Welcome to the Alan Pariser Archives
Rare Cool Stuff Unltd. is honored to present the Alan Pariser Archives through an exclusive arrangement with the Pariser family and the Alan Pariser Estate.
The Alan Pariser Archives include rare and previously unpublished photos, films, interviews, demos, live recordings, early mixes, master recordings and other memorabilia from the late 1960s and 1970s by iconic figures including Delaney and Bonnie, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Keith Richards and The New Barbarians, Muhammad Ali, James Brown, B.B. King, Freddie King, Maceo Parker and more.
(Pictured: Alan Pariser at the Apple offices in London, 1969, with Beatles-Apple assistant Mal Evans and George Harrison.)
Pariser (par-EE-zer) was an American rock fan, amateur photographer and entrepreneur who, among other notable accomplishments, figured prominently in the early planning of the June 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, before John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas and their manager/producer Lou Adler assumed control.
As manager and chief supporter of American blues-rockers Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, Pariser was instrumental in the celebrated band’s musical escapades on both sides of the Atlantic from the group’s early days in 1968 to its split in 1972.
He introduced Delaney and Bonnie to his British rock friends including Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, which led to many historic musical collaborations. Pariser also managed Traffic co-founder and early Friend Dave Mason, who launched his solo career in 1970 with the million-selling “Alone Together” album.
Along the way, Pariser took photos of his friends, who also gave him artifacts ranging from master tapes to acetates, demos to assorted memorabilia, for safe-keeping.
Now, for the first time, those rare and previously unreleased nuggets from that golden era are available for everyone to see, hear and enjoy in the Alan Pariser Archives at Rare Cool Stuff.
By Stephen K. Peeples
With Barbara Pariser and Dave Mason
Born in Chicago in 1935, Alan Pariser was a rock ’n’ roll fan from an early age. As an heir to a fortune, he was able to pursue his passion.
“Alan was bitten by the show business bug when he gave a ride to Jerry Lewis in his speed boat in Miami Beach, Fla. in the ’50s,” said Barbara Pariser, his sister, who controls the Alan Pariser Estate.
“He loved music, was very intro it,” former Delaney and Bonnie Friend and solo artist Dave Mason said in a 2014 interview with this author. “His family (owned)…Dixie Cups, and then Sweetheart Cups. That’s his background.”
Pariser may have come from a wealthy family, but spent his money on good cameras and equipment, good parties, and helping his friends achieve their dreams. His home was open to all musicians, from the starving to the famous.
Pariser and Monterey Pop
Alan Pariser landed in Los Angeles in the mid-’60s and became a fixture on the exploding California rock scene. He co-produced a benefit concert headlined by a new L.A. band called The Doors, and attended the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival at the Monterey Fairgrounds. Later, Pariser and local promoter and friend Ben Shapiro hatched the idea to produce a rock festival at the same venue in summer ’67.
Pariser and Shapiro wanted to book vocal group The Mamas & The Papas, then peaking in popularity, as headliners, and contacted leader John Phillips and the quartet’s manager-producer, Lou Adler.
Hanging out at Mama Cass Elliot’s house in Laurel Canyon one night soon after, Adler and members of the group and guest Paul McCartney had a laugh for inspiration, and talked about a festival that would legitimize rock as the Monterey Jazz Festival had for jazz. Pariser and Shapiro’s proposal came up during the discussion.
By 3 the next morning, Phillips, Adler and crew had conceived the Monterey International Pop Festival as a three-day non-profit charitable event. With six weeks to plan and execute, Phillips and Adler took the ball and ran with it.
Pariser assumed the role of festival co-producer with Peter Pilafian, and was a member of the Board of Governors that included Phillips, Adler and McCartney plus Mick Jagger, Andrew Loog Oldham, Jim (Roger) McGuinn, Terry Melcher, Donovan, Smokey Robinson, Johnny Rivers and Brian Wilson. As documented by D.A. Pennebaker’s film and the music released to date, Monterey Pop was the first large-scale rock festival.
Delaney and Bonnie and Friends including Dave Mason
Alan Pariser had a voracious appetite for new music, discovering new artists and bands he’d turn his friends onto. One night in early 1968, Pariser saw one of the first live performances by Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett and their new backing group, which they called “Friends” because the lineup was fluid.
He became the group’s manager and chief supporter. When former Traffic co-founder Dave Mason arrived from Britain that year and started sitting in with the Friends, Pariser signed him up both as a Friend on guitar and to a deal to manage Mason’s solo career, which launched in 1970 with the million-selling “Alone Together” album on Blue Thumb Records.
From 1968-1972, Pariser was a central figure in the era’s historic cross-Atlantic connections and collaborations between Delaney and Bonnie and other American rockers like Gram Parsons and Duane Allman and British rock stars including Mason, Eric Clapton and George Harrison.
“Alan would bring home to his mother rock ’n’ roll artists such as Eric Clapton and Bonnie and Delaney for dinner,” Barbara Pariser said. “The request would always be for homemade gefilte fish and matzo ball soup.
“Alan was adored by his nieces and nephews for his heart-stopping rides in his Dino Ferrari,” she said. “He was a friend to a great many artists, making his home available to them in good times and bad.”
Along with his artist management enterprises, Pariser was a partner with Barry Feinstein and Tom Wilkes in the management and design firm Group 3. The duo also ran Camouflage Productions, which became the house art department for Blue Thumb Records. Feinstein and Wilkes designed the famous and highly collectible foldout package and marbled-vinyl 12” album for Mason’s “Alone Together.” Grammy-winner Gary Burden was another collaborator and friend on the graphics end.
Pariser Worked with The Greatest
After Delaney and Bonnie split up in 1972, Alan Pariser went on to work in several capacities with many well-known artists through the ’70s and ’80s, including Harrison, Clapton, Whitlock, Bonnie Bramlett, Ringo Starr, The Band, Average White Band, Donovan and Shiva, the Harrison-produced band on his Dark Horse label.
Pariser’s love of American pop culture also led to encounters and collaborations with iconic figures such as Muhammad Ali, James Brown, B.B. King, Freddie King, Maceo Parker and more.
Pariser co-produced and photographed the October 1974 concert featuring James Brown and B.B. King, among others, that celebrated the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight title fight between former Olympians Mohammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinchasa, Zaire (now the Republic of the Congo). Ali won the bout in eight rounds.
In early 1979, Pariser also happened to be on the scene and taking intimate candid photos as his friends Keith Richards and Ron Wood rehearsed for their notorious tour as The New Barbarians. Stanley Clarke, Ian McLagan, Bobby Keys and Zigaboo Modeliste rounded out the lineup.
Unmarried, Alan Pariser died in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2001, and left his archives to his sister Barbara, who is now sharing them with rock fans everywhere via Rare Cool Stuff. Enjoy, and share them with your friends.
Article: Alan Pariser Archives: Legacy
Author: Stephen K. Peeples