Friday, September 30, 2016

Episode 272: Rhymin' Paul Simon



Episode 272: Rhymin' Paul Simon
Pat and Kyle welcome David Wild back to the Co-Host chair to discuss the solo music career of the legendary Paul Simon.
From September 29, 2016

With your host:

Pat Francis


00:00:00 Pat, Kyle, and David Wild welcome us to the show. David is fresh off his recent hiking and Tennis excursions to talk about the solo career of Paul Simon. David will actually be interviewing Paul at the Grammy Museum. David has felt so connected to Paul throughout his entire life, from their shared Jewish heritage to David's first memories of music being Simon & Garfunkel songs like "Bridge over Troubled Water" and "Mrs. Robinson." "That would explain my love of MILF porn," suggests David.
00:05:00 David expresses his appreciation for Paul as both a musician and a mentor to other musicians like Lyle Lovett and Billy Joel. When he heard Paul's recent release Stranger to Stranger, he was amazed at how fresh it sounded. "He's never been irrelevant," says David. "Or boring," replies Pat. David remembers hearing Graceland while working at Rolling Stone and flipping out over it, and how Paul was able to reinvent himself as a singer-songwriter.
00:10:00 Pat and David talk about Paul's humor and appearances on Saturday Night Live. David's talked to him a bunch and considers him both very smart and very dry in his wit; one of the two smartest people he's ever interviewed in music (the other being Bowie). To David, his songs are standards in and of themselves.
00:15:00 Is he the greatest American songwriter? Pat thinks so. David thinks of Paul and Bob Dylan as two uncles, one a little crazier than the other. But David has talked with both Bob and Paul and the two are more similar than one would think. And he saw them together at the Hollywood Bowl in 1999 on Dylan's Never Ending Tour. Now, on to the music. This will only be about the SOLO Simon work, as a Simon & Garfunkel episode is coming later in the year.
00:20:00 The first solo album, The Paul Simon Songbook, was recorded and released in the UK in 1965 while Paul was still in Simon & Garfunkel. David plays the track "I Am a Rock". The album was recorded after the first Simon & Garfunkel album came out. When Paul came back from England, he rerecorded a lot of the songs on the solo album for Sounds of Silence, the second Simon & Garfunkel album. David remarks that this is indicative of the Simon & Garfunkel relationship: Paul would sometimes lend his songs to Art's voice; the problem is that that doesn't always work out.
00:25:00 Pat jumps to 1972 and Paul's self-titled solo album, released after Simon & Garfunkel broke up. David notes that there are always tensions between duos where one does more work than the other. Art was a great singer, but Paul sang and wrote the songs. Things just broke down and they parted ways. Pat plays the song "Duncan".
00:30:00 What David finds admirable about Paul is his exploration of other cultures and his ability to put his stamp on them. He remembers going to a Jewish Chinese restaurant named "Ginsburg and Wong's" with his dad when he was a kid and seeing a chicken-and-egg dish on the menu that was called "Mother and Child Reunion". David remarks the contrast between the mournful lyrics and the hopeful reggae lyrics. "Crazily brilliant," describes David.
00:35:00 David surmises that Paul (along with people like Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan) are the last generation of people that didn't grow up with rock and roll dominating the music scene, so there are latin influences and early folk influences abound. We hear the former in David's second pick off the album, "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard". The lyrics are very evocative and allow the listener to form their own images in their head.
00:40:00 Pat and David talk about Paul being an incredible guitar player, better than people realize. He may not be able to pull off a Steve Vai electric guitar solo, but those are two different worlds. We move on to 1973's There Goes Rhymin' Simon and Pat plays the opening song "Kodachrome". Don Draper would be proud of that ad work.
00:45:00 Paul is very much into the art of production, whereas Dylan is all about "less is more." "But it's not a bombastic production," describes Pat, and David concurs. As for the comparison between Paul and Neil Diamond, Pat feels like Neil went the more Vegas-y kitschy route, while Paul did not.
00:50:00 Pat and David talk about the New York education of the Simon & Garfunkel era, as well as David's close NYC connection to Paul, before David plays "American Tune". It's a song that is making a statement about the American experience without falling into the traps of being "rah-rah."
00:55:00 In 1975, Simon & Garfunkel reunited on a song that was on both of their solo records called "My Little Town", found on Paul's Still Crazy After All These Years. Pat recommends these early solo albums because they are quick and easy to listen to with little-to-no filler. Pat's pick off the album is "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover".
01:00:00 David remembers being oddly afraid of this song when he was a lad. Perhaps it was the word "lover" or the fact that it came out when his parents were divorcing, but he had this uncomfortable feeling whenever he heard the song. It's all about the timing of when a song hits you, he surmises. After releasing Still Crazy, Paul puts out a greatest hits album called Greatest Hits, Etc. with a song called "Slip Slidin' Away".
01:05:00 David compliments the song for being a profound life lesson, all the while Paul is only 36. He remembers interviewing Paul's son Harper Simon about his first album, which was being released when Harper was 37. So Paul had done all of Simon & Garfunkel and all those big early solo albums at the age before Harper even released his first album. Pat cannot fathom how the sons of famous rock stars--Jakob Dylan, Julian Lennon, etc.--can even think of getting out of the shadows of their fathers. David commends Jakob for naming his band The Wallflowers and not banking on the name Dylan.
01:10:00 The next Paul Simon album on the docket is One-Trick Pony, the soundtrack to Paul's film of the same name. It's not Pat's favorite Paul album. David remembers seeing the movie on a date and it's not that bad. The film is about Paul's character being a 60s folk star who hasn't had a hit in ten years and is trying to record a new album. Pat plays the big hit off the album, "Late in the Evening". The problem with Pat is that there is nothing on the album that comes close to that song.
01:15:00 David plays the 60s hit that Paul's character had in the film called "Soft Parachutes". Then he plays a song called "That's Why God Made the Movies". Pat's gonna make sure that he re-listens to this album. But an album that he won't have to re-listen to because he listens to it a lot is 1983's Hearts and Bones, which Pat and David agree is their favorite Paul Simon album. Pat plays the opening track "Allergies".
01:20:00 Hearts and Bones was supposed to be a reunion album for Simon & Garfunkel, but Garfunkel was ultimately stripped from the record. David guesses that Art's voice ultimately didn't fit with the songs that Paul was writing, especially since Paul's marriage with Carrie Fisher was collapsing. David also talks about a cultural discomfort at the time of having two guys working side-by-side, expressing their feelings. Pat says Hall & Oates' album covers did not help matters. But it's a generational thing.
01:25:00 For David's first song from Hearts and Bones, he picks a song called "Train in the Distance". David calls the song not just witty, but poetically true: "Everybody loves a train in the distance." Everybody is searching for something true.
01:30:00 Paul can write about big things, but he doesn't come across as hokey. Pat's second pick from the album is "When Numbers Get Serious". David's second pick is "Think Too Much (a)", one of two versions of the same song on the album. Despite critical success, the album was a commercial failure. Maybe he was considered a square, maybe he wasn't "hip" with the MTV crowd.
01:35:00 David plays one more track from Hearts and Bones, the title track "Heart and Bones". It features what David considers the greatest Jewish reference, "one and one-half wandering Jews." Pat guesses that if the album cover said "Simon & Garfunkel," the album would have been a hit. David was listening to the Concert in Central Park reunion album and brings up the Everly Brothers. He considers them the most overlooked group in rock and roll history because of their influence on so many bands.
01:40:00 David has spent his entire working life heralding the Everly Brothers. "They're the untold great story of everything I love in music," he says. Going back to Paul, he bounces back from Hearts and Bones in a MASSIVE way with 1986's Graceland. "Oh Billy Billy Billy, this is the big one, Billy," as Judge Smails would say. David calls it one of the heights of recording music, along with Earth, Wind & Fire and those mid-70s Stevie Wonder albums. Pat's pick off Graceland is the closing song "All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints".
01:45:00 David loves how Paul finds the common ground in music with different cultures. He plays "I Know What I Know". African music infused with American pop. That's the key to the album. Oh, and a shitload of hits. That helps too. The follow up album, The Rhythm of the Saints, tries to capture a lot of the same spirit as Graceland. David plays the opening track "The Obvious Child". Pat feels a little bummed out because the song set him up for Graceland 2, but the album didn't live up to it. "But nothing can live up to Graceland," replies David.
01:50:00 Pat's pick off the album is a song called "Proof". Seven years later, Paul writes a Broadway musical called The Capeman and releases an album called Songs from The Capeman. Neither the album nor the musical were successes. David plays a song called "Trailways Bus". David saw the play. It wasn't totally bad, it just didn't coalesce completely. Pat gives Paul credit for not going the easy route and doing a jukebox musical; the guy wrote AN ENTIRE MUSICAL of new songs.
01:55:00 Once again, Paul bounces back with 2000's You're the One. David plays "Old". David considers it on par with his other hit songs, but the generation it connects with aren't the record-buying generation anymore. Pat plays a song called "Darling Lorraine". Not his most well-known album, but still one that earned him a Grammy nomination, making him the first artist to get a Grammy nom for Album of the Year in FIVE CONSECUTIVE DECADES!!!
02:00:00 After another six years, Paul releases Surprise. David plays the song "Outrageous". The song exemplifies why David loves Paul so much, because he sings about being an older rock star and the consequences therein. You don't hear Mick Jagger singing about losing his looks or aging. Kyle notes how the music sounds very Top 40 of the time. That's also why David loves Paul, because he's got soul. He's got a groove to him.
02:05:00 Still on the upswing, Paul releases So Beautiful or So What in 2011. David plays the track "Rewrite". It's a meta song with many levels: A song about writing a song called "Rewrite." Pat plays the opening track "Getting Ready for Christmas Day".
02:10:00 The new album is Stranger to Stranger, which came out this June. To Pat, this doesn't feel like a farewell album. It's just one more great Paul Simon album. David loves that Paul is still making new music. Hell, he loves when ANY older artist makes new music and doesn't just rely on the hits. David plays the song "Cool Papa Bell". A fun song and a rarity: Paul swears!
02:15:00 Thanks once again to David for coming on the show and bringing his wit, wisdom, and life experiences to the show. Nobody has the stories that David has and they are always spectacular to hear. And thanks to Kyle for producing the show while sick. Get some chicken soup, young man. Pat plays his track from Stranger to Stranger, "The Werewolf". Then David takes us out with a track that he feels is so apropos of his life called "Wristband".
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:20:00 I Am a Rock The Paul Simon Songbook Paul Simon David
00:25:00 Duncan Paul Simon Paul Simon Pat
00:30:00 Mother and Child Reunion Paul Simon Paul Simon David
00:35:00 Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard Paul Simon Paul Simon David
00:40:00 Kodachrome There Goes Rhymin’ Simon Paul Simon Pat
00:50:00 American Tune There Goes Rhymin’ Simon Paul Simon David
00:55:00 My Little Town Still Crazy After All These Years Paul Simon David
00:55:00 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover Still Crazy After All These Years Paul Simon feat. The Band Pat
01:00:00 Slip Slidin’ Away Greatest Hits, Etc. Paul Simon David
01:10:00 Late in the Evening One-Trick Pony The Four Tops Pat
01:15:00 Soft Parachutes One-Trick Pony Paul Simon David
01:15:00 That’s Why God Made the Movies One-Trick Pony Paul Simon David
01:15:00 Allergies Hearts and Bones Paul Simon Pat
01:25:00 Train in the Distance Hearts and Bones Paul Simon David
01:30:00 When Numbers Get Serious Hearts and Bones Paul Simon Pat
01:30:00 Think Too Much (a) Hearts and Bones Paul Simon David
01:35:00 Hearts and Bones Hearts and Bones Paul Simon David
01:40:00 All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints Graceland Paul Simon Pat
01:45:00 I Know What I Know Graceland Paul Simon David
01:45:00 The Obvious Child The Rhythm of the Saints Paul Simon David
01:50:00 Proof The Rhythm of the Saints Paul Simon Pat
01:50:00 Trailways Bus Songs from the Capeman Paul Simon David
01:55:00 Old You’re the One Paul Simon Pat
01:55:00 Darling Lorraine You’re the One Paul Simon David
02:00:00 Outrageous Surprise Paul Simon David
02:05:00 Rewrite So Beautiful or So What Paul Simon David
02:05:00 Getting Ready for Christmas Day So Beautiful or So What Paul Simon Pat
02:10:00 Cool Papa Bell Stranger to Stranger Paul Simon David
02:15:00 The Werewolf Stranger to Stranger Paul Simon Pat
02:15:00 Wristband Stranger to Stranger Paul Simon David

Friday, September 23, 2016

Episode 271: Rock Solid Presents: The Monkees Part 1



Episode 271: Rock Solid Presents: The Monkees Part 1
Pat and Kyle are joined by Craig Smith and Megan Stemm-Wade of the "SamePageCast" for Part 1 of an epic 2 Part ALL Monkees episode. In Part 1 we will discuss the first 6 studio albums the band released from 1966 - 1968. You can hear Part 2 tomorrow over at The Pods & Sods Network. LINK: https://podsodcast.com/category/samepagecast/
From September 22, 2016

With your host:

Pat Francis


00:00:00 Pat and Kyle welcome us to the show. For the fourth week in a row, we have special guest co-hosts on the show. That's right, co-hosts, because this week you're getting two of them, you lucky ducks! Hailing from the SamePageCast, say hello to Craig Smith and Megan Stemm-Wade! Pat, Craig, and Megan are going to discuss the career of The Monkees. They actually saw the band the previous evening at the Pantages Theater. It was the first time for Pat, the tenth time for Craig and Megan. The Monkees are Megan's favorite band and in Craig's top three. Pat gives the concert a 9 out of 10, with big points for all three living Monkees being there and the setlist.
00:05:00 All in all it was a very enjoyable show and potentially the last show that Michael Nesmith ever does with The Monkees. Not that he really needs it, the man has Liquid Paper money. He can buy half the towns west of the Mighty Mississipi with that kind of moolah. The way this podcast is going to work is that it's going to be split into two parts: Part 1 will be on Rock Solid and cover the first six Monkees studio albums. Part 2 will be on the SamePageCast and will cover the last six Monkees studio albums. And judging by the running time of part 1 alone, this thing is going to be like The Lord of the Rings: Split into parts and STILL a shlep to get through.
00:10:00 Craig flew in from Philadelphia and Megan flew in from Chicago. And boy are their arms tired, hyuck hyuck hyuck. Kidding of course, neither Craig nor Megan are capable of human flight. Pat reminisces with Megan about the Windy City. She is an instructional designer in higher-ed. Craig used to work at a homeless shelter, dealing with the dirty, masturbating homeless of the world. And to calm them down, he would BREAKDANCE in front of them. Electric Boogaloo indeed.
00:15:00 How did two people like Craig and Megan get to podcasting with each other? A few years ago Craig started the Pods & Sods Podcast, which branched off into spin-off podcasts. Megan and Craig met via a Monkees podcast, and they decided to start their own show. They record in separate locations, but these past few days the duo have been staying at Francis Manor, so they're seeing more of each other than usual. They've been having a fabulous time in sunny Los Angeles, although it's a little surreal for them to be staying at Pat's house because they're fans.
00:20:00 Pat asks the eternal question: If you were a Monkee, which Monkee would you be? Craig calls himself a Micky, a goofball. Pat considers Craig to be a Mike. Megan picks Micky as well, but Craig considers her to be a Davy. Pat thinks he's a Peter.
"Now you don't really know The Monkees that much."
- Pat, to Kyle

"No."
- Kyle
"Okay, so you're Caesar."
- Pat

00:25:00 What is Pat's history with The Monkees' music? He knew the hits, those classic Monkee songs. Then he got the new album and became curious about what the other Monkees albums sound like. So of course, as Pat is wont to do, he tracked down every Monkees studio album, bought them, and listened to them in chronological order. He loves them, especially the first six. Pat kicks things off with an obvious choice, their theme song! It's "(Theme from) The Monkees" off their 1966 self-titled debut album. The choice of songs are a mix of hits and deep cuts that the gang thinks we, the adoring audience, should know. And we'll be going in chronological order, so we're sticking with the self-titled debut.
00:30:00 Craig describes his vinyl collection of Monkees albums, which numbers at about 100. And that's JUST Monkees albums: Mono mix versions, stereo mix versions, remix versions, deluxe versions, super deluxe versions, different country versions, versions that will make pancakes and wash your balls. Just a bunch of Monkees albums, pure and simple. Craig's pick off of the debut album is "Saturday's Child". Craig and Megan credit the 80s reruns of the Monkees TV show for introducing them to these songs and making them want to get the albums because most of the songs in the show are on the albums. Smart move there. On this first Monkees album, the band do not play any instruments on the songs except for Peter Tork playing guitar on a couple songs that Mike produced. You can thank their manager Don Kirshner for that.
00:35:00 Megan's pick from the first album is called "Take a Giant Step". There might also be listener requests throughout the show, as evidenced by listener Jim Laird picking the hit song "Last Train to Clarksville". It's just as poppy and catchy as The Beatles. "When I was a kid, I thought this was the Beatles," admits Kyle. "Hmmm, dumb," replies his loving uncle Pat.
00:40:00 The gang talk about 8-tracks and how subpar a music format they were. Pat wants Kyle to find 8-track audio on YouTube, but Kyle can only find videos of people fixing 8-tracks. Then the conversation jumps from 8-track trivia to Kiss lyrics to The Wiggles.
00:45:00 Moving on to 1967's More of the Monkees, which was released WITHOUT the band's knowledge. Craig picks the song "Sometime in the Morning". "Great song, horrible production" notes Craig. But incredible vocals from Micky, holy smokes. Hitting them high notes in style. People think Davy was the lead singer of the band, but Pat and Megan consider the real lead singer to be Micky. "With Davy not far behind," adds in Craig.
00:50:00 Megan's song from this second go-round is "The Kind of Girl I Could Love". Michael bringing in his country flair to the proceedings. Pat's pick from the album is the opening track, "She". Also on this album: "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" and "I'm a Believer." Kyle likes the latter: "Great Smash Mouth song." Oooooh, that cuts deep.
00:55:00 MotM came out in January 1967, and in MAY OF THAT SAME YEAR, they put out their third album Headquarters. But before we get to that, Pat forces Kyle to try to find a particular Ruffles potato chip commercial. He fails. But anyway, Headquarters. At this point in their careers, The Monkees have wrestled control of their direction out of the hands of Don Kirshner. Just suplexed it right out of him. The band had been frustrated with Kirshner's management, so they fired him and did most of the instrumentation themselves.
01:00:00 Pat brings along a single that is found on the deluxe edition of the Headquarters album called "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You". Penned by Neil Diamond, it was released before Headquarters and again the band did not approve of it's release because A) they weren't playing on it and B) Kirshner did not consult them beforehand. Pat then plays the B-side "The Girl I Knew Somewhere".
01:05:00 So the band is playing together, writing together, growing out their hair. The TV show is about to head into its second season. Craig's song from Headquarters is a Davy vehicle called "Forget That Girl". Headquarters is produced by Chip Douglas, who produced some of their biggest hits.
01:10:00 The song that Megan picks is one of her favorite Monkees tunes called "Sunny Girlfriend". Backwards cymbals on that one, very interesting production there. Someone on the Twitter requests "Your Auntie Grizelda," of which Craig explains his frustration with the song. He's tired of hearing Peter play it live when there are better Peter songs to play.
01:15:00 Pat's pick from Headquarters is "Mr. Webster". For Pat, it's The Monkees doing Simon & Garfunkel: A folksy acoustic story about a sad man and his sad life. Craig enjoyed when he discovered "Mr. Webster" on the album because it was not on the TV show. Pat plays another song from Headquarters called "You Just May Be the One".
01:20:00 The gang agree that Michael has the best batting average of the four guys; Davy and Micky have more lead vocal songs, but Michael has quality over quantity. Oh, by the way, Pat once again forces Kyle to find something, this time the Banana Splits theme because they were brought up earlier. Tangents are flying left and right, I can hardly keep up (or care to jot them down).
01:25:00 Pat feels like the next two albums--Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. and The Birds, the Bees & The Monkees--are the equivalent to The Beatles' Rubber Soul and Revolver, or The Rolling Stones' Aftermath & Between the Buttons. "Or Kiss' Dynasty and Unmasked," adds Craig. Right you are, Craig, right you are. They're the back-to-back Monkees albums that Pat really likes listening to. We'll start with PAC&J, which was the third album released by the band in the year of our lord, 1967. It's the first Monkees album from the original nine that Craig ever owned. The song he plays is "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?". A lot of Nesmith on this album, including Megan's pick "The Door into Summer". Pat rounds out the trio of Michael songs with "Love Is Only Sleeping".
01:30:00 Pat offers a terrifying vision of the future: Most Monkees albums have a nonsense song that is stuck on there for the amusement of, well, very few people. It was the 60s, whaddaya gonna do? Pat decided that at the end of this episode, he's gonna play all of those nonsense songs together as one big medley. An ill wind is blowing... But we're still a ways away, so the gang move on to The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees, released in 1968.
01:35:00 The song that Craig picks is "Auntie's Municipal Court". The song that Megan picks is "Zor and Zam". "Who brought Grace Slick into this motherfucker?" asks Craig. Seriously, Micky should be singing about white rabbits and strangers. And then getting drunk and ranting in front of an angry German audience. Vinyl gets brought up again, which leads Craig to rant against The Warmth of Vinyl episode and the goings-on therein.
01:40:00 After Craig complains about the $40 turntable that Pat bought from Target and promptly returned, Pat plays the big one, "Daydream Believer". To be fair to the people, THAT'S the song that makes them think Davy is the lead singer of The Monkees. The track is written by a guy named John Stewart (no, not THAT one), and Kyle finds and plays a snippet of Stewart's own big single "Gold," which features Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.
01:45:00 Craig brings up a deep cut from The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees called "Tapioca Tundra". We hear a little bit of it. Then we hear Pat complain that the pizza is late. So he calls the pizza place ON THE AIR like the jefe he is and complains to them that there is no pizza and no salad. HE WAS TOLD IT WOULD BE DELIVERED BY 9:30 AND YET... and yet... his stomach and the stomachs of his guests are currently empty!
01:50:00 Kyle keeps the ones and twos rolling the entire time and the audio is CHILLING. Not since Truman Capote described the murders of the Clutter family has such cold-bloodedness been documented. Pat chastises the person on the other end of the phone and after some discussion, it seems that the delivery is now on its way. Good heavens, that was incredible. There was also a "round the corner, fudge is made" joke that is maybe the funniest thing ever said on the podcast. Craig is in near tears the entire time.
01:55:00 With all that over and done, WHAT DOES EVERYBODY WANT?! Head! WHAT DOES EVERYBODY NEED?! Head! Yes, that's an Al Snow joke in a Rock Solid recap, thank you. Head is the soundtrack to the Monkees' film Head, and it features both full-length songs and stuff from the movie like dialogue and incidental music. It's one of those stream-of-consciousness musical gimmicks.
02:00:00 Craig's pick is a Peter Tork-penned song called "Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?". Megan's pick is a song called "As We Go Along". Pat's pick is the song "Circle Sky".
02:05:00 How is Kyle faring in all this? He's enjoying this more than the Dire Straits episode and the Pink Floyd episode. I don't think he'll hate anything as much as he hates those episodes. "It's not a bunch of people noodling for 20 minutes," as Kyle describes. Somewhere Christy Stratton feels a stitch in her side. Somewhere else, Daryl Asher's knee buckles.
We get to the plugs portion of the podcast and good lord, Craig just rattles off the list of podcasts he's part of: A track by track podcast, an 80s podcast, a Pink Floyd podcast, the SamePageCast, an upcoming Monkees podcast, a Phish podcast, an interview podcast hosted by his friend Eric. All of it and more--including PART 2 of this podcast--available on iTunes and Podsodcast.com. You can find Megan on Twitter @siamesemeg and you can find Craig on Twitter @cst_1973.
02:10:00 Thanks so much to Craig and Megan for being on the show and expressing their love for The Monkees. CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THE PODCAST!!!! Pat takes us out with the aforementioned "Nonsense Medley".
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:25:00 (Theme from) The Monkees The Monkees The Monkees Pat
00:30:00 Saturday’s Child The Monkees The Monkees Craig
00:35:00 Take a Giant Step The Monkees The Monkees Megan
00:35:00 Last Train to Clarksville The Monkees The Monkees Jim Laird
00:45:00 Sometime in the Morning More of The Monkees The Monkees Craig
00:50:00 The Kind of Girl I Could Love More of The Monkees The Monkees Megan
00:50:00 She More of The Monkees The Monkees Pat
01:00:00 A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You Headquarters (Deluxe Edition) The Monkees Pat
01:00:00 The Girl I Knew Somewhere Headquarters (Deluxe Edition) The Monkees Pat
01:05:00 Forget That Girl Headquarters The Monkees Craig
01:10:00 Sunny Girlfriend Headquarters The Monkees Megan
01:15:00 Mr. Webster Headquarters The Monkees Pat
01:15:00 You Just May Be the One Headquarters The Monkees Pat
01:25:00 What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round? Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. The Monkees Craig
01:25:00 The Door into Summer Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. The Monkees Megan
01:25:00 Love Is Only Sleeping Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. The Monkees Pat
01:35:00 Auntie’s Municipal Court The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees The Monkees Craig
01:35:00 Zor and Zam The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees The Monkees Megan
01:40:00 Daydream Believer The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees The Monkees Pat
01:45:00 Tapioca Tundra The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees The Monkees Craig
02:00:00 Do I Have to Do This All Over Again? Head The Monkees Craig
02:00:00 As We Go Along Head The Monkees Megan
02:00:00 Circle Sky Head The Monkees Pat
02:10:00 The Nonsense Medley N/A The Monkees Pat

Friday, September 16, 2016

Episode 270: The History of Chicago



Episode 270: The History of Chicago
Filmmaker Peter Pardini joins Pat and Kyle to discuss his upcoming documentary "Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago." Many tunes will be played!
From September 15, 2016

With your host:

Pat Francis


00:00:00 Pat and Kyle welcome us to the show. It is yet another week that a special guest co-host is here in the studio. He's the director of the documentary Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago, it's Peter Pardini! Peter is the nephew of current Chicago keyboardist Lou Pardini, who joined the band in 2009 after the departure of Bill Champlain. When Lou joined, Peter tagged along as a young filmmaker, chronicling the band on tour.
00:05:00 Being around the band for a number of years was extremely helpful when the time came for Peter to do his documentary. While touring, Peter was on the bus with most of the band members, namely the non-original members (who themselves have been with the band for decades). They were all very accepting of Peter and his youthful ways.
00:10:00 Pat asks Peter about deciding to do the documentary about the band. Peter was frustrated that despite the band being around for 45 years, there is really not a lot of footage to play around with. Luckily, the footage they did find was in high resolution, and once the band was trusting of Peter's work, they gave Peter their personal collection of photos and videos. So there are plenty of pictures that have never been seen before by the general public. Now that Peter has all this stuff for the final product, he is very happy.
00:15:00 Peter showed the footage to the original Chicago members. Lee Loughnane was nervous about how personal the film is. But Peter wanted it to be personal and not too "back-patty." Pat commends all the members of Chicago for being incredibly humble and grateful all throughout the documentary. He was also bemused by Robert Lamm's comment that once Chicago is done, they will probably never see each other again. "But they're not gonna stop," says Peter. "It's like Picasso dying at 96, painting."
00:20:00 Pat and Peter discuss some aspects of Chicago, including their signature "rock and roll with horns" sound, their longtime original producer James William Guercio, and the album cover of Chicago XI: Chicago's Greatest Hits. When Pat met Lee at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, he got that album signed by a few members. Lee joked how he was quite drunk when they made the album cover.
00:25:00 Before we sing a mean tune kid and play some music, Pat runs down the original lineup of Chicago:
  • Terry Kath - lead guitar, vocals
  • Robert Lamm - keyboards, vocals
  • Peter Cetera - bass, vocals
  • Walter Parazaider - saxophone, flute, clarinet
  • Lee Loughnane - trumpet
  • James Pankow - trombone
  • Danny Seraphine - Drums
Looking at early pictures of the band, they looked like a bunch of hippie buddies. "Hipsters before there were hipsters," describes Peter. "All about the music," describes Pat. No concern for personal appearance, just auditory excellence.
Pat and Peter briefly discuss the band's iconic logo before diving into the first Chicago album, from 1969, back when they were called Chicago Transit Authority. Peter plays the song "Beginnings".
00:30:00 Pat picked "Beginnings" as well. CTA also features "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" "Questions 67 and 68" and "I'm a Man," three iconic songs for the band. Pat and Peter laud Terry Kath for his abilities as both a guitarist and a singer. CTA is the first of three consecutive double studio albums and it went double platinum.
00:35:00 After the first album, the band drops "Transit Authority" from their name and simply becomes Chicago. The second album is 1970's Chicago II (naturally) and Peter picks the opening track "Movin' In". Pat observes how multiple members of the band are great songwriters, and singles out James Pankow for his early works. Pat plays the Pankow-penned "Make Me Smile". Terry Kath, wailing away with gusto.
00:40:00 Chicago III is the third album (ARE YOU SENSING A PATTERN?) and was released in 1971. Pat plays "Free". Kath again on vocals. Chicago III is not as hits-heavy as the first two albums, mainly because the band was so tired after touring with Chicago II. They just made an album. Unfortunately, the record deal that the band signed gave Guercio 51% of the publishing, while the rest of the band had to split 49% 7 ways. It was Danny Seraphine that clued the band in about the concept of publishing rights and moolah.
1972 brings us Chicago V, their fourth studio album (I know, I know) and their first single disc album. Peter plays the song "Now That You've Gone", AGAIN with Kath on vocals.
00:45:00 Peter Cetera is starting to sing more and more lead vocals. He sings lead on Pat's next pick, the mega-hit "Saturday in the Park". Robert Lamm's voice is also front and center in the song. Pat commends Robert for having the best posture of the band. Full head of hair, still looks good. Vampire, perhaps? And yet, as good looking as Robert still is, he can still walk down the street without getting mobbed. It's the gift of being in Chicago: Everybody knows you, yet nobody knows you.
00:50:00 The next album, 1973's Chicago VI, is the first album to have a picture of the band on the front cover. Peter plays "What's This World Coming To". The two note how Chicago is a band that is super tight. They feed off each other's energy (great, so they're ALL vampires!) like no other. Pat plays one of the album's singles, "Just You 'n' Me", before playing the other single "Feelin' Stronger Every Day", both featuring Cetera on vocals.
00:55:00 With the band releasing an album a year, it's no wonder why they are the #1 selling band of the 70s. The band goes back to the double album format with 1974's Chicago VII. Much of it instrumentals, but also the standard Chicago hit singles. Robert picks the deep cut "Life Saver".
01:00:00 Lee Loughnane gets in on the songwriting game with Pat's next pick, "Call on Me", an autobiographical tale of Lee being on the road, then coming home and breaking up with his wife because they just grew apart. Walter Parazaider meanwhile has been married longer than the band has been together. "(I've Been) Searching So Long" and "Wishing You Were Here" are also on the album. Peter plays one more from Chicago VII, Peter's song "Happy Man".
01:05:00 The talk leads shortly to the troubles between Michael and Eddie, before going into Fair Warning. The first time Pat saw them on tour. Pat refutes the notion that Dave was never a good singer live because he sounded great. The guys are not big fans of the album cover. This Van Halen was a much different Van Halen, darker and heavier. Rob's first pick exemplifies this, "Mean Street". Holy jumping Jesus, that intro guitar solo.
01:05:00 Starting with Chicago VI, the band were recording their albums at Guercio's Caribou Ranch in Colorado. It was essentially a city in and of itself. The band could do whatever they wanted without anyone looking in. Booze, drugs, the blood of the innocent. You know, rocker stuff. 1975's Chicago VIII was one of those albums. Pat plays "Old Days". The first time Peter heard that song, it was in the movie version of Starsky and Hutch with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Peter's pick from the album is "Never Been in Love Before".
01:10:00 Around this time Laudir de Oliveira officially joins the band as a percussionist. The chocolate bar album, Chicago X, was released in 1976. The huge song off it is "If You Leave Me Now." Fun fact: Pat's wife Pilar considers that song the saddest song ever. Peter plays his pick "You Are on My Mind". Then he plays another song, the autobiographical "Scrapbook" about the history of the group up until that point.
01:15:00 Most of the original members of Chicago went to college together. Pat and Peter talk about Chicago's manager Peter Schivarelli (That is Peter #3 involved with the band, in case you were counting) and his no-nonsense ways. They also talk about how generous Chicago is with the staff that they work with.
01:20:00 We come to 1977's Chicago XI, which winds up being Terry Kath's last album. Pat's song is "Baby, What a Big Surprise". Terry was a gun enthusiast and was messing around with a gun that he thought was unloaded, but actually had one in the chamber. He had been putting other unloaded guns to his head and pulling the trigger; he just picked up the gun, put it to his head, and pulled, not knowing about that one extra bullet. Peter says that the silver lining through all this shit is that the other band members did not see it happen. If they had, that probably would have been the end of the band right there and then.
01:25:00 1978's Hot Streets was the first album without Terry, the first album James Guercio as the producer, and one of the few studio albums to not feature the name Chicago or a number in the title. Guercio is not interviewed in the documentary. Peter tried to get as many people interviewed for the documentary as possible, but ultimately Guercio and Peter Cetera refused. Pat doesn't understand why Cetera would refuse to be in it (and why he didn't want to be at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) because he's most known for being in Chicago. He had some solo hits, but people associate him the most with Cetera.
01:30:00 With Hot Streets, Donnie Dacus stepped into the role of lead guitarist. Pat plays the song "Alive Again". The album is certainly a turning point for the band; Terry is dead, people were expecting the old Chicago. Donnie was welcome with open arms, but was not with the band long. In the end, he wasn't Terry Kath.
01:35:00 Donnie did stick around long enough for Chicago 13 in 1979. Peter's pick is a song called "Reruns". Pat plays a song that features Donnie on lead vocals called "Must Have Been Crazy". Chicago 13 has significantly less Robert Lamm-centric stuff than previous albums.
01:40:00 Pat does pick a Robert Lamm song from the next album, Chicago XIV called "Manipulation". Chris Pinnick has joined the group as a session guitar player. Chicago XIV came out in 1980, and at that point Chicago was falling down the charts. The band needed a change, and they certainly got one when Columbia Records dropped them from the label. They sent them a fruit basket full of garlic and crosses and sent them on their way.
01:45:00 Off the band goes to Warner Bros., releasing Chicago 16 in 1982 with David Foster as producer. Bill Champlin joins the band as keyboardist, guitarist, and vocalist. Laudir is gone. Chris Pinnick is still on guitar, but still not an official band member. Pat is not as warm to this album as others; he finds it sounds a bit too dated. The album did bring the band back with "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and "Love Me Tomorrow." Peter picks the song "Get Away". Robert Lamm does not sing anything lead on this album; it's all Cetera and Champlin. "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" went to #1, which was a godsend for the band. It was also a sign of things to come.
01:50:00 Chicago 17 is the biggie. Six-time platinum. The biggest selling album in the band's history. Four singles, all in the Top 20. Pat plays one of those singles, "Hard Habit to Break". At this point, Peter is ready to go. And why not? When all four singles have you as lead singer, why wouldn't you just go? Peter says that it needed to happen; Cetera didn't want to tour extensively for Chicago 17 and wanted to work on a solo album, tensions were forming between him and the rest of the band. So Cetera leaves the band.
01:55:00 Exit Cetera, enter Jason Scheff as the new bassist and vocalist for 1986's Chicago 18. Pat plays "Will You Still Love Me", sung by Scheff. The band is still churning out hit singles, but 18 does not sell nearly as many as 17.
Chicago 19 also produced some big hits, including their final #1 single, "Look Away", which Pat plays. Many outside writers on the album, typical of the 80s. Still very 80s-sounding with the heavy focus on the keyboards, again typical of the time. And it's the last album to feature Danny Seraphine on drums, replaced by Tris Imboden.
02:00:00 The band puts out Twenty 1, doesn't really make an impact. They put out Night & Day: Big Band, which was fun but also didn't do much. There was also the studio album Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus that came out in 2008, but the controversy about that album was that it was recorded in the early 90s. Warner Bros. rejected the album, which caused a whole big hubbub between the band and the label. Bootleg recordings circulated until the album was finally released after 14 years. But Pat decides to focus on Chicago XXX, which came out in 2006. He plays the song "Feel".
The most recent Chicago studio album is 2014's Chicago XXXVI: Now. Peter plays the title track "Now".
02:05:00 Pat and Peter talk about internet criticism and trolls. The current lineup is original members Robert, Walter, Lee, and James, along with Jason, Keith Howland on guitars, Tris, Lou Pardini, and Walfredo Reyes, Jr. on percussion. Pat plays a song that has Lou Pardini on lead vocals called "Nice Girl". Lou is Peter's uncle on his father's side, who is also named Peter. That is FOUR PETERS. Too many Peters in my book.
02:10:00 Peter's family is very close-knit. He remembers his uncle playing piano at family gatherings, and now the man is in the band Chicago. Peter pretty much has "the in" whenever the band is in town, although it sucks when everyone in Los Angeles comes out of the woodwork for a free ticket. The documentary has been to some festivals and won two of the festivals that they were shown. A DVD distribution deal is coming, but nothing public just yet. When Peter knows, we will know.
02:15:00 "Are people upset that this isn't about the city of Chicago?" jokes Kyle. A true story: At a screening in Sarasota, some people going in legitimately thought the documentary was about the city. And then when someone told them it was about the band, they sighed and left. "You mean this film doesn't talk about the Cubbies? Well, I never!"
Peter has a website, PeterPardini.com. You can follow Chicago--the band, not the city--on Twitter @chicagotheband. Right there in the name, so you don't get confused.
Thanks to Peter for coming on the show and talking all about Chicago and his documentary. Make sure you keep an eye out for the film, which features man of a thousand talents, star of stage and screen, and Chicago mega-fan Jimmy Pardo. Pat takes us out with the essential Chicago song, "25 or 6 to 4" off of Chicago II.
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:25:00 Beginnings Chicago Transit Authority Chicago Peter
00:30:00 Movin’ In Chicago II Chicago Peter
00:35:00 Make Me Smile Chicago II Chicago Pat
00:40:00 Free Chicago III Chicago Pat
00:40:00 Now That You’ve Gone Chicago V Chicago Peter
00:45:00 Saturday in the Park Chicago V Chicago Pat
00:50:00 What’s This World Coming To Chicago VI Chicago Peter
00:50:00 Just You ’n’ Me Chicago VI Chicago Pat
00:50:00 Feeling Stronger Every Day Chicago VI Chicago Pat
00:55:00 Life Saver Chicago VII Chicago Peter
01:00:00 Call on Me Chicago VII Chicago Pat
01:00:00 Happy Man Chicago VII Chicago Peter
01:05:00 Old Days Chicago VIII Chicago Pat
01:05:00 Never Been in Love Before Chicago VIII Chicago Peter
01:10:00 You Are on My Mind Chicago X Chicago Peter
01:10:00 Scrapbook Chicago X Chicago Peter
01:20:00 Baby, What a Big Surprise Chicago XI Chicago Pat
01:30:00 Alive Again Hot Streets Chicago Pat
01:35:00 Reruns Chicago 13 Chicago Peter
01:35:00 Must Have Been Crazy Chicago 13 Chicago Pat
01:40:00 Manipulation Chicago XIV Chicago Pat
01:45:00 Get Away Chicago 16 Chicago Peter
01:50:00 Hard Habit to Break Chicago 17 Chicago Pat
01:55:00 Will You Still Love Me Chicago 18 Chicago Pat
01:55:00 Look Away Chicago 19 Chicago Pat
02:00:00 Feel Chicago XXX Chicago Pat
02:00:00 Now Chicago XXXVI: Now Chicago Peter
02:05:00 Nice Girl Chicago XXXVI: Now Chicago Pat
02:15:00 25 or 6 to 4 Chicago II Chicago Pat