WANT TO GO?
WHERE: Across from Dow Chemical (off I-64 Montrose Exit), South Charleston
WHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday
TICKETS: Adults $5, children age 6-12 $2, children 5 and under free.
For more on Ribfest, click here.CHARLESTON, W.Va. --Part of what makes rock 'n' roll a fascinating spectacle is the behind-the-scenes stories: the infighting between bandmates, the dirty deals, the sex, the drugs, the amazing heights bands reach and the inevitable crash.
Gil Bridges, one of the founders of 1970s-era band Rare Earth, saw it all.
"We had the sexual revolution and drugs," he said. "Everybody was trying to get marijuana legalized. There was free love."
He laughed. "At that age, everybody was into the love movement."
The Detroit-based band, which headlines Saturday night at the 14th annual Ribfest in South Charleston, is best known for "Get Ready," "(I Know) I'm Losing You," and "I Just Want to Celebrate." It was one of the first white rock bands signed to what was then a nearly all-black Motown Records in Detroit.
"We weren't the first band," Bridges said, "but we were the only successful one."
In the late 1960s, after amazing crossover success with soul acts like Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and The Four Tops, Motown Records sought to diversify the label from only R&B and soul and break into other musical genres.
One of those genres was a rock label, which Motown intended to be made up of all-white rock bands.
"There were a couple of our friends already signed to the label," Bridges said, "but we weren't sure we wanted that -- not until they told us they were opening a whole new division and bringing music masters from England. The British invasion was still going on. They told us a lot of things."
But Motown didn't have a name for the label. Jokingly, the band told the record company to name it after them and the idea stuck.
In the beginning, things for Rare Earth were great. The band enjoyed a string of hits, several tours and many television appearances, and when Berry Gordy, Motown Records' founder, decided to move the company from Detroit to Los Angeles, the band followed.