Renaud Phillipe / Kahem – The Zombies
The Zombies take part in the 50th Festival D’été De Québec at Le Parc De La Francophonie in Québec City July 6.
Although Woodstock 50 organizers have released artists from their performance contracts after a last-ditch effort to move the event to Maryland, manager Chris Tuthill of indie firm The Rocks says his clients The Zombies and Hollis Brown are both still planning to play the anniversary event.
The last he heard from the agent for both bands, APA’s Bruce Solar, there was still momentum to put on the much-troubled festival, and if it does go on, Tuthill and his The Rocks partner Cindy da Silva are all in on having their acts take part.
Tuthill acknowledges both his acts have been paid what he describes as a “solid payday.”
“We certainly intend to, as long as it moves forward, we’d like to be a part of it,” he says, adding the last-minute change of venue to the Merriweather Post Pavilion was not a “deal-breaker” for him. “It’s a complication, but it’s doable. Just some logistics to sort out.”
According to the manager, playing Woodstock 50 is not a matter of money. “It’s about being part of a special event that has a nice message and a legacy to it. Hollis Brown would play all weekend even if they were the only act there just to be at Woodstock.”
Not surprising considering the band is named after a Bob Dylan song, “Ballad of Hollis Brown.”
The Zombies, ironically, broke up before the original Woodstock, which was happening while ex-members Rod Argent and Chris White were in Manhattan negotiating a deal with Clive Davis to sign the band Argent to CBS Records after the unexpected post-mortem chart-topping success of “Time of the Season.”
“They just said, ‘Let’s just skip going,’” recalls Tuthill.
Tuthill says he’s met Michael Lang but hasn’t done business directly with him. “There’s still an invitation for us to play at an event they’re trying to organize,” he insists. “But we were told we were free not to play.”
The manager insists he will stick with Woodstock 50 until the bitter end. “We really have no reason not to,” he says. “It sucks that it’s taken this long and had to go through so many changes, but as long as there’s an event going on, I have that date on both of these bands’ tours. I’d rather be a part of it than known as the manager who ended up telling Mountain not to appear in the Woodstock movie.
“It kind of harkens back to what they were trying to do 50 years ago … stubbornly trying to pull something off despite the obstacles. I like that spirit. They’ve got good people like [KAABOOWorks talent buyer] Roger LeBlanc involved. These are all solid people trying to pull this off.”
Tuthill admits “my gut has been wrong every time I’ve heard a death knell, but I’m going on faith that they have a shot to pull something very special off.”
The Rocks also represent Bruce Sudano, the husband of the late Donna Summer, who will be playing the upcoming Philadelphia Folk Festival the same weekend as Woodstock 50 is scheduled.