MMAN ON A MMISSION
Can you tell us a little bit about your youth (place of birth etc.)?
Yes...but not so little... I'm writing a book here... haha... I was born in the same area where Joe Montana, Dan Marino and a lot of other favorites of mine were born, including Mr. Henry Mancini, an awesome musical talent whose works I've admired forever!! I've enjoyed his works from when I first saw the TV program & first heard his composition of, 'Peter Gunn'... I was born near Aliquippa, Beaver, Beaver Falls, Freedom, a little town called Rochester, Pennsylvania. My dad grew up in Freedom, Pa. where his folks lived on a farm there on Knob Hill. A short distance from Rochester. His father Joe butchered cows, had a bakery, grew crops & such. His mom Susan canned various things and made a wonderful country home. We enjoyed visiting them every year and I vowed to return & live there someday. I eventually did for a short while.
My dad met my mom in New York while he was in the Navy. After living in NY for a while where they had my sister Sue before me, they moved to Freedom, Pa. I guess there was no hospital in Freedom at the time so my mom was rushed to Rochester hospital where I was born. We had never lived in Rochester but that's where I first 'saw the light of day' so to speak, at 5:30 in the morning.
After living in Freedom for a year we moved again. My mom couldn't take the country life being from a big city like she was. ( too late though, I had the country in me by then ) She just couldn't handle the country life. I've seen pictures of where they lived and I can understand her dismay. It was a little one room shack in the woods, far removed from what she was used to in New York City....so my folks packed up my sister & I and moved back to New York where her folks were living.
My moms folks were Italian immigrants and my mom was a first generation American, as my dad was. His folks were from Czechoslovakia & Austria, so I'm a hybrid mutt like most Americans, I guess.
I grew up in New York and graduated grammar school at St. John's Lutheran School. I attended Port Richmond High School which at the time had a few thousand students. This is where I 'found my love in life'.... music....
When did you start to play drums and in which bands did you play before you joined Clover?
Through the help & guidance of my dear, great, musically & artistically talented uncle Lenny Trerotola... my mentor, teacher and friend, I auditioned in the high school band after studying drums for 3 months or so. My uncle in his infinite wisdom found a drum teacher for me. And several, good one's as a matter of fact. After an audition I made the cut for 'band'. I'm a drummer now ma! At 15 years of age. I really started on guitar before that but that's another story.
I loved what it felt like to have folks cheer me on during my drum solo's which the director Mr. Kirchner gave me in a few school activities. I got to meet girls this way by getting invited to play at parties & school dances with 'the Reflections'. Also I met new types of friends in the music department of the school and other schools as well. Some members of the Reflections were, Chuck Birdsall, David McKay, Bobby Petersen, Gene. What a ball I had, and honestly I've forgotten all the other musicians & bands. I was playing with more than 2-3 bands at a time. I had the bug then. This is what I wanted to do forever. I said, 'til death do us part'. I'll always play music. In SOME capacity. It got into my blood.
Then after high school, I played with countless bands before joining Clover. MAN! that was years later, like about 13 years. I had experienced lots of music situations. I studied a lot, went to music schools, music teachers. I was playing big band things, The Catskills in upstate New York for a whole summer. Seaside Heights, New Jersey, on the boardwalk at a place called 'The Chatterbox' for a whole summer. I first went on the road at 18 with Jo Ann Campbell & Troy Seals. Instead of being drafted I auditioned for an Army band. After enlisting and going through basics and the Armed Forces Music School in Virginia, I played in The 328th U.S. Army band the whole time I was in the military service.
I loved Count Basie, The Duke, of course. I was in house bands where I played for various groups that came in. I read charts, played with jazz trios. I love Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Brubeck, tons of people. I also played classical gigs, gospel gigs, the Apollo theater in Harlem with 'the Splendid 5' ( that's a story in itself! ) while I was in high school. They were great, like a Temptations kind of group. I also did rock gigs, country gigs, polish weddings...Jesus!...name it... There were many, many, many groups. I wanted to have the experiences of a studio drummer where I could be able to play anything at any given moment and mostly, I have.
Besides the drums, do you play any other instrument?
Yes, I went to Manhattan School of Music and at the same time I studied with the principle percussionist with the Metropolitan Opera, who was Mr. Abe Marcus at the time. I had other teachers like Ed Shaughnessey, Paul Price, Roy Burns, Billy Cobham while I was in the Army. I also studied at the Armed Forces Music School in Virginia.
I worked my ass off, practicing, driving myself to blisters & blood...losing weight & sleep. Sometimes I drove my folks and others nuts, I practiced so much. While in Manhattan I studied tympani and mallets. I loved playing the vibes. Even had my own set years ago. I dabble on the keys a bit. I have had a Korg M1 synth, workstation for about 6 years now. That's the instrument that I write on. So now I can play violin! Oboe, Tuba!.... yeah right!... not really, you know.... it's all in the keys!!!!
So I've learned all sorts of stuff. Sounds impressive yeah? Well, I'm sh-- really. When you go through this training thing, you find out that the more you know the more you know you don't know. I've been at this for a long time and about 15 years ago. I let it all go. I stopped playing basically, for a profession.... gave it up after earning gold albums, doing lots of recordings, demos for singer, songwriters, radio, major tours and whatever all. I lost myself and basically had a breakdown. I lost my center and changed direction in life. That's another story too ....anyway, I'm at it again and things are going really well. I'm on the net, besides doing other things now with my pictures of ' Music Perspectives', Murals & such. I had a gig this last weekend on the bill with ' The Kentucky Head Hunters.' Great bunch of musicians, those guys are. So, I'm getting back into it once more, and FINALLY, it's FUN for me now.
Your real name is Michael Schreiner - when did you (?) change it to Micky Shine?
That's MMicky Shine, by the way, with 2 m's. It's a name I really love.... sounds great to me! People call me by my full name most times 'cause it sings out of your mouth, like Sammy Davis Jr. He had a great explanation of his name that I think is applicable to mine as well. I'll tell it the way I heard it. I've always had a hard time with my original last name, and my first name too, to tell ya the truth.
Someone asked Sammy Davis Junior about his name once and he explained it as a drummer would. You know he was a great dancer, singer, entertainer, he did lots of things! He was an amazing talent.... rhythmical as hell. I dug him a lot, and those rat pack guys too.
When asked the same question, he said to someone one time on TV... Go ahead! 'Say my name', 'SAM- my DA- vis JUN-yer', he said. Now it's hard to say it in writing but when it comes off your lips it's in rhythm. ba' em boo 'em dah dah.... Sammy Davis Junior... Sounds like ... A Drum RIFF!!!
Well, kids around here, and there's a lot of 'em around my house here on the rez at one time or another, playing in my yard and such. When they call me they say.... hey!! MMicky Shine!!!. It's never just Hey!! MMicky, but they always say both my names. Rhythmical!!... boo'en dahhhh!! Crash!!!. It's like a drum fill.
Besides that, I changed it because people couldn't pronounce my original name and God knows they couldn't spell it either. Something I surely didn't need when I thought people should remember my name for something or other in music. Glad I didn't change it in High School though. I was a class cut up. A clown sometimes. Yeah, got in trouble a bit. ( Don't tell my mom ) hahaha...
I've changed my name a few times but nothing else stuck like MMicky Shine... believe me, I was always looking...So after joining Clover less than a year later, we went to England and that's where I changed it. One of Huey's suggestions. I told him. Man, I need a new name, what do ya think? Well, we mulled a few names around and came up with MMicky Shine. We were touring with Thin Lizzy at the time and we were around a lot of Irish people and it sounded good to me. I thought it was close to what my real name at the time was, and it stuck ever since! I changed it legally in 1980 at the same time I got a divorce. I Killed two birds with one stone, so to speak... hahahaha
When did you hear from Clover the first time and what was your first "Clover experience"?
I never heard from Clover. They didn't know me from Shinola!! ha, Even though we played 'around' each other. We never played at the same places but we lived in the same county. I had heard through the grapevine that they weren't satisfied with their drummer anymore ( this should have been a clue to me... tune in later )...so I went out, SPECIFICALLY to get that gig. As you know, that's what happened. I did get it. The first experience was hearing them at a College gig and then at the audition.
Can you tell us more about your Clover audition? It seems to be quite an interesting story which really impressed the other Clover guys - you having written out the drum parts of each song Clover had played the night before?
Yes. You've got that right! Except it wasn't the next day before I jammed with them though, but just a few days later. Well, like I said, I went out specifically to get that gig. Every time I had passed one of their gigs I usually saw them playing at some place, usually the Lion's Share in San Anselmo, CA. Sometimes other places for that matter. There was always a line around the block. EVERY TIME I saw that I said, DAMN !! Those guys must be great! I'll have to check 'em out sometime. But I never did. I was always on my way to another gig or doing something else.
OK, so this first time I heard they were going to play at the College of Marin lunch room for an afternoon gig... so I thought, great! I was free so now I'll go see 'em , they were in the neighborhood so I'll go and get that gig. I was confident that I already had it having not heard them or anything...
When I arrived the lunch room was full already and it was only about 10:45am or so. The band was setting up, so I just walked around a bit. I was scoping out the chicks and generally getting bug eyed at the College crowd at the time. Then at 11 something I walked up to the balcony overlooking the lunch room. I wanted a good view of the drummer from up top and out front. I thought I could see and hear what he was doing much better by watching from there. Luckily they had a good enough sound system so I could hear his bass drum pretty well.
I had a few sharp pencils with me in case one broke ( I was always prepared man, like a Boy Scout ) I also carried some little music manuscript paper the size of a post card. I barely got situated when they started playing....so they're going along, doing their set....playing one song after the other... sounding great.... looking like they're having fun... and I'm writing like a maniac.... dictation, ya know? A lot of repeat signs after I write what I thought the initial main beat pattern was. I wrote out the breaks, the stops etc.... I'm scribbling fast as I could write, thinkin'... pencil please hold out... please don't break...'cause I was writing so fast, I was pressing really hard.
Then I'd look up once in a while to see who's doing what.. singing, moving & what have you. The people next to me think I'm nuts writing hieroglyphics or whatever. What the hell am I doing? some woman next to me asks. I said,' I'm writing my next life story in music'. Of course she looks at me like I'm nuts and continues swingin' her gorgeous self with the music. Even sings the words. Guess SHE'S seen them before. As I've said, they had lots of fans by this time.
I was really thankful for all the music training I had in schools & privately, 'cause now it was really paying off.... bam! bam! bam! I thought I wrote every break!... got every cut...it was easy man. It was just faster writing than what I had ever done before 'cause, I WAS ON A MISSION.
This was nothing compared to what I had to do in school with listening to symphonies & such. Even with my teachers fercris'sakes! Shaughnessey had me writing out Buddy Rich solo's off of his records fercryin'out loud. This didn't even come close! I must say though, Harwood? Their drummer at the time, I thought was pretty damn tasty. I liked his playing and thought he fit really well...like most of the Clover drummers, I guess.
That's all the instrument they ever replaced, really. I don't know how many times. 4 or 5 maybe. Just drummers, mind you, Mitch, Marcus, Harwood, Myself, Kevin....not counting Mcfee's brother Bob who played bass, I think. Drummers come & go in bands. Change a drummer and the soul changes. The life of the band and the music is not the same. Check it out, you'll notice that's an observation everyone, or musicians at least, can agree on.
I only know ONE person who thinks otherwise and that's a bass player in Rapid City, South Dakota who thinks that people dance to the bass. Imagine that? Cracked me up when I read that...well, getting back to the audition... I have my charts now... names of songs a little sketchy 'cause they didn't announce every one... but I'm ready now.... so the gigs over... people are leaving to go back to their respective classrooms and I amble down to the band set up. I walk up to the guitar player, McFee and say....softly.... Hi my name is.............. ( not MMicky at the time )... I hear your drummer's leaving & I want to audition. Johnny says OK, go over & talk to the bass player.... then he calls him.
Hey!! Cham boaddie!! ( I hear ) You think MY name was hard to spell? Try spelling HIS after just hearing it once.... good luck!... anyway... I go up to 'the bass player' and say, 'Hi, my name is...( not MMicky ) I just heard you guys after seeing your name around a lot but wasn't able to hear you until today. I hear you're looking for a new drummer and I want to audition. I'm a pretty good drummer, what do you think?... so Johnny says... OK man.... then he yells out...HEY YOU GUYS! anybody know when our next rehearsal is? I said to myself.... rehearsal?.... these guys rehearse? These guys are serious.... they have rehearsals??? Alright!!! So somebody else yells out.... WEDNESDAY!!! ( Wednesday?.... I've got a thing about Wednesdays ).... YEAH !!! AT JOHN'S MARIN RECORDERS!!! ( I guessed, somebody or others rental spaces )....so Johnny says.... yeah.... Come to the rehearsal on Wednesday at 6 o'clock, I think it was.
There was no other talk or banter except where it was to be held. I just said OK, see ya there, and I leave. I didn't meet or introduce myself to anybody else 'cause I didn't want to make it uncomfortable for the drummer just in case he didn't know if ' he was leavin'...or what. Turns out he had another gig he wanted to go to anyway. So I knew I was their new drummin' man.... right then and there.... I was pretty confident & cocky. I had this gig sewed up... no questions asked... I'm gonna knock 'em dead. I thought they've never seen what I was gonna show 'em before...and that's just what happened.
I got to the rehearsal space early... by about an hour. This is what I usually do to get myself situated, comfortable with my set up, sound and time to relax. ( thank you Bernard Purdie.....breathe ) Then the whole band arrives and I meet 'em all.
After they set up, Huey says,'OK what do you want to do'?.... so I'm thinking to myself, ( I don't know the titles of one song from the other ) so I said,' Do the set list you did at the College'. I had my cards in that order stuck with a clothes pin to my cowbell where they couldn't see 'em. At first I didn't want them to know I was 'reading the charts'. In the long run though it really helped writing charts out, 'cause after I listen to tapes, I just practice reading those and it helps, believe me. I usually did this with any band that wanted me to play. I'd ask for a tape and when I get home, I'd write out the charts and practiced with 'em. Sometimes I was giggin' with 4-5-6 or more bands at once. Every one of 'em had over 40 -50 songs each.... ORIGINALS mostly.... it got crazy... so I even had to rely on charts sometimes at these little rock club gigs.... anyway, again....( I go off track sometimes, eh? )
They do one song after another and my cards are readin' right... they're playin'great... I think I'm playin'great .... after a while I'm sweatin'... drumming is great exercise, I'll tell ya. I'm not missin' a beat, a break or whatever. I was playing like I was jammin' with 'em for a long time already. Huey's lookin' around at me, he looks at John.... John looks at me....John looks at Alex... everybody's all lookin' at each other in disbelief....smilin'... I'm sayin' to myself... God, please let the next song be in the order my cards are in...Then we stop. We're lookin' & sounding good as the song finishes. Huey turns around and says, ' sounds good man....did you ever see us play before'? I said, No, not really. A few days ago was the first time. At that college gig. I've seen the lines at your gigs though, but never was able to see you play. They all look at each other, ( I'm thinking .. Godamit... I got the gig..) They smile at each other and Huey asks, 'How come you know our songs then'? I said, I don't.... then we all crack up. One of 'em says, think it was Hopper, 'sure sounds like you do!' Then as I'm laughing I say, OK, here's my secret. I'm reading your charts. Huey says, 'what charts'? So I take the clothes pin off the little cards I have on my cowbell, with my notes and show them to the guys.... Seeeeeeee?.... Dictation man!.... Music schools. Then Huey looks at 'em... Johnny looks at 'em... and it's like Hieroglyphics or something to 'em. Huey says, 'cool man'. Then we all laugh along play some more and guess what? I got the gig....end of story.
How did the Clover-days change your life and what does this part of your life mean to you?
It's easy to answer that one...and it's a long one too... so hold on.... Before Clover, it was this band, that band, a situation here another situation there, all kinds of music with all kinds of people. I've joined a few musician's union's in different cities I've lived so I played musician's union gigs, small clubs, weddings, parties, what have you. In Clover, I finally found a band that I thought were brothers. They seemed like a family....together for a long while. It was ten years by this time. They were very professional in most things they did. I liked 'em all personally. I respected all of them for their musicianship and talent. Of course it didn't hurt that they all sung lead too. We had a good time on stage... looked good.... had great harmonies... grooved, jammed... everything!! They had it all. After hearing them at the lunchroom gig and then at the 'audition' I wondered why the hell haven't these guys made it yet?. They were a lot better than most groups I've seen or heard at the time....plus it didn't hurt also, that they had a great following. Like I said, there were lines around the blocks.
I'll explain that later and give you my opinion of why it never happened. This is something no one's heard yet except a few people I've 'explained it' to. All the drummers before and after me, I thought, even though they played well, let' just say I thought they weren't forceful enough. As far as taste... yes!! some had that....but to get people off their ass and dance?... you have to shake 'em up a bit... hit 'em with a club! Let 'em know where 2 & 4 are at.... you know...all that stuff.... that's what I liked to do.... the band needed that too... confidence behind them.... pushin' 'em to work hard... grab the audience from the first note!...don't let go until they drop at the end!. Have a ball, play hard, sweat hard, bleed for 'em even. I did that. Sometimes, I left the stage with blood on my snare head and pants... Broke blister's and things. I remember at the beginning Alex telling me how glad he was that I was there behind him and how confident it made him feel. All the guys felt that way, actually. And I dug them too. It was a mutual respect that we all enjoyed each other. It was great!
As far as how Clover changed me? I think I've changed Clover as much as Clover changed me. Like I've said, if you change drummers you might as well say it's another band. Who replaced Joh Bonham? Nobody... Keith Moon? Nobody... you know what I mean? Now I'm not saying this as a guy with a big head...and hope no one gets the wrong impression....but before I was enlisted in Clover they were a country band... maybe even a country rock band. Even though I like country music, I didn't feel too comfortable playing it at the time. It didn't challenge me as a drummer. I have all this energy and country music, while I enjoy listening to it, playing it didn't allow me to sweat! Now things have changed so much in country it sounds like rock used to years ago. But then the direction was towards ROCK 'N ROLL. You have to remember this is over 20 years ago. Punk didn't happen yet but it was in the wings. So I grabbed their collective asses and took 'em to another level and I joined in 'family'. We've always said, all for one, one for all.
We all worked hard, trying to make it. Individually we practiced our own thing and together we rehearsed. Worked on new material together that everyone brought in, mostly Alex. I went with Huey on his yogurt route puttin' up posters on telephone poles. He delivered yogurt & stuff to deli's & what have you around the SF bay area. ' Let's face it, he even pulled weeds'... ( a direct quote )...We all worked hard to keep the band together... right up until the end. We were dedicated to our goal and each other. Anyway, I jumped out of his truck and stapled the flyers to the telephone poles announcing our gig in that particular area. There was a constant togetherness and working towards trying to get a record deal.
CAN you tell us a little bit more about your former band mates and their part in Clover?
Whew! You don't make these questions easy, do you? Each one of 'em is a parable!
OK guess I'll start with Johnny, the bass player. Better known as Ciambotti. (pronounced - Cham-bo-die). Johnny was a good bass player. Drummers and bass players are like brothers. We hold the bottom together. The foundation of a band, if you will. We're supposed to play as one and Johnny & I did. He was great! My bass drum and his bass were always together. Listen to the Unavailable album. Elvis's first one too, ' My Aim is True'... one of my favorites.... we're there... ALL the time. I loved playing with Johnny, watching him on stage too and listening to him sing. He had a real high voice. He sang great harmonies and lead too when he had to. Just like all the other guys. Good singers, they were. We had four and five part harmonies. Chain Gang by Sam Cooke was one of our highlights in the set...
Johnny wasn't a Jaco Pastorius or Stanley Clark or any of those other Jazz greats or other greats you might hear of on bass. But then again, they weren't Johnny either. He had his own thing. He played great, in the pocket. He grooved all the time, in time, on time. One of the best bass players I've ever played with, bar none. He wrote songs too and had a hand in putting his part in all the other songs as we all did. He sure liked to party and I remember he went nuts a few times gettin' drunk. Pissin' in elevators what have you. That Rock 'n Roll thing, you know.
I remember one time in England he grabbed Huey's hair in the car and wouldn't let go. He was so out of it, he had to be pried off'.... Just went nuts. Nobody got hurt of course except Huey lost a few little strands of hair. It was just a little out of hand. He also took some great photos of the band at different places. He must have a hell of a lot of photos of all of us. Tap him for those if you haven't already. Besides Ralph Merzlak he's probably got the most of anyone. Ralph's, of course was mostly from when we rehearsed in his place at the beginning of my 'tenure'. Ralph was really into the band, he STILL is and he helped us out a lot in those days! Thanks Ralph!!!!
Next I'll try Alex... Alex Call was our lead singer. Man... This guy can sing! He also was a walking library of sorts. He read tons of stuff. Probably why he was the most prolific songwriter of the group. Alex has written songs made famous by lots of other bands. Tutone was one of 'em. Pat Benatar, too numerous to mention, as they say. Unfortunately, he himself hasn't gone over the top yet, but I'll tell ya sooner or later I expect he will. He's written songs that were hits for other bands one right after the other. Why he hasn't done them himself is beyond me. Maybe he gives 'em away 'cause he doesn't think they're hits. I don't know. He always had this nonchalant attitude towards his songs that was like, oh they're really no big deal...but as you can attest yourself..... THEY WERE HITS!!
If ANYONE deserves to make it, Alex does. He's a hard worker and plays guitar well too, I thought. Of course, he might tell you other wise but don't let him kid you, he plays... in his own way, in his own style. He's put out album after album trying to get there. I'll tell ya again, Alex is like a long shot in a horse race... sooner or later when he comes around that bend he'll surprise ya. So I would think one of these times the world is gonna find out how great he really is. How ever it goes, I'm rootin' for 'em.
Next is The Hop!... that's Sean Hopper.... He plays the keys of course...melodica....all sorts of keyboard instruments. He's a dancin', singin', playin' doctors son. I say that 'cause I think it explains the Hop. He's analytical. Always thinking of 'the right thing'... weather it's music or his favorite ice cream or yogurt and what it's contents are. No kiddin'... cracked me up one time when he was talking about the various ice creams on the market at the time in our area... When he wants to learn something it's almost everything about it including what it's made of.
I used to wait in great anticipation when we would play Chicken Funk... He and Huey would get out front and dance these cool steps. The crowd used to go nuts and really get off watchin' them. I guess now he's partner's in a studio in California where he does recordings & video. I can see him getting involved in that. He was a real technical thinker. Nice guy and like I said a good player.
Now his SINGING! That's something else. You know, most people that sing Bass, you look at them and don't believe their voice by their body build? Well, Hopper is like that. His tone is always right on and LOW? Man! It's UNBELIEVABLE what notes he can reach! An ELEPHANT can't hear it! hahahaha...He really lays down a good bottom note for all the harmonies.
OK the next guy is McFee... Johnny McFee... Damn! what a player! Give him ANY stringed instrument, I don't care if it's a cigar box and a stick with one string or a rubber band fercrissake's made into a guitar... He can play it and play it well. I know he must be on a trillion albums by now. Everybody and his grandmother wanted him on their sessions 'cause he's so awesome. Johnny was the guy I roomed with the most. I don't know what he's like now 'cause like the other guys I'm not in touch with him either. But in those days he was a yogi freak. Exercised a lot,twisting his body into knots, ate a lot of health food. When we were on the road we'd all eat in restaurants, junk food places what have you... not John... he'd find the nearest grocery store, preferably health food and eat everything raw. Never had anything cooked. We'd be riding in the transport of the day and he'd have a shopping bag of lettuce, peanut butter or who the hell knows what else, nuts, sesame butter or tahini and just eat a bit at a time. Seemed like he was always eating...
Years before he was a drunken alcoholic, psychedelic takin' acid head... He made a total turn around in his life. Something not everyone can do very easily. I had total respect for him for that and his playing of course. I don't know, I can go on and on about these guys but just let me say that John is the ultimate musician. Practiced hard, played hard and very tasty too. At any given moment he'd come out with something that would make your eyes pop. Man, he's great.....
Last but not least of all, by any means is Huey!.... Huey Lewis.... Hueeeeeeeeeeey!! What can I say about this guy that most people don't already know? Well, for one thing I think he's still an UNDERRATED harmonica player. At the time I was playing with him I didn't think he was that good either but I was mistaken. He's surprised me as well as a lot of other people. We played these little club gigs and Norton Buffalo would come and jam with us and I thought Huey wouldn't keep up... but he did... Southside Johnny too would jam with us on the road and Huey again would hold his own. Lee Brilleux, Lew Lewis and I'm sure a lot of others that I don't remember have 'done the jam' with us. Harmonica players all... and Huey plays just as well as any of 'em and better than some too.
Guess he's doing the acting thing now too...He was always a talker... lit up a room when he came in... Had to be the center of attention, and rightly so. He's a very talented musician. I've got a tape of us in our rehearsal space at Headley in England where one time I was all alone downstairs trying to play this grand piano. Huey comes in and starts scattin' some James Brown riffs... I've got my tape recorder going at the time, maybe unbeknownst to him......then he gets on my drums and starts to try & play what he's singing. Does a pretty good job of it too! I think Huey's dad was a big band drummer... it's in his blood....anyway, Huey's got the rhythm man! I'm happy for him and what he's done in the music world and I wish him and all guys all the best! They all deserve it.
Why did you decide to leave Clover and join Tommy Tutone? How did you get in contact with the Tutone guys?
Whoa!!!! This is a two part question BOTH of which are rather involved stories in themselves. So I'll tackle one at a time, OK? First one...., unfortunately or fortunately for me, however you want to look at it, I didn't decide to leave Clover and join Tommy Tutone. The boys sacked me. It was that 'change the band' thing. Unbeknownst to me at the time, but in retrospect I sensed it was coming sooner or later, the boys, our manager and especially, I repeat ESPECIALLY, ' the producer' of our first and next album, were looking to see how to make our band different. Either that or I was just a stumbling block in the next process to the producer in particular... and I was gonna be gone. I'm not sure exactly what they were thinking but I know other forces had to be involved to have them decide to get someone else to replace me. So now I'll tell you my side of it and what I think happened, OK?
First let me say that it wasn't a really pleasant experience for myself or for them either I know. Nobody likes to sack anyone but sometimes these things happen. There were some negative feelings afterwards and anger on my part for a long time because of it. No one tried to help me through what I thought was a serious mistake on their part. Like I said this producer wasn't my ideal. And I guess there could have been other things but it was never clear to me. It's all water under the bridge now and I truly wish everyone well and there's no negative feelings on my part anymore. So here's how I saw it.
By this time we had already finished our first album and we were just about to start our second one, with the SAME producer. I thought, BAD CHOICE. Like the first album we did, I didn't think this guy was going to do us any good the second time either. The first album was a financial & production failure. But I was a minority of ONE. Not good odds. Forget the one for all bit as I said, I was alone in this one again. Even the roadies weren't with me. Fuhgeddaboudit!!! as they say in New York....
Anyway, I respect what he's done and I know this producer has done great things before & since, LOTS of times...matter of fact right now his wife, I think she is, is one of the hottest country acts going...so THAT right there tells you he's no slouch...but in my own humble opinion, and I was ALONE in this as I've said, he just wasn't for US. That's it... I repeat... He just wasn't for US.... that's all....I thought that from the beginning! That's very possible in the record business. It doesn't matter what a producer has done with anyone else, sometimes he or she is not for you and what your band is trying to do. Things don't gel...Simple as that and that's a fact. Take it to the bank. Maybe at the time I wasn't too diplomatic about what I felt... but the story stands out....and consequently they've broken up I think, as a result of it.
Alex mentioned this a lot about his songs. And it's true. You can take ANY song and do it ANY style. Listen to all the copies of songs re-done by other artists than the originals. HITS again, they are. Anyway, I thing other things could have been done with our songs to fit the times. Other people were doing it, it wasn't just PUNK that was on the radio....so I think that ' it's because of the material' thing why Clover broke up is a bunch of hogwash. We were packin' 'em in EVERYWHERE we played. We even got encore's as an opening act fercrissake's on any tour we did...with the Lizzy's, Skynyrd, Linda Lewis... name it! So you can't tell me that it was our material.... it was the PRODUCTION of that material in my opinion. Plus they lost that spark... what I think they thought they'd try & rekindle by replacing me.
Well, our record company thought otherwise about what producer we were to have and so convinced our managers maybe? & the boys too? I think at this point they would have tried anything to make it.
I didn't like this producer's ideas to begin with because as we were heading down to Rockfield, the studio we were to record at in Wales, the boys told me he wanted all sorts of different drums, cymbals and what have you. I said, ' f--- that'! Nicky, recorded my drums just fine and I thought I had a great set to begin with. My proof is Elvis Costello's album that went gold, in I don't know how many countries by now. None at the time so it wasn't proven yet! It's probably a multi platinum album too by now....all of which I've never seen or received. Maybe they can't find me, eh?
They also stopped giving me royalties years ago that I was supposed to get forever! Elvis's was even recorded in a GARAGE fercrissakes! Cheap! It was a very small space. There was even a gooseneck microphone coming out of one of the walls to mike my floor tom. You had to stand up in the 'recording booth', it was so small. So that tells me a little about the thousands of bucks bands spend on ' THE SOUND '& production, what have you. Money making tools for record companies and high priced studios. Hello out there! It's the S O N G S people! Well, mostly... ya gotta have 'that book' to begin with!
To continue... my drums were an old 1932 set of Slingerland's that were awesome. I still have 'em and play on 'em to this day! Anyway, when I had to do my drum check at the beginning of the session, the producer & I didn't get along as far as 'my sound' was concerned. Plus I thought he was wasting our money foolin' around trying to find what I thought I already had. After all, even though the record company fronted us the bucks, WE were actually in the long run paying for this.
But who was I? Some unknown, jerk of a drummer. So, after a few hours of 'looking & trying' I said, Man! You're full of sh--... when you find what you're looking for call me and I'll come & play my part. Yes, I admit...I was rude, an asshole and not too diplomatic.... I had a screwed up attitude at this point....and I'm sorry for that but I was frustrated at what was happening with us. I had given up by this point.
So hours later, I get called to play and I did just that. From 11 in the morning to 3 in the morning for 5 days straight. The music was so loud in my headphones that my eyes were shaking. My fault for playing so loud in the studio I guess, I just didn't give a damn. So after 5 days I split for 5 days & no one knew where I had gone. They just knew I was gone. I don't think they cared anyway, I was a sh-- to be around so they were probably glad I had left.
Before I decided to split though & go get drunk, I saw a great documentary on the tube in my room... about MAN RAY!... I thought, SH--! I have to meet this guy. He's saying lots of things that I was thinking. Then I found out that they're doing this as a tribute 'cause he had just died. SH--.... TURNER's great too, check him out...so anyway, I go to town, Monmouth, I find the Robin Hood Pub...to get pissed, lie in the gutter & puke my insides out... a stupid thing to do but at the time I just couldn't take it. I was still in my drinking days.
So, I had gone to the local pub in Monmouth after I finished my 'part'. I'm standing there for a while at the bar, sluggin' down pints of my favorite, Guinness. I'm looking around and see these two guys staring at me. In the area I was in, I guess I looked out of place, to say the least! Well, I bought these 2 customers, these 2 black leather jacketed guys a few pints after we had a stare down contest, just before I thought they were gonna gang up on me & try to kick my ass for looking the way I did. I always think it's better to make friends, then enemies, eh? So that's what we did, we ended up being good friends. After I found out that they were 2 blues musicians that were looking for a drummer, I said, HEY! Let's go back and get my drums and JAM. ( I love to jam! as you might well know by now )
So they took me back to the studio in their truck, after we were legless, of course, we retrieved my drums and split. To Cwmbran, Wales, their home town. Brian Dunstan is the only name I can remember. He was the harmonica player. I had a mean look at the time and could've gotten in trouble instead, just for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Luckily for me, things worked out for the better.
I had a great time with 'em and their families & fans. We did a gig and had a ball. I'm an adventurous person who loves to see what's going on in any local area I dump myself in. I'll get lost just for the hell of it and end up in some unusual places I'd never find if I wasn't so carefree. I had forgotten about the boys by now and thought the album was gonna dump anyway and sure enough it did. This probably sealed my fate though. Such was life.
The producer I thought wimped us out. He heard vocals, vocals, vocals and left the balls out. The record also sounds too compressed. Not a good production in my humble opinion. I wanted Nick Lowe to produce us. I remember walking with him on the cobblestone streets of old York pleading with him to produce us. We walked into a local to have a pint, play snooker, eat fish & chips and talked about it. At the time he told me, he didn't think he was ready. Well, Elvis's album is a testament to the contrary. Nicky did our demos though that got us signed and it was balls, ball, balls!!! Nothing like what this other guy came up with. It was out of his hands though and not to be. Since then, everyone has seen his greatness... All right Nick!
Well, another thing, I was getting too aloof by the 2nd album and when I heard we were to have the same producer, I threw a fit... and of course he didn't want me around either, just judging by our first experience. So I think by this point he had a drummer buddy already waiting in the wings. The boys were nowhere to be seen to back me up. I figured they didn't the first time so no reason to break the mold. I was alone again and I sensed my membership in this 'brotherhood' was coming to an end. It still surprised me though when it did happen.
The day before we were to start recording, our manager had to tell me the boys wanted to replace me. Man! that was hard to take and I was angry for a long time afterwards. I felt betrayed after all we were through. All for one, one for all? Bullsh--! Money talks and the record company & producer had the say? We were nobodies so that was that. But I also thought they were so hungry that they finally sold out! Needless to say, as the band Clover, it got them nowhere. To this day I still have never heard the 2nd album. I would listen to it though, if I could find it.
Well, the producer had a session friend that he got to replace me and he 'did the 2nd album'... then they hired a husband of one of the ex- girlfriends as a final replacement. The second album, like the first was a failure and consequently shortly there after the band Clover was no more. They had finally broken up after McFee left because of financial obligations for his family. Too bad, Clover was great!
Some people couldn't understand why Clover never made it. I've seen & read interviews by some of the boys who couldn't explain it themselves or tried to...but I think they just didn't look at what they had done. Or I should say, let happen. Our managers were calling the shots most of the time. They had 'the plan'.
Now some would say it was the material and the times, but I think other wise. With the right producer who would have made it a harder sound, punk or no punk there were still bands like that at the time. So I was left stranded in London with no bucks, no gig and no way home until they got some money for their album. Once in a while the manager would throw me a few crumbs to get me by, after I groveled a bit. I couldn't believe it! Luckily I had made some local London friends there who kindly let me into their home until I found a way out.
We were over there in England about 7 months already. I didn't get back in Marin County until 3 months later where I roomed with my buddy Dick Katz whom I'm still close friends with. If it wasn't for him taking care of my two Chesapeake's and the house we shared I would've lost everything. Thanks Dick, you're the best!...
I'm sure now this was unbeknownst to the fellas or at least out of their control. They were only getting 50 pounds a week as 'candy money' to live on themselves.... least I didn't think we got a raise....so I knew they couldn't help me out financially either. That was a drag, but I chalk it up to experience and learned another couple dozen lessons. One of 'em I already knew and tried to pass it on to the boys as well as remember it myself was, and I quote one of the great poets of our generation...... If it ain't STIFF it ain't no use to no one!------------->
Now, part two of this question, How did I contact the Tommy Tutone guys? I didn't this time. The guitar player & Terry the bass player called me after they heard I was back in town. They wanted to know if I'd work on spec trying to finish writing & record some songs to get a record deal. I thought great! Lucky me, I'm getting another opportunity to record again. One of my goals years ago after playing music for what seemed such a long time, was to just to be able to BE on an album. You've heard that song, " How long can this be going on?" Well, like Paul & the Ace guys whom I know, the same thing was happening to us. It was a long and hard road to travel... waiting for the rewards.... A music career is not easy folks.
Anyway, Tutone rehearsed at a recording studio they had on Rivera street off 19th in San Francisco. After talking to Terry, the bass player for a while I decided to go for a listen. I liked Terry a lot. His bass playing was solid and simple. A nice guy whom I eventually roomed with on the Petty tour. I hope someday to run into him again, if he's livin'.... he played & lived hard... used to be a skate board champion too.... a little cholo guy with a '51 two tone Chevy low rider. We had a huge poster made with us sittin' in it... I still have it... looks cool, I'm hangin' out the back window with a squint and a bottle of beer it looks like I'm ready to heave at someone. Terry had a big heart & a FAT bass sound....Whew! Terry was great! After I joined the band we rehearsed 5 days a week for about 4-6-7 hours a day... writing and arranging the songs. I liked Tommy's voice... our groove and the situation at the beginning was comfortable.
After doing Elvis's album and two others before this I thought, this band could make it!. Their original songs were good basically, and I knew when we were finished with these that they'd get a record deal. I had that much confidence in what we were doing. Just like Clover, or Elvis's for that matter. So it was not a question of IF we get the deal, but WHEN. I think I have a sense for those kind of things. Least I've proven it more than twice to give me that impression. It was fun playing with them too. And it was a sweet feeling of justification to have a hit for the first time, BEFORE the band I had just left. Small consolation at the time in retrospect but gratifying in the long run just the same. I played with this band for a little over a year and did their first album and a major tour opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their ' Damn the Torpedoes' tour......... Terry and I DID...WE DAMNED it ALLLLL....whew! that was a whirlwind......and another book....
In which bands did you play after Tommy Tutone and on what records can you be heard?
Well, by this time I was getting pretty fed up with the music scene. I had a wife at the time at home who didn't like me leaving or meeting women or people in general. Matter of fact she threw me out in the street. I had to live in a car 2 weeks before the tour started. We had a fire & ice relationship. So when I hit the road, I had a good time anyway.
After I left Tutone, their lawyer called me and asked me if I want to try playing with this female singer that A & M had signed. Her name was Vicky Thomas. I talked to her duo of producers and got the gig after auditioning. She had a great voice, powerful! It was just her and a guitarist, Steve Dougherty. Matter of fact this was the first time she even played electric guitar.... and in that kind of a band situation, even.
We auditioned bass players after I got accepted and we recruited Ron Murray. Pretty Ron... cool dude...and another good bass player from upstate in Rochester, NY. We all wrote the songs in the studio with Liam Steinberg & Ed Stasium our producers. We called ourselves Burning Rome and we did one album at Chateau recorders in LA. with A & M that they did nothing with. No support.
It was some of my best rock work at the time though. Man! I even had the chance to write a percussion ensemble piece that has more than 15 different parts in it. I even had a 3 octave set of tuned CLAY POTS that one of the oboe players from the San Francisco Symphony helped me pick out. That was a cool day.
We went to 3 different flower shops. Me with my vibe mallets and her with the OBOE. Each place we visited, we'd pick up all the pots they had. I'd play 'em and Jackie would sound a note to see if it was in tune or not. You know, any symphony tunes to the oboe.... If played correctly, it's a perfect A....
I remember one Saturday I had the studio, producers and engineers all to myself. THAT was a great day... Always, wanted to do something like that on a album. Mickey Hart does it great. Always liked what he's done for the drums, music and people in general. His name fits.... he's got heart!
ANYway, I'm putting all these things, these instruments out, arranging them in an order or a placement that I could deal with while recording these things, what ever you want to call 'em. A guy from the next studio comes in and asks, What the hell you doing there?... he was smiling and looking quite amused...I said, I'm setting up for this taping.... wrote a short percussion ensemble for one of the songs on an album we're doing here. He says, 'Great... cool man... send me a copy when you're finished, will ya? I was listening and had to come in and see what you're doing.' I said, sure! and I asked him what he's doing there? Turns out he was recording a music score for a movie, using 68 tracks at the time. Whoa! I said, Give me your name & address and I'll send ya one. OK, he said and signed a piece of paper with his, name, address and phone # on it. His name was Johnny Mandel....geeeeze.... I shouldn't have been in the same room!... He's great!!!
Here's a funny thing. I wrote this same percussion ensemble piece for one song and when the album was finished and I heard it after it was pressed....they put it at the end of ANOTHER song.... freaked me out!....Cracked me up, even!!!... it still sounded good though no matter where it finally ended up... I was just happy to say that's something to finally do after all these years of practicing.... Thanks Mom & Dad!!!!
So here we were, Burning Rome, struggling, barely giggin' in LA. trying to survive. My impression was Vicky had $80 Grand in the bank, but didn't want to pay us to rehearse or keep us together. I talked to the managers about this to no avail. So I left the music business shortly after we did a video in a police station near Madison Square Garden in New York. As far as what other albums you might find with a little of my playing....I did one more album after that with another band in Marin where I was just the session guy. Also I can be heard on an album with Clover & Miss Twiggy titled, Please Get My Name Right. Which we recorded in Amsterdam before we did anything else.
We were in Amsterdam for two weeks recording Twiggy's album there. What a great place! Twiggy was a kind person. Not only did I enjoy working with her but she had picked an albums worth of country tunes that I thought she sang rather well on...She even picked one of the songs we did on our album. A song that Alex wrote, of course. If anyone can find this I highly recommend the listen.
Then there's Elvis' first album I'm pretty proud of and a few cuts on various other Elvis's stuff that I play on here & there. And one other album called City Lights that Tutone has a few cuts on. I hear that Clover, Elvis & Tutone have some re-issues.
What are your musical influences (past and present)?
My influences are multitudinal... Years ago I used to be a Jazz freak.....Still am, actually..... Coltrane, Elvin Jones, Sonny Rollins, Chuck Wayne, Albert Ayler, Miles, Ray Brown, Clifford Brown, Les Brown, Count Basie, the Duke! of course, Maynard Ferguson whom I just heard with Billy Taylors Jazz at the Kennedy Center in DC on Public Radio... Man! this computer's great!
Then there's Dave Brubeck, Modern Jazz Quartet, Jazz Messengers, Rich, Krupa & Roach, Louis Armstrong, Eddie Harris, Billy Taylor, John Handy, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Stanley Clark, Billy Cobham, Terry Bozio, Louis Bellson MAN! the list is endless.... Classical? same thing, get out the directory!!!.....The 3 B's, Handel, Purcell, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Mozart, Perlman, geeeez don't get me started....
In Rock? Keith Moon & the Who...the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Rush, Rhinosceros, Pacific Gas & Electric, Metallica, Boomtown Rats, Lonnie Mack, The Germs, Steve Emery, George Mendoza, Little Feat, Booker T & the MG's, Bill Black, Pink Floyd, Janis, Nina Hagen, PiL, AC DC, REM, David Byrne 'nin' down the house!! Whew! THAT guy's great!!!, Smashing Pumpkins, Elvis, the latter and the former, YOU TOO hahaha...a partial list again, of course....
The Bothy Band are in another category like Irving Berlin, or Brule', or even Klause Wiese a Tibetan Bowl player. I like some traditional Japanese music as well. and Brazilian too... Thank you Flaura & Airto.....
Blues? It's BB of course, Stevie Ray, Johnny Winter, Big Mamma Thorton whom I had the honor of giggin with once, Big Bill Broonsey, Big Bill Ganaye even, Luther Tucker, Fats Waller going way back... and again, a few hundred more
Rap music even, eh? I like a lot of music.... just recently I'm able to listen to a lot of different kinds of music now. Yesterdays AND today's. All the categories nowadays are too numerous to mention. But if it's good, like cream, it'll come to the top and I'll hear it too.
Are you still in contact with the other Clover guys?
As I've said, no it's not something I've pursued and neither have they. We've all been busy doing our own things and bands break up and individually people go on. I guess the last bunch of years I've been sort of hiding out too so that doesn't help things either. I'm coming out of my cocoon now....But like I've said, I finally have gotten over the 'end'... it was a long time ago, if you will, and I don't hold any grudges with anyone. I wish good things for everyone.
Is there any Clover song you like most?
I liked all the songs we did... well, almost all of them anyway. Streets of London is a favorite, I guess 'cause it's part of 'my story' and I liked how we did it... a sound and arrangement like the 'Righteous Brothers'. I had a girlfriend that I lost because I left the States to do this Clover thing. It really broke me up to lose her. I was in the deep, dark hole of despair...hence, the song. Ginny Whitaker was her name and she was a hell of a drummer. She might still be playing for all I know. I'd like to run into her again one of these days too, just to see how she's doing. We really hit it off. We used to practice together in the nude. We'd make love and practice some more.... she was great. She was my ultimate dream at the time... to be in love with a woman who had the same interests as I...and she played great drums too! Nowadays I see a lot of woman drummer's out there and it's good to see. Finally.... something I always wished that would happen. Better chances for me to meet one I could play double drums with......most of 'em play way better than I'll ever be.....
Again, it was fun playing with the Clover guys and I'll always enjoy listening to my Clover album no matter what things I think should have been. It was recorded and that's that. Now I can sit back with it and remember the good times, those sessions & the gigs.
What do you think about the music the other Clover members make today?
Well, to tell you the truth, I'm living on a reservation here in what to me is the middle of nowhere of South Dakota. I was raised in New York City so this is a world away. I'm 150 miles to the nearest coffee shop. I haven't left this place too many times since moving here 5 years ago. Maybe half a dozen or so. This is a place I've wanted to come to & not hear anything if I could help it. I look outside my big picture windows at the ducks & geese and whatever else the pond back there draws. I wanted to finally concentrate on getting myself & my art back together again.
I've been through a lot of healing in the last 5 years thanks to these people here on the Cheyenne River. I have seen no TV or heard any radio until I got my computer 6 months ago. I still don't have cable, even though it is finally available here. I didn't know I could get radio stations from all over the world on my computer until a few months ago. I'm trying to learn this stuff on my own. So mostly, I don't have a clue what anyone is doing out there let alone any of the Clover guys. Other than what I've seen on your pages, I guess and found on the net.
Now that you are online - any thoughts on the internet and it's future influence on the music business (MP3 etc.)?
Well, from what little I've seen, I think it's a good thing for the future of music and new music in particular. I can see a vast amount of potential for the new sounds and such. It's always been a hassle for new bands to get heard and signed because of the huge conglomerate record companies. They sell music like they sell soap, or cereal. It's just a product to them. If it doesn't make huge amounts of money for them then the artists get dumped. They don't care who they are. Even established 'stars' get dumped if their sounds aren't selling at the time. I can see their reasoning though. Business is business and we must remember, unfortunately, it also is that.
Well, I say bring on the MP3-4-5-6-7 whatever! Record companies I'm sure have helped some musician's as well as the other way around. There's always two sides to a story...Myself included. I've got gold, silver & platinum albums and royalties out there I've never seen nor might I ever see them. Record companies will just figure out another way to capitalize on MP3 anyway....more power to 'em....
What are you doing these days?
These days I'm just getting one of my dream goals going. Something I started thinking of doing way back in the Clover days while I was living after I left the guys in England. My writing & art work. Painting music murals, doing sound sculptures all over the world in what ever cities or countries that would have them. Plus I've been writing songs since I've been here. And I've about a CD's worth now.
I'll tell you about a few.....I've written a song about 'The XP SOCIETY'... just to turn people on to the disease these kids inherit. It's a long story I won't get into now but suffice it to say I hope to donate the funds to them and give a little hand if I can. I've talked to the mother & father of Katie, the people that have started it all after reading about their little girl while I was sitting at a Cenex gas station in North Dakota a few years ago where I was doing a gig. I couldn't believe it! Anyway, if anyone's interested they can E mail me and I'll send the lyrics to anyone. You can also visit their web site at www.xps.org
I also have a song about alcoholism that unfortunately, I think will not go over too well with the alcohol lobby. I never do things with money as the main influence anyway and maybe it'll never get on the radio anyway. Besides, with this MP3 thing there's no problem getting your songs out now, is there? Radio or no radio.
I've just seen too many people dying of this disease and thought I'd try & do something about it as well. Here on the rez it's a pretty prevalent disease and it makes me sick to see what it does to good people. By the way, I don't drink or do drugs like I used to anymore. After I almost killed myself on an overdose in 1980, luckily after a Tutone gig, not before....Luckily again, 'cause there were people around me at the time who did some quick thinking as I hit the floor.... Whew!! That's what really turned my head. I like living too much and there's too many other high's one can enjoy without getting into that stuff. My mistake, least I'm livin' to tell about it. Some didn't make it. I was lucky. Thank you man up there....
Then I've another song about HABITAT.... Habitat for Humanity... It's what first brought me here to the rez... 5 years ago... almost to the day now.... anyway, I think everyone should get involved in helping each other out once in a while. Besides feeling good, it'll help make peoples' lives a little better. This is a world wide organization that builds homes for poor people all over the world. I was the construction supervisor for the Habitat affiliate here last year and people from all over the states came here to volunteer their help. It's great to see and be involved in that kind of a thing where just plain folks want to share their love.... give a hand to the next guy.... a boost for the soul.....and practical as well.
I was talking to a friend not too long ago, Jim Hoerter a youth minister here on the rez. We were talking about what brings people together... and I mentioned to him, you'll notice it's catastrophe's.... not as noticeable as other times then in tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, famine's, black outs, brown outs, blizzards, tsunami's, avalanche's,..... what ever...you name it!... all acts of Mother Nature. Things that we can't control... will all of a sudden wipe a whole town out, bury a village, slaughter hundreds, sometimes thousands, sometimes millions of people and their way of life... unbelievable destruction and death.... it's THEN, at those times that bring people together, country wide, WORLD wide.... helping each other....working together....Like the man said in Woodstock! ' We're feedin' each other man! '.....well, there needs to be more of that everyday, everywhere in this world that's getting so small... like C.A. R. E., Unicef, Red Cross, NET AID next eh?...even CHRISTMAS too,yeah?................... OK....I'm off the soapbox now, sorry......
I'm also getting my artworks out on the internet. One is a Classical, net, music magazine where I write articles about what it is people are looking at... I ask music questions and have music answers... I'm no journalist by any stretch of the imagination... Just an artist/musician with a goal to help people to 'see' music more in their lives...So after all these years I'm finally getting this stuff published. One of the magazines is called Mundo Clasico. They're a classical music magazine from Spain. They're great people over there! Hopefully other one's from Brazil, the US, Italy Canada, etc. will be added in time....I've got a goal to do these things like Cristo, the Hungarian artist, or Caryolyna Marks. She's been doing tiled 'Peace Walls' all over the world. I'd like to build and paint huge murals & sound sculptures all over the place, where I'd hire whole towns to get involved in 'community projects'.
One other thing... I'm working on a book where I'm trying to teach music without using any words. This is so that it's truly a universal language, like music is. It's something I've been working on for years and it's almost finished. Nothing like the art works seen on the net now though.
Can you tell us about your future plans? Any dream not come true yet?
I'll refer you to the last answer for both these questions. I've finished a few murals in my life and this week or next, I'll be starting another one 12' x 12' on a building here in South Dakota. This place is amazing and I've learned a lot since moving here. I've got some unbelievable stories to tell about this place and what happened & happens to myself and others here. Dreams? I've got loads and sooner or later I'll get around to trying to realize each one... of course I plan to live until I'm at least 226 years old.
What do you think about Clover's music not being available on CD?
From reading your pages, I guess it's happening already, isn't it? I don't know about our album but I think it's only a matter of time. If anyone's interested at all it'll come.
Last question: If there was a Clover reunion (jam session etc.) - would you be available?
Would I be AVAILABLE? UNavailable was never the question. Sh----. You kiddin' me? Of course I would. I always would...told you, I LOVE to jam! 'SPECIALLY with those guys!! but that's not the question here. It's like two guys standing there checkin' out this beautiful woman who's passin'... one guy would say to the other.... man! she's beautiful, would you make love to her?... well, the question isn't would YOU make love to HER but would SHE make love to YOU!....hahahaha That sounds like a good song title, think I'll work on that one.....
Anyway......I don't know if they'd even ask me. They have so many drummers to choose from. I heard there was a 'reunion' last time I lived in Marin around 1984-5 or so? I don't remember what year it was....I don't even know if it came off or not. Needless to say, I wasn't there...
I read on your page with Hopper's interview that Huey's said, 'it's better to leave things finished'?... sh-- music goes on... it's never finished if it's part of history! well, all I can say to that is I also read that McFee would be into it and maybe the Hop too, Alex & Johnny? I don't know.... I can't imagine if someone had planned around our schedules that all the guys wouldn't show up.... anyone that loves to play music like we did, can't turn down the chance to have more good 'ol fun playing music, JAMMIN'. Something we always prided ourselves on.... being able to keep up with the best of 'em....Maybe it'd be bad for their image though, eh? :-) I don't think so...
If and when it does happen though, I would hope the guys would have the jam HERE... on the Cheyenne River Reservation.... here in Eagle Butte, South Dakota.... God knows this place could use all the help it could get... There's 80% unemployment here and it would, I think, give this place a little boost... If anyone's seen President Clinton's last trek through the 'reservation territory' when he visited the Pine Ridge reservation recently, this place is just like it... only a few hundred miles from there. Lots of folks here have relatives there too. And the situation here is similar. I know, I live here.....
So publicly now I'll ask the guys, or better yet... I'm pleading with 'em... to come and give us a hand. You'll be surprised at what it is you'll take back with you. I wish for the best...
Weather it's Clover material, myself, I don't care... as long as it's music I KNOW we'll have a good time... we always have when we jammed... I would hope Huey would join us though. We all played so well together. Besides, I miss his ugly smilin' face as I do all the other guys...and I'd look forward to the grooves!!! Come on you guys it's only music!!!
One more thing I'd like to mention.... and it might not mean anything to most people....but I'm gonna say it anyway....
Like no other band before or since that I've played with has this happened... and it was because of our name... Clover. Some places we would play, people I didn't even know would give me 4 leaf clovers. I don't know if this happened to any of the other guys...and they were REAL one's... I've collected 5 at one point.
I've given all but one of them away. You know, to pass on the feeling. I figure one is enough for anyone. I've tried to find them myself sometimes but like most people, I never did. Never, until I played with these guys. The Irish I guess, have a thing about this and most people if you ask if they'd like to see one would always take the opportunity. It was a 'good luck' thing... that was my feeling with this band... I think it has brought me that and all the other guys too.
In ' Streets of London' Alex wrote,' All my dreams were undone, on the Streets of London'. Maybe for Ginny & I... but for our music I think was the contrary... for all of us.... All our dreams were just beginning...It was our stepping stone, so to speak. Weather Clover 'didn't make it on it's own' or not, I think was not to be ... but as you can see by ' The Stories', it hasn't hurt us either.
Thanks Stephan, for asking me to add to this site.... I appreciate it. My best... &... love to everyone!....
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