Alex Cooley, Atlanta’s legendary promoter, appreciated

The final time Chuck Leavell saw Alex Cooley was at June, once the Moving Gemstones performed Bobby Dodd Stadium. Cooley, who at that time was getting trouble making your way around, couldn’t allow it to be backstage, so Leavell, who plays keyboards for that Gemstones, arrived on the scene to determine him.

“We spoken about how exactly far we’d come,” Leavell remembered. Boy, had they. Leavell and Cooley’s friendship extended back some 45 years, to when Leavell was barely from his teens coupled with moved from Alabama to Macon. The draw for that youthful Leavell was the legendary Capricorn Records, where founder Phil Walden recorded functions such as the Allman Siblings Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Dobie Grey, and Alex Taylor. Like a fledgling promoter, Cooley would be a vital cog within the Capricorn machine.

“He supported every band around the Capricorn label,” Leavell stated of Cooley, who died on Tuesday at 76. Leavell first met Cooley throughout the second iteration from the Atlanta Worldwide Pop Festival in This summer 1970. Leavell was playing within the backing band for Johnny Jenkins, a left-handed blues guitarist. (Jenkins wasn’t the only real left-handed blues guitarist around the festival bill another was Jimi Hendrix.) Cooley was charge promoter from the festival, that also featured B.B. King, the Allman Siblings Band, Bob Seger, and Procol Harum.

“Alex was, first of all, an admirer,Inches Leavell remembered. “He loved live music. If he heard a band and loved them, he would support them. He would have you ever back again, another time, looking to get you one stage further. He involved the bands and also the fans.”

Leavell’s own musical affiliations-he became a member of the Allman Siblings in 1972, co-founded Ocean Level, and it has backed artists for example Dr. John and also the late Alex Taylor-meant he was playing Cooley-promoted shows through the 1970s and beyond, whether or not this was the electrical Ballroom, the Capri Ballroom, or even the Great Southeast Music Hall.

“The Electric Ballroom would be a really awesome spot to play,” Leavell stated. “Those types of venues were very important in early seventies. The capability, around 800, was an essential size. And when Alex loved you, he would provide you with back again to construct your audience.”

Leavell remembered that Cooley was best to musicians in different ways. “He desired to take care of many of us. The guarantees he’d put up for grabs were 10 % greater than what you’d enter an identical situation elsewhere. Should you did well and offered lots of tickets, there’d be other incentives. He wanted the bands to complete well.”

Col. Bruce Hampton, as legendary a music performer as Atlanta has ever created, isn’t sure as he first met Cooley (“It’s like we’ve always known one another!”) but he thinks it may have been in 1963, when Cooley delivered a pizza to Hampton’s house. “Alex drove a Volkswagen, and I’d never witnessed one before. She got from the vehicle also it scared me to no finish. At that time, everything [different] was Communist, and that i thought these were visiting get me.”

Hampton would be a teenage music performer playing for any band known as Tommy and also the Nightbeats. “We’d open for Joe South, Billy Joe Royal. We’d play high colleges and schools. Only then do we grew to become the 4 of Nine. However it was Roman numerals. That makes it harder. There were six people. I was absolutely crazy. We’d put on eyepatches and begin fires at concerts.”

This past year, Hampton and Cooley reconnected once they were both interviewed for any Showtime documentary about Jimi Hendrix’s legendary performance in the second Atlanta Worldwide Pop Festival. (Certainly one of Hampton’s first bands, Hampton Grease Band, also performed the festival.) “Watching that whole factor get together,Inches Hampton remembered, “was just amazing. He put 400,000 individuals a cow pasture. It’s still the greatest pop festival ever.Inches

Cooley’s genius, Hampton stated, was a mix of attitude, innovation, and daring. “His attitude was, ‘I generate people I wish to hear. If others wish to come, great.’ It had been an excellent-stakes poker game. But he’d tenacity. In my experience, success is turning up, and that he demonstrated up for 50 years.”

Kristian Plant, who gone to live in Atlanta in 1988 and, with Andrew Hyra, created this guitar rock band Billy Pilgrim, remembered their band opening for Tears for Fears at Chastain Park Amphitheater years back. “Maybe it had been only one 1 / 2 of Tears for Fears,” Plant stated having a laugh. “But I recall likely to settle up following the show. We didn’t have an excursion manager, and so i was the main one to interface with everybody. I returned to obtain compensated. Also it was probably the most relaxed, family vibe. Everybody there loved their job, which isn’t always the situation within the record companies. I recognized it had been due to Alex. He’s this friendly guy. We’d offered some CDs in the show and that i provided to provide him the proportion I owed him. He stated, ‘Just ensure that it stays!’”

Plant, who’s also half of the nation duo Sugarland, just performed his 14th annual publish-Thanksgiving gig at Eddie’s Attic room, the venue Cooley bought this year. And Leavell performed in the room, in May, included in a fundraising event for Westchester Grade School in Decatur, where his grandchildren are enrolled. Once they were hammering out details prior to the show, Leavell requested Cooley what sort of deal they might strike so that they could host the fundraising event at Eddie’s. “What deal?” Cooley responded. “There isn’t any deal. I’m passing on for you free of charge.Inches