for a few minutes and then went back to the our van. We went up to the driver's side window and told mom we struck out. "Okay. Well, wait here." She got out and went in to the Holiday Inn by herself. We had parked in the back of the hotel where there were only a few cars and a walkway that led up to the hotel. We stood outside the van and talked about the show. We felt so close but so far, knowing they were in the building somewhere! All of sudden, we heard some chatter and looked around. Down the walk a bit, coming from the hotel entrance, came my mom with Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon, one on either side of her.

"Well look who I found!" she laughed. We were just stunned.

"Oh my," "Whoa," and other collective comments were uttered. Roger and Keith walked right up to us and shook hands. We talked about the show, they wanted to know what we thought, etc, and we spoke about how much we loved their music. "Are you really the fastest 19 year old drummer in the world?" I smiled and asked Keith. That credit had been listed on the liner notes of one of their recent albums. "No, 20!" he laughed. I told Roger I really loved "Whiskey Man" and he said "Nah, nah, too Beatle-y," and smiled. I also asked Roger about the sound of their guitars and how they held out those big chords for so long (I was a recording novice at the time). "Have you been in the studio yet?" he asked.

"No, not yet."

"Well, when you get in there you'll hear about this thing called "compression;" it helps the guitars a lot. Have you heard our new single?"

"No..." I replied.

"Oh yeah, it's not out here yet. Well, in about ten days it should be out here; listen to that and you'll hear a lot of compression."
(He was referring to "I Can See For Miles")

Then, all of sudden, Roger saw our German Shepherd looking through the van window.

"Wow, great! A dog!" He scampered over to the van, slid the door open, and then grabbed the leash. "Love dogs!" he said. Out came the dog and off went Roger over to a grass section of the lot and they were having a ball. We were just as if in a dream; it was so surreal. The lead singer of The Who is walking our dog, for heaven's sake.

"How do you afford to break all your stuff every night?" I asked Keith.

"Well, we don't break as much as it looks like. And I have a great deal with Premier and they give me drums. I really just break some heads and maybe crack a cymbal."

After a few more minutes, Keith said, "Well there's a great horror movie coming on and I have to go catch it, so good luck to you guys!" We all gave him pictures of our band to sign, and he did, and off he went. Roger finally came back with the dog and put him in the van, walked over, and talked for a few more minutes. "What are you guys saying in that part of "Pictures of Lily," where it says, "She's been dead since...something or other?" I asked. They slur it on the record and back then it wasn't very clear on record players.

"Since 1929."

I told him we loved that tune, as well. He was very gracious and not at all the typical "lead singer in a famous rock band." Very down to earth! Finally, a man came out and said, "Are you with The Who?" and Roger nodded.

"Well your manager wants you upstairs right away."

"Okay, well gotta go," said Roger.

He, too, signed the back of our band picture for us. Roger wrote, "Lots of Luck from The Who," while Keith penned, "Keep It Up in the Air."

The ride home was a blur. What a night for a bunch of young Who fans! We asked Mom how she did it and she said, "I found out they were in the dining area and I just walked up to them and told them about you guys being big fans, waiting right outside, and how much it would mean to you all. They said 'Okay mum, let's go see them.'"

My mother was pretty amazing, as were The Who. In time, I would have even more remarkable experiences, but this was seemingly the beginning of a tremendous amount of luck I would be blessed with during my Aerovons days!

Hope you'll join me as the experiences grow even wilder, far away on the other side of the ocean.

Tom Hartman
"Lots of luck from The Who, Roger Daltry" and "Keep it up in the air, Keith Moon"

Update: Continue with Part 2 of 5.



album art

The Aerovons - The Train (1969)

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Lyrics:

I remember when you went away, “Goodbye…”
Broken hearted words were left and right
I remember all the things you said that night
Slightly parted memories in the darkened sky

How long has the train been gone?
I’ve waited for you
You’re long overdue

How long has the train been gone?
I’ve waited for you
You’re long overdue

Now you say you’re coming back to try again
I ask the man in uniform
They don’t know where you been
I remember all the times you said you’d go
Even though you’re coming back
You’re coming back too slow

How long has the train been gone?
I’ve waited for you
You’re long overdue

How long has the train been gone?
I’ve waited for you
You’re long overdue

I remember when you went away, “Goodbye…”
Broken hearted words were left and right inside
I remember all the times you said you’d go
Even though you’re coming back
You’re coming back too slow

How long has the train been gone?
I’ve waited for you
You’re long overdue

How long has the train been gone?
I’ve waited for you
You’re long overdue

How long has the train been gone?
I’ve waited for you
You’re long overdue

I remember all the times you said you’d go

How long has the train been gone?
I’ve waited for you
You’re long overdue

How long has the train been gone?
I’ve waited for you
You’re long overdue

How long has the train been…

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