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Karen Shane?

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I’m sure Bernie will quote page and paragraph from Marathon Man where this is mentioned but thus may be the first time I heard of this  ladies name...


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Having just begun singing jazz professionally in 1998, Karen Shane is already making her mark with her first album It's Anybody's Spring, issued in the same year. The road which took her to a career in jazz was not always as clearly marked as it is today. Her initial vocalizing efforts began in 1967 when Shane was still in high school. She hooked up with Eric Carmen forming a local group which sang the music of the Beatles, Byrds, Jefferson Airplane and other rock heroes of the 1960s generation. Moving to Los Angeles in 1970, she backed up Donna Capers at a local venue, the Troubadour, and did some background vocals... 


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This is from one of those iconic threads were Eric and his storytelling are in fine form. Karen Shane is mentioned in the story, but you might as well read the entire post, it's that great:

* * * * *

 Posted February 25, 2014

I've been reading the "Renaming (The) Raspberries" thread for a few days, and I think it's one of the most interesting discussions I've ever seen on ec.com. I don't have much time to respond at the moment, but I thought I'd at least begin by putting up this new topic. I started to respond a couple of days ago, didn't have enough time to finish, and when I went back, later to write more, what I had written was gone.

Let me give you a little bit of insight regarding my mindset back in the late 60's and early 70's.

Almost all the music I loved, in the beginning, was created by "bands." As essential as Jim/ Roger McGuinn and his Rickenbacker 12 string were to The Byrds, what "made" "Mr Tambourine Man," for me, was the harmonies. It was McGuinn's lead vocal, but without David Crosby's high harmony part, it wouldn't have even been close to being the same record. 

And as good as "Ticket To Ride" was as a song, it was John's lead vocal and Paul's harmony above it that "made" THAT record.

I never wanted to be a "solo" artist, because all of the magic was being part of a vocal blend like John and Paul had. To this day, the stuff that got me off most, onstage, was singing the bridge of "Baby's In Black" with Wally, or Paul's part on "Ticket To Ride" while Wally sang John's part.

So THAT'S where I was comin' from in those early days. 

The other thing you need to know, and I've talked about this before, is that "The Choir" was like "The Beatles," but on the "local" level. They played all the same music I loved (Byrds, Beatles, Hollies, Who, Stones) plus they had really long hair, and great equipment (does anyone remember how important THAT used to be?) and they were just plain cool. And then, "It's Cold Outside" was released, and they had the number one record in Cleveland , and then it charted nationally and it looked like they were REALLY going to make it. I wanted to be in The Choir more than anything in the whole world (except, maybe, being in The Beatles).

So it is from that vantage point, standing in the audience, looking up at that stage, hearing the music I loved, played with the right chords, on great instruments, through big, cool amplifiers, LOUDER than anyone else's, by a bunch of skinny guys with long hair, who looked like they were having a ball, while all the eyes of the girls in the crowd were fixated on that stage, that the story of the creation of Raspberries begins.

At that point in my life, I was a shy, skinny introverted kid. But I dreamed BIG dreams. And when I saw Wally playing that Rickenbacker 12 string, while chewing a big wad of gum, and just generally being a complete "badass," I recognized that he and I could be that perfect "Yin and Yang" combination, if only I could get into the band.

To make a long story short, I had been rehearsing a new band that had been formed from the remnants of my high school band, and another local band, "The Rebel Kind." I had approached Kenny Margolis, the lead singer and keyboardist of the band, shortly after both of our bands had broken up, and suggested that we should form a band with two lead singers, who both played keyboards. Kenny brought his drummer, Ange LaMarco, and I brought guitarist Marty Murphy, and we rehearsed in the basement of Ange's dad's beauty salon. We added a girl singer, Karen Shane, and after about three months of rehearsal we were actually sounding really good, playing songs by The Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, Procol Harum, and a lot of other diverse stuff. Every day, Kenny would tell me stories about The Choir, knowing how infatuated I was with them. His band had opened for them on numerous occasions, and he delighted in telling me what "stupid morons and hillbillies " they were. I would stare at him in disbelief as he ran my idols down, and I remember frequently telling him his stories couldn't possibly be true. He would just laugh.

One day, I arrived at rehearsal to find Kenny packing up his gear. When I asked him what he was doing, he said "I'm joining The Choir." Dumbfounded, I asked him why he would jump ship to join the "stupid morons and hillbillies" and he replied "It's just business." And with that, he hauled his gear up the stairs, loaded it into his car and drove away, leaving the rest of us stunned, standing in that basement knowing we had just wasted three months rehearsing for nothing.

I was pissed. And I was determined to do something about it.

I called a cute, local "groupie" and asked her if she could get me the phone number of The Choir's manager, Ray Taylor, and she said she could. Within 24 hours she called me and gave me his number. I mustered up all my courage and called him. The phone call went something like this: "Hi Ray, you don't know me, but my name is Eric Carmen and I've been rehearsing in a band with Kenny Margolis for three months, and he just quit our band and announced he was joining yours. I've never been very good at shameless self promotion, but I think, before you make your final decision, you should let me have an audition. I play piano (with BOTH hands) and guitar, and drums, and I can sing (higher than Kenny) and I write songs, as well, and....overall I'm a better fit for The Choir than Kenny is." 

There was a long silence on the other end of the phone, and then he said "We're playing at the Lorain Hullaballoo this weekend. Why don't you come out and we'll give you an audition." So I drove out to the West Side and I ended up talking to Dave, Wally and Jim for a few minutes, but I kept wondering when I was going to get the chance to audition for them. It turned out that there was no keyboard there for me to play, and when the gig was over, they all just went home. I later learned that their manager had told them about this "wonder boy" who wanted to audition, and that they'd all had a pretty good laugh about it. And that was that. Kenny joined their band.

In the Shindig magazine article, Wally, rather disingenuously, made some statement about me "failing the audition." In truth, their was no audition. I never got to play, or sing or do anything else. Kenny was, and still is, a talented guy, but I was a much better match for the band. In some way, however,it was actually a good thing that I didn't get the audition, because, in hindsight, had I auditioned and been hired, I would have been the "junior member" of an already successful band. "The New Guy."

When they took Kenny, I made a vow that, six months from then, they would regret that choice, because I would have the best band in Cleveland, and almost six months to the day, Wally was fired from The Choir ( along with Dave Burke, their ASTONISHINGLY GREAT bass player). Wally came to see Cyrus Erie at Mentor Hullaballoo, and, after the show, he walked up to the stage and said "You were right. We should'a got you." I called the guys in the band, and the following day, I called Wally and asked him if he would like to join Cyrus Erie. He said "Yeah," and Cyrus Erie was soon the preeminent band in Cleveland, and on it's way to a recording deal with Epic Records in New York. We were eighteen years old when we signed that deal and flew to New York to record our first "professional record." With Sandy Linzer ("A Lover's Concerto") and Mike Petrillo ("Tell It To The Rain") as our producers, we headed into Columbia's Studio "C" to record three songs, "Sparrow", "It Won't Be The Same Without You" and a "B" side, that was supposed to "suck", "Get The Message."

This is starting to sound like the book I will one day write, so I'm going to have to skip around a bit. Otherwise, it will end up being a thousand pages and we'll all be very old.

So, to recap the story so far...I saw and heard The Choir. I imagined myself in that band, adding whatever I could add to what was already great. I started a new band with Kenny Margolis and rehearsed for three months. Kenny quit our band and joined The Choir. I asked them to let me audition before they made their final choice, but never got the chance. I went off to college, and a friend of mine met Don Ladanyi, the manager of Cyrus Erie, who was looking for a drummer so that he could bring Mike McBride, who was then the drummer, out front to do his very convincing Mick Jagger impersonation. My friend told Don he "knew a guy who played drums," and Don called me in for an audition. I had never played drums in a band before, except on a couple of songs in my high school band, but I showed up for the audition, sat down behind Mike's drum kit, and I bashed my way through a few Rolling Stones songs and got the job.

Their lead guitar player was on vacation when I auditioned, and I didn't think much of their rhythm guitar player, so I quietly suggested that I knew a better guitar player, and later brought my friend Marty Murphy into the band.

Cyrus Erie then fired their rhythm guitar player, and, when their lead guitarist returned from his vacation he became incensed that his buddy, Rob, had been "dismissed" during his absence. 

We had our first gig booked at The Agora (I think it might have been on New Year's Eve, 1969-1970.) Tim (the lead player) decided to teach us a lesson, so he came to the show, but never took the stage. He stood in the back of the room expecting us to crash and burn without his guitar playing. Mike, Bob, Marty and I sat backstage waiting for Tim to show up, and when we had delayed as long as we could, and it became apparent Tim wasn't coming, I told the guys that I could play guitar, and keyboards (a little fact I had kept to myself, until then) and that Marty and I could share guitar duty, and if Mike went back to the drums we could probably fake our way through the gig. So Mike went back behind his drum kit, and I pulled my guitar out, and we took to the stage and the "New" Cyrus Erie was born. Tim was so furious, standing in the back of the room, that he strode up to the stage and started to remove his equipment, right in the middle of a song! The whole situation had now become rather comedic, so, as Tim attempted to disassemble his amp, and the little lighting board at the front of the stage, we kicked on the strobe light, just to make everything look even more ridiculous, and Marty pulled his guitar off and pretended to smash it, Pete Townshend style, against Tim's amp. With the strobe light flashing, Tim really thought we were destroying his gear, so he leaped on stage and, in between the bright flashes, attempted to keep his balance, and find his amplifier. At some point, I remember him trying to unscrew the colored light bulbs ( which were VERY, VERY, VERY HOT by that time ) and I could literally smell his seared flesh as he furiously tried to take those light bulbs out. It was quite a scene.

The "New Cyrus Erie" quickly began gaining popularity, and then there was the night Wally showed up at Mentor Hullabaloo. Fast forward to Columbia Studio "C".

I'm going to skip over Cyrus Erie, recording in NY, for the moment and get to "Band Names."

In hindsight, the name "Raspberries" probably didn't help our career. Although, when I think back on it, the name never seemed to hurt us when we started out, and it didn't hurt us when we played clubs all around Northeastern Ohio.

The moment when the name became an issue, was when Capitol released our first album. You may or may not remember the story of how we found out that our album had been released. Dave and I lived in two different high-rise apartment buildings on Lakeshore Blvd, once affectionately labeled "The Gold Coast," because the buildings were right on the lake, and brand new, and pretty plush by 70's standards. One night, Dave called me in a panic. He said he had just received a call from a female fan of the band, and that she told him she had just purchased our new album. She went on to say it "actually wasn't the album, but the eight-track, because the guy at the record store told her the album had been delayed a bit because when you squeeze it, Raspberry jam is going to ooze out." First, Dave challenged her by asking her what songs were on the album, and when she replied correctly, he knew she indeed had purchased the eight-track. Of course, the band had no idea the album or eight track had been released. Nobody bothered to tell us.

So Dave called me, and the next day I called Jimmy Ienner in New York, and he assured me raspberry jam was not going to ooze out of the record, but there WAS going to be a "scratch-and-sniff sticker" on the shrink wrap that smelled like...what else, raspberries. Initially, we all thought that was kind of hokey, but it did seem to attract a lot of attention. The problem was that Capitol had missed the meaning of the name (the Bronx cheer) and now we were forever going to be associated with the fruity smelling stickers, and fuzzy little berries. Not the image we were going for.

I think the name might have been ok, but for that sticker, and the assumption we were named after fruit. Add to that the very "uneven" quality of the recording of the first album. It didn't really sound like us, at all. Everyone involved was new to the recording game, the band, Jimmy Ienner, and even our engineer, Shelly Yakus. We were all just starting out, and Shelly was the only one in the room who had a bit of experience. The fact that we had two weeks to record and mix the entire album, and a budget of $20,000 didn't help. There was no time to experiment with different microphones, or discuss why the guitars sounded thin, and the drums sounded small. In the room, they sounded anything but wimpy, but what we heard in the room wasn't making it onto tape. 

To be continued...

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You don't have the book Lew? I couldn't tell you the exact page but we do get Ms. Shane's side of the story in chapter two. A hairpiece is involved.

I've seen the occasional comment from her on YT, and if you dig deep enough you can find the odd message from her on the early version of this board.

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  • Raspbernie changed the title to Karen Shane?

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