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Eric Carmen

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Everything posted by Eric Carmen

  1. I would rank "The Way We Used To Be" in my top five songs that I've ever written. The actual recording was my one-take, piano-voice demo. We overdubbed the strings. Rounding out my top five would be "Boats Against The Current", "Nowhere To Hide", "She Remembered" (another one-take, piano-voice demo used as the master ) and, maybe, "Run Away" ( the first vocal I ever recorded with Val Garay ). It was one take. We were testing the mic, and Val pushed the 'record' button. Seven minutes later, he said "You just sang the vocal of your life!" It was the first time I'd ever had the right mic put in front of me, an old Neumann tube U47. It sounded so great in my headphones that I was inspired to sing as well as I have ever sung. One take. Couldn't have sung it better. Val was pretty impressed. I never knew how much of a difference a microphone could make, until then.
  2. That's a GREAT question, bahoo! Hindsight is always 20/20, but there are a few things I would go back and change, if I could. Number #3/ I wish I had had the self-confidence to have moved to L.A. or New York at the beginning of my career. I've read the stories about how Glenn Frey lived in an apartment over J.D. Souther, and Jackson Browne moved in later. I'm not positive about the details, but that's close enough. As much as I love the 'Berries, there are times in my life when I've experienced being part of something with an incredible number of highly creative people involved ( Footloose comes to mind ). I was so inspired after a week in L.A. with Dean Pitchford, Herb Ross, etc. that when I came home to Cleveland I was determined to move to L.A. as soon as possible. There is something about being with highly motivated, brilliant, creative people that brings out the best in you. I was on Cloud Nine after working on "Footloose." I wished I could have been around that kind of talent all the time. Number #2/ I wish I had had the self-confidence to INSIST that I produced the Raspberries, from the beginning. I loved Jimmy Ienner like a big brother, but he just wasn't a "sonics" guy. Jim used to say that his drums never sounded better than on the four original Raspberries demos, that I basically produced. I knew exactly what Jim's drums should sound like, and, on my first try, at a little local recording studio, I got that sound. When The Raspberries signed with CAM Productions in 1971, Victor Bennedetto, asked me who I thought should produce the band. I replied "Me, or George Martin. Period." Eventually, Victor convinced us to let Jimmy produce. It wasn't a "mistake" because Jimmy brought some wonderful things to the table, but, in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have "caved." I was a quick study in the recording studio, and, had I been given the chance, I think I could have made all those records better. Number #1/ When Jimmy decided NOT to produce my second solo album, I had my manager send tapes to George Martin and Gus Dudgeon. They both said they wanted to produce the "Boats" album. Gus was available immediately, but I would have had to wait five months for George, as he was already committed to two projects before he could produce me. Sensing the immediacy of getting the follow-up album to my first solo album out there, I opted to go with Gus. I have never made a bigger mistake in my life. The fact that I COULD have recorded "Boats" with George Martin will haunt me forever. I would do anything to have had the experience of working with Sir George. It kills me that I will never have that opportunity.
  3. http://www.examiner.com/article/mccartney-guitarist-hugh-mccracken-has-died
  4. From Bob Lefsetz http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2007/07/23/the-kelly-clarkson-apology/
  5. This is AWESOME, Bernie! Thanks a million! e
  6. Listen to "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor. You can "hear" the smile on his face and the warmth and sincerity in his voice. That's great recording and a perfect performance. It's amazing how much emotion you can transfer through a good mic and onto disc. The first one to figure it out, amazingly, was Bing Crosby. Sinatra was certainly aware of it, too. You can sing the same line in the studio, once with no facial expression, and the second time with a smile on your face and they sound completely different. Emotion and believability are the things people hear on records, and what they identify with. Without those two qualities, you're wasting your time.
  7. All of your posts are great, kids, but ( and I've had many years to think about this ) it really comes down to a couple of things. Thing One: Clive likes to be INVOLVED!! If you understand that Clive readily admits to being a "shameless self-promoter", and loves being the biggest star on the label, the worst thing you can do is not ask for his input. You're going to get it, whether you ask or not, and Clive isn't a shrinking violet who's going to let some snot-nosed rookie tell HIM that HE'S wrong! He is going to let you know who the boss is, and in a way that you will never forget it, and never make that mistake again. I think Clive left me alone on my first album because he felt that he had "discovered" me. He got on a plane, flew to Cleveland and sat in my living room while I played him probably 2/3 of my first album on the piano. And God bless him for it! He came out of the ivory tower that most CEO's live in and flew to Cleveland for goodness sake! As a result, his "involvement" in that first album didn't need to be so much on the "creative" side as on the "discovery" side. But there's no denying that he did indeed fly to Cleveland, listened to me perform the songs in my living room, and signed me to his new label within a week. Involved he was. Thing Two: When you are dealing with someone as iconic and opinionated as Mr Davis, you must learn to put yourself and your career in perspective. This is a very hard lesson for most artists, myself included, because while you are focused 110% on YOUR career, your career is but one of DOZENS to Clive. If you listen to Clive's commentary that accompanies the CD that comes with his new book, you begin to realize that what Clive relishes, perhaps more than anything else, is his ability to "personalize" the story behind each and every song and artist that was chosen for that CD. He says he wasn't really that big a fan of "pop" music, and then tells you his story of going to Monterey Pop and being mesmerized by Janis Joplin, and how that experience opened up a whole new world to him. The story becomes not so much about Janis and more about Clive's EXPERIENCE of Janis. It's Janis Joplin from Clive's perspective, as she helps tell HIS STORY, and not the other way around. In this way, Clive takes each of the artists he's worked with and turns them into stepping stones in the ultimate story of Clive Davis, and, after all, that's what his book is about. Ultimately, what I was getting at is that although your career is all that you are concerned about, you are but one of many to Clive. You may be up to your ears in writing, producing, arranging and singing on YOUR album, but Clive is listening to, and participating in, the careers of, perhaps sixteen other artists who are all writing and producing and in the studio and doing rough mixes and final mixes at the same time. And every one of those records is going to have "The Clive Davis Stamp Of Approval" or the artist is going to write more songs, do more mixes, add more reverb, record more background vocals, turn the snare drum up more, or down more, until it sounds and feels just right to Mr Davis. And the MOST difficult part of this exercise is that every time Clive wants a change, the artist is paying for it out of his or her own future royalties. Every remix, every hour of studio time, every new reel of tape, every dollar spent recording and paying for new background singers and the engineer who will put them on tape, the tambourine that needs to be louder, and the cowbell that needs to be quieter, are ALL being charged to the artist. I recall, during the recording of the "Boats' album, someone asking Clive if he was concerned about the amount of money that was being spent in the studio. His reply was "Not at all. It's HIS money, not mine." And, when all is said and done, it is Clive who will decide what "priority" (read: promotional dollars) to spend on each and every record. And if he doesn't love it, and believe it's going to be a smash, he will simply allocate fewer dollars to promote it, thus insuring that it will NOT be a hit. And if he decides he doesn't care for it al all (read: "Tonight You're Mine") he can just bury it, and you have wasted two years of your life and , perhaps, $300,000 that you are now "un-recouped", which means your NEXT record will have to be so successful it not only pays for itself, but for the last record as well, before the artist will ever see a dime. And if Clive doesn't care for your next record, he can simply put you "on suspension" indefinitely, until you come up with something he likes. If you were lucky enough to have an attorney who so thoroughly knew the industry inside and out negotiate your deal, or a manager powerful enough to command Clive's respect, he might make an exception or let you negotiate your way OFF the label ( by promising to pay him $100,000 when and if you get another record deal somewhere else ) but, for the most part, the artist is just screwed. Having said that, Clive is a charming, brilliant man. Great fun to have dinner with, and knows the business as well or better than anyone who ever lived. He doesn't do these things maliciously. This is simply how the game is played. It has been my honor to work with him over these many years, and it's also an honor for him to have chosen "All By Myself" as one of the twelve songs that he included on the CD of music that has defined his life. I'm in pretty heady company, and I will be forever grateful for the chance to have made that record and for his participation in making it a hit. It's also nice to know, in a strange kind of way, that if I called him tomorrow, he would take my call. He is the last of the great icons that controlled the music that became the soundtrack of our lives for the past six decades. Just as we will never see another group like "The Beatles" again, so we will not see the likes of another Clive Davis. And so it goes. e
  8. Kirk, I could tell you stories...............
  9. Oh, and Donald made good on his "promise." I never had another bonafide "hit" again, until Jimmy asked me to sing and produce "Hungry Eyes", a film that he was the executive producer on. Lo and behold, "Hungry Eyes" flew up then Billboard charts into the top twenty, and then took months to slowly make it's way into the top ten, and then the top five, and took almost as long to drop out of the top five and ten and twenty. Each week that you have a song in the top ten, ( back in the old days ) that meant you would probably sell 75,000 records. When it reaches the top five you sell 100,000 records. So the longer you stay in the top ten, making your way up the charts to top five status, and back down again, you are literally selling hundreds and hundreds of thousands of records and getting played 5 or 6 times a day on every station in the country. Donald promoted that record. Success for me meant success for his brother. After "Hungry Eyes", Arista was putting together another greatest hits package. Putting a brand new song on the album would give fans their money's worth, and since Donald was on a roll, I suggested to Jimmy we should do something "new" and that he should produce it. I played him "Long Live Rock 'n Roll" and he liked it, but thought, and this is a quote...."Who wants to hear a song called Long Live Rock 'n Roll from Eric Carmen"? I've got to admit, that comment stung a bit. I came up with "Make Me Lose Control", sent it to Dean Pitchford who then re-wrote the chorus lyric and I went into the studio with Jimmy in LA. Donald was still at the helm of the promotion department when the single came out. The record went to #3 on Billboard. The mysteries are revealed. ( On a side note ) when Celine Dion's version of ABM rocketed up the charts, it finally peacked at # 4. I would personally bet that Donald ( who, by that time, was President of Sony, I think ) pulled the plug on promotion because he didn't want Celine's version to eclipse my version, which Jimmy produced.
  10. I never quite understood why he didn't raise a finger to promote the "Tonight You're Mine" album. For years I had no clue, and then, little by little, the truth began to slowly come out. First, I had just signed with a former Arista attorney named Michael Lippman for management. He had left the label, signed me and Melissa Manchester ( along with Bernie Taupin ) and I think Clive was not very happy about it. It was pretty simple for Clive to sabotage Michael's new management company. He'd just stop promoting me and Melissa, making Michael look impotent in the process. Second, and probably even more important, was that Jimmy Ienner's younger brother, Don, had taken over the reigns of Arista's promotion department. I had heard that, when Jimmy and I decided to go our separate ways, Don had said to my manager "You know, he'll never have another hit." At the time, I thought it was just "sour grapes." The younger brother defending his big brother. But as time went on, Donald became arguably, the most powerful promotion man in the music industry. He was probably the greatest promotion man that ever lived. I realized that if Donald decided you "weren't going to have a another hit", that he was in a unique position to make sure you didn't. All he had to do was make a couple calls to the "independent" promotion guys that controlled radio in every city, and tell them he wanted my record to stop at number thirty. Done. And last, but not least, many years after the fact, Clive once said to me: "Once you go pop, you can never go back." Translation: My first album was a "pop" album, and henceforth my credibility as a "rock" artist was shot....forever. Ahhh........politics. e
  11. Clive has always seen making records as a "collaborative" process. He likes to be involved. He wants to give you his "input." For some artists, particularly those who aren't writers, this might be a positive thing. However, for those of us who ARE writers, the goal is to get OUR vision onto the record, not someone else's. "All By Myself" was very strong melodically, and surprisingly simple. "Boats Against the Current", not so much. The whole "Boats" album was less obvious than my first solo album. I wasn't trying to make every song on "Boats" sound like a top forty hit. My arrangements were often very spare ( Nowhere To Hide, Run Away, Boats ). "Subtle" is not a word in Clive's vocabulary. He wanted every chorus to smash you in the face and scream "HIT"!!!!! So, I think he was disappointed by the less obvious songwriting, the subtler arrangements and by his lack of input. I think Clive gave it a listen, didn't hear an "All By Myself" jump out at him, and simply lost interest. We had also had our difference of opinions about whether "Boats" should have background vocals. Clive wanted them. I didn't. Clive's way of showing you who's boss is to put your record out, and then simply let it languish for a few weeks on the charts, and then fall into oblivion. He had just taught me a lesson. Let Clive have his way....or else. He who controls the purse strings decides which records will become hits, and which records will not. As to a "fling"..........you must be joking. e
  12. Happy Happy Birthday, dear friend! Have a wonderful day! Eric
  13. August 11, 1968 The Beatles launch Apple Records August 11, 1966 Last Beatle concert tour of U.S. begins August 11, 1965 "Help" opens in NYC August 11, 1964 "A Hard Day's Night" opens in NYC August 11, 1962 The Beach Boys release "Surfin' Safari" August 11, 1939 Sergei Rachmaninoff's last appearance in Europe August 11, 3114 BC the Mayan calendar begins Coincidence??? I think not.
  14. Hi everyone. Sorry for not being around much. I've been bogged down with divorce court, attorneys and taking good care of my kids. It's been a trying time, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel, and I think things are going to work out fine. I'll try to check in more often. xoxo e
  15. Keith Richards "Life." Even better on audio CD, narrated by Johnny Depp! 20 CD's!!!!
  16. Charice, tonight's show. ABM. She kills it. And watch for a new M&M's ad coming around the 27th.
  17. So, here's the inside story. Carmine played a lot of the "Tonight You're Mine" album. He's a really great rock drummer. Duane Hitchings also played on a lot of that album and he and I stayed in contact after the album was done (something almost unheard of in L.A.). One night, I'm sitting in bed watching TV, and Duane calls. I ask him how he's doing and what he's up to, and he tells me Carmine finally got a record deal and he's just finished his album and he's put together a band and it looks like they're going to Japan and Hawaii to support the album. I asked Duane who was in the band , and he said Tom Petersson from Cheap trick, Rick Derringer and himself. Since I love Japan and Hawaii, I said "Hey, do you guys need another guitar player?" Duane asks me if I'm serious, and I said "Yes"! He said he'd call Carmine and call me back. About an hour later, Carmine calls me and says let's do it. So, we did about 10 days of rehearsal in L.A. and off we went. Seemingly, from the minute we arrived in Japan, the rock press divided us into two different groups. Carmine, Duane and Rick were seen as "serious musicians", while Tom and I were seen more like "teen idols." When the elevator in the hotel arrived in the lobby everyday, Carmine would walk out with serious mascara, the Fu-Manchu mustache, a large cloak, pirate earrings and tri-colored hair. I think the Japanese girls thought he was kind of scary. He was hoping to be mobbed, but it wasn't happening. Then Tom and I would come down, and 500 girls would rush the elevator. Carmine was not pleased. I remember reading one interview Tom and I did, where we said, jokingly, we were the "lightweights" of the band. That translated into the press as "Eric and Tom are 'Light Eaters." It was all pretty funny.
  18. Dean, Just keep quiet about how I did at the plate that day!!!!!! e
  19. That picture of Natalie Wood gave me a case of the vapors!
  20. Have a wonderful birthday, buddy. It was so great seeing you so happy! You deserve it! Your friend, Eric
  21. When I was in the studio, doing the string session for "Fooling Myself", I remember the concert master asked me how I wanted the 25 or 30 string players to play that middle section. I told him "Just like Rachmaninoff wrote it." Haha e
  22. Me , lead, Wally Dave and Jim, backgrounds. Great band. e
  23. Jann Wenner doesn't believe that any bands that came from the midwest are worth consideration. It's of no consequence that John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen are two of our biggest fans. We can add Michael Chabon, Pullitzer Prize winner, voice of a generation, all around brilliant guy. ec
  24. I bought a guitar I got the fever.... That's rock 'n roll....... ec
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