Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blues Image

Blues Image was a critically acclaimed late 1960s rock band.

The band was formed in Tampa, Florida in 1966 and moved to Miami in 1968. As 'Thee Image'. Blues Image became the house band at a South Miami club, which featured bands like the Grateful Dead, Cream, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.

The band then moved to Los Angeles and signed with Atco Records, releasing their self-titled debut album in February 1969.

BLUES IMAGE - lay your sweet love on me

Blues Image - "Do you have something to say"

Blues Image -- "Reality does not inspire". 

 Their second album, Open (April 1970), included the popular hit "Ride Captain Ride".  This album sold over one million copies earning the band a gold record.


 Mike Pinera's wife Valerie comments on the origin of the song:

 "Ride Captain is a story from his (Mike Pinera) imagination. I know when he was in the studio recording that album, they needed another song and he wrote it on the spot. He came up with 73 from the keyboard having 73 keys. A lot of people say it relates to a few different stories."


BLUES IMAGE - pay my dues

Pinera left the band and was replaced by singer Denny Correll and guitarist Kent Henry. The band later broke up but did release a third album, Red White & Blues Image in May 1970.

 Blues Image was a well-respected band among their peers. In an interview conducted by British magazine Melody Maker, Jimi Hendrix said that Blues Image was "one of the best up and coming bands around". Shortly before Hendrix's demise, Hendrix and Manny Bertematti were seen jamming at the popular underground club, 'The Experience' on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip.

The group was started by singer-guitarist Mike Pinera, singer-drummer Manuel "Manny" Bertematti, singer-percussionist Joe Lala, keyboardist Emilio Garcia, and bassist Malcolm Jones. They were later joined by keyboardist Frank "Skip" Konte when Emilio Garcia left the band to become a pilot.

Below is a summary of what the various members went on to do after Blues Image broke up.

Mike Pinera

 Mike later joined IRON BUTTERFLY. The Butterfly’s big hit “IN A GADDA DA VIDA” stayed on top of the charts for a record-breaking 52 weeks earning them the first Platinum Record Award in music history. It has become the premier anthem of the sixties and has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of fame.

 • While in The Butterfly Pinera helped discover and co-produce the band BLACK OAK ARKANSAS with Butterfly bassist Lee Dorman. The group became an instant hit on ATLANTIC RECORDS resulting in a million seller in less than a year, now multi-platinum.

 Mike and JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE drummer MITCH MITCHELL formed the band RAMATAM. The group, which included guitarist extraordinaire April Lawton, was acclaimed as a cutting edge progressive rock band. The album RAMATAM on Atlantic Records is considered to be a monumental highlight in Progressive Rock history.

 Pinera then joined CACTUS. The album NEW CACTUS BAND - SON OF CACTUS, was a mixture of blues and boogie. They toured with  EMERSON LAKE & PALMER, ROD STEWART and AEROSMITH.

  Mike released his first solo album ISLA on Capricorn records and his second a year later, FOREVER on Spector/Capitol. Self-written and produced, he had a hit single with the song GOODNIGHT MY LOVE. He toured with JOURNEY, TED NUGENT, BOB SEGER

Pinera and good buddy Ted Nugent turned their nightly jamming on their tour into a stadium rock event entitled THE GUITAR BATTLE OF THE CENTURY… an exciting blend of high energy playing and audience participation. “Kind of like American Idol meets World-Wide Wrestling, but beyond the theatrics we actually played very well together and our tour dates and crowds tripled,” jokes Pinera.

 Mike then joined up with long time pal ALICE COOPER. The albums he recorded with Alice are SPECIAL FORCES and ZIPPER CATCHES FLESH. Pinera co-wrote with Alice and helped produce a national TV Special in France called ALICE IN PARIS now a DVD. Mike would open some of the sold-out stadium concerts with his own group, THE MIKE PINERA BAND then return onstage to play lead guitar in THE ALICE COOPER BAND.


 Manuel Bertematti later played with New Cactus Band.

He also toured with Chi Coltrane and Bobby Womack.

 Frank "Skip" Konte joined Three Dog Night

as second keyboardist in 1973, and left in 1976. He has since become a record producer.

Joe Lala  is an actor and voice actor, notable for his dubbing of Kun Lan of the video-game Killer7.

 Lala played with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Lala's percussion work figures prominently on the Stephen Stills/Chris Hillman led group, Manassas

 Kent Henry played lead guitar with Steppenwolf prior to their break-up in the early 1970s.

After recording Red, White, and Blues Image, producer Richard Podolor suggested to Steppenwolf that Henry would be a good replacement for departed guitarist Larry Byrom.

 Henry recorded For Ladies Only and toured with the band on their farewell tour, in addition to his contributions on John Kay's first solo album, Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes


Denny Correll went on to an early touring member of the seminal Jesus music band Love Song, writing their tune "Changes" which appeared on that band's debut LP Love Song. He also was in the band Manna prior to his own solo contemporary Christian music career.

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