Three Dog Night plays Saturday at MontBleu
Danny Hutton lives in an interesting neighborhood.
He bought his Laurel Canyon house from Alice Cooper, and Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees used to be one of his neighbors.
Another was the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman. Freddy Kruger lives across the street, and Britney Spears is up the hill. He knows when she’s driving around because of the caravan of paparazzi.
Step inside Hutton’s living room and see why he belongs among such a notable crowd: A framed issue of the Sept. 14, 1972, Rolling Stone has a photograph of Hutton’s band, Three Dog Night, in front of a jet plane with the headline “More gold from the Stones, bigger crowds than Creedence, fatter purses than Elvis ” Three Dog Night, see how they run.”
From 1969 to 1973 Three Dog Night was the biggest band in the United States. It released 21 singles and every one of them made the Top 40. Songs like “One,” “On The Road To Shambala,” “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” and “Joy To The World” are the foundation of classic rock.
Despite the success, Three Dog Night was a bit controversial for reasons probably hard to comprehend today: They had long hair, and their drummer Floyd Sneed was black.
“People forget, in late ’68 and ’69, when you would go to a state like, say, Texas and go down the street, people would get angry at you,” Hutton said. “Forget about the racial thing, you’d hear ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’ And then having a black guy and you go into a club at night, it was very hostile.”
The energy the band felt no doubt led to the writing of the song “Black and White,” which was one of the final hits from Three Dog Night’s heyday. Hutton left the band, and soon after, in 1976, Three Dog Night came to an end.
Hutton said he became a health fanatic, jogging every day and eating a mostly vegetarian diet. He didn’t need to work, but he did spend some time managing the punk band Fear. But something was missing from his life.
“As the Buddhists say, you’ve got to have someone to love, something to do and something to hope for ” and I didn’t have anything to do or hope for,” he said.
After a band calling itself Three Dog Night went on a tour of Asia, the members of the real Three Dog Night reunited to meet to see what they should do about it. They decided to rehearse, and afterward they realized they still had the desire to play.
They’ve been touring since 1981.
“We all made a vow that we would only keep doing it as long as it was fun,” Hutton said. “It’s still fun.”
Today, Three Dog Night includes founding members Hutton, Cory Wells, Jimmy Greenspoon and Mike Allsup. The rhythm section of Paul Kingery and Pat Bautz joined in the 1980s. The band performs about 80 shows a year, including Saturday, March 29, at MontBleu.
Hutton said he is working on a New Three Dog night studio album with the assistance of Brian Wilson, the bandleader of the Beach Boys.