A few years ago, Kissfaq.com stumbled upon these clippings from the Winnipeg Free Press in Manitoba Canada.
- From a local review: – “Two nights later, the scene shifted to the Centennial Concert Hall, where Kiss and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band raised the roof several times during the course of the evening. Kiss, New York’s glitter-rock sensation, received rather mixed reactions from a crowd of about of 1,500 people. Quite bluntly, you either like the group or despise it – there’s no room for indifference with this band. Kiss relies heavily on visuals such as the dry ice fog it turns loose during Firehouse and its standard closing number, Black Diamond, which finds drummer Peter Criss and his entire drum kit being elevated some six feet into the air while the rest of the group goes slightly crazy. There’s not one wasted motion in Kiss’s set. Every toss off the hair, every excruciating solo which lead guitarist Ace Frehley coaxes from his instrument serves a purpose. Even the outrageous attire and facial makeup sported by the group’s four member’s (bassist Gene Simmons looks like some sort of demented Raggedy Ann doll in drag) is there for a reason to capture the audience’s attention. Many people probably didn’t like it but then that’s not my problem. As things turned out, the show proved to be a study in contrasts of a sort. Whereas Kiss relied so much on the visual impact of its performance, Manfred Mann’s all too brief set proved to be a terrific audio experience. As good as the Earth Band’s albums are, the group’s stage show manages to surpass many of its recorded accomplishments” (Andy Mellen, Winnipeg Free Press, 5/74).
– A Winnipeg press article from 6/8/74 notes: “Cable Channel 9 will feature videotape footage of Kiss’ recent performance, along with shots of the group arriving at Canadian Customs on a special midnight edition of Tea With Lee this Tuesday.” That would make the original broadcast date of whatever that footage was June 11, 1974… Some of this footage was probably rebroadcast on 10/10/74 on the same show.
– An earlier article details: “I’d recommend tuning in this Thursday’s special edition of Tea With Lee on cable Channel 9. The show, which is scheduled for 10:30 p.m., will feature some of the musical highlights of that particular concert, along with interviews with band members and some behind the scenes shots. I had an opportunity to view several hours of the unedited video tape for the show over the weekend, and I think it should make quite an interesting program once the proceedings have been edited into some sort of order. What I would really really like to get my hands on its a print of the film taken by photographer Pat Dundance just as Kiss’s limousine pulled into the Holiday Inn late Wednesday. The looks on some bystanders’ faces when the group trucked into the lobby in full makeup were simply priceless. To look at their expressions you would have thought that the end of civilization had arrived in the form of four normal New York City lads who jumped on the glitter-rock bandwagon to garner some notoriety and consequently a bit of the fame and fortune theirs for the grabbing in the rock and roll game” (Winnipeg Free Press, 5/21/74). That broadcast date would be 5/23.
So what’s an avid archivist like me to do but search endlessly for the existence of this concert film of Kiss on their first tour in 1974? I found some time this past February to devote towards scouring the planet, if not all of Manitoba, looking for it. Leads were few and far between. But I found the original scans of these articles online at newspaper archive.com .
Cable Channel 9 was the first public access channel in Winnipeg, and was totally run by a very eager and passionate group of people who wanted to learn and share their creativity with the local community. From rock concerts and puppet shows, to local public affairs and religious programming, Channel 9 was a melting pot of ideas. In the mid 1970s, channel 9 was switched over to channel 13, and the public access tradition of the channel carried on for another 2 decades. In 2001, Shaw cable bought the station and all of it’s assets including the video archive, and as so many wonderful corporations do, they threw EVERYTHING in the garbage. Some home archivists and aficionados who recognized the importance of the archive found the tapes in dumpsters and rescued as many as they could. Some government, educational, and private archives had old tapes and dubs from the Channel 9 and Channel 13 days as well. Sadly, after talking to pretty much every one of those archivists, the end result was nothing. The Tea With Lee episodes were not among those saved in any official or semi-official capacity.
Which led me to search for writer Andy Mellen, cameraman Pat Dundance, and Lee, whoever she was. One of those 3 people was bound to have the tapes I figured. As one crew member of the channel told me “Producers were encouraged to make archival copies of their episodes.”
Andy wrote a regular column called “Youthscene” for the paper, and not only did these Kiss concert articles reference the TV show Tea With Lee. Numerous other articles written by Andy did as well. Doing a search around based on the articles above were actually going to lead nowhere. I found in other articles that Lee’s last name was Angelic. (either pronounced phonetically or as Angelique. I never figured out which it was. Some of the TV crew I later spoke to didn’t know either). The cameraman’s name was also misspelled in the article. When I did find the other articles that referenced Pat, his real name was spelled Dundas, and that’s when I discovered the saddest bit of news. Pat died in a motorcycle accident 2 months after this concert was filmed.
They actually showed the Kiss footage 3 times on Tea With Lee. Once during a normal episode. One was a special episode featuring just the Kiss footage and backstage / hotel / customs footage. And the final time was for the Pat Dundas memorial episode.
As far as I could find, there were no genealogy records linking Pat to any family. I couldn’t find anything. And at this point, maybe someone would say “Hey Nick, the guy passed away, maybe it’s bad juju to keep looking.” The other part of me said “Hey, I think this guy did some very important archival work, and it deserves to be seen and shown in his memory.” Hey, if I died young, I would like to know 40 years later someone remembered me and thought what I did was important. And Pat not only filmed the Kiss/Manfred Mann/Savoy Brown show, but others like Nazareth as well. Pat was a wild rock n roller, as evidence from other newspaper articles noting his brushes with the law ranging from pot possession to speeding. The kid seemed to live the life, and he seemed to find something he was truly passionate about in filming concerts. Andy Mellen, in his tribute column to Pat, noted that Pat often showed up unexpectedly at Andy’s place to show Andy what he had just taped. In talking with the staff members that remembered Pat, his death was devastating to the entire crew, but most devastating to Andy and the show host Lee Angelic herself. It was a tragedy.
The only hope I had at this point was to find Andy Mellen. Maybe he kept the tapes since he and Pat were close. Maybe he would know how I could find Lee. There were no phone listings or email contact for him anywhere. But I did find out through the archives of the paper that he had managed a record store called Pepper Records after he retired from writing the “Youthscene” column. And through searching for anyone who may have worked alongside Andy at Pepper, I found a co-worker of his named Susan Hurrell. Finding Susan was like seeing the sun after 2 weeks in a cave. Until then, I couldn’t find anyone who even knew who Andy was. And not only did Susan know him, but she introduced me to numerous other people who also knew him though the Manitoba Music Museum Facebook group.
Turns out Andy is semi-retired and doesn’t really deal with anything music related these days. But someone got me his phone number, and I decided to give it a shot. Now, I will say that up until this point, I’ve never had so many pleasant experiences making “cold calls” in rapid succession. There is a reason Manitobans have a reputation for being friendly, and I can honestly say I’ve never talked with a group of people who were so eager to not only help me, but to talk to someone who was genuinely interested in the background behind this channel, this show, and the people who were involved in it. They were more than happy to share their stories, to tell me what it was like back then, what the shows were like, and they would often drop the names of other people I should try contacting.
And that’s when I talked to Andy. As soon as he answered the phone, it was almost as if I felt this dark cold vibe coming through the wires. He was pleasant, don’t get me wrong, but I just felt as if he didn’t want to talk to me. Maybe he just didn’t want to talk about this moment in his life. He said “I don’t remember anything about Lee, the show, or Youthscene. I don’t even remember the name of that kid. I don’t have any tapes or archives of anything. I don’t have anything.” And that was the end of that. After weeks of searching for Andy, I found him, and talked to him for less than a minute. He wanted nothing to do with it.
That was nearly the end of the road already, and I felt like I was just getting started on my search. And then in a moment of luck, one of the Manitoba Government archives wrote to say they found 6 issues from 1975 of the bimonthly newsletter called “Access”, which chronicled the going ons at the station, and would be happy to scan me pdf files for a small fee, payable to the Canadian Government. I said “Sure, how do i pay you?”. And they said “No worries, here’s your pdf files, we’ll bill you later.” Friendly indeed!! When was the last time my government gave me something and told me they’d bill me later?!!?
When I received the issues, there wasn’t much to be found. Tea With Lee ended sometime in mid-1975. And Lee was never part of the station again. But in issue 2, there it was – a photo of Lee Angelic!! She existed, and I also found the names of several other people who were there at the station at that time. One was a man named Richard Edwards, who ran the control board. Richard still lives in Manitoba. And upon google searching him, found that he runs a video and production company! This guy is still in the business! He might be able to help. The website for his business even listed his cell # and sure enough, as soon as i called it, another friendly Manitoban was on the other end of the phone talking with me for about 20 minutes.
Richard mentioned the portable decks they gave the camerapeople were color tape machines, and that if the Kiss footage still existed somewhere it would have been on 1 inch tape or 3/4″ U-Matic formats. But in any event, the concert would have been filmed in color. That was for sure. He also said if I ever found the tapes, he still had the machines to play them back. Then Richard gave me even more names of people to find.
And some of them were quite helpful as well. One of them said “You know, I think I found Lee’s # in the phonebook. This might be her. Try calling it.”
And for the second time, I couldn’t believe I found the person I was looking for. And for the second time, I felt that same cold vibe on the other end of the line. “That was a long time ago. I don’t remember anything. I didn’t keep any archives of my show or any records. I don’t wanna talk about it.”
And that was the end of my conversation with Lee. Odd how the two people who were closest to this show were the two people who couldn’t remember anything and didn’t want to talk about it. Shame.
So that’s it. I’m nearly the end of my search. See, there’s still 2 people who might have tapes that I have not been able to find. And I think if they don’t have anything, then this will be a closed case. These two people worked at the station during this time and may have kept some tapes.
John Parsons, who no longer lives in Manitoba I’m told. And Richard Nazerevich, who is supposedly in Vancouver now. If you know either of these people, or know anything else about the whereabouts of these films, please contact me.
I hope to update this column with good news in regards to the existence of these tapes, but for now, it’s pretty slim.
In the meantime, there’s still $18.50 that I owe the Canadian Government, so let me write that check before I forget. I wanna be able to come up there at some point and meet the good people who were so nice to help me on my quest to find the missing Tea with Lee tapes. Susan Hurrell, Richard Edwards, John Prentice, Andy Mellen, Lee Angelic come to mind, and there’s at least 15-20 others that I need to add to this thank you list. I need to go through my notes and find their names and add them here. I will do that soon.