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Eric Carmen

Hindsight, Band Names, Labels, Success, Failure, Democracy and Entitlement

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ira   

Buy the friends that "snickered" the new release. Within the booklet are testimonials from Bruce Springsteen, Paul Stanley ( Kiss ), Steve Jones, ( The Sex Pistols ) Slash ( Guns and Roses ) Courtney Love, ( Hole ) Cherie Currie ( The Runaways ), Alex Chilton ( Big Star, The Boxtops ) and Mathew Sweet.

Sometimes guys need to be "indemnified" before they can admit to liking music that is something other than Metallica and AC/ DC. They don't think it's "manly" to like "All By Myself."

We had so many quotes we didn't have enough room to include Brandon Flowers ( The Killers ), Dave Grohl ( Foo Fighters ) and Greg Dulli ( Afghan Wigs ) who stated recently that " while studying to get his 'croon on' for their new album, he listened to Elvis, Roy Orbison and.....Me!

That's pretty good company.

Eric..Please forgive..(or hopefully enjoy my tangent)..

A few years back..The Boxtops were appearing with a coupla oldies bands at the old Sands hotel in Atlantic City..and on my birthday yet.

I was so excited to get to see Alex Chilton....He and they were great..

After the show..the other acts were signing and schmoozing..

With Alex nowhere to be seen..I asked a Boxtop if Alex was coming out...

He smiled and said.."No..Alex's got nothing to sell..."

And you know what...I REALLY liked that answer..

He was a great talent..Still remember him as a.. I believe ...a 17 year old lead singer with THAT voice on teen shows in the 60's...

And "Sweet Cream Ladies"..a song about the plight of hookers...Way ahead of his time..IMHO.

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Regarding the album covers and artwork, the band never got to see any of them before they were released, until the "Starting Over" album. I'm not sure why Capitol and/or Jimmy Ienner and CAM Productions didn't care to include us in the loop, but I suspect the thinking was "They're a bunch of kids from Cleveland. What do they know?" I also believe it was a "control" issue, like so many of the other aspects of our career.

They didn't want us to think we HAD any control over ANYTHING, from choosing who would be our manager , to choosing the photographers who shot the covers, to approving the "artwork," even to our "sound."

On the back of every Beatles album, somewhere, rather unobtrusively, it says "Produced by George Martin." On the back of every Raspberries album, and probably, my first solo album ( I can't remember ) it says, in big, bold type "Production AND SOUND by Jimmy Ienner" and then you see Jimmy's logo, the big smile with the big teeth. We never quite understood why a simple production credit was good enough for George Martin, but not for Jimmy Ienner, but we didn't really care.

We LOVED Jimmy, and we didn't understand, back then, that Jimmy was building a brand. The "Jimmy Ienner" brand. And that he was putting everyone on notice that he was responsible, not only for the production, but also for the "SOUND!" The sound of the band on the recording!

Thinking back to the first Raspberries album, I'm not so sure I would have wanted to take credit for the "sound." 

What I remember about the photo session for "Fresh" is that we were in New York City, and it was summertime, and it was a very hot, humid day, and when we arrived at the address where the photographer was set up to shoot, there was no air conditioning.

It must have been 85 or 90 degrees in that studio, and here we were wearing shirts and suits. When I see that cover shot, I've always thought we look like Madame Tussaud's wax figures. It was so hot and sticky that the makeup was running down our faces.

How anyone could have chosen that photo has always been a complete mystery to me. That photo was more disastrous than the name, "Raspberries." I must confess, the white suits and black shirts and the two-tone shoes were my idea.

I recently found a drawing that must have come from some magazine, that I used as the model for those suits, amidst a bunch of my songwriting notes and handwritten lyrics from that period. In all fairness, we had black suits, too, but I think we were afraid of people saying we were "Beatles copycats," so the white suits won the day. Interestingly, the black and white photo on the back cover is WAAAAAAAYYYYY better, and would not have been anywhere near as disastrous, image-wise, but, again, we never got to see any of the pictures.

We saw the finished albums the same time the public did. No one wanted our input, and we weren't confident enough, at that point, to INSIST on being part of the process.

Keeping in mind, those outfits were conceived and designed in 1971, it's interesting to note that John Travolta is wearing the exact same white suit, black shirt, shirt collar out, over the jacket lapel, in the most famous photo from "Saturday Night Fever",circa 1977.

60_d_50761_0_SaturdayNightFever.jpg

And one day back in 2011, I was perusing the website of Tom Ford, arguably the most important designer of mens and women's clothing in the past fifteen years, and as I was checking out his current line of men's clothing, I found the white suit.

I had to laugh, and I sent the picture to Jim Bonfanti with the caption "40 years ahead of our time, again. Right down to the haircuts."

To which Jim replied...."Who knew?"

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Eric,

You were ahead of your time and that was the main issue with the Rs, the image, the choice of name and music.

I'm certain it's good for you to write about what happened and I will always be thrilled to hear what you have to say.  

Thank you so very much dear,

As always,

M.E.

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marvin   
On 3/7/2014 at 3:07 PM, Eric Carmen said:

Regarding the album covers and artwork, the band never got to see any of them before they were released, until the "Starting Over" album. I'm not sure why Capitol and/or Jimmy Ienner and CAM Productions didn't care to include us in the loop,

Eric, I'm curious as to your reaction as well as the band's reaction to the "Side 3" album art/package? I loved it, and once again it was ahead of it's time, but possibly some misjudgment again: without any band pictures anywhere (other than on the inside sleeve)  there's no indication to the uninitiated who (what) "Raspberries" were. 

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The SIDE 3 album cover has been in a number of books on the best rock album covers of all time. So yes, the raspberries fruit thing may have been an unfortunate curve ball, but Capitol certainly made up for it with the die-cut SIDE 3 album. It was pretty damn cool!

Bernie

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MAM   

I remember seeing you guys with Raspberry colored suits and white shoes/boots. I thought it was a rather rockin' look myself. I searched all over the place to find a berry colored blazer in our area with no luck! The image I saw when I walked through the door was pure rock and roll in my book. Couldn't find a coat that looked like that, but I did indeed find a Flying V and a Marshall. Hot damn ... wish I would have kept them!

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The "Side Three" package was absolutely "0" to me. My favorite album artwork was the "Beatles For Sale" album, because I was interested in seeing my favorite band looking cooler than any other band, both in "portrait shots" and "Stage shots." "Side Three" may have impressed people who make album covers, but it did absolutely nothing to make the band appear "cooler," and after the fiasco of "Fresh" we definitely needed an image "make over."

Once again, I look at Capitol's complete lack of understanding of who we were, and the "Side Three" package reflected exactly that.

I'd venture to guess that no one who was a HUGE Raspberries fan, in 1973, thinks the " Side Three" package was terrific. What Raspberries fans REALLY NEEDED, was a totally cool picture of the band, onstage. Not an album package that was "die-cut" and depicted raspberries with whipped cream on a 33 rpm album. 

Before I was a musician, I was a fan. All I ever wanted to see was the coolest picture of The Who, or The Rolling stones, or The Beatles, onstage with Vox amps and really great guitars. I couldn't have cared less about the "Side Three" cover.

It depicted nothing, at a time when the band needed serious "damage control."

Having said that, at least it didn't look like a "bootleg", like all our other album covers.

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marvin   
On 3/9/2014 at 0:09 AM, Eric Carmen said:

The "Side Three" package was absolutely "0" to me. My favorite album artwork was the "Beatles For Sale" album, because I was interested in seeing my favorite band looking cooler than any other band, both in "portrait shots" and "Stage shots." "Side Three" may have impressed people who make album covers, but it did absolutely nothing to make the band appear "cooler," and after the fiasco of "Fresh" we definitely needed an image "make over."

Once again, I look at Capitol's complete lack of understanding of who we were, and the "Side Three" package reflected exactly that. Yeah, it may go down as a fine cover, for art directors ( no offense, Bernie ) but it did nothing to further our image, after the "Fresh" disaster.

I'd venture to guess that no one who was a HUGE Raspberries fan, in 1973, thinks the " Side Three" package was terrific. What Raspberries fans REALLY NEEDED, was a totally cool picture of the band, onstage. Not an album package that was "die-cut" and depicted raspberries with whipped cream on a 33 rpm album. 

Before I was a musician, I was a fan. All I ever wanted to see was the coolest picture of The Who, or The Rolling stones, or The Beatles, onstage with Vox amps and really great guitars. I couldn't have cared less about the "Side Three" cover.

It depicted nothing, at a time when the band needed serious "damage control" after the "Fresh" fiasco.

I was (and still am) a huge fan of the band in '73, and I loved the "Side 3" album cover concept. As I said in the earlier post, I was lost wondering why there was no picture of the band anywhere on the front or back. If you didn't know who Raspberries were, this cover certainly didn't help answer the question.

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Back in the Renaming Raspberries thread, Daune wrote:

"If they'd had a better name, better management, better marketing and promotion, AND commercial success...I think the band was still doomed to fail. I don't think they would have stayed together any longer than they did even if they'd been on top of the music world."

I'm not sure that I agree with this. As a matter of fact, if things had gone relatively the same way that they did, EXCEPT that Starting Over became a HUGE commercial success, I am curious if Raspberries would have continued with the new lineup for a while after that.

What's your take on this, Eric?

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marvin   
On 3/9/2014 at 0:21 PM, Craig Benfer said:

Back in the Renaming Raspberries thread, Daune wrote:

"If they'd had a better name, better management, better marketing and promotion, AND commercial success...I think the band was still doomed to fail. I don't think they would have stayed together any longer than they did even if they'd been on top of the music world."

I'm not sure that I agree with this. As a matter of fact, if things had gone relatively the same way that they did, EXCEPT that Starting Over became a HUGE commercial success, I am curious if Raspberries would have continued with the new lineup for a while after that.

What's your take on this, Eric?

I had a conversation with Scott McCarl where he said that he recalls Eric played "All By Myself" during the last days of Raspberries. Eric can confirm whether this is true or just legend, but if "ABM" had been released under the Raspberries name would it have been the major success that it turned out to be for Eric? File under: "We'll Never Really Know, Will We?"

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James   

I don't know anything, so what better reason to opine here!.. :)

Let's leave Wally out of the discussion just for a few lines here.  IMHO the other 3 as a unit were improved with the line-up changes made before the "Starting Over"  album.  I personally may like Dave and Jim better than their replacements, but I think Scott was more a Raspberry than was Dave.  Scott fit the band almost perfectly, whereas Dave maybe not as much.  Mike was really good and seemed to be a team player.

Back to Wally.  From following things here it's pretty clear that Wally couldn't live with Eric Carmen as leader and band genius.  For whatever reason, it seems to be the case.  So IMHO, the band could have made it past "Starting Over" but Wally would have had to go.  I had always been a big fan of Wally musically (his voice, his guitar, his writing)...probably more so than most as I rank his songs higher than most Raspberry fans do.  But it seems to me he would have had to be let go.  

The band, IMHO, could have taken the blow of losing Wally because of 2 things:  1.  they had made themselves stronger/fortified themselves with the addition of Scott.  2.  I believe Eric Carmen could easily have sold a top notch guitarist on joining the Raspberries to replace Wally.

But Eric Carmen clearly had a lot to say (song writing-wise) that probably needed to be expressed through a solo career...he had songs to write, produce, sing etc. that couldn't have been put out  through The Raspberries.  So for this reason maybe the Raspberries were finished when they were finished.

Of course I'm just a fan speculating, but I guess that is what we fans do...

James

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I was indeed in the process of writing "All By Myself" during the last, dark days of Raspberries ( and DARK they were ). 

No one can ever say for sure, but I can say, with some degree of certainty, "ABM" would NOT have succeeded, had it been released by Raspberries. 

First of all, if there would have been a fifth Raspberries album, Capitol Records would not have been interested in spending much money promoting it, after the failure of "Starting Over." The way labels decide what to promote is based on past success.

If "Starting Over" had sold a million copies and cracked the Billboard Top Ten, perhaps Capitol would have spent some money promoting a "fifth" Raspberries album. But, due to the lack of commercial success of "Starting Over," they would have been hard pressed to justify the funding for another album, let alone a big promotional budget. From "Fresh" to "Side Three" to "Starting Over" there was a downward spiral in record sales, resulting in each release getting fewer dollars for promotion. In that way, labels make the downward spiral a self-fulfilling prophesy, because, it stands to reason, if the last album didn't sell as well as the previous one, and you spend less money promoting the next one, it's bound to do even worse. Each time record sales went down, Capitol spent less money on the next record, and so, of course, it did even worse. A fifth Raspberries album would have received very little promotion from the label, and therefore, would probably have tanked  quickly. Most labels aren't in the habit of throwing good money after bad. Capitol had all but given up on us by the time "Starting Over" was released. That's why the album received rave reviews from the critics, but sold the fewest copies of any of our albums.

Continuing with this theme, "All By Myself" was my FIRST release on the newly formed Arista Records. Clive flew to Cleveland, listened to me play and sing two-thirds of my first solo album in my living room, and flew back to New York and offered me a contract the next day. I was actually his first "major signing", as Melissa Manchester and Barry Manilow were holdovers when Clive changed the former Bell Records into Arista. Clive and I both sensed the "potential" of "All By Myself," and he was not about to let the first single, by an artist he had signed, personally, fail. Just as Capitol pulled out all the stops for "Go All The Way", Arista pulled out all the stops for "All By Myself." And just as "GATW" became Raspberries first major hit, and signature song, so "ABM" became my first solo hit record and signature song. That just wouldn't have happened at Capitol. Clive had something to prove, Capitol was in retreat.

Second, there was no "stigma" attached to "Eric Carmen," as there was to "Raspberries." Radio programmers saw Raspberries as a band in decline. Arista presented me as a new solo artist in "ascent." That alone, made all the difference in the world.

And to this mix you have to add the internal problems of Raspberries. As a solo artist, I had a new band whose job was to play exactly what I wanted them to play, no questions asked. They were eager to please, and excited about recording with me. In Raspberries, there would have been problems IMMEDIATELY with my arrangement, because there were no guitars until the solo, and then again until the fade. Wally would have been VERY, VERY UNHAPPY, because Wally was about "personal glory," not what was right for the song. AND he would have been damned unhappy about a seven minute and thirty second piano ballad being the next single. 

Here's a funny, but also somewhat "telling" story.

During the course of rehearsals for the "Reunion Tour", after we had played the first nine or ten shows, it became increasingly apparent that Raspberries didn't have enough "hits" to carry a ninety minute show. I was in charge of writing up the set lists, and this is the way it works. You have to start out BIG, and then the show can move toward lesser known tunes in the middle, but then you have to close BIGGER, and have an encore that's even BIGGER! You have to win the audience IMMEDIATELY. You don't have time to play a couple unfamiliar songs and THEN play a hit. Until you "own" the audience, they will just sit there and wait to see if you're any good. The longer that takes, the more uncomfortable things get on stage. You need to have the audience "with you" from the first song. Fans who owned every Raspberries album weren't a problem, because almost ALL our songs were somewhat familiar to them, but at most of our shows, those fans made up, perhaps 50% of any given audience. The other 50% knew "Go All The Way" and "I Wanna Be With You" and to a lesser extent , maybe "Let's Pretend", "Tonight" and "Overnight Sensation." To the 50% of the audience unfamiliar with all the album cuts, it's mighty hard to hold their interest with five songs, spread out over ninety minutes, and, at some point, the band began to "feel it" onstage.

I had made a point of stating, at our first rehearsal, that I had no interest in playing any of my solo stuff, as I knew that would probably make Wally uncomfortable, and the purpose of the Reunion was to play Raspberries songs. Period. 

At some point, Jim came to me and said he thought we should put "All By Myself" into the set list. It was a HUGE hit, and it would help us get through the show without the inevitable "lull" in the middle of the show where we didn't have any more hits to play. He said he had spoken to Dave, and Dave was "all for it", anything that would help the band win over an audience. I told Jim HE was going to have to bring it up, not me. So, one day we arrived at rehearsal, and Jim suggested adding "ABM" to the set list. Wally immediately reacted with "I DON'T KNOW....???....I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THAT...???!!!" and eventually Jim and Dave convinced him that it was for the good of the band, and Wally begrudgingly agreed. We worked out some pretty cool arpeggiated guitar parts in the chorus that sounded great with Billy Sullivan and Wally "doubling each other." But when we got to the solo, Wally said he'd always thought he could play a better one than the one on the record. He thought Dan Hrdlicka, the lead guitar player of my solo band had played it on the record. Complicating the issue was the fact that Billy Sullivan could play "slide guitar" and Wally couldn't. When I told Wally that, in reality, the late, great Hugh McCracken ( McCartney, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Billy Joel....) had played the solo, he looked a little "shellshocked." All these years, he had thought it "wasn't very good" because he thought Dan Hrdlicka played it, but confronted with the fact that Hugh McCracken had played it, it suddenly became a much better solo than he had thought. With that newfound knowledge, we worked it out so Billy played the solo with the slide bar, the way Hugh did on the record, and Wally doubled the notes with the appropriate "bends" to simulate the part. Played together, the two parts sounded great.

The bottom line? Had Raspberries recorded "ABM", that great, triple tracked slide solo would not have been there, and that's what I had always heard in my head. George Harrison's guitar on "Something." And all the sensitive, just behind the beat drum fills, played by Donny Krueger wouldn't have been there either. In short, it wouldn't have been the same record I heard in my head. And THAT'S the record I ended up making. A "no compromise" record and arrangement, because there were no band egos I had to assuage. And that is one more reason that it was better as my first solo record than it would have been as a Raspberries record.

I've said before that I always wrote to the band's strengths, which is the only smart thing to do. But I loved The Beach Boys, and Wally HATED them. Scott and Mike would have been game for anything, but I can't imagine ever writing "My

Girl" or "Last Night" or "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" within the confines of the band. By leaving the band, I was free to write without thinking about the strengths ( and tastes ) of the other band members.

That freed my mind to write all the songs on my first solo album, and that freedom, including the freedom from conflict, allowed me to write and record an album that was more successful than all of Raspberries albums put together.

The best songs I wrote for the band are still really cool, but I had a lot more inside me that being in the band would not have permitted.

The band had run it's course, and I was frankly worn out by the never ending fighting with Wally. He wasn't a team player, and I needed to work with musicians who "liked" what I did. 

I remember the day ( after the physical confrontation in Chicago ) that I told Wally I was leaving the band. We were on a plane flying home from somewhere, and I walked back to where he was sitting and sat down next to him.

I explained that, obviously, things had been miserable for quite some time, and that I thought it was time for him to go and pursue his dreams. I said, 'Wally, you've always wanted to be the front man. Here's your chance.

Go form a band that plays songs like Free and Bad Company and YOU be the lead singer. You should do what you WANT to do." And his response was "But, hey, man.....you and I BELONG together!"

Shortly thereafter, Wally didn't show up at the airport, and we had two weeks of previously booked shows we had to make good on. We frantically tried to find guitar players who could fill in, but it was a complete mess. I think I even ended

up trying to play lead on my Rickenbacker twelve string, while singing lead on the first show. We played as a trio that night. It was a disaster. The band sounded terrible, and ended with a "fizzle," without Wally.

And that was that.

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ira   

ERIC..I immediately understood that was part of the agreement.."No Eric solo stuff" at the first run of reunion shows though I didn't know the inner dialogue within the band..

...and I was thrilled when you guys played "ABM" and "That's Rock And Roll" at your final Cleveland concert :D .

Two thoughts...

1)..Chad and Jeremy( who BTW are delightful in concert and FAR better than their 60's appearances would have you believe) ALWAYS joke that if the show were only their hits it would be a 10 minute show.

Raspberries were great but ya gotta flesh out the show for the casual fans whose interests were the only the "National Hits".

2)..Wally's attitde reminds me of the "Kiss" debacle"..they can't put their shit aside for ONE 10 minute appearance for their fans at the HOF induction...I think with ABBA too.. ONLY the guys appeared at HOF induction.

I'm not in the music biz...But I don't get it!

Everyone benefits from coveting the legacy of iconic bands.."Giving The People What They Want"-(Loosely quoting Ray Davies.)

Eric..I'm not always good at it myself..BUT enjoy the present.. for you..in every way.."These Are The Good Old Days".-(C.Simon)

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MikeD   

Thanks for the great stories and insight, Eric. It really is an honor to hear it from you personally. It's all fate in regards to Raspberries and your journey into a solo career. Too bad the reunion tour didn't allow Wally the chance to relish the friendships and accomplishments that all of you share. Instead, it seems he allowed decades-old frustrations to surface and (seemingly) ruin the experience for all. You two have a common bond though, and friendships have the capability to rise above certain issues. You guys were phenomenal together.

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I've had DSL issues at home and have been reading up on the posts I missed this a.m. 

That little "Renaming the Raspberries" topic really blossomed on its own and spilled over into something special!!

Eric and Wally were amazing together.  The fact the issues are still so close to the surface for both men tells me everything I need to know about the close bond they've shared. 

Wally is cool in his own way, but I'll always be on "Team Eric."

xoxo

M.E.

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Kirk   

Quoting from Eric:

"Shortly thereafter, Wally didn't show up at the airport, and we had two weeks of previously booked shows we had to make good on. We frantically tried to find guitar players who could fill in, but it was a complete mess. I think I even ended up trying to play lead on my Rickenbacker twelve string, while singing lead on the first show. We played as a trio that night. It was a disaster. The band sounded terrible, and ended with a "fizzle," without Wally."

Sometime during this episode, I made one of my regular stops to Capitol Records for any news or updates on Raspberries concerts, records, etc.  The lovely lady at the reception desk (darned if I can remember her name) knew me well, and I had developed a good rapport with her by the time of the Raspberries 4th album.  I was shocked when she revealed that Wally was out of the band!  She shared with me what she knew about the circumstances surrounding this, and I was totally blown away.  I have never repeated what she told me, but, I was very concerned for Wally's well being during this time.  A sad ending to my favorite band...

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Moving on to Democracy and Entitlement.

I put these two together, because they kind of go hand in hand.

Bands all start out as "democracies" but the concept of a democracy begins with the flawed idea that all of the members of the band are equal, in every way. This, as we all know, is never the case, but, in the beginning, with visions of "A Hard Day's Night" dancing in our heads, it was a lovely dream. And my dream was that I essentially realized my dream of being in The Choir, except now I was the undeclared leader of the band. Be careful what you wish for..

In my dream, Wally was going to step up and become the "John Lennon" of our band. He had the charisma in bucket loads , and he was a terrific guitar player. I would resume my role as "Paul," Dave would take on the "George" part, and Jim could just be...well...Jim! And, in my "perfect world", Wally would start penning tunes like "Ticket To Ride" and "No Reply," and I would write "Go All The Way" and "Let's Pretend," while Dave would come up with the occasional "I Need You" and "Here Comes The Sun."

Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Sometimes, we would collaborate, sometimes we would just write by ourselves, but each band member would understand their role, and we would go on to conquer the world. 

The only problem with my scenario is that it wasn't the same one Wally had in his head, or the one Dave had either. I think, perhaps, in the beginning we were all on the same page, and working toward a common goal. But by the time the songs for the first album were written and recorded, I could already see the dream beginning to unravel. Wally had written "Come Around And See Me" before we began writing for the first album. It was one of the songs we demoed , that helped get Jimmy Ienner's interest.

The problem was, all Wally came up with afterwards was "With You In My Life,"which, with all due respect, was not exactly "Ticket To Ride." We attempted collaboration a couple of times on "I Saw The Light" and "Don't Wanna Say Goodbye," but they were not "easy' collaborations. Dave was fairly new to writing, especially for our band, so he came up with "Get It Movin'" and "Rock 'n Roll Mama." And this is where "democracy" and "entitlement" begin to come into the picture.

To be continued......

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Eric,

Do you think Wally had any vision of the direction he hoped the Rs could or would go?  Did I miss that part of the story?  Did you always have to prompt him into saying what he wanted?  Wally surely wanted to be part of your team, but he seemed to hold small hurts which turned into a big hurt and he used it against you - and ultimately the band.  

Seems like it was Wally's personality to view situations with the band on a more personal level most of the time rather than seeing potential difficulties as part of the business relationship.  Since you two were also friends (I think), it must have been especially difficult, as I'll agree with Raspathens again re communication at that time was so different.   If someone was angry or hurt, you had to make an effort to be in their presence or make that phone call, which might be brimming with difficult emotions, and there were most likely big gaps in time between discussions. 

I know you felt hurt too, but you worked hard to think your way through (all by yourself).

M.E.

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When the band was formed, the "model" was The Beatles. My thinking was,"If you're going to pattern yourself after another group, why choose any one but the most successful group of all time?"

The concept came from many, long conversations between Jim Bonfanti and I, in Jim's living room. We literally spent months discussing every aspect of what we wanted our new band to be, from the music, to clothing to haircuts, to "image."

Then we went about looking for the right guitar player and bass player.

Our original bass player didn't seem to quite "fit", and left the band, so I became the new, de-facto bass player, and soon found out I really liked playing bass.

I think , in the beginning, everyone "got" the concept and went along with it, and all of us would have ranked The Beatles in our "Top Five" picks for "favorite band." But, as time went on, it became apparent that Wally's favorite band was Free, and Dave loved The Eagles, while Jim and I stayed true to our original concept.

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Wow, when I created the "Re-naming The Raspberries" thread last year I worried about upsetting people (Eric included). After reading all of the follow-ups I'm so glad I did! Thanks Eric, and everyone else, for this amazing dialogue.

Dave

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Eric, thanks for the great first hand information you are offering in this thread. I have always been curious about the band members current relationship, if there is one, with Jimmy Ienner. I saw where you mentioned here the comparison of George Martin keeping his name simple on the Beatle records, but Jimmy trumpeting his name with an emblem and added credits, so I take it that him creating the "brand", is not a good thing in your eyes (apologies if that is an incorrect assumption).

Knowing that you worked with him for the Raspberries albums, your first solo record, then again years later on "Hungry Eyes", I have always assumed your ongoing relationship was a great one, maybe a father-son type one, yet I was puzzled by the lack of mention of him during the reunion tour. I would have thought he might have appeared at a show or two and taken a bow or a waive to the crowd, at the very least. If I can ask, do you (or any of the band members)  have any current relationship with him and where was he when the early good will of the reunion tour started? If you care not to discuss, I fully understand, but thanks in advance for the answer that many fans have asked, off board, many times.

The last public thing I have heard of him was in 2011, when a gossip site found an old letter of him rejecting a demo by Madonna.

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Dave,

Yes thanks so much for starting the "RTR" topic.  It's been very interesting for many, many reasons!!  

Eric,

Thanks for the inside story re how the band started and evolved, and several issues concerning Wally make more sense to me now.  It also explains why you and Jim are still friends, which is so great. 

M.E. 

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Actually, I don't think any of us made much of Jimmy's logo, and "Production and Sound".  We loved Jimmy, and it was all "ok" with us, even if we weren't quite sure WHY the credits were that way.

"Building a brand" is a fairly new phenomena. No one thought about it in 1972. Jimmy was always very smart. He parlayed the success we had into producing numerous other groups. It also didn't hurt that his little brother,

Donnie, was on his way to becoming, arguably, the best promotion man in the history of the music business, and the future president of Sony Records.

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