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  1. 8 points
    Ha. Last week I was seriously thinking about closing the Message Board at EC.com due to lack of activity...and today I updated and revamped the whole thing! What a KOOK I am!!! Bernie
  2. 6 points
    I just noticed that Kirk became moderator! He is one of the best person to do the great mission! We are counting on you, Kirk!!!
  3. 5 points
    Just doing a little remodeling at the website. Bernie
  4. 5 points
    I was hoping it would go unnoticed...thanks for the vote of confidence, Naeko!
  5. 4 points
    I have heard this before, but, never SEEN this before- Eric performing ABM at the Yamaha song festival in 1979 backed by an orchestra:
  6. 4 points
  7. 4 points
    Sweet Jesus....got my CDs and picture this - 85 and sunny, the lawn is done, steak on the grill, tiki lights are lit, and a 12 pack of Sam Summer on ice and Raspberries Pop Art live blasting - talk about waking up the neighbors - best live set for me since 77 and Frampton - awesome, awesome, awesome - so good! Thank You so so much for putting this out, I am totally pumped! Wow!!! Guys, we only live once, please do it again. Ok, I got to go calm down. Thanks again.
  8. 4 points
    Here's another surprise. Of course, as the band honed their act and continued to play more shows their voices and chops just got better and better. But on this first glorious night, their first appearance together in three decades, the band member who sang most flawlessly was Dave Smalley. Every single one of his songs is sung with precision. I know Dave was writing his tunes for his more limited vocal range, but when you get the live CD you'll see. He nails each and everyone of his songs and his voice sounds exactly like it did when they were first recorded. Amazing, Dave! Bernie
  9. 3 points
    Meet my birthday gift... Louisiana Purchase, aka "Lou". My sweet NipNtuck passed away under his favorite tree last month, and I think Nip chose Lou for me. They are very similar in personality, looks & stature. This big fella is 16.3. He is at the quarantine farm which will be his home for a couple of weeks.
  10. 3 points
    "Happy Birthday" Susie!
  11. 3 points
    Thank you, everyone! I had a beautiful birthday!
  12. 3 points
    Happy Birthday Susie! James
  13. 3 points
    Going All the Way With Head Raspberry Eric Carmen An epic interview on the eve of power pop reunion concert double album By Ken Kurson Those who know me now find it hard to believe that I was ever involved in rock ‘n’ roll. But it’s true, I was. And I used to think that all the hearing loss, crummy bars, overdue bills, disappointed relatives and missed college would be worth it if I could only write a single perfect song. Eric Carmen has written dozens of good songs, a handful of great songs, and at least two perfect songs: “Go All the Way” and “All By Myself.” As the founder of Cleveland’s greatest band (forgive me, fans of the Michael Stanley Band and Pere Ubu), Carmen’s Raspberries were the Midwest’s answer to the Beatles and the Beach Boys. “Go All the Way” took about 15 seconds to get to its soaring and improbable chorus Carmen’s songs have been covered innumerable times, from Shaun Cassidy’s versions of “That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Hey Deanie” to “All By Myself,” covered by Celine Dion, Babes in Toyland, John Davidson, Jewel, Tom Jones, and Hank Williams Jr to Motley Crue’s cover of “Tonight” to John Travolta’s rendition of “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again.” He’s written hits for others (“Almost Paradise” for Ann Wilson and Mike Reno, who wore a headband). And he’s had hits with others’ songs, too—that’s him crooning “Hungry Eyes” for the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. I wrote the words above almost 20 years ago, when I first met Eric Carmen. I interviewed him for Green Magazine and we became sort of friendly—our shared interest in investing and in Cleveland, where he still lives and where my dad was born and raised, sustained several IM chats and an occasional phone call. I remember him telling me that he went to his broker at PaineWebber and said, “Why would I own Rubbermaid when Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) exists?” He went on, “I bought a bunch of Cisco and did real well with it. The people surrounding me at the time were more conservative than I was. I mean, the future was Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), Cisco and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)—the tech world.” The fact that Carmen happened to select, months before the dot com crash, three tech names that endured amid the thousand that didn’t speaks to some eternal quality in the work of this thoughtful songwriter and A-plus singer. In November, 2004, the Raspberries played together for the first time in more than 30 years. This year, on August 18, Omnivore Recordings will release a 2-CD set called Pop Art Live that captures the infectious still-got-it energy of founding members Carmen, Wally Bryson, David Smalley and Jim Bonfanti power-popping through 28 songs including all their hits and some deep tracks, as well. Cameron Crowe contributes the liner notes and you can trace the DNA through the artists who acknowledged their influence, from Bruce Springsteen to Paul Westerberg to Jon Bon Jovi to Paul Stanley. (John Lennon was also a huge fan and one of the best ever photos of Lennon shows him wearing a Raspberries t-shirt). With the record coming out, Eric is doing some publicity and he asked me to interview him. I did so, at a length befitting a couple guys who love to talk. Observer: I know so much about your musical career and even your personal life and I know you, but in preparing to do this I was going over some of your old interviews and the scene where you first met Ringo as he was forming the All-Starr band and you say, “You’re Ringo Starr…” Eric Carmen: … and he says, “Yes, and you are Eric Carmen.” And then we actually talked about the songs I was going to play. A bunch of us were wandering into a press conference announcing the band that would be put on by Century 21 in New York, and the band members are all kind of wandering in individually. Jack Bruce came in and Ringo came in and I just looked at him and I thought, “You’re Ringo Starr aren’t you?” “Yes, and you’re Eric Carmen.” We talked about the songs and everybody had received a CD in the mail of everybody else’s songs and Ringo’s just tells us to kind-of get familiar with them and maybe even learn them ahead of time. When Go All The Way came up he said, “I’m going to be taking a break on that one. It’s much too frantic for me.” Far be it from me to correct you, but I heard a version of that story where it’s actually Tonight, not Go All the Way. I actually wanted to do Tonight, I hadn’t planned to do Hungry Eyes live, and at some point I think Mark Rivera said something to Ringo about it and Ringo said, “How big a hit was Tonight?” And I said, “Top 40,” and he said, “How big a hit was Hungry Eyes?” And I said, “top three.” He goes, “We’re playing Hungry Eyes.” And that was the end of that conversation. How does a song like Hungry Eyes, a giant hit that’s so perfect for your sort of lounge-y style … how did you not write that one? Jimmy Ienner, the Raspberry producer who also produced my first album, called me up one day. I hadn’t actually talked to him in probably 10 years. Jimmy said, “I’m working on this film called Dirty Dancing with RCA Records and I think that you ought to sing this one song.” I said, “Do you have a demo?” and he said, “Yeah.” And I said, “Well send me the demo, I’ll take a listen to it.” Normally don’t do other people’s songs, but I listened to this song and he says, “The director loves this song …” and that said to me Jimmy owns the publishing. There you go. It turns out he had signed this band called Franke and the Knockouts back in the 1970s or ’80s to his Millennium label, and Franke and a guy named John DeNicola had written both I’ve Had The Time of My Life and Hungry Eyes. Once Jimmy said, “No, no, no, the director loves it,” I thought about how I could rearrange it and add some spunk. The demo kind-of sounded like Air Supply with John Bonham on drums. You’ve got to let me use that quote. Come on Eric. That’s a great one. I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out one of my very best friends played drums on the demo. His name is Tommy Allen and he’s actually the guy who mixed the new album Pop Art. He and his brother used to own a record store in Syracuse, I think, or somewhere in that area, and his mom even used to send me postcards, and it was like if you weren’t a Raspberries fan, Tommy wouldn’t be friends with you. I told Jimmy, “Okay, I will do it if I can produce it.” I hired a bass player and a guitar player and I went into a local studio in Beachwood, Ohio on a shoestring budget. In about five days we recorded, sang and mixed the whole thing, and off it went to Jimmy in New York. The next thing I knew the movie had come out, and a month or two later I got a platinum plaque in the mail. Jesus. I want to say, it’s the 13th biggest-selling record of all time in front of “Sgt. Pepper,” which is really crazy. I read the list of top albums of all time, and somewhere just behind that is Celine Dion’s “Falling Into You” album which contained All By Myself. At 21 was “Abbey Road.” I thought, “I’ve got two songs in the Top 15 albums of all time, that’s not bad.” The Raspberries, and your songwriting in general, were often sort-of dismissed. You all dressed the same and stuff, and yet you influenced all these bands that had all this cool credibility, John Lennon being the most obvious example. But to me, listening through it again, I’m hearing all kinds of Mott the Hoople and Lou Reed that took your stuff and ran with it. Speak a little bit about how it felt to sort of be dismissed as this teenybopper band when it’s clear so many were influenced by you. Well, I designed the band to be a certain type of band, and the reason we ended up dressing alike is because we were trying to attract attention, because every other mode of dress had been done and prog rock had just taken over FM radio in 1970. Almost every band had hair down to their waist and beards and ripped jeans and they looked like a bunch of hippies, and I wanted to get as far away from that as I could. And, frankly, we actually had black suits first and the white suits were kind-of an afterthought. But those got all the attention because they weren’t a good idea. I will readily admit I had some really good ideas for that band—the white suits was not one of them. On the other hand, people did remember us. I remember we opened for the Doobie Brothers in Atlanta back in the early ’70s and when we walked on stage people kind of scratched their heads and went “who the heck is this? Are they like a lounge act?” And unfortunately, Capital Records, bless their little hearts, they didn’t get that “Raspberry” was the Bronx cheer. It was not four little fuzzy red fruits, it was somebody poking progressive rock in the eye. Rock critics got it and 16-year-old girls got it, but you know, the 18-year-old guy who liked Megadeth was never going to like the same record his sister did. So people tended to dismiss us at the time. But over the years … The first time I met Bruce Springsteen, I walked in his dressing room before a show and he was writing out the set list and we both looked at each other for a couple of minutes—I was very uncomfortable being on the fan end, so I felt a little stupid. But Bruce looked at me and he goes, “You know, while I was writing “The River” all I listened to was Woody Guthrie and the Raspberries’ greatest hits. I must have worn out three copies of that record,” and I went, “That’s so cool, because while I was writing the “Boats Against the Current” album all I listened to was “Born to Run” every day.” You know, the two don’t sound anything alike. I remember listening to “Born to Run,” because I could hear every rock and roll trick that I knew and Bruce used them all. I knew that we were listening to the same records. Matter of fact, we worked in the same studio in New York. He came in right after the end of the Raspberries at the Record Plant in New York. At the Record Plant on 44th Street, where I worked at the Observer. That’s where the Observer was until we moved. That’s amazing. That’s where Battery Studios is now, and where Mark Wilder remastered all our records in the actual space where Record Plant used to be. Bruce came in and he worked with Jimmy Iovine who, if you can believe this, was our second engineer. He went for pizza. The guy who sold Beats for $3 billion and now works at Apple used to go for pizza. But from what I heard Bruce kind-of listened to the Raspberries and said “that’s good.” And when I heard Jungle Land for the first time I thought, well that bears a striking resemblance to the piano part that opens Starting Over. So it’s been an amazing awakening for me to hear that Axl Rose and Slash are huge Raspberries fans, so are Poison, Courtney Love, Cherie Currie from the Runaways, Paul Westerberg, Mike Mills, Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters. I love it. Motley Crue recorded "Tonight" and it’s great fun to hear other people do my stuff. The only problem with it is it’s so damn hard to play. When I was rehearsing with Ringo and the All-Starr band, there’s Jack Bruce, who is a classically trained cellist and the bassist and lead singer and songwriter of Cream, not exactly a lightweight, and Dave Edmunds on guitar, and Simon Kirke on drums, and Mark Rivera the sax player to Foreigner, and Billy Joel, and Ringo. We were rehearsing in Atlantic City and some rock writer came backstage one day and was interviewing the band, and at some point asked, “Whose songs are the hardest?” and the entire band swirled around and pointed at me and said, “Eric’s!” All those key changes. People thought the Raspberry stuff was real simple. I remember I was trying to teach the band Go All The Way and Dave Edmunds looked at me at some point and he said, “For God’s sake there is a fucking chord for every word! I’ve never seen anything like this.” You’re not even hitting on the hardest part. What I have been most frustrated with you about is how damn hard your songs are to sing. The vocal range is crazy for rock songs. It really is, and I didn’t do myself any favors. When we re-formed in 2004 and I was then 54 and I had to go back and try to sing some of these things. For the most part I was fine. But I remember trying to sing Let’s Pretend live, even when I was 23 and we had just released it, and after four or five nights on the road it was damn near impossible to hit those high notes. I look back on it now and I think why in the world did I do that to myself? And the reality was that I actually desperately wanted a falsetto voice because I wanted to sing like Brian Wilson, and for years I just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t do that. There’s this little break in voice that Brian does. I love the sound of it and I kept writing these songs in ridiculously high keys wanting to sound like Brian. One night in about 1977 or 78 I was in Los Angeles and I was at a party on New Year’s, and I was sitting at the piano in this house and Brian came over. I was playing and he started to sing and he immediately broke from this great baritone into a falsetto and I looked at him and I went, “Dammit, I’ve been trying to do that my whole life. How is it that you, with this great profound baritone voice, can just like pop right into a falsetto?” and he said, “Well of course you can’t do it, you’re a natural tenor. Tenors can’t have a falsetto voice.” I played your first solo record the other day and when you get to All By Myself, That’s Rock & Roll, Never Going to Fall In Love Again and Sunrise, I’m just like, this is a career right here. I think the fifth song was Last Night, which you need to buy The Essential Eric Carmen to really hear. It is so much clearer and it sounds now the way I had hoped that it would sound in the studio, and it just didn’t. I’m headed to Amazon right now to do that. But how did these pour out of you? What was happening in your songwriting heart that these songs were just coming out of you so clean? I think a lot of songwriters, writers ever, if you’ve made it through your teenage years with all that angst, you start to write their really good stuff around 21 or 22, and somewhere around 27 or so is the peak. My favorite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald and I actually looked it up because I was curious, he started writing The Great Gatsby at 26. That’s the peak, then they either die, or if they can get through 27 they’re okay. Yeah, that’s a famous dying age in rock—Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, many others. Jim Morrison and on and on and on. I don’t know why that is. But what happened to me is that basically when I formed the Raspberries I handpicked these guys, because they had been in a bar band called the Choir that I used to go see. They were one of the first mod bands in Cleveland that was really, really good. I had actually heard in high school that there was this band called the Choir, and they had this bass player people called “The Squire.” His name was Dave Burke and he was supposedly just unbelievably great. So a friend of mine and I went out to Chagrin Armory one night to see these guys, to go see The Squire play, to see if he really was as good as people said. Lo and behold, he was. He was like a savant on the bass. He was like John Entwistle in your local band. So I went and saw these guys and they became my heroes, and at one point I actually tried to get an audition with them to join their band, because I thought boy, I saw Wally Bryson playing guitar and I just sort of instinctively realized the yin and yang of the two of us together would be really powerful. It’s that same kind of dynamic that Steven Tyler and Joe Perry have, and Mick and Keith and Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. He’s the dark evil one and I thought boy, if I could get in a band with that guy we could do some damage. I tried, and they just didn’t want to audition me. And that was that. So I said all right, well I’ll just have to go form a band of my own and they’ll be sorry. So I joined a band called Cyrus Erie that already existed. We got rid of a couple of guys, and one day the Choir threw Wally out of their band and he came to hear my band, which by that point had become pretty popular, and after the show he walked up to me and he said, “You were right, we should have got you.” I called the other guys and I said, “How would you like Wally Bryson do be in our band?” The next day he came in and joined the band and we were off and running and quickly became the most popular band in town. So I handpicked these guys because I had a certain idea, which is that I loved the Who more than anybody, and I loved the Beach Boys’ harmonies and the Beatles’ songs, and so I wanted to really form a band that could play beautiful melodies like the Beatles wrote, sing backgrounds like the Beach Boys but with the power of the Who. When we played locally, before we started writing our own material, we played everything the Who ever recorded, and we played probably half of the Beatles catalog as well. So I knew what everybody’s strength was, and I knew what they weren’t great at. So all the songs that I wrote for the Raspberries were written to accommodate the styles of each guy in the band. I knew Jim could play like Keith Moon when I pushed him and Wally could play like Pete Townsend and we could sing certain kinds of harmonies, and so I crafted those songs to take advantage of all of our strong points. Well, when the Raspberries ended in early 1975 suddenly I didn’t have to write to anybody’s strengths or weaknesses. I was completely wide open and I thought wow, I can write anything I want now. I can use session musicians. I can find another band that sings like the Beach Boys, I can do all kinds of things. Unshackled from having to write for three specific guys and myself, my brain just kind of opened up. Also, I didn’t want to make a record that sounded just like the Raspberries, because I thought Jesus, everybody will go, “Oh, here he goes again, he’s just repeating what he already did.” Hence, All By Myself, which was certainly as far away from Go All The Way as you could get. The only two people who wanted that to be the single were Clive Davis and me. It bucked all the rules as to what a single should be, which was three and a half minutes and up tempo. I wanted it to be the first single because it was the furthest thing from the Raspberries, and I wanted people to understand that’s not all I can do. The Raspberries had recorded some ballads on every one of our albums, but after Go All The Way was successful Capital pretty much wanted to hear nothing but Go All The Way. Unfortunately, after All By Myself all Arista wanted was son of All By Myself, so I was just in a different box, and that created a lot of friction between me and Clive because I was at heart a rocker. But the thing about the Beatles that I love most is that if you listen to Abbey Road you hear all kinds of different songs. Most bands play one style of song. If you listen to Metallica it all sounds exactly like Metallica, and if you listen to Black Sabbath it all sounds like Black Sabbath. I like AC/DC a lot but you can pick those sounds out on the radio in a heartbeat because they all have certain things in common. With The Beatles, you would hear Polythene Pam and Golden Slumbers and Come Together and they could all be from different bands. You know the common denominator was they were all good, and all fabulously produced by George Martin. But it was the variety of the stuff that always attracted me. Brian Wilson, to some extent, did the same thing. He would write Wouldn’t It Be Nice, but on the same record wrote God Only Knows and Caroline No. And so he could write not only up-tempo things like Dance Dance Dance and Fun Fun Fun, but he could write beautiful ballads. The problem is most record labels are much more comfortable fitting you into a certain slot, which is why Capital decided that the Raspberries were always going to be Go All The Way, and Arista decided that I was going to be another romantic balladeer like Barry Manilow. I think Boats Against the Current is a great, great song. That was always my favorite one. It was when I wrote it and it was for many years afterwards. It’s from the second last paragraph of Gatsby. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future, that day-by-day recedes before us. Tomorrow we run faster, throw out our arms farther like boats against the current receding into the past, or something pretty close to that. But people who have moved forward in time are trying to recapture something in the past that is can’t be recaptured, which is the story of Gatsby, and pretty much every other thing that Fitzgerald wrote. I had written everything else for the second album, but I didn’t have, at that point, what I consider to be the title track yet. At that time, I was thinking nowhere to hide would be the title track, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t love that as the title or the lead track, and one night I went to bed and I literally woke up at 4 o’clock in the morning and I dreamed the song. And I wrote it down—wrote the first two verses down on that piece of paper. I heard it so clearly in my bed that I didn’t even get out of bed and go to the piano to try it out. I just knew what it was going to sound like. So I wrote the words down, went back to sleep, and the next day I got up and played it and I went “that’s just what I thought.” I wrote the second two verses and that was it. I got my copy of that album out, and not only is your chest hair awesome, but the musicians on it are like a Ringo Starr All-Starr band. The band you put together for that, Burton Cummings, Jeff Porcaro—I think you’ve got one of the Beach Boys singing on it. Yeah, Bruce Johnston. I actually had Brian Wilson in the studio one day. So, you did this reunion show 13 years ago and now you’re putting out the record, so go back and tell me how it was to be with the guys again. It was a little nerve-wracking in the beginning, because there were a lot of tensions in the band. It’s an age-old story. A friend of mine who I’ve known since the fourth grade and went all through school and high school with ended up now working for Irving Azoff out in Los Angeles. His name is Tom Consolo and I invited him to the New York shows to see what he thought. He came backstage afterwards and we talked for quite a while. He said basically all bands, when they form, are democratic. Everybody is going to be equal. But he said in reality there’s never an equal distribution of talent and there’s never an equal distribution of drive, and eventually one or two guys come to the front, and they become the ones that the public key in on. Then the rest of the guys in the band have a choice, and the choice is to support these two guys, whether it’s Mick and Keith or Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. I read one of the funniest interviews ever with, I think it’s Tom Hamilton, the bass player of Aerosmith, and he calls himself and Joey Kramer and the other guy “the three less interesting guys.” Like Brad Whitford or something, I’m straining … Honestly, by the third or fourth Stones album if Charlie Watts or Bill Wyman had come in and said, “Hey, I want more of my songs on the album and I want to sing lead,” that would have been the end of the Rolling Stones. They would have either thrown them out of the band and replaced them, or the band would have broken up and Mick and Keith would have gone off and done something else. So Tommy said that’s basically what happens in all bands. The other guys either decide to support the two front guys or they don’t, in which case they are challenging the front guys for leadership and the band breaks up and the front guy goes solo. That’s pretty much the story of the Raspberries. At a certain point, it’s my concept for the band and when Tonight didn’t do as well as the previous singles some of the members of the band blamed me, and things started to get heated and there was a discussion about the direction of the band. Harsh words were exchanged and eventually Dave Smalley left the band and Jim Bonfanti left with him because they were best friends. Jim and I have been friends for 45-plus years and he said, “I wish I had that choice to make over again.” So, it was difficult on a number of levels, but I think we all went into it trying to put bitterness aside. I’m the eternal optimist, so I said, “Let’s just get out there and have fun. Our lives don’t depend on this anymore. We weren’t like, “Oh this gig is going to restart our careers are the age of 54.” We said, “Let’s just play for the fans. Pick up a guitar and have fun.” It was only supposed to be one show, for the House of Blues grand opening in Cleveland. The booker’s wife had said, “You want to do something special,” and she said, “Why don’t you see if you can get the Raspberries to get back together?” And so he called our drummer and the drummer called me, and I had played the Chicago House of Blues and the L.A. House of Blues during the Ringo tour. We called Wally and Dave and they said okay. Wally was a little reluctant, but I said we won’t play any of my solo stuff because I don’t want anybody to think that the focus of this is me. It’s going to be the Raspberries and I want this to be strictly about the band. You said it perfectly with the Charlie Watts thing. Bands have always tried to do this. Dave Davies or John Entwistle or Bruce Foxton get a certain number of songs and everyone has to go “okay, we’ll get through this until we get to the real songs” and it’s ridiculous. Obviously in Aerosmith and in the Rolling Stones the other guys were smart enough to realize hey, we’ve got a good thing going here. Mick and Keith are the shit and so are Steven and Joe. Let’s just stand here and be the best rhythm section they could possibly have, and in so doing we get to make a whole lot of money and have fun. In the Raspberries that wasn’t exactly how it went. It was constantly a struggle. To this day Wally Bryson says, not more than a year and a half or so ago he was talking about the Go All The Way intro, and he says, “That’s what a real band sounds like until the Bing Crosby part comes in, until the singing comes in.” He never really got it. He didn’t get the concept. It was that back and forth between a rock band part of it and then it went to Don’t Worry Baby for the verse, you know. Or Walk Away Renee for the chorus and then back to the Who. It was the contrast of all those sections, and to this day he doesn’t really get it. He just thought we should have played like the intro straight on through, and he would have liked that better. That’s so disappointing. There’s a Chicago band called the Smoking Popes who started to get a little bit big. They had a couple of songs in movies until the leader became this heavy-duty Christian and left it all, but they do that thing, I’m sure they took it from you, but they were this really hardcore punk band with this sort of Frank Sinatra-ey crooner, and it’s so good. Yeah, when I heard that Tim Burton had asked the Killers to do a remake of Go All The Way [for the film Dark Shadows] I thought well, that’s going to be darn interesting. And I went to see the film and here it was, and they’ve got the same kind of lead singer, you know, he’s a crooner. I actually thought it was pretty cool, and they didn’t even play the intro, which Wally refers to as “my intro.” I have to rather pleasantly remind him that “you know Wally actually I believe Dave, Jim, and I also played on the intro and I wrote it on the piano, so what you did is you played guitar on my intro.” That’s so funny. I love it. Bands are the best. So the show that was recorded and that’s coming out was the very first show, so it was probably the one where everybody was staying in line the most. By 2009 things had begun to completely come apart at the seams, and I remember we played one show at the Rock Hall for Terry Stewart who, it was right before the 2009 induction ceremony. The night before there was a big VIP party and Terry asked us to play in. There was one point where Wally played some stuff on stage and Jim and I looked at each other and without saying anything we just both knew this is it. We’re done. It’s the last time we’re ever going to play, and that was it. So, there you have it. Eric, what a treat. What a pleasure and honor to talk to you. You’ve enhanced my life so much. I feel so grateful. I mean it, you have enhanced my life immeasurably, from the time I was five or six years old. I’m 48 now, it’s like 40-plus years of me yelling Hey Deanie at the mirror. I look at your posts. I see you playing in your band and it’s so cool, and I see you and your kids with the yarmulkes and I’m proud. It’s so awesome. Reading your stuff and watching you on Facebook has enhanced my life as well, and I’m 20 years older than you are. And by the way, I’m a fan of Jared’s. God knows what he got himself into here. —Observer, August 3, 2017
  14. 3 points
    I and our freind secondmoon tryed to cover "I'm Through With Love" on Eric's birthday Aug.11th. Vocal : Aventurine Piano : secondmoon Well, well.....I couldn't pronounce "Though" .......enjoy ! (^_-)-☆
  15. 3 points
    Thank you, James! While I can't encourage harems, pardons seem to be pretty popular at the moment;)
  16. 3 points
    The folks over at Dick Clark Productions just uploaded a really nice high-quality video of Eric being interviewed by Dick Clark after the release of his first solo album in 1975. Check it out. Bernie
  17. 3 points
    Ha, same here. We are in the mist of revamping this place too! Oh and by the way, I like kooks, they make me laugh and this post did! Looks real good Bernie! Thanks. Nancy.
  18. 3 points
    Here's my arm while listening to the new cd in my car. Wow!
  19. 2 points
  20. 2 points
    Wishing you happiness and joy on your birthday, Redd!!!
  21. 2 points
    My dear Mary Ellen, Thank you for your kind words and sincere thoughts 🤗 You are an amazing person, as well as a great friend! I'm thankful our paths in life have intersected ♫ 🎵 ♬ "Fireworks" for my birthday?! Love, love, love it!!!!
  22. 2 points
    Happy Birthday Susie b---Tammy Quick🎂🎁🎊🎉🎈
  23. 2 points
    Happy belated birthday, Susie! May you and Lou have many wonderful years together. 🌞🎁🎉🎂🎼🌹
  24. 2 points
    Let’s just say that a lot has happened since the first edition went to press. Bernie
  25. 2 points
    I just saw a commercial for Applebee's on a new 2 for $20 deal. The music playing in the background was "Hungry Eyes" by E.C.
  26. 2 points
    The site´s design and layout is looking very clean, crisp and guapo (handsome). The best version to date, IMHO. James
  27. 2 points
    Sorry to hear about NipNTuck...Happy Birthday to Lou
  28. 2 points
    So, you might notice little (and big) changes here, there and everywhere—especially on the Message Board. I'll probably be picking at the various bits and pieces of EricCarmen.com over the next couple of weeks and I'll try and keep everyone up to speed. One thing I decided to do was to merge "Play On" with "Go All The Way." Since the "Play On" Forum was the place for Raspberries reunion posts, it seems logical that it gets folded into the larger Raspberries folder. Hope you agree. I've also started merging the "Ask Eric" posts into their appropriate Raspberries / Eric Carmen folders. However, you can still ask Eric a question if you have one. I can't guarantee an answer, but if you look right under the spot where you create a title for your "New Topic," you'll see an area to add a "Tag." I've set that up to have just one selection: "Ask Eric." So if you have a question for the Boss, select that "Ask Eric" tag and who knows, maybe he'll respond. I'm also going to drop the Games Forum ("Nobody Knows"). Seems irrelevant and was more off a time-killer when the Community was more engaged on a day-to-day basis. I see two or three people participating in that, so I'm sure it won't be a big loss. One more not so great thing...as I am weeding though the old posts I have identified a few Members whose posts I very frequently have to edit or delete because they are often "off topic" or take down an entire thread. Because of that, I am placing some Members on hold and preventing them from posting. My apologies if you're one of them, but it's for the betterment of the Community. If you have questions, ask away! And if you have suggestions, my ears are open. Bernie
  29. 2 points
    Happy, Happy Birthday, Susie!! Hope you're still celebrating and enjoying your birthday week!!
  30. 2 points
    An Oral History of the Raspberries’ 2004 Reunion and New ‘Pop Art Live’ Album Written by: Ken Sharp and Bernie Hogya A monster hit in 1972, “Go All The Way” put Raspberries on the musical map. Through the years, the band has boasted some serious heavyweight fans numbering the likes of John Lennon, Tom Petty, Paul Stanley, Rick Springfield, Axl Rose and Jon Bon Jovi. Bruce Springsteen, in particular, has been a fervent champion of the iconic power pop group, dedicating a song to the band at a few concerts in the summer of 2005: “I had this white Ford pickup. It had a cassette player in it—there weren’t any CDs at that time. Around the late ‘70s, I kept this small cassette of the Raspberries Greatest Hits. They still haven’t gotten the respect they deserved—the Raspberries. Why, I don’t know? They wrote a bunch of great songs. They had an especially great record called ‘Overnight Sensation,’ which was a classic and beautiful pop record. It’s one of the best little pop symphonies you’ll ever hear. If you haven’t heard it, go get ‘Overnight Sensation.’ It’s a great record.” Years after their dissolution in April of ‘75, Raspberries are hailed as the quintessential power pop group, inspiring a string of power pop groups, from Cheap Trick to the Gin Blossoms. With classic hits like “Go All The Way,” “I Wanna Be With You,” “Let’s Pretend,” “Tonight”, “Ecstasy” and “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record),” the band fused elements of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Who, The Small Faces, The Left Banke, Phil Spector and the girl group sound into a thrilling tsunami of slashing power chords, melody, hooks and harmonies. For years, the group’s loyal fan base held out hopes for a reunion of Cleveland’s Fab Four. And finally, 31 years after the original band splintered, Raspberries answered the call and reunited to perform a sold-out show at Cleveland’s House of Blues on November 26, 2004. That historic show, now preserved on a new 2-CD set, Pop Art Live, captures that unforgettable night. Here, in the band’s own words, is the backstory behind their unlikely reformation and reunion show. Eric Carmen: It was a daunting task to bring this band together that hadn’t played for 31 years, learn 27 or 28 songs in a short period of time and make it great. Being in a band, for me, has always been more fun than being a solo artist. I like the band dynamic. I like being part of an ensemble rather than it being all about me. There’s a difference when you’re part of a four-piece band. It is your collective asses that are on the line and on that page. It’s different standing on the stage with those guys than if you’re a solo artist with hired guns around you. You don’t have the same vested interest in any given night’s performance. They may all want to play good, and they all may play well, but it’s just different when it’s a group with a musical history. We share even more things together. Wally, Dave and I were born within a period of one month and Jim was born six months before that. We all got into music at the exact same moment. We worshiped the same bands, bought the same records—Beatles, Stones, Byrds—we shared a musicality that someone who’s 20 years old probably doesn’t have. We rehearsed at a club called Utopia in Willoughby, Ohio, where we used to play many years ago. When we were looking for a place to rehearse it happened to be available and we thought, “Perfect.” It seemed like the stars and planets were lining up for us. Wally Bryson: Some of the old songs came right back, while others were trickier—like the fills in “If You Change Your Mind” or the places where I play harmony with myself like on “Nobody Knows.” I had to basically go back, listen to the records and figure out how I fingered some of those parts. I could remember doing them but it has been so long since I played them that I had to go back and brush up on them. I also had to figure out those intricate chord changes on “I Can Remember.” Some of those chords just go all over the place. Early on in the rehearsals I needed to encourage Eric that his voice would come back the more we practiced. And he’s proven me right. I particularly remember one rehearsal when we were doing “If You Change Your Mind.” Eric really brought it home vocally, and I was pretty moved by it. I told him if he never recorded anything else in his career except for “If You Change Your Mind”—the way he sings it at the end— he’d have impressed me forever with that. I knew that the more he sang, the better he would get. Eric Carmen: When this group of Raspberries broke up in 1973, we had probably played four months or so of dates without a good sound system. What we sounded like to us on stage was a lot more disjointed than what we hear now. When I hear Jim playing, or Wally playing or Dave playing right now…they all sound great! Those are things that I realized that I had really taken for granted in the early ‘70s. You know, I had grown up watching Wally play and Jim play and I had never really thought about how difficult it is to do Raspberries songs. I didn’t really realize that until I toured with Ringo Starr. That’s when I saw all of these superstar musicians including Jack Bruce, Simon Kirke and Dave Edmunds, having a hard time of it. That gave me a greater respect for my old band. Getting together with these guys and relearning these great songs made me realize that this was a great band! Dave Smalley: There was a lot of emotion in the rehearsal studio the day we all got together for the first time. We had talked about it. We had some time to prepare for it. But until you actually do it you can only imagine what it’s like. Wally Bryson: Before our first show, I was nervous, but I was excited at the same time. It felt like Carnegie Hall to me. Once we started playing, it was obvious that the crowd was totally ours. It was a great night! We just nailed it. I always go for a personal goal of 100% perfection, which is hard. Eric Carmen: It was pretty amazing. I remember having my back to the audience on that stage before the curtain opened and I felt like we were four guys in a trench in a war about to get shelled. It wasn’t really stage fright. I don’t get stage fright. In fact, I’m more comfortable up on a stage than just about anywhere else. It’s just that there’s a certain adrenaline rush right before you hit that first chord, and that was really there for everybody. We all did a little handshake as we walked on stage behind the curtain. Someone might have said, “Go get ‘em, boys.” From the reaction of the audience, I guess we did. To put this band back together and have Wally standing there on my left doing those guitar parts that I haven’t listened to or played since 1973 was great! Dave Smalley: I knew that we had a full house but aside from our family and about twenty old friends, I didn’t know what kind of crowd it would be. Before every gig, even now, there’s a period of time where we’re all a little nervous. I even have those moments where I excuse myself to go throw up. As a musician and as a performer, there’s always that time when you’re ready to go out but are unsure about what’s going to happen. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the crowd’s reaction to that first show. Eric Carmen: Coming up with a set list was a really, really difficult thing to do. There are so many considerations for where each song is placed in the set list that it’s like calculus. The difficulty with the Raspberries’ set list is that in a perfect world, the band would have had ten or twelve hits. Then it would be an easy job. The reality is that the Raspberries had two big hit songs, “Go All The Way” and “I Wanna Be With You.” They had two slightly lesser hit songs, “Let’s Pretend” and “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).” Now, Top Twenty hit songs are considerably less well known than Top Ten or Top Five hit songs. Then we had a Top Forty hit song with “Tonight,” but that’s as far as it went. The most important thing is when you start a set is that you have to start strong. And you have to close strong. So, if you’re saving “Go All The Way” for an encore, and you want to start with something strong like “I Wanna Be With You,” there’s an awful long space between those two songs that need to be filled. And the considerations of ‘what follows what’ becomes very important. One of the things that I’ve become painfully aware of trying to make these set lists is Raspberries had a lot of mid-tempo acoustic material on their albums and not a ton of rockers. So, it boils down to needing to win the audience immediately and closing strong. Keeping those things in mind, I need to also think about instrumentation. Guitar changes slow the set down. You can’t afford a guitar change for Wally after each song. If I didn’t have to think about that it would be easier. Then I could arrange songs in a set list the same way I would sequence a set of songs for an album. I’d put them in the order that works best. Dave Smalley: One of the things we talked about at the very beginning is which songs would we play? What were the parameters of the music we would choose? There’s a lot of material there outside of the Raspberries, including all of Eric’s solo material, which is much more well-known than my solo material. I also have some pretty decent songs on my CD Internal Monologue and songs of mine and Wally’s from Refreshed, but we decided that we were going to play primarily Raspberries songs along with some classics thrown in. We haven’t gone outside of those parameters yet. Jim Bonfanti: Sitting at my drum set behind the curtain as the pre-concert video played got me real excited. I remember thinking, “Wow! This is gonna happen here in just a moment!” Watching the curtain rise as I played the opening drum roll of “I Wanna Be With You” was an emotional moment. I get a little choked up thinking about who was there—especially my daughters—for them to see the band together was just huge for me. It meant everything to me. The good news is that I couldn’t see them, because if I could I would have had to struggle to hold the tears back. Eric Carmen: After the show, I was completely exhausted. In fact, I don’t know when I’ve ever been so exhausted—just emotionally drained. It was just about as much fun as I have ever had up on a stage. Here’s the thing. Raspberries songs were written for the Raspberries. Some songwriters just write songs. A lot of guys that I know, will just sit down and write a song, or write a song with the band in mind. I always wrote very specifically to play to the strengths of the guys I was playing with. In the case of the Raspberries, it was Wally, Dave and Jim. I was really writing and conceiving songs thinking about Wally’s guitar playing, thinking about Dave’s bass playing, thinking about Jim’s style of drumming, and trying to write things that were right down their alley, so that they could really nail ‘em. The “iffiest” part of the set for me is right at the beginning. It has always taken my throat a little while to warm up…to get to where I should be. It’s why I have always been a little hesitant to do “I Wanna Be With You” at the beginning of the show. The high notes in that are really high. I honestly wasn’t sure I could pull it off. But this whole thing has been such great fun—to be able to get up there and blow it out and still have it sound good. Wally Bryson: The magic of “Don’t Want To Say Goodbye” is the interplay between my voice and Eric. His voice and my voice are Raspberries harmony. I’ve always been able to sing harmony. It started when I was just a kid. I used to sing Christmas carols in the car with my Mom. She was a singer, so she was the one who noticed it first. Eric and I know how to sing together. Our voices mesh. We have a natural blend. We’re not blood related, but it’s like John and Paul sounding like the Everly Brothers. The Everlys were related, but John and Paul sang like they were, too. Their voices blend. Eric and I can sing exactly like each other and blend like a double-track. Eric Carmen: For our first show we wanted to do both “Don’t Want To Say Goodbye” and “I Can Remember.” Just those two songs added up to about twelve minutes. I thought we might have been pushing it with the ballads. I’ve always been a little squeamish doing “I Can Remember” live. I’ve always thought that it was just on the hairy edge of being over the top. Jim loves it and the audience seems to love it—so that’s good. And the band plays it really well. Dave Smalley: “I Can Remember” is definitely not a three-chord song. It’s not a Chuck Berry song. Raspberries songs aren’t the type of songs that you’d just put together a few guys and play at a weekend gig. The music is very complicated and sophisticated. “I Can Remember” is one of Eric’s more complicated songs. Jim Bonfanti: Whenever I listen to any recordings made in the ‘70s of the band playing live, I notice that we played everything so darned fast! I’m not sure how the guys were able to sing ‘em that fast, but for the current tour we managed to get the tempos under control so the songs are at the right speed on stage. That gives each song the proper groove or “pocket” that’s necessary for the songs to sound more like the records. Eric Carmen: Jim and I were doing an interview and it just popped into my head that back in the early ‘70s, when FM radio was taking over and the airwaves were flooded with Jethro Tull, Yes and Atomic Elf, someone along the line decided that a flute solo by Ian Anderson was a heavier, more progressive thing than Pete Townshend slashing out “I Can’t Explain.” I totally didn’t get it. To me, the song was always the star. When prog-rock happened, the song was no longer the star; it was the virtuosity of any musician or group of musicians. And that, quite frankly, bored me to tears. Cleveland radio saw us as nostalgia. We saw ourselves as marauding revolutionaries banging at the gates of the bloated progressive rock movement. I was talking to Dale Peters, the bass player for the James Gang, when I was at the recording studio working on my Winter Dreams album. He told me, “Boy, if the Raspberries came along today, you guys would have ruled the world!” He may have been right. Maybe the time that we were making records just wasn’t the right time for us. Things are different now. The kind of music we were making then is more mainstream now. “I’m A Rocker” is another Raspberries song that comes off great live. On the record it’s one thing. Live with this band, and the ability to do more things with it, make it better than the record. Wally Bryson: Eric told me after the first gig that he believed that there were ten people walking around without personalities because I got ‘em all. I took that as a compliment. To pay him back, let me say that Eric is really overlooked as a rhythm guitar player. There are some things that he did on record that I insisted that he bring to the live show because he’s got that niche covered. Jim Bonfanti: The number one question on everyone’s minds was could Eric still sing these songs—would he still be able to sing like he did in the Raspberries? Well, guess what? He answered the question! Sometimes I’ll close my eyes when we’re playing and when I do I can easily imagine us back in the ‘70s—the big difference is that we actually sound better! Dave Smalley: Backstage after the show it was a real accomplishment! Everybody was just thrilled that the band had done well and that it was such a successful event. It was emotional, it was crazy, it was insane, but it was fun. When I was up on stage and looked into the crowd there were people just jumping up and down. They didn’t care what they looked like—they could have been 53 years old but were acting like they were nineteen—and I say right on! The other thing that I’ll never forget is the look in people’s eyes during the Meet & Greet as they stepped up to thank us for the music we made—music that they told us had deeply affected their lives. I mean, what do you say to someone who says he loved one of your songs so much that he and his wife used that song for their wedding? After the standing ovation and encore, our tour manager, Rusty Pitrone, witnessed an emotional exchange between Eric and Wally in the dressing room. “The band came out for their bows and then returned backstage soaking wet. They had towels around their necks and were still flying high as a kite. I got everybody back into their dressing rooms—the four guys into one and the Overdubs into another. I walked into the band’s dressing room to find Eric and Wally hugging. Then Eric said to Wally, ‘Man, you are just the best guitar player I ever played with!’ It was a bring tears to your eyes moment. Ken Sharp and Bernie Hogya collaborated on the book Raspberries TONIGHT!, chronicling the band’s reunion tour — pick it up through www.ericcarmen.com. __________ You can buy hard copies of Raspberries: TONIGHT! as well as digital copies of Eric Carmen: Marathon Man AT THIS LINK. Bernie
  31. 2 points
    Great interview! You know, you read all these interviews with Eric, and sometimes you've read or heard 98% of it before, but then a gem or something new pops up, and it's so cool for a long time fan! Bravo!!
  32. 2 points
    Happy Birthday, Marlene!!! Wishing you every happiness & joy on your special day... hope you like your critter cake! With love, Susie, Parker, Archie, NipNtuck, Delphis Lucky, Tiger Lily, Scout & BC
  33. 2 points
    Viva Kirk!....he´ll be the best! P.S. Gosh, I hope Kirk doesn´t have anything against HAREMS....??..... :-)
  34. 2 points
    What happens if we misbehave, Kirk? What????? NO Kirk video posts of EC covers for a week?????? Ok, I promise to be a good girl!!!! All kidding aside, congratulations!!! Bernie is a smart cookie to place his confidence in you, and I'm sure that Tim could use your help in wrangling this wild bunch.
  35. 2 points
    You guys did great! I hope there will be more sessions in the future
  36. 2 points
    Japanese Eric Carmen Cover Band "Vichyssoise boom boom" performed "Tonight" The pianist is our freind Second Moon!!!
  37. 2 points
    Marlene! I can't believe I missed your birthday! Happy Birthday!!! Bernie
  38. 2 points
  39. 2 points
    Just got done listening to both cd's...some observations: If this is the last thing we get from Raspberries, it is a fitting end- the energy from the band and the fans is electric! As Bernie noted earlier- the Carmen/Bryson harmonies are tight! The harmonies and instrumental parts from the overdubs are fabulous! When guitars need to jangle, they jangle. When guitars need to wail, they wail! Although not note perfect, both cd's are 'hot'- a very live sound! You can tell where the vocals have been tweaked, but it's tastefully done. A few standouts for me on first listen- "Let's Pretend" (rich harmonies and jangly guitars- best version I've heard). "Overnight Sensation" (Hit Record- I'd say so). "I Can Remember" (so good). "Starting Over" (o.k., I've listened to this version 6 times already- my favorite version and song from any Raspberries album- EVER). "Go All The Way" (took me all the way- what a way to finish the set- everything clicking on this one). Which brings me to why this double cd is sooooo good. Tommy Allen just nails the production. It sounds great with headphones. It's sounds great on my 7 speaker floor monitors. It's mixed so darn good, I almost can't improve upon it with my equalizer, which is something I can't say for any of my other live albums. Just tremendous! Thanks one and all for this recording. It was worth the wait!
  40. 1 point
    Thank you for the cupcakes and kind wishes, susie! Happy belated birthday TO YOU, as well, my fellow Virgo 🎁
  41. 1 point
    Spins and Reviews By Alan Haber Raspberries | Pop Art Live (Omnivore, 2017) For a thrilling listening experience back in 1976, you could do worse than planting Raspberries’ Best featuring Eric Carmen on your turntable. Every one of the 10 tracks on offer was bang-zoom top-flight–“Go All the Way,” “Tonight,” “Ecstasy,” and “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” to name just four. Plus, the first few songs on side one were programmed to start a hairbreadth after the one before it, elevating the excitement level about a million percent. Listening to Best, I always wondered what it would be like to be at a Raspberries concert. It seemed to me that nothing could quite compare to the emotional payoff experienced by people this close to the band up on a stage that probably shook wildly with every beat bounced upward and then showered down on the audience. Plus, all of that singing along… Now, with the release of Pop Art Live, fans like me can finally feel the power of a you-are-there Raspberries performance. Recorded on November 26, 2004 at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio, this beautifully mixed and mastered document puts listeners in the cross hairs of a dynamic performance of 28 group classics and covers of choice songs from the Beatles and the Who. It is an invigorating experience. The band is in fine voice and plays throughout the show like they hadn’t just gotten together for a reunion performance 30 years later. Working together as a cohesive unit on stage, they are clearly on a mission, invested in every note as they work to please every audience member, all of them hungry for a taste of Raspberries history. Augmented by a trio of musicians called “The Overdubs” that helps to flesh out their sound, Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, David Smalley, and Jim Bonfanti work every inch of the room as they play the hits and key album tracks and just generally whoop it up, Raspberries style. The highlights are many–“Nobody Knows,” “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record),” “Might as Well,” “Starting Over,” “Should I Wait,” and “Come Around and See Me” spring to mind–but the whole program is a collective highlight and delight, which is probably more to the point. To say that Jim Bonfanti’s drums are the propulsive glue that holds these proceedings together would be an understatement; he has lost none of his power and is even more powerful than he was before. It should go without saying that the rest of the band is also performing at the height of their powers, but I’ll say it: This magical foursome was on that November night. Kudos to Omnivore Recordings for releasing this astounding, pulse-pounding document, and kudos to you for buying it. Because, of course, you will be…right? —Pure Pop Radio, August 9, 2017
  42. 1 point
    The Raspberries: Pop Art Live by Robert Baird In football there's a saying to describe an unexpected outcome: "That why they play the games." The recorded music equivalent might be "That's why you have to listen to the records." Much as you might be tempted to gaze at the cover art, remember a band's last record or think about the one time you saw them live and they really blew it, prejudging can be dangerous. In the end, you still gotta listen. So there I was, waving around a CD copy of Pop Art Live, by 1970s power pop band, The Raspberries about to launch into a tirade about how most bands from the '70s should just stop. Just stop taking the money of poor souls who by seeing them today (or buying "new" records) are desperately trying to grasp at the ghostly threads of their long departed youth. After a number of demoralizing experiences seeing acts that were great in 1975 and are much less so now, I have sworn off seeing older acts. As pathetically obvious as it sounds, it's just never the same. But back to the Raspberries, that anglophile/mod quartet from Cleveland, masters of the two minute pop tune, who were together for all of five years (1970-75), had a blockbuster single, "Go All The Way," released a debut album with a scratch'n'sniff sticker (that smelled like candied raspberries), and finally imploded when frontman Eric Carmen and his razor shag haircut departed for a solo career that was marked by maudlin tales of victimhood like "All By Myself." Much to the delight of their power-pop loving fans, about half of whom are or were music writers, the band reformed in 2004, and played a bunch of shows of which Pop Art Live was the very first. Recorded in their hometown, at the House of Blues in front of rabid crowd (who you don't actually hear much on the recording), this show has been released on CD and MP3 download by Omnivore Records. An earlier 2007 CD on Rykodisc, Live on Sunset Strip, is the only other show from the 2004 reunion tour that has yet been released. According to Omnivore, the show was recorded "professionally" at the time (ie, not a radio show or a tape from the soundboard or the audience) and was recently mixed for the first time. While Carmen's falsetto ain't quite as strong as it used to be, and the dynamic range of this recording is merely acceptable like a lot of live recordings, it's great to hear one of the 1970s' greatest band playing with this much joy. More joy in fact than they had when originally together. They are emotionally present and alive in the extreme throughout this 28-song set. For this tour, the band wisely decided to supplement their sound with four additional musicians, two guitars, keyboards and percussion. Called "The Overdubs," these four really flesh out the overall sound and what pop tune doesn't benefit from more harmony vocalists. Thankfully, as reunion tours go this was one for which the band clearly rehearsed and prepared for. Jim Bonfanti's drumming (which the "Mighty" Max Weinberg has cited as an influence) is superb throughout, as is Wally Bryson's guitar work. And the band's three-part harmonies (supplemented by those three extra voices) are remarkably intact for a band that's been apart for 30 years. Everything here is played with refreshing gusto. Nothing drags or has that pitiful "they really need to quit" stench that dogs so many '70s bands who make ill-advised comebacks. Best of all, Carmen and Co. made the right decision by deciding one comeback tour was enough. So far there have not been any more shows or worse, any new Raspberries records, which in my experience is always a bad idea. And when the foursome (plus four) launch into convincing covers of The Beatles' "No Reply" and "Baby's In Black," and Pete Townsend's "I Can't Explain," it's easy to remember why these guys, who were praised while together By Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon, are so beloved. And why every scrap of their shimmery, soaring pop, which admittedly owes much to John and Paul, will always be prized by the Raspberries faithful. —Stereophile, September 1, 2017
  43. 1 point
    Album Review Raspberries, Pop Art Live, 2017 By Henry Lipput In the early '70s, long before he wrote and directed Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe was 15 and reviewing records for an underground newspaper. In the liner notes for Pop Art Live he remembers hearing the first Raspberries album: "'Go All The Way' opened the album, and Raspberries' career, with a sonic knock to the jaw." Judging by Pop Art Live, a recording of Raspberries' November 26, 2004, concert at Cleveland's House of Blues, the band was still able to deliver "a sonic knock to the jaw." This time it's with the opening track "I Wanna Be With You" which kicks things off with a bang. (They followed this show with a successful reunion tour in 2005.) Nearly thirty years after they last played together, the founding members of the band -- Eric Carmen Wally Bryson, David Smalley, and Jim Bonfanti -- got back to perform live versions of songs from all four of their classic albums as well as covers by The Who (an "I Can't Explain" rave-up) and The Beatles (mid-period Fab Four gems like "Ticket To Ride," Baby's In Black," and "No Reply"). It was a fabulous, exciting concert and the recording sounds great (long-time Raspberries associate Tommy Allen did the mixing). Obviously, these power pop pioneers lost nothing in the intervening years. Carmen is in terrific voice, Bryson also provides fine lead vocals as well a lot of amazing guitar workouts (He pretty much set the template, didn't he?), and the Smalley and Bonfanti rhythm section rock the House. "Don't Want To Say Goodbye" is a major live standout as is the lovely piano-driven "Starting Over;" and the wonderful, multi-part "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" owes more than a little to the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" (They even reproduce the transistor radio portion of the song). There's also Smalley's "It Seems So Easy" with some nifty Byrds-like Rickenbacker playing and the first song the band ever recorded, "Come Around And See Me." Raspberries started off their first album with "Go All The Way," and they end the concert with an absolutely blow-out version of the song. Some of my favorite Raspberries songs have always been the ones in which Carmen channels solo Paul McCartney like "If You Change Your Mind" and, especially, "I Saw The Light." It's great to hear these live versions. Near the end of the concert, Carmen acknowledges the reason they sound so good is because they have a little help from some friends: Paul Sidoti, Jennifer Lee, Billy Sullivan, and Derek Braunschweiger (known as The Overdubs). "They're playing all of the parts we played on our records," says Carmen, "but can't do with just four people." They help the four original members to make a marvelous sound all night. The 2-CD / digital release of Pop Art Live is out now on Omnivore Recordings. A special-edition 3-LP set will be available later this year. —Cool Dad Music, August 18, 2017
  44. 1 point
    CD Review The Raspberries' Pop Art Live (2017) by Rev. Keith A. Gordon At the time, I didn’t personally agree with placing The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. As the music editor of Nashville’s Metro magazine when the choice was made in 1986, I was one of those voices that spoke loudly in favor of the Music City, where Elvis had recorded many of his early hits and where Jimi honed his axe before taking his act worldwide. There’s no denying, however, that the “mistake on the lake,” as Cleveland was known when I lived there in 1967-68, is a rock ‘n’ roll town. Power-Pop Pioneers Cleveland broadcasting powerhouse WMMS has a history as one of the most influential tastemakers in FM rock radio, helping break artists like Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, and Rush, among others, while the station’s long-running weekly live broadcast, The WMMS Coffee Break Concert, promoted artists as diverse as Warren Zevon, Lou Reed, Tim Buckley, and Peter Frampton, resulting in a wealth of bootleg tapes and records. Although Cleveland hasn’t spawned a rock scene as madly-hyped as, say, Athens, Seattle, or Austin through the years, how can you argue against the influence and importance of such homegrown artists as Joe Walsh and the James Gang, the Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, Peter Laughner, Rocket From The Tombs or, perhaps, the most notorious of them all – the Raspberries? Formed in Cleveland in 1970 by members of two fondly-remembered local rock outfits – the Choir and Cyrus Erie – the Raspberries originally consisted of singer and guitarist Eric Carmen, guitarist Wally Bryson, bassist John Aleksic, and drummer Jim Bonfanti. Aleksic bolted before the group really had its feet on the ground, replaced by guitarist Dave Smalley while Carmen moved to playing bass, completing what is considered to be the “classic” line-up of the Raspberries. Influenced greatly by British Invasion bands like the Beatles, the Who, the Hollies, and the Small Faces, the foursome struck gold when their second single, “Go All The Way,” went all the way to #5 on the charts and sold over a million copies. Coasting on the success of “Go All The Way,” the Raspberries self-titled 1972 debut virtually invented the “power pop” genre, peaking at #51 and spending a whopping 30 weeks on the charts. The band’s ‘60s-era musical roots, whipsmart songwriting, melodic instrumentation, and gorgeous vocal harmonies made fans out of fellow musicians like Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon. Carmen and Smalley switched instruments again and a quick follow-up album, Fresh, was released in November 1972. Fresh would yield two big hits with its two singles, “I Wanna Be With You” and “Let’s Pretend,” which would help push the album into the Top 40. The Raspberries The band’s Side 3, released in 1973, saw the Raspberries moving towards a more aggressive rock sound as creative tensions grew among the members. None of the album’s three singles performed all that well, leading to Smalley’s ejection from the band, followed by Bonfanti’s departure, the pair replaced by Scott McCarl and Michael McBride. The band’s final album, 1974’s Starting Over, produced a Top 20 hit with “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record),” but it wasn’t enough to push the album up the charts and the Raspberries broke up in 1975, with Carmen moving on to enjoy a modestly-successful career as a solo artist and songwriter well into the late 1980s. The House of Blues chain of nightclub/restaurants opened a location in Cleveland in 2004, coaxing the four members of the Raspberries to reunite for the first time in nearly 30 years. After a bit of practice to shake off the ring rust, the band’s best-known line-up – Carmen, Bryson, Smalley, and Bonfanti – climbed on stage on November 26th and ran through an inspired set that featured better than two-dozen songs and included both hits and ‘deep cuts’ alike. The well-received performance led to a ‘mini-tour’ in 2005, a VH1 Classic TV special, and a live concert broadcast on XM satellite radio. One of the band’s 2005 performances was filmed and subsequently released on CD and DVD as Live on Sunset Strip. Oddly, however, the band’s triumphant reunion at the House of Blues in 2004 remained unreleased until now, with Omnivore Recordings rescuing the performance and releasing it as Pop Art Live. With interest in the Raspberries revived by the use of “Go All The Way” on the hit movie soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy during the summer of 2014, along with the following year’s reissue of all four of the band’s classic ‘70s-era albums as a reasonably-priced box set, the time seems ripe for Pop Art Live. That the band’s electrifying performance belies their three-decade layoff doesn’t hurt any – from the opening notes of the 1972 hit “I Wanna Be With You,” the listener knows that they’re about to hear something special – and the band keeps the energy crackling throughout the two-disc set’s 28 red-hot tracks. Carmen’s voice has lost a bit of resonance over the years, but what it lacks in range it makes up for in character as the singer sounds a bit more soulful. Instrumentally, the band itself still kicks ass, with Bryson’s stinging guitar and Bonfanti’s powerful drum fills providing a perfect backdrop for Carmen’s vocals and the band’s backing harmonies. Go All The Way Even amidst a playlist that features an abundance of hits like the aforementioned “I Wanna Be With You,” “Go All The Way,” and “Let’s Pretend,” there remain a few surprises. A cover of the Who’s “I Can’t Explain” explodes out of your speakers while “Nobody Knows,” from Fresh, is a Beatles-esque delight with vocals shared by Carmen and Smalley. A cover of the Beatles’ obscurity “Baby’s In Black” is afforded gorgeous harmonies dancing atop the song’s waltz-like tempo while “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” is drenched in grandeur. The familiar opening riff of “Tonight,” combined with the song’s passionate vocals and ramshackle instrumentation, makes one wonder why it didn’t climb higher than #69 on the charts back in 1973. Bryson’s original “Last Dance” showcases both his underrated songwriting skills as well as his elegant fretwork. It should come as no surprise that a bunch of Beatles fans like the Raspberries would pluck more than one tune from the Lennon/McCartney songbook. The band acquits itself nicely as “Fab Four” sound-alikes on “No Reply,” falling somewhere on the spectrum between Klaatu and Badfinger, while their cover of “Ticket To Ride” is beefier than the original, with deliberate drumbeats and a solid rhythmic backbone on which the vocals ride, with flashes of brilliant guitar punctuating the arrangement. The album’s only other cover song, of the Choir’s 1966 garage-rock hit “It’s Cold Outside,” is delivered reverently but with appropriate zeal, offering jangling instrumentation and expressive gang vocals that perfectly capture the innocence of the era. The other two unsuccessful singles from the Side 3 album (the first being the aforementioned “Tonight)” – “Ecstasy” and “I’m A Rocker” – are a pair of pure pop gems. The former offers the band’s trademark melodic sonic bluster, with an epic sound not unlike “Go All The Way” or “I Wanna Be With You,” featuring soaring vocals and rolling drumbeats, while the latter is more of a Stonesy blooze grind with Bryson’s deliciously greasy guitar licks and a foot-shuffling rhythmic track. Pop Art Live closes, of course, with “Go All The Way,” the band’s performance of their best-known song living up to the audience’s expectations, its yin/yang creative dynamic balanced by Carmen’s lofty vocals and Bryson’s raucous fretwork. The Reverend’s Bottom Line Fans of the Raspberries waited nearly 30 years for the band’s 2004 reunion show, and have suffered through almost another decade and a half waiting for the concert to receive a legit CD release. The band sounds mighty good for a bunch of aging duffers, picking up pretty much where they left off in 1975 and delivering a high-octane performance for those of us who never got to witness the band in person back in the day. The closest most of us have come to hearing the Raspberries perform live was a 1974 bootleg album (Back Home Again) that framed the band in a more rock-oriented light with blues overtones (Omnivore, why don’t you track that disc down and reissue it?). Short of inventing a time machine and traveling back to the early ‘70s and Cleveland’s Agora club, Pop Art Live provides all the cheap thrills a fan could ask for from power-pop pioneers the Raspberries. Grade: B+ —The Devil Music, August 13, 2017
  45. 1 point
    Happy Birthday Amy Carmen!!! Eric seems very happy. We are so happy you make him happy. Would you please bring him back here? It's about time to meet him here. (^_-)-☆ You are the only one who can do it!
  46. 1 point
    Amy, Happy Birthday week! So glad you are in love and enjoying your lives of splendor, together! Hey, does Eric have any Rock Video Games? They really are fun. I play a bunch with a close lady drumner-friend. And we play real accoustic and electric guitars. And drums before the games. She being quite accomplished, especially on drums. Great word that Eric used to describe his love to you!
  47. 1 point
    Great cake, Susie! I Happy celebtations Marlene, with. everyone you know!
  48. 1 point
    He and Kazumi are on a deserted island in the Pacific listening to Pop Art Live- Raspberries...
  49. 1 point
    Susie, like you, I'm eternally optimistic about EC.com. My statement only reinforced what Bernie said about the immediacy of other social media and how message boards have become passé. If you want to start a 'Pollyanna Place' for die-hard Eric fans, sign me up!
  50. 1 point
    Enjoy your birthday as much as you can. Hopefully your friends and family have given you all the presents and love you deserved and the weather is beautiful. I cannot do emoticons quite well or send you a virtual cake, but I shall dedicate a song for you! Craig Ruhnke's Summer Girl