A Happy reunion

Mark Vol­man and Howard Kay­lan are Flo & Ed­die

— A Mon­kee, a Puck­ett and a pair of Turtles are among the mu­sic in­dustry icons who will take to the stage at the Keswick for a trip down memory lane for the ‘Happy To­geth­er Tour.’


Self-de­scribed as the Part­ridge Fam­ily and Redd Foxx on one al­bum, Mark Vol­man and Howard Kay­lan, oth­er­wise known as Flo & Ed­die, two guys who made their mark as the Turtles, are an ec­lect­ic duo in the his­tory of rock ’n’ roll.

Now part of the Happy To­geth­er Tour, they are cel­eb­rat­ing the third con­sec­ut­ive year of ’60s-style mu­sic by bring­ing back some of the dec­ade’s most pop­u­lar artists. They, as well as Micky Dol­enz of the Mon­kees, The Buck­ing­hams, The Grass Roots, and Gary Puck­ett and the Uni­on Gap, will rock the stage at the Keswick Theat­er in Glen­side on Tues­day, June 19.

“Over the years we’ve de­veloped a tre­mend­ous fan base, and we’ve learned that by put­ting to­geth­er all these oth­er great acts, audi­ences will en­joy an even­ing of all kinds of hits and memor­ies that are well worth the price of ad­mis­sion,” Vol­man said.

And the name of the tour seems es­pe­cially apro­pos since Happy To­geth­er by The Turtles hit No. 1 on the charts in 1967, dis­pla­cing the Beatles’ Penny Lane, and re­mains as a staple on clas­sic rock ra­dio to this day.

Vol­man and Kay­lan began their friend­ship and mu­sic­al part­ner­ship back in their high school choir in Westchester, Cal­if. They called their first band the Cross­fires, but after they gradu­ated from high school, and bands named the An­im­als and the Beatles were com­ing to the fore­front, they de­cided to be more “with it,” and changed their band name to the Turtles.

But even that name didn’t last, and so, in the 1970s, fol­low­ing a dis­pute with their re­cord com­pany in which they were for­bid­den to use the name of the Turtles, they de­cided to call them­selves Flo and Ed­die after go­ing off to work with Frank Zappa and the Moth­ers of In­ven­tion.

“Even­tu­ally, we did gain the right to use our ori­gin­al name, but by that time audi­ences also knew us as Flo and Ed­die, so we just com­bined the two,” Vol­man ex­plained.

But, said Vol­man, what’s really in a name. After all, it’s the mu­sic that counts, isn’t it? And what mu­sic they’ve pro­duced, from songs like It Ain’t Me Babe, Let Me Be, You Showed Me, El­en­ore and so many more.

Today, after more than 50 years to­geth­er, they re­main friends and work­ing part­ners, even though they live on sep­ar­ate coasts. Both 65 years old, they main­tain sep­ar­ate lives as well.

“I live in Nashville and he lives in Wash­ing­ton State,” Vol­man ex­plained. “Howard is work­ing on a pro­ject to be re­leased at the end of the year. It’s a book of his memor­ies to be called The Voice of the Turtle.

“And I am a full-time pro­fess­or at Bel­mont Uni­versity in Nashville and have been for the past eight years,” he con­tin­ued. “So both of us are very busy, yet I think get­ting to­geth­er on the road and singing all our fa­vor­ite songs keeps us young.”

On stage at the Keswick, Vol­man con­ceded that audi­ences will cer­tainly hear one of their fa­vor­ites, Happy To­geth­er. Vol­man said, “We have to sing that song. That song is syn­onym­ous with us. It’s like ask­ing Frank Sinatra not to sing My Way.”

Very few rock groups have re­mained as vi­tal through the dec­ades as Vol­man and Kay­lan.

“We are for­tu­nate to have had a huge cata­log of hit songs that helped keep us on the charts,” Vol­man said. “We are cer­tainly not one-hit won­ders. But I do think that Happy To­geth­er is the most fam­ous Turtle song ever re­cor­ded, and has been a hit around the world. It gen­er­ated more life than any oth­er song, and been used for com­mer­cials, movies, TV and so on. And so, you see, we’re still here.” ••

For show times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-572-7650.

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