Showing posts with label Ruth Eckerd Hall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ruth Eckerd Hall. Show all posts

Monday, October 17, 2011

Concert Review: 'Frampton Comes Alive! 35' - Interview: Bassist Stanley Sheldon Chats With Ray Shasho

By Ray Shasho
REVIEW: Prodigious Classic Rock artist Peter Frampton and his top-notch band performed the entire Frampton Comes Alive! masterpiece on Saturday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The event celebrated an amazing 35th anniversary of his multi-platinum double album that still remains as one of the best-selling live albums of all-time.
The three hour performance was interrupted only once by a twenty minute intermission. And if you ventured out of the Hall during the show you had to wait until after the song was over to return to your seat. The rule was set in place because the show was recorded and a live CD of the concert was made available to purchase after the show had ended.
I was a junior in high school when Frampton Comes Alive! was first released and just about every house party during that time melded the album into its ambience. Saturday night’s Ruth Eckerd Frampton Comes Alive alumni were at yet another house party to relive the good times when the album was first spun.

The first set of the evening included most of Frampton’s big hits and the packed Ruth Eckerd house was unyielding. Throughout the show there were outcries of enthusiasm perhaps to eclipse the audiences from the original concert recordings of 1975. Even during Frampton’s solo acoustic segments as in “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)” there were bursts of exuberance initiated from every direction of the Hall.

Peter Frampton is 61 now and although he makes fun of losing his symbolic rock star head of locks, Saturday’s show proves that his performances stand the test of time. I’ve witnessed Peter Frampton concerts since 1974 and he’s never disappointed devout fans or concert goers who are there simply as advocates for rock and roll.

The most memorable moments of the first set were an electrified shootout between Sheriff Peter Frampton and Guitar Slinger Adam Lester during “I’ll Give You Money” that blew its audience away.
Frampton’s trademark anthem “Do You Feel Like We Do” followed and generated an ovation of epic proportions. In all the year’s I’ve watched Frampton’s concerts it always appeared like he wore a painted smile on his face. I never witnessed Frampton not smiling. But during a thunderous ovation from an appreciative and galvanized Ruth Eckerd audience, that painted smile metamorphosed into sheer elation.

The eclectic second set enhanced the range of talents in the band. Many of the songs featured muti-instrumentalist Bob Arthur who captured his own fans on Saturday night. Then of course Adam Lester’s mastery on guitar, remarkable bass licks generated by veteran rocker Stanley Sheldon, and the impressive drumming of Dan Wojciechowski completed Frampton’s proficient line-up.

The second set was tight and performed brilliantly with every song accompanied by an awesome screen and light show. An unexpected surprise was a Humble Pie classic called “Four Day Creep.” The tune performed with footage of Frampton’s old bandmates projected on a screen behind him. Vocal efforts although noble could never mirror Humble Pie’s legendary frontman Steve Marriott.

The evening wound down with Frampton’s rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Whole Sun” followed by a huge ovation and encore of friend George Harrison’s tune “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Undoubtedly Peter Frampton will be back, especially after receiving a response like the one he received at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Saturday night.
“The Clearwater crowd was the best I’ve seen on this tour,” says bassist Stanley Sheldon. I chatted with Stanley after the show and interviewed him prior to the Ruth Eckerd engagement.

INTERVIEW: Prior to the concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall I had the pleasure of chatting with Stanley Sheldon the original bassist of Frampton Comes Alive! since its fruition in1976. Sheldon also played on the album’s “I’m In You,” “Where I Should Be” and contributed his extraordinary talents as co-writer and bassist on the Grammy award winning instrumental album Fingerprints.
Sheldon is an early advocate for the fretless bass.
The Kansas native spent most of the 90’s devoted to Latin American Studies at the University of Kansas and traveled extensively throughout Latin America with studies focused on slave society of the nineteenth century and how its influence on past music continues to affect the transformation and hybridization of world music today. Sheldon often played Salsa and Son music with various players to huge dance crowds during his journeys.
Sheldon shared an amazing relationship with close friend and guitar virtuoso Tommy Bolin. Bolin played guitar on Billy Cobham’s renowned Spectrum album before joining legendary Classic Rock Bands -The James Gang and Deep Purple. Tommy Bolin died of a drug overdose in Miami, Florida in 1976.
Before his untimely death Sheldon played on Tommy Bolin’s critically acclaimed debut album Teaser. Sheldon also appears on varied Bolin archival appearances.
Stanley Sheldon has also recorded with Lou Gramm (Foreigner’s original vocalist) and has toured as bassist with Warren Zevon and the Delbert McClinton band.

Here’s my Chat with Bassist/Songwriter/Musician/Scholar /Stanley Sheldon.

Stanley, thank you very much for joining me this afternoon. My mother was born and raised in Cuba so naturally I’m fascinated about your studies of Latin American culture.

“That’s very interesting because it was the Cuban song the music from Cuba that really enticed me because that’s what later on became Salsa. I was playing at the University of Kansas with some Venezuelans who I’d met there while I worked on my undergrad degree that same decade and I was doing environmental studies for that degree and when it was time to select a Masters program I had been playing Salsa with these Latinos and I just fell in love with the Cuban rhythms especially Cuba and Puerto Rico. So it was that great love of the rhythms that brought me to Latin American studies.”

I grew up in an eclectic household and half of my parents listened to Celia Cruz.

“Celia is one of my idols too and also like Hector Lavoeand all of the great ones Willie Colon and Reuben Blades all the Salsa stuff the Venezuelans that I was playing with they really gave me a crash course on Salsa 101 man I learned from experts of who to listen to it was great.”

Do you have Latino blood?

“You know I do not but my Uncle my dad’s brother went down to Cuba right before the revolution because he had a heart condition and my dad traveled there and they were only in their early 20’s my dad was even younger and my uncle Frank married a Cuban and brought her home right after the revolution so I’ve always felt kind of close to Cuba.”

Did you learn the language?

“My Spanish is getting pretty good I was teaching classes to Spanish speakers for the EPA and now I have my lady interest who is a Mexican National so I’ve been there four times this year to Mexico. I’m in love with a Mexican. So my language skills are pretty good. And she’s very beautiful.”

You know it’s funny we find out much later in her career that Linda Ronstadt had Mexican roots.

“Man she really sang that Mariachi stuff so beautifully. Well you know I kind of knew about her roots because I had done some tours with her when I was in a band called Ronin and playing with Warren Zevon you know she was connected with. So I kind of knew about her Hispanic heritage but not very many other people did.”

After the show on Saturday in Clearwater, a live CD set recording of the show will be available to purchase?

“That is correct it’s a three CD set and it takes three CD’s to fit the entire three and half hour show. What happens is during the show as they’re recording it the first CD get’s finished and they start packaging it and it looks just like the CD you buy at the store wrapped and everything. But the third CD the fans will   line up and wait ten minutes only after the show and they can purchase the whole three CD set.”

That’s really cool; it’s like being part of rock and roll history.

“Yea and a lot of fans are really appreciative you know because it’s another Frampton Comes Alive! And the quality of the recordings is getting better and better throughout the tour and the most recent ones just sound spectacular. I think Peter’s among the first to be doing this. We have a staff out on the road with us from Abbey Road that’s recording each night and then packaging it up for us.”

You joined Peter Frampton at the onset of Frampton Comes Alive! I guess that would be in 1975?

“I joined in 1975 right before the live album was recorded and I was kind of the last piece of the puzzle. He was looking for a bass player and my timing could not have been better.”

You played with the great Tommy Bolin prior to joining Frampton?

“It was the fact that I was playing with Tommy that got me to LA and where I needed to be positioned to capitalize on the Frampton thing. If I had never known Tommy I wouldn’t have been there. He was such a great player and my best friend and he went on to play with Deep Purple about the same time that I got the gig with Frampton. And we were out there together looking for a singer for our own band and we were struggling and times got tough so we both had to take gigs and we could’ve picked worst gigs I guess." (Laughing)

Yea, I saw Tommy play with both The James Gang and Deep Purple. He was just such a great guitarist.

“You know he was in Florida the night he died.”

I believe at the Newport Hotel in Miami.

“Jeff Beck who I just recently met told me the story. About two or three month ago I went to see Jeff because the great Narada Michael Walden is playing drums with Jeff Beck now and he was also Tommy’s drummer so there was a connection there. Jeff was a huge fan of Tommy and the Tommy Bolin band was opening for Jeff Beck when they were playing in Miami that night. So Jeff Beck is standing there and this was just back in May I went to see him play and he was telling me the story of how he and Jan Hammer walked in and found out that Tommy was dead. Just imagine that I’m standing there and talking with Jeff Beck and he’s telling me how he found my best friend dead in a hotel room.”

Everyone I’ve ever talked too about Tommy Bolin always said he was just such a nice, sweet man.

“You couldn’t meet a nicer and friendlier guy he’d make anybody smile and laugh. So if it hadn’t been for him I would have never met Peter. We were in LA together and Tommy’s earlier bass player Kenny Passarelli who I came in and replaced because Kenny had started playing with Joe Walsh. We all lived in Boulder Colorado right before all of this happened. So all these musicians are living in Boulder. Joe Walsh had moved there and had put his band together Barnstorm and Kenny Passarelli was the bass player in that band and Peter was a fan of Joe’s and Kenny’s playing and Kenny played a fretless bass like I did. Peter wanted someone that could play fretless bass so when he found out Kenny couldn’t do the job because he was too busy and I think Elton John was about to hire him but he said you should try this guy Stanley.  So I was in LA with Tommy at that time and I got Peter’s number and called him up.”

And the rest is history as they say. Did you have any idea after completing Frampton Comes Alive! that it may turn out to be a commercially successful giant?

“Come on how could anybody know that. I tell the story that my advice to Peter was not to do a live album that he should get in the studio and make a highly polished studio record. And that’s the joke and my advice to Peter.”

Well I’m glad that he didn’t take your advice on that one.

“Yea me too.”

You played on the critically acclaimed Teaser Album with Tommy Bolin.

“Yea I played on just about every track. Yea I love that record and that’s how I met Narada Michael Walden who is Jeff Beck’s drummer now and Narada went on to produce Whitney Houston and kind of sculpted her career and he stepped back from playing drums after Mahavishnu to start producing and so a lot of people don’t really know about his playing ability and he’s just an unbelievable and unparalleled drummer. It’s incredible to see him with Jeff Beck now.”

Have you picked up any session work recently?

“No I have not been doing a lot I spent a decade working on my scholastic stuff you know and I took a lot of time off. I didn’t stop playing I was doing the Latin thing you know so I feel as a player I grew more then -then I would playing Coke commercials and jingles and stuff like that. But I don’t do a lot of sessions I never did but I wouldn’t mind at this late date getting a few more calls to do different types of music. I’m starting to get my feelers into the Nashville scene because Peter’s  base of operations is Nashville and two of the guys are from Nashville that are in the band. And I went on the road with Delbert McClinton two years ago and he’s in Nashville too. I’m starting to feel a kind of closeness with Nashville and yea there probably is some work there if I could get there and move there or something.”

I just got to ask you about working on the soundtrack of Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke.

“That’s going to be something to talk about till the day I die because everybody loved the movie so much. It was a lot of fun to do that. That’s when I was played with Waddy Wachtel Warren Zevon and those guys. We did most of the soundtrack I mean they used songs from other artist but all the background music was what we recorded for that movie. When they’re driving around in the van you hear the music in the background could be a reggae song or a rock song. I don’t think the songs we did really had names or anything we were just providing music for the background.”

So back to Frampton any plans for a new album once the tour is over?

“I think Peter is formulating what he wants to do and hopefully I can make some contributions on whatever they might be I’m planning on that we’ll see what happens. I hope to be touring with Peter for a long time.”
“Some other things The Tommy Bolin Foundation they’re always looking for someone who can step in and try and represent Tommy's skill as a player maybe as a tribute band we talked about putting something on the road to commemorate Tommy’s music. You know we do a thing in Sioux City Iowa every summer I mean I don’t always go every year but it’s like a tribute performance for Tommy and they get different players each year. But I know some people involved who would really like to see something go out on the road and play some major cities and put a really great band together so I’ve been talking with some people about that. So that could happen.”
“But other than that we’re going to continue on this 35th Anniversary tour even through 2012 and we’re going to come back and do more U.S. dates and we’re going to Europe in November and I imagine South America. I think in 2012 we’ll be playing but not quite as much as we did this year but certainly quite a bit.”
“Peter’s work ethic is really impressive and we’re all just in awe that he can get up there every night and play three-three and a half hour shows we’re all being inspired to follow suit. When he’s on stage man it’s a sight to behold.”

Stanley, thank you so much for taking time out from your busy tour schedule to speak with me. Good luck with the rest of the tour and I will be seeing you in Clearwater on Saturday night.

“Thanks Ray I look forward to meeting you at the show.”

Something’s Happening
Doobie Wah
Line On My Face
Show Me The Way
It’s A Plain Shame
Wind Of Change
Penny For Your Thoughts
All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)
Baby I love Your Way
I Wanna Go To The Sun
I’ll Give You Money
Do You Feel Like We Do
Shine On (Humble Pie Song)
Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones Cover)
Asleep At The Wheel
Boot It Up
Double Nickles
Vaudeville Nanna and the Banjolele
All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)
Four Day Creep (Humble Pie song)
Off The Hook
Black Whole Sun (Soundgarden Cover)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Beatles Cover)

Stanley Sheldon official website
Peter Frampton official website
Tommy Bolin Archives
Ruth Eckerd Hall official website

Special thanks to Cami Opere for arranging this interview and some great tickets.
And as always the entire Ruth Eckerd Hall staff. Especially Katie Pedretty. -Bobby Rossi you the man!


Order Ray Shasho’s new book Check the GsThe True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business at,, or

“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.”~~Pacific Book Review

Contact Ray Shasho at

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dave Mason Is Feelin’ Alright In An Interview With Music Journalist Ray Shasho

Dave Mason with his good friend Jimi Hendrix
 By Ray Shasho

Dave Mason headlines Hippiefest 2011 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Saturday August 27th.
Dave will be sharing the stage with an impressive lineup of classic rock hitmakers.
Joining Dave Mason will be Mark Farner the inspirational leader for Grand Funk Railroad (“We’re An American Band,” “I’m Your Captain,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “The Loco-Motion”), Rick Derringer(“Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” “Hang On Sloopy”), Felix Cavaliere(“Good Lovin',” “Groovin'” and “People Got To Be Free”) and Gary Wright (“Dream Weaver,” “Love Is Alive” and “Really Wanna Know You”).

Order your tickets right here for an outta sight night of kicking out the Jams.

Songwriter/Guitarist/Vocalist Dave Mason cofounded the band Traffic after Steve Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group. In 1967 Mason left the band after the release of the Mr. Fantasy album. Mason rejoined the band for awhile in 1968 and recorded “Feelin’ Alright,”a song that became Mason’s trademark.“Feelin’ Alright” was covered by Joe Cocker in 1969. Mason went on to join Delaney & Bonnie & Friends in 1969 and released his debut solo album Alone Together  producing the hit single-  “Only you know and I know” The album reached gold in the U.S. hitting # 22 on the record charts.

Mason shared his extraordinary musical talents with a list of legends- including George Harrison, (Mason appeared on Harrison’s critically- acclaimed album All Things Must Pass) Eric Clapton’s Derek & the Dominos,The Rolling Stones, Leon Russell, Cass Elliot, Fleetwood Mac and his good friend Jimi Hendrix. Mason played his 12- string acoustic guitar on "All Along the Watchtower" and sang on “Crosstown Traffic.”

Dave Mason hit superstardom throughout the 70’s with a handful of highly successful albums reaching platinum and gold status - It’s Like You Never Left, Split Coconut, Certified Live,Let it Flow and Mariposo de Oro. Top 40 hits “We Just Disagree” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” were spawned from that triumphant period.

In 1978 Mason performed in front of more than 300,000 people at California Jam II.
Mason and Traffic bandmate Jim Capaldi reunited for a tour that produced the 1999 album Live: The 40,000 Headmen Tour.  Traffic was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004.

Here’s my recent interview with renowned songwriter/musician/humanitarian Dave Mason.

Dave, I want to thank you for spending some time with me today, where do you call home nowadays?

“No problem thank you, I live near Santa Barbara in California.”

I understand that this is your first Hippiefest tour. I talked with Mark Farner the other day and he let me know that he and Rick Derringer were actually really good friends. Are you buddies with anyone that you share the bill with?

“Not really, I’ve played shows with all these guys but back in the Traffic days it would be Gary. When Gary(Gary Wright) had a band called Spooky Tooth.”

When I do a Dave Mason search on the web, I see a lot of involvement in charity work. What sort of charity events are you involved with?

“I have a charity that I helped start and I’m very involved with it that we do for veterans. And that is we help people transition out of the service to start their own business. It’s called Work Vessels for Veterans at”

You also participate in various benefit concerts and celebrity golf classics including partnering with Michael Bolton. Do you play golf Dave?

“No I don’t play golf. Michael Bolton’s charity is for abused women and I’ve done that with his charity for about the last five or six years. And for 14 years he was doing it in Stanford Connecticut and then last year I kind of talked him into trying it somewhere else so we moved it to the Ojai Valley Inn Golf Course and this year we’re combining his charity with the Work Vessels charity and the event out there and on the 23rd of September then I have The Feelin’ Alright Second Annual Golf Tournament in Virginia at Fort Belvoir and that is with a group called (CAMMO) which does a lot of work with vets and music and there’s a number of them that have been signed to recording contracts and it’s pretty interesting you know, last year we had a band that the drummer had titanium legs and those guys were really good. And they’re getting a lot of results with post traumatic stress through the music. So it’s interesting work and a great group of people.”

Music has gotten a lot of our servicemen through tough times over the years especially during wartime.

“I did a Toys for Tots show in Atlanta back in 1977 and I was getting ready to walk up on stage and this Marine came up to me and said “You know man, me and my buddy were stuck in a foxhole for three days and we would have gone absolutely nuts if it weren’t for a Jimi Hendrix tape and a Dave Mason tape.”

You’re doing great work for our vets Dave. Sometimes our veterans are not treated with the respect that they deserve are they?

“The way that our vets are treated when they come back is shameful, they’re kind of swept aside a little bit, I mean you know you’ve got the Veterans Administration and all that stuff but there’s a lot that still could be done, anyways that’s why we pick up the void. There’s a number of us, a number of organizations out there that try to fill those holes, fill that gap.”

Bless you man for all you do.
I want to talk some about your music; your first band was actually called The Jaguars back in the early 60’s and was reminiscent musically to The Shadows and Ventures?

“Yes, that was my first band The Jaguars. I worked a little instrumental version called Opus To Spring when I was about 16 and a local record store put a record out on it. We only did the one recording with that band and then that’s all we did with that. There was another band called The Hellions with Jim Capaldi we had a record out on Pye records that was produced by Kim Fowley, the guy that did ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha Ha Ho Ho He He.’” And we did a Jackie Deshannon song called “Daydreaming of You.”

And I heard you guys played the famous Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany where The Beatles played?

“No we never got to Hamburg we played some little town outside of Hamburg and played  Saturday nights, we use to play for about eight hours on Saturday nights, fifteen minute songs, fifteen off, fifteen on, fifteen off.”

So you knew Jim Capaldi (Drummer and a founding member of Traffic) because of The Hellions?

“Jim and I knew each other for a long time. Jim (Capaldi) grew up 12 miles from me. Yea, Robert Plant also grew up around 12 miles away and John Bonham.”

You met Steve Winwood when he was in The Spencer Davis Group?

“Yea he was in The Spencer Group and The Hellions use to play up in Birmingham which is 25 miles from Worcester and through that we met Steve and Chris Wood and basically we just hung out for a year or so just run into each other and then at one point Steve had decided he was going to leave The Spencer Davis Group. And during that time during that break I’d sung on a couple of their recordings, ‘Somebody Help Me’ and most of Traffic was on ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ and it’s pretty much all of us singing in the background of ‘I’m A Man.’
I kind of played Roadie for a couple of months with them and then we formed Traffic.”

Then you guys rented a cottage in Berkshire?

“A famous jockey had a racing stable down there so we kind of commandeered this cottage sitting in the middle of nowhere. It’s where they trained and canter the horses. There was no gas, no electricity and no running water in the place. We lived there like that for about six months.”

Man that was primitive living. If you didn’t have electricity how did you plug into the amplifiers and rehearse your music?

“We had a generator.”

Those were the good old days huh? (All laughing)

“Yea whatever we were kids, I was 18 years old and you think there’s not anything you can’t do.”

So how did Traffic get their big break?

“Well Steve already had three, four, top ten records so he had kind of an entree in that way and then I started writing and Jim and Steve started writing and my writing I pretty much did on my own and then the problems started to happen when the stuff that I was writing was the stuff picked for singles. And their biggest hit at the time was the first song I’d ever written and was kind of a fantasy tune called ‘Hole in My Shoe’ and that got to number two in England and was really their biggest single hit. After the first album I left and the reason I left was because I couldn’t really deal with the fame so quickly it was just a little overwhelming for me. So I actually left and did a couple of things worked with starting to produce an album for a group called Family, ‘Music in a Dollhouse’ and then I got to know Hendrix and spent a little time recording with him and some of it was on Electric Ladyland.
Then I did a little stint with what was known as a satirical group called The Scaffold, it was Paul McCartney’s brother (Professionally known as Mike McGear) and I did a number of shows with them and so just roamed around playing with different people and then at one point I just took a little bag and a guitar and worked this little island called Hydra (Greece) and I really didn’t have any money at the time but it was a great time and that’s where I wrote ‘Feelin Alright.’”
Then I met up again with them in New York and they were working on the second album, and then he had five songs and I had five songs so it was like okay let’ s get back together again. And I thought it was a really good second album it was a good transition from Fantasy (Mr. Fantasy debut album) it had a lot of kind of Fantasy stuff on it but giving a lot more cohesive I thought musically. And after that album pretty much again my songs were being picked for the singles and that’s just what caused the riff with Winwood. And I pretty much just spent days where he’d never talk to me.”

Wow that’s a real shame. Unfortunately I hear a lot of stories like that in bands.

“Yea, even marriages break up.”

Bands are like a family with lots of emotion and drama.

“The kind of difference is that sometimes it makes things really good though you know. When you’ve got kind of an edge going in there you can create some really good stuff rather than following one thing all the time but at any rate whatever that’s the way it was so at that point I just decided there wasn’t much point to staying in England or Traffic so I just upped and moved to America."

It’s amazing even though you hailed from England your accent is all but gone man.

“The way they talk where I grew up, I mean I can’t even understand some of the people.”

I always found it fascinating when the early Beatles talked in their Cockney accents, but then when they sang on a record it was gone.

It’s because they were copying all those American singers that’s why. America is the home of all contemporary music. Jazz, Blues and Rock & Roll it comes from here.”

You know it’s amazing how many musicians that I talked with from the 60’s that had never met Jimi Hendrix. I always figured that at one point or another there would have been a moment spent with him. What was Jimi Hendrix Like?

“He was just a pretty quiet guy as a matter of fact. Most of the time that I spent with him I never saw him basically without a guitar in his hands.”

And you worked on the ‘All Things Must Pass’ Album with George Harrison?

“Well I knew George for quite awhile he gave me my first Sitar. And McCartney I use to go down to the Sgt. Peppers sessions and hang out or stay in the studio while they were recording and spend a good time with George. Nice Man. But playing on All Things Must Pass, I couldn’t recall what tracks that I played on to be perfectly honest with you.”

So what’s on your plate these days Dave?

“Well I tour a lot and obviously the charity for the Vets. Trying to grow the charity is very important for me. And basically just keep on rolling down the road and singing.”

Do you have a CD being released soon or involvement in new collaborations?

“At this point, there’s no point in me putting anymore CD’s out because there’s just no outlet for it, there’s no promotion for it, there’s no radio anymore ever, there’s no way for anyone to know that you’ve got something new out.”

Well you’ve got me Dave. (Laughter)

“I mean national radio, it’s somebody goes in and puts a cart in and pulls it out after thirty days and then puts another one in and there’s nobody home.”

I know exactly what you mean Dave. I was a radio deejay in the late 70’s early 80’s. My dream was to become like one of those deejays from back in the 60’s. Radio is not about the music anymore it’s basically all about advertisers. And who wants to listen to radio to hear back to back to back commercials.

“Yea, there’s just nothing there and no way to get anything promoted. There’s no way for anyone to really hear something or know if they’re even going to like it. So basically anything new that I have is just going to go on my website and you can go there and download it. And until something comes along where you can promote properly it’s economically not feasible to do another CD.”

My column is only about Classic Rock Music and Classic Rock Artists. And my articles are viewed globally on the internet with the sole intention of keeping that dream alive and the fire burning.  

“I appreciate that.”

My favorite Dave Mason tune unfortunately was a song that you didn’t write. And it was your biggest hit “We Just Disagree” written by Jim Krueger. I own that awesome performance of the song that you did on Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special.
Dave I just want to tell you man that you’re a legendary artist, great songwriter and studio musician and just a classy guy and thank you so much for spending time with me today I really appreciate it. 

“You’re quite welcome.”

Keep on doing what you’re doing and I'll see you at Hippiefest in Clearwater.

“I will Ray thank you.”

Dave Mason will be headlining Hippiefest 2011 on Saturday August 27th at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.  So let your freak flag fly!

Dave Mason’s website is
Dave Mason Charities Work Vessels for Veterans
CAMMO -Giving our veteran artists a place to thrive
2nd Annual Dave Mason’s “Feelin Alright” Golf Classic

Special thanks goes out to Jeff Albright of The Albright Entertainment Group.

Order author Ray Shasho’s new book Check the Gs The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business at
Its My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Almost Famous meets Seinfeld.

Contact Ray Shasho at

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Grand Funk Railroad’s Captain Mark Farner Raps With Music Journalist Ray Shasho

Mark Farner with Ray Shasho

By Ray Shasho

Hippiefest 2011 cruises into Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Saturday August 27th with a Groovy stage lineup of Legendary Classic Rock Musicians. Grand Funk Railroad’s Coolest singer/guitarist/songwriter Mark Farner will join Dave Mason(“We Just Disagree,” “Hole In My Shoe,” “Feelin' Alright,” “Only You Know and I Know”), Rick Derringer (“Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” “Hang On Sloopy”), Felix Cavaliere (“Good Lovin',” “Groovin'” and “People Got To Be Free”) and Gary Wright (“Dream Weaver,” “Love Is Alive” and “Really Wanna Know You”) for an outta sight night of kicking out the Jams.
So load up the van let the hot chick ride shotgun and get truckin’ over to Clearwater and “Let’s Party Man!”  
Hippiefest 2011 launches August 3rd from San Diego.
Mark Farner was the inspirational leader for the hard rock band Grand Funk Railroad. The band along with Black Sabbath is considered to be the Grandfathers of Heavy Metal music. The string of hits that the band produced included “We’re An American Band,” “I’m Your Captain,” “Heartbreaker,” “Footstompin’ Music,” “Mean Mistreater,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “The Loco-Motion” to name only a few.
The band has sold over 50-million records worldwide. Mark Farner accepted an invitation to play with Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band in 1995.
Mark’s voice is as strong as ever on his most recent release “For the People.”

Here’s my recent interview with Grand Funk Railroad legend Mark Farner.

Hi Mark, how are you doing?

“I’m doin’ but not mildewin’.”

(Lot’s of laughter from both of us)

I’m calling from little Michigan. The Sarasota/Bradenton area here in Florida probably has more Michiganites than Florida natives living here. How’s everything?

“Good Brother got a sunny day here in Michigan and it’s almost 70.”

Mark, the first thing I’d like to talk about…I have a 23 year old son and when I first heard the news about Jesse I was heartbroken. How is Jesse’s progress? (Mark Farner’s world turned upside- down when his son Jesse (at 21) fell and sustained a near fatal- fracture to theC-5 vertebra in his neck.  The last update before this interview was that he remained paralyzed but was starting to show improvement by lifting his head off of the pillow).

“Jesse is doing good. He’s got a little movement now in his shoulders. He can actually when he’s sitting in the chair, he can actually lift his shoulders up which is, he wasn’t able to move this when he came home from the hospital. He couldn’t even move his head so he’s gaining on it little by little, but the best gain is the fact that his night nurse and him have fallen in love.”

Wow Mark you’re kidding me that's awesome.

“No dude it is like unbelievable. But it’s happening and it’s real. She was engaged to be married when she first started working here and she is of course no longer engaged to be married and she’s just goo goo ga ga over Jesse and he’s the same way about her. I’m not kidding you, these two wow… and it’s just unbelievable.”

That’s a great love story. You know I’m an author, I just wrote a book maybe I can write the story. How old is she Mark?

“She’s 25 I believe and he just turned 22 so she’s got a few years on him but that’s all to his benefit.”

That’s great news Mark, I’m very happy because I was really worried and my heart and prayers go out to Jesse and your family. And I wasn’t aware that he could sit up in the chair at this point?

“Oh yea, he’s got the puff and sip, we use a sling to get him from the bed into the chair and during that time he has to be disconnected from his life support and so it’s a swift motion and we’ve got the Hoyer lift in the ceiling, we got one used, you know medical equipment is expensive, I don’t care if it’s used or not. We got this to make it as easy as we can on him, get him into the chair and once he’s in the chair he can drive it with his puff and sip that he put’s in his mouth with a straw and he can manipulate that thing and turn it around on a dime. It’s amazing to see what he can do with that chair.”

It sounds like to me that he’s going to come out of this, it may take a little time but the progress he’s made so far is extremely encouraging and again my prayers are with your whole family.

“I appreciate it Brother Ray.”

I think Hippiefest 2011 is one the best lineups ever.

“I appreciate that yea, I can’t wait to throw down with these Brothers. You know Rick Derringer and I are buddies from way back.”

Yea, Rick lives about 10 minutes from me here in Bradenton. You’ll have to come down after the tour and visit with him.

“If I ever get a chance I’ll be there because I am a fishing fool. I love Florida fishing.”

One guy I could see you hanging out with would be Ted Nugent.

“You know our schedules are such we’ve always wanted to be hanging out together, we do on the phone and we even collaborate a little bit but as far as doing the governor’s hunt, when I would do the hunt he would be on the road and when he would do the hunt I would be on the road. It’s just the way it worked out.”

You had a supportive family growing up because you quit school to go into music?

“Actually I was laid off. Yea, I was laid off from high school and this was Flint Michigan you know, the town that invented layoffs. But I was asked to leave; it was because of an altercation with one of the teachers who was the football coach. I use to play ball before I played music. When I was on the team that team was tight we were all buddies that hung together and we never lost a game. We were just undefeated because we were tight. We played together. Anyway we got into a confrontation and he threw me up against the wall and my head busted open on this brass picture frame and I reached back and felt the blood and when I pulled my hand around to in front of my face and I saw the blood on my hand it just immediately went into a fist and started traveling for the teachers eye. And you know I mean seriously that is what it was, it was reaction to aw man I’m hurt BAM -you know and that was it. Then I went to night school after I was asked to leave school because I went to the school board meeting after the algebra teacher who was the football coach said if they let me back in school (because I went with an attorney to this meeting to get back into school after I was thrown out) and he said if they let me back in he was going to quit his job. He didn’t want me back in that school dude.”

I really felt that the rock and roll hall of fame should have been in Michigan. Not only were there so many legendary rock artists that hailed from Michigan, there was also the genius of Motown.

“Yea, I hear ya. The music that came out of this state, it was like a music capital in America. And I think largely due to the fact that people from every state in the union moved into Michigan to get the jobs, auto factory jobs and higher paying jobs. My mother and her family moved from Leachville Arkansas where my granddad had a tailor shop down there he was a tailor, but moved to Michigan to get a job at Buick. And Turnsted was hiring, Fisher body was hiring, my mother was the first female welder to weld on Sherman tanks made by Fisher body in Flint Michigan. And my dad was a tank driver in the 7th Armored Division.”

It’s such a shame what has happened to cities like Flint and Detroit economically.

“It is coming back more like Ann Arbor or a college town and the University of Michigan, The Mott Foundation putting a lot of money into Flint, God Bless them. But we need more than anything is money that works for us, the money that we use works for the families that own the Federal Reserve, the European families that have no patriotic interest in this country what so ever. And you think about the Federal Reserve bank in New York is owned by five merchant banks in London that were chartered by the bank of England and the bank of England started in 1694 under the crown of those families surrounding the crown that were the descendants of those families that control this country by the issuance of our currency. And if you think about it, it’s the same powers that we declared ourselves independent from in 1776, but they’ve been whipping our butts ever since 1913 for telling the king to go shove it up his.
Our money doesn’t work for us it works for foreigners. And until our money works for us again we’re just going to watch this thing keep going down, down, down, down, down. When we finally wake up and say hey we got to have our money system back and work for this country and we got to patronize our factories and our products and we got to protect our workers and not allow all this crap that’s going on but that’s the reflection of those who are actually governing those families who owned the Federal Reserve that are actually governing this country and even using the war machine against their enemies.”

I watched an interview you did with Mike Huckabee on Fox news. As you know he’s decided not to run for president disappointing many of his followers, do you have anyone in mind that you may support for the next presidential election?

“If Ron Paul ran again at least he’s somebody that wants to audit the Fed which is pointing in the right general direction. Our money has to work for us and if it did we would be exporters of peace and goodwill because this is the collective heartbeat of the majority of us Americans. When we get the collective heartbeat of this country back, that’s what I petition for with my music, I want to provoke people to think about this.”

I should probably turn my Q&A from politics into the music. How did Grand Funk Railroad get their gig at the Atlanta Pop Festival that led to your first record contract in 1969? (An estimated 180,000 rock fans- jammed the Atlanta International Speedway to watch the two-day event).

“Attorney’s that we were using at the time which was the same attorney’s as our manager Terry Knight - there in was the big conflict but they had some legal work, it was there law firm in New York City that was doing the legal work for this concert. And they proposed to those who were putting this concert on that Grand Funk Railroad opened the event at noon and go on for free. They didn’t even have to pay us, just let us go on and open and so they agreed to it and the rest his history Brother. It worked!”

I heard on the way to the Festival your U-Haul carrying all the equipment flipped over?

“Yea, a friend of ours lent us the van and we rented where they use to chain that bumper hitch to your bumper and you would pull the U-Haul places, well that’s what we had. And I woke up, I was sleeping and riding shotgun and I’m up there at the front end of this van and the guy says I’m fine, I’m fine so I try to catch a little snooze and I look up and say “Dude that’s I-75 that way.” So he turns right at the same speed that we we’re going and tried to make the turn and that U-Haul didn’t fare so well. It came off the chains rolled down through the ditch…oh my God.”

You guys must have been panicky.

“Oh man because we knew that stuff was pretty fragile, you know tube amplifiers with big heavy transformers on the chassis. Well the transformers completely ripped right off the chassis of the amps. Our roadies had to solder those amps back together and the transformers were left outside sitting on top of the boxes. And they just made the wires work. So they soldered it all back together and when we went on stage it was amazing but that stuff was working, it was pumping.”

Grand Funk’s original manager-producer Terry Knight, was it a safe assumption to say that he was both good and bad for the band?

“Yea, he was an excellent promoter, his scruples were just bad. He could take advantage of someone without conscious. You know, I’m just not made that way, that ain’t the way I roll so it’s offensive to me to have encountered some people like that but it sure has been a lesson. And now I kind of know what I’m kind of looking for and I have spiritual discernment, thank God to head some of it off at the pass. But you can’t take away from the guy’s creativity; my God, you know the album covers and the presentation of Grand Funk Railroad to the people and his hype. But the idea of keeping us from the press to create a mystique that was really giving him the opportunity to tout himself as being the mentor and creator of Grand Funk Railroad. And it backfired in a lot of ways because critics just hated us. But for him it was successful in that it gave him that platform, he took out a Billboard/ Cashbox ad, a full page you know where you open up with the centerfold of him flipping the bird to everybody. That was his ego, the money that he made I don’t know what it cost him but that was a lot of scratch for that ad. It’s too bad about that but it kind of indicates a personality flaw there."

Did he mess you guys up at all with receiving royalties for your music?

“Well, yea, he published all my songs and told me that I needed to publish my songs through his company which he had affiliations throughout the world and what have you, I didn’t know I was twenty years old my mother had to sign the contract because I wasn’t legal. But if he would have just come right out and said, “Do you want all your money or half of it,” I think I could have made a pretty sane decision based on that. Outside of that and anything short of that I got snookered."

Mark, I need a good rock and roll story from back in the day?

“I’ll tell you one about Janis Joplin getting into the helicopter after we played West Palm Beach, The Stones were supposed to close out the show. So we went back in the helicopter with Janis because she’d stayed and watched the Grand Funk show. She played prior to us. We watched her and she stayed and Janis and I always hung together. So I’m down and I’m going up to the hotel and went where’s Janis? Where’s Janis? And nobody knew where she was, so I go back down to the chopper and it was darker than inside of a boot and I look up in there and she’s rubbing on the seat and I crawl up on the ladder and I said, “What the hell are you doing?” and I looked and she’s got Hershey bars and she’s smearing chocolate all over those seats and I said, “What the hell are you doing?” She said, "Well The Stones are on next and I want to mess up Mick’s britches," because they all used to wear those white satin pants.
And there was this brown spot on the back of his white pants, there was no way to avoid it.”

(Laughing hard) That was a great story.

I think Grand Funk Railroad’s appearance at Shea Stadium in 1971 was a monumental point in the band’s career. You sold-out the show in just 72 hours breaking The Beatles record. And your magnificent performance of I’m Your Captain/ Closer To Home ranks in my Top 10- defining moments in rock and roll history. Talk a little bit about the Shea Stadium experience.

“Well we were picked up on a heliport at east river, took off and flew directly over Shea stadium. Humble Pie was on stage which was set up at second base. And as we flew over you could see the bleachers were flexing with the rhythm of the music. I didn’t know what song it was but I could tell they were rockin’. Man I had goose bumps on my goose bumps upon goose bumps. And when we landed in the parking lot where the limousine was supposed to have met us it was empty. And I asked the guy. “Are you sure this is where we’re supposed to be?”  So one of the guys that was with us ran down to the corner phone booth, this was long before cell phones, and he makes the call and within two or three minutes the parking lot was full of cops with lights and sirens going. We all jumped in cop cars and rode into Shea stadium with the lights and sirens going and when we got out the people went nuts. It was crazy.”

The performance by Grand Funk Railroad, especially by you Mark was so electrifying.

“I appreciate it. Yea they energized with that compassion, there’s something about when you have something that has brought people together a song like I’m Your Captain, when they started singing they were loader than the PA I guarantee you and this was the day before monitors.”

Could you hear yourselves playing, I know The Beatles use to have a hard time hearing themselves over the screaming crowds.

“It was a little difficult but with our West amplifiers we could hear. But when we started singing “I’m getting closer to my home,” the audience and sheer volume overcame the PA system. It was louder than we were.”

I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of concerts Mark, and I’ve never seen a crowd so in sync to the show like that Shea stadium crowd was.

“Well it was a very fulfilling moment and the emotional continuity, the synergy, because there were a lot people thinking in the same direction right there in New York City that night. And that’s what makes this consciousness, the evolution in our consciousness and moments like that. We were all elevated to this place. To be there was like Woodstock II, another consciousness another moment that brought people a little closer to reality.”

Mark thank you very much for everything you do man. And again my thoughts and prayers go out to Jesse and your family. No doubt he’ll get stronger and stronger every day.

“Say a prayer for him. Thank you Brother Ray.”

Watch Mark Farner perform all of his Grand Funk Railroad classic hits at Hippiefest on Saturday August 27th at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Tickets for the show can be purchased right here. It’s Gonna be a Gas Man!

I want to thank Jeff Albright from The Albright Entertainment Group for arranging this interview and so much more.

Order my new book called Check the Gs The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business.  Its My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Almost Famous meets Seinfeld.

A must read for the Baby Boomer generation! Order your copy NOW at

You can contact Ray Shasho at

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Paul Revere & The Raiders Charismatic Superstar Speaks With Music Journalist Ray Shasho

Mark Lindsay with Ray Shasho

By Ray Shasho

Paul Revere & the Raiders heroic Lead Singer /Songwriter/Producer - Mark Lindsay has impacted the music world in so many memorable ways.
Mark’s voice and persona with The Raiders made him a 60’s and 70’s icon and a mainstay on classic hits radio. Not only did he obtain legendary status with the band, he was the object for affection by the world’s school girl population.  Mark Lindsay’s alluring smile, handsome profile, and mop-top dew with his long trademark ponytail (que) were on the front cover of every teen magazine around the globe. And forget about those redcoats from England that called themselves The Beatles, Mark Lindsay & the Raiders were True Blue Patriots for American Rock & Roll.

Mark Lindsay will once again be singing those timeless Paul Revere & the Raiders megahits on The Happy Together Tour 2011. Headlining this year’s tour is -The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie (“It Ain’t Me Babe” “Happy Together” “She’s My Girl”). Other legendary performers on the tour are -The Association (“Windy” “Cherish” “Along Comes Mary”), The Grassroots, (“Let’s Live for Today” “Midnight Confessions”) and The Buckinghams (“Kind of a Drag” “Don’t You Care” “Susan”).

The tour will be stopping at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Tuesday July 19th. You can purchase your tickets and get further information about the show here.

All these GREAT performers on one exciting bill, and reminiscent of the American Bandstand, Where the Action Is, Hullabaloo and Shindig TV show lineups of the 60’s.

Paul Revere & the Raiders produced hit after hit throughout the 60’s and early 70’s. Memorable classics like “Kicks”, “Steppin’ Out”, “Hungry”, “Good Thing”, “Just Like Me” and “Indian Reservation.”
Marl Lindsay is a Florida native now. And thanks to Jeff Albright from the Albright Entertainment Group, I was able to speak with both Mark Lindsay and Mark Volman of The Turtles last week. The interview with Professor Volman will be following this article.
And now here’s my interview with Mark Lindsay.

Mark’s a Singer/Writer/Producer/Hitmaker & Legendary Frontman of Paul Revere & the Raiders.

Hi Mark, thanks for spending a few moments with me today. How are you?

“I’m great Ray. Where are you calling from?”

I’m calling from beautiful Bradenton, Florida.

“Well hey; I’m sitting in Florida right now. We’re over near Jupiter and we’re actually living in Florida now. I’ve been married to Deborah for twenty years and in that twenty years we’ve lived in Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, California, Maui, Nashville, Memphis,upstate New York and Florida. So we’ve lived in all four corners of the country and Hawaii and I like Florida the best. Florida’s cool, where else can you get summer 365 days a year, although it might get cold at night.  I think we’re both lucky to be down here.”

What was living in Hawaii like?

“Except for the ocean breeze that blows pretty much all the time in Maui, the weather is pretty much exactly the same. We lived there for eight years and lived about two miles down the road from George Harrison as a matter of fact. We had three acres right on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It was great except we had a full time gardener, between him and the two of us; we’d be out there three days a week just beating down the bushes. So it got crazy but it was fun.”

Let’s talk about The Happy Together 2011 tour. It recently celebrated its 25th anniversary right?

“I was on some of the first ones and they put me back on the tour last year. We’ve got great reviews and we’re back again this year. I love it, it’s so much fun, you get to hear so many great songs and see all the guys, and it takes you back my friend, it takes you back. You’re gonna’ see a giant slice of the charts from the 60’s and 70’s and a lot of hits!”

I was a top 40 radio deejay back in the late 70’s/early 80’s and then MTV and video wiped out the radio star.

“Then the web wiped out the record. It’s all digital, it’s all downloads and unfortunately there’s a lot of piracy. But the kids today, it’s a whole new generation, you got a kid that’s 12 or 13 years old and he just doesn’t understand why he can’t hack in and download stuff because it’s there and so why can’t you get it.”

When I grew up, it was all about listening to your favorite deejay and finding out what the hit songs were. If you liked what you heard on the radio you ran down to the record store and bought the 45 record. Then you usually bought the album.

“Yea, it was fun. I love vinyl, as a matter of fact I’m working on a project now and we might end up putting it on vinyl as well because there’s a whole new market, kids are discovering the fact that vinyl sounds a hell of a lot better than digital.”

I miss that echo effect sound from all those classic 45 records. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to ever master that wonderful sound ever again. Jim McCarty of TheYardbirds agreed with me when I spoke with him several weeks ago, that magical sound on those early records can never be duplicated.   

“Well a lot of it had to do with the live chambers. CBS records in Hollywood where the Raiders cut most of their stuff, they had two special echo chambers that were just… well you’ve heard Simon & Garfunkel, Raiders, it all sounded great. Capitol Records had these echo chambers designed by Les Paul as a matter of fact. Yea all that stuff -Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys they all sounded great. I have a lot of my old equipment, a lot of the same equipment that I used back in the 60’s and I can get pretty close but you cannot duplicate that echo. However a friend of mine has gone around and sampled a lot of the old chambers so he can get like 99% of the way there. It’s an all new technique though.”

There seemed to be a lot of pressure on those artists back in the 60’s, pressure to get a hit record on the radio along with a grueling touring schedule and constant TV appearances.

“I joined my first band when I was like 14 years old and formed the Raiders with Paul when I was like 17 or 18. So I’ve been on the road all my life and for some strange reason I still like it. I guess I’ve never grown up. That’s what’s so good about The Happy Together Tour; we’re back on the road again. You mentioned McCarty, we were lucky we had the show Where the Action Is. It was a great way to debut your record and everybody saw it at once. Although we did tour, there was like several years there where we were on the road like maybe 200 nights a year.”

Do you think it was that kind of discipline that made the 60’s music scene so great?

“I don’t know if it was the discipline or the sheer joy of playing rock & roll. I remember my first record contract; I would have paid them a nickel a record, you know? Anything to make music, and it wasn’t about the bucks it was about playing music, and being on TV, and playing in front of crowds.”

Yea, what was the fame like Mark; I remember your picture being plastered on the front cover of every teen magazine around? 

“It was a funny thing, in my mind there were two Mark Lindsay’s. There was one guy that was on TV and then the magazine’s and stuff, and then there was the real me which I knew wasn’t like that guy. I was kind of having a hard time putting the two together. Inside I was kind of this shy kid from Idaho but when I got on stage everything changed.”

I think many of us kids identified more with bands like the Raiders and Turtles because you were one of us. You were “American” bands.

“Well, we were the American Revolution.”

And you wore that que or ponytail.

“And you know I wish the heck that I had put a Copyright on that because just think how many Hell’s Angels would have been paying royalties right now.”

Are you still sporting the ponytail (que) or is it a thing of the past?

“It’s come and gone about four different times. I’ve grown it and cut it off. Right now I don’t have it, I cut it off about three years ago but who knows I may start growing it back again, it comes and goes.”

I wanted to ask you about a song you did in 1966 called “Little Girl in the 4th Row” from The Midnight Ride album, was there actually a girl in the fourth row that you were singing about?

“Being on tour and you look out at the audience and there’d be this babe, you know? But you know that there was no way in the world that you’d ever be able to meet her, you can see her out there, but like as soon as the show was over BAM -you were on a bus or a limo or whatever to the airport or wherever you were going and never stick around, so it was kind of like one of those things.  Then Mark began to sing some of the lyrics to the song, “Maybe someday you’ll be closer than four rows away.”

So you never actually got to meet her Mark?

“Well actually I did, believe it or not in Buffalo New York in 1967 there was this priest that come up before the show and after a soundcheck before the show curtain opened. He said, ‘Mark, I’m kind of the unofficial greeter here, there’s these little girls that are sitting out here that would love to meet you.’ So I said, ‘Sure bring them on back.’ So there were three girls that came back, and one of them was really- really cute, she had these cat eye glasses and there was this instant attraction, and I thought wait a minute this girl is 14 years old this is not going to happen. So I gave her a rose and a kiss on top of the head and that was it.
Fast forward to the 80’s, I’m in this meeting in Beverly Hills to do this commercial for this big corporation and appear at one of their functions. And I’m there with this gal and one of the guys from the agency. And this girl and I just hit it off instantly, and we’re sitting there laughing and the guy says, ‘Well I might as well leave; it’s obvious that you two know each other.’ And I said, ‘No-no, we’ve never met,’ and the girl said, ‘Actually we did meet many years ago but you wouldn’t remember it.’  I said, ‘When did we meet?’ She said, ‘Buffalo in ‘67.’ I said, ‘You’re the girl that I gave the rose to.’ And I ended up marrying here.”

You’re kidding me?

"Nope, that’s my wife now."

Wow, what a great story Mark.

“Oh yea. It was right, we were like star-crossed lovers. It was meant to be but it was just too early the first time around.”

That is amazing.

“My life reads like a novel and so I’m working on a book.”

Yea, I did hear that you were working on a book. As a matter of fact my first book was released recently - it’s called Check the Gs -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business. How far are you along in your story?

Well you know I’m almost done, I’ve written it and rewritten it three or more times and I’ve been working on it for 10-15 years. But what happens is every time I get almost finished, I start reading it and I say no, no, no, that’s not the way it really happened, I’m trying to make myself look too good here, this isn’t really real. So I go back and write what really happened without really stretching the fabric over the real stuff you know? So as I’ve done that several times and maybe as I get a little older I get a little more honest with myself. So I’m really getting close to the truth now and the truth reads better than fiction.”

Are you writing this totally on your own or getting some help with it?

“No, I’m doing it myself. Actually a couple of years ago I sent a couple of chapters to a publisher and I said maybe I need some help with this, and they no, no, no, we love your style just keep doing the way you’re doing. They wanted to make a deal but I said I’m not ready yet.”

Eventually, like I did, you’re going to say enough, it’s ready, I’m done.

“Well, when it’s right it’s right! It’s like writing a song, I’ll work on it in my head  -and it’s  amazing back in the day I use to write a song and that’s it great  -spitted it out you know. Now I work a little harder on them and just keep working on it until I start taking things out and when I start taking things out I figure it’s time to stop.”

My book took two years to write and I look back and say where did those two years go? My mind was totally focused at that time on the story.

“It’s a consuming art but it’s worth it. And when you get through it you’ve got something you can look at for the rest of your life.”

When we leave this planet, well… you already have your legacy; I guess I’ll have mine with my book.

“No, I’m still working on mine; I’ve got a lot more stuff to do. I kind of hit a renaissance period and I’ve written more songs in the last eight months than in the previous eight years. And I’ve got a couple projects going, can’t really talk about them but one of them if it happens, will fulfill my horoscope. Back in the 60’s, Gloria Stavers, you mentioned 16 Magazine; she was the editor of 16, she gave me for my birthday one year my horoscope by Linda Goodman, a private horoscope right, and it predicted that you were going to end up with the mansion up on the hill, and sure enough I shared this big mansion with Terry Melcher, and about a sports car in the garage and I had the red Ferrari in there but she said these things will not make you happy you’re going to want more, you’re going to move on past this and do all these things and then become more famous then you ever thought you could. But it won’t make you happy.
But much later in life you’re going to have a second career that’s going to be so phenomenal that it will almost out eclipse your first career entirely. You’ll be known by millions more people. So I’m working on that and so if that comes true then there you go. And if this project works, that can happen, but I can’t say anything more about it than that, but wait and see.”

Tell me a little bit about Terry Melcher, he was an important guy in the 60’s wasn’t he?

“Terry was really the sixth Raider, if you listen to any of the songs up to the first record that I produced which was Too Much Talk; before that Terry was on every Raider record. We’d finish a song and he and I would go back into the studio later and he and I would mainly do the background. He had this great high sounding voice and it just blended so well. He was a big part of the Raiders sound. He was real instrumental in helping the Raiders in becoming the hitmakers they were and I really miss him, he’s gone now.”

He left us much too soon, didn’t he?

“Sure did, the last four or five years before he died, I said come on Terry let’s get back in and write something, let’s do something again, and he said, well…I don’t know. But his last big song was “Kokomo,” (The Beach Boys) he’s all over that for sure.”

Yea, Terry Melcher was instrumental to so many important bands- including The Beach Boys and The Byrds. When I attended broadcasting school back in the late 70’s, all my instructors were deejays with illustrious broadcasting careers and they all had Dick Clark stories. What was it like to work with Dick Clark? 

“Well, he was totally professional. When the camera would come on or the Microphone would come on and he would be all smiles. He was very much a professional and if something didn’t go his way you knew about it. But he got done what he wanted done and done his way and it sure worked for him.”

So Dick Clark was also instrumental to the Raiders success right?

“Well sure, he had an idea for Where the Action Is; he hired us for the pilot because we worked very cheap, and when he sold the idea to ABC he hired us for a thirteen week period. He knew how visual we were right and we would work cheap, and he told me years later, ‘You know what? I thought I’d hire you guys for thirteen weeks and whenever the show took off I’d hire a real band.’ So they liked what they saw and by the end of that thirteen week period we had become that real band. We were the house band for almost three years.”

You guys cranked out some hits man, but what really amazed me is that “Indian Reservation” was your only Number One hit?

“Yea, even “Arizona” which was up to where it made platinum but not Number One. But we did have some gold records, it was the only Number One and the funny thing is it was suppose to be a follow up to “Arizona.” It was a Mark Lindsay record, I produced it and I usually didn’t produce myself, Jerry Fuller did, and when I got through with the record Jack Gold said, ‘Why don’t you put it out as the Raiders, you produce the Raiders and they need a hit.’ So we put it under the name of the Raiders and it became the biggest selling hit in the history of CBS records.”

Any regrets for calling the band Paul Revere? (Keyboardist Paul Revere Dick continued to tour without Mark using the Raiders name) 

“In the beginning, way back to the beginning before we got on CBS, we signed our first record contract on a little label called Gardena and the owner said, ‘You got to sign the contract and sign your full legal name,’ so my full legal name is Mark Allen Lindsay and I signed my name and then everybody else signed their name and Paul’s name was signed Paul Revere Dick, that was his full name.
Then he looked over at us and said, ‘Paul Revere…Paul Revere, Paul Revere, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait…a…minute! That’s a great gimmick. I mean the Downbeats are okay but Paul Revere now that’s a hook. Everybody knows Paul Revere’s ride come on.’
He said, ‘I’m going to call this band Paul Revere & the Nightriders or something’ and Paul especially hated it because he’d been teased all his life in school about, ‘Hey Paul Revere- where’s your horse?’ So he just dropped his first name Paul and went by the name Revere Dick. But when our first record came out, our first record said Paul Revere & the Nightriders. And although the name (Using Paul Revere) did cause some confusion but it’s probably a lot like The Dave Clark Five where Mike Smith was the lead singer and Dave Clark (the drummer) was the name of the band.”

There are so many bands running around out there without the original lead singers anymore.

Well, what are you going to do…what are you going to do. But when you see the Happy Together tour you’re going to see the real deal here, I’ve sang every hit that Paul Revere & the Raiders ever had. And Mark & Howard from The Turtles, if they’re not the real deal then I never saw one.”

I’m really looking forward to the show, and I’m hoping to get a pass to cover the show from backstage. I want to take a lot of pictures.

“Tell them Mark said that they’d better do it or I won’t do “Kicks.”

I’ll definitely tell them that. My favorite Paul Revere & the Raiders tune has always been “Good Thing.”

“Yea we’ll be doing that, I love that tune, when we do it on stage it sounds just like we did on the record. The guys in the band all sing like birds or The Byrds -I’m not sure. But I do my best to make the stuff that we do sound like in the day or better you know. So there you go.”

You’ve always had a great voice and your voice today sounds like your only 35 years old and it appears that you take really good care of yourself. (Mark is 69 years old)

“Well, I walk six miles a day; I get up around three or four in the morning and out by sunrise. That’s where I write, I’ll be on the trail. I try to eat right and exercise another hour when I get back home. So when I went in for a checkup recently my doctor said, ‘Whatever you're doing don’t stop it’ (After getting a recent physical his doctor said you could be 25 years old).”

After Paul Revere & the Raiders you worked as an A&R executive with United Artist Records?

“Yea, I thought I was qualified, I’d been an Artist, Producer, Writer, a Publisher, so I thought I knew how to pick songs and it was a lot of fun and I did pick some hits. I had a great run there until Capitol bought the company and just like a radio station, somebody came in and said okay we’ve got your job now.”

“What kind of hits did you pick?”

“The first project that they gave me was the City to City album by Gerry Rafferty. They said, ‘Any hits on here?’I said, ‘Well, let me take it home and I’ll let you know.’ So I went home over the weekend and came back and said ‘Okay, Baker Street is a monster, it’s going to be about a million-seller, it’s way too long but we can edit it down. And they said, ‘What’s the next connection?’ I said ‘“Right DownThe Line,” not as big as “Baker Street” probably won’t sell quite a million -maybe eight hundred-nine hundred thousand, and the third single should be “Home And Dry” maybe three hundred-four hundred thousand but that’s about it.’ And they said, ‘You’re on!’
So we released “Baker Street” and nobody’s playing it. So I went to Charlie Minor, the head of promotions and said, ‘Let me sit in your office, when you make all these calls to the stations and I’ll get on the extension. Ask them if they’re on it yet and, if they’re not, why they’re not playing it. Don’t give them reasons to play it. Ask them why they’re not playing it.’ So he did and I listened and wrote down all these notes.
One station said, ‘Well, the guitar is a little too raucous for our format.’ Another said, ‘That sax thing shouldn’t be at the front, it should be at the end.’ And so on and so forth.
I had a little studio in my house. I went home, got out a razor blade and made 17 different custom edits for these 17 stations. I threw them on Charlie’s desk on Monday morning and said, ‘Okay, send these out and ask them why they won’t play them now.’ And I guess maybe they were so flattered that we’d made a custom edit for their station - now, with digital stuff, of course everybody makes their own custom edits. But they had said, ‘We’ll take you on temporarily,’ so when that happened they said, ‘Okay you got the gig.’”

Do you still talk with Paul (Paul Revere Dick) at all?

“We talk occasionally; we haven’t played together for years. You guys are always asking me would you ever do something together and there was awhile when I’d say no but nowadays I don’t give a crap you know, why not? It might happened, it might not, if it does fine, if doesn’t that’s cool too.”

It seems like Paul’s version of the band took a totally different direction with more of a comedic flare, almost like a lounge act.

“Paul is a great natural comedian; when he grew up his heroes were like Danny Kaye and the Marx Brothers and people like that. And he just loved comedy. Now he’s got a band and he does comedy bits and they play the hits and it’s entertaining but it’s not the Raiders that I remember. But as long as he’s putting people in the seats he’s doing the right thing.”

Mark,  I want to thank you so much for spending some time with me today, and I look forward to meeting you in person backstage at The Happy Together show at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on July 19th .

“I look forward to meeting with you Ray, thank you.”

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