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Desperate Fools


elle4ec

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Debra Winger and Richard Gere could not stand each other during the filming of Officer & And A Gentlemen, yet it is a highwater mark for both. David Crosby was pretty well disliked by every member of The Byrds, yet every Byrds disc he played on was great.Brian Jones was booted out of The Stones, yet any album he played on was classic. Talented people don't have to get along to make great music or film. IMO of course.

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Anna R said:

It would be the ONE album I would DEFINITELY bring to a deserted island...couldn't live without it!

Having never been on a deserted island, I'm guessing it would be pretty depressing. A little bit of levity to lighten the mood would be good, so I certainly wouldn't want "Boats" to be the ONE album that I'd bring.

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Personally I'd bring the Beach Boys Endless Summer or the Stones High Tide and Green Grass or some other upbeat greatest hits album myself - hell you're on an island - what better than beach music ... I could also take Cruisin Music as well you know :P

Very interesting perspective Eric on what went on in the studio - I don't know how anyone has the patience to let people fiddle for hours adjusting instruments - that would drive me insane.

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M J,

Gus wasn't just "fiddling with the dials." Nigel Olsson was pounding on his snare drum, about one stroke every two seconds, nonstop, FOR AN HOUR. There were four huge JBL speakers mounted on the wall in the control room. They were the biggest speaker cabinets I have ever seen, before or since. We used to joke that the dial that turned the volume up had markings that said, Loud, Louder, Jet Engine, Brain Death, Gus. If you sat in the control room, you heard every hit of Nigel's snare at "Gus" volume. Then, after an hour, he'd move on to the bass drum, and kick THAT for another hour. Then each tom, and the cymbals and then they'd tweak the overhead mics, all at "Gus" level. After four hours we were all like zombies. Imagine putting your head INSIDE John Bonham's bass drum for four hours while Zep played a concert. We were pummeled to death, day after day.

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marvin said:

Having never been on a deserted island, I'm guessing it would be pretty depressing. A little bit of levity to lighten the mood would be good, so I certainly wouldn't want "Boats" to be the ONE album that I'd bring.

I guess it's all perspective. I don't see (hear) Boats as a depressing album. It's got a mix of everything: Pop song (She Did It), Love ballad (Love Is All That Matters), couple of Rockers (Marathon Man, Take It Or Leave It) and several songs I'm not sure how to label other than great (Boats, Run Away, I Think I Found Myself, Nowhere To Hide). Tons of GREAT lyrics and great music...what more could you want?

Personally, I find the album very peaceful and moving...not depressing at all. When I can't sleep or just want to relax, I pop in my Zune earbuds and slip off into EC heaven. No album ever has moved me like Boats Against The Current. As Anna said, "I couldn't live without it".

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Eric Carmen said:

If "Boats" is the only record your taking to that island, you better have a great big bottle of prozac with you. Or a noose.

EXACTLY what I mean! "Boats" is a great album, but if I'm going to be on a deserted island, I certainly wouldn't want it to be the only album that I have with me.

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marvin said:

"Boats" is a fine album, and the song is probably Eric's best, but the album itself ranks as my 3rd favourite album by Eric.

Right. You've made it pretty clear over the years, Marv, that Boats is your third-favorite Eric album (and that you much prefer Raspberries to Eric solo, and that you hate Winter Dreams...). That's all fine and dandy, and I really do respect your opinion and your right to an opinion. But... why bring up those preferences at every turn?

I'm just wondering.... Because when people talk about a "desert island disc," it's a pretty personal thing, and there is no right or wrong answer, don't you think? smile

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Eric Carmen said:

We weren't making Gus Dudgeon's second album, we were making Eric Carmen's second album. And it was the most important, personal album of my life. It was my bid for F.M. credibility, coming off of a big hit album. It was my "make or break" record and I knew it. If it didn't happen, Gus would just go on and produce someone else's next record, but that album might determine the trajectory of my entire career. Artists have much more at stake than producers.

Unfortunately, things just spiraled out of control. Nothing seemed to motivate Gus to get things moving faster, and my poor excuse for a manager just kept telling me I had to "push him harder."

It was an awful situation. I remember someone asking Clive about how long the album was taking, and how much it was costing and his reply was something like "What do I care, it's HIS money." In the end, the studio got paid, the engineers got paid, and the musicians got paid. I would have had to have sold about half a million albums to break even.

Welcome to the music business.

Eric, I can only imagine how you felt the day that Boats was officially finished and shipped off to be pressed onto vinyl. If it were me, I'd have gone home, laid down in a dark room, and slept for about three days.

All that you've told us explains so much about the summer of 1977. Back then, there were precious few outlets where you could find out what was happening in the music business. Magazines like Rolling Stone and Cream and Circus had those long lead times -- the "news" was three months old by the time you read it! -- and Billboard was more of a trade pub that most young record buyers didn't subscribe to. Where could a guy get EC news back then? Where was the Internet? Where was Bernie?

Your fans, of course, knew that your second album was due early in 1977, but that it kept getting delayed, again and again. I was in high school and worked in a store my dad owned, and the record-delivery man would drive his truck in every week with all the latest releases, and I'd greet him with, "You got Eric Carmen's new album?" And every week, all spring and all summer long, for months on end, he'd just say, "Nope, sorry!"

And the reason was Mr. Gus Dudgeon...

Well, I can still recall the day when Boats finally arrived: Joe the record-delivery man pulled it out of his new-releases box and handed it to me, and I was utterly shocked. I actually remember taking it home and dropping the needle on the vinyl and hearing, of all things, "Row row row your boat" kicking off the album. Man, that was an attention-grabber, because it was completely unexpected.

I think I listened to the album for around four hours straight that first night.... It was worth the wait.

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Actually, Larry, I slept for about two weeks, literally.

I got up off the couch in my room at the Sunset Marquis (where I'd been staying for SIX MONTHS) and walked to the refrigerator. I'd make a smoked turkey sandwich, open a can of black olives and a bottle of Martinelli's sparkling apple juice., have an ice cream sunday for dessert and go back to bed on the couch. When I woke up, I'd do the same thing over again.

After that, I went to Val Garay's house and played him my rough mixes. I had always admired the records he had made with Peter Asher. We booked time at Sound Factory, and started mixing. It was a much more pleasant experience.

And then Clive decided "Boats" needed background vocals.......and the next saga began. :insane:

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But you "won" that little battle, right? Because the official "Boats" on the album wasn't Clive's version (although I know it's on a couple of compilations).

Yeah, those backing vocals.... They didn't add anything. In fact, IMHO, that song (of all songs) didn't need any bells and whistles. But in the "Murphy's Law" world, I guess the only possible thing that could happen after all that went down with Gus... was for Mr. Davis to try to get his stamp on the album, right?

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Clive was trying to turn you in to Barry Manilow...Who at the time had an unbroken and growing record of success with just the type of background vocals he wanted to foist on "Boats"...But those background vocals were precisely the wrong thing for an Eric Carmen record...Particularly for that song...It made it seem like there were unwelcome guests on the record...trying to horn in from some choir that was rehearsing next door...

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LC said:

I'm just wondering.... Because when people talk about a "desert island disc," it's a pretty personal thing, and there is no right or wrong answer, don't you think? :)

Larry I've never said that I prefer Raspberries to Eric's solo stuff - and it's YOU who brought up "WD" in this thread, not me. Why is it ok for you to express your love for "Boats" at "every turn" but wrong for me to express my "preferences at every turn"?

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