I'm sure I heard the music of the Turtles all throughout my childhood on AM (and the burgeoning FM “oldies”) radio, but my first conscious memory of Howard Kaylan was in 1975, when he and Mark Volman, then and forever billed as “Flo and Eddie,” guested on an episode of the PBS series Soundstage hosted by Martin Mull. It was called “60 Minutes to Kill.”
I was blown away entirely by that show (at a very young age) and have been a big Flo and Eddie fan (as well as a major devotee of Mull's comedy) ever since. Thus I was quite pleased to recently have the opportunity, on the evening of Howard's signing of his thoroughly entertaining, anecdote-filled, new autobiography Shell Shocked at the Morrison Hotel gallery in Soho, NYC, to speak with Howard for a full 90 minutes (it was actually close to two hours, but the cameras were only on for 100 minutes, so why split hairs?).
It was a delight to find out that he's as funny and articulate offstage as he is on. The man has a LOT of stories to tell, and tell them he does in Shell Shocked (that sports a cover illustration by Cal Schenkel). I take particular pleasure, though, in the moments where I got him to tell tales that are not included in the book. For instance, the two items below, a wonderful account of time spent (on plenty of acid) with a young Warren Zevon, and Howard's account of his meeting with his TV hero Soupy Sales and their subsequent friendship (which involved plenty of laughter and, yes, the occasional partaking of certain “substances”).
Thus, I offer a preview of my interview with Mr. Kaylan. First his story about Zevon, and the “gift” that the Turtles gave to Warren:
And a nice chunk of our talk, wholly devoted to the subject of the one and only Soupy!!!