Jeff Platts

Jeff Platts - MusicianOn December 8th 2022 Jeff Platts’ newest single (Catch & Release) was released. Catch & Release is a song about believers being fishers of men.  This song is what I call one of my “looking in the mirror” songs.  Listen to Catch & Release and Jeff’s other songs on the This Is Jeff Platts Spotify Playlist.

Jeff Platts was born in Detroit and moved to southern California when he was about nine years old. Jeff is a singer/songwriter/guitar player.

Jeff got his first guitar when he was 13. A guy up the street named Bob Peacock taught him how to strum and play a few chords.  Shortly thereafter he bought a Beatles song book and learned to play all the chords and songs therein.  He soon realized that the guitar was a great tool to help him with his passion for writing songs.

In 1970, Jeff teamed up with some neighborhood friends and they started a band called Placebo. The band consisted of Jeff (guitar & vocals), Steve Ballard (drums), Johnny Weaver (bass & vocals) and Bill Zubon (lead guitar & vocals). The group practiced a lot, played at a couple of parties, played at a battle of the bands and then broke up after a couple of years. Placebo played mostly their own original songs and a few covers. Placebo had a manager for a while and would have band practice in his garage. I can’t remember his name, but he told us his brother was the guitar player in ? and The Mysterians of “96 Tears” fame.

After Placebo broke up, Jeff decided to focus on songwriting.  He was introduced to a guy named Frank Slay, who was the owner of Claridge Music, a music publisher in Hollywood, California. Frank was also a substantial songwriter himself, having written or cowritten several hits including “Silhouettes” (recorded by The Rays in 1957, reaching # 3 on the Billboard 100 and by Herman’s Hermits in 1965, reaching # 5 on the Billboard 100). “Silhouettes” was also recorded by many other artists, including The Four Seasons, Bob Dylan and The Band, The Diamonds, The Ronnettes, Cliff Richard, Frankie Lymon, The Alley Cats, The Nylons and The Crests. It also was featured in Jersey Boys (the Broadway musical & the movie). Frank wrote and/or produced and/or published other hit songs including “Palisades Park” (Freddy “Boom-Boom” Cannon). He was the producer of “Incense & Peppermints” by Strawberry Alarm Clock (#1 Billboard 100) and “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” by Sugarloaf (# 9 Billboard 100). Frank became Jeff’s mentor and taught him the craft of lyric writing and the important lesson that a songwriter should  never settle for a lyric or word that isn’t the absolute best they can do.

Frank liked one of Jeff’s songs called “I Love The Way You Rock & Roll”, which I rewrore several times trying to get it right.   One day he was at Frank’s office and there was another guy already in there.  Frank said, “Jeff, this is Freddy Cannon. Do you mind if he stays and listens to your song?”  Now Freddy Cannon wasn’t the most famous guy in the world, but he’d had a number of hit records and everybody in those days knew who he was. While listening to I Love The Way You Rock & Roll, Freddy’s foot was tapping and he became more animated as the song got further along. When it was over he asked to hear it again. After hearing the song for the second time, Freddy said “I want to record this song. Can I record this song? Elton was supposed to let me record “Crocodile Rock”,  he changed his mind and recorded it himself. This song is going to be my “Crocodile Rock”.”

As it turned out, Freddy had a contract with Rocket Records (Elton John’s record label). The initial contract called for Rocket Records to buy Freddy’s old masters and record new material on the Rocket Records label.  To Jeff’s disappointment I Love The Way You Rock & Roll was never recorded by Freddy Cannon.  As it turned out, recording new material was an option on Freddy Cannon’s contract and I guess Rocket Records decided not to exercise it.

In the early 1970’s Jeff was introduced to a guy named Al Green (not the famous soul singer) by a mutual friend who knew they were both into music. Al and Jeff wrote some songs together and did some recording at a little garage studio in Van Nuys called Shoestring Studio.  Al and Jeff recorded a song there called “’All My Dreams Are You” (Al on piano, Jeff singing). They always that the song would be perfect for Olivia Newton John because it was very melodic with some high notes that would suit her style. So they sent tapes to Olivia 3 different ways (publisher, record label and a friend-of-a-friend who said they could get a tape to her). A couple of weeks later Jeff was with Al at his house where we were working on some songs when the phone rang. Al answered and lo and behold it was Lee Kramer, Olivia Newton John’s fiancee & manager. Basically Lee Kramer told Al that “Liv “ (Olivia) really liked the song, but thought that it wasn’t quite right for her. Liv wanted to know where the song was recorded and who the singer was because she really liked his voice. Al answered Lee’s questions and asked if they could rewrite and resubmit the song.  The only problem was that Al anf Jeff weren’t sure which one of the tapes had found its way to Olivia and Lee.  Olivia Newton John’s compliment about Jeff’s voice was a nice boost to his ego and to this day serves to encourage him in times of vocal insecurity.

During the same time frame, Jeff Platts wrote theme songs for two radio shows. The first theme song was for a morning talk show on KABC-FM (later renamed KLOS) called The Tom Yates/Marshall Phillips Show. They played the song every day until the show was cancelled.

The second theme song was for the morning show at a station in Pasadena called KPPC-FM (now defunct). The host was a guy named Steve Dahl who called himself “The Kid”.  He would play the song every day.  He went on to be a pretty big radio personality in Detroit and then later in Chicago using his real name, Steve Dahl.

In the late 1970s Jeff met Mike Osborne.  Mike was in a band called The Buffalos with 3 other guys (Roy Hardinge, Dan Strohm and Brian Vessa). Jeff would go to clubs to see The Buffalos play and he and Mike became good friends.

In 1982, Jeff wrote a song called I Caught It From A Girl, which was a comedy song inspired by a dinner date that resulted in a bad case of food poisoning. Dr. Demento (syndicated nationally) was having a songwriting contest and Jeff wanted to enter “I Caught It From A Girl”.  He asked Mike to help him record the song and another one he and Jeff had written together called “The Telephone Song”.  The duo recorded the songs at Dynasty Studio in Torrance, California.  The recording engineer told Jeff that the drummer (who had just finished another session and was all set up) was a guy named Rick Jaeger (died 2000).  Rick had played for a lot of big names, including the Pointer Sisters. The engineer said that Rick would probably lay down drum tracks for $50.  Now that they had drum tracks, the scope of the project grew. Instead of just acoustic guitars and our vocals, they added bass, keyboards, electric guitar, etc. They decided they needed a funny band name to go along with our funny songs, so Tex Strange & The One Night Stand Band was born. They also formed a record label called Black Sheep Records and a publishing company called Two Dreams Music. They decided to release a 45 (vinyl record) with “I Caught It From A Girl” as the “A” side and “The Telephone Song” as the “B” side.  Black Sheep Records  did a regional release to all the country radio stations in California and I Caught It From A Girl was added to the rotation of a number of stations.  I Caught It From A Girl didn’t make the finals of Dr. Demento’s song contest, but Dr. D. loved the record and played it regularly on his show.

Tex Strange & The One Night Stand Band started adding members and began playing live gigs. The band members changed a few times throughout the years. Only 3 members were there from the beginning to the end – Jeff (vocals & guitar), Mike Osborne (aka Mick Cleveland) (vocals and guitar) and Al Glodan (aka Hank Detroit) (drums). Other band members at various times included Kathy Reimers (vocals), Mike Belkin (pedal steel), Eric Larson (pedal steel and guitar), Bob Rosencrans (bass), Mary O’Neal (bass), Dan Strohm (bass), Kate Beddow (vocals), Steve Brower (keyboards), Mario Jojola (guitar and vocals), Jo Ellen Friedkin (keyboards), and Mike Reali (keyboards). The band’s first official performance was at a fund-raiser for muscular dystrophy (Jerry Lewis Telethon) held at Club 88 in West Los Angeles. Tex Strange drew the biggest crowd that night and raised the most money so Mike, Kathy Reimers and Jeff got to present the check on TV during the telethon. The band also played many other clubs in southern California, including Bullwinkles in Santa Monica, The Crazy Horse in Santa Ana and The Goldmine in Redondo Beach. Tex Strange & The One Night Stand Band broke up in 1984.

In 1986 Jeff entered a songwriting contest in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Pasadena, California’s city-hood. The contest was put on by Ken Minyard & Bob Arthur, the hosts of the number one rated morning radio show in Los Angeles, called the Ken And Bob Company on KABC (AM 790). The contest was to write a song that would become the official centennial song for the city of Pasadena, California. Jeff’s entry (Not Just Another Pretty City, Pasadena) made it into the top 10 finals. The top ten songs were performed live in late June at an event held at Barnsdale Park, the park that surrounds the Rose Bowl. The live event was hosted by Ken Minyard & Bob Arthur and the judges included Rick Monday Jr. (Los Angeles Dodgers), Claude Akins (actor) and the Pasadena police chief. All of the song performances were accompanied by the LA City College Band. Mario Jojola (Mario & The Magnetics) accompanied Jeff with guitar riffs and vocal harmonies.  Not Just Another Pretty City, Pasadena took first place. After the contest, he was asked to perform the song at the Rose Bowl during the annual Fourth of July event. Mike Osborne accompanied Jeff that night. There were more than 40,000 people in attendance at the Rose Bowl that summer night.

Jeff was later contacted by a weekly local television show (KCBS) called Friday At Sunset (an Emmy winning show that aired Friday evenings). They were doing an episode focusing on Pasadena and asked if Jeff would meet them there and play “Not Just Another Pretty City, Pasadena” for the episode. Jeff the crew worked out a little skit where the host (Howard Stevens) said something like “hmmm, I wonder if we can find someone to sing a song about Pasadena?” at which point Jeff was shown walking up the sidewalk. Then Howard Stevens stops him and asks, “Sir, can you sing us a song about Pasadena?” to which Jeff responded “Well I could if I had a guitar” and suddenly a bodiless arm from off-camera thrusts a guitar into Jeff’s hand.

The first prize for winning the Pasadena Centennial Song Contest was a trip to Pasadena, Texas to perform at Gilley’s Club. Gilley’s Club was the world’s largest honky tonk and was also the setting for the movie Urban Cowboy starring John Travolta.  Jeff assembled a new version of the One Night Stand Band to to accompany him to Texas, including Mike Osborne (guitar and vocals), Dan Strohm (bass), Daryl Smetana (vocals, steel guitar, banjo & guitar) and Steve Ballard (drums).  Jeff’s performance took place on a Saturday night in October where he was the opening act for headliner Johnny Paycheck (“Take This Job And Shove It”).

In the mid 1990s found himself becoming interested in things eternal, so he started reading the Bible.  Jeff’s main talents were music-based, so he started writing Christian songs.

On April Fools Day 1999 Jeff fell off the roof of his house onto the concrete driveway. He shattered his left elbow, fractured his left orbital (the bone under the eye socket) and 2 of his front teeth were bent back at a 45 degree angle.  The day of the accident was also Maundy Thursday (the day of the last supper & the day before Good Friday), which is celebrated as a Holy Day by some Christian denominations. Jeff was in the hospital until the following Tuesday, which included Good Friday & Easter.  Jeff’s elbow was so badly damaged that he thought that his guitar playing days were probably over.

Jeff had always enjoyed the process of recording and mixing music, so plan B became to have his own recording studio. He purchased a 16 track digital recorder, mics, stands, etc.  Jeff needed a name for this new venture, so Broken Elbow Music was born. As time went Jeff tried playing the guitar again and found that it was great therapy for his elbow. As unbelievable as it may seem, Jeff is now a much better guitar player than he was before the accident.  If you ever see meJeff play live, you may notice that he dips his left shoulder sometimes, which is the only way he can get his hand around the guitar neck far enough to form certain chords.

In 2019/2020 Jeff recorded a 10-song CD (titled Nashville Lost & Found). The album was released on 6/21/2020 (Father’s Day).

Jeff posted a video on Youtube of an acoustic version of a song he wrote called Please Don’t Let Them on September 14 2020.  Please don’t let them is written from the perspective of an unborn child whose mother is considering an abortion. The video received more than 25,000 views.

Jeff is currently recording a new album (no title yet) with the help of his friend Roy Hardinge.  The new album will include an Easter song called Celebrate!, a fully produced version of Please Don’t Let Them and Everybody Say Amen (a 911 memorial song to be released on August 10th 2021).

Jeff’s long-time music partner, Mike Osborne, passed away in 2019.  One of the songs on Nashville Lost & Found  (I Turn To You) was dedicated to Mike.  Al Glodan (the drummer in Tex Strange And The One Night Stand Band) passed away in October of 2020.

Jeff has been married to his wife Linda since 1983.  He has 3 grown sons, Richard, Chris and Nick, 2 daughters-in-law (Eva and Sarah), and 2 grandchildren Jack and Emma (one more coming in spring of 2022). Jeff resides in Kuna, Idaho.