Clover lead vocalist Huey Lewis was understandably excited. "We've finally got a story to tell," he gushed. "We've been hanging out in Marin county for so long. It's great. It's lovely."
His ecstasy was understandable because the band, after ten years of playing together as Clover, finally experienced some success outside of Marin county... all the way across the Atlantic to England, as a matter of fact.
The band's first album in eight years was just released in this country by Mercury Records. In England, the Phonogram LP has been out all year, where Clover has toured extensively, both solo and with acts like Thin Lizzy and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Clover opens a three-night run tomorrow at the Boarding House.
Appearing at the Hollywood country and western club, the Palomino, last year, Clover was visited by British rockers Nick Lowe, producer of Graham Parker, and Jake Riviera, Parker's manager, who were in the States touring with Dr. Feelgood. A jam session at the Palomino ensued (where Clover was opening for Roy Rogers), A British Phonogram executive, alerted by Lowe and Riviera, flew out to see the band, signed the group and moved Clover to England.
In England, the band backed former fashion model turned pop singer Twiggy on her second album, as well as providing instrumental tracks for records on Riviera's small British label, Stiff Records, Clover recorded their album at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales, where Dave Edmunds, Graham Parker and others record, and were signed for management by Riviera and his partner, Dave Robinson, who also handle Parker.
"When we got to England," Lewis said, "Jake told us 'you guys are great musicians, you are real hip, but you don't have a clue as to what's really going on.'" To Judge from the results contained on the group's new album, Unavailable, Clover found out real fast.
The band first got together while the members were still attending Tam High in Mill Valley. Clover recorded two albums in the late '60s for Fantasy Records (the band was the first rock group signed to the label following the success of Creedence Clearwater), but remained all but entirely unknown outside Marin county until last year. Not completely unknown, however, as Nick Lowe used to perform four tunes from those early Clover albums with his old British rock band, Brinsley Schwarz.