Howard Kaylan, the group's frontman (and Eddie from Flo and Eddie) has a new memoir coming out in April – Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa. Here's an exclusive excerpt in which he describes their performance at the White House in 1969 at Tricia Nixon's coming-out party.
I was snorting coke on Abraham Lincoln's desk in the White House. Yes, that Abraham Lincoln and that White House. A bunch of hairy peacenik dopers from California though we were, it seems that Tricia Nixon, daughter of Tricky Dick himself, was a fan of the Turtles and had requested our presence. Our first instinct: you've got to be kidding! No way in hell!
Yet here we were, our noses vacuuming lines off the surface of Honest Abe's very own workspace.
If Howard Kaylan had sung only one song, the Turtles’ 1967 number-one smash hit “Happy Together,” his place in rock-and-roll history would still be secure. But that recording, named by BMI as one of the top 50 songs of the 20th century, with more than 5 million radio plays, is only the tip of a most remarkable iceberg. Most artists would have been happy for the five-year success that the Turtles enjoyed, but for Kaylan, that run at the top of the charts was only the beginning.
After Turtles broke up in 1970 Kaylan, along with career-long partner Mark Volman, surprised the rock world by joining Frank Zappa’s group the Mothers of Invention. Overnight, Howard’s squeaky-clean image as an AM radio hitmaker was turned inside out.
Hosted by GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli, hear Kaylan talk about his place at the vortex of rock culture since the heady 1960s, how he remains immersed in that culture today and his memoir, Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc. Written with music journalist Jeff Tamarkin, Shell Shockedwill stand alone as not only one of the best-told music-biz memoirs, but as a candid and unmatchable story of rock-and-roll insanity and success from a man who glories in it all. After the discussion, Kaylan with take audience questions and perform a stripped down set.