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The Long and Winding Road of Drake Levin
by Clay Cole

When Drake Levin played lead guitar with Paul and the Raiders, he and bass guitarman Phil Volk would pull-off a showstopper: "Drake on top of the left speaker and Phil on right speaker ... dancing!" Those guys could and would dance plus play their instruments with superb results. Drake and Phil would dance on the speakers and play guitars behind their heads at the same time!

Many guitarists can't play at that level without even playing behind their heads! Once when they were performing at the Spanish Castle, a then- unknown Jimi Hendrix was in the audience, watching and learning from Drake. This was in 1963 or 1964 before Jimi made it big. Drake was obviously an influence to the guitar playing and showmanship of many musicians. Paul Schaefer of "The Late Show with David Letterman" is a big fan of the Raiders.

Drake was with the Raiders starting in 1963 and on into '67. While he was in the National Guard he would come to record in the studio and even fill in for Phil during a couple of concerts, playing the bass. Drake, Smitty, and Phil left the Raiders in 1967 to form The Brotherhood. Following a stroke in '97, Drake came back and performed once again in 1998.

Jeff, Drake's younger brother, shared with me how his brother has just won his third major battle with cancer. "Drake has a remarkable spirit, an inspiring will to survive. He is an amazing survivor, having been through so much." It breaks my heart he has had such serious illnesses. He is recovering from the most recent battle with cancer, and to recover he needs to have a steady diet of Ensure Plus, which helps the body replenish necessary strength that the cancer had stolen. If you’re not familiar with Ensure Plus it is a vitamin drink that helps cancer patients regain and maintain their health. He had lost a lot of weight due to the cancer, but he is starting to regain some weight back. We can help ensure his recovery.

Here's how you can help:
Prayers and gifts of Ensure Plus. On the Ensure website ( gift certificates can be purchased online and then sent directly to Drake's email address, along with your own message to him. Gift certificates for Ensure can be sent to

Letters or get well cards can be addressed to Drake or his wife Sandra:
Drake Levin
PO Box 297
58 West Portal
San Francisco, CA 94127

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