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Eric Carmen

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Everything posted by Eric Carmen

  1. Pierson, I wrote Go All The Way on the piano. I envisioned it with guitars and background vocals and all the rest but if it didn't stand up without all the stuff I wouldn't have even brought it in to the band. I could play it for you right now as a ballad at the piano and it works beautifully. It simply becomes more like Walk Away Renee or Don't Worry Baby. And even though the genesis of Overnight Sensation was the transistor radio breakdown idea, I can still play it on the piano, without all the production, and it still works as a song. And by the way, Bowie could play All The Young Dudes with and acoustic guitar and you'd still know it was a terrific song. It just wouldn't be a full blown record yet. There are lots of great rock records that were conceived as records, but if there's not a great song underneath all the layers of production it won't stand up years later. e
  2. I don't know how many of you have actually heard Il Divo, and they may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think it is very telling that a group of handsome, Armani clad young men with great voices singing beautifully arranged, classic songs could sell enough albums to debut at number one on the Billboard pop charts but can't find a radio station in America that will play their records because they don't fit precisely within any particual format. Meanwhile, in every city in the country, there's a radio station blasting rap music twenty four hours a day, making heroes and role models out of drug dealers, thugs and felons and MTV is playing Cribs and Pimp My Ride.
  3. The POD has some nice sounds but it's too noisy. e
  4. I LOVE Slaughter On Tenth Avenue!!!!! e
  5. And furthermore, I don't believe anyone, anywhere EVER got a chill listening to Snoop, Fitty Cent or Eminem. NOT EVER!!! Mumbling obscenities is just not chill inducing. Or exciting. Or emotionally moving to most humans. Never will be. Music has to touch the soul. 'Nuff said. e
  6. Actually we are witnessing the end of the old paradigm ( Artists signing with major labels to get the money to record and album in a good recording studio, major labels promoting said artist to radio by means of payola in order to garner significant airplay to sell artist records and recoup what they spent, artist touring to support album, label paying artist very small royalty rate) aand the beginning of a brand new paradigm ( Artist records record at home using computer and digital technology, doesn't need big advance from major label to record, Major labels experience huge shift away from CD sales due to P2P, downloading, itunes, labels promote artists that can't write, can't play, can't sing therefore losing all credibility with music fans, FM radio listeners increasingly tuning out in favor of podcasts, XM and Sirius and My Space for finding new music, and new artists selling directly to fans via websites, podcasts and soon...giving music away free to build fan base and increase concert attendance. A totally new world! e
  7. And Mel Torme's classic "The Christmas Song", Hark The Herald Angels Sing and Oh Holy Night. e
  8. Here's my test for determining if a song is good or not. Sit down with an acoustic guitar or at the piano and play the song. If it doesn't work with one voice and one instrument, then it's not a good song. Period. Everything that happens after that is just icing on the cake. It has to work without the icing. e
  9. I couldn't even hum you one bar of "Reason To Try." I was on tour with "Dirty Dancing" and got a call one day from Don Ienner who said they were putting out an Olympics album and Aris ta wanted me to sing a song called "Reason To Try." I was completely burned out from the grueling tour schedule but had two days off in Houston coming up. Instead of going to Houston, I finished playing a show, got on a plane and flew to LA where the recording session for "Reason To Try" was already in progress with Michael Lloyd at the helm. I vaguely remember walking in and saying "hi" to the band (Matt Sorum, future Guns & Roses and Velvet Revolver was playing drums.) The next day I went to see Dr Feder, "throat doctor to the stars," who told me my throat looked like raw hamburger and gave me a huge shot of cortisone in my hip. I then proceeded to Michael Lloyd's house, sang the vocal, got back on a plane and flew to the next stop on the tour. If you held a gun to my head, I could not remember one line of that song to sing for you. I can also tell you that, although the album went gold, I never received one penny of royalties for it. Where they went, who knows? e
  10. I apologize for all the typos.I just read that back and saw "to became they guys..." Uh, that should have been "to become the guys." I guess spellcheck doesn't cover bad grammar and fingers that type too fast. It's a good thing I play piano better than I type! e
  11. I don't remember if this was covered in the book but here's my take. Back in the 40's and 50's we had guys like Hoagy Carmichael, George and Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter and a they inspired Henry Mancini and Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Rodgers and Hammerstein, and then they inspired Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and they ALL inspired Lennon and McCartney, Holland, Dozier and Holland, Brian Wilson and all the great songwriters of the 60's. The song was king. And then FM radio happened. And instead of playing great songs, they were getting high and playing great solos. The golden age of the song gave way to the golden age of the technical virtuoso. First it was guitar solos (Hendrix, Clapton, Beck and Page) then it was any instrument( Ian Anderson, Jim Capaldi etc.) Music was now based on a "riff" rather than a song. A great song is much harder to write than a great riff, so this development encouraged a million lesser talents who couldn't write a great song, but could play a guitar lick ala Jimmy Page, to start bands. The last decade of really good songwriting was the 70's as the musical offspring of the Beatles,Dylan, Who, Beach Boys, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye etc. who were also THE LAST GENERATION TO BE BORN AT THE END OF THE 40's AND TO HAVE ACTUALLY GROWN UP HEARING ALL THOSE GREAT SONGS ON THE RADIO IN THEIR PARENTS HOMES stepped up to the plate. I don't think it's an accident that Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and I were all born in 1949. Elton is a couple of years older, I think. I'm not trying to equate myself with those guys on the success meter (they win) but to point out that the guys I consider to be the last of the really inspired songwriters are now all in their mid fifties. Why? Because when solos and riffs became more important than songs the whole game changed. It paved the way for Metallica and Poison and Warrant to became they guys that the next generation wanted to emulate. And they didn't need to be great songwriters. As each new generation gets farther away from great songwriting, the music continues to deteriorate. There's a whole generation of musicians out there now that never heard the Beatles. Their parents were playing Jethro Tull records and listening to Guns and Roses on FM radio. There's one more thing. Each generation has to find music their parents hate. That's the rule. How many of your parents saw the Stones on Ed Sullivan and said "Oh, I really LIKE THESE GUYS!" The problem is, if you parents grew up on Alice Cooper, how do top that? MARILYN MANSON! If your parents grew up and the Temptations and Earth, Wind and Fire, how do you rebel? FITTY CENT! Now we're talkin'! My old man HATES this stuff! BRING IT ON!!! And the next step down from hits based on great songs, to hits based on great riffs is....HITS BASED ON A GOOD BEAT. No music necessary! Just a computer generated drum and percussion groove or better yet, A SAMPLE OF A GOOD GROOVE RECORDED BY SOMEONE ELSE WHO COULD ACTUALLY PLAY. WHY LEARN TO PLAY OR WRITE WHEN YOU CAN SAMPLE SOMEONE ELSE? WHY WASTE YOUR TIME? WHY STUDY GERSHWIN OR LEARN HOW TO SING("This sh*t is hard!") when I can just mumble a bunch of four letter words over a groove I just sampled and radio will play it and people will buy it! Now all this doesn't mean that there aren't any more good songwriters or that the occasional great song doesn't sneak onto the charts, but there's a lot less impetus these days to do the hard work. Daine Warren wrote some great songs in the 80's and 90's and there are others doing it today, but we just don't seem to be getting any new Brian Wilsons and Paul McCartneys do we? I sure do hope things turn around at some point, 'cause I shudder to think of what the NEXT step down might be. That's my rant for tonight. Glad I got that off my chest. e
  12. Tommy, I don't have enough time to properly reply to your last post now, but I'll try to later. I have a theory about why music has degenerated to it's current level and this thread is directly related to it. I'm not sure I know "Soliloquy." I'll have to go check my Sinatra records. e
  13. I would bet that if you randomly polled a thousand people you couldn't find 2 who actually knew who Jane Olivor is. I am absolutely amazed that I just read for a five posts in a row and you ALL knew her music! Incredible! Her version of Some Enchanted Evening is lovely. I went out a few years ago and repurchased it on CD because my recollection of it from years ago was so strong. I was slightly underwhelmed when I revisited it, not with Jane's voice or performance, but with the arrangement. It was a bit more spare than I remembered. I'm not sure who might have done the "definitive" version. I'll have to surf around and check. e
  14. I can see your avatars, but when I go to my profile and edit preferences they're aren't any halfway down the page or anywhere else. e
  15. Hey Bernie! Why can't I see the avatars? e
  16. If "Some Enchanted Evening" hadn't been written, my number one choice would have been "Somewhere" from "West Side Story. The entire soundtrack from that film is spectacular. I went to the theater to watch the film 11 times. I learned the whole score on the piano and must have played it a thousand times. I love so many songs by Lennon and McCartney and Brian Wilson that it's very difficult to choose, but as pure songwriting goes, these two would be at the top of my list. "Warmth Of The Sun" is brilliant and the melody is hauntigly beautiful, but lyrically it's not quite up to Richard Rodgers and Steven Sondheim. e
  17. Back in the early 90's when I was living in California, I was invited to a 4th of July party at my friend Diane Warren's beach house in Malibu. It was a fairly small gathering (and house) of perhaps 25 people. Everyone there was somehow involved in the entertainment industry, producer, engineer, agent, songwriter, etc. At some point late in the afternoon Joni Mitchell wandered in and we were all just sitting around Diane's piano singing songs and someone asked me what I thought the best pop song of all time was. I thought about it for a minute or so and then told them my pick would be "Some Enchanted Evening" from the musical "South Pacific" by Rodgers and Hammerstein. There are a few things that happen in that song that are just so incredible melodically that it makes the hair on my arms stand up every time I hear it. Anyway, Diane thought about if for a minute and she agreed. I just checked the link and, as fate would have it, that song just happened to be number one on August 11th, 1949. That just blew me away!
  18. If memory serves me, I think the music was mostly mine and Scott and I worked out the lyric together. Play On was all Scott, right up tothe chorus. He was stumped and didn't know where to go because he was thinking that what is now the verse was the chorus. When he played the verse for me, I walked over to the piano and the music for the chorus just kind of fell out. We then worked on the chorus lyric together and wrote the bridge. Cry was Scott's idea, and he had the whole verse once again. I came up with "Babe I thought I'd never see the day"....etc. music, and we worked the lyric out togetther. I loved working with Scott. We were really on the same page. e
  19. Susanah Hoffs is an interesting choice. She's got a very special vocal quality and I love her vulnerability. There are so many great female vocalists it would be really hard to choose just one. Martina McBride's voice is spectacular. And I love, LOVE Faith Hill! As for the American Idol girls, Kelly Clarkson has now had, what FIVE hits from the last record? And just today I was on my way to the gym, punching the buttons on my car radio and I hit this really upbeat, fun, well recorded, kinda countryish song, but it sounds like Keith Moon is playing drums. And I was thinking, this is some of the most exciting drumming I've heard on a pop record in a long, long time and pretty daring for a song like this and then the record ends and the DJ says "That was Carrie Underwood." And I'll tell you guys one more thing. If Kelly Pickler doesn't have a record just as good out by this time next year, I'll eat my hat. e
  20. I bought my Dan Armstrong because Keith Richard played one on the Ed Sullivan show and, as Keith is my favorite guitarist of all time, and it looked so darn cool with Keith playing it, I went right out and bought one. I could never figure out why they used an ersatz faux brown wood-grain on some of the details of that guitar. Brushed stainless steel would have looked much cooler. e
  21. The biggest problem with the Dan Armstrong guitars and basses was that the bridge wasn't adjustable. As long as the guitar was perfectly set up it was tuneable. But if the bridge moved just a little you couldn't get them in tune. Back in those days we didn't have guitar techs at our disposal so the bridge going out of alignment meant a trip back to the music store. They were also VERY HEAVY. I remember feeling like I had a permanent groove in my left shoulder after a night of playing that thing. I believe I replaced it with the Hofner Club bass. e
  22. You can never have too much lemonade. e
  23. I sure had fun Saturday night hangin' out with Bernie and Kathy! We had dinner, drove to the Beachland Ballroom (my first time there, by the way) and listened to the Choir play songs that I heard the first time I heard them, probably 1966 or 67. On the way home, Bernie asked me what I saw in them, all those years ago that made me want to join their band. I've been thinking about it for a couple of days now and I think I've got the answer. I've always been a very visual kind of guy. Not in the sense of seeing with my eyes (which aren't that great) but in the sense of seeing things in my mind's eye. When I looked at the stage that night in 1967, I saw me standing in between Wally and Dave and I felt a little surge of energy that told me that could be a really exciting band. I didn't know them at the time and I had no way of meeting them, but I filed thatl image away somewhere. I went back to Lyndurst that night thinking about what I had just seen and heard. I saw the POSSIBILITIES. That's what it was. I could see me in their band and I could see us MAKING IT. There were other bands in town, even some pretty cool one ( a group called Kicks Inc. comes to mind) but I never really visually could see me in them. The Choir was different. I "KNEW" that could work. I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking. And visualization. I think one of the reasons Cyrus Erie was such a great cover band (and we were) was because when we played a a song by the Who, I didn't try to sing like Roger Daltrey, I WAS Roger Daltrey. And Wally WAS Pete Townshend. and when we played the Abbey Road medley that starts with Golden Slumbers, I saw Paul in my mind and, in that moment, I WAS Paul. It took a couple of years and a few twists of fate, but eventually I was standing up there between Wally and Dave. And it did work. And (at least for a little while) we DID make it. We fell a little short of my dream of becoming the next Beatles and being a force for good in universe, but in our own little way, we did make a difference. So Bernie, there's your answer, and for everyone else, this is officially my first post. How'd I do? Eric
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