Kevin Savigar played keyboards in the Rod Stewart Group when I joined in 1981. We met in Japan, hit it off right away, and became partners in crime immediately.
He’s one of the most talented musicians and successful songwriters you’ll ever meet and a wicked sense of humor and wit to match, Kevin and I raged and pillaged relentlessly for four weeks in Japan, 10 days in Hong Kong, and another 10 in Bangkok.
When we got back to Los Angeles to start recording “Tonight I’m Yours” at the Record Plant, Kevin got an apartment in on Alta Loma right down the hill from the infamous Sunset Marquis Hotel, a.k.a. Rock ‘n Roll Central. I lived a mile away on Hayworth and Fountain. All of West Hollywood became our playground
We terrorized the Rainbow Bar & Grill (you can still visit it today, it’s right next to the Roxy on Sunset Boulevard). The Rod Stewart Group was nothing less than dangerously notorious in the early ’80s and we would be routinely 86ed from the club every week. And then Mario, Tony or Michael (the owner, manager, and assistant manager respectively) would give us “one more chance” and we’d start the whole cycle again by throwing girls panties up in the rafters, tennis shoes and other items of clothing we could get our hands on, dancing on tables and other various forms of silliness. To this day Tony and Michael still welcome me with open arms and often fondly reminisce on our antics and lament how groups just aren’t the same.
We finished the album and embarked on the “Tonight I’m Yours Tour” of North America. Kevin’s marriage to a British girl was on the rocks and he wanted out. He had fallen in love with a very beautiful and fun girl that happened to be a top model named Sue Bradshaw. Kevin had a thing for Brooke Shields and Sue was (in my opinion) a better-looking version of Brooke. They met at the Rainbow and they both fell for each other big-time.
We were on tour in Boston and Rod had stubbed his toe real bad on stage, so we cancelled a few dates so he could fly back to LA to get his toe worked on. Kevin and I were sittin’ around the hotel room one day bored smoking cigarettes and drinking. He was really depressed. I asked him what was up and he said the British guys in the band were busting his balls for leaving his wife and kids in England and hooking up with Sue. I asked him if he loved her. He said he did so I said “Fuck’ em it’s your life.” He looked at me like I’d just invented sliced bread. “You’re right mate. Fuck ’em. I’m gonna ask her to marry me. Will you be my best man?” I said sure.
Man, if I’d known then what I know now what that would entail I might have answered differently. But probably not. We were mates now.
It was hard to believe that some of the craziest, world-class hooligans would have such conservative attitudes on marriage and especially of one of their fellow members of “The Sex Police” They came down hard on Kevin when he proposed to Sue and when he announced that none other than Jimmy Z, a lowly Septic Tank Yank and not a Brit would be best man all hell broke loose. The audacity. The nerve. Was nothing sacred? Apparently not!!!
As the wedding approached I was starting to freak at the reality of what it meant to not only be a best man, but best man to a member of one of the biggest rock groups in the world at the time and definitely one of the most insane. The imagination, creativity and bloody expense to host one of the most memorable Bachelor Parties of all time. Kudos are in order to Jim Cregan for all his financial help and creative input, although it must be said some of his ideas ended up coming back to bite him in the ass.
And so, it began…
I went to Western Costume Rentals in Hollywood where all the movie studios went to get costumes for decades. What a place it was (and still is)!! Four huge stories of every costume one could imagine. I’d settled on Catholic Priest outfits for us.
Fifteen of us, Rod Stewart included all decked out like Catholic Priests. I had a kit for each guy, which included a squirt gun, cigarette loads, firecrackers, cigarettes and water balloons. A pair of handcuffs with key was also purchased. I rented a fifteen-passenger van with driver and a load of booze and beer on ice (this was before stretch Hummer-Limos). I had a suite booked at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in what was supposedly the room John Belushi spent his last night on Earth.
The plan was to hit Benihana’s for dinner first and then bar hop all over Hollywood to pillage and plunder. We didn’t last through the starters. Bassist Jay Davis did one of his trademark stool tumbles bouncing right on and off the hot grill. Everyone started shooting squirt guns at him, the customers, the chef and well… we were tossed out on the street and back in the van in no time at all. We tried the elegant Palms Restaurant but they took one look at us and said no way we were gonna even walk through the door… Rod Stewart or not. NO WAY!!!
Of course we end up at the Rainbow and Mario let’s us in with the warning we pay for any and all damage. Period. No problem Mario!!! We drink ourselves silly and close the Rainbow and the party heads for the Chateau Marmont with a few more recruits along for the ride with party favors galore. I forgot to mention we used to frequent a strip club that was on La Cienega right across from one of our favorite watering holes, the Coronet Pub. We had picked up a few of the girls on the way to the Rainbow and others were invited to join us at the hotel after their shift.
The party rages and guitarist Jim Cregan makes the fatal mistake of falling asleep. He is promptly handcuffed to the bedpost along with one of the strippers. Picture him in his priest collar handcuffed to a girl with her tits out. Photos are being snapped (if it was 2012, they would have been posted instantly on a Facebook Wall) and he awakens in a surly mood that only gets worse when he surmises the situation he finds himself in. Fucking hilarious and even the more so because the handcuffs were his idea and they had been intended for Kevin. He bellowed for hours for the keys as the party went on around him. Oh well… we all pleaded ignorance to the whereabouts of the keys to the handcuffs. I still can’t recall how all that got resolved but we sure had a good laugh.
Kevin and Sue were married in a beautiful ceremony at the Bel Air Hotel and are still happily married and going on 30 some odd years and counting… and they said it wouldn’t last.