John Ciambotti RIP

Pretty self-explanatory
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John Ciambotti RIP

Post by martinfoyle »
Sad: John Ciambotti died. Played bass in Clover, known most for being Huey Lewis's old band, as well as a great band of its own.
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Re: John Ciambotti RIP

Post by blureu »

Rosanne Cash made a mention too via Kathy Valentine.
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Re: John Ciambotti RIP

Post by johnfoyle »

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Re: John Ciambotti RIP

Post by johnfoyle »

From the '07 shows in San Francisco -


Clover with Nick Lowe, far right, London 1976
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Re: John Ciambotti RIP

Post by johnfoyle »

From Facebook -


Elvis, Sean Hopper, Pete Thomas, John McFee, and the great John Ciambotti at the first Richard de Lone Special Housing benefit. Our condolences to Ciambotti's friends and family; he was a wonderful guy and a great musician.
by:Austin de Lone
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Re: John Ciambotti RIP

Post by blureu »

Wish they would post this entire show.
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Re: John Ciambotti RIP

Post by johnfoyle »

Elvis writes, sadly, another obituary-

John Ciambotti
26 March 2010

There is no easy way to receive bad or shocking news but there seems
to be something especially cruel and abrupt about electronic mail. It
is the modern equivalent of the curt bereavement notices of the
telegraphic era.

So it was that I read of the sudden passing of my friend, John
Ciambotti. He was a wonderful bass-player, songwriter, some-time
manager, record producer and all around great guy.

The fact that he had also latterly thrived in his second vocation as a
chiropractor and in holistic medicine meant that he could jokingly
claim to be "the Real Dr. John". All of which makes his absence seem
all the more unlikely.

The rest of the day was given to conversations on the phone and
messages shooting back and forth between friends who shared even more
musical time with John and in those whose lives and careers he had
played an important part.

The news first arrived from Alex Call, chief vocalist and one of the
several talented songwriters in John's former band, Clover.

Some of those reading this will know that Clover were the Marin County
group, who were persuaded to take up residency in England by our
former managers and Stiff Records founders, Jake Riviera and Dave

Despite all grand schemes and good intentions, the London scene of
1976 might have been the worst place for a band of relatively
longhaired, highly capable American musicians to suddenly pitch up.

Clover's early 70s albums on the Fantasy label, "Clover" and
"Forty-Niner" were very rare and fine but only appreciated by a tiny
group of admirers. I had finally found "Forty-Niner" in a Wandsworth
second-hand store, just a vinyl disc without a sleeve. I played it
until I knew every note in the grooves.

The relocation of the band to Headley Grange - a rat-infested, English
country house and former rehearsal haunt of both Led Zeppelin and Bad
Company - did nothing to change the band's fortunes but proved to be
greatly to my advantage.

Newly signed to Stiff Records, more as a songwriter than a recording
artist, I soon found myself working with players whose records I had
previously hunted down in those cut-out bins.

Once it was decided that more than one session should take place, I
was introduced to the full line-up of Clover instrumentalists:
guitarist and pedal steel player, John McFee, keyboard player, Sean
Hopper, drummer, Mickey Shine and on bass, the most outgoing and
wickedly-humoured of the outfit, bassist, Johnny Ciambotti.

Musicians often speak with shorthand references before songs are fully
remembered. I think it might have been John who first said, without
out any apparent malice, "Let's do that one that sounds like The
Byrds", referring to "(The Angels Want To Wear My) Red Shoes", while a
novice songwriter was busy trying to cover his tracks.

Given my almost complete lack of studio experience and the cult status
of Clover, it was pretty intimidating to ask for changes in the
arrangements but it is not as if we had the resources to belabour
anything in the recording process.

"My Aim Is True" was recorded in a total of six, four-hour sessions,
yielding the original 12-track sequence and three completed outtakes.

It transformed me from someone who recorded his songs in a bedroom to
a pop singer with an odd name, who had the chance to appear on
television and radio, perform on club and theatre stages and
eventually make his way in the world.

The recordings with Clover were the first thing that most people heard
with my new name attached and whatever naiveté I now detect in my own
performances, their impact and the debt I owe to the players, is

Although, I had seen Johnny at gigs over the years - he introduced me
to Lucinda Williams in the mid-80s, when they were working together -
and while his colleague, John McFee also appeared on the albums,
"Almost Blue" and "The Delivery Man", I never really expected to be in
a room again with the band, Clover.

Just three years ago - and some thirty years after our last recording
session - our mutual friends, Austin and Lesley Delone had asked us to
play a show in benefit of the Richie Delone Housing Fund, to assist
those, such as their son, Richard, who have Prader-Willi Syndrome, a
very rare and immensely challenging genetic disorder.

I'm not given much to nostalgia but this event seemed a fine reason to
reconvene as much of the "My Aim Is True" line-up as could be

Legal reasons meant that Clover had not even been credited on the "My
Aim Is True" sleeve, nor had we ever made any public appearances.

In advance, I suppose I thought it might be a lark to perform the
songs in recorded sequence and not have it be a complete indulgence,
as it served some more worthwhile purpose.

I was completely unprepared for incredible wave of emotion that came
over me when I found myself in a room with Johnny, Sean and John.

Whatever other adventures I have enjoyed in the succeeding years, none
of it could have happened without that first step, when I was
effectively a student and they were the masters.

After the greetings and embraces, I strapped on my guitar on started
"Welcome to the Working Week". It sounded just as it should.

Pete Thomas was deputizing for drummer, Mickey Shine, who had become a
painter in central California. I asked Pete the count off the second
number, "Miracle Man".

That couldn't possibly be the tempo...

His metronome must have been set incorrectly...

But no, it really was this slow.

Time may have altered all our appearances slightly but the sound was
instantly recognizable. Any doubt one might have had about, "Dr. John"
no longer being a full-time player, was quickly put away.

Johnny had always established this great rolling motion when the music
was moving the right way, with the player and his instrument making
one big wheel and there it was again, after thirty years.

The pace of music and life certainly picked up after the Attractions
and I took these songs out on the road in 1977 but once I trusted that
Pete Thomas had really noted Mickey Shine's original tempi correctly,
a groovier, more swinging version of songs like "Sneaky Feelings" and
"Blame It On Cain" started to emerge.

The show was a joy to play.

Bonnie Raitt - who had been at one of the Attractions first London
club shows in 1977 - was once again leading the cheering. We played to
two houses in one evening and people's generosity towards the event
was extremely impressive.

"My Aim Is True" doesn't last but 30 minutes, so I played some
acoustic songs from the same period, the trio of outtakes and we ended
with two Clover songs, "Mr. Moon" and "Love Is Gone", both from that
album without a sleeve.

The next morning, I got a thank you note from Alex Call - Clover's
lead singer and therefore like his harmonica-playing colleague, Huey
Lewis, unemployed on my album. Alex is a resident in Nashville and had
heard overnight about us playing two of his songs.

Yesterday afternoon is was Alex who wrote to me to let me know of
Johnny's passing.

And so the calls went back and forward between other friends and
colleagues; Jim Lauderdale, Lucinda Williams and after flying home
from New York to Vancouver, I placed a call to Nick Lowe.

I felt sure the news would have reached London but I also knew he
would understand the good fortune and blessing that we once shared in
having a cohort like Johnny, especially when the way ahead was
uncertain and unknown.

Rationally, it is all in the process of life to lose friends before
their time but perhaps because music can deliver such a sense of being
alive, it becomes hard to accept the absence of a vibrant spirit.

John Ciambotti and I only ever shared the stage on three evenings. The
most recent of these was that "My Aim Is True" show at Great American
Music Hall in 2007.

Prior to that you have to go back to a couple of nights in 1978, when
Johnny was drafted to deputize in the Attractions for Bruce Thomas,
who had injured his hand in a bizarre juggling accident.

It was the very start of our third U.S. tour. That was to be our
second trip around America of that year and it was only April.

Johnny not only joined us for our first two Mid-Western dates but also
found himself captured in newsreel footage as we and Rockpile
travelled together with a "20/20" camera crew lead by future tabloid
news anchor, Geraldo Rivera.

Looking at the footage now could either make you laugh or cry, it's
hard to tell.

In the late ‘70s, the Attractions and I were hardly ever mistaken for
rock and roll musicians, given that we had short haircuts and
thrift-store threads. At least two of us might have been seminarians.

Meanwhile, Johnny had this longer, perfectly-coiffed, West Coast
hairstyle, a red leather bomber jacket, mirrored aviators and
snakeskin boots, a look that can now be found in a many a magazine
spread, as the styles of past decades comes back into fashion.

I think we probably teased him about being such a dude but it was a
look none of us could have carried off with any aplomb, any more that
we would have risked treading the planks as a trio.

Geraldo is still up there on some dire network, twirling his pantomime
villain moustache, scaring up some bogus indignation and I'm going out
on the road in a couple of weeks and will mostly likely find a place
in the show for a couple of songs that I wouldn't have at my disposal
if Johnny and his colleagues hadn't been around to originally lay them

Wherever John is right now, I hope it is peaceful. My thoughts and
love go to his family and friends. They aren't any more like him.
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Re: John Ciambotti RIP

Post by johnfoyle » ... 6080.story


John Ciambotti dies at 67; bass player for rock band Clover

The 1970s Bay Area group backed Elvis Costello on his critically acclaimed debut album, 'My Aim Is True.' Ciambotti later worked as a session musician and chiropractor.

By Randy Lewis

March 27, 2010

John Ciambotti, bass player for the 1970s Bay Area rock band Clover, which backed Elvis Costello on his debut album, and a session musician for acclaimed folk-rockers including Lucinda Williams, John Prine and Carlene Carter, died Wednesday in Glendale. He was 67.

Ciambotti, who became a chiropractor specializing in musicians' injuries, apparently died from an abdominal aneurysm after surgery for an unspecified condition, a spokeswoman at his Glendale office said Friday.

As a member of Clover, Ciambotti plugged away for years without finding stardom. But the band was tapped in 1977 on a trip to the United Kingdom to back a wiry Irish rocker named Declan Patrick McManus. The acerbic singer and songwriter had recently taken the stage name Elvis Costello and wowed audiences and music critics with "My Aim Is True," a debut built around a raw, stripped-down sound provided by Clover and power-packed songs filled with biting lyrics that earned Costello the sobriquet of the "angry young man" of the late-'70s new wave rock movement.

Ciambotti and two other Clover members reunited with Costello in 2007, playing the album in its entirety at a pair of fundraisers in San Francisco for an organization serving children with Prader-Willi syndrome.

Clover disbanded in 1978, and Ciambotti found demand for his bass-playing skills from many highly regarded singer-songwriters. He played on Williams' 1998 commercial breakthrough album, "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," which earned her a Grammy.

In the late 1980s, Ciambotti had tired of touring -- to the extent that he later turned down the Rolling Stones when they invited him to audition after original member Bill Wyman left the band -- and turned his attention to healing.

He received a doctorate from Cleveland Chiropractic College in 1989 and joined the Toluca Lake practice of Bruce Oppenheim. Ciambotti eventually opened his own office in Glendale focusing on holistic healing and catering to musicians and other entertainers, drawing on his firsthand experience with the kinds of repetitive stress injuries common in the field.

Among his survivors is a daughter, L.A. singer-songwriter Gia Ciambotti. Complete information about survivors or services was unavailable Friday.
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Re: John Ciambotti RIP

Post by johnfoyle » ... p?t=181251


This was posted to Bob Lefsetz's newsletter by John Ciambotti, who played with Clover, the backing band on that album. You'll have to excuse the lack of caps, but I'm re-posting it here because it is a good "fly on the wall" perspective:

Originally Posted by dr john p ciambotti
Subject: Re: Re-Diana Krall/Elvis Costello

as the bass player for clover, elvis costello, john prine, lucinda williams, carlene carter, butch hancock, norton buffalo, to name a few, i can assure you that playing with elvis costello was an unbelievable eye-opener. doing that first album with nick lowe, elvis, mcfee, hopper, and mickey shine changed, not only our musical lives, but pretty much changed the face of music in the late 70's.

the reason you like that album is that it was done in 16 hours---start to finish---four 4 hour sessions. pretty much all first takes and nick wouldn't let us repair any clams because the feel was so amazing (also, we had to make it to the pub berfore closing time).

it blew everybody's mind (especially the limey press, which jake riviera refused to give any information to) that this sort-of-country blues rock band from marin county laid the foundation for the new wave movement. elvis was the epitome of youthful enthusiasm and completely non-compromising with his songs.

nick was the perfect compliment with his no-b******t approach to production---scully 8 track with a tiny board at islingdon studio in the east end. the studio was about as big as your bathroom and there was no booth---strictly seat-of-the-pants.

elvis has kept in touch with us all through the years, and we did some shows in november 2007 at the great american music hall in s.f. with the original band (with the exception of shine---pete thomas played drums). it sounded better than the record and elvis was as gracious as ever (notwithstanding his rep---all press b******t) and we raised a lot of money for audie delone's charity. these are the kind of things that elvis does that don't get the press coverage.

clover considered themselves the best band in the world---we grew up playing all the clubs in nocal practically every day for years. you're right when you say that young bands need to play out constantly---the reason we could do those elvis tracks on first take is that our chops were fine-tuned on the road.

anyway, if you were to meet e.c. in a non-press context, you would find him to be funny, charming, a great listener, and a general overall bon vivant. i can't wait to play with him again. bob, come visit me at my great new office in glendale---i specialize in musicians injuries---it is truly a musicians hangout.

dr john p ciambotti
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Jeremy Dylan
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Re: John Ciambotti RIP

Post by Jeremy Dylan »

From the Clover '07 gig:

Welcome to the Working Week/Miracle Man

No Dancing

Blame It On Cain


Sneaky Feelings

Less Than Zero / Mystery Dance

Pay It Back
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