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Super Seventies RockSite! presents

 David Gates - In His Own Words

Blacklight Bar

The sounds of Bread were mostly David's creations and performances. His soft style and sentimental lyrics combined to sell millions of records in the Seventies in America and Great Britain.

David Gates was playing night clubs and dances for sororities and fraternities, and my parents wanted me to finish college, but I was losing interest. My grades were slowly slipping. At the end of my junior year I told my father I'd like to leave Tulsa and go to California to give it a try. I said, "Let me go out for the summer, just to see what happens."

Bread's Seventies
Billboard Top 40 Singles

"Make It With You"  7/70  #1
"It Don't Matter To Me"  10/70  #10
"Let Your Love Go"  1/71  #28
"If"  4/71  #4
"Mother Freedom"  8/71  #37
"Baby I'm-A Want You"  11/71  #3
"Everything I Own"  2/72  #5
"Diary"  5/72  #15
"The Guitar Man"  8/72  #11
"Sweet Surrender"  11/72  #15
"Aubrey"  2/73  #15
"Lost Without Your Love"  12/76  #9

He said, "Take two years and give it a shot. If it doesn't work out, you can still finish college." So I saved my nightclub money, which was all of $10 a night at the time. I was married with a one-year-old and a six-week-old, we lived with my parents. I had an old Cadillac that I'd bought from a friend of my dad's. When I'd saved $200, my wife, the kids, and me took off in the Cadillac for California.

I had a nightclub job waiting because of some friends who had already made the trip from Oklahoma. I go out there, and on my third night in the club we got fired. And the $200 is gone -- first month's rent, gas deposit, phone deposit, groceries. And nobody to help me except my uncle who lived in Whittier. He couldn't give me any money, but he brought me food.

We drove from club to club, three a night, auditioned for everybody until we finally got a job and got rolling again. And then on Saturday nights, after hours, musicians from all over the city would meet at a place called the Crossbow, in the Valley. It was at the Crossbow that I met guys like Steve Douglas, Glen Campbell, James Burton, Leon Russell, Chuck Blackwell, Jerry Cole. Slowly they were getting into recordings, mostly demo sessions, some union jobs. By jamming with these people, I got more work. All of a sudden, I was being asked to play on demo sessions and then on recordings.

Then I began submitting songs, which got me fired up about writing because, hey, I could work at home and I didn't have to spend all night in clubs.

It was Roger Gordon who then suggested, "Why don't you sing your songs? I mean, you're already singing on demos. Why don't you go for a deal on a label?"

David Gates

"...I felt like I should be doing my own stuff, just to see if I could do it better than the people who were recording it."

I said, "I really don't want to go on the road. I'm happy being behind the scenes." But I felt like I should be doing my own stuff, just to see if I could do it better than the people who were recording it.

So with that motivation in mind I went to Columbia to see Jack Gold. I'd done a lot of arranging for Jack's artists, so I asked him, "Will you sign me?"

Bread's Seventies
Billboard Top 10 Albums

Baby I'm-A Want You  3/72  #8
The Best Of Bread  4/73  #9

He said, "You don't want to do that. That's hard work." He didn't take me seriously.

Bread Lyrics
Bread Videos

At about the same time, I had produced a small group called the Pleasure Faire. One of the guys in the group was Robb Royer, who was writing with James Griffin as a team. Rob suggested one day that I come over and meet James. And I did. They played me two or three of their songs, and I played them two or three of my songs. Then we decided to form a group and look for a deal collectively because we'd do better as a group than independently. That's how Bread started in late '67.

A bread truck came along right at the time we were trying to think of a name. We had been saying, "How about bush, telephone pole? Ah, bread truck, bread." It began with a B, like the Beatles and the Bee Gees. Bread also had a kind of universal appeal. It could be taken a number of ways. Of course, for the entire first year people called us the Breads. 

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