Book 1 – “Things We Lost in the Night, A Memoir of Love and Music in the 60s with Stark Naked and the Car Thieves”
LARRY J. DUNLAP DELIVERS A FAST-MOVING, ROMANCE-FILLED MEMOIR of a young singer and his friends search for success in the 1960s music business of California and Las Vegas – if you liked memoirs from Carly Simon, Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Tommy James, or “The Wrecking Crew” or Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild,” and Diablo Cody’s “Candy Girl,” you’re sure to enjoy NIGHT PEOPLE.
“Instead of sharing a life with the woman I’d expected to be married to forever, my friends and I shared a dressing room, divided by thin wallboard, with a covey of topless showgirls and dancers.”
When Larry’s Indianapolis “doo wop” rock vocal group, the Reflections, is improbably reunited in distant San Francisco in 1965, they barely survive their clumsy transformation into entertainers in a rock and roll nightclub band. As their fortunes change, Larry and his band are plunged headfirst into an adventure that lures them into mob-run nightclubs, Las Vegas showrooms and backrooms, famous Hollywood night spots and recording studios, celebrity managers, and passionate romance–and the sacrifices it demands.It’s the West Coast in the mid-Sixties: a historic era of tectonic cultural, political, musical, and sexual upheaval–and the draft. The band scrambles to overcome, or at least endure, every obstacle in its path. But in the tumultuous nights the band inhabits, where things and people are too easily found and lost, everything Larry thought he knew about life, love, and himself is being challenged.
Larry J. Dunlap is the author of NIGHT PEOPLE, Book 1 of Things We Lost in the Night, A Memoir of Love and Music in the 60s with Stark Naked and the Car Thieves and is currently preparing ENCHANTED, Book 2, the concluding volume, for publication in early 2016.
During the years following his memoir Larry continued in the Seventies music business inhabiting the streets of the Hollywood as a personal manager, publisher, and Sunset Boulevard recording studio owner/operator. In the Eighties Larry co-founded the first digital broadcasting network, to deliver computer games and internet to homes via cable television, followed by several years in video and film production, and post production.
Larry earned his bones for several years as a pencil-for-hire, technical and training writer for Fortune 50 companies. He developed and designed the curricula and training for a national network engineer training program for CompUSA, later freelancing to write extensive training programs for Sprint, basic computer training curricula for Section 8 housing for HUD, and consumer electronics sales training for Sam’s Club.
Larry’s favorite project has been imagining a galactic empire, and then designing, authoring, and developing a graphical multiplayer online strategy game, IMPERIAL WARS, to play in it. He is a published short story author, music magazine columnist, and authored and drew a published music-based cartoon strip named Frets. Currently Larry writes fiction and creative non-fiction from his home near the mountains east of Los Angeles where he shares his life with Laurie and their Chilidog.
Find out more at: http://larryjdunlap.com
I tried to make out the figure moving below us through the blinding lights, until . . . wait–holy crap! That’s Debbie Reynolds down there pulling on Dave’s leg!
“Sing it, baby, sing it!” she yelled. A broad,encouraging grin spread across her face as he stood braced, high above her, to hit the high full voice note near the end of I’ve Got You Under My Skin.
When we’d peeked through the curtain, we’d seen half the Rat Pack–Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis Jr.; Bill Cosby; the Bobby Hatfield half of the Righteous Brothers; Sergio Franchi; Johnny Mathis, who’d closed the main room tonight; along with twenty or more other Strip headliners and major film and television luminaries. Debbie Reynolds had been seated at an aisle table a few rows from the stage with her husband.
As Dave’s ringing tenor swept high, and then higher, into a dramatic falsetto run, she’d stretched on tiptoe to grasp the only part of him she could reach, his left pants leg just above a white patent leather boot. Laughing with joyful spontaneity, she shook it back and forth, like a dog with a sock puppet.
Dave had to be as astounded as the rest of us, but he closed his eyes, pushed his mic farther up and out, and leaned back to let those golden pipes rip. Nothing would faze us tonight. It was our second Saturday on stage in the new lounge at Caesars Palace, Nero’s Nook. The mini-showroom’s luxurious tiers of tables and two balconies were built to hold 250 people. Tonight the place was standing room only, jammed far beyond capacity. We were on one of the hottest tickets in Las Vegas. Blazing lights silhouetted everything beyond the stage except smoke-haloed cigarette lighters sparking like fireflies in an Indiana autumn evening. We basked in the exquisite connection we shared with an electrified audience.
“I’ve got you . . .” Dave crooned a cappella, working into the final phrasing of the song, with the movie star still hanging onto his pants leg, staring at him with a huge grin. I stole a glance at Mac, his eyes wide as beacons. I knew mine were just as big as we joined our voices with Les and Craig in building the ending harmony.
“Never win, never win . . .” The lounge erupted, peppering another standing ovation with yells and excited shouts that crackled over thundering applause. More people rushed to the front of the stage as we hit the big finish and took our bows while the frenzied uproar mounted to a pounding pressure. I looked left toward the rest of the band, trying to take us in, all of us in a zone, the way a basketball team gets when their shots can’t miss. Jackets from our dark suits lay rumpled around us. Purple-and-white polka-dotted ties hung loose or strewn across the stage or amps. Burgundy cuff links on our custom tailored white-on-white dress shirts sparkled in the brilliant light. Leonard was sopping wet behind the drums, his dress shirt translucent. At last we’d let loose and shown ourselves as the confident rock band we actually were, and the celebrity-filled audience showered us with appreciation.
“I want so bad to tell you something but I’m so afraid you’ll be angry or disappointed, even though there isn’t any reason to be. I can’t stand the idea of you being mad with me.” She is so cute, I thought, but I could tell she was serious. I smiled. I had to admit to being glad she cared about what I thought.
“Kathy, I don’t own you. I’m not going to be disappointed no matter what you tell me.” She got off the bed and turned partly away from me, smoothing out her dress.
“I had to go out to meet a man tonight.” She glanced over at me and my open mouth. “I know him, and it wasn’t to have sex or anything. Nothing like that. But he does give me money.” I closed my open mouth and tried to give her a brave smile.
“Now stop it, Larry. You said you wouldn’t be disappointed. I can tell you’re not going to be angry, but you are also not allowed to look like a kicked dog. I would’ve much rather been here with you, but I’d given my word. Plus he gave me a thousand dollars.” This time, I was unable to get my mouth closed.
“Not to get sidetracked. And, believe me, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, but I can’t help but be curious. Why did the man give you all that money?” She went to her purse and fanned out a bunch of one-hundred-dollar bills.
“He gives it to me for going out to dinner with him and his friends. He’s an Arabian prince, and his religion doesn’t let him have sex with infidels. That being me. Usually it’s just dinner, but tonight he and his friends decided to go see Shecky Green at the Riv, and he wanted me to go. I could have come back here to you after dinner, I guess, but gee, I mean,a thousand dollars.”
“Right, right.” An Arabian prince. “Well, I’m glad you’re an infidel. I’ve been considering infidelity myself. Just been waiting for the right opportunity.”
“I didn’t used to be an infidel, but there are these pills that can help.” She nodded cheerfully. We were back on more comfortable ground.
“But you’re not a hooker though, right? Because technically, if you don’t have sex with people for money, I don’t think that’s a hooker. You’re being sort of, I don’t know what exactly? Maybe an escort?”
She thought about it. “Well, maybe,” she said as a small frown line appeared just above and between her eyes. “But I think escorts tend to have sex for money, too, only I don’t think you have to unless you’re okay with it.” She sat on the side of the bed. “It could be that’s what I am, an escort, I’m not sure. I came to Las Vegas looking for something and I haven’t figured out what. I kinda sorta fell into this, and though I don’t know where you apply for this exact position of dinner partner at a thousand bucks a night, if this keeps up, I’m likely to stick with it.”
ACCLAIM FOR NIGHT PEOPLE
“Dunlap’s sense of transcendence is similar to the sensation Keith Richards describes in his memoir, ‘Life: ‘ …you leave the planet for a while…’ Reliving his rock and roll years in his wonderful memoir, NIGHT PEOPLE,’ Larry Dunlap, must have left the planet for a while, too.” I loved it, and highly recommend it. — Kiana Davenport, The Spy Lover, Shark Dialogues
“Whether or not you remember the swift intoxicating music of that era or the seismic shift of mores that burst from the free-love movement, [NIGHT PEOPLE] captures the beat of that misty time when the country suffered “a growing thirst for individual freedom, a desire to escape from an ever-darkening shadow of war, and a national hangover following the public murder of a young and popular president.” — C.D. Quyn, Steph Rodriguez, Manhattan Book Review
“Larry Dunlap lived it. His memoir ‘NIGHT PEOPLE’ is a frank, funny, frenzied chronicle of the 60’s West Coast music scene.” — Susan Shapiro, New York Times bestselling memoirist, FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART, GOOD AS YOUR WORD, OVEREXPOSED
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
One of the best biographies written by a musician!
A Riveting, Mythic, Rock and Roll Memoir
Wonderful! Excellent Read!
A Great Read
A Window Into a Fascinating Era
Rock and Roll, baby!
A Must Read
A Great Read About An Exciting Life
Music Has Found Me Again
SO Worth Reading!
My Life Seemed Extremely Boring After Finishing “Night People”
Lessons of Life, Love, and Sex in the 60s
Genuine, Exciting, Graphic and Memorable – life in the 60’s
Fantastic Coming of Age Memoir!
Great Look At An Era