The high times, however, didn't last.
Barney Ales, Motown Records' vice president, signed Rare Earth to its record deal. Ales, Bridges said, was one of the people who'd helped Gordy found the company, and he had a lot of power within Motown Records.
While Ales was with the company, he championed Rare Earth and Motown supported the band. After Ales left Motown Records, though, support dried up. Motown's founder had little interest in promoting white acts, particularly in the early 1970s when he had a musical phenomenon called The Jackson 5.
Rare Earth struggled to stay on the charts. The rock 'n' roll ride got rocky.
"Rolling Stone wouldn't write about us," Bridges complained. "They had some problem with a white band getting signed to a black record label or something."
After more than 40 years, he's still not sure what the magazine had against the band.
Rare Earth also began having internal problems.
"We had personal things happening," Bridges said. "There were outside influences pulling us apart. We had a manager and an accountant who didn't care for each other."
There was also mistrust among the members. That was the worst part.
"The mistrust between band members will destroy you. It's like a cancer," Bridges said. "But that kind of thing happens. It happens to most groups, actually."
In 1980, Rare Earth parted ways with Motown Records and signed to a new label. A few years later, Bridges left Los Angeles and returned to Detroit to raise a family.
He said, "[My wife and I] figured we'd come back here for a few years and go back, but we never did."
It's a different pace for Rare Earth these days. Bridges said the band plays a lot of fairs, festivals and casinos, but doesn't really tour like it used to. There aren't weeks and weeks spent on the road.
The band is different, too. Only Bridges and guitarist, Ray Monette, remain. There have been a lot of lineup changes over the years, and three of the original band members are dead.
"But most of the guys who are with us now have been with us for almost 20 years," he said.
Still, Bridges said he loves going out with Rare Earth and will do it as long as he can and as long as people want the band to play.
"It still feels good," he said. "Being on stage with the band is where I feel my best."
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.