My sister Jean has had a stroke, and needs our help. As most of you know, she is a bass player extraordinaire/singer and we started actually by playing ukeleles together as kids in the Philippines, and singing our hearts out (we are Philippine-Amercan). We moved to acoustic guitars, and then electric instruments with a band in high school (Sacramento, the 60's!). That morphed into the band Fanny, and although our paths diverged a few times, neither of us ever stopped playing. I just need to say that Jean is a national treasure in my opinion - few people can play as she does. And sing, while playing bass!
When she had her stroke, it was also discovered that she has diabetes (runs in the family). So her care is complicated - she's home now, but needs continued care and physical therapy. The house has needed to be retrofitted ... and so on.
Please give when and as you can and let other people know. You might be surprised at who might already know of Jean Millington through her rich musical history - and/or will be delighted to know of how she's already contributed so much to our joy and happiness by playing with so many - both live and on recordings.
A new album has just been released with bandmate (and high school pal from our band the Svelts!), Fanny Walked the Earth: that's Jean, me, and Brie Darling - we need to all go out there and play together again!
With endless thanks,
*A note to all our friends: Jean's daughter Marita is the stated beneficiary to make it easier to manage the funds you are so gracously and lovingly donating - it's a joint account, to be clear, and all the funds are directed in such a way that Jean is fully involved. So much thanks!*
Photo of Jean during a Svelts (our high school all-girl band) photoshoot at Santa Cruz around Spring of 1968. We were living in a band house in Los Altos at the time, playing as much as possible and learning all the time. Some of the songs on our setlist? "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Spooky." We did it all! (oh, yes, "the Letter" and "Funky Broadway," too - not bad, to cut your teeth on! We loved every minute of our wild, musical freedom.
The house where it all started, Portola Way in Sacramento, CA - photo courtesy Tamara Reynolds.
At first, we had a bedroom on the first floor with 2 single, metal beds. When we got a transistor radio in there, we started to learn songs on acoustic guitars - those hits of the day were fantastic! ("We'll Sing In the Sunshine" and "End of the World" come to mind). Then, the attic was renovated just enough for me and Jean to move up and into, and with that our world changed - we had privacy! (it had a trapdoor you could pull up ...). We even had full-on band rehearsals up there, with drums! One of the songs? "Do You Believe in Magic?" SURE we did - we were living it! Later, Fanny did gigs with John Sebastian - we're in touch still. Now, THAT's magic.
By 1965, we had started our first all-girl band, the Svelts, with drummer Kathie and fellow folksinger (we switched to electric guitars and bass pretty quickly!) Cathy. SO fun and exciting ... from left: Jean, drummer Kathie Terry, June, and singer-guitarist- Cathy Carter.
Several personnel changes later, the Svelts included Brie Darling (née Berry) - who quit a year later but kept playing with us off and on anyway! She ended up at with us in Hollywood at our band house Fanny Hill, and after I left the band in '73 played on the very last Fanny album that had Fanny's biggest hit: Jean's song "Butter Boy." Talk about a Long and Winding Road! (drummer Alice de Buhr left shortly after I did, and both Brie and guitarist Patti Quatro joined the band - it was with a different producer and record company, but the band definitely, as the saying goes, played on).
49 years later we were recording as Fanny Walked the Earth at IMA, a non-profit organizaton for women and girls in Goshen, MA! Here, Jean is shown entering the Control Room where her son, Lee, was working as one of the engineers. We were doing vocals for "Girls on the Road," a sort of song diary of the early Svelts days:
"Let's go back to where it all began: 17, then we started a band. Lugging our gear up and down the stairs, making so much noise, we didn' really care! Girls on the road, Girls on the Go, doing what we knew was gonna save our souls ... Riding the wave, coming 'round the bend, onece you feel the beat you got to do it again." That's absolutely ALL true, and I love those lyrics - they're true to the soul and spirit of our times.
We had done so many gigs between '65 and '68 that we felt seasoned and confident, ready for anything that came along. After all, we could back up a trailer and set up a PA ourselves! In top photo left: Brie, June, Cathy and Jean pose as the Svelts just after a personnel change - our manager Dick pasted Brie'a head over Kathie's; the band had to go on and we had no money for promo!
We always wanted to play!
During out first "International" tour - the Svelts, that is. We were kind of having a hard time as Brie quit the band just before we were to set off, and we had no real drummer - here, in Winnipeg, we followed a topless band called "8 of a Kind," who had four band members. I think everyone was so excited at the thought of another topless band (we were not:)) that they barely noticed we were missing a drummer - Jean and Addie Clement, who was also in the Svelts for years (she tore it up on lead guitar and vocals) in their hotel room, in the doldrums. What was gonna happen? This was around July 1967.
The Svelts, late Spring 1968 - our house in Los Altos. A nice moment, from left: Wendy Haas (keyboards/vocal), Jean, Brie, and June. Photo by Steve Griffith, thank you.
The Svelts, late summer 1968 - nothing would stop us! By now, we'd magically morphed into the group Wild Honey. In tree, from left: Alice de Buhr, drums; Jean, bass/vocals ; Wendy, keyboards/vocals; June, rhythm guitar/vocals; and Addie Clement, lead guitar/vocals.
Hollywood, finally! We got our record deal in the Fall of '68 with Richard Perry, producer/Reprise Records, and loved our house just above Sunset Strip (dig the landlord's castle, just beyond, complete with courtyard). Who cared about the smog? We promptly scoured the floors, cleaned the basement, installed lava lamps and candles down there with our equipment as a rehearsal lair, and named the house Fanny Hill - as soon as we re-named the band Fanny, which didn't take long. It was a girl's name, and we were gonna conquer the world!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoLvdnToHMg
A portion from my audiobook "Land of a Thousand bridges," my autobiography. Here, I'm going to UC Davis
'66-'67, in a band and learning theory for the first time.
Ah well, for some reason I can't get that clip to play, but you got the link! Here's our very first busness card, created by the boy who sat in front of me in biology class at McClatchy High in Sacramento, where we'd moved from Manila in 1961. I wish I remembered his name!
p.s. the best compliment we got back in those days was "Not bad for chicks!" We just smiled and dug in harder ...
I love this shot - we literally climbed outside the back windows at Fanny Hill (it had been Hedy Lamar's house - believe me, electric! (look her up as an inventor) ...
One of our very early rehearsals in the Fanny Hill living room - Jean bass, Alice de Buhr drums, June guitar. The doors behind us opened up to the porch that overlooked Sunset Strip just beyond. (this would be circa 1969).
We would play our hearts out, anytime day or night. Here, we're tightening up an arrangement before heading down to the Whiskey a Go-go (not far from Fanny Hill, maybe 15 blocks down the strip) to play that night. From left: Nicky, Jean, Alice and June.
When Nicky Barclay joined the band, pretty soon we were joined by piano and a B-3 organ. Our sound just kept getting bigger and bigger!
As we hit the road in 1971, press was as important as people hearing us on records. Next: for them to hear and see us LIVE. Promotion was handled by Derek Taylor, press officer to the Beatles who was at the time on leave and mostly in LA. He was for a time known as the "Fifth Beatle," and I wouldn't argue with that. Truly one of the most iconic and magical people I ever met. (June)
We did it all! Look Magazine, and ironic that we're looking through bars. We needed to bust through! From left: Jean, Alice, Nicky, and June.
Jean practicing backstage at the BBC set for the Old Grey Whistle test, Dec 1971. We did the song "You're the One," and people went crazy - even today, the reaction is off the charts. No wonder, it's starts with a closeup of Jean on her bass! We always made sure we warmed up before every appearance, whether live or on television. Playing Fanny material is not for wimps! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pukOcZ4Tjk0
To hear Fanny backing Barbra live on "Where You Lead," pls go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eGA_Abhvnc
- you can hear Jean and me contibuting to the backup vocals at Verse 2: "whoo-ooh-ooh"s. Definitely the Millington vocal sound!
IN THE EARLY DAYS, THE BEST WE HEARD FROM AUDIENCES WAS "Not bad for Chicks!" BY THE TIME WE GOT TO PLAYING SCOTLAND, IN 1972, HORDES OF BOYS WERE STANDING IN FRONT OF THE STAGE CHANTING "FAN-nny! "FAN-nny! "FAN-nny!" louder & louder. WE HADN'T REALIZED THAT WORD MEANT SOMETHING COMPLETELY IN THEIR WORLD! BUT WE THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY, AND LAUGHED RIGHT ALONG WITH IT. AS LONG AS THEY WERE BUYING RECORDS ...
More of that vocal sound on Ella Fitzgerald's version of "Ooh Baby Baby" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pLTQAXx61E - 1969, and not only did we sing on this (with some earlier members of Fanny, which was called Wild Honey at the time), we watched her do the vocal. Early days LA for us, and meeting such an amazing singer, and public figure, who was so humble and real ... was a transcendent experience (we had the same producer, Richard Perry). THAT - is how you learn to record. xx
Just as the first Fanny album was getting ready to be released, we did warm-up gigs to the big tours ahead, around LA. Here, at Knottsberry Farm.
Jean at far left, mugging with our mom, our brother Richard and me on an outing in the Philippines, sometime in the 50's.
40 years later, rehaearsal with our bad the "Slammin' Babes," in Bodega California! Those were fun times. (photo karen Semanek, thank you)
Guess who? We spent so much time in airports, finally we just started mugging on the median strips!
Jean with Danny Blakkolb, who'd popped by during a break from Vietnam.
So, bopping around and going to music stores Hollywood? Heaven. Danny was the bass player in the Psy-kicks, with whom we did a lot of gigs in Sacramento: same age, different sexes. But we got along just fine! The music was the thing ... hip, hip, Hooray for the innocent '60's! xx
It took a minute to get used to us ...
When we got to London in Dec 1971 to record "Fanny Hill" at the Beatles' Apple Studio, they would send a limo for us every day. Our lives sure changed!
While we were getting our sound and tour chops together, Reprise/WB assigned us empty movie lot stages in which to rehearse. Here, Alice Jean and Nicky during a break. We got a lot of work done! (Fanny, circa Fall 1970, photo Linda Wolf).
Our mom always remained our staunchest supporter! Here, the four women of the Millington family: June, Mama Yolanda, Jean, and our youngest sister Sylvia. On the road with Fanny!