Showing posts with label #Wolfman Jack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Wolfman Jack. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 20, 2021



Legendary Producer

M I C H A E L   F R A N K L I N

Shares New Tribute To John Lennon

A Few Words About “John Lennon:

 A Day In His Life”

by Gregory Paul Martin

- Son of The Beatles Producer 

Sir George Martin





People from all walks of life have been affected by the music of The Beatles. They gave the world inspiration and happiness in almost everything they did. On October 9, the 80th anniversary of his birth, a new music video will be released honoring John Lennon – “John Lennon: A Day In His Life”, Grammy- nominated American producer, Michael Franklin, and Beatles animator, Alvaro Ortega teaming up to create it.

The spark of Lennon’s tribute began when Franklin awoke from a dream in which he dreamt of the Lennon song, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” while hearing John’s voice singing “A Day In The Life”. Amazed by the similarity between the two songs’ chord sequences and lyrics, Franklin hurriedly put this combination to the piano, the next night, another similar dream awakening him again – this time the baroque piano solo bridge sped up to sound like a harpsichord dashed off by my father, Sir George Martin, for John’s song, “In My Life” from Rubber Soul while The Beatles were on a lunch break. 

“John Lennon: A Day In His Life” is Franklin’s montage of some of the most memorable moments we love from The Beatles songs, John’s vocals superimposed over a cleverly stitched together visual collage, the tribute based on an original score from the “Sergeant Pepper” album.

Franklin said, “I realized the same chord progressions are in ‘Eleanor Rigby’, as well as other Beatles songs. It was quite a surprise, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what The Beatles did. I dove right in, exploring other Beatles song bites. The music production took about three weeks to research, edit, and arrange.”

After completion of the tribute track, it was time to synchronize the video. Franklin had been aware of Ortega’s unique animations of The Beatles for several years, skillfully editing on his laptop previous bit and pieces of Ortega’s work, demonstrating to him what could be done, reaching out to Ortega in Spain, Ortega happily agreeing, the rest now history.

A tribute to John Lennon. A new music video. “A Day In His Life”. This unique musical and visual tribute has been created with deep, heartfelt loving care for one of the greatest musicians of all time.
Gregory Paul Martin - 10/06/2020

Michael Franklin, a Grammy Nominated musician and producer has worked performing producing for myriad of legendary musicians. As a musician with Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Bruce Hornsby, Members of The Rolling Stones, Yes, Toto, The Moody Blues and many others. As a music director for television, Hard Rock Live, Wolfman Jack TV Show, NBC, CBS Comcast and concert specials. As a record producer Reggae Tribute, Larry Coryell, Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Pat Travers, Blues Image, Patrick Moraz and many others.   

His most recent production, the highly acclaimed album with Jon Anderson of Yes, “1000 Hands Chapter One”, released worldwide, on Blue Elan Records,( 

Michael is currently in production on a new album for Robby Steinhardt, the original vocalist, and violinist for the band Kansas.


Alvaro Ortega, recognized worldwide for his popular animated series BEATOONS, has parodied the Fab Four in cartoons have been enjoyed my millions for many years in video and in print worldwide.

 For more information about

Michael Franklin


Alvaro Ortega


Yes Legend 



‘1000 Hands’

chapter one



Michael Franklin


Including an all-star lineup of legendary musicians

Jon Anderson – various instruments, vocals

Additional musicians Steve Howe – guitar Larry Coryell - guitar Rick Derringer - guitar Chris Squire – bass guitar Tim Franklin – bass guitar, ukulele, backing vocals Stuart Hamm – bass guitar Brian Chatton - keyboards, backing vocals Chick Corea – keyboards Jonathan Cain - keyboards Michael Franklin – keyboards, ukulele, backing vocals Alan White – drums Billy Cobham – drums Matt Brown – drums, backing vocals Jerry Goodman – violin Jean-Luc Ponty – violin Robby Steinhardt – violin Charlie Bisharat – violin Olga Kopakova – violin Dariusz Grabowski – accordion Brian Snapp – saxophone, flute Charlie DeChant – saxophone, flute Ian Anderson – flute Tower of Power – horn section Zap Mama – backing vocals Bobby Kimball – backing vocals Solar Choir - Choir Voices of Lindahl - choir Crossover Vioelectric Orlando Symphony Orchestra - strings and horns Production Michael Franklin – producer Matt Brown – mixing Bernie Grundman – mastering







…Order yours today on Hardcover or E-book

 at and

Featuring over 45 intimate conversations with some of

the greatest rock legends the world will ever know.






-By Literary Titan (5) STARS

The Rock Star Chronicles, by Ray Shasho, is a splendid book written by a music enthusiast who has poured their heart and soul into it. It’s a story of a boy who loved rock music, and his obsessive passion of it earned himself the name Rock Raymond. He went to school but instead was schooled in all matters of music while his peers were buried chin-deep in coursework. He then became a radio DJ and has now compiled a book on all interviews he held with Rock gods who raided the airwaves back in the 70s and 80s. It’s a compilation of interviews with outstanding vocalists, legendary guitarists and crazy drummers in the rock music scene. Each interview gives a reader an in-depth view into their personal lives and the philosophies that guide their lives which all serve to humanize these great icons. For readers who are old enough to call themselves baby boomers this book will bring old memories back to life. Millennials, on the other hand, may think of this book as a literal work of the Carpool Karaoke show. 

The Rock Star Chronicles is a book I didn’t know I was waiting for. To come across a book that will talk me into trying something new. One brave enough to incite me to venture into new frontiers. This book made me a believer- I am now a bona fide Rock and Roll music fan.

 Ray Shasho masterfully gets the interviewees talking. He smartly coaxes answers from them with crafty questions designed to get a story rolling out of them. The artists talk about diverse issues ranging from music, politics, and their social engagements. Having been on the music seen all his life, Ray Shasho knows the buttons to press, how to get them comfortable about talking about their lives. 

The book’s cover is befitting of its subject matter with the leather look offering a royal background to the golden letter print. It speaks to how high a level rock music holds in the pecking order- arguably, modern music as we know it has originated from blues and rock music.  The second noteworthy thing is the use of high definition pictures to reference the musician being interviewed in every sub-chapter. This ensures that the book is for both original rock and roll lovers and aspiring new ones. Together is makes for a refreshing and consistently enjoyable read.

I recommend this book to rock music enthusiasts, aspiring musicians wondering what it takes and all readers curious to learn new things by going back in time.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Burton Cummings Interview: The Guess Who Legend Reveals True Origin of “American Woman.”

By Ray Shasho

Burton Cummings is the legendary voice, songwriter, and keyboardist for Canada’s own classic rock superstars The Guess Who. Although the group has had numerous personnel changes throughout the years, the most prominent members have been Burton Cummings and guitarist Randy Bachman.

Cummings was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His first band was an R&B group called The Deverons. The band released two singles on the REO Records label.

In 1965, Cummings joined The Guess Who replacing Bob Ashley on keyboards and eventually Chad Allan on vocals. The Guess Who scored commercially with their first international hit “These Eyes” (#6 Billboard Hit) in 1969. The track was featured on their album Wheatfield Soul on the RCA record label. The single was written by Bachman/Cummings and was their first to reach the top ten.

The Guess Who followed with a succession of Top 40 hits including … “Laughing” (#10 U.S. Hit, #1Canada -written by Bachman/Cummings) and “Undun” (#22 U.S. Hit).
1970 would prove to be the most pivotal year for The Guess Who. The group scored (2) #1 Hits in the U.S. with “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature" and “American Woman” the group’s biggest selling single. The Guess Who also spawned the hits …. “No Time” (#5 U.S. #1 Canada -written by Bachman/Cummings), “Hand Me Down World” (#17 U.S. Hit) and “Share The Land” (#10 U.S. Hit -written by Burton Cummings).

Randy Bachman left The Guess Who in 1970 and would eventually form Bachman- Turner Overdrive.
Subsequent albums released by The Guess Who … Canned Wheat (1969), American Woman (1970), Share The Land (1970), So Long, Bennatyne (1971), Rockin’ (1972), Artificial Paradise (1973).

In 1973, Burton Cummings and The Guess Who released one of the group’s most underrated albums entitled The Guess Who #10. The album was a clear diversion from the band’s roots but spotlighted brilliant lyrical content and virtuoso musicianship. The album featured Burton Cummings composition “Glamour Boy.” The track was a jab at David Bowie’s glitter rock insurgence. The album also featured the profound “Cardboard Empire” written by Bill Wallace and Kurt Winter, while hauntingly performed by Cummings.
In 1974, The Guess Who collaborated on their final Top 40 single entitled “Clap For The Wolfman,” (#6 U.S. Billboard Hit) an applicable tribute to legendary radio and TV personality Wolfman Jack.

Subsequent releases: The Guess Who #10 (1973), Road Food (1974), Flavours (1974), Power in the Music (1975), The Way They Were (1976).
The Guess Who disbanded in 1975.

In 1983, Bachman, Cummings, Jim Kale and Garry Peterson reunited as The Guess Who to play a series of Canadian gigs and recorded the Together Again live album and video.

Bachman and Cummings reunited again in 1997 to perform in Winnipeg for a disaster relief fund raiser.

An eclectic Guess Who reunion ensued in 2000 featuring Bachman, Cummings, McDougall, Kale and Peterson. Bill Wallace eventually replaced Kale while the group toured regularly through 2003. A live album and DVD followed at the end of the 2000 tour.

The Guess Who was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2001. Cummings received an additional Star in 2011.
The Guess Who performed for an estimated 450,000 people at Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto, a benefit concert in 2003.

The Guess Who continues to tour with only original members … drummer Garry Peterson and bassist Jim Kale.

Burton Cummings also amassed a widely successful solo career. He landed a huge hit with “Stand Tall” (#10 U.S. #1 Hit Canada) in 1976.

Burton Cummings solo albums Burton Cummings (1976), My Own Way to Rock (1977), Dream of a Child (1978), Woman Love (1980), The Best of Burton Cummings (1980), Sweet Sweet (1981), Heart (1984), Plus Signs (1990), The Burton Cummings Collection (1994), Up Close and Alone (1996), Above the Ground (2008).

In 2002, The Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts in Winnipeg, Manitoba was renamed to dedicate the singer and songwriter.

In 2008, Cummings released the highly- acclaimed CD Above The Ground. All the tracks on the release are written by Cummings. The album also features his touring band The Carpet Frogs.

In 2009, Cummings received the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honors.

In 2012, Burton Cummings Massey Hall was released –an incredible live CD recorded in Toronto.

Most recently … Burton Cummings is on a summer tour. He’ll be releasing a book of poetry soon entitled, ‘The Writings of B. L. Cummings,’ and a video series called RUFF.

I had the rare opportunity to chat with Burton Cummings recently about the summer tour, the true origin of “American Woman,” The life and times of The Guess Who, Canada, Wolfman Jack and so much more!
Here’s my interview with singer, songwriter, musician and legendary voice of 'The Guess Who' BURTON CUMMINGS.
Ray Shasho: Hello Burton, thank you for being on the call this afternoon.
Burton Cummings: “It’s my pleasure Ray.”
Ray Shasho: How’s the summer tour coming along?
Burton Cummings: “We’re doing great, actually we just came back from Kamloops, British Columbia and we did an outdoor gig last Saturday night on the side of a mountain in a natural amphitheatre and it was so beautiful. Last Saturday, there were moments when we were onstage that felt like 1968 or 1969 again, it was just great. There were tons and tons of people, they all brought their dogs, everybody had a great time and it was really terrific.”
Ray Shasho: Was that a music festival?
Burton Cummings: “It’s a one time a year festival at Sun Peaks which is a ski resort, and we could see all the cleared runs coming down the mountains and we played in this beautiful natural amphitheatre …just tremendous. So it’s been a pretty good summer so far, we’ve got another big one in Edmonton this week, Klondike Days, there’s all these big festivals in Canada, and after that I’m doing a couple of one-man shows in New York City and a place called The City Winery … so it’s a pretty busy summer.”
Ray Shasho: Burton, I’ve always wanted to see Canada but never got around to it.
Burton Cummings: “It’s beautiful it’s just cold for a lot of people’s taste. I grew up in Winnipeg and it’s thirty below a lot there. Thirty-thirty five below is not uncommon. I’m in California now which is a totally different world completely. I think I’m turning into a wimp because I can’t take the cold the way that I used to. When we were kids we just played hockey all day long outside and we’d come home with frozen toes and frozen finger tips and frozen cheeks and that was just an everyday occurrence.”
Ray Shasho: Canadians are buying lots of property here in Florida.
Burton Cummings: “Now they’re calling Toronto … New York north. It’s such a huge place; it just became the fourth largest city in North America. How about this …Toronto just passed Chicago in population. The city has always been cutting-edge, the CN Tower is one of the wonders of the world, but you know what’s huge there is the film festival. When they have the Toronto Film Festival they call it Hollywood north, because every major star is always there, every major studio is always represented. When you’re in Toronto at film festival time you can’t get a reservation at a restaurant or an elevator in your hotel, it’s just completely overrun. It’s good for Toronto and good for Canada.”
Ray Shasho: We never seem to hear negative news coming out of Canada, things always appear somewhat peaceful and I really like that.
Burton Cummings: “Here’s the thing … in Canada we have one-tenth the population that the U.S. does. So just purely by the numbers there’s going to be a lot less crime. We have socialized medicine in Canada which is very-very attractive to Americans. It’s the same as Sweden. You know another place in Canada that people rave about is Quebec City, there’s so much history there. So a lot of people particularly from the United States go to Quebec and get the European experience without going all the way over to Europe. So when you think of it that way, it’s kind of cool.”
Ray Shasho: I chatted with some guys that may have been on your last studio album entitled, Above the Ground … I interviewed Gino Vannelli and chatted with Brother Ross Vannelli.
Burton Cummings: “Ross sang on my last studio album, I know all of them quite well. Joe was my engineer and Ross is the youngest of the three, he sang and played a little guitar on my last album too. Joe was the assistant producer and Ross just came in and did some musical stuff. Joe helped me out a lot, he’s a great engineer. And he’s got a beautiful state of the art studio out in Agoura Hills, California … it’s not that big but these days it doesn’t have to be that big anymore, everything has shrunk so drastically.”
Ray Shasho: Many music artists are recording from their computers at home nowadays?
Burton Cummings: “There’s a very famous story that PINK did most of her album from a laptop on the bus between gigs. You can actually do that know.”
Ray Shasho: Don’t you kind of miss that big music studio experience though?
Burton Cummings: “I do miss the big room experience that we used to have in the old days recording at the RCA Studios in LA and then also with Richard Perry at Studio 55 which was adjacent to the Paramount Pictures lot. I kind of miss the studio experience to a degree but also I love the technology, what you can do is sort of fix things. I don’t use a lot of Auto-Tune but if I have a piano clunker, you can now go right in and dial that bad key out, whereas before you had to do a whole new take and go beginning to end. It’s a double-edged sword; I don’t like the fact that there are so many machines on records now and another thing I don’t like, Joe Vannelli said this to me too, have you ever noticed in the last eight or nine years … everything is perfect. It’s not supposed to be perfect, there’s never a tiny glitch in the vocals, never a bad note on anything because producers and engineers are just fixing everything. I think you can over-fix things. I think you can fix things to death. There’s no human element left. I don’t think the vocal is supposed to be tuned like a guitar string. But that’s just me; I’m 65 and seeing it through older eyes.”
Ray Shasho: I spun 45’s and album tracks when I was a Top 40 radio deejay back in the late 70’s and that technology brought the radio listening audience the greatest music the world has ever known.
Burton Cummings: “The thing about radio that is disappointing now is the voice- tracking. It’s not live like it was, when I was a kid you could phone-in and now with voice- tracking, people don’t realize … I really shouldn’t let the cat out of the bag, maybe a lot of your readers don’t realize how much voice- tracking really goes on. It is true; I did AM radio in my hometown of Winnipeg for awhile with my best friend Gary MacLean. We did the 3-6, drive home in the afternoon shift and what I liked about it the most was that they let me pick all the music. So I was showing up with literally great big shopping bags of my own collection of CD’s. We were picking them right on the spot, live radio like the old days, taking calls from people and playing all the stuff that I chose, it was an oldies station so it was right up my alley. I’m telling man, it was some of the most fun that I ever had in my life. I was doing three or four different characters, different voices, and people actually thought sometimes that there were three and four different people in the studio with us and it was all just me. Anyway, we had a lot of fun. I might have actually gone into radio if I hadn’t been so lucky with the music.”
Ray Shasho: Burton, I’ve got to say man, you’re imitation of Gordon Lightfoot rocks!
(All Laughing)
Burton Cummings: “I actually did it in front of him one night. Years and years ago I was playing a week at a big cabaret place in Toronto called the Imperial Room and it had quite a history, Eartha Kitt and Sammy Davis Jr. and all the stars from earlier on had played there. So I went in and did a week and I was doing that imitation in my show of Gordon. I guess by the end of the week they were writing it up in the papers and some of his friends had been there and had seen me do it. So Saturday night, the last night of the show, he comes down and sits right in front of me, gets a table in front of my piano. So it gets to that point in the show and of course I did the imitation right in front of him. It was hilarious! When I do it onstage people howl with laughter, it’s pretty funny. I like impressionists. When I was a kid watching The Ed Sullivan Show, other than The Beatles and The Dave Clark Five my favorite stuff were always the impressionists.”
Ray Shasho: I’ve heard many different versions about the origin behind “American Woman.” What is the true origin behind the making of “American Woman?”
Burton Cummings: “Alright here are the true goods …it was jammed onstage one night in Mississauga, Ontario, we were playing at a club called the Broom & Stone which was actually a curling rink and doing two shows that night. I guess we hadn’t gotten that big yet. Between the two shows, I was outside bartering with this kid, he had some old Gene Vincent records that I wanted to get for my collection and tried to strike-up a deal with this guy. The next thing I know, it’s time to start the second show and the other three guys have gone back onstage and I hear them start this riff … (Burton began mimicking the opening riff to “American Woman.”) I said to this guy … Oh my God; I’m supposed to be onstage man, I’ve got to run, I’ll see you later about these Gene Vincent records.”

“I run inside and run up onto the stage and just grab a microphone and started singing whatever came into my head; it was all stream of consciousness at the moment stuff … all that stuff about war machines and ghetto scenes, colored lights can hypnotize …it was all just spur- of- the- moment. And nobody would have ever heard it again but there happened to be a kid bootlegging the show that night. This was way back in the 60’s and he had a cassette machine, and those machines were a relatively new invention at that time. But this was 1968, forty-five years ago. We noticed this onstage as the night went on and he still kept recording. So we motioned to our road manager… go get that tape-go get that tape! He got the cassette tape and we listened to it later and heard this jam about American Woman stay away from me. So we actually kind of learned it from that tape, otherwise nobody would have ever heard it again. So talk about a Cinderella story. And that was a monstrous hit record for us; it was number one on Billboard for three weeks. So it was all an accident, I guess the music Gods were smiling on us. The music Gods probably sent that kid with the cassette machine.”

“When RCA heard “American Woman,” the guy that was head of A&R was listening and he threw up his newspaper in the air and said, “That’s a number one record!” He immediately new it was going to be big. You know what’s interesting too, thirty years later Lenny Kravitz covered it. We did a big thing for MuchMusic in Toronto which is the MTV of Canada. It was the real Guess Who that reformed back in 2000-2001, the real band not that touring band that calls itself The Guess Who, the real band got together again for about a year and a half. And us together we Lenny’s band got together and did “American Women” onstage outside the MuchMusic studios and there were thousands of people in the street. At the end, Lenny and I were actually trading vocal lines, it was pretty cool.”

“Another cool thing on millennium night, New Years of 1999, Prince had a pay per view special on television and he was wailing away and said, “I’d like to introduce my friend Lenny Kravitz!” Out comes Lenny …and Prince and Lenny Kravitz together do “American Woman.” Trading vocal lines and trading guitar lines. It’s all over You Tube if you want to check it out …it’s very cool. Here’s the thing that made me so proud …a love song is a love song. A love song a hundred years later is going to have the same effect that it did a hundred years earlier. When a song is not a love song, it’s very unusual that it would make sense thirty years later because times change, whether it is political or apolitical or just observational, it’s very-very odd and very-very rare that a non-love song would surface thirty years later and still be relevant. That’s what makes me so proud about those lyrics … I don’t need your war machines, I don’t need your ghetto scenes … that could have been written last night! For me as a lyricist, it was one of my proudest moments because to have it stand up again and not be corny. It was also the biggest record of Lenny’s career.”
Ray Shasho: Burton, I’ve been waiting a long time to talk with you about one of the most underrated albums in rock history … The Guess Who #10 album.
Burton Cummings: “Do you know why it’s one of my favorites … if you check the writing credits, I wrote almost everything on it with no co-writers and at that time took the reins of the band and we had a real direction on that album. It wasn’t the cheeriest album but I thought it hit pretty hard. The reason I like it so much is that it was the closest thing to a solo album that I ever did while I was still in The Guess Who. I was really running the ship at that point and I think the songs were good …”Just Let Me Sing, “Self Pity” and I always thought “Glamour Boy” was one of the best things that I ever wrote. I do like #10, I’m really glad to hear you say that.”
Ray Shasho: My favorite track on the album was actually “Cardboard Empire” … just an incredible tune.
Burton Cummings: “That’s a great one, it’s one I didn’t write but it’s a great song.”
Ray Shasho: I get chills when I hear that tune; it can easily be associated with modern day America.
Burton Cummings: “Who are the people, who are the people that you think you are … man that could easily be sung directly to Dick Cheney.”
Ray Shasho: Who was “Glamour Boy” directed at?
Burton Cummings: “David Bowie …absolutely! He came along and changed everything. It bothered me a lot at first because we weren’t a glam band. We wore the same clothes onstage that we wore all day and while we were travelling. We never dressed up and had dancers and crazy costumes and pyrotechnics; we were all about the music. We used to dress like Kurt Cobain. We never played the glamour game. Then all of a sudden Bowie came along and it was Ziggy Stardust and makeup and costumes …and it really threatened me. And I also saw that he was making tons of money … for $25,000 you could look like a woman tonight … that’s where that came from, it was just a jab at what was changing so drastically.”
Ray Shasho: Well, I thought The Guess Who #10 album was a masterpiece yet it didn’t get much acclaim.
Burton Cummings: “You know what, ironically here we are talking about it and it’s exactly 40 years ago. It was 1973 and exactly 40 years ago.”
Ray Shasho: Your long hair on the front album cover was probably as long as mine back in 1973.
(All Laughing)
Burton Cummings: “At one point it actually touched my elbows. I look at those pictures now and wow man that was another lifetime.”
Ray Shasho: I’m so glad that you and the band wrote a fitting tribute to Wolfman Jack … an American icon.
Burton Cummings: “He was a radio legend … way before MTV we were on The Midnight Special a couple of times and they took a shine to us because we were a pretty good live act. The Midnight Special was all live. So if you went on there and was lame live, you weren’t asked back. When we were on the first time they loved us, so we went back a second time and hung out with Wolman a little bit and got to be friendly. Billy and Kurt were writing a song called “Clap for Napoleon.” Napoleon being a CB handle, when the big CB/trucker thing was a rage in the 70’s. …everybody had a handle. So they were going to write a song about a trucker’s handle, and I said I love this riff but if we made this lyrically about the Wolfman it would have a universal appeal. So they agreed with me and I went home that night and banged out the lyrics and sure enough it was a top five record.”

“Wolfman was a great guy, we hung out a lot and he used to come MC our shows back in The Guess Who days. One time we did a show in Honolulu at the HIC Honolulu International Center … It was Aerosmith first, The Guess Who and Wolfman was the MC. I still remember Tyler running around and yelling … “Where’s the Wolfman! Where’s the Wolfman!””
Ray Shasho: Burton, here’s a question that I ask everyone that I interview, If you had a “Field of Dreams” wish, like the movie, to play or collaborate with anyone from the past or present, who would that be?
Burton Cummings: “Fats Domino and of course every kid that’s my age back in the 60’s would have dreamt on being with The Beatles. What keyboard player wouldn’t have wanted to be Billy Preston when he played with them on “Get Back.” If I had only one wish it would be to be the fifth Beatle …to be The Beatle keyboard player and singer.”
Ray Shasho: Burton you’re such a great singer, songwriter, and performer, I saw you and The Guess Who perform in 1973 and watched you perform with Ringo Starr & His All- Starr Band.
Burton Cummings: I think of all the Ringo Starr All- Starr bands, and I’m not just saying this because it’s me, I think ours was the best. We had Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Dave Edmunds, Nils Lofgren, Todd Rundgren, myself on keyboards, Ringo and Zack on drums. I’ve seen the other lineups and he’s had a lot of great bands but I think ours was the best. It was a tremendous experience.”
Ray Shasho: You mentioned before the “other Guess Who” … they actually performed on the 4th of July in Palmetto, Florida not far from where I live.
Burton Cummings: “Oh goodness, good luck to them. It’s a scam because they use the real records to draw people to their crowds and a lot of people still think that Randy and I are going to be there and it’s terrible. They’ve got to live that lie so I don’t think about them too much. I’ve got a whole different life since then.”
Ray Shasho: I’ve had this same conversation with so many guys who were the leaders of their bands like Lou Gramm (Foreigner) and Peter Rivera (Rare Earth).
Burton Cummings: “Well let’s face it tonight somewhere at some casino you can go and see The Platters. Somewhere tonight you can go and see The Temptations. But you know what, it’s not the guys who are on the records. So for me I don’t care, once it’s not the guys on the record I’d rather sit home and play the records. Grand Funk is out there without Mark Farner … it’s a sad state of affairs, one of these days there will be a law passed. There are a couple of guys who are thinking about it, taking it to the courts and getting a law established that there has to be at least 60 or 80% of the original band. It gets down to the point where somebody just owns the name and it’s just like a franchise, like owning a McDonalds.”
Ray Shasho: When will you be releasing ‘The Writings of B. L. Cummings’ a book of poetry?
Burton Cummings: “Probably in the next couple of months, we’re just making the final tweaks and making the cover look beautiful. We have a video series call RUFF … it’s going to be volumes and volumes; I’ve had a videographer follow me around for the last 13 years. We’ve finally got volume one edited, there’s some live concert footage, backstage foolery and shenanigans and it covers all kinds of ground. So it’s been a busy time for me.”
Ray Shasho: Burton, thank you so much for being on the call today, but more importantly for all the incredible music you’ve given to us and continue to bring.
Burton Cummings: “Very kind words, my hat size is going up from all the praise. Thank you very much Ray, my pleasure.”

Purchase Burton Cummings latest studio release … Above the Ground and
Live CD …Burton Cummings Massey Hall at
Visit Burton Cummings official website at
Burton Cummings on Facebook
Burton Cummings on Twitter

Very special thanks to Lorne Saifer

Coming up NEXT … Recent interviews with Gary Wright, Melanie and blues slide guitarist Roy Rogers

Contact classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho at

Purchase Ray’s very special memoir called ‘Check the Gs’ -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business … You’ll LIVE IT! Also available for download on NOOK or KINDLE edition for JUST .99 CENTS at or - Please support Ray so he can continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting. 
~~Pacific Book Review says Ray Shasho is a product of the second half of the 20th century, made in the USA from parts around the world, and within him is every trend in music, television, politics and culture contributing to his philosophical and comically analytical reflections collected in his fine book of memories. I found Check the Gs to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray. So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book! It’s a great gift for your “over-the-hill” friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Exclusive Interview: Frank Marino Legendary Guitarist “I Can’t Play Guitar Without Severe Pain”

By Ray Shasho

Frank Marino is an invigorating virtuoso and champion guitar slinger who is also considered to be among the greatest players of all-time. The Montreal native and his assiduous band Mahogany Rush were one of the elite monster rock acts throughout the 70s.

The band performed on several prestigious television music shows including Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special hosted by the notorious Wolfman Jack. Marino jokingly stated in this interview that Mahogany Rush was mysteriously omitted from the Midnight Special DVD collector video library released to the public.
Mahogany Rush also played for more than 300,000 people at California Jam II in 1978. The televised concert featured Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Santana, Dave Mason, Foreigner, Heart, Bob Welch (with Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood), Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush and Rubicon.

Mahogany Rush was managed by Steve Leber and David Krebs, who also handled Aerosmith and Ted Nugent. Some of the bands most significant releases include, Maxoom, Child of the Novelty, Strange Universe, Mahogany Rush IV, World Anthem, Live, Tales of the Unexpected, What’s Next, From the Hip, Dragonfly(The best of Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush), Eye of the Storm, and Real Live!(double live album).

The Sicilian -Syrian Marino captured the essence of Jimi Hendrix early on in his career. Rock and roll urban legend suggests that when Marino was a teen he was visited by an apparition of Jimi Hendrix after a bad LSD trip, which led to the spirit of Hendrix entering Marino’s body and bestowing his ability to play the guitar. Marino renounces the fabrication and says Hendrix was still alive while he was in the hospital recuperating from the LSD trip. But he did learn to play the guitar while recovering.

Frank Marino was widely recognized throughout his career as a master for performing Hendrix cover tunes. Marino’s cover versions were impeccable and audiences globally would ultimately embrace them. His cover tunes were commercially successful (“Roadhouse Blues” The Doors, “All Along the Watchtower,” “Purple Haze” Jimi Hendrix) but Marino was never pleased about his original material receiving virtually no airplay on FM radio.
Marino retired from the music business but returned in 2001, largely galvanized by his fan base. Most recently Frank Marino has been suffering from adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) and gradually recuperating. The condition usually resolves itself within one or two years but restricts mobility and can generate intense pain. Marino is receiving extensive physiotherapy. The condition began after Marino spent tedious immeasurable hours in his studio editing a meticulous task.

I had the great privilege of chatting with Frank Marino recently from his home in Montreal Canada about his current physical condition, the future of Mahogany Rush, and since it’s the NHL playoffs … a little hockey.
I found Marino to be fascinating, sociable, sympathetic, righteous and profound. He’s also just a genuine, down to earth, nice guy.
Here’s my interview with legendary guitar wizard/ singer/ songwriter/hockey aficionado/theology writer /Frank Marino.
Ray Shasho: Frank thank you for being on the call today. The tape is rolling … (Laughing)
Frank Marino: “I’m glad you’re doing this on tape because I can’t stand emails.”
Ray Shasho: Being from Montreal are you a big hockey fan?
Frank Marino: “I’m an extremely big hockey fan! I’ve been a fan since 1955. I was a Montreal Habs fan until 1989, then stopped being a Habs fan and started becoming an everything hockey fan. I just love the game and it doesn’t really matter who’s playing as long as they’re playing it right. You can play hockey right and you can play hockey wrong and I don’t like teams who do it the wrong way.”
Ray Shasho: Frank, what do you consider playing hockey the wrong way?
Frank Marino: “The wrong way would be not paying attention to the details of the game. Not having passion for playing the game. I’m not a big fan of east-west style hockey, when you’re not going directly north and south to the net. Growing up in Montreal … the way to play hockey was to drive the net and you check … basically football on ice.”
Ray Shasho: You’re half Syrian? My father’s family was Syrian Jews. And of course they had to get the heck out of Syria and finally came to America in the early 1900’s via Ellis Island.
Frank Marino: “My mother is Christian Syrian and my father was Sicilian. Believe it or not my grandmother had to get the heck out of Syria because she was a Syrian Christian. It wasn’t just the Syrian Jews who had the problem. But we’re Orthodox Christian from Antioch. My mother actually speaks Ancient Aramaic … we’re a very biblical family. Our original church is in Antioch Syria, the first church established outside of Jerusalem over a thousand years ago.”
Ray Shasho: A lot of rock bands have incorporated Arabic rhythms into many of their songs; Led Zeppelin was a good example.
Frank Marino: “I do a lot of music like that myself. I use to play Arabic music for my grandmother when she was alive. When I was very young I was a drummer … from the time I was five years old into my teens, and then picked it up again later on after my 30’s. But being a drummer you can’t help being attracted to that type of music, it was all beat related. And there are nuances to that kind of drumming. Often times in a pop tune we go very clearly from a verse to a chorus with a big change. In Arabic music they also go through changes but they’re very subtle changes in the tempo and timing and as a drummer I find that very interesting.”
Ray Shasho: I heard that you write Theology?
Frank Marino: “I’m a Religious guy; into Theology and study it quite a bit including Hebrew and Judaism.”
Ray Shasho: What led you towards that direction … was there a calling at some point in your life?
Frank Marino: “It was a long time ago, don’t forget we grew up as hippies in the 60s and after that culture we have to find ourselves. And a lot of people from the 60s will tell you, I spent a lot of time to try and find myself … well that’s what I found… I found that. It’s been forty years now that I’ve been doing this. But I live it and not just write about it. I live it on a very daily basis and have done so for decades. But the stuff I write is somewhat philosophical and mostly related to my understanding of ancient scripture including Hebrew scripture.”
Ray Shasho: How do you find the time to write and study Theology and then play rock and roll?
Frank Marino: “I’m a bit under pressure right now because I damaged my shoulder and really badly actually. It’s called adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder. Mahogany Rush did a show in Cleveland on December 12th and 13th at the Agora, and I’d never done a DVD, I waited ten years to finally do a DVD. The reason I waited was because I didn’t like or believe in them, and just don’t like the way they’re done. It’s too much selling and not enough art. I always wanted to do a different kind of DVD and finally found my chance to do it. The video crew for Bruce Springsteen just happened to be fans of mine and they offered their services to come and shoot this thing for me. We shot a twelve hour concert and basically we booked the place for two nights. One night was the Soundcheck, the next day from noon to midnight was the show… and we played everything. We didn’t stop, only had two breaks, but pretty much played all day. We filmed it all on seven cameras and very professionally on a really good looking DVD, which I had to assemble on some form of condensed show.”
“When I got home on the fourteenth of December … that was in 2010, and when I checked on the multitrack audio… the drums was damaged, the audio was damaged, because of a problem in the recording that no one had noticed. So I was left with a magnificent video shoot and no audio. So the only answer was to go into and find each beat that was damaged and replace them one by one. So that’s what I started doing on the fourteenth of December… and it’s like changing every blade of grass on your lawn one by one with a fork. So I started on the fourteenth of December and was so determined to do it that I sat for almost fifteen hours a day, seven days a week, until the next August. And what happened was I froze up my shoulder on the right side and didn’t realize what I was doing. I thought well… my shoulder is hurting me because I had a hard day but it got worse and worse.”
“It’s called frozen shoulder and what happens is the whole shoulder freezes up and you lose all your motion and the pain becomes unbearable. Then the rest of your muscles in your neck and back try to compensate and they become unbearable. Really the only way around it is to stop doing what you were doing and go to physiotherapy and restretch it out until it goes back to normal, but it can take one to three years to come back. I’m a year removed from it now, I stopped working on the video in September and I’ve only got five songs left. (Laughing) I’m hoping to get back to it by this summer. Only five tunes left and there’s like sixty.”
“Now I’ve restored motion to my arm and at least I can move it. I’ve got 50% movement in the arm. I can’t play guitar …I can’t put my arm around the body of the guitar. To play the guitar your elbow has to extend out from your body and that’s one of the motions I can’t do without serious pain. I get physiotherapy four days a week. The doctors say it will take one to three years to fully recoup the shoulder …it’s been a year now. Although I have movement … I haven’t lost the pain. I’m in constant pain 24/7.”
“Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to work soon, and once I finish the DVD… somehow package it, get out on the road again and do a few gigs.”
Ray Shasho: Frank, is there a way to hire a producer to finish the editing?
Frank Marino: “To tell you the truth Ray, there’s not a human being in the world that can do the kind of editing that I do. And I mean that sincerely and not giving myself credit. The system that I practically invented to do this kind of replacement … there is nobody that can do it, in fact I did speak with a bunch of people who are professionals at doing these things and every one of them said, forget it throw it away you’re not going to be able to do this. But I did, and probably because I’m an editor and a drummer and I really understand what I’m hearing. But you have to understand the drum tracks that we’re dealing with here …it’s not as if we simply have a drum track that sounds bad, we have a drum track that in some places it has completely disappeared. And when it hasn’t disappeared it sounds like an iPhone. So I have to basically discern exactly what the drummer is playing on every single strike and then I have to discern how hard he hit it, which drum he hit, and with which nuance, and I have to redo that and fix each piece one by one. I’m not improving anything just resurrecting it, kind of like restoring a painting. If it was just an album, I could just get the drummer to come back and play it again, but we can’t because he’s on video.”
Ray Shasho: When do you think the release date of the DVD might be?
Frank Marino: “I had hoped to have it done by last December and that’s why I was working like a maniac. Now it could take till next December or longer. But I can tell you this …the video looks magnificent. And I hope people like it because it’s the only DVD I’m ever going to do. (All Laughing)”
Ray Shasho: I loved those late night music shows in the 70’s that spotlighted the greatest artists of the decade … ABC’s In Concert, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. And I remember a particular episode of The Midnight Special that featured Dickey Betts, Elvin Bishop and Charlie Daniels Band. Then this hard rock band appeared and completely blew away the audience. I’ll never forget the look on their faces when Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush took the stage.
Frank Marino: “I remember that very well and I’ll tell you why… they had this host called Wolfman Jack and we did our version of Johnny B Goode, and my version of Johnny B. Goode is anything but the 50s rock and roll style, and it’s really unpolished, fuzzy, and distorted, and it’s got guitar solos in it. And after we did that he wanted to sing a verse of Johnny B. Goode while they went to commercial, and we had to go back to the tune and play Go Johnny Go, Go, Go while he stood there and sang Go Johnny Go, Go, Go and I thought it was really hokey. It was really weird…. I thought I was in some strange dream; normally I wouldn’t do something like that. Did you ever notice something Ray… they came out with this Midnight Special DVD package set and I’m the only guy not on it? I’m not on it man …everybody else is but me. (Laughing)”
“Well … I guess I never joined the party and sort of marched to my own drum. I don’t care about money, don’t have any, and don’t want any. And I certainly don’t care about fame… I really don’t like it. It goes against my religion to be famous. I’m just a guy who plays music and I got lucky, and people happened to see me, and people happened to like what I do. I certainly don’t take it seriously as if I’m saving the world with my music. I mean for crying out loud we’re not curing cancer here we’re just playing guitar. The only difference that I make by making a record, a video, or playing live, is that some people for the duration of that song or live show … have a good time. And that’s really the best way to make a difference. I think we’re all in this to have fun.”
Ray Shasho:I watched an interview you did that talked about commercial radio not playing any of your music unless it was one of your cover tunes.
Frank Marino: “As far as radio was concerned …it never really liked me. I had one #1 hit on the radio and it was called “Strange Dreams.” Then on the very year that I had the #1 hit, and after twelve years of the record company telling me… if you’d only get one hit everything will work … I left the record company and quit the business. Then I decided not to work with a major again and never did. My old band members got mad at me and they all ended up quitting because I wasn’t going to pursue it. So that’s just the way I am. I’m very happy that way, no regrets and I’m not bitter. And I thank God every day that he didn’t make me rich.”
“In 1989, I bought myself a studio. I went to the old studio that had all my old 24 track masters of all the records that I had done since Maxoom, all the way through Juggernaut. I went to get all my tapes over 600 of them and I found out that day some girl at the studio had been selling those tapes at night to bands to record on. My entire catalog of everything that I ever recorded was wiped out and does not exist. After I’m long gone there will be no history of my work except whatever was on the vinyl. That has never happened to a musician in the history of music. There isn’t a single musician in the history of rock music that hasn’t got their masters. My whole life was wiped out.”
Ray Shasho: I grew up in the Washington DC area and rock stations would religiously play your version of “Roadhouse Blues.”
Frank Marino: “See what I mean … another cover. “I’m A King Bee,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roadhouse Blues,” “Purple Haze,” “All Along The Watchtower” and that’s what was on the radio…it’s unbelievable and I think we had a lot of other stuff that could have done really well …even on that radio format.”
Ray Shasho: How was your relationship with Columbia Records?
Frank Marino: “The business people who found me and said oh boy we can make money with this kid …they would have liked me to be more proactive in terms of selling and caring about marketing. I was always at odds with them, always at war with them, because they wanted me to act like I wasn’t me and I wouldn’t do it …and I’m stubborn so it created problems. I got out of there as soon as the contract was over; it was just not for me. I once said to one of the big honcho’s at Columbia, you’re always boasting that you have 162 artists, because that’s how many they had, but all of our industry is based on the Top10. So if you’re happy with your artists being in the Top 10, that means there are 152 guys you don’t care about. Why are you signing with them just let them go. The thing that was wrong with our industry was Top 10 …Top 10 ...Top 10 to the exclusion of all else. Just because something is the Top 10 seller it’s not the Top 10 best. So a lot of guys with a lot of dreams got short shrifted by these people who basically paid all the attention to the Top 10 and in fact took the money from the lower 52 to boost the Top 10.”
Ray Shasho: Do you have children Frank?
Frank Marino: “I have three daughters … 18, 16 and 13. They’ve been on the road with me and involved in music with me since the day they were born… all three of them. They all became musicians and just on their own. My oldest daughter does classical voice, piano, clarinet, and writes symphonies. The middle one is the guitarist and the youngest one is going to be another guitarist. I was a cool dad. I was the type of dad that would say don’t go to school today. I’d take them on the road, take them all over the world, and they still got 90s and are honor students. This was the rule in my house Ray … when the kids came home from school I’d say no homework till you had fun. I’ve always had a kind of loose outlook about it and they turned out really good. I always joked that God brought up my kids and I didn’t because I would have failed miserably.”
Ray Shasho: Are you friends with fellow Canadian rock musicians?
Frank Marino: “I’m friends with everybody … but the only one I speak with on a call up basis is Myles Goodwyn of April Wine because I go back with him since 1971, and also the guys who were the original musicians in that band. Anybody else …Rush or other Canadian bands, certainly if I bump onto them it’s “Hey Frank how are you, are you working?” and that kind of thing. But I wouldn’t say that we’re on the telephone or anything.”
“But I’m kind of recluse, not because I’m paranoid or anything, I’m just not interested in going anywhere. (All laughing) I’ve got three daughters that love me and I love them, a wife that loves me and I love her, my mother lives next door… why do I want to go anywhere. I’m surrounded by females that cater to me and there’s nothing better in the world then that. Ask any guy that question.”
Ray Shasho: You were one of the first guitarists to start playing Hendrix style music after his passing.
Frank Marino: “I was the first guy in history literally to take public what Jimi Hendrix was doing other than Jimi Hendrix. There was no other guy before me… and I was only 16 years old… and I was Canadian …and I was white …and I played an SG. So it was like no, no, no, no. Then they invented these stories about reincarnation.”
Ray Shasho: Frank, talk about how Jimi Hendrix visited you as an apparition and entered your body … urban legend?
Frank Marino: “This stuff was invented by Circus Magazine and Creem Magazine. I went to the hospital in 1968 and Jimi Hendrix didn’t die till 1970. I told them where are you getting this reincarnation thing, where was he if he was supposed to be in my body for two years. So this story filtered when we started to get known and every single show I went to …I’m telling you Ray… with the exception of two or three bands …I was completely shunned. No one would talk to me. I had the same management as Aerosmith and Nugent for seven years and those guys didn’t start talking to me for three years. In 1971, one year after the death of Hendrix, I played on a float, a parade to commemorate his death. I played for three hours on a float across the city doing nothing but his tunes. And it was almost like … how dare you? You can’t do that. I use to say this …I even got the old article… "You’re condemning me for doing this now, but one day this style of guitar will be the way that everyone will be judged by." And it is. It became true.”
Ray Shasho: What did you think about playing at California Jam II?
Frank Marino: “I hated Cal Jam. It was the complete microcosm of everything I thought was wrong with the rock and roll concert. All the bands there had a great time, I know they did I watched it, but I was backstage just feeling like I want to go home. Because from my point of view it was Entertainment Tonight, I hated it. I didn’t hate the gig …I hated leading up to the gig. I played at one o’clock in the morning and had to play after Aerosmith. At the end of Cal Jam when I did my encore (I played for ninety minutes) … what do you think was shown when they finally put it on TV? …“Purple Haze!” I played for ninety minutes and they showed “Purple Haze” which was my second encore. At the end of “Purple Haze” I played the Mickey Mouse theme. And that’s what I thought of the show. It was anything but the highlight in my life.”
Ray Shasho: I realize you’ve been more or less sidelined and in serious pain … but what’s next Frank?
Frank Marino: “I did a song for this local singer, she’s actually American but she’s become very famous here in Quebec, her name is Nanette Workman. She asked me to play guitar on one of her tunes in which she did a cover of “Wild Horses” by The Stones. So she asked me to play in Quebec City at a big show and come play the song. So I told her yea even though I’m not in shape to do it. So I’m hoping by July 15th I’ll be okay to just play one song. I think I can probably play one song. So there’s no plan right now until (A) I get better (B) I finish the DVD and then will see what’s going to transpire.”
Ray Shasho: Thank you Frank for being on the call today and for all the great music you gave us over the years. We wish you well and a speedy recovery! We’re also looking forward to the DVD and future concert dates from Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush.
Frank Marino: “Thanks Ray … please stay in touch.”

Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush official website
Purchase Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush music at or

Coming up nextHappy Together Tour 2012 including recent interviews with Micky Dolenz of the Monkees and Gary Puckett of The Union Gap.

Contact Ray Shasho at

Order author/columnist Ray Shasho’s amazing memoir ‘Check the Gs’ The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business at or Download on Kindle or Nook for Only .99 cents! Normalcy is a myth and anyone who tells you differently isn't very normal. "Check the Gs" is a memoir from Ray Shasho who tells of his own offbeat upbringing working in the family business art gallery, from a young age. Of Cuban and Syrian descent, he tells a very American story of coming from everything, seeing everything, walking the line of the law and much more. A fun and fast paced memoir, "Check the Gs" is a worthwhile addition to many a memoir collection. ~~ MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

© Copyright All Rights Reserved