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Richmond, Va., radio station review of "Raspberries TONIGHT!"


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From a Richmond radio station site at http://www.oldies1073.net/watn1_9.html is a very nice review of Bernie and Ken's book (even though it makes an error in that it says "Raspberries TONIGHT!" features the entire tour --- like Bernie said, they had to end the book somewhere).

Anyway, the comment that is probably of the most interest is: "The group is planning additional shows for 2006 as well as a live DVD and -- if all goes well -- the first new music from the original members of the group in 33 years."

The possibility of "new music" (not just a most welcome "live" CD) is enough to make me call for the paramedics ("CLEAR!!!" --- "He's got an irregular Raspberries pulse beat --- play on!").

The full article follows:



Out now is a 100-page book chronicling the recent reunion concerts by power pop legends the Raspberries. The book, titled Raspberries Tonight! is available exclusively through ericcarmen.com and features new interviews with the group -- Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, Jim Bonfanti and Dave Smalley -- as well as the story of the group's reunion. Authors Bernie Hoyga and Ken Sharp also wrote last year's critically acclaimed biography on Carmen, titled Marathon Man.

Raspberries Tonight! features photos by noted lensman Gene Taylor from all the group's reunion shows in Cleveland, Chicago, Waukesha, Denver, New York, Atlantic City and Los Angeles. Also featured are personal recollections by band side-members and their road crew. The Raspberries Tonight! book sells for around $25.

Eric Carmen said that the Raspberries first hit when radio had turned its back on fun, melodic pop singles in favor of heavier, album-oriented rock.

The group is planning additional shows for 2006 as well as a live DVD and -- if all goes well -- the first new music from the original members of the group in 33 years.

Last year, the group released a new 'best of' compilation titled Raspberries Greatest which includes their signature hits "Go All The Way," "I Wanna Be With You," "Tonight," "Let's Pretend," "Ecstasy," "I'm A Rocker," "Cruisin' Music," "Starting Over" and "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)."

Eric Carmen, who wrote most of the group's songs, went on to solo success with hits like 1975's "All By Myself" and 1984's "Almost Paradise," which he co-wrote for the Footloose soundtrack. He also sang 1988's "Hungry Eyes" from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

Aside from performing as the Raspberries, all the group members lead pretty different lives: Carmen is semi-retired from the business and is a stay-at-home dad; Dave Smalley is a part-time respiratory therapist, Jim Bonfanti is an automobile broker, and Wally Bryson is a job coach who works with mentally retarded adults. All of the 'Berries still live in the Cleveland area except for Smalley, who relocated to Arizona in the early '80s.


Don smile

My own "humble" review of the same book: http://www.epinions.com/content_217001201284

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I think it's like the guys have noted in some interviews: many of Raspberries' teen fans of the 1970s seem to have gotten ticked off over the lack of covereage of the band back then, and many migrated into the media and are now in a position to help the band.

I really believe the timing is perfect for Raspberries --- they have their "army" of ground troops to help spread the word of their comeback.

Here's something neat: I recently heard "I Wanna Be With You" on a New Albany, Indiana, radio station, 88.1 FM. I checked and it's a student broadcast done by New Albany (Indiana) High School. They are so professional I didn't know they were a high school station.

So mixed in with current rock/alternative artists on their playlist, I was stunned to hear Raspberries' second biggest hit on the station --- it is so cool to think teenagers today (the future broadcasters of tomorrow) are discovering Raspberries for the first time (for them, Raspberries truly are "fresh").

Don smile

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I live in Idaho now and the local "70's music" station features a lost gem every day at five. Tuned in a while back and they too were playing IWBWY. The guy remarked that he was tired of people thinking that the Raspberries were one-hit-wonders.

One night driving I also picked up a broadcast of "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" but it was filled static and faded in and out so I have no idea where the broadcast originated. (Heaven?) laugh

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Tommy, thanks for those very kind comments.

Paulie, there's a cool guy who is the program director for the country staion WAMZ-FM in Louisville --- http://www.79waky.com/coyotecalhoun.htm --- these days named Coyote Calhoun.

He's a member of the board of directors of the Country Music Association, has been the Country Music Association's Air Personality Of The Year, is a deejay in the Country Music Hall Of Fame and has been Billboard Magazine's Program Director Of The Year several years running.

Back in the '70s, though, he was a deejay on WAKY-AM, which no longer exists but was once the city's #1 Top 40 station for years.

Coyote was known for opening his 6-to-10 shift every night with a loud howl, a yelled "W-A-K-Y" and a shouted dedication of "Go All The Way" to a local high school team, the Oldham County Colonels, every single night he was on the air. When he'd yell "W-A-K-Y, Raaaaaaaaaasssssssspberrrriiessss" and lead into "Go All The Way," you knew what band you were listening to! I actually have him on tape from those days (I used to sit a cassette player next to the radio in the "pause" mode so I could immediately capture whatever struck me as worth saving off the radio in those days).

The deejays at WAKY loved Raspberries (the program director, Johnny Randloph, introduced the band to its Louisville concert audience) --- even "I'm A Rocker" made the station's Top 40 playlist (after the band played Louisville, driving home, the "most requested song in Louisville" on WAKY was "I'm A Rocker" that night). The morning 6-10 am guy, Bill "The Duke Of Louisville" Bailey, used to introduce the band as "Rasp-berries" (with emphasis on the "p" in the name).

In Louisville, WDRB-TV was an independent station in those days and that was my "Raspberries station" --- they carried the syndicated shows of 1973 like "Flipside," "The Coliseum Concert" and "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert."

WDRB-TV had WAKY's Lee Masters host little local segments before and after "Don Kirshner's" show. Lee went on to be program director of WLRS-FM (which played "Overnight Sensation" and the long version of "All By Myself"). Lee Masters looked like Dave Smalley circa "Side 3" (mustache and hair).

Anyway, when the first Kirshner show aired a week after the Raspberries Louisville gig (Kirsher's show was always pre-recorded), there was Lee Masters in a Raspberries T-shirt introducing the band as "a really heavy group from Cleveland" --- he didn't seem at all impressed that Steve Miller was the other act on that broadcast!

Lee (his real name is Jarl Mohn) later worked as the morning guy at WNBC in New York, then helped set up VH-1 in its early years (when VH-1 first went on the air in January of 1985, they played the original "big lips" version of "I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips" for a month before it was forever pulled in favor of the "concert" version most people remember) and later he helped launch the "E!" cable TV network, according to his bio.

Sorry, folks, but I've got to post these memories somewhere --- they are taking up space in my crowded brain... ;-)

I guess the point is, the minor deejays of yesteryear are now big names in radio and TV who will most certainly help promote Raspberries' return.

Now back to my mental closet to listen to the "Music" album by the Capitol group Bang (http://www.bangmusic.com) and that 1973 track "Must Be Love" (lyrics at http://www.bangmusic.com/multimedia/RED%20BANG%20site/BANG/lyrics/must.htm) --- ah, the harmonies, those backing Raspberries on harmony on Bang's "Must Be Love" (circa the recording of "Side 3") are pure heaven...

Don smile

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I appreciate the memories too. My favorite top forty station in Daytona growing up was WMFJ, which was later bought out by the First Baptist Church and obviously changed formats.

There was a deejay from like 4 - 9 who billed himself as "The Janitor"... had this cool taped intro that rang out JaaaAAAAaaaaAAAAnitorrrrrrr or something like that...

When Overnight Sensation was out he played it a lot and one night I tuned in just as a song ended... don't know if it was "Party's Over" or if he had "flipped" Overnight and played "Hands on You". He was saying something like "Whoa, man can you believe that's the Raspberries and their latest?"

Either way, it was the last night the Janitor was on the air in Daytona. I'm guessing he had flipped Overnight Sensation because even though "shit" was still considered bad, guys were'nt getting fired for playing Pink Floyd's "Money"... but the risque of Hands on You might have been too much for the higher-ups at WMFJ... even before they were "With My Friend Jesus".

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