Jump to content

Eric Carmen

* * * * *
  • Posts

    2270
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    84

Everything posted by Eric Carmen

  1. As much as I liked the review (it made me chuckle, more than once) there were so many inaccuracies, I was tempted to write the author a response. Among them: He continually credited ME with all the "honky-tonk" piano stuff. In fact, I played NONE of it. It was Jeff Hutton, one of Raspberries' "sidemen." who contributed all that piano stuff. Next, he pretty much trashed Scott McCarl's vocal on "Rose Colored Glasses." In reality, Scott had no intention of singing the song in that soft, wispy voice. Jimmy Ienner told him to sing it that way. Scott didn't like it, and neither did I, and that isn't how he sang it in rehearsals, but, alas, the reviewer could not have had any knowledge of this, so Scott gets the credit. Wrong. Somewhere in the review, he credits Scott with playing a great guitar solo (Lord knows why) when, in fact, all the guitar solos were played by Wally Bryson. Maybe the reviewer got confused, and forgot Scott was the bass player. And then there are the errant lyric quotes, one after another. Fairly harmless, I guess, but why not look them up and get them right. Anyway, I guess, overall, it was a positive review, so I'm happy for that. e
  2. Come to think of it, Jeff's replacement in Toto, Simon Phillips, is pretty phenomenal, as well. I've never had the pleasure of working with him, but if you watch the "live" videos of the current Toto, Simon is clearly brilliant. e
  3. On the "Change Of Heart" album, I used Jeff, and his brother Mike (on bass) on a track or two, and I even had Jeff's father, Joe, come in to play percussion on a session or two! e
  4. That electric violinist should have called himself "Papa John Screech". Awful to the tenth power. e
  5. Hal Blaine was incredible! Dino Danelli, too. But NOBODY was, or ever may be again, in a class with Jeff Porcaro. And I say that with all due respect to ALL the amazing drummers I've ever worked with, and I am VERY drum oriented. Jeff was just in a class by himself. What he did was superhuman. I never thought it even possible. e
  6. And to think I was so distracted by the horrible sound of the whole record, that I never had any idea that the lyrics were even MORE disgusting than the music. It stands out in my mind because , in my humble opinion, it was, and remains, the most horrific assault upon my eardrums and psyche that I have ever heard. Quite an accomplishment, considering the amount of abysmal garbage polluting the airwaves for the past two decades. e
  7. Right behind Jeff, is Steve Lukather, who is pretty much Jimi Hendrix, as far as I'm concerned. And Bruce Gaitsch, who I worked with on the "Winter Dreams" album, is also absolutely incredible. He inspired me to think of guitar parts I never would have thought of, if he hadn't been sitting next to me in the studio, and, whatever I could dream and hum, Bruce could play, usually on the first take. One of the greatest things about what I do, is getting to play with musicians like Jeff Porcaro and Steve Lukather and Davey Johnstone and the late Hugh McCracken (who played the solo on "All By Myself ) and David Wintour, who played the most sensational, beautiful perfect, melodic bass parts, beyond anything I could have ever imagined, on the entire "Boats" album. If you want to hear what truly inspired bass playing sounds like, listen to "Nowhere To Hide." Only David, Nigel and I were playing, but at the end of that song, out of nowhere, David decided to play "sixths" on the bass, and the timing of the last three notes he played was so spot on with my piano that it still gives me chills every time I listen to it. He was absolutely perfect, on every song on that album. McCartney couldn't have played any better. That's why I love my job. e
  8. I personally picked every one of them, and made up their parts in the studio. Actually, come to think of it, I saw Burton and just asked him if he'd like to play and sing. He said "sure." I had the vocal part for him, but the piano was purely his. One of the things about being "the producer," is that you get to pick who would be right for each song. All the musicians I've worked with were handpicked, because I thought they would bring something to whatever song they were asked to play on. Most of the time, they did. Sometimes, they did not. I had to be ready to make up a guitar solo, or a drum part, if the guy I hired wasn't creative that day. I can tell you that my favorite session drummer of all time was Jeff Porcaro. He was, without a doubt, the most unbelievable drummer I have ever worked with ( and I have worked with a LOT of incredible drummers). Jeff just heard exactly what was in my head, and played it, without me ever having to say a word. The first time we worked together was on "Boats Against The Current." His drums were set up, and he walked in (I wanted him on that song since I heard his drumming on "Silk Degrees.") I asked him if he wanted to hear the song first, and he said "no." On the first take, I kind of "conducted" him, to show him where I wanted the fills, and what I had in mind. He had never heard the song before, but I realized I didn't need to say anything more to him. And, by the way, he was playing to piano and strings, with no click track. That's just about impossible for mere mortals. He learned the song on take one. He played very well on take two. I could have used take three, but i asked him if he'd like to do another one, and he said "yes." Take four is the one on the record. When I listen to it, now, it's hard for me to imagine that we didn't play together at the same time, that's how perfect his "time" was. We did "She Remembered" the same way, and, as Jeff was walking out of the studio, having played to only my piano, with no click track, he said, "I really enjoy working this way, with you. It's so easy for me to just play to your piano part. We should always work like this." I can only tell you that I have worked with sensational drummers, all of my life, from Mike McBride and Jim Bonfanti to Carmine Appice, Nigel Olsen and all the other terrific drummers I've known. Jeff did things that no one else I have ever known could ever do. He passed away, suddenly, very young, years ago, and I can tell you, I was devastated when I heard the news. He was, without a doubt, the most gifted drummer, and perhaps, the most gifted musician I have ever known. He is the drummer on "Boats Against The Current", "She Did It", "Love Is all that Matters", and "She Remembered". On every one of those, he was overdubbed, playing to nothing but my piano. I have never known anyone else, ever, who could have done that, and, when you listened to the basic track, you would never have dreamed that he and I were not playing in the same studio, at the same time, and, beyond that, it never took more than four takes!!!! He was done in a half hour! My question was always "What can I do with you for the next two and a half hours (one, three- hour session). e
  9. I think it's March 3, 2014. Sony wants time to set everything up properly. I like that. e
  10. Oh, I left out "Hot Tuna", possibly the most stupefyingly horrible band, ever. I think the guitarist from the Jefferson Airplane was in the group, along with someone who played the absolute most God awful solos on an electric violin, or any other instrument I have ever heard ( GREAT CONCEPT! ). I remember hearing them played on WMMS, and being completely flabbergasted that ANYONE ON EARTH would play the record, let alone listen to it, LET ALONE RECORD IT! It was the audio equivalent of watching an animal disembowel it's prey. Horrible beyond words.
  11. Capitol Records didn't "get" that "Rasberries" is another word for the "Bronx Cheer." The logo should have been vibrating lips with a tongue sticking out, because the whole concept of the band, from it's inception was to "blow raspberries in the face of Prog Rock, which was all the rage at FM radio in 1970. I HATED what was happening to music at that time. I remember being bored out of my freakin/ mind by supposedly "heavy" groups like Jethro Tull and Traffic. The GREAT, three minute songs of The Beatles, The Who, The Byrds, The Beach Boys and all the Motown artists were suddenly replaced with long, tedious flute solos and self-indulgent noodling around by every guitarist, no matter whether they sucked or not ( and many of them DID suck ) and organ solos and all manner of horrible, pointless nonsense. Personally, no one thinks Keith Richards is that great a guitarist, or Pete Townsend, but Keith has managed to come up with more brilliant guitar intros than anyone in history, and Pete was a WONDER to see live! He was so riveting when Cyrus Erie opened for The Who, July 14, 1968, a date I will never forget, that, even with Roger Daltrey swinging his mic on a twenty foot cable and catching it just in time to sing, and Keith Moon playing drums like an absolute mad man, I realized I hadn't even glanced at either one of them for at least 15 minutes. He was just incredible. I was in the studio once and Little Feat (blech) were winding up their session and my session was about to begin, and I asked Lowell George who his favorite guitarist was. He said "Keith Richards" and broke out laughing. I wanted to clock him. I would take The Who or The Rolling Stones over ANY bunch of supposedly "heavy" prog rock goons ANYDAY! And that's what the name REALLY meant, but Capitol got it wrong, like everything else, and put those four little fuzzy berries on the back of the album, and the sticker on the front, and our fate was sealed. It was the BRONX CHEER DUMMIES!!!!! Oh, and, by the way, we never got to see ANY of the artwork for the first three albums until they were in the record stores. I think we finally made such a stink about it, we got to see the "Starting Over" album cover before it was released. We thought it looked like a "bootleg," but at least we got to choose the photographer, for once. We actually learned about the sticker after some girl called Dave, and told him she'd just purchased the eight track. Dave, incredulous that someone actually bought it, and we didn't even know it had been released, asked her to tell him the song titles, and she did. And finally she told him that she had heard, at the record store, that the album was going to come out a little later because, when you squeezed it, raspberry jam was going to ooze out. He called me in a panic, and then we called Jimmy Ienner and he told us about the sticker. e
  12. One more thing. I didn't pick the songs that went on the album. Jimmy Ienner did, and then Capitol Records picked the singles. I always felt tremendous pressure to come up with songs that sounded like hits, because the other guys weren't writing them. When you consider that all four Raspberries albums were released between 1972 and 1974, that's an album every six months for two years, and we were touring after each album. By the time I went solo, artists were making one album every two years, and even with that amount of time, it was tough producing enough quality songs, with no filler, while touring.
  13. This comment is for Tony. In regards to your post about wishing I could have somehow been more diplomatic in my dealings with my bandmates, Clive, Jimmy Ienner etc. The truth is, I probably was way TOO DIPLOMATIC, all the way around! This is partly a problem of hearing my songs, fully arranged, guitar parts, drum fills, harmonies and back-ground vocal lines, in my head before ever bringing them to the band or the producer, right down to the transistor radio break in "Overnight Sensation." It really wasn't much of a problem with Jimmy Ienner. He knew I'd have the arrangements done before we walked into the studio, and, frankly, our budgets for the Raspberries albums wouldn't have allowed us to start working up arrangements in the studio. That's why we were all rehearsed before we got there. In the studio, time is money. We didn't have the kind of success that gave bands like The Beatles the opportunity to go to the studio and spend weeks or months "experimenting." That would have been wonderful, but I think the budget for the first Raspberries album was $30,000. That had to pay for tape, the engineers, the producer's fee the studio time, union scale for band members, a string arranger and, perhaps a twenty-five piece string and horn section and, usually, we had to get the orchestral tracks done in one, three hour session. No time for mistakes or chart re-writes. I think that first album was recorded. start to finish in three weeks. A week or so to cut all the instrumental tracks, a week for all the vocals, lead and background, and a week to mix. That's it. It was more of a problem for some of the band members, who resented being told what to play on any given song. Jim and I laugh now about the day I asked him to do the "My Generation" drum ending on "I Can Remember." He HATED it, didn't want to play it, and, at one point even said "I don't even LIKE Keith Moon!" He finally gave up and said "OK, If you want to ruin your own song!" After a while, he grew to love that drum rave up, but he sure didn't like it when I asked him to play it in rehearsals. Similar problems ensued with guitar parts. Wally basically wanted to play solos through EVERYTHING, and I needed power chords and very melodic lead lines like the ones in "If You Change Your Mind." I've always been able to "think" great guitar parts, but I usually needed someone a lot better than me to play them. I remember sitting in my hotel room, in New York, the night before we had to record the guitar overdubs for that song, and for some reason we hadn't come up with them during rehearsals. I was up until three in the morning dreaming up those lines, every note of them, and the harmony lines, as well, and then Wally had to learn them and play them the next day. Not an easy thing to do. In retrospect, if I could have been more of an asshole, and LESS diplomatic, things might have worked better. I always tried to kind of "sugar coat" my requests, and dance around the issues politely, when, it might have been better if I just demanded what I wanted, with no apologies. The first time I attempted to compromise with Clive was on the background vocals on "Boats Against The Current." He wanted them. I didn't. To appease him, I went back into the studio and recorded the girl singers version. I HATED IT, and I was sure that, when Clive heard it, he would hate it, as well. Not. We then began a battle that sent me back in to record male background vocals that I hoped I could bury under the strings, but make Clive feel like he had won. He didn't buy that version either. He wanted the girls and I didn't. It probably killed the chances for "Boats" to be a hit. My mistake was ever agreeing to record the girls in the first place. Too diplomatic. Some artists are lucky enough to have powerful managers that can intervene in these matters. Or, they are simply so confident that they refuse to EVER compromise their vision EVER, FOR ANYONE, IN ANY WAY, ON ANYTHING. Frankly, that's why Madonna became a star. She NEVER compromised. It was HER VISION and if you didn't like it, you could just "fuck-off." Bruce Springsteen was very fortunate to have Jon Landau to help him, and a record label (again, Columbia) who let him record a third album, after his first two flopped. Most labels would have just dropped him after the first one. Columbia gave him a chance to find himself, and by the way, Bruce recorded the entire "Born To Run" album once, didn't like how it turned out, and somehow got Columbia to let him go back into the studio and re-cut THE ENTIRE ALBUM FROM SCRATCH! Now THAT takes some serious moxie. When I hired Gus Dudgeon to produce the "Boats" album, he neglected to tell me that, on the 14 albums he had done with Elton, all Elton did was come in, play the piano and sing, and go home. Apparently Gus did the rest. When I first heard that story, I found it INCONCEIVABLE that Elton would just turn it over to Gus, but that's because I hear finished records in my head, and I guess Elton doesn't or didn't. This is what caused all the friction between Gus and I in the studio. I conceived the guitar solo on "Run Away" (the one in the middle of the song, where each guitar line is answered by the string section) and I heard George Harrison's guitar sound on "Something" or Andrew Gold's guitar sound on "You're No Good." Gus originally recorded it with a very distorted Gibson Les Paul sound through a Marshall amp. When I attempted to explain that that wasn't the sound I wanted, and that it was probably a Fender Stratocaster, triple tracked, recorded directly into the board with no amp, through a compressor, he became infuriated and told me he "wouldn't know the difference between a Fender and a Gibson if it bit him"! At first, I thought he was joking, but I very quickly realized he was not. Gus was an engineer, before he was a producer, and he simply thought of the guitar, ANY guitar, as fitting between certain frequencies. It didn't matter WHAT guitar Davey Johnstone picked up, it was going to fit "right there." Davey could have decided to play a banjo instead of a Les Paul, and it really didn't matter to Gus. It fit into a certain place on his parametric equalizer, and that was that. Simply amazing, and completely contrary to the way I wrote and recorded. He had a fit in the studio that day, when I asked one of my roadies to purchase Linda Ronstadt's album, so I could show him what sound I was looking for. He ended up storming out of the studio after saying, "That's it! You fucking do it!" I asked him to "please not "teach me a lesson," but he was done. I had accidentally usurped his producer's throne, and he had had enough of it. A short time later, he quit the project and left me with eight piano, bass and drum tracks on forty-six reels of tape, with no track sheets to sort out which take was the good one. Dudgeon's revenge! "Find it yourself you little twit!" I spent my first week as a producer listening to all forty six reels of tape, each one containing three or four takes, all recorded at different times, over a period of six months, with no notes, trying to find the "right take." He had also spent $300,000, all recoupable against my royalties, and I probably spent another $100,000 completing the recording and mixing it, making "Boats" one of the most expensive albums ever recorded, at that time. I think Fleetwood Mac might have spent more on Tusk, but I got the "bad boy reputation" for spending that much money on the album. It also elicited the comment from Clive, when someone asked him if he was concerned about how much money the album was costing, to say "I don't care. It's HIS money, not mine." So, you see, being "diplomatic" doesn't necessarily get you a better result, and sometimes, it's the very worst thing you can do. e
  14. It's so interesting for me, reading everyone's list of "favorites," and even more interesting seeing how diverse they are. For fans of "That's Rock And Roll", Tim Smith found a "live", straight off the board tape of my first solo show at The Bottom Line in New York, circa 1976, in Sony's tape vault in England. How it ended up there is anybody's guess, but the version of TRAR that will be on the new cd is from that "live" show. I think the whole show was broadcast by a radio station ( maybe my dear friends at WNEW? ) and Tim plucked the track from that performance. It is SMOKIN' HOT and I absolutely LOVE IT!!! Why, you ask? Well, because the mix came straight off the board, so there are no "effects." No reverb, no nothing. No re-recording of anything. It was the last song of the night, and, the first time I heard it, I actually thought "Wow! That's one hell of a vocal performance, after being onstage for 90 minutes! I had no idea I was that good! Not a bad note anywhere!" And I wish my voice had been just that "roughed up" when I recorded the song for the first solo album. That was always a bit of a problem for me, because I sing best when I've been singing on stage for a few days, at least, ( a few WEEKS would be even better ) and when we recorded, we always did all the instrumental tracks and overdubs first, so I literally didn't sing for three weeks before we started to record vocals, and my voice smoothed out too much. I actually used to go to the studio, hours early, and scream scales into a padded wall, trying to "rough up" my voice. In any case, this version kicks the originally recorded version's butt, warts and all. It's not perfect, but that's what makes it so good. The band sounds like the Stones on this version. It's kind of funny. In Clive's book, when he commented about me, he apparently said "Once you go pop, you can never go back." (Meaning no one will take you seriously as a rocker, ever again). After hearing this track, I recalled Clive, standing just offstage, putting his arm around me as I exited the stage that night, and I wondered "How could he have just heard that performance and make that silly statement?" I will always be indebted to him for signing me, and releasing and promoting "All BY Myself," but the "Arista Curse" was that Clive's first 3 major hits were "Mandy" by Barry Manilow, another ballad by Melissa Manchester and "All By Myself." Radio programmers, from that point on, thought of Arista strictly as a "ballad label," which is probably why Clive released "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" second, thus sealing my fate forever as a "romantic balladeer." Meanwhile, on Columbia Records, Billy Joel could follow "Just The Way You Are" with "You May Be Right," saving him from a similar fate. Apparently Columbia didn't buy Clive's "Once you go pop, you can never go back" theory. A VERY good thing for Billy's career. For my career, not so much. This track ought to put that statement to bed, forever. e
  15. Sorry for all the typos. I think I cleaned most of them up. Sometimes my brain goes faster than my fingers. It should all make a little more sense, now. e
  16. "Sunrise" probably would have been 5th or 6th ( not that any label ever released a 5th or 6th single! ) e
  17. Nothing that has been written or recorded before will be part of the one or two new tracks on the 30 track CD. These will be brand new, and my only dilemma is trying to decide what approach to take to writing a new song after 17 years. I promise, if I add a couple of tracks to this release, they won't suck. As a matter of fact, I've been listening to the reference discs in my car and thinking "Hell, I was really in the zone on that first and second album!!!!!! Rachmaninoff wrote his first piano concerto, and , when it was previewed, the first time , on stage , with an orchestra, in was an unmitigated DISASTER!!!!! He was so devastated by it's complete failure and lack of acceptance by the public, that he went into a depression that lasted TEN YEARS, during which he could write nothing. It took him TEN YEARS, with the help of a psychiatrist, to write his second piano concerto, which has now become his most famous work, and is the melody for the verse of "All By Myself." ( The piano interlude is entirely mine). He eventually dedicated the second piano concerto to his psychiatrist ( We writers are a weird, tormented bunch ). I promise you, that, if there is a new track, or two on the new Sony album, they will only be there because 1) They were something completely new ....and 2) They were brilliant enough for me to not have to worry that my biggest fans thought I was " past it." If I can't write something every bit good as my stuff from the past, I won't submit it. I think I can. Hahahaha!!!!! I just have to find the right topic, the right approach, and come up with a melody and a bridge as beautiful as any I have ever written. If I can't do that, I won't just throw something in there because it's "new." I'm pretty sure I can, and that's my challenge, Write something at 64 that's as meaningful as anything I wrote when I was 24, or 34, or 44. It's not an easy assignment, as anyone who has observed Paul McCartney's latest "best efforts" testifies. Billy Joel has pretty much quit recording, Springsteen, ( God Bless Him ) continues to try to find something new and relevant, and he seems to be increasingly drawn toward MY INFLUENCES, the Beach Boys,, The Who, The Beatles, The Stones, and The Byrds. I may find myself increasingly drawn toward Bruce's influence, Bob Dylan, who I never paid much attention to, back in the day. I always loved the writers. Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Wiel, Holland, Dozier and Holland, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondhiem ( West Side Story ) Rodgers and Hammerstein, Henry Mancini, and of course,The Gershwins, Hoagy Carmichael, and every other great writer of the 40's and 50's that wrote the songs that shaped my musical life. And all of the classical composers I loved: Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Satie, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach. Brahms, Sibelius...These were GIANTS among ordinary mortals. They heard the voice of God. Occasionally, in our generation, we have heard that voice. It came through Lennon and McCartney, Brian Wilson, Don Henley and Glenn Frey and J.D.Souther and Jackson Browne, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townsend, Jagger and Richards, Marvin Gaye, and those few artists that connected with the "universal." The ability to create something new that, when you heard it, you knew it spoke to you directly. That's what I have always tried to be, just as F. Scott Fitzgerald inspired every lyric I wrote on "Boats Against The Current."His short stories and "The Great Gatsby" were the story of my life, written in the most beautiful prose I could have ever imagined, by a midwestern author who had the greatest command of the English language that I have ever read. My goal has always been to combine my love of literature with my love of music, and try to create something unique, that listeners identified with, both musically and lyrically. I've not always been successful, but even the songs on the new album like "Hey Deanie" and "Someday", in their proper context, accomplish their goal. And what is that goal, you might ask? It is to move your heart and your mind to tears or elation, while making the hair on your arms stand on end. That's always what the best, greatest music did to me, and that has been my intent, every time I wrote a song since I was 21. May you experience goosebumps, every time you listen to the new Sony double album. It is the proudest thing, and the closest to what I envisioned for most of these 30 tracks that I have ever experienced. Many of these tracks give ME goosebumps!! That's saying something! God bless Tim Smith at Sony. None of this would have ever happened without his enthusiasm and dedication. He just might be the guy that, after 40 years in the music biz, is so into my music, that he might just breathe new life into my roller coaster career. Send your thanks and fan letters to him. He is the angel sitting on my shoulder, right next to Bernie and Ken Sharp, and all of you who have believed in me from the beginning. I thank you all for you continued, undying support. You have no idea how much it means to me. xoxoxoxo e
  18. I have a good friend, who I've known since fourth grade, who now works for Irving Azoff, who, for those of you who might not know the name, is probably the biggest (figuratively, he's actually about 4' 11" tall) and most successful manager in the history of rock. His company manages hundreds of artists, including the Eagles. My friend, Tom, came to NY to see one of the BB Kings shows. We had been talking about how it would be fun for the two of us to do something together, after all these years. After the show, Tom had some very interesting insights to share with me about "bands." In a nutshell, here is what he said: "There is NEVER an equal distribution of talent, drive and charisma, in any band. Eventually, one or two guys emerge from the pack and become the ones that the press and the audience key in on, for one reason or another. It may be because they write the hits, or it may be because they have a boatload of charisma, or some combination of all the attributes that make performers "stars." Think Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. John and Paul. Mick and Keith. In any case, at the moment when that happens, the other members of the band have to make one of two choices. In successful bands, the "less interesting band members" ( as the bass player of Aerosmith refers to himself, the drummer and the rhythm guitar player ) make a conscious choice to step back and support the guys that have emerged as the "frontmen". That's what happened in Aerosmith. That's what happened in the Rolling Stones. That's what happened in Led Zeppelin. Or, the other band members choose to see themselves as being "shortchanged", and refuse to accept what simply "is" , and they bitch and moan and complain about the situation, until the band implodes." Can you imagine the Stones going into the studio, and suddenly Bill Wyman wants to have a couple songs on the new album, and Brian Jones decides he should get to sing lead on a few numbers, and Charlie Watts decides he doesn't like the band's "direction" and wants Mick and Keith to start working some "jazz" elements into their music??? How long do you think the Stones would have lasted if that had happened??? Answer: Not long. What Bill and Charlie and a reluctant Brian did, is to realize that Mick and Keith were the show, and turned the spotlight over to them. They made their peace with simply being part of a GREAT, GREAT rock and roll band, and they understood that by supporting Mick and Keith, and letting them lead the way, they would ALL prosper. And that's why the Stones are still here, fifty years later. My friend, Tom, said that's how it works in ALL SUCCESSFUL BANDS, and that in bands where the Bills, Charlies and Brians challenge Mick and Keith, the bands fall apart, and the front guys go on to solo careers. That's just the way it is. Often, the two "front guys" don't even get along that well, and don't even like each other ( think Henley and Frey ) but they understand that it's the magic combination of the two of them that makes it all happen, and they deal with their issues because they know, in the long run (no pun intended) that's the only way for the band to continue to be successful. They put their personal grievances aside, and they work together, for the greater good. Not only that, but they're making TONS OF MONEY, and they don't want that to stop!!!! I've seen The Eagles live, a couple times, and I know it must really piss Glenn Frey off when they start playing one of his solo songs (which are only on the set list because some of Henley's far superior solo songs are) and he stands there singing while he watches everyone get up to go to the bathroom. But Don and Glenn make whatever compromises they have to to keep the band together. And, by the way, anyone who thinks Joe Walsh and Timothy B Shmit are getting paid the same amount of money that Henley and Frey are has REALLY got their head in the clouds. The Eagles are a business, and Don and Glenn are the CEO and President. The compensation for the "junior partners" is not the same. In any case, Tom saw, immediately, the inherent problems within the Raspberries. He could "feel" the hostility swirling around that stage, and he knew, from experience, that that never bodes well for success. Where, in the original band, I might have tried to "force" my will regarding our music, our hair, what we wore on stage etc. on the other band members, I really had no desire to do that when we put the band back together. And, frankly, I knew that no one would listen to me anyway. What I hoped, was that, thirty years on, everyone would have had time to grow up, and put past bitterness in the past. Unfortunately, that isn't what happened. If anything, the bitterness and anger were even worse, after having thirty years to fester. Where I had hoped that age and wisdom would prevail, I instead found a new level of contempt. At least as great as it was the first time around, perhaps greater. The only thing I was willing to go to battle over was the music. And so, when we played our final song, at a private VIP party at the Rock Hall, the night before the Induction Ceremony a few years ago, I looked at Jim, and he looked at me, and sadly, we both knew that would be the last song the band would probably play together. I got a call from Paul Stanley a few days after we played the HOB in L.A. in 2005. He had come to the show, as had Rick Springfield and Blondie's drummer, Clem Burke, and a bunch of other notables, and Paul saw and "felt" the same things my friend, Tom, had experienced. We talked for a while and, finally, he said, "It's a funny thing about reunions. For about ten days, when you first get back together, you wonder why you ever broke up. And then, after a month or so, all the old crap comes to the surface again, and you remember, very clearly, why you broke up." Sadly, his observation was right on the money. ec
  19. All I can say is wait until you guys hear the brilliantly remastered versions of "My Girl" and "Last Night" that are going to be on the new Sony double CD . My prediction is that those two songs are suddenly going to FLY into the top five on everyone's list. As a matter of fact, if this remastered version of "My Girl" had been on my first album, it might well have been the first single ( which is what I thought it would be, when we went into the studio). To take things a step further, I think the singles from the album might have been released in this order: "My Girl" "All By Myself" "Last Night" "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" And to take things one more step further, if that had happened, my guess is that my first album would have sold two or three times as many copies, and my career, overall, might have taken a completely different turn. ec
  20. Update: I really hated the two tracks by The Quick. We were only going to use one, but I hate them both, so....Tim found a "live" version of "Starting Over" from the Bottom Line 1976 show, and that will replace The Quick (Thank God)! A MUCH better song, and a MUCH better choice. e
  21. I NEVER started to relax. Wally, Dave and Jim had all been in The Mods and The Choir together. I was the youngest guy in the band, the "new" guy, and I had tried to get The Choir to let me audition to be in their band. The other guys were much less focused on being successful than I was. I don't mean that in a bad way, they were just normal twenty-year olds. I had a sense, from the very beginning, that if I didn't make it as a songwriter, I might end up selling shoes. Fear is a great motivator. I couldn't count on anyone else to write a great song. My own success was my sole responsibility, and I took it very seriously. You are right about me not being in those videos. I've always thought, if I ever decide to write a biography, the title might be "Odd Man Out." I fit in, but never completely. Even though I became the de facto leader of the band, I could always sense a sort of resentment, from some of the other band members. I was much more disciplined than they were, and I think they thought I was a tyrant. It also didn't help that my all songs became the singles. All bands are formed on the foolish notion that there is an equal distribution of talent and drive, and, therefore, there will be an equal distribution of money and fame. That isn't how things work out in "real life." In "The Eagles", It was always Don Henley and Glenn Frey. Everyone else was good, but not essential. In "The Beatles", it was John and Paul. Could they have become successful with another guitarist and drummer? Probably. Did George and Ringo add to the mix? Absolutely, but they weren't the critical elements. Mick and Keith ARE "The Rolling Stones" ( with a huge nod to Charlie Watts ). Page and Plant were "Led Zep". Without Pete Townsend, there was no "Who." That's how it works in bands. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven. There's always that magical balance of charisma that compliments each of the members. There are no "democratic" bands, in reality. The smartest thing that Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman and Brian Jones ever did, was to realize that it was Mick and Keith, and support the daylights out of them. That's probably why Brian ended up out of the band and dead. He was one of the founders of the Stones, and he became irrelevant, at a certain point. He couldn't handle being one of the "less important guys." The only reason I ever became a "solo" artist, was because I didn't have the support of my bandmates, and it just became too difficult to deal with the resentment, and bitterness and downright hostility. After the "Starting Over" album, there was just no reason to go on as a "band." We weren't accepted by the mass audience, and there was so much friction within the band it was impossible for me to continue. I knew, during the recording of that album, it was time for me to leave. My one regret was that Scott McCarl came into the band at the wrong time, and got caught in the maelstrom. He was, and is, a sweet and talented guy, and it broke my heart to see him caught in the crossfire. Life is not fair, and neither is rock and roll and the music business. I loved working with Scott, and was incredibly sad to see that new relationship come to an end. I've learned, over these many years, that people often end up where they are comfortable. I loved Wally's talent and charisma, from the first time I saw him in The Choir, but he was always his own worst enemy. I desperately wanted him to be my John Lennon, and challenge me for the next single by writing a great song, but it just didn't happen. At a certain point, I realized there was nothing I could do to salvage things, and I knew, if I wanted to succeed, I had to move on. It was a sad, sad decision, but it was about "survival." The music business is not very forgiving. You don't normally get three or four chances to "make it." If you're REALLY, REALLY lucky, you get one chance, and you'd best make the most of it. The Raspberries had that chance, and couldn't sort out their individual egos, for the good of the band. At some point, in 1974, I reluctantly came to the conclusion that it was never going to work. A sad day, for sure, but without that decision I might have spent another two years watching the band self-destruct, and watching my own career die with it. I HAD to leave, when I did. I had done everything humanly possible to make the band work, and I finally realized nothing I could do was ever going to make that happen. As it turned out, it was the right decision. I will always regret that The Raspberries didn't really "make it", in the sense that "The Beatles" or "The Rolling Stones" or " The Who" did. That was my dream, being part of a band , but it just wasn't meant to be. I look back at what we accomplished, and the records we made, with great pride. I choose to remember the happiest times, rather than the disappointments, but I guess things worked out the way the cosmos intended. And, yeah, I was the one holed up in the dark hotel room, or my apartment, writing the best songs I could, day after day, night after night, while the other guys had FUN! But, I wouldn't change anything about it. I will always love Jim, Dave, Wally, Scott and Michael, but I HAD to go out on my own. I had to be solely responsible for my success or failure. If I failed, because of me, I could handle it, and take the blame. But I could never handle failing because of someone else. And so it goes.
  22. Hi kids, I thought I'd drop by to fill you in on a few recent events, and the progress on the new release. Sony flew me to New York, about a month ago, and it was an extremely positive meeting. Talk about "Deja Vu"!!! I found myself walking into the lobby of "Blackrock" (otherwise known as the CBS building, or "30 Rock", as they call it in the television series) and I flashed back to the first time I had set foot in that same building, with Cyrus Erie, forty-five years earlier, to meet with our first producers, Sandy Linzer and Mike Petrillo. The circumstances were quite a bit different, this time. Instead of being treated like a bunch of "know-nothing" teenagers from Ohio (Sandy Linzer was an hour late to our first meeting, IN HIS OFFICE!!!) I was brought to a meeting room at Sony's Legacy Records, where I met with six men, all probably under the age of forty, who were six of the biggest fans of my music that I have ever met. We discussed different ideas, and aspects of the "Essential" project, which was Timothy Smith's initial idea (feel free to write him "love letters" of appreciation. He's a "prince" of a guy. His email is: timothy.smith@sonymusic.com) and I got to meet Bernie, Tommy Allen and a friend of mine who used to live in Cleveland, but now lives in Jersey, for dinner that evening. The following day, I took a cab to a remastering studio to take part in the first remastering session for "The Essential", with an engineer named Mark Wilder. Mark is Sony's "go-to guy" when they want the absolute best. When my cab arrived, I realized that the studio was in the same building, same address, and same physical space that used to be The Record Plant, the studio where all four Raspberries albums were recorded! "Deja Vu, indeed"! All of the old analogue masters had been carefully converted to digital, so Mark could work his magic on them. The track we started with was "Get The Message," which I probably hadn't listened to in forty years. While I was initially a bit hesitant about GTM, because, in reality, it was a one take track, intended by the producers to be the "B" side of the single, and, in their own words, they wanted it to "suck," by the time Mark had finished, about an hour later, and I began to see what could be done when you have a genius engineer and today's technology, I was actually excited about the track. We went on to remaster maybe eight or nine more of the tracks during that session, which covered everything from Cyrus Erie, to The Quick, to the Raspberries, to my solo stuff on Arista, to a live track recorded at The Bottom Line in New York in 1976, which Tim had located in England, and even a track from the Geffen album, and my demo of "Almost Paradise." Well, I received two CD's, representing 28 of the 30 tracks yesterday, all remastered. I took them out to my car (equipped with a Bose Surround Sound system) and cranked up the volume. It was a religious experience. The difference between any previously "remastered" disc and what the original sounded like, I would estimate might be about 2% better. The difference between THIS REMASTERING and the original versions? Maybe 300% better. You might remember me talking about how I was disappointed in the recorded version of "My Girl", (I had gone into the studio thinking it might be the first single) because I heard it like "Frankenstein," and Jimmy Ienner heard it like "Tinkerbell." Well, guess what? It's now everything I heard in my head. It's "Frankenstein" all right, and so is "Last Night." In my conversations with Mark Wilder, during the remastering, it became clear that everything I've learned about the "sonics" of recording over the years, and could convey to Mark (Do you think we could add some 100 cycles to the kick drum? That's the frequency that makes the kick drum punch you in the chest. And could we add a little bit at 40 cycles to the bass? That's the frequency that makes the whole bottom end of the record warm and deep and BIG! And how about a little bit at 22,000 cycles so the strings open up and I can hear the resin on the bows?) all paid off. Mark is clearly a genius, and pretty much every single song he touched became better. Not by a little bit, but by MILES! It would be a mistake to think of this double CD release as "just another compilation." I can tell you, you have never heard most of these songs, until you've heard them on this package. I read recently about a little 3" by 3" box called The International. Bob Lefsetz raved about it in one of his columns last week. Apparently, with a really good pair of headphones, you plug this box into your sound source and it somehow converts digital recordings, which are usually squashed sounding MP3's, into ANALOGUE!!!!!! It opens them up and gives them the depth and warmth of vinyl! I guess Jimmy Iovine (former Raspberries engineer, Springsteen engineer, Stevie Nix producer, and founder of Interscope Records) decided he couldn't stand the sound quality of MP3's anymore, and decided to do something about it. Hence, The International. Bob Lefsetz described the experience of listening to a really great record through this box, with great headphones as being "like eating watermelon, and ice cream, and having sex at the same time." If you Google "The International" it should take you to their website. They're not inexpensive ( I think they retail for $599 ) but Bob sure made it sound like they're worth every penny. But, I digress. There are still some possible changes that may occur to the track list, and Sony is talking about me possibly writing and recording a NEW TRACK, maybe even TWO, but all I can tell you is this double CD is going to BLOW YOU AWAY, COMPLETELY!!!!! Not that I'm excited about hearing these songs sound the way I intended them to sound, for the first time, or anything. Tim Smith told me Sony isn't planning on marketing this record to 50 and 60 year olds ( no offense ). He heard my first solo album when his older brother brought it home and played the daylights out of it. He fell in love with it. He was seven years old, at the time. He wants to bring my music to a whole new generation of fans. 20 and 30 year-olds, who have probably never heard of me. How fun!!! Well, I think I've brought you up to date. I've written a few sentences for the liner notes about each song. Another of Tim's goals for this package is to show people who only know me as a "balladeer", that before Arista Records, I was a rocker, and I didn't stop rocking after "All By Myself." Mark Wilder did a BRILLIANT job on "It Hurts Too Much" and "Tonight you're Mine." And the "live' version of "That's Rock 'n Roll" recorded at the Bottom Line, in 1976, TOTALLY RAWKS!!!!!! A certain "iconic" record executive once told me "Once you go 'pop', you can never go back." I beg to differ, and this record will prove just how wrong he was, once and for all. Peace and love, Eric
  23. Here's the story: Shaun recorded "That's Rock 'n Roll" and released it before I had a chance to. It cracked the top ten and went gold ( That was when "gold" still meant 1,000,000 units ). I had written and recorded "Hey Deanie" and I knew it didn't fit on the "Boats" album, so I called Shaun up one evening and told him I had another hit for him. He came to my house that evening and I handed him a cassette of "Hey Deanie". He went into the studio and recorded it, scored another top ten record, and went on to sell over a million singles, and went gold . I think his album went on to sell about 3 million copies, so along with his two, million selling singles, there were about 5,000,000 good reasons to give the song to Shaun. I included it on "Change Of Heart", but I doubt that it would have been a single for me, at that time. Shaun was cute, had a hot TV show, and the little girls loved him. It was a no-brainer. Thanks, Shaun!
×
×
  • Create New...