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Do you remember where at? We saw the double bill again in May-72 at Lumen Cordium High(they won a gumwrapper contest sponsored by WIXY radio), but,I believe Dave played then. The only reason why I know these dates is because I have a photo album/scrapbook. Otherwise, I can't remember where I put my keys last!!!Ha!Ha!

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I think it was March 25, 1971--I have the ticket stub!! ($3.75) That was my first experience! Yes, I took a lot of flak for being a 'berries fan from my older brother. The funny thing is, he was the first to call after the show to see how it went!! I will drop you a line! Gotta get going-I have to work--I keep forgetting about that when I am on this site!

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Writing has always come fairly easy to me. It's something that I take very seriously and I've always strived to hone and improve my work. On this Message board I've had the opportunity (as you have) to read some incredible stories. My favourite writers are no longer people like Dave Marsh or Mikal Gilmore or Ben Fong-Torres or Lester Bangs. They are the writers found right here: people like Bernie, Larry, Pat, Jennifer, Trindy, and Michele. The following 'essay' was sent to me by Pat Pierson and in my mind it wonderfully encapsulates the essence of the 'berries and their standing in Pop music. One day I hope to be able to write with such fervor and passion. Here with Pat's permission:


"Tell Eric Carmen The News…."

It's not that I had my reservations--the songs ("Go All The Way," "I Wanna Be With You," "Tonight," "Ecstasy," and "Play On") are still defining masterpieces--but this performance at Cleveland's House Of Blues truly made it clear: The Raspberries are the quintessential power pop band. And no one else comes close.

Since I tend to be an historian/musicologist I gravitate towards way too much analysis and other boring bull shit that dilutes the experience. That or I ramble obnoxious to the point of didacticism hell. A simple 500 mile drive to Cleveland Ohio to see four guys in their 50s perform tunes they wrote and recorded three decades ago answered all my questions about who REALLY invented power pop.

Now, on the surface, it seems obvious, but the term "Power Pop" has been grossly misused and abused over the past 30 years. Mainly because it's very hard to distinguish from pop/rock (or rock/pop) depending how you slice it. In a 1978 issue of his magazine, Bomp!, the late Greg Shaw went to exhaustive ends to explain how it all happened and why the Raspberries (more precisely Eric Carmen's songs in the Raspberries) were the ones that took the genre to it ultimate design/refinement. Since then many critics/music journalists thinK Big Star (my favorite band, actually) did. These days Rolling Stone magazine doesn't care enough to review a bio on Carmen and the 'Berries, nor their historical reunion gig last week. Bastards. Such marginalization is inexcusable. I know why they may never get in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, but to not give them proper coverage is flat out wrong. Their reunion was just as important as Love, New York Dolls, and The Stooges.

Today's major critics don't have a fucking clue. (Well, some do, but it's not enough to reach general consensus amongst those who matter and that's what's disturbing.) When outlining the evolution of power pop, Shaw also took erroneous liberties to exclude The Beatles and The Hollies but include Abba and Bay City Rollers with certain distinctions of the power pop aesthetic. We all make mistakes. All of them helped the cause. Mainly, Shaw was trying to get at the concept of "power" and the delineation between pop, rock, and power pop. Here's one of the most important things he wrote: "Their (Raspberries) roots went back to bands like The Choir and Cyrus Erie who'd been championing Mod music since 1965… The Raspberries were the essence of Powerpop, more than the Who or any of their prototypes. On their best records, every nuance, every tiny bit was flawlessly designed to create an overall impact that's never been matched.

The reason: Eric Carmen had studied and distilled into the group everything that was great in all his personal idols, not just the Who but the Beatles, Lesley Gore, the Beach Boys, Tommy James and more. Records like "Go All The Way," "Tonight," "Ecstasy," "I Wanna Be With You" and "Let's Pretend" illustrate the Powerpop ideal: pop beyond question, dealing with themes of innocence and teenage romance, without schmaltz, with the power of pure rock and roll giving force to the emotions being conveyed. All the dreams and frustrations and urgent desires of teenage emotion are captured in these records as never before or since." The funny thing is, Greg Shaw is still right.

Perspective: The Big Star/Badfinger debate and why The Raspberries matter Big Star and Badfinger were rock bands who had a lot of pop and mod influences in their music. Unlike The Raspberries they also exuded some of the current hippie sensibility (i.e. laid back attitude, progressive lyrics). The Raspberries, since they had a huge hit with "Go All The Way," were perceived as something different. (Badfinger had the "Apple" cache and didn't get stigmatized by their hits. Big Star were underground.) On album, they tread some of the same ground Badfinger and Big Star did (i.e. "Don't Want To Say Goodbye," "Should I Wait," "Cry," and "Might As Well"). Only the diehards paid close attention. So what's it all about, Wally?

Just as Alex Chilton's more haunting and insular depths became Big Star's MYSTIC, what made the Raspberries sui generis was the Eric Carmen material. It's in a league of its own. Amongst power pop it stands out as glaringly as Jimi Hendrix does in the pantheon of hard rock guitarists. Add to it the sophistication of "Overnight Sensation," and other gems like "I Can Hardly Believe You're Mine," "Nobody Knows" and "I Saw The Light" and there shouldn't be a reason for dolts like Rolling Stone to lose sight of such a prize.

Since Eric Carmen took such a hard turn into the pop landscape (a major "sell-out" if there ever was one) the music critics tossed him and the Raspberries aside like a mere afterthought. A major cynical gaffe of disastrous proportions. (Imagine talking about punk rock without the Sex Pistols. And believe me, The Pistols still struggle with elitists and music snobs who deem then "too nihilistic" to be taken seriously.) The knee-jerk gravitation of the past 20 years towards Alex Chilton's Big Star can be seen as guilt-ridden historical revisionism. Big Star did deserve the credit they received. It's just that everyone else forgot about proportions. The Raspberries, and their lack of "cool" and cult hero fascination (none of their members died and their music is not made for reinterpretation), were left in the dust. The Raspberries just might be the most unduly marginalized band in the history of rock and roll. And I say that with no ounce of hyperbole because that's what I've been feeling for the past week since I saw them live and really went back to their records in a serious way.

Over the years I tended to underrate the Raspberries catalog, especially in light of Big Star and other things. I was wrong. Sure the Raspberries tend to be a sentimental band and, sadly, this has done more disservice to their

legacy. But THAT'S NOT THEIR FAULT, nor is it something that should be slagged. If anything, it gives them their identity. It also gives their music a sense of purity and sincerity no band in 1972/1973 had. The concept of power pop has never been about "mystery" as much as it's been about "expression." The Raspberries were able to express the emotions in a much more powerful and articulate way than anyone else, that's why they rule.

They said it was exactly 31 years to the day they last performed together (which was for a tapping of "The Mike Douglas Show" with Joe Namath and Billie Jean King). The show was amazing. The guys looked a lot older, obviously, but played everything with wicked execution. It was a time.


Pat advises that most of this writing will end up in the next issue of Yeah Yeah Yeah (spring 2005)

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Wow, good stuff, thanks Marvin. I have to pretty much agree with everything he says. Especially when he writes "The Raspberries just might be the most unduly marginalized band in the history of rock and roll. And I say that with no ounce of hyperbole because that's what I've been feeling for the past week since I saw them live and really went back to their records in a serious way." He explained EXACTLY how I've been feeling since seeing them last week, I'm just not capable of articulating it that well.

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