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Bernds Story - Page: 6 of 14

I met everybody in Hollywood from the Mayor to anybody in the movie business, particular the classics. That is when I met LITTLE RICHARD, who Brother Tony tried to involve in his production. Even more important, I met my lifelong brother and friend, ROBERT PENNIMAN, one of Little Richard´s brothers, at their office at the 9000 Building on the Sunset Strip. A great friendship developed between Robert and I, which is as strong today as always. His whole family accepted my family and I like their own. I never experienced more family love. I was a single child at home in Germany and my parents were divorced when I was 5 or 6 years old. The Penniman´s gave me a lot of strength and made my heart much bigger. Robert and me got together frequently for many years in the privacy of his family home in Baldwin Hills. We learned from each other mentally, sitting together hours over hours late into the night. This binding of friends, better than brothers, is tough as Pattex (Teflon). While I was back in Hamburg, Germany in the beginning of 1976, Greg Williams wrote me a letter from Akron, Ohio, saying Barry White had dropped White Heat off his roster. No more White Heat. I was just getting involved with BAT (British American Tobacco) in Germany to do a promotion campaign for the Pall Mall brand. They gave me 20,000 German Marks ($8,000 USD) to produce this album named HOT ICE "Pall Mall Groove", which was released in Germany by Polydor in 1977. I let Greg know that I was coming to Grand Rapids, Michigan in December 1976, since the company paid also my flight from Hamburg to Michigan and to the West Coast and back to Hamburg.

It happened that I met my next new friend, JOHNNY GUITAR WATSON, one week before I left for Michigan. He had a gig in Hamburg at Onkel Pö´s Carnigie Hall. We became instant friends and DENNIS HOPPER of EASY RIDER fame was there to see Johnny. I called my friend, HORST FASCHER, who had the Hamburg Club at the time, and asked him to come over for the show and invite Johnny and Dennis to his club for the after party. We all drove on Johnny´s tour bus to the Hamburg Club and had a ball. On December 12, 1976 I arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan via airplane and took Greg Williams with me to fly on December 14, 1976 to Mansfield, Ohio, to rent a house. We also bought a van, bought instruments, air mattresses, and bean backs, for inside the house and inside the van. We moved all the band members to Mansfield by picking them up from their home, or flying them in and picking them up from the airport. The music band Greg and I put together consisted of three out of seven originals from he band, White Heat´. They were Bobby DeBarge, Greg Williams and Jody Sims. We then added Tommy DeBarge and two guys from Akron, Ohio Eddie Fuellen and JAMES INGRAM´s baby brother, Phillip Ingram. I had to meet Phillip´s parents in order to get permission for him to move to Mansfield, Ohio. We moved him and his grandma´s king-size bed. The only other thing in that house closest to a bed was Jody´s single mattress he brought with him from Youngstown, Ohio. Everybody else was sleeping on air mattresses, including me. Believe me, everybody had to fasten the seatbelts. I was kicking ass, so to speak! They called me a dictator´s name I do not want to mention. But believe me everybody in urban Ohio and Grand Rapid, Michigan was talking about us and it is something legendary about it today. We rehearsed right thru New Years Night 1976/77 and than it was straight to the recording studio in Columbus, Ohio to get the job done on time.

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