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LC

One Fan's Odyssey (A Long And Winding Post!)

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LC   

Picking up on the autumn trend of new-member "hellos," I figured it was about time I posted a more formal... hello! Actually, I'm a new member with an asterisk, I guess. I registered in 2000 but posted just a couple of things, though I've been popping in regularly to "check the weather," as it were. With all the uplifting events of the past year, I couldn't help but re-register a little while back, and I've been wanting to post a catch-up note, so here it is (um, is there a word-count limit, Bernie?).

What I wanted to say is: First, this site is addictive. All the news, all the show reviews, all the "nooks and crannies" -- EC.com couldn't be better. Kudos to Bernie, Kathy, and all of you who make it a fun place. (Couldn't help but notice all the musicians, writers, editors, and creative types here.... Must be something about the intelligence of the music.)

I originally came across EC.com around the time it launched and sent an e-mail to Bernie to offer compliments. What a welcome site it was. In the pre-Internet days, it was tough to find info like this about the Raspberries and EC (and I worked in music publishing for years!). It's amazing to think about all the good things this site -- and Raspberries.net, too -- have spawned: a forum for fans, info-sharing, and best of all, The Reunion.

Second, The Reunion! -- it's just about the greatest thing to happen in music in decades, and I haven't even been to a show yet. Fortunately, the words and photos here have painted a picture of what I've missed (thanks for that). On one hand, I'm a little racked off at myself for not somehow, some way getting to a concert. I live in Massachusetts, so the NYC shows were close, but... I had a book signing in Cooperstown that weekend. I almost pulled off Atlantic City, but logistics tied me down.

However... I'm optimistic. Very optimistic. I feel like there's more to come. From all accounts, the reunion has been electric, so why let it end? I don't mean to be naively optimistic, but... I'm sort of counting not only on more shows (here's hoping for a New England visit) but a DVD and a whole CD of new material. Wishful thinking, yes, but you've gotta figure that the Raspberries' obvious camaraderie (from all accounts), the thrill of recapturing that great sound, and the rediscovery by so many fans will add up to new songs. The story isn't ending....

Third, "Round 2" of Raspberries has sparked all kinds of memories for me. I mean, almost every song on every Raspberries and EC album has some connection to a person or moment or feeling or stretch of time in my life. That's probably true with most folks here (at least those of us who are of a certain age).

Back in 1972, I was a 12-year-old who constantly borrowed his older sister's Raspberries LP to play "Go All the Way." (I, too, was one of those who thought the chorus was "Please go away," but that wouldn't make a helluva lot of sense, would it? Heck, I was only 12!) Shortly thereafter, I borrowed my sister's "I Wanna Be With You" single -- permanently, as it turned out. That was the coolest song I'd heard since... "Go All the Way." And it's as fresh now as it was then.

I somehow lost track of the Side 3- and Starting Over-era Raspberries, but in winter 1975, the familiar voice on "All By Myself" reeled me back in. No song has ever nailed loneliness so hard.... I studied the heck out of "ABM," courtesy of (again) my sister's LP collection. It became a personal soundtrack of sorts because my family relocated in summer 1976, just before I started senior year of high school. "ABM" helped me get through -- it was a place to find consolation (if not a little self-pity!). "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again," too.

The EC album sent me scurrying to more closely "examine" the entire first Raspberries LP, and I recall listening to "I Can Remember" over and over at the time. It still amazes me that a 20- or 21-year-old could have written that piece. "Waiting" and "I Saw the Light" were equally entrancing, and there was something so cool, in a Lennon/McCartney way, about Eric and Wally collaborating on "Don't Wanna Say Goodbye." I also dug (dig) "Come Around" and "Get It Movin'" -- worthy changes of pace.

From there, I bought Raspberries' Best. I'm know I'm preaching to the choir, but... that was the perfect compilation for the (LP) era. I must have played it 10 million times in 1976-77. Side 1 was a real rush every time, with those "four horny singles" run together, no gaps between 'em, and all those great Wally guitar riffs and Jim's booming drums. The second side got me into "Let's Pretend," still one of my five favorite EC songs. And Capitol's Best-of packaging was incredibly effective. It was pretty slick to blast "FEATURING ERIC CARMEN" on the cover. And those liner notes... I practically memorized all that copy about the "illustrious" Raspberries. I recall getting a huge kick out of Eric's "itinerant farmworkers" quote.

The summer before starting college, 1977, I waited impatiently for Eric's 2nd solo LP. After countless delays, Boats Against the Current finally arrived, and I dove in and found it instantly powerful. I didn't so much listen as absorb it -- just soaked it in. The title track, to me, is just about the best song ever written. I couldn't understand why the album didn't spike to No. 1 on LP charts that fall, or why Arista didn't release "Love Is All That Matters" as a single.

That fall, Boats was glued to my turntable. I probably have played that record more times than any other, including Abbey Road and Rubber Soul and Pet Sounds and Blood on the Tracks. I remember sitting in English Lit class and writing the lyrics to "Boats" and "Nowhere to Hide" in my notebook. I just connected with 'em more easily than with lines from Shakespeare....

Boats inspired me to quickly buy the entire Raspberries' catalog, starting with my own copy of the first LP (my sister took hers away!), complete with scratch-n-sniff sticker. Among those LPs, I still can't pick a favorite (if you put a gun to my head, I might say Fresh... or Starting Over).

Eric's Change of Heart takes me back to spring semester, sophomore year. It didn't set the world on fire, but I still defend it as a fun pop album, with the highlight (for me) being "Desperate Fools." Around that time, I got really into Fotomaker, too. Wally's "Name of the Game" is still a favorite of mine.

By the time Tonight You're Mine released, I was interning at a newspaper where I pitched a music column to my editor. He approved and I eventually wrote a review (rave, of course) of TYM -- although the editor refused to print the “suggestive†cover art (he used the flip side instead, the prude!).

After graduating, I went into magazine editing and within a couple years, I got the chance, thanks to some kismet, to be launch editor of a new magazine covering CDs and digital audio. From 1984-93, I had my own little (subtle) campaign to keep our readers aware of Eric and the Raspberries, starting with my first column, where I compared our fledgling mag to a "boat against the current" (hey, it was valid -- in '84, remember, few people had listened to a CD player, never mind owned one). In the years ahead, we published wish lists for LPs we wanted on CD (you can guess what I requested); reviewed Raspberries import/compilation CDs; and plugged mentions of "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" into CD reviews of Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2. My highlights, though, were interviews I did with Eric in 1986 (re: Geffen CD) and 1988 (Dirty Dancing). He was gracious and cooperative and forthcoming and honest, which is all any interviewer can ask.

During all those years covering the then-new CD market, I got exposed to countless discs and bands and styles of music. Yet I always came back to what hit me the hardest -- Beatles, Beach Boys, and Raspberries/EC. They still account for 80 percent of what I listen to. It's the best kind of rut, don't you think?

In the meantime, I'm getting a kick out of seeing which songs grab the ears of my daughters (6 and 3, already big Beatles and Beach Boys buffs). "Let's Pretend," "Drivin'Around," "Nobody Knows" -- I've heard 'em in the back of the car singing all of those. And when I play "IWBWY" yet again, one of them instantly asks, "Dad, why do you like that song so much?" Ahhh, it's a long story, girls....

Anyway, I'll stop now. Apologies for taking up so much Web space: This "note" just might crash the server!

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darlene   

LC, Thanks for the wonderful post. It's so great to hear how many beautiful memories Raspberries music sparks for people. You have no idea how much your post made me smile! A hundred welcomes to you! Enjoy the board and meeting all the people who, like you, love EC and Raspberries music! And I agree with you completely. The story isn't ending...so much more to come!

:) --Darlene

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LC, welcome back. What wonderful memories you have of the Raspberries and Eric, especially getting to interview him, lucky you. I enjoyed you post, all of it ;) How nice to have such special memories. Eric and Raspberries really have the best loyal fans!

Nice to meet another fan from Ma.

June :)

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LC   

Gracias, folks. It's nice to get such warm welcomes (welcome-backs) from longtime members! I've been seeing your posts for years, Kirk and Kazumi, and Darlene and Marlene, and aggiesjc and mymooladi. Good stuff!

Mymooladi, wouldn't it be nice to have Raspberries resume their tour in New England? I could see a nice little triangle of shows working out: Stamford, CT, and Manchester, NH, and Boston, or maybe Providence, RI. Heck, even one of 'em would be nice!

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LC, it would be wonderful if they came this way. Did you catch when Eric came to Salem NH with Ringo. I though I was in Heaven, I couldn't believe he was this close to me, only 45 min. away from me. YAHOO! I hope the Raspberries get this way but I am not holding my breath. I'm just hoping they decide to do more shows.

June :)

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LC   

Now THAT'S funny, AnneG! Hmmm... Same idea, but the couple in "Go All the Way" was a bit further along than the couple in "Go Away Little Girl."

(PS: A New Hampshirite---so you're holding out hope for a New England Raspberries show, too! It's too bad the House of Blues in Boston didn't survive....)

mymooladi -- no, I missed out on the Ringo visit in Salem.... I was still living in the greeat state of Virginia, or I'd have been there. In fact, now that I think of it, I was in the process of moving at the time -- I remember trying to fix my VA/Boston commuting schedule so I'd be up here when Ringo hit, but it didn't work out. So I guess the only live EC performances I've seen where a couple Dirty Dancing stops, in NYC and Worcester.... I'm due!

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LC, I missed the one in Worcester but then that's another whole story. It's only about 30 mins. from my house and I was all dressed that night but someone forgot to buy my birthday present! But I'd rather not talk about it.....still! I did see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Show and that was over the top!

June :lol:

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LC   

June, that Rock'n'Roll HOF show was an unforgettable night, from what I've read. Lucky you! Wish I could have seen it. (Now there's a perfect show for a DVD release....)

Tony, hey, thanks for asking! No "celeb" here, and certainly nothing even close to NY Times best-selling books.... Just a few titles that were on-the-side "passion" projects for me. Two of them are books that spotlight the photography of one guy, Ozzie Sweet, who's a living legend (now 87) among sports photographers. (You probably know his work from SPORT magazine covers in the 1950s/60s). The new one is called The Boys of Spring, and Ozzie's name is blasted on the cover. I wrote the text, which describes the images Ozzie took at spring training between 1947 and this year... a 58-year span. (The last chapter chronicles our travels through training camps the past three seasons.)

We also teamed up on a book 5 years ago: Mickey Mantle/The Yankee Years. Aside from those, I've done a couple sports memorabilia books.... Couldn't help it... I love that stuff. The music thing was a book of CD reviews, but it goes way back to 1986, when there weren't a whole lotta CDs out yet! Heck, that was so long ago, the Raspberries reunion was still 20 years away!

Anyway, enough self-promotion.... But thanks again for asking.

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LC   

Tony--one other thing.... I've gotta say that the thing that kept me coming back to EC.com the past couple of years is the bulletin board, and the way that all the personalities come through. I can always count on getting a few laughs over that great Cartmillian sense of humor -- or TommyTunes' Trifecta bids (and his growing army), CubFanMike's baseball banter, or Razz-wine's "McCartney-fan-baiting." Great stuff.

You tend to look for names after awhile -- from Darlene (and those nice welcomes), Roadie #3 (and those insider notes), and Trindy to Aggies, Kazumi, and mannoman... and so many others. Great music banter. If you step back and look at it, there's tons of music knowledge on these pages. Heck, Marvin's posts alone can fill a good book on rock and pop music.

I might be spending too much work time time in here, but... on the other hand, everybody needs a break now and then, right?

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LC, the RHOF show was a wonderful, night to say the least, I will never forget. I was so fortunate to be able to go, I almost had to miss it.

LC, have you thought about a book about the Red Sox? I know your not originally from here but it is a fascinating ball club.

June :)

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LC   

June, I've been buried under a pile o' work, so it's taken me a while to respond to your 11-17 note. I didn't want you to think I was a snobby Yankee fan ignoring your thoughts about a Red Sox book. It does have merit, because you're right: Boston is a fascinating club -- there's plenty of history and even some untapped angles about The Olde Towne Team.

Of course, last winter and spring, the Red-Sox-book-market got pretty flooded. I wish I had the time to capitalize, but last fall, I was still frantically trying to finish my Ozzie Sweet project. Right now, I suppose the window of opportunity is a lot less open, but who knows? There are still some angles that could work. People (esp. Yankee fans) never get tired of reading about the sheer frustration that built up over 86 fruitless seasons! Just teasing.... Seriously, lots of history there.

As for Eric's legendary Rock Hall of Fame show, I would say it's about time for an encore---but this time with Raspberries.

I was thinking about this, too: Jacobs Field would be a great Raspberries venue.... Opening Day 2006, a special season-launching mini-concert leading up to the National Anthem, with Raspberries lined up to throw out the first pitch.... How's that sound? The Indians have such a promising team that "Go All the Way" would be an appropriate theme song for the new season....

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LC, I would love to see Raspberries open for the Cleveland, Indians. A wonderful idea! They could use a good catch phrase such as Go All The Way! Sounds good to me.

I know what you mean about the Red Sox books market being saturated. Good luck with you book.

June :)

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