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Listen to 'Turn On Your Love Light' performed by Dirt Cheap

Listen to 'Time Waits For No One' performed by Dirt Cheap

Listen to 'Wild Night' performed by Dirt Cheap

 

Dirt Cheap... Curtis Crotzer on vocals & harmonica, Lenny Hatch on rhythm & lead guitar, James Armstrong on rhythm & lead guitar, and myself on drums.  I would like to dedicate the "Turn On Your Love Light" song to one of my closest friends Lenny Hatch who played rhythm, lead & backup vocals  in the band and passed away on April 12th, 2003.  These recordings are not too good when it comes to quality and the performances are far from perfect, but I loved the live energy... yea.  I played in over a hundred bands prior to Dirt Cheap but this was one of the first steady bands to last more then a few months.   This was also the start of some long time friendships within the band.  I am not exactly sure which year these recordings are from but a good guess would be around 1977.  I knew Lenny and Curtis from an earlier band a couple of years prior to this.  The band lasted only a few months the first time around but I was glad it happened because after meeting with Lenny on the streets of Venice, California almost a year later I was invited to audition for his new band.  That's when I met up again with Curtis Crotzer on vocals, harmonica & rhythm guitar along with a couple of new guys, 'Hollywood Bob McCullogh' the bass player and James Armstrong on lead & rhythm guitar.  James continued with his own solo career later on and released three albums with HighTone Records since then.  He was working on a fourth when this was written I believe?  I made the audition and stayed with the band long enough to find out bass players were not that easy to keep for some reason?  However the band still managed to evolve because of our friendship.  Even with several different bass players including the eccentric but very skilled bassist/violinist Gary Spain or other excellent the late great bass player Ray Olson.  We managed to continue doing what we loved best, that was playing music and having fun doing it.   Over the years other bassists came and went including one of Curtis's good friends Rob Beckett who helped out by playing bass on the 'At the Church' recordings, follow the link below.   We played this live show one night at a local church in Santa Monica, California which we rented for the evening.  We sold tickets in advance for the show and had a real fun time that night.  It was a really cool night and we had a great audience turnout too.  We became long time friends, playing music all over the bay area for private parties, clubs and later backing up the Jessie (Jade) Anderson Band.   It was the best of times...  This picture above was taken around 1978, many years ago and I'm not sure who the kids were, they just happened to be there, go figure?  Click on the picture or link above to hear one of our live performances from many, many years ago, unfortunately the quality is not that good but feel free to check it out if you want...

 

 

'DIRT CHEAP' the band and my friends!

Lenny Hatch 1952 - 2003

Ray Olson 1954 - 2010

Musicians for the 'Dirt Cheap'  band and good friends...

Lenny Hatch, Ray Olson, Sara and her husband Vince have all passed away and I will  miss them a lot.  Lenny was more than a good friend, he was like a brother to me.  I did not know Ray as long as Lenny, but he was a terrific bass player with a really charismatic  personality and great sense of humor.  They were all good friends and will be missed!

It all started when I met Lenny around the age of 18 when he enlisted me into his band with Curtis Crotzer.  I eventually moved from Venice to Santa Monica, California around the year 1972.  Lenny heard me playing playing drums at my house while walking by one day and simply walked up to my front door and asked me if I was interested in auditioning for his band and we were good friends ever since.  The band broke up after awhile, like a lot of bands but we remained friends.   About a year or so later Lenny invited me to audition for another band with him and his friend Curtis.  That's when I met other band members James Armstrong and 'Hollywood' Bob McCullough.  The band was originally called 'Dirt Cheap' and for short while we went under the name of 'Skylite' to possibly upgrade our image, heh heh, that's when we met Ray Olson through one of our friends to the best of my memory?  Ray Olson was very good musician and played music with us during the early 70's.  I guess the name 'Dirt Cheap' more or less stuck with us down the line.  It was kind of our statement to the music business that you really had to love what you did because if you weren't at the top of the food chain you definitely worked for 'Dirt Cheap' wages...!!!  Eventually we started working parties all around southern California that is when the music really started becoming a lot of fun and the friendships continued to grow with Lenny, Curtis and James.  They were the best of times, some of my favorite memories and greatest adventures were in the early days playing rock n roll music with this band.  Lenny Hatch passed away years later in 2003.  I'm sure we will always remember Lenny as a good friend and someone who was so much fun to be around. 

The recordings on this page are from the late 70's recorded years ago.  Many years later when technology allowed they were transferred to digital, unfortunately they were in pretty bad shape like a lot of my audio tapes by this time.  I fixed them the best I could and tried to preserve some good memories of the band. 

The two songs below were recorded live at a church on 2nd St. in Santa Monica, California you can almost feel the energy.  A local church that would rent out their place from time to time to raise additional funds for their parish.  This seemed strange to us renting out a church and playing on the altar but that's what happened.  We booked the church on 2nd street and sold tickets to friends and locals in the community.  So we could put on our own small time rock & roll show for the neighborhood, it was a gas!  During the mid to late 70's we continued to play as the rhythm section for Jesse 'Jade' Anderson's band.   After awhile it seemed like we must have played in hundreds of clubs and hotels throughout the Los Angeles area, but my favorite was a small club called 'The Burning Tree' in Santa Monica.  Those were some fun times alright.  Our last night at The Burning Tree we played to a packed house, roughly around 1976.  Listening to these old songs reminds me of why I loved playing rock & roll with these guys.  Curtis Crotzer on vocals, and harmonica, Lenny Hatch on rhythm and lead guitar, James Armstrong on rhythm and lead guitar.  James later advanced with his own band years later and acquired a recording contract and has released around 3 albums nationwide as a blues recording artist for the 'HighTone' record label and I believe was working on a fourth.  His link is listed on the home page too.  We were never able to keep a bass player for very long back in those days, it seemed like some kind of curse at times but I would like to mention some of the bass players we enjoyed working with.  Starting with 'Hollywood' Bob McCullogh our first bass player, Gary Spain (somewhat of an eccentric but in the pocket bass player and violinist) who is still hopefully a good friend after reading this...heh and Ray Olson a very charismatic character and very good bass player who lives somewhere in Florida now?  Then there is Rob Beckett who plays bass on the 'Dirt Cheap At The Church' tracks and had no time to rehearse for this show but still sounded great.  I believe he is still living in Southern California somewhere?  I am sure that I am forgetting many others too?  Maybe I will update more information later on if memory allows.  Lenny was one of coolest  people you could ever know and I will miss him as a close friend.  Below are a few pictures to remember Lenny by and a few songs from the Dirt Cheap band to go along with them.                                               

Sincerely Robert Heinze...  

Click on pictures to hear some 'Dirt Cheap At The Church' music tracks...

 

 Listen to: 'Stormy Monday'
Lenny, me, Curtis & James (kids unknown?)

James, me, Lenny, Ray Olson & Curtis
 

Listen to: 'James Jam' written by J.Armstrong
James, me and Lenny

 

Lenny on far left with Sara & Vince's gang of friends from down south along with Sara & Vince in the front row.

Sara & Vince were great friends and big supporters of our music, Sara passed away in September of 2009 and Vince passed away about 4 or 5 years after, they will both be missed by everyone that knew them...

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