Friday, April 8, 2016

Blog Posting on VOICES AND VISIONS - Andrew Gold (circa 1998-2000)

Music inspires me--to write and play Music! I know it sounds somewhat obvious, and it is, but I really get very creative if I hear someone else being creative and I like what they are doing. It automatically triggers my creative center, and I immediately want to write something myself. If I hear lots of music that doesn't really get me excited, I still may be writing soon, as I do all the time anyway...but if I hear something that really gets me going, I have an extra edge, and the songs I write right after that usually get written faster, and are better than the ones I slog and work on for days. The inspired ones come faster.

I like all sorts of music: Classical, Musicals, ROCK AND ROLL, Pop, even some rap things. The only kind of music that bugs me is march music, but even that genre has it's better songs and it's worse songs. For some reason, the whole pariotic pride evoking march stuff just makes me feel unemotional and uninterested. But that's about my only real prejudice in music. The rest- Well, it breaks down to only two kinds of music: Good music, and Bad music. For instance, there's rap music, even real gangsta stuff I like a lot, and on the other side of the scale, there's some classical music that is a big yawn to me....But my basic, original inspirations, when I was a kid, was The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Motown, Simon And Garfunkle, Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach (especially the Dionne Warwick hits; The Stones, Stevie Wonder; and Musicals like West Side Story, My Fair Lady etc...Later The Police got to me, Prince...

Some of my favorite CD's: The BEATLES RUBBER SOUL, REVOLVER, BEATLES FOR SALE (Beatles 65 here) MEET THE BEATLES, SGT PEPPER; WHITE ALBUM; The first 5 Byrds albums; THE BEACH BOYS PET SOUNDS and SMILE; Adored much of the sixties Motown hits, like the Supremes, Temptations etc etc. Loved BRAZILLION STUFF, LIKE GIRL FROM IPANEMA...Jobim Stuff, and loved ALEX NORTH'S SCORE to Spartacus....STEVIE WONDER's mid seventies big three albums, like Fullfillingness First Finale, Talking Book, Songs In The Key Of Life, etc. The soundtracks from the movie West Side Story, MY FAIR LADY...Simon and Garfunkles last 4 albums. And So much more 

It's in my DNA...I can't help it. Even now, it's playing in my's my favorite it too loud, lol?

A Few Words With....Andrew Gold by John A Wilcox (after 2011 from earlier talks)

Singer / composer / musician Andrew Gold died in June of 2011. Like most folks, I first heard the name through the songs Lonely Boy and Thank You For Being A Friend. Later on, I'd discovered he had played on my favorite Linda Ronstadt material. In the 1980s, Gold teamed with 10cc's Graham Goldman and the formed Wax. I blissed out on their hook-driven pop rock, and that project remains near and dear to me to this day.
Andrew Gold & I had been trading emails for a while. He was warm, witty, funny, and an incredibly positive guy. By early 2011, I'd suggested doing an interview via email and Gold loved the idea. We worked in groups of 4 or 5 questions at a time. We were about 2/3 of the way in when I stopped hearing back. I was shocked and saddened to hear of his death. I decided to sit on the interview until the time felt right. It was incomplete, but what was there was delightful. Time passed. One day I spoke to Graham Gouldman and he told me he felt it'd be nice to share Andrew Gold's thoughts with the world. He was right. So, here it is. Gold's last words to me were "That's all for now!" I dedicate this to Andrew and his family with much love...
PS: What was your reaction on hearing that your song The Final Frontier would be the first music heard on Mars?

AG: Well, first of all it was really about my voice being the first human voice on Mars, technically anyway, and not my song. The song was written by Paul Reiser and Don Was. Being called The Final Frontier, instead of Mad About You, it seemed appropriate to play it while starting up the first "Rover" on Mars. At first, of course, I was thrilled, being our planet's emissary, so to speak, on Mars. But after I mentioned it a few times in interviews, I got a call from a guy at JPL, who pleasantly cleared up the real facts which were that the song just was playing on JPL'S sound system when they sent the signal for Rover to "wake up" and perform it's tasks. So, actually, my voice wasn't really transmitted to Mars, at least not so anyone would hear it, unless it bled through the radio signal....But the story I tell on stage makes it sound a tad more exciting, and therefore is really sort of an Urban Myth. Besides, if they had really sent my voice there, surely we would have heard requests for more!!! lol

PS: What was the first musical instrument you ever bought?

AG: Well, hmmm. I got a nylon string guitar from my Granddad when I was like 7...a very hard to play instrument because the neck was a bit warped and the strings were about 3 feet from the fret board, lol, but yet I still wowed 'em in the school bus aisles. I used to tape new Beatle songs, and would learn them before school the next day. I gained a lot of girl popularity that way. However my first official girl friend, by the name of Jan Edwards once saw me cuddling with some other girl, guitar in tow.. She marched up and grabbed my guitar and hit me over the head with it! Ow!....Sproing went the strings as my head popped through the top. It was even funny to me and every one else. However I think the first real instrument I bought was a tambourine.

PS: What was your very first paying gig?

AG: I think it was in Mammoth. A place called Rafters. I recall we got $200 a night, plus a place to sleep.So rustic, plus every one got nine sheets to the included! I was 20-21. Once a girl came up right to me looked up and just grabbed parts. I was laughing so hard. later she came up and asked if she could take me home? I said, sure, and turned to pay for my drinks and suddenly heard this huge crash behind me. It was her, passed out cold. She was pretty but also pretty nuts! Oh well.

PS: How did you land the gig playing with Linda Ronstadt?

AG: I was in this same band as the last story. . We played a benefit for George McGovern and the next day she called me up. (Kenny had been in her "Stone Ponies" band). She asked me if she could hire me for lead guitar. The money was good, and our band wasn't getting anywhere. By the point Linda was asking me if I'd join if she gave me body, I joined right away! (ahem, she was persistent) I decided, OK, OK, If I must, lol. I was especially thrilled when, at the first day of rehearsal, a roadie asked to carry my amp on the rehearsal hall stage and set up my guitar. I knew I was in the big time!

PS: What was the first song you wrote that changed how others perceived you?

AG: Lonely Boy. Because it was top 5 for a long time, and I was on all the TV shows, and was chased by girls etc. It was fantastic - and at the same time I would say, You're No Good, which I didn't write but played everything on except bass, and the whole Linda Ronstadt success....that changed my life first, and was unbelievably great during the seventies. Ah, those days....They were great.

PS: I'd like to ask you about a few songs you did with Graham Gouldman as Wax. Let's start with Marie Claire.

AG: This is one of my favorite songs we've done. The beneficent majesty and almost cosmically gorgeous melody and harmony, together with the 12 string ala Byrds, is really satisfying while making you want to hear it more.....It drills right through my brain, anyway. Actually, we started with the verse, just some chords Graham had....I added some somewhat dissonant chords to it, and the suddenly I came up with the chorus, almost entirely fleshed out....sometimes it happens...true inspiration. I thought it would be interesting to make it about this girl, who we surmise is on the run from the law, and the safest place for her to hide is with this guy, (the singer) who has fancied he for years, alas to no avail....but suddenly she's gonna stay with him and he's going, hmmmmmm, I can be her saving angel and after while she'll fall in love with me...or something like that....Don't know if this is all clear in the lyrics after all is said and done...But, there's such a yearning in the song. My three favorite bits in the song are the melody and harmony, especially on the word Claire, where Graham goes down to the 1, and I stay on the 5....(of that chord anyway)....Also I love the semi Beach Boys melodic Carl Wilson-like We'll be together now and the next few chord changes....Also I like it when it goes back to the verse chords...kinda sneakily too. There's another spot, I think over the last bit with the chords of the verse just vamping. Right before that starts, you can hear me yell GO!, why I said it, I can't

PS: How about Don't Play That Song?

AG: This is a song I wrote almost on my own...One thing I liked about it, is that we did the strings at Abbey Road, studio 2....The Beatles main studio....Veri cool. Lotsa ghosts. If the walls could talk, indeed. It lost a little something when we did it, with a drummer etc. The original demo was a bit cooler. We tried to get George Harrison to do the solo...but, he was not available, so I did it sorta like him. I thought in hindsight, it was too old fashioned to be a single. I wanted to put out Anchors Aweigh, which I thought was much more interesting. We even did a video for that song.

PS: Bridge To Your Heart.

AG: Graham and I used to get together for a couple of weeks to write, and usually came up with about 4 songs each time he came to visit. We were getting nowhere with one song, and he went to visit someone in Canada. Right before he was back I came up with the basic music and the chorus, including lyrics, and when he arrived we just finished off the lyrics and voila: Our biggest hit as a duo. I find the best songs are the ones I write fast. I suppose it's because the only reason songs take a long time is you can't think of the right way to go...and you try and try,,,,,I find usually those songs just aren't as good as the fast ones, and feel long and belabored...Not that we don't do them...we do most of the songs we write, but some have go into Magnetic Heaven, ie: get erased...which is where I got the name for that album Magnetic Heaven. Anyway, I love this song, and was very satisfied to see it climb into the top 5 everywhere but the damn USA!!!! What the heck!? Grrrr.

PS: Ball And Chain.

AG: Our heaviest song on record...I like the Led Zeppelin rip off dum da da dee dum gtr thing. I like the intro and the end is Graham just wailing on the guitar, while our engineer twiddled some knobs for some sound he was getting...It was a great time at RAK studios...with Phil Thornally...who was also in the video...the great looking young man holding onto a fence looking pissed off...great. My only rap on record I believe. And that's me on a distorted synth trading leads with Graham's guitar......In those days, I mainly played keyboards and did all the programming, so Graham did the guitar work on most of the songs.

PS: Finally, Bug In The Machine.

AG: We were trying to sorta copy Prince.....but I don't know if it's evident...On stage we all use to jump when we said bug! or there was a bip!...very cute....We found this weird dipthonic sound on my Emulator 2, which was the perfect bug. Funny lyrics on this one. Actually I found this on various restaurant collection CD's or tapes. Heard it in 2 LA restaurants. We shoulda released this as a single!
Generally, for all these songs, when we worked on them at first, I'd set up a drum groove and try and find some good or interesting sounds, and Graham was in LOVE with my Custom Telecaster from 1962 I think. That's basically how we worked....this band was sort of a little light on the guitars, which these days I wouldn't do so much....But it made sense that Graham played guitar. One of the only songs that I played lead guitar in was Anchors Aweigh. I had a nice long patch to show off in the end of that song right after the horns play the title melody loudly daaa daa da da daaaaaaa! then my Led Zeppelin rip off from Good Times Bad Times.....the Wax days were some of my favorite years...back on Top Of The was one of our being in our mid and late 30's y'know....still making hits...It was great!

PS: Please tell me how & why The Fraternal Order Of The All came to be?

AG: It came from two places.
1. The record that a group ('t recall the name XTC I think...good group too...Beatle-esque even when they are not pretending to be someone else) came out with a record by The Dukes Of Stratosphear ...actually they came out with a couple. The first, I think, was 25 O' Clock, and the next was something I can't recall. It later became one big album, which had Chocolate Fireball in the title. Anyway, I thought the record was good, and I thought I could do something similar - a fictional 60's group doing songs in the style of psychedelic 60's.
2. I had a few songs which I had done already which were purposely like some 60's groups - Somewhere In Space And Time, which was, obviously, Byrds ala 1965-66. The Byrds were in my top 3 of groups (Beatles, Byrds, Beach Boys (mid-sixties especially - Pet Sounds, etc), and I did send it to Roger McGuinn, who raved about it, saying Perfect! Sigh. If only he and Crosby would stop their decades old fight and reform for an album and tour...Crosby will, and is a pretty good guy these days....But Roger said to David, "I'd rather be in the army!", that's a no go. Anyway, I digress-
I had another one that also was sixties like (actually I had done the stuff that's out as Copycat on iTunes etc, which is exact copies of Beatles mainly, some Beach Boys and etc. So I thought it would be fun to just let my natural tendencies run riot and do a whole album like this, but with songs I, I got a group name from drummer David Kemper, who had been the stoniest (years ago) he'd ever been and thought he heard a voice from the cosmos say: Welcome to the Fraternal Order Of The All. Apparently, he was talking to Jerry Garcia, before he died, who got all excited and said "I know the all thing! It happened to me too!" So I had the group name, made up a picture of the group, which was just me and one other guy, which I just photoshopped into looking like 5 different guys....and recorded the rest of the music etc.. and voila. I got a lot of calls and emails from stoners who were all in their twenties, who'd listened to the album through headphones, and I got nothing but mad love from all of them. It is one of my favorite albums of mine.

PS: Any thoughts of doing a follow-up to it?

AG: Yes, from time to time I've thought about doing an album of the All, but just a couple years before psychedelia....sort of like The Beatles We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper days (right before they went semi psychedelic with Revolver) opposed to Sgt. Pepper...more electric guitars-only type of things, with maybe one interesting instrument (harmoniums, and the like). Of any album I did, this is the only one I might do pt 2 one of these days.

PS: How did you come to work with Eikichi Yazawa?

AG: My friend Mark T Jordan was producing him, and I was invited to play as studio musician, which I did a lot in those days. Apparently, by the time we finished the album (PM9), Yazawa asked me to produce his next ones. I ended up doing 8! I loved working with him, but alas, he moved on...We send each other Xmas cards every year tho. Love that guy. He taught me dirty words in Japanese etc.

PS: You ended up producing a good fistful of his albums. Any clue why his success didn't translate to the rest of the world?

AG: I'm more interested in why my albums didn't become huge. lol. People are sometimes just not into what I'm into. Also, after the first 4 Elektra/Asylum records, my albums (and there are a lot of them since back then - a new double album will be ready by Summer : -) - were mostly all self-made or with small record companies without publicity money, and I never really got the exposure. I could've done more about that, but I am an artist, not a business guy, I'm a terrible schmoozer, and somewhat lazy. My last real album was in 2001...It was called Intermission...I didn't quite realize how prophetic that was to become. But now, I want to tour like crazy...even just to play behind other artists I love.

PS: I understand that you heard that Eric Clapton is a fan of yours.

AG: My friend, Stephen Bishop, told me that a friend of his, Eric Clapton, heard a song of mine from a relatively recent album, Since 1951....The song is called Teardrops, and evidently Clapton went nuts for it, called Stephen and raved on and on. This is particularly gratifying because it's in my personal top 10 of my own songs, and it's almost number 1....So, Eric, who I've met but never knew really well, is an idol of mine (I went through a big Cream phase in high school) and his being knocked out by a song I did....well, it made my year for sure. Eric is obviously an intelligent and discerning fellow. lol.

International Songwriter INTERVIEW OF ANDREW GOLD BY JOE MATERA (Year: 2000)

                 Andrew Gold
Joe Matera, International Songwriter, 2000
Joe Matera: Tell me a bit about your background. You started writing songs at 13?
Andrew Gold: Yeah, I started around then (13). My first song was called 'Where Is The Love', not to be confused with the 70's hit by the same name. It was a dark minor song waltz.....
JM: Your most known song is 'Lonely Boy' (1976). How did you come to write that song and what was the process of recording it? I love the way you took the basic A, D, and E chords and put the 3rd in the bass, in the verses?
AG: Actually, It's kind of a semi rip off of a section of a Ry Cooder song, 'How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live'...but barely....I just wrote this song one night in Hollywood in my little apartment, and thought it should be an 8 minute opus....but got bored after 3 and a half....
JM: You are also a multi-instrumentalist and producer, having worked with such artists as Linda Ronstadt and 10cc?

AG: Yes, I have always had a knack for playing many instruments.....and arranging ideas come easy.
JM: Did you play that classic guitar solo in Linda's 'You're No Good'?

AG: Yes, me and Peter Asher and Val Garay stayed up one night recording it and we were very proud at the end. However, the next day Linda heard it and didn't know if she liked it or not....I showed up and Peter was laughing because by the time I got there she had decided she did...thank God.
JM: What inspires you to write?

AG: Money....Okay, no, I get inspired when I hear something by someone else I like...I feel like...Hey! I want to write something great like that!
JM: What sort of gear do you use?

AG: Recording wise, I use Pro Tools alot these the ability to change stuff, move it around, reverse it, affect it, tune it..etc etc. Guitars: mainly Fender's and Rickenbackers, (and Martins) but also Gretsch and Gibsons occasionally. Keyboards, I use a Roland A-80 with many synths and samplers, but often I just use a piano to write on or an acoustic guitar.

JM: Do the songs change much from the first draft to the finished product?

AG: Sometimes, not much though...just that it goes from one instrument to many.
JM: With the internet these days and the technology available, where one person can co-write with another without ever meeting, do you think this has made things easier for someone to get their music out and to a bigger audience, or is it the same as it's been before, in the sense of trying to succeed?

AG: Hard question...I think in some ways its the same... except you can send someone an MP3 easily so they can hear it better than by the phone...or slow like mail.
JM: What are some tips you would like to share to help us songwriters write songs that are hit material?

AG: If I knew I'd be much richer! But stick with it, listen to other songs and try and analyze it...but also be original....mainly make sure that your recording is what you heard in your head....or better.
JM: What are your current projects? You have a new album coming out soon?

AG: I have two new albums coming out: one, The Spence Manor Suite, is a semi-country album of new original songs. The other is Bikini, an album of Wax rarities. (Wax is Graham Gouldman and myself).
JM: Who are your favourite songwriters and songs?

AG: Well, Lennon and McCartney, Jobim, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Debussy, Gershwin, Randy Newman, Carole King, too many to list.
JM: One last question, what is your view on the '70s and '80s. I can hear a lot of that era's sound in today's music and think that it was one great period of history that produced some memorable songs like 'Lonely Boy'?

AG: I think the '60s and '70s was the peak period for the singer songwriter for sure....people like Cat Stevens, Randy Newman, Jackson Browne...whew...good songs...nowadays, its a slightly different thing, with the recording and arrangement more important than the song....which is why they won't last as oldies. But I'm not bothered by's a phase and its new. So I don't want to be like my grandparents saying, 'This isn't good like in our day!'. I like everything including Rap ...I just think its too narrow these days. I'd like to see Rap and songs, and not just R & B....anything, be successful...but...its the teenagers thing, so viva whatever is going on, you know?

© Joe Matera, 2000

Friday, August 21, 2015

Gary James Interview. Andrew answers how he came to be in Linda Rondstadt's band and much more...

Here is the interview on classic by Gary James. Please read more at his site listed above. #repost #andrewgold

You could say he came from a show business background. His father won an Academy Award for his musical score for Exodus. His mother was the singing voice of Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and Deborah Kerr in The King And I. He was a member of Linda Ronstadt's band. His work with recording artists reads like a Who's Who: Celine Dion, James Taylor, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Diana Ross, Cher, Trisha Yearwood, Wynona Judd, Vince Gill, Aaron Neville and the list goes on and on. He is the writer of the song "Lonely Boy" and "Thank You For Being A Friend", which later became the theme for TV's The Golden Girls. We are speaking of course about Mr. Andrew Gold. 

Q - As I understand it, you're keeping busy these days writing commercials? 

A - No. I'm doing a lot of things. Just regular things like making records, writing songs, just like I always have. However, I have recently added acting to my resume. I've been filming commercials. Starring in a few. Just to kind of break into the film business. I'm hoping it leads to bigger roles. This is something that when I was very young, about maybe 10, I was very tempted to go into; acting, as my career. I wasn't really clear between acting and music. I did a movie with Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly and Fred March called Inherit The Wind. I had a small, little, extra part. You can see me. I didn't know how far away I was gonna be from the shot. So I did a little thing with my cap, but I did it so slyly, I didn't even move it or anything. I kind of went up and put my hand down, because that would be easier to see. However, it was actually a very close shot. So I'm just there doing this thing and they left it in and I don't know why. (laughs) So that's my big Hollywood moment back then. Since then I've done a few little things. I did walk-ons on Mad About You, the show with Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt. I sang the theme song. 

Q - You worked with the Hollywood legends! Spencer Tracy! 

A - I know. I didn't know who these people were. When I look at these pictures, I go "Oh, my God! Gene Kelly is standing right behind me!" With my parents being in the business, that's the way I grew up. There were people around that I would have known, but I hardly knew at all. Although I remember once my mother was talking to Bill Shatner on the phone. When I realized she was talking to William Shatner, you know, Captain Kirk, I wanted to say something. So I got on the phone and mumbled "you're great" kind of words. He said "Why thank-you son" and that was about it. But I think that's the only real star that I knew that knew my parents. So that bug was, is in me. Recently I got an agent who thinks I could do well in the commercial business. I don't really want to do a lot of commercials, but this could lead to real acting. 

Q - In your bio it says you want to be a film producer. 

A - A director. If it says producer, I was thinking of an album producing. Film is just like directing in movies where you direct the shots and you do what your vision of he movie is and I think I would be very good at it, especially as I've watched some of these directors direct. I think I could do this. I don't think I'm that good of an actor that the acting part of me would be the main thing. 

Q - So, would you be happier being a behind-the-scenes guy? 

A - I do that now when I produce other people's albums. I started producing really in 1980. I produced an album for Rita Coolidge. Then I started getting interested in that. I played a lot on the album. So, nothing had really changed, but I did stay in the studio longer than I wanted to because I didn't want to tour. After awhile I wasn't touring enough and now I want to have sort of a renaissance of doing shows and I think I'll do quite well, because of the rarity of me going out. So I think some people would be very happy if I toured again. So I think I'm gonna do it. In the meantime I'm still writing songs and putting out an album of mine. It's gonna be a four album set because the last ten years, I've been writing a lot of songs. 

Q - Are you putting this album set out on your own label? 

A - Yeah. It'll be out on Q-Brain. It is basically me. I might sell it through a bigger company to have kind of a boutique label at their label. Use their distribution guys. But it's basically these days it's almost sort of hobby time. I put an album out. A lot of people buy them, but it's not like it used to be. It's like my little core of fans. 

Q - What is the meaning of Q-Brain? 

A - I have a license plate that says it. Somebody stopped me once and said "Is that some sort of scientific thing, like you're doing research on your brain?" I said "I'm sorry, I can't answer that. I'd have to shoot you." But it's short for Quark Brain, and Quark Brain came from; I was talking to someone and they said "Hey, they found a particle that was smaller than a quark." And the guy said "What, you're brain?" They laughed and that sort of stuck with me. Quark Brain. Then I shortened it to Q-Brain and it became the name of my publishing company and record company. But it's just a name. It doesn't really mean anything. It's not a real company. It's a name I put on my records. 

Q - How difficult would you imagine it will be to get airplay for those CDs of yours? 

A - Well, in the last twenty's gonna be hard. It's basically gonna be played for my core fans worldwide. Maybe that's 20,000 people. If they were all around my house, I'd feel very popular. (laughs) But I just think of all of them standing outside. Some of 'em are real nice. Some of 'em are crazy. Some of them are just weird. But that's basically it. It'll go on i-tunes. Most of my records are on i-tunes. So it'll be available. 

Q - Did you ever give any consideration to doing something other than a show-biz job in your early years? 

A - It started out because I was so creative, as I am now. I draw. I act. I do music. Then, there's other parts of my life where I'm totally bewildered and lost. (laughs) Don't give me a math problem to solve. I'll have to count on my fingers. I did take a job before I started writing or doing anything as a cleaner at A&M Studios. What I'd do is, you'd get the cables and wrap 'em up nicely. Tidy everything up. Once in awhile I'd get a free hour and somebody would have a tape on the player, but there was no mix on the board. So, I got to sort of mix things. Whatever was around and put effects on everything. So I sort of learned some of that. I'm always interested in how good records are made. I have a lot to learn. It's funny, I saw other albums being done that later I realized they were major albums. I was the second engineer, assistant engineer on her "Blue" album, which is quite a famous album for Janis. I remember they had her miked up so. There were so many mics on her guitar I couldn't believe it. She sang a bunch of songs that are now famous and when he pointed to me, I would press Record and Play, (laughs) and Stop when it was over. That was it. That was my total thing. Whether it was James Taylor, Carole King, there were quite a lot of people wandering through that studio. It was great.

Q - Lucky you. 

A - Yeah. And these were all people who in a few years from then, I was playing with and were friends with and producing some of their stuff. Carole King is an old, dear friend of mind. 

Q - You could've retired from the royalties you received from that song you wrote, "Thank You For Being A Friend". 

A - Yeah. 

Q - Golden Girls has never really left the air. 

A - I used to always call it onstage as "this is my accountant's favorite song." It's true, it made me millions of dollars over the years, just because it's one of those friends songs. There's about five songs like "You've Got A Friend". It made it into that area. So now I see it in like, cards. You open it up and there's a little chip in there and it sings music, "Thank You For Being A Friend" and luckily it sings my version. 

Q - And you get a royalty on that as well, I would imagine. 

A - Yeah. Well, anything that has even the words, the name of the song. Anything that refers to that song. If you put up a sign for a Homecoming Team for a friend or for a school, I don't get anything.

Q - How long did it take you to write "Thank You For Being A Friend"? 

A - About an hour. 

Q - How long did it take to write "Lonely Boy"? 

A - It was about four hours. I was just in this zone where I can get when I'm writing songs. I'm kind of tuned into some sort of like a stream of creativity that you stop sort of judging yourself and realize that mistakes made can really be great instead of bad. It can take you interesting places. That kind of stuff makes for writing a good song. I always feel when I'm writing that if I'm sick, I don't feel sick. That's sort of an alpha wave that gets very strong in creative people when they're creating. So it took about four hours. It was gonna be a real long song, because back then that's what people were doing a lot. They would cut it down for radio. But I got bored after the third verse. Originally it was not gonna be me at all. But then I thought, just leave it like this. And then we went out and rehearsed the song, played it on the road during my show as a song we hadn't recorded yet. We played it for about two months and really knew it at the end. I went into the studio and recorded it 'live'. All of it is 'live'. There were little strings on this machine which were like fakes, but we liked the sound. The sleigh bells, the drummer was amazing. It's quite a feat. Quite a show. The song originally had a real plaintive kind of soft section in the middle. And everybody said to hell with that, let's pump it up! And we played it out and it was much better. We were playing it on the road and we were getting applause in the middle of the song. A brand new song, they were going "yeah." So when we recorded it, I felt very confident about what we were doing. And we added some real strings and I put the vocal on and that was it. 

Q - How'd you get that gig in Linda Ronstadt's band? Were you friends with Peter Asher? 

A - No. I hadn't met Peter Asher yet and I didn't know he was managing Linda. But looking back, I heard he had just started with Linda, and producer of the album before the one I did, which was "Heart Like A Wheel", which had various big hits. My band, who had Kenny who was part of The Stone Ponys, was a magnificent guitar player. A guy named Gene Garfin played drums and sang high. Bass was a guy named Peter Bernstein, whose father is Elmer Bernstein, a famous music composer. We were opening up for Linda. It was a George McGovern fund raiser. We went on and Linda watched us and liked what I did and called me the next day and said "Would you consider playing in my band?" I said "Consider it? Absolutely." I got there and they put my amp onstage. I thought oh, I have arrived to total luxury. I don't have to carry my amp anymore, which to this day is still my least favorite thing to do. About a month later Kenny joined, playing bass. He usually played guitar, but he got really good on the bass. After I was in her band for about one tour, and I had never been on a tour and it was a very rough tour, we were opening for Jackson Browne. The first part, when we flew out, we had the worst turbulence I had ever felt in any plane before or after. Because of that, I wrote a song called "Endless Flight" that was pretty much the story of my life there. (laughs) I hate flying. It was so cold back East. It was pretty disheartening and the people on the tour were kind of weird. Just didn't get along with them that much. So when it came time for the second half, she was begging me to come back and play. They had a temporary girl, in fact it was Karla Bonoff, but she just sort of did a very slow miniscule version of what I was doing. She (Linda Ronstadt) begged me. "I'll give you more money." She basically said...let me put it this way, "I'll give you my body. I'll sleep with you." I can't believe that I did not take her up on that. That would've been very nice. I said "C'mon, you don't have to go that far." So anyway, I did join her band and then stayed in it for real. She started paying us retainers and off we went. 

Q - You also worked for Paul McCartney? 

A - I bumped into Paul at various things. When I was young there was a charity thing which you would go in a line and walk by The Beatles for $75 each. There was a lot of kids of movie stars that came to see The Beatles. And you get your picture taken. I still have that (picture). In fact, I showed it to Paul fairly recently and he said "God, I remember that thing. It was so weird with all those movie stars around." So, it was funny. I never really worked with him, like played in his band or did some recording with him. I did however sing with him on "Hey Jude". 

Q - Where did that happen? 

A - At a 'live' concert. Somebody has a picture of me doing that, but I don't know who that somebody is. But it was great. 

Q - What year did you meet The Beatles? 

A - 1964. I just shook their hand and said hello. Then later in my life, I remember going backstage to hang out with him (Paul) on those Wings shows, when he first started. It was great. He looked amazing to me. I've always been amazed at the way he looks. He was a Beatle, so I found it difficult to talk to him. In fact, I was kind of walking around looking at things in the room. I was too shy to say anything. I wanted to ask him ten million questions. But it was still a lot of fun. I kept running into him. We did this Earth day in 1994 at the Hollywood Bowl. That was where he sang "Hey Jude" and all that stuff. If my ex-wife runs into him, he'll say "How's Andy?" So he's very aware of my thing. I met John Lennon at the Inauguration of Jimmy Carter. He was talking and I said hello. Before that, I had met him while he was in New York working on "Walls And Bridges". I just said hello. He was a bit of a mystery. I couldn't tell if he was standoffish or what. But he seemed quite nice. 

Q - You also played with Ringo? 

A - Yeah. Ringo and Paul are the ones I know best. Paul I know enough to call him an acquaintance. Ringo is basically the same. But I had a longer time to ask him all kinds of stuff, including "Was it great to be in The Beatles? (laughs) And he said "Are you kidding me? It was the most fun a human could have." It was incredible. We played on an album of his called "Time Takes Time". One of the songs that we did with him was a song that was written for him by McCartney. There was a lot of ways to sing it as a guide vocal, which was my job. I kept singing it very lightly so it wouldn't bleed through everything. I couldn't help but put on sort of a McCartney accent while I was singing. I told a joke. I was looking out the window of this little compartment I was in and there was Ringo on his Beatle set. I asked him about the cymbals. He said "These are the ones I've had since The Ed Sullivan days." I was just going "Oh my God." It was very difficult for me not to just slide into A Hard Day's Night fantasy. Singing Paul's stuff, making him laugh at little things and slowly getting an English accent. 

Q - And you never did record anything with George Harrison? 

A - No. And it's too bad because we would've gotten along. We went to a party and he was there. Dylan was there on this thing on the Queen Mary, but I didn't meet him that night again. I don't know where was. 

Q - As long as we're on the subject of famous people, did you ever meet the Big Three - Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison? 

A - I saw Jim Morrison in a restaurant. It was a tiny, little place that we used to go to called Lucky You Restaurant. It was a Mexican place. Very small. Almost derelicts would eat there, but not quite. The food was amazing. I wish the guy didn't die. Anyway, it was Jim Morrison and he looked like he hadn't had a bath for awhile. And he had his big beard, which I didn't like. He wasn't particularly rock-starish looking.

Q - Do you remember the year you saw him? 

A - Sometime in '69 I think. 

Q - Given that you came from a musical family, if you were in any other city than L.A., would you have had the same career? 

A - Well, maybe not. I think the important thing is not that I was in L.A., although it helped. But I was really inundated with that gene, the gene of playing music. I remember my first experience was this old building that was like a garage or something. I remember we were waiting for something for our car and I went back there. There was nothing to do in the garage and there was a piano. An old upright piano. I don't know what it was doing in a garage. (laughs) I started playing it. I was just amazed that it had all these tones. I was playing this funny music, just playing on the black keys. It was kind of like Chinese music. It was great. At that point, I was hooked. But the real moment was that Sunday night when Ed Sullivan presented The Beatles for the first time. When I saw them, heard the girls screaming, how great their clothes were, how cool they looked, their hair, I just went "OK, I know what I'm going to be when I grow up." 

Q - Did your parents ever open any doors for you? 

A - No. The only thing that happened was, there was one session that I did for a friend of my mother's who had her own thing going. She was a producer. She produced this kind of soulful music at times. I don't know what it was for. It could've been important. There were three guitar players. Everybody knew it was my first session and I was very young and I didn't read music. In fact, I still can't read music. So they sort of molly coddled me and I did well.

© Gary James. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Robert Pally Interview with Andrew Gold - On Andrew's sixties release, "Greetings From Planet Love" and other projects...1998 or so.

From making an album with Children-Songs to The Fraternal Order Of The All it is quite a long way. How much humor / irony is in your Children-Songs and how serious are your Fraternal Order Of The All songs?

AG: I actually have the same amount of irony, humour and seriousness in all the albums I make. OK, ok…maybe in the kids albums a bit more. And in my 60’s thing some of it was slightly camp…

When have you discovered humor and irony? To me your early material always sounded very nice, but also a kind of serious. I just remember "Thank you for being a friend", "Lonely Boy", "Hope you feel good", "Make up your mind" or "Always for you" 

AG: I find most of my old stuff somewhat funny, but not because I meant it. However, there are in jokes in Thank You For Being A friend….but I can’t say what it is….

How did you come up with the idea to The Fraternal Order Of The All? 

AGI just love the 60’s musically, especially my favorite acts, Beatles, Beach Boys, Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan, Motown, Burt Bacharach, etc etc…But hearing the XTC fake group (The DUKES OF STRATOSPHEARE) was a big influence.

The Fraternal Order Of The All reminds me on albums the Turtles (Battle of the Bands), Dukes of the Stratospheare or 10 CC did. Were they an influence?

AG: See above.

On some Songs on Greetings from Planet Love I can hear which band you are faking. The Beach Boys are very obvious, the Doors, Beatles, Tom Petty/Byrds or Bob Dylan. Who else is there? 

AGThose are the main ones. There are some songs that aren’t particularly any one group but just a 60’s sound….

Since you reproduce the Beach Boys on "Greetings from Planet Love" how would your "Pet Sounds" sound like? 

AGLike Pet Sounds!

How far are you with your All-Covers-Album? 

AGAbout 11 songs.

On what other projects are working at the moment? 

AGDid a SUGARBEATS xmas album for kids this summer. It’ll be out during this XMAS, obviously.

You write songs for other people. How much differently do you approach them compared to the songs you write for yourself? 

AGIn my songs I don’t necessarily try to be commercial. Not that trying to be commercial really helps, usually.

What do you have against todays radio? 

AGToo much formatting: I liked the old days when pop stations were almost any type of music at once. Also I hate the tiny playlist. Also, I absolutely hate that they don’t announce what song they just played. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of the music of the boy bands and rap songs etc… it’s boring to me.
What is/was challenging for you as a session musician?

AGTrying to play what the artist wants. And in tune, with a good sound, and as quickly as possible after hearing the song for the first time.

How much different do you write songs today compared to the 70’s?

AGI use computers more. But other than that it’s the same. I make up the songs… sometimes it goes well. Sometimes it’s hard.

You wrote your first song at 13. How did it sound? Has it ever appeared on a record?

AGUh, no. It is cute, but it wasn’t much good.

Was there any special incidents that made you start making music?

AGThe Beatles.

Is there something (musically) that you always wanted to do but so far have not done?

AGA retro Brazillian album. I have a few songs put together…so one day I will.

Thanks to Robert Pally for providing this interview.