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Eric: What You Wish You Had Done


bahoodore

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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.

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Great balls of fire!!!Thanks for answering these questions Eric...

#3 - Wow, that's some heavy shit....It amazes me that you say you didn't have the self-confidence, but I also get that...we are our worse critics. I have often felt "inferior" or not "worthy" of playing with "talented musicians" in the past...only resently (as opposed to recently lol) have I been able to just let my work/heart speak for itself, and it has led me to playing with some major talents...it is indeed inspiring to do so and has made me grow musically in huge steps...it's like paying tennis with a good player...then playing with a great player...you either give up , or rise to the occasion and get jiggy with it...this part I really get now...but I would have assumed that with your gift ( that I consider exceptional), you would have felt that YOU were the great tennis player already...LOL

#2 - How many young up-and-coming artist are given the reins at the get-go? Especially back in the early 70's ( closer to the 60's)..at least you were self-confident enough to have said "me"...I always hated the Berries record sound...a real mess...but the songs were so good that they did speak for themselves up and above the production. ( think of "Go Now" by the Moody Blues sung by Denny Laine (i think)...WORST production EVER!...but what a song!)...at least the Berries production wasn't THAT bad...I would love to hear the Berries properly produced (but back in the day)...I am surprised that you say you could have done a better job, considering you only eventually "produced" Change of Heart ( if I am not mistaken) during your label recording career...EC at 20 yrs old vs EC at 50...I am sure you learned a thing or two over the years...but at 20? Very interesting.

#1 - Ouch Baby!......this one is stellar...and the fact that you admit to it is also stellar. I am speechless...actually, it makes me want to cry...really...oof...

Eric, again thanks for being candid on this...as much as I have been a critic of some of your work...and a huge cheerleader for the great majority of your works, other than Brian Wilson , I don't think there is another composer that has been a greater inspiration to me on my musical journey through life...thank-you.

Bahoo

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I always thought the sound of the first 3 Raspberries albums was intentionally created to appeal to AM radio- low fidelity, fuzzy bass, etc. Only for Starting Over did the sound improve which, coincidentally or not, was intended for play on FM radio. Fm was really gaining traction by '74. Sounds like the quality was really just Jimmy's inability to get the production values right!

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Your thoughts remind me of showing my sister the demo on this site of NGFILA and we both agreeing that in its original, recently inspired raw form, it was absolutely breathtaking. There was an intangible magic to it that wasn't quite captured when it was "albumed up". It's strange, it seems like so much of your work, at first blush, lends itself to crisp, conventional formula production when in fact, in many cases, a counterintuitive way might have been the better way to go.

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Eric:

In all due respect, there may be one more regret that I (all of us) hope you can prevent.

That would be performing at Severance Hall. I know you had that scheduled once, and it sure could be great to see it finally happen. I will be first in line for that event (that is, if I can beat all the other maniacs to the ticket booth!!)

What do you think?

-Art

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Great question B!

Loved the insightful answer E!

Questions like this one really help us to understand each other. Last week I had the chance to give advice to my daughter (who is graduating college next month). One of the best pieces of advice I had was based on one of my biggest regrets. Hopefully she listened.

Dave

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Sir George said yes and you said no. Wow, WOW, WOW, that one kills me as well. Boats would have been called YACHTS! It would have been too big for the industry. Even those out there who didn't get it, would have! I always thought the Beatles were an amazing talent. What are the odds of that package of talent ever happening together. But Mr.Martin made them even more amazing. You and Sir George in a studio...I can only, no make that, I couldn't even imagine or dream what magic would have been made. Can you ask again? PLEASE?

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The fact that Eric retained a certain loyalty to his hometown is one of the attractive aspects of his career. It is interesting that he says that self-confidence played a role in it since I would have imagined him as fairly confident.

I completely second the sentiment on Severance Hall. I would probably even adjust the timing of my usual trip to visit family in OH in order to be there.

At times, I can see Eric as part of a jazz festival. (Obviously, the artists are not all jazz. Willie Nelson headlines the event here in Rochester this year.)

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Hey Bahoo! What a revelatory question! LOVE it! And what a fabulous answer from Eric! Lack of self-confidence at the tender age of 22 is understandable, especially when one has no experience in the business, but Eric has always been such a powerhouse of talent that I, too, was surprised.

Eric and George Martin would have made history together. Obviously George recognized Eric's bountiful musical gifts. Just knowing that knocks me out! Thanks for replying to this one, Eric. Another jewel in your sparkling crown!

:)--Dar

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