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AnniekNY

Eric: If You Had One Question To Ask US...

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Eric had some trouble posting last night so he asked me to post this for him.

__________

The first time I met Ringo Starr was backstage at a press conference that had been called to announce the upcoming tour. The All Star Band circa 2000 sat and answered questions for an hour or so. Someone asked me how it felt to get to play with Ringo and I replied that it was incredible, because I had grown up playing Beatles songs and truly revered them. I added that anyone who had ever heard any of my records could hear the obvious influence the Beatles had had on me, both as a writer and singer.

After the press conference ended, I walked out into the audience to sign some autographs, and I think it was someone from one of the Beatle fan websites who came up to me and said "It's very, very cool that you're in the band this time. You're one of us!" I thought about it for a minute and realized that he was right. And it occurred to me that out of all the guys in the band, I probably was the only one who really was a "fan" in the same way that reporter was. Jack and Dave were more contemporaries of the Beatles. Listening to Jack, Dave, Simon and Ringo talking about the "old days" really drove home how small England was. They had all played the same clubs, knew all the same promoters and club owners and bouncers. It suddenly seemed the whole British music scene back in the early sixties was no bigger than the music scene in Cleveland back in the early seventies. Everyone knew everyone. But to me, back in Lyndhurst, Ohio in 1966, England was like Camelot. And the Beatles were the Knights of King Arthur's Court. I read everything I could find, listened to every record a thousand times, memorized all the parts. I lived and breathed the Beatles. I wanted to know how they had done it. It wasn't just the music. It was SO much more! I watched films of their live performances. I listened to tapes of their interviews. I wanted to understand what had made them so special. Was it the timing? The "baby boomers"? The Kennedy assassination? George Martin? The chemistry between John and Paul? Brian Epstein? I studied them as if my life depended on it, because, in some ways, I knew it did.

The Raspberries was my attempt to recreate that kind of magic, on stage and in the studio. And the crazy thing is, I really thought we could make it happen! I think what people hear in those records is the almost unbelievablly over-the-top joy and optimism of four guys who actually dared to dream so big that their sheer audacity was breathtaking. And that optimism is written into "Go All The Way" and "Let's Pretend" and "I Wanna Be With You" and "Ecstasy". We were going for the whole thing. All of it. Raspberrymania. We didn't want that magic to end in 1970, when Paul called it a day.

I think it's that Quixotic optimism that makes the records so special. "If we close our eyes and believe, it might come true".

One of my favorite movies of all time is "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind." I really identified with Richard Dreyfus' character. He's the one who's one of us who got to go. ec

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stringer   

That's what makes this site so special, your,(Eric's) posts.

It's wonderful to know the insite of my favorite artist. Who would have known? First the great music and then communication with the artist himself.

I'm so honored.

And the insite is so interesting and noteworthy. I love knowing your influences and feelings behind the music. And then the comments and feelings of all my fellow fans. It's great!!

Thanks :cool:

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That's a great answer Eric and well worth waiting for!

I am wondering now though how that would leave you with the prospect of doing new Raspberries songs. There has been some talk of new recordings but is there enough of that "Quixotic Optimism" left to make new Raspberries songs do you think, or is that not the deal anymore? Do you still feel you could go there?

Gary

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Angloberry said:

I am wondering now though how that would leave you with the prospect of doing new Raspberries songs. There has been some talk of new recordings but is there enough of that "Quixotic Optimism" left to make new Raspberries songs do you think, or is that not the deal anymore? Do you still feel you could go there?

Gary, not without some group therapy...which is a good idea. Didn't it work for Metalica?

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AnniekNY   

Yeah, second that wow. If anyone questions why you made the comment about the Raspberries in the Mike Douglas clip, here is the logic behind it, IMHO. Your answer encompasses the "dare to dream and reach for your heart's desire" that comes out in the music we love. Huge dreams.

Therapy did work for Metallica....I'd offer my services gratis but I'm not licensed yet!!!!! I didn't like the therapist at all...he crossed the boundaries if you ask me, sitting in on songwriting...give me a break!

The Richard Dreyfuss character in "Close Encounters" has that line to Belinda Dillon's character while they are watching the staging area from the side of the mountain: I CAN'T stay here...I have to go" and she says, without reservation,"I know...I know...this is enough for me."

That's a great relationship!

Thanks for the awesome, well-thought out and very personal answer.

love ya - annie

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Kirk   

I think most of us dared to believe with you, Eric! It's certainly made us a zeolous lot, hasn't it? Thanks for putting it down in print happy Kirk.

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It's extraordinary content like that post, expressed in a way that only Eric can express it, that makes this website special day after day! Thanks, Eric!

Bernie

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"I wanted to understand what had made them so special. Was it the timing? The "baby boomers"? The Kennedy assassination? George Martin? The chemistry between John and Paul? Brian Epstein?"

I think it was a combination of all those things. A moment in time when everything in the cosmos came together and just "clicked".

Before The Beatles came here, "popular" music was Frankie Avalon, Pat Boone, and Fabian. The baby bommers needed their "own" music. With the Kennedy assassanation the country lost it's innocence and needed something to bring it back from it's depression of losing Camalot. George Martin and Brian Epstein were able to groom and cultivate the talent that was there, and as far as John and Paul's chemistry, nothing further needs to be said about that.

A moment in time that wiil never be repeated for sure...

GREAT post Eric!...

Jeff

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I can't even begin to tell you just how important I think Sir George Martin was in the grand scheme of things. I am blown away by his lack of ego and humility. His brilliance as a producer was equal to the Beatles brilliance as writers and artists. Truly a "gentleman" in every sense of the word. ec

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Yes and even from a lack of bitterness standpoint. He helped the creation of music which generated hundreds of millions of dollars(pounds) of revenue for EMI. For all this he was thanked with a very modest salary increase each year. Eventually he became a contractor and sold his services back to EMI and The Beatles at least for The White Album and Abbey Road. But there were alot of years that he should have been rewarded more generously for his extraordianary work. Ive never seen him do more than joke about it in print and in interviews.

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Yea, but remember when George Martin released that instrumental album of Beatle hits that was universally regarded as boring ? Listen to it some time. Yuk !!! Paul reminds us that while Martin was important, it was the band members who wrote and performed the songs. Great producers like Martin help facilitate a Bands's success, and while important, their contribution should be viewed as such. Now, at the risk of further blasphemy, that "charge of electricity" I feel when I, at least, listen to the Raspberries doesn't come from a sense of audacity or even optimism generated by the band but rather the sheer quality of their music. I think that for most people it's that simple. When I have successfully introduced friends or family members to this music (including my son who went to the first Cleveland show with me) they like it because it has power, beauty, feeling and the tunes are well crafted.

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darlene   

Well, Eric, you certainly succeeded, and we're all still here, honoring the music! Sometimes when you "close your eyes and believe it might come true," by the time you open them, it has. That's definitely what happened in November of 2004. My eyes are still closed, and I'm still believin', *very* hard!

:) --Darlene

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Muzza   

I have to confess to being a bit of a George Martin fan so when his CD "George Martin-In My Life" came out I had to buy it.

I think I found it did 2 things for me. It gave me a greater appreciation of the Beatles Musicianship ( if that's a word) and an insight into what makes George tick. Its a fun album for me.

A great producer who would ensure the best of the performer he works with.

Muzza

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I'll never forget the day I sat listening to the Beatles Anthology album, the one with studio outtakes and snippets of the songs being worked up in the studio. I was sitting in my car, just listening away, when, all of a sudden, here come "No Reply", one of my all-time favorite Beatle songs. Well, John is singing and the band is playing and when they get to the "I saw the light...." part, John sings "I saw the light......." and then goes right into "I know that you saw me, as I looked up to see, your face." And I realize he sang "I saw the light..." just once, not twice like on the record. I was flabbergasted. Do you mean....John brought in the song with just one "I saw the light....?" Not two? Unbelievable! And it got me to thinking.......

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More from Eric (who experienced some more posting problems last night):

Gerry Beckley, from the group America, and I became friends after touring together for awhile and one day when the group had come into town Gerry called me and we decided to get together. He came over to mty apartment and we sat around talking for a bit and then Gerry asked if I had anything I'd been working on to play for him. I went over to the piano and played him the just finished "Boats Against The Current." The intro, two verses, chorus, two more verses, chorus, chorus and coda. When I finished, I asked Gerry if he'd been working on anything and he went to the piano and began to play "Daisy Jane." Verse, chorus, verse....and he stopped. I was really into it and when he stopped I said, "Is that it?" And Gerry turned to me and, very nonchalantly said, "Yeah, that's it, I just give it to George and he'll finish it up." I was floored. Then one day in my car I heard the finished record. The "heartbeat" intro, the beautiful sounds, the absolutely gorgeous oboe solo. And right then and there, I knew for sure what George Martin had brought to the table. His classical background, his brilliant imagination, his sonically perfect ears, and his ability to know just what little finishing touches were needed. And I also knew how lucky the Beatles were to have ended up with just the right producer to add the little shimmering 10 or 15% extra to the 85% of a great song they brought in. ec

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AnniekNY   

Oh,wow...the way you described that encounter made me feel like I was in the room as it was happening...

I was just talking to the hubby about the 30th anniversary of Boats and how you had to choose who would produce it...use someone right then or wait for George Martin...was it a situation of pressure from the record company to get the project under way?

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My two favorite producers at the time were George Martin and Gus Dudgeon. I had my manager send each of them a tape of the songs from "Boats." They both said they would be interested in doing the project. The catch was, George wasn't available for six months. He was producing Neil Sedaka, if I remember correctly and then he had another project that he'd committed to right after that. Gus Dudgeon was available right away. I was coming off my first legitamate "hit" album ever, and I was concerned that we might lose the momentum if too much time passed before the follow up was released. So, I made the choice to go with Gus, and began, what would become, the most difficult, horrific year of my life. ec

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Makes you wonder how the album would have sounded if George Martin would've been able to produce.

It doesn't really matter though, it came out sounding perfect anyway!...

Jeff

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AnniekNY   

Right you are, Jeff...how many of us have had this particular album become part of our DNA? There's always a book, a song, a poem that speaks to us. Boats is that for me.

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