Monday, May 2, 2016

Ten Underrated John Prine Gems

As familiar as a Cracker Barrel rocking chair. As satisfying as an extra-long back scratcher. That would be John Prine.  And for nearly 50 years, John has been trying to connect the dot-to-dots of life in song. And he reminds us, with a gentle hand, that feelings are never cheap. Lives are never simple. And a smile goes a long, long way.

He's as rare as honesty.  An American treasure, for sure.   He's the "Ferris Bueller" of singer-songwriters.  And though John would be the last one to admit it...he's a righteous dude.

This list could easily be filled with another ten songs. And another.  And yet, another still.
But for today...


"You'll be waitin' on a phone call
at the wrong end of a broom."
"Crazy As A Loon" / "Fair & Square" (2005)

"One red rose in the Bible
pressed between the Holy alphabet."
"One Red Rose" / "Storm Windows" (1980)

"But youth is a costume
And the beauty within lies unfurled."
"The Oldest Baby In The World" / "Aimless Love" (1984)

"You come home late and you come home early.
You come on big when you're feeling small.
You come home straight and you come home curly.
Sometimes you don't come home at all."
"Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" / "German Afternoons" (1986)

"Ain't it funny how an old broken bottle
looks just like a diamond ring?"
"Far From Me" / "John Prine" (1971)

"Things shut down at midnight
at least around here they do.
Cause we all reside down the block
inside at....23 Skidoo."
"Jesus the Missing Years" / "The Missing Years" (1991)  

"Your daddy never, meant to hurt you ever.
He just don't live here, but you've got his eyes."
"Unwed Fathers" /"Aimless Love" (1984)

"Ahh baby, we gotta go now."
"Lake Marie" / "Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings" (1995)

"Shoot the moon
right between the eyes, I'm screaming
take me back to sunny country side."
"Clocks and Spoons" / "Diamonds in the Rough" (1972)

"Mind all your manners
Be quiet as a mouse
Some day you'll own a home
that's as big as a house."
"It's a Big Old Goofy World" / "The Missing Years" (1991)

"I felt about as welcome
as a Wal-Mart Superstore."
"Taking a Walk" / "Fair & Square" (2005)

The TCCDM John Prine Interview

I suggest you go out and buy all the John Prine records you can find.

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Interview:-- Roger Boyd (Head East)

"Save my life...
I'm going down
for the last time."
~ Head East ~

We've all seen those five-star lists. Critically-acclaimed album this and blah-blah-blah album that.  And I get it.  I appreciate the opinions.  They're fun to read.

But sometimes you just have to judge an album on a different scale.  Like how much you actually play it.  And how much you enjoy it. just have to let your own ears be the judge. So when Roger Boyd's keyboards explode from out of my speakers to kick it in gear...I feel better.  My car drives better. I get better gas mileage.  Pretty simple, really.

Roger Boyd

Casey Chambers:  "Never Been Any Reason" is the opening track from Head East's debut..."Flat As A Pancake." (1975) And your keyboard really strikes the match for the rest of the album. How did you get your keyboards to sound the way they did?

Roger Boyd:  The synthesizer part came from the kind of oscillators that were in my instrument which, by the way, you can't buy anymore.  I helped get the Moog franchise for a big music dealer up in Champaign, Illinois. The instruments were so new, they didn't even have a franchise and I got one of the first 50 ever made when the minimoogs came out.

And they sound like that because the oscillators drift.  And it was only those old oscillators that did that.  They changed that synthesizer not too long after because of the drifting problem...but now they sound different.  So it was the unique instrument itself doing that.

We had a specially designed Hammond and my keyboard tech had it pushing two big Leslies with crown amps and all kinds of speakers and stuff.  The Minimoog sound is really unique and anytime I play a show, people come out...road crew guys and sound guys...and they'll want to take a look at that synthesizer.  I mean, it's one of a kind.

"Never Been Any Reason" - Head East / "Flat As A Pancake" (1975)

Casey Chambers:  Oh man. It's absolute signature. Did you guys know you had captured lightning going in?

Roger Boyd:  We knew the song was pretty magical 'cause we'd been playing it at the clubs quite a bit and saw how people were reacting to it.  But FM radio wasn't huge yet.  AM radio was still the bigger market at the time, so we actually thought "Love Me Tonight" would maybe be the biggest hit off the album.  In fact, one of the executives at A&M Records wanted us to let the Bay City Rollers do "Love Me Tonight."

Casey Chambers:  Oh, I didn't know that.

Roger Boyd:  Yeah, and we declined because if they would have done it, then we couldn't record it.  And we didn't want to do that.  Although really in retrospect, there may have been some upsides to letting them go ahead and do it.  They were really hot at the time. And it might have brought more recognition to our band...the kind of songs we were writing.  Who knows?

Casey Chambers:  Outta the gate, you'd have to weigh the pros and cons.  But you guys wisely hung on to it and the song became a radio staple on stations everywhere.  Just a fantastic song!

Roger Boyd:  Yeah, I mean, "Love Me Tonight" has done really well for us.  But I think they (BC Rollers) would have probably taken the song into the top five.  I mean, who knows?

"Love Me Tonight" - Head East / "Flat As A Pancake" (1975)

Casey Chambers:  Maybe.  But it would've gotten there without any balls. (laughs)  Your debut album..."Flat As A Pancake" (1975)...was initially released on an independent label, right?

Roger Boyd:  Yeah, at the time everybody told us that we just couldn't do our own album and be successful.  And the more people told us that...the more we believed that we did have a good album and that it could be successful.  And it would be a big story.  So that's what we did.

It was our own label. (Pyramid Records) We put up the money for the album.  Recorded it.  Had it mastered and pressed.  And we were selling it out of the back of our car.  And actually, it started becoming a hit for us in St. Louis and Kansas City while it was still on our label.

Most bands at the time were trying to do records and not spend very much money.  We spent a bunch of money on ours.  So ours really could compete with the stuff that was coming out of Los Angeles, New York and Nashville.  Rather than doing a demo kind of album, we did an 'album' album.  An actual album like you would do in a big studio.  And we obviously had a lot of success.  It made our career.

Casey Chambers:  Yeah, well how did A&M come into the picture for you guys?

Roger Boyd:  Well, a couple of things.  We had the album.  And we went to Contemporary Productions which was the big concert promoter in St. Louis to see if they were interested in managing the band, which they were.  And they put us on some shows.

The A&M rep in the St. Louis area...his name was Ross Gentile...loved the band.  He passed away a year and a half or two years ago.  And we were playing in front of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils who were also on A&M and he came up to me backstage and said, 'You're gonna be on A&M Records.'  And I go, 'who is this guy and where do I sign?'

But the other thing was, Commerical Music...which was an independent distributor in St. Louis...was the first music distributor to sell Herb Alpert albums.  They helped get A&M Records started.  And the guy who owned Commercial Music called up Herb Alpert  and said I want you to sign these guys.

Casey Chambers:  And then it just took off from there.

Roger Boyd:  It took off from there.  That's correct.

Casey Chambers:  The original album design changed when A&M took the reigns.  What was up with that?

Roger Boyd:  Well, it kind of missed the point of the title.  The original cover...we had an art student in Champaign do it..cause we were from Champaign, Illinois.  Us...REO (Speedwagon)...Dan Fogelberg.  I mean, Champaign had a great music scene.

And our album had a pancake floating in the sky.  Like when everyone thought the world was flat.  Syrup was dripping off the side.  And the patty of butter was the assembly hall in Champaign, Illinois, which is where the University of Illinois basketball team played.  So everybody got it.

We were coming back from Chicago one morning after playing in the clubs...we played 'til about four in the morning.  And we were driving through the cornfields of Danville in Central Illinois and our drummer Steve Huston goes, 'My gosh, it's as flat as a pancake around here.'  We go, 'Ahhh, that'd be a great title for an album.' (laughs)  So, the title of the album had to do with the fact that we were from Champaign, Illinois and it was flat.  When A&M changed it to eating all those pancakes and everything...well, that...was...different.

Casey Chambers:  Yeah, they just didn't get it. (laughs)

Roger Boyd:  I mean, they said, 'this is what we're gonna do.'  And ya just go, 'okay.'  Personally, I would have rather kept the similar meaning behind the album myself.  But that's alright.

Casey Chambers:  I have yet to come across one of those original album covers.  But they look awesome.

Roger Boyd:  We used to have people throw pancakes at us at shows from time to time. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  Well, either one makes me want to go on a food-run to IHOP. (laughs)

Roger Boyd:  That it does! (laughs)  And it was really weird trying to shoot the picture for the back of the album.  We were so hot in St. Louis then, that we couldn't find anybody to let us shoot it.  And about 30 places turned us down.  Finally, the Rite-Way Diner in Olivette (Missouri)....they finally agreed to let us do it.  And there were people all over the place outside in the parking lot while we were trying to shoot.  It was pretty crazy.

Casey Chambers:  Is that diner still around?  Cause if it is, I've got to add it to my rock-n-roll bucketlist.

Roger Boyd:  It is still there.  People go to it.  It's still got pictures on the wall. A jukebox. Oh yeah, it's still there.

Casey Chambers:  Excellent. Another killer song from your debut is the party-pleasing..."Jefftown Creek."  It's a deep-cut little diamond that has you kicking things off with some tasty keyboard splash.

Roger Boyd:  That was Steve Huston's song and he wanted me to provide an intro.  It's just about a little campground down here in Southern Illinois.  It was kind of an adlib.  A freeform thing that I put on the beginning of it.  I tried to make it sound like people coming out to be happy.  "Jefftown Creek" was kind of about the first time we went down and stoned.

And that song, to this day, is still one of our most requested songs.  People love it.  The song has some great parts to it.  I'm glad that you enjoy the keyboard intro.  Again, that keyboard can put out some really heavy, overdrive sound.

Casey Chambers:  "Jefftown Creek" is also a joy to hear live.  In fact, Head East has long had a reputation for being a great live band.

Roger Boyd:  Yeah, we've always been considered one of the better live bands on the road.  And to me, I think we sound better when we just set up (in the studio) like we're playing live and record.  We just capture more energy and more of that excitement Head East is all about, when we record that way.

"Jefftown Creek" - Head East / "Flat As A Pancake" (1975)

Casey Chambers:  What led up to you guys recording the album in the first place?

Roger Boyd:  Well, about 60% of the songs that were on "Flat As A Pancake," we had already been playing in the college clubs for about a year.

But let me back up a little bit.  On August 6 of '69, we played our first show ever.  And that was with Steve (Huston/drums), John (Schlitt/vocals), myself, my brother Larry (Boyd/bass) and another guitar player.  And we got real hot.  We broke overnight.  The hottest thing in town.  By January 1, we were starting to do original songs...but we hit a wall 'cause John and Steve wanted to finish college.  And the rest of us didn't.  We wanted to keep going.

When they left the band, for the next three years, I had a couple of different line-ups that had a female vocalist and a male vocalist.  Really good bands.  In fact, one of the gals did two stints on "The Tonight Show" and she was doing really well in Los Angeles, but then she was tragically killed. But we were doing all kinds of different stuff.  From Tull to Jefferson Airplane.  The Stones.  We were a great cover band.

So, it wasn't until the summer of '73 that John, Steve, myself, and Larry all got back together.  We started committing ourselves to getting songs together with the express purpose of recording an album.  And for the next year, we started trying out all the songs. "Jefftown Creek," "Never Been Any Reason," "Love Me Tonight," etc.

In 1974, we were ready to record.  Dan Birney came in to play bass, because Larry left.  He had a job and was married and didn't think he could risk the money at the time.  Oh, and Mike Somerville (guitar) had joined us in '73, as well.  We rehearsed around the clock for about two...two and a half weeks.  I mean, eight, ten, twelve hours a day.

So, when we finally walked into the studio to make our first album, we already had everything worked out.  We had the harmonies worked out.  We had all the parts worked out.  We recorded the album in less than a week.

Casey Chambers:  That's really working the clock.  And it paid off.  The album's an absolute highway necessity.

Roger Boyd:  Well, spending months and months and months working on an album, I just don't think that works as well for Head East. It didn't work quite as well on some of our later albums.

Casey Chambers:  Where did you guys record "Flat As A Pancake" anyway?

Roger Boyd:  It was recorded at Golden Voice Studios in South Pekin, Illinois. Yeah, it's not there any longer.  It burned down a long time ago.

Casey Chambers:  Crap, not what I was hoping to hear.  It's the old "some stupid with a flare gun" all over again.  Before I let you go, I want  to say...I've also played the wax out of your..."Head East Live!" album.  One of the great, and underrated, double-live albums, for sure.

Roger Boyd:  Thank you.

Casey Chambers:  Roger, thank you very much for taking the time to hang out and sharing some cool classic rock stories.  Can't wait to see you guys out on the road again.

Roger Boyd:  Oh absolutely!  It's always a treat to talk to you Casey, and anytime we have more time, give me a jingle.  And yeah, we will be touring this summer as we do every summer and hopefully, we'll see a lot of fans out there.

"Never Been Any Reason" - Head East / "LIVE!" (1979)

Official Head East Website

Head East Facebook

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Interview:-- Martin Briley (Singer/Songwriter)

"I won't cry 
for the wasted years,
'cause you ain't worth
the salt in my tears."
~ Martin Briley ~

Martin Briley is one of those wonderfully creative musical cats who may not necessarily be a household name (except maybe for those in the 80s who had their hearts busted up) and yet you know him just the same.

This successful singer-songwriter-musician has performed, recorded and/or written spirals of songs for a host of diverse artists.  From Ian Hunter to Gregg Allman.  Pat Benatar to Barry Manilow.  Mick Jones to Charlie Pride. And dozens in-between.

Martin has also provided music for television and movies.  And, of course, he has recorded his own albums...including the pop-rock, critical rave-up..."One Night With A Stranger." Well worth seeking out.

A one-trick pony, he's not.  He thinks quick on his feet. Leads, when needed. Improvises, when necessary.  Adapts, when imperative.  Martin Briley is a survivor.  And we're all the better for it.


Martin Briley

Casey Chambers:  Martin, I want to just jump around, if you don't mind.  My introduction to your music came from hearing your signature rock-burn, "The Salt In My Tears" from the album..."One Night With A Stranger."  What a great song.

Martin Briley:  Thank you.

Casey Chambers:  Were you expecting that particular song to be the one the label was going to push?

Martin Briley:  Like most writers and artists, my favorite song is the one I'm working on at the time.  So while I was writing it, I thought it was pretty good. (laughs)

But a lot of other songs were being presented to the label as well.  They'd gravitate to one song and then another one, and then another one.  And then they'd say...'well, most of the wives of the A & R department liked this one.' (laughs) But eventually that (song) seemed to be the one and so we put it out.

To be honest, I was a little...I didn't think it really represented who I was.  It made me sound a lot more rock and roll than I think I was.  Yeah, I mean it's basically a three or four chord song with a riff that everybody's used, so it didn't really stick out to me at the time.  And y'know, that's the thing.  Is it a hit or is it not a hit?  Well...if a song is not necessarily destined to be a hit record, it can still be a hit record once you get the machine of a huge label behind it.  And you hear a song over and over again, you start to like it.  So, I think they probably could've started out with another song and had the same result.  But there it is.  It's that.

Casey Chambers:  You had already established yourself as a songwriter for other artists. Watching a song you recorded take off like it did must have felt pretty satisfying.

Martin Briley:  Yeah. I went through most of my career always expecting a 90% failure rate (laughs) which, to be honest, isn't that unrealistic.  In fact, I kind of approached my record deal the same way.

Believe it or not, I didn't really want to be a recording artist like that, because I had just come off the road for two years with Ian Hunter.  Standing behind him and watching with amazement how he would manage to throw so much into a performance.  I'd sort of think...'wow, I'm glad I don't have that job!'  So, I was very happy being a sideman for awhile.  It was a very low pressure job.

By the time the tours had ended with Ian and also with Ellen Foley, I had been touring with both of them for about two years.  And also making albums with them in the breaks.  When I saw it was starting to slow down, I knew I was gonna need to do something else.

I had only managed to write about two songs while I was touring and I took them to the only publisher I knew at the time...which was Ian's publisher, Chrysalis.  And they described my two songs as five minute long, suicidal dirges.  They asked if I could write something happier and three and half minutes long.  So considering I was completely broke, I said, 'yes, of course I can do that.'

I wrote something called, "I'm Just Using You."  It was immediately covered by Karla DeVito which impressed Chrysalis publishing, who hadn't actually signed me yet.  They were just testing me.  They kept asking me to write for this and write for that and I kept winning.  So they offered me a really miserable deal which, naturally, I snapped up.

Then they said, 'y'know that miserable stuff you first brought could probably be an artist with that.'  They found me a manager who started fronting my stuff around to all the labels.  I'm just assuming nothing will come of it, but then I got a deal.  And we put the first album together.

"Fear Of The Unknown" (1981)

Casey Chambers:  You're talking about "Fear Of The Unknown." (1981)

Martin Briley:  Yeah, I'd put most of my previous five years into that first album.  And here's the weird thing.  That album was getting amazing critical reviews...but the label completely ignored it.  I think they just wanted to see if I was serious or not.

Casey Chambers:  Thanks for nothing, right?

Martin Briley:  Yeah, so then they picked me up for another year, which I didn't want them to do.  I'd gotten the attention of a couple of other really good labels, but I wasn't signed because Polygram picked up my option again.  I headed into the second album feeling like I really didn't have any music left. (laughs)

That's when I squeezed out "The Salt In My Tears" and a few other songs.  Even then, I'm thinking it's over.  'Cause I knew what the odds were.  The stars have to be completely aligned for a hit to happen.  It's got to be the perfect song at the perfect time and everybody involved has to be on board.  And the records have to get delivered to the stores.  There's a million things that could go wrong.  And I was pretty much counting on that. (laughs)

So when "The Salt In My Tears" started climbing the charts, I started to freak.  It was coming in right on the heels of MTV.  Which meant that within hours almost everybody knew my face.  Suddenly, I couldn't go outside anymore. It was so fast, I was almost praying it would slow down and go away...then maybe I could get used to this thing.  Anyway, that's kind of how I felt when it was climbing the charts.

"The Salt In My Tears" / "One Night With A Stranger" (1983)

Casey Chambers:  Where did you make the video?

Martin Briley:  That was done in London.  A couple of my videos were done in London.  You normally go where you get the most bang for your pocket.  So we did that one in England.  And back then, that was a pretty low budget.  I think it was like $30,000.  It was a one day shoot.  A pretty long day.  To be honest, I was kind of disappointed.  I thought it was a bit too Benny Hill...but it was extremely popular.

The other thing is, I had some kind of food poisoning at the time.  I was really, really fainty and kept sitting back on the couch.  Eventually the director said, 'Stay on the couch. We'll make you look nonchalant.'  And I guess I did.  Whenever I've gone on YouTube to look at some of the comments, they're always exactly the same.  There'll be some guy saying, 'Yeah, my girlfriend just dumped me and I played your song and I thought yeah, fuck you bitch.'  And so that seems to be my purpose.  To make lots of guys feel better about it.

Casey Chambers:  Yeah, the song speaks to the "middle finger" in all of us.  It's great! (laughs)
You've been tapped for plenty of session work over the years. Picking just one, I'd like to ask you about playing on Julian Lennon's first album, "Valotte" (1984).  Was that a good experience for you?

Martin Briley:  It was kind of fun, but it came out of kind of a dreadful experience.  I was recording my third album with Phil Ramone.  And it was not a good match.  He was at a point in his career when he was desperately grabbing any work he could get.  And he had to grab three projects at once.  He grabbed me, Julian Lennon, and a movie.  A breakdance movie called "Body Rock."

It was all being done in the Hit Factory Studio in New York.  And Phil was just basically going from room to room...up and down the elevator.  Not really doing a very good job of anything. (laughs)  There it was.  So, I think the idea of getting me to play on Julian's record and vice versa was to kind of placate the both of us...for him being missing in action most of the time.  Although Julian didn't play much very well, so he didn't end up being able to return the favor.  But yeah, still it was fun.  I remember doing that session.

Casey Chambers:  Which songs did you play on?

Martin Briley:  I was on the hit single..."Too Late For Goodbyes."  And I forget the other.  It was one word.  I think it might have been the title track.

Casey Chambers:  Jumping to another one of your classic gems is the killer..."Put Your Hands On The Screen."  The song has a delicious bit of late Genesis mind-vibe.  And the video is just bonus.

Martin Briley:  Yeah, well I'd recently discovered televangelism while I was touring with Ian Hunter through '79 and '80.  We'd find ourselves sitting in dumpy hotels in all kinds of obscure places all over the country.

And very often we'd be getting this guy, Ernest Angley, on the TV.  I don't know whether he's still around or if he's dead or went to hell (laughs), but he literally used to say, 'If you're a cripple or a drug addict, put your hands on the screen and feel the power of the Lord.'  All this kind of stuff.  I thought...this is like a joke.  I mean, this is something people would say as a joke.  But this guy is actually taking it seriously.

And the thing is, to me anyway, rock music in the '80s...there's not a whole lot of subjects you could write songs about.  I mean, essentially pop music is all about romance and you can step out of it sometimes...but not often.  And I thought televangelism was a subject that would actually work.  So I used Ernest Angley's words...'Put your hands on the screen'.  And again, I thought the video was just a little bit Benny Hill. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  Well, Benny or no Benny, the song has major burns.

Martin Briley:  A funny story about that video is we were trying to get the most out of our budget, so we decided to shoot it at The Osmonds video complex in Orem just outside Salt Lake City.  And because the script required an audience...a televangelist TV show audience...we had to use a lot of extras.  And guess what?  They were all Mormons!  Mothers nursing babies everywhere.  Those Mormons like to do it, there's no doubt about that. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  I'm with ya. (laughs)

Martin Briley:  The director of the video was Don Letts.  I don't know if you remember, but he was in a band called Big Audio Dynamite.  It also had Mick Jones from The Clash.   And Don is this black Rastafarian guy and it was kind of funny watching him try to give directions in Utah.  I don't think many of them had ever seen a black man before, let alone a guy with dreadlocks. (laughs)  So, it was kind of a funny experience.  I thought it might be really weird, but in fact, most of the Mormons felt just as creeped about televangelists as anybody else.  So there were no complaints.

In fact, if you're familiar with the video, there's a scene in it where the evangelist is saying something and a guy in the audience is holding a trident...a devil's trident.  You may not remember that scene, but the guy who held the trident is actually on my Facebook now.  He messaged me and said, 'yeah, I'm the guy who held the trident.' (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  Good story!  And now all those mothers holding babies are grandmothers holding babies...holding tridents.  And it's all your fault! (laughs)

You co-wrote the song "Raising Heaven (In Hell Tonight)" which found its way onto one of my favorite "guilty-pleasure" films..."Road House."

Martin Briley:  One of the old fashioned reasons for being with publishers...I'm not sure if they still exist...was to help you make more money by connecting you with people who wanted to record your songs, etc.  And movies are a good example.  And around that time, in the late '80s, getting onto soundtracks was a big thing.

The only thing about doing that never really know whether the movie's going to be a dog or not.  You just know there's gonna be a movie and you want to get one of your songs in it.  Which was what we did.  We didn't exactly jump up and down that we'd gotten a song in a Patrick Swayze movie, but it has turned out to be quite venerable.  I think it still turns up on every royalty statement.

Casey Chambers:  Yeah, it seems like you can find "Road House" (1989) on cable or streaming almost every week, so "Raising Heaven (In Hell Tonight)" has gotten a pretty good ride.  You wrote that song with Willie Nile, right?

Martin Briley:  Yeah.  I think I've written about six or seven songs with Willie Nile over the years.  I can't remember whether we were in Los Angeles or New York, but I think we wrote the song with that movie in mind...although I'm not really sure.  The briefing we got for the movie was pretty loose.  It wasn't like we wrote about this thing or about that.  But we were in the right place at the right time and we wrote that song.

Casey Chambers:  So, what have you been up to lately?

Martin Briley:  Well, I've been amusing myself for the past nine months writing for the TV show..."American Pickers."  It's been a hugely popular show all over the world and it's now in its seventh season.  Anyway, I started writing music cues for the show.  Each episode has about...I don't know...hundreds and that's what I've been doing lately.

Casey Chambers:  That's an interesting gig...providing music spark throughout a TV show.  That's really cool.

Martin Briley:  Yeah, the show airs on the History Channel.  The premise is about two guys that get in a truck and just drive around the countryside all over America looking in people's barns.  Looking to find special old and odd things.  I wouldn't call them antiques exactly, but it's kind of like the "Antique Roadshow."

Casey Chambers:  I've never caught the show, but I do know it has quite a devoted following.  And now I have a reason to prop my feet up and ride along.  Are you still writing songs?

Martin Briley:  I do, but unfortunately, the way it works now is the fight to get on records is still just as hard...but there's no reward.  In the '80s, if you wrote a song yourself and it sold a million copies, you would make $45,000.  Which is like an average middle class income.  Right now, a million streams will make you $35.

Casey Chambers:  That's it?

Martin Briley:  That's it.  And they're forcing artists to work for nothing or walk away.  It's kind of ironic, because I also teach a little bit at local colleges about professional songwriting.  What I really want to tell them is don't be a songwriter, because there's no money in this anymore.  Right now, 94 cents of that sales dollar goes to the label. The other six cents is divided among the artists, the writers, the producers, and the publishers.  But anyway, that's the state of the business, and it's not good.  That's why I've been writing TV cues for the past year and I think I've made more money that way.

Casey Chambers:  I'm glad you brought up the subject about unfair treatment of artists by the "music monkey machine." Many have told me that it's a slippery road nearly impossible to walk and it's killing the art.  So that was a great reminder.  "Fair reward for services rendered."  Martin, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to chat with us today. I appreciate it.

Martin Briley:  My pleasure.  It's been nice talking with you.

Martin Briley Website

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Freedy Johnston -- "Neon Repairman" (2015) Review

"I am a 
repairman of 
neon lights."
~ Freedy Johnston ~

One of the unexpected gems from 2015, and one that seems to have passed mostly unnoticed, is singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston's beautiful..."Neon Repairman."  And it's one of his best.

A collection of ten songs filled with out-of-step characters who find themselves traveling on the kind of roads that demand single file.  And they may be broken, but he likes them.  You can hear it in Freedy's voice. And his voice has never sounded better.

Just listen as he sings..." the winter night. She remembers longer days..." ("Summer Clothes")  An achingly beautiful story about a woman left to wander the streets with no place to go.  Not really, anyway.

Then there's the terrific..."A Little Bit of Somethin’ Wrong"...about a soldier struggling to adjust.  The deceptive melody disguises darker lyrics.  "...I've got a wife and kid, but I'm supposed to stay away from them."  Freedy's light delivery makes the words cut all the deeper.

The diamond on this disc is the haunting..."Her Hair Is Blowing in the Wind of Another Planet."  Just a wonderful, mysterious song that's open to interpretation.  It's killer.  And your headphones will love it.

"Her Hair Is Blowing..."  -  Freedy Johnston / "Neon Repairman" (2015)

"The First to Leave the World, Is the First to See the World" a wistful tale told from the perspective of the first man going into outer-space...and how surreal the experience. It's a sweet song and I liked it.

"Baby, Baby Come Home" is a nice, catchy radio tune that pops right out of the speakers and captures the beautiful timbre in Freedy's voice.  Yeah, just like that!

"Baby, Baby Come Home" - Freedy Johnston / "Neon Repairman" (2015)

Which finally brings me to the awesome title track which opens the record, "Neon Repairman."  It's about a lonely guy who fixes burned-out light-bulbs throughout the city. "The Horseshoe Bar, yes I know it well.  The Coffee Cup Diner and the Palm Motel."  And the song succeeds in its pay homage to one of Freedy's favorite songs...the Jimmy Webb classic, "Wichita Lineman."  The song sounds both truly original and comfortably familiar at the same time. And it just works.

Freedy Johnston always writes songs that are never cheap...and sings them with a deliciously weary resignation.  After five years, "Neon Repairman" is a much-welcomed return.  A simply solid recording. Haunting, beautiful and a gentle reminder that the good times can sometimes be a fragile bitch.

Freedy Johnston Facebook

"TCCDM" Freedy Johnston Interview

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Monday, December 21, 2015

Interview: -- Steve Forbert (Singer/Songwriter)

"...I'd rather do without prediction."
~ Steve Forbert ~

With 16 albums now under his belt, all sorely under-appreciated, Steve Forbert has taken us from "Alive On Arrival" (1978) to "Compromised." (2015)  So, has he?  Compromised, I mean?

Steve Forbert is a little older, obviously.  Wiser, well probably. He continues to wear his heart on his sleeve, but he keeps his arms a little closer to his vest.  And, I suspect, he's not near as "careless in his way"... not in the way that youth allows.  But he continues to write with a painter's eye.  And he lets us ride shotgun while he discovers his lot.  So...compromised?  I guess so. But fearless?  Hell yeah!

Steve Forbert  Interview - December 2015

"Compromised" - Steve Forbert (2015)

Casey Chambers:  Steve, I'm really excited about the release of your 16th studio album..."Compromised."  It's good to know you're still..."howling out words and banging out chords."

Steve Forbert:  Right. Right. Right.  I'm with you. (laughs)   Yes, this is the 16th album, that is true.  But who's counting?

Casey Chambers:  One of the songs, I especially enjoy from the album is..."You'd See The Things That I See."  And you made a video for that song, as well.

Steve Forbert:  Well, thank you.  In a manner of speaking.  We assembled some photographs.  And some of them, we were the first people to be shown.  There were like two photos discovered from the actual day when John met Paul...and one of them actually shows John Lennon in a parade.

Casey Chambers:  Historic.

Steve Forbert:  Yeah.  It was nice to visit Mendips.  The famous boyhood home of John Lennon.  Yeah, it was terrific.

Casey Chambers:  When were you over there?

Steve Forbert:  To my shock, it was 2010.  It's been five years.  It doesn't seem right, but I think that's right.

Casey Chambers:  How did this particular song come together?  Were you writing it while you were over there?

Steve Forbert:  Yeah, I was working on something else, but this was so impressive that I began to think about what might have gone through John's mind when he got back home and started thinking about it.  'What on earth should I do about this hot new kid I just met?  Should I ask him to join the group?  What's that going to be like?  And it's my group.'  It's just the little thoughts that go through his mind.  Would he feel threatened or would he feel...y'know...obviously what he decided was to forget feeling threatened and go with a winner.

"You'd See The Things That I See" - Steve Forbert / "Compromised" (2015)

Casey Chambers:  Yeah, the what-ifs.  Very cool.  Going back a few years, and this is going back to your 5th album, "Streets Of This Town" (1988) is the song "I Blinked Once."  Do you still play this one in concert?

Steve Forbert:  Yeah, yeah.  I play it occasionally.  I had a good version of it in Belfast about a month ago.  Someone requested it over and over again and I decided to play it.

Casey Chambers:  It's a song that reminds us of how fleeting time can be.  And one you wrote nearly 30 years ago.  Are you ever struck by that fact?

Steve Forbert:  Well, of course as you know, the song ultimately deals with what we call mortality.  So, perhaps it's a little more poignant to me...a little later in life.  But I sing it, if someone wants to hear it.  I take requests in my shows all the time.  It's part of the fun of it.

"I Blinked Once" - Steve Forbert / BBC Late Show (1989)

Casey Chambers:  The show "Fridays" was always considered the step-child of SNL.  But they always pulled in some good musical guests.  And I saw you perform one of my favorites..."Get Well Soon" on an episode.  What do you remember about that?

Steve Forbert:  Well, it was in Los Angeles.  We were on tour.  It was live.  It was during the week John Lennon was shot so everybody's thoughts were on that.  And y' was a little more of a challenge to go on there and sing when you knew that everybody was in sort of a state of shock.  So that's kind of what I remember about it.  But we were set to play and we showed up and did the show.

Casey Chambers:  And it was a good performance.  Even just now learning the backstory, the crowd still appeared to be into it.

Steve Forbert:  Yeah, well maybe they just wanted to be jolted out of it.  We just tried to penetrate the mood and do a good performance.

"Lonely Girl" / "Get Well Soon" - "Fridays" (1980)

Casey Chambers:  That would have been a tough week.  Nicely done.  Jumping back to the new stuff, the title track..."Compromised"...which opens your album sounds like classic Little Stevie.  Really good stuff.  How did this song come together?

Steve Forbert:  The idea for that song was started a couple years ago during one of those times when they...Congress was about to shut down. They were at a stand-still and about to cut the lights out and all that.

But that was all just sort of processed through my filters...and became a song that sounds almost like a regular interpersonal...a love song. But that's what triggered it.

And it came out sounding pretty meat and potatoes for what I do.  So we put it first on the record so it would open up with something that was...y'know...not a curveball in any way.   We're fixing to put up a solo version of it today on my website.

"Compromised" - Steve Forbert / "Compromised" (2015)

Casey Chambers:  You've had your songs featured in movies like "Margot At The Wedding" (2007) and "Knockaround Guys." (2001)

Steve Forbert:  Well, the ones you're talking about, the way they cut those songs's pretty brief.  It's not a life changing experience.  I'm glad they used those songs.  And in Richard Linklater's next movie, "Everybody Wants Some"...I think it's true to say..."Romeo's Tune" is gonna be used again.

Casey Chambers:  Yeah!  Meet me in the middle of the movie line.  Well, "Romeo's Tune" is your signature song.

Steve Forbert:  Yeah, that's my "Year Of The Cat." (laughs).

Casey Chambers:  One of the great things about that song is the catchy piano melody.  Just brilliant.  Did you know from the get go the piano was going to be such an important part to the song?

Steve Forbert:  Oh yeah.  Yeah, that was part of the song when I wrote it.  We had a guy named Bobby Ogdin play it at the session in Nashville.  And he really brought it to life.  He's a well known Nashville recording piano player and he was right at his peak at that time.  He made that...y'know...I showed him the figure and he played it with a wonderful voicing.  Of course, I'm really glad it's standing the test of time.

"Romeo's Tune" - Steve Forbert  / "Jackrabbit Slim" (1979)

Casey Chambers:  Were you surprised when the label wanted to follow it up with "Say Goodbye To Little Jo"...since you had the 'S' word in that song? (laughs)

Steve Forbert:  Well, I was surprised.  And it cost us some time because we had to do an edit and take the 'S' word and just change it to the word...'it'.  And by the time we had done that, I think we had lost some momentum.  It cost us some valuable time, that word.  Yeah, I was a little surprised they wanted to make it the second single.  But yep, that's the way it went.

"Say Goodbye To Little Jo" - Steve Forbert / Capitol Theatre (1979)

Casey Chambers:  Were you leaning towards another song?

Steve Forbert:  I was probably leaning more toward..."The Sweet Love That You Give (Sure Goes A Long Long Way)."

Casey Chambers:  A great song, too.  A runaway train.

Steve Forbert:  Thank you.

Casey Chambers:  Steve, what are a couple of your favorite albums?

Steve Forbert:  Well, I like "Paris 1919" (1973) by John Cale.  And I like "Blind Faith". (1969)

"Paris 1919" - John Cale (1973)

Casey Chambers:  Didn't you have an opportunity to work with John Cale while you were in New York?

Steve Forbert:  I opened some shows for him over a weekend at CBGBs.  And it was really...important to me, since he had made one of my favorite albums.

Casey Chambers:  That's a nice memory-keeper.  I hear you're going to be coming out with a book.  What set the wheels in motion for this project?

Steve Forbert:   Let me see.  Well, somebody was wanting to put out a book of a lot of memorabilia things.  Photographs and backstage passes.  All that kind of stuff.  And I said to that book publisher that I'd like to do a better book than that.  Better than just some sort of a coffee table picture book.  Y'know, I'm not Rod Stewart.  I don't think such a book would really sell many copies.  Let me write a real book.  More of a memoir.  So that's how it happened.  And I found another publisher who's been very patient with it and very helpful.  So it's coming along pretty good.  It'll be out sometime next year.

Casey Chambers:  I'm looking forward to picking it up.

Steve Forbert:  Thank you.

Casey Chambers:  You've probably been asked this a thousand times, so I'll pose it to you a little differently.  Before I let you go, how did you appear in a music video with Captain Lou Albano?

Steve Forbert:  Yeah, you could look at it that way. (laugh)  It was Cyndi Lauper's video.  They don't usually mention Captain Lou, but yeah, I think he played Cyndi Lauper's dad in that thing.

"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" - Cyndi Lauper (w/little Stevie at 3:40)

Cyndi was in a group called Blue Angel.  And y'know...I'm a music fan and I encountered that album and I liked it a lot.  They were playing live around New Jersey and New York City, so I went to see them.  I got to know her and I thought she was a real talent.  At the time, she seemed like kind of a throwback to the '50s to me.  The way she looked and sounded.  So when she went on her own and got a record deal and was making what was called a was early in the game for videos...she knew I was a fan and asked if I would do a cameo in the thing.  And I said, yeah.  So that's it.  I guess that thing's been played half a million times.  I don't know, but it's one of the most played things of all time.

Casey Chambers:  Oh, at least!  And it's fun seeing you pop up in that video.  Steve, I'm gonna let you head on down the Jersey highway.  I want to thank you for taking the time to hangout.  Be safe...and have a Merry Christmas.

Steve Forbert:  Well, you too, Casey and thanks for your interest.  See you later.

"Send In The Clowns" - Steve Forbert / "Compromised" (2015)

Official Steve Forbert Website

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Monday, December 14, 2015

Interview: -- Carl Giammarese (The Buckinghams)

"...It made us
feel so groovy."
~ The Buckinghams ~

The Buckinghams worked AM radio like butter.  They created great pop songs and captured great pop sounds.  Fans were spinning 45s, drinking colas, and finding paradise by the AM radio dial.

But in the late 60's, radio was starting to change and so were The Buckinghams.  At least they wanted to.  The band was adding more churn to their burn, keeping their garage vibe door open and slipping some light-psych in for good measure.  They definitely had something going on...and their albums were all the better for it.  A little more FM tasty, if you like.

Unfortunately, the band found themselves pigeonholed inside an "AM Only" fence that wouldn't let them escape.  Not radio stations. Not record companies. Not even many of their fans.  This is no pity party, though; the boys were hugely successful.  Still, too bad what we might have missed.  And I mean really...too bad.  There was always room for The Buckinghams on both frequencies.  Seek out their albums and enjoy.

Carl Giammarese Interview - December 2015

(lead guitar, vocals)

Casey Chambers:  I'd like to jump right in and ask about a favorite deep-track of mine, "The Time Of My Life" from The Buckinghams album..."In One Ear And Gone Tomorrow." (1968)  It has a great garagey, light psych vibe and you had a hand in writing that one, right?

"In One Ear And Gone Tomorrow" (1968)

Carl Giammarese:  Oh yeah. Boy, it's been so long.  I haven't really thought about that song for a long time.  Or that album for that matter.  Y'know..."In One Ear And Gone Tomorrow" was the last studio album we did at Columbia Studios in New York.  It was the first recording we did without our producer Jim Guercio.  I think that was 1968, if I remember correctly.

"The Time Of My Life" - The Buckinghams / "In One Ear And Gone Tomorrow" (1968)

I was lead guitar and Marty (Grebb) played guitar also.  He was kind of a multi-talented musician. His first instrument was really sax.  Tenor sax.  And he also was a very prolific keyboard player.  His third instrument was guitar.  We worked up the guitar parts and used various effects.  To be honest, I can't remember what I used then.  I think I was going through an old Amtec amplifier and I can't even remember what the brand of fuzz tone was. (laughs)  We didn't have the array of sounds you can get today, but yeah, it was the days when we'd get together and rehearse as a band and cut basic tracks different ways in the studio. Drums, bass, piano. Or guitar, bass, and piano. There were no rules, but we'd usually start with the nucleus of drums and bass and so forth.

Casey Chambers:  The first song that everybody tasted from The Buckinghams..."Kind Of A Drag" (1967)...went on to become a #1 smash and, among others, is in constant radio rotaish to this day.  At what point did you guys realize that song was going to change your lives?

"Kind Of A Drag" (1967)

Carl Giammarese:  Well, I think it crept up on us.  We had been a cover band playing venues all over Chicago. Everything from The Beatles..."I Call Your Name" to James Brown's..."I'll Go Crazy."

Our manager, Carl Bonafede, was bringing us into Chess Studios doing cover songs to begin with, but we had been looking for an original song to record. This was the old blues studio where some of the legends recorded like Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, and even the Stones recorded there.

Anyway, our manager connected us with a songwriter, Jim Holvay, who had a song that just didn't work for his band.  Carl went over with a tape player and microphone and recorded Jim strumming his unplugged electric guitar and singing "Kind Of A Drag."  He brought it back and we thought it was cool.

At the time, we had been using our parent's basements to rehearse in.  We were in "my" parents' basement when we worked up an arrangement for this song.  Our producer, Dan Belloc, thought it would sound great with some horns.  Now we weren't a horn band, really.  We didn't play live with horns.  But we said, 'Okay. That's cool.'  So he brought in this player who came up with the horn arrangement and we thought it really sounded great.

"Kind Of A Drag" - The Buckinghams / "Kind Of A Drag" (1967)

A couple of months after we recorded the song...USA Records, the label we were with in Chicago...finally released it.  And it just took off overnight.  By the beginning of February of 1967, it was the number one record in the country.

We were just blown away, y'know?  We had seen previous records we recorded...cover tunes...make it on the charts bubbling under the Top 100 in Billboard and Cashbox.  But nothing really hit the charts that much.  And then all of a sudden this song comes out and it kept jumping up the charts 20 points every week and pretty soon it was number one.  We were absolutely blown away.

Anyhow, that launched our career because all of a sudden we were a national group.  Radio did everything back then.  AM radio. And it just took off like wildfire.  Pretty exciting.

Casey Chambers:  So a Chicago station broke the song...

Carl Giammarese:  Back in the day, Chicago stations were very supportive of local bands.  If they liked the record, they would put it in their radio rotation.  Which was big 'cause you'd get so many plays a day.  And with a station like WLS which was the main station here in Chicago, people could hear the song from all over the country.  So that was really big.

I remember one time Paul Shaffer telling me when he used to live in Canada on Thunder Bay...he could pick up WLS at night.  He would listen to it all the way up in Canada.  And that was how he got to know our music.

Casey Chambers:  That's very cool.  What about the little gem B side of "Kind Of A Drag."  Again, it has that wonderful garagey thing happening.  It was a cover of a Zombies tune, right?

Carl Giammarese:  Yeah. "You Make Me Feel So Good."    We were all big fans of The Zombies and Colin Blunstone was one of our favorite singers.  They were making great records and that was a song we were doing in our live show.

And that's me singing on that.  I have to say it was a pretty crude...not a great recording of that song.  I re-recorded it later and made it sound a lot better to my ear, but it is a great tune.  I always joke that that song was as big as "Kind Of A Drag" and it sold as many records.  But only because it was on the other side.  The 'B' side. (laughs)

"You Make Me Feel So Good" - The Buckinghams/"Kind Of A Drag" (1967)

Casey Chambers:  No, no. I like it.  On your underrated third album, "Portraits", The Buckinghams push the needle a little more.  A little heavier. A little psychy.  A really good album.  And the lead-off track..."C'mon Home" is a bit of a lost gem.

Carl Giammarese:  Yeah well, let me tell you, for our "Portraits" album, we decided we were going to do something that was sort of a leap to writing our own songs.   Especially for Marty Grebb.  He was pretty instrumental in writing most of the material on that album.

We all wanted to be more involved in the writing and publishing end of the music and decided to head out to L.A.  We rented a house up in the Hollywood Hills for about three months just writing and rehearsing. When we went into the studio, we were given some leeway as far as playing, creating, and doing certain things.  So, it was a pretty big leap for us to do that.

"Portraits" (1968)

I think the album "Portraits" was a masterpiece of...of a concept album.  And if you listen to some of the horn arrangements, and on that song in particular, it almost sounds like it could of been from the first Chicago album.

The Buckinghams were known for creating that pop-rock horn sound which had a heavy trombone influence to it.  And we introduced our producer Jim Guercio to those guys and he went on to later sign the band Chicago at our insistence.  He took that sound to another level with the horns but you can hear the connection.

And the guitar sounds I got were from a lot of experimenting with different amps, different effects pedals and so forth.  I was using Epiphone guitars.  I was using a Gibson 345 Stereo.  I was using some Fender Strats.  And I still have a few of those guitars around.  But yeah, it was an experiment for us.  It was our "Sgt. Pepper" so to speak.  We were disappointed to tell you the truth, because we thought that maybe the album would lift us out from the lower pop, lighter music to something a little stronger and heavier.

But our audience was not really...they still wanted to hear "Kind Of A Drag" and "Don't You Care."  So it was a hard transition to try to take it to that level.  And the music scene was starting to change by the late '60s.  It seemed like overnight we went from AM to FM within a few month period.  Some of the heavier groups were coming out like Cream...Hendrix...Joplin...Santana...and the music scene was changing pretty quickly.

But yeah, "C'mon Home" was a great song and we still do it live occasionally.

"C'mon Home" - The Buckinghams / "Portraits" (1968)

Casey Chambers:  Not being allowed to grow and rock-off into FM had to be a major drag for you guys.  Screw the pun.  But no denying The Buckinghams were having their "run in the sun" on the AM waves.  And you had the opportunity to do the biggest show on television..."The Ed Sullivan Show."

Carl Giammarese:  Well, of course, Ed Sullivan was the epitome of success.  If you got to perform on Ed Sullivan that was about it, y'know?  There was a certain vibe and feeling knowing that The Beatles had stood on that stage and performed.  I was amazed when we got to be on the same stage.  And I thought the Ed Sullivan Theater was going to be bigger. (laughs) It wasn't near as big as I imagined.  It was something you realized was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  We were all excited and a little bit nervous, but what a great experience to play in front of a live audience on Ed's show.

Casey Chambers:  Which songs did you guys get to play?

Carl Giammarese:  We did "Susan"...and they did that weird video break during the psychedelic part.  So while we're performing on stage, the video broke out of us during the psychedelic break and then came back to us again.  We were one of the first bands to ever do a video.
(Sorry folks, no Ed Sullivan YouTube)

"Susan" - The Buckinghams / "Portraits" (1968)

The second song we performed was "What Is Love."  It was thought of possibly doing it as a single but we wound up having disagreements and fired our manager, Guercio, who had produced it.  We decided to go with another song..."Back In Love Again" which was okay, but it didn't have nearly the success we had previously with the other songs like..."Kind Of A Drag," "Don't You Care," "Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)," "Susan," and "Mercy Mercy Mercy."

But performing on Sullivan certainly helped our career a lot because we knew we were getting tremendous national exposure.

Casey Chambers:  The Buckinghams also added another notch to their RnR belt performing on the "out-there" variety show..."The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour."  What was the yin-yang of doing that show?

Carl Giammarese:  Well, on The Smothers Brothers, we were on a sound stage and weren't really playing in front of a studio audience.  It didn't give you that kind of feel.  But at the time, The Smothers Brothers had the hottest show on TV.   Everybody wanted to be on their show and it was exciting for us to be asked to perform on it.

The funny thing about it...the producers of the show thought we were a British group. (laughs)  When we came on the sound stage to do a run through, we looked around and the floor of the stage was decorated with the Union Jack and they had British Flags hanging in the background.  And they just thought we were a British group.  They really didn't know we were from Chicago. (laughs)  I guess it's understandable, because we did have the British Carnaby Street look.  The haircuts. The clothing. The name.  So that's what they were thinking.

"Mercy Mercy Mercy" - The Buckinghams / "Time & Charges" (1967)

Casey Chambers:  Yeah, I've seen the video and wondered about that.

Carl Giammarese:  Yeah, that was actually a mistake that we just left in.  Just did the show like that anyway.  They had already created the set, so we did it.  They didn't realize that we were a just a bunch of Italian kids from Chicago.  They were also serving us fish and chips and all we wanted was some good Italian food. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  Did you guys get that a lot back assuming you were British?

Carl Giammarese:  Occasionally, people would think that.  You didn't have social media.  You didn't have websites. Or all the various outlets for exposure, like you do today.  The biggest form of exposure was getting airplay on AM radio and playing live concerts.  That was about it.  And the occasional TV or variety show.  So people would take it for granted or just assume.  We made all the teen magazines, but they didn't talk about our background as much as they should have.  Who knows?  But for whatever reason, yeah, there were a lot of people who thought that way.

"Don't You Care" - The Buckinghams / "Time & Charges" (1967)

Casey Chambers:  What was it like touring back then when you guys were all over the radio?

Carl Giammarese:  Well, it was pretty intense.  In '67, we were voted "The Most Listened To Band In The Country" (Billboard) and back in those days, the girls were screaming like crazy.  We'd get out on stage and these girls would go absolutely berserk and you could hardly hear a note you were playing.  We didn't have the sound systems you have today.  I mean we didn't even have monitors so you could hear yourself back then.

"Time & Charges" (1967)

I remember seeing The Beatles at Comiskey Park in Chicago the summer of '65 and their sound system was just horrible.  It was...oh, I used to know the name of the system they used...but it was by no means capable of getting above the screams.  I never heard one song that whole concert.

It was that way with us, too.  And the girls could be pretty aggressive.  I remember one time looking over to my left and Nick Fortuna was being dragged off the stage by like...three girls and they tore the sleeve off of his coat.

Casey Chambers:  That's rock-n-roll for ya.

Carl Giammarese:  Yeah, it was like "A Hard Day's Night" for quite awhile.  I remember once being scared to death.  We were in New York City doing a promotion at a record store in Manhattan and these girls went absolutely nuts. We went tearing down the street and had to cut into a store and talk the owner into locking the door while they were pounding on it.  Like I said, it was like "A Hard Day's Night."  It was crazy.

The Buckinghams

Casey Chambers:  It sounds like some crazy great times.  And The Buckinghams are still working stages hard.  And you're gonna be out this way pretty soon, right?

Carl Giammarese:  Yeah, we're going to be in Kansas on New Years Eve at the Kansas Star Casino.  Come on out and join us.  I think it's a fairly early show.  We've got a date there and then we've gotta be in Vegas for a show on New Years Day.

Casey Chambers:  That's gonna be a blast.  Carl, I'd like to thank you again for all the great music and sharing all these wonderful memories.

Carl Giammarese:  You're welcome.  Thank you, Casey and take care.

"Hey Baby..." - The Buckinghams / "Portraits" (1968)

The Buckinghams Official Website

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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