Still busy working on the new record, I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and is looking forward to the holiday season as much as I am. Our pal Webb Wilder and his long time bass player Tom Comet stopped by the studio to say hello the other day and it was great to visit for awhile. We first crossed paths with Webb back in ’86 when he had just released the classic album “It Came From Nashville.” If you haven’t heard it, do yourself a favor and check it out. One of my favorite instrumentals, “Ruff Rider” is on that album, and it features a great harmonica solo from Milwaukee’s own blues legend Jim Liban, just in case you ever have need for that obscure trivia fact. That’s about all for now but I’ll leave you with the Webb Wilder Credo:
Two things made me think about the music business today, one was a Facebook post by my old friend Trevor Sadler. Trevor is a super-talented mastering engineer and has mastered most of our records and countless others by artists most people would know.
His post in a nutshell was that he needed a “real job” and was sick of the “Music Business,” and that it’s a losing proposition trying to sustain a living at it. This is nothing new to most people involved in any occupation that is based in the arts, and it’s sad. Music and art gives so much to so many and yet those responsible for its creation seem to benefit the least.
Photo (C) Rob Kearn 2004
The second thing which made me chuckle was a memory from way back stirred by seeing George Thorogood last week.
It was right after our appearance on Saturday Night Live and we found ourselves in our record company’s office after hours. Our manager at the time was inquiring about how many orders for our record had come in and what kind of stock was on hand to fill them.
The president of said record company sat at a computer that looked like a prop from the movie War Games and with one finger typed a few keys and with much glee said they had over 40,000 orders placed in just one day. Great! How many do you have ready to ship? A few more key punches and the answer was on the screen, thirty. “Thirty thousand,” we asked? “Let me check,” says record company president followed by more clicks, and the answer…”no, 30.”
Looks of fright were shared and it was time to leave but as I looked down next to the desk I saw on the floor a 2-inch, 24-track tape laying outside of its box, the tape half off the reel and tangled like a pile of spaghetti. On the box was written George Thorogood master, “Bad to the Bone.” I had to ask, “Is that “THE” master for Bad to the Bone?” As the most nonchalant “yes” that could ever be spoken reached my ears, I knew then and there that music and business were two words that just didn’t belong together.
Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame released his debut single Monday from his first solo album. I like Noel’s new release and I like Beady Eye, brother Liam Gallagher’s solo outing, but I can’t get past the fact that like many things in life they were better together as Oasis. Fans say Liam is the better singer and Noel is the better songwriter. Together as Oasis they sold 50 million records, so far the new Beady Eye record is at 300,000 and Noel’s numbers remain to be seen.
My point here is that like so many others who are bound together in some way that just works, it’s just not the same apart. Is there anyone who prefers the Don or Phil Everly solo records over their work together? Lennon and McCartney, together or separate? Ray and Dave Davies or Kinks?
Yes, it can be a drag at times to work with the same person, and even more so if there happens to be a blood relation, but in the long run some things are just better together.
The Fender Telecaster is the perfect guitar. There, I said it and I know there are those that disagree, but for me nothing beats a Tele. A simple plank of wood with no frills that just feels right, a true workhorse. Better yet, who needs two pickups? The Esquire can handle the job. Can it take a beating? You bet. I’ve thrown them, ripped the strings off, left them in frozen trucks and sweltering car trunks and played them until the paint fell off and they became real relics from night after night of playing them. The Telecaster won’t let you down.
After a full day recording with the Spanic Boys, it’s time to relax before dinner at Timmer’s on Big Cedar Lake with our favorite bass player and all-around great guy Zev Katz.
We just finished tracking more songs for the upcoming release. You can check out a quick clip of Brad in the studio below. Next up is guitars so stay tuned!
Wow, I can’t believe that we are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year. I was 17 when we first started playing out and my Dad was 3 years younger than I am now. That alone can make my mind spin so we won’t dwell on that. The last 25 years have been a once in a lifetime experience and we’re looking forward to more. The new album should be out this year and it’s sounding great. Thank you to all of the fans who have supported us during the last 25 years, you are the reason we love doing what we do.
From the Strange World album, of course!
Our first video done by Purple Onion in 1991, made it to MTV and CMT. Matching ’59 Caddies, houses and dogs. Featuring Lori Minetti who later went on to become the Wisconsin Lottery Hostess and her twin sister Lisa. What can I say, it was the early 90′s!
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From Spanic Family Album. Enjoy!
This one goes way back to ’94 from the “Spanic Family Album”. All of the old footage is from original home movies and Director Frank Anderson did a great job as always. You can see my Dad at 10 years old with his first electric guitar – a 1956 Blonde Stratocaster that he got for his birthday that year.
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We’ve been busy working on the new album and will be going back into the studio in a few weeks to record some additional songs. We are very excited to have the great Brad Elvis of The Handcuffs and Romantics back on drums for his third album with us. New to the line up on bass is the incomparable Zev Katz. Zev hails from New York city and if he’s not playing with Hall and Oates you can find him playing with the who’s who of the music world, check out his credits and more about him here. Brad and Zev are not only two of the most talented musicians you will ever hear but two of the nicest people you could hope to meet. Check back for more updates from the studio soon!