Thursday, December 22, 2011

McQueen tops bill at Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction


MidAmerica Auctions, the world's largest seller of antique motorcycles, will host the 21st Annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction and Races Jan. 12-14, 2012, at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

500 antique and classic motorcycles will be up for auction, including three motorcycles owned by legendary actor and biking enthusiast, Steve McQueen. Serving as guest of honor is his widow, Barbara McQueen, who will share memories of her famous husband and sign copies, "Steve McQueen: The Last Mile." Joining her will be McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill, who will sign copies of his 2010 book, "Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool."

Barbara McQueen's photographs record a behind-the-scenes life of personal pleasures and enthusiasms. They include hitting the road in Steve's pickup trucks, visiting collectors' shows and swap-meets, driving 700 miles to view a rare World War I motorcycle, flying a vintage mail plane, and generally ducking out of Hollywood life. But when work did call, Barbara was also on hand to capture marvelous candid shots on the sets of McQueen's two last films, "Tom Horn" and "The Hunter."

The life and career of Steve McQueen is a classic example of the American dream made real: of a small town boy from a broken home triumphing over adversity to become one of the richest and most sought-after superstars in the world. McQueen lived every day as if it were his last, and by doing so he lived an extraordinary life, both on screen and off.

Barbara McQueen's "Steve McQueen: The Last Mile" tells the story of a simple love affair with life. Barbara, who had carved a very successful career for herself as a fashion model, met Steve McQueen in 1977. Together for less than four years, these rare and private photographs share Steve's rugged, blue-eyed features him in a relaxed and uninhibited setting, doing the things he loved. Barbara's photographs show a tough guy at peace but who retained an inner strength. In one particularly striking shot his hair is wild, his beard thick, and unkempt, and he is looking over his shoulder with a troubled vulnerability. Barbara catches him unaware perhaps in a deeply pensive mood.

MidAmerica Auctions have on display and for sale McQueen's Husqvarna, which he rode for the cover of the August 23, 1971 issue of Sports Illustrated as documented by factory and dealer bills of sale. Also available for auction will be two other Steve McQueen motorcycles – a 1938 Triumph Speed Twin and a 1940 Indian Four Cylinder. A 1970 Bell motorcycle helmet that was owned by McQueen will also be auctioned.

Barbara McQueen will be at the opening event dinner on Jan. 12 and available through Jan. 14 to sign books and greet fans. For information or questions, please contact MidAmerica Auctions at 651-633-9655 or by email at midauction@aol.com


Event Schedule for 21st Annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction:
•Thursday, Jan. 12, 5 p.m. Children’s Hospital Benefit Dinner Auction featuring Barbara McQueen as guest of honor; 6 p.m. auction; 6 to 10 p.m. auction of 75 premium vintage and collectible motorcycles.
•Friday, Jan. 13, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., auction of 200 vintage and collectible motorcycles; 7 p.m. Champion Indoor Short Flat Track Series.
•Saturday, Jan. 14, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. auction of 225 vintage and collectible motorcycles; 7:30 p.m. Championship Indoor Short Track Flat Track Series.

About MidAmerica Auctions
St. Paul-based MidAmerica Auctions is the world's largest seller of antique motorcycles and has sold more than 15,000 bikes since 1990. Their Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction has become a mecca for antique motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide and sets more world records for motorcycles than all other auctions companies combined. Please visit www.MidAmericaAuctions.com for more information.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Believe in Me" is debut for Daily Vault Editor


U.S. publisher Wampus Multimedia introduces Believe in Me, a novel about heroes and believers, regret and redemption, fathers and sons, and the healing power of rock and roll. Penned by pop music critic Jason Warburg, it signals a fresh voice in American popular fiction.

Set at the crossroads of music and political activism, Believe in Me follows young campaign operative Tim Green, the grieving son of a recently deceased music writer, and charismatic, politically active rock singer Jordan Lee, leader of the arena-rock juggernaut Stormseye. From their meeting on a jet to a recording session to a sold-out stadium concert, Green and Lee hopscotch through airports and arenas across the United States, pursuing distinct yet similar dreams.

Inspired by the novels of Nick Hornby, Robert B. Parker, and Elmore Leonard, and the crackling dialog of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, Warburg filters his fable through an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music. Drawing on his background as editor of the music-review site The Daily Vault, he displays an innate understanding of the elements that unify genres. His voice, like Hornby's in High Fidelity, bears the unmistakable signature of the devotee.

“Believe in Me is a story about heroes,” Warburg says, “and how we create and relate to them. In our postmodern world, irony goes hand in hand with a world-weary cynicism, an attitude that suggests heroes have become obsolete.”

Fittingly, Warburg’s heroes populate his pages like iconic inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Counting Crows, Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., Fountains of Wayne, The Who, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, and many others. Jordan Lee and Stormseye, riding the crest of a blockbuster reunion tour, call to mind no act so much as Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam.

Critics as well as musicians are weighing in on Believe in Me:

“Written with authenticity and emotional honesty, Jason Warburg’s Believe in Me thrusts the reader into the combustible world of political activism and arena rock, where cynicism, power trips, and egos live together in unhealthy codependency. Warburg’s first-person tale digs deep and hits all the right notes, finding the humanity that makes activism compelling and music powerful. I believed every word.” –Roger L. Trott, author of Getting in Tune

“A whirlwind ride through the breathless heights of megastardom.” –Jacob Slichter, Semisonic

“Warburg’s writing misses nothing, and his prose sparkles with moments where the beauty of the language shines through the story. As soon as I finished, I wanted to read it again!” –Jean-Paul Vest, singer-songwriter, Last Charge of the Light Horse

“Jason Warburg is an amazing writer who brings his talent to a new level exploring music and its relationship with the real world, co-mingling and driving the issues of the times.” –Billy Sherwood, singer-songwriter-producer, Circa and ex-Yes

Wampus Multimedia is an independent media imprint founded in 2002. Its credo is simple: to introduce the world to bold content rendered by visionary artists. In addition to its publishing arm, Wampus is home to a growing roster of musical artists in the pop, AAA, Americana, alternative, ambient, blues, and folk genres.

Believe in Me is available for the Amazon Kindle, iPad/iPhone, Nook, and Sony Reader.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Magnets and Ghosts review


Written by Donna Mair
Magnets and Ghosts - Mass

Mass, is the inaugural release from Magnets and Ghosts; a collaboration between Collective Soul guitarist and founding member Dean Roland, and musician/producer Ryan Potesta. Where the die hard Collective Soul fans would love to have more CS tunes, this 11 track full cd is nothing like Collective Soul! And for me that’s a wonderful thing.

From opening instrumental track “Reveillon” with its grand sweeping cathedral like notes and great booming drum beats to the closing track “Zealot” (which is sad and deep and heavy without being maudlin), this album is chock full of well written lyrics and well performed instrumentation.

“Light My Flame”, the second track in is electricity going down your spine. The lead vocals are slightly distorted over the heavy constant groove of the same guitar chord over and over into the chorus. The bridge kicks it up a notch with female voice (Christina Starr Wherry) punctuated by a guitar solo that enhances rather than grabbing all the attention.

“Hearts of Everyone” has the band singing a boppy tune that is instantly likeable. Listen to the lyrics closer and it’s not just fluff which is what I love about this entire album. Piano notes bring subtle texture to the song and keep it from being too overtly Pop. One of my favorite spots in this song is the drum solo mid stream by Ryan Hoyle and a guitar solo which doesn’t sound like a guitar.

“Mass” is the title track and is reminiscent of a Gregorian chant but again the lyrics are intriguing in this too short song.

“Hold On” gripped me by the throat from the first listen and hasn’t let go yet. The lead vocal is melodic and dreamy, as is the instrumentation, and the backing vocals in a much deeper pitch add a multidimensional feel to this floating quality. Despite this effervescence, the song is a thinker if you scratch below the surface. There is vulnerability here in the lyrics... one feels that they’re very personal.

“The Sea and the Sound is another catchy tune that will hook you on first listen (no pun intended). Hard to tell who is singing main vocals, but a lone voice ends the song with an accapella of final lyrics in a very raw unpolished voice which just ‘makes’ the song in my opinion.

Gang vocals and hand clapping start “I Want You” on a strong and interesting note and the song keeps building from there. Snappy lyrics and a definite drum and bass groove lend to me wanting to get up and move to the music while singing. I love how this song ends with a squalling guitar note.

“Like a Sunday” is another lighter sounding song similar to “Hearts of Everyone” in that it might be a more radio friendly ‘single’ type of song, but the lyrics are introspective and questioning. There is a definite spiritual quality to this song – perhaps why it’s titled “Like a Sunday”?

“Morning Rails” is perhaps the darkest song on the album. The lead voice is deep and monotone to punctuate brooding lyrics. Get to the bridge however, and the guitar work is reminiscent of U2’s The Edge in Achtung Baby – hard hitting, frantic pace, and flawless. Hoyle’s drums are forefront and center and the mix is balanced to perfection.

“Half Awake” brings thoughts of lying on a bench in a train station waiting, waiting, and dozing off into that not quite asleep state (hence aptly named). Disembodied vocals have an ethereal quality to lend to the dream like state.

Building on that half awake state is the closer, “Zealot”. Listen to the lyrics though, and it’s a sad tale of addiction and yearning/searching. It’s one of my favorite tracks off the album.

This album is a unique, delightful discovery for me. The duo (Potesta and Roland) have worn their hearts on their sleeves and because of that risk taking and vulnerability, have come up with a fantastic debut album. They also did not over produce the album – they let little imperfections and realisms stay on the tracks and that adds to the feeling of realism. The duo wrote, produced and performed nearly every piece of the album themselves (except for bass, trumpet, strings and drums). Zealot was co-written by Shaun Grove who also co-engineered the album with Potesta.

Read more: CD Review: Magnets and Ghosts - Mass | RockStar Weekly http://www.rockstarweekly.com/cd-review-magnets-and-ghosts-mass.html#ixzz1eaq8X6nW

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steve McQueen: Re-evaluating a Rebel


Jeremy Roberts’ interview with biographer Marshall Terrill

Steve McQueen has been a household name since he first appeared on tv screens in 1958 as the star of the western series Wanted: Dead Or Alive. Iconic film roles soon followed, including The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The Sand Pebbles (1966), Bullitt (1968), The Getaway (1972), & Papillon (1973).

As a result, McQueen quickly became one of the top box office stars of the 1960s & 1970s, yet he never received enough recognition from his peers: other than an Oscar nomination for The Sand Pebbles in 1967 & a Golden Globe nomination for 1973's intense Papillon, these were the industry's only concessions.

The actor unfortunately succumbed to mesothelioma, a form of cancer stemming from exposure to asbestos, in November 1980 at the early age of 50. During the past 30 years, his legend has continued to accelerate, and McQueen is rightly seen as the epitome of cool. So, why is this? Well, in real life Steve McQueen was a rebel, a man who lived life on the edge on his terms, a motorcycle & car racer, an aviation aficionado, an antique collector, a guy who disdained Hollywood parties, a loving father, pretty much a small-town kid at heart who donated his time and resources to underprivileged kids. However, most fans only knew McQueen as the actor. When he appeared on the screen, movie-goers believed McQueen was that particular role, whether a seasoned cowboy in 1980's Tom Horn or a cocky, arrogant pilot in 1962's The War Lover. Therein lies the key to a successful film career that transcends generations.

Perhaps the ultimate McQueen expert and fan is his biographer, Marshall Terrill. The writer wrote his first book in 1993, the successful Steve McQueen: Portrait Of An American Rebel. Since then, the influential book has undergone several reprintings as well as a revised edition.

Terrill is no stranger to biographies, having written 14 so far on wide-ranging subjects including Elvis Presley, basketball great Pete Maravich, and boxing champion Ken Norton. Terrill recently collaborated with the late actor's widow, Barbara McQueen, for the 2006 massive coffee-table book entitled Steve McQueen: The Last Mile, profiling the final three years of the actor's life.

This year fans can purchase two new McQueen projects. First, the 384-page, coffee-table Steve McQueen: A Tribute To The King Of Cool came out in March, but only in a special limited edition that is signed (by Terrill & Barbara McQueen), numbered, & includes a cd of a 1978 McQueen college lecture.

This special limited edition is available now at publisher Dalton Watson's website. A hardback, traditional version will hit Amazon.com & bookstores across America later this year. It is a passage book featuring anecdotes from McQueen's friends and peers.

Later this year, a 600-page mammoth bio entitled Steve McQueen: The Life & Legacy of a Hollywood Icon, will be available at all bookstores in October via Triumph Books.

Terrill recently took time to grant an extended interview, focusing on his fascination with the legend that is Steve McQueen.

THE INTERVIEW

Why is Steve McQueen still a major pop culture force?

Besides the fact that his look and his talent are timeless, the reason why any artist lives on after they die is because of their cult of personality. When someone sees McQueen’s work, they become fascinated with the man and want to know more about him. When they learn about his life, his painful childhood, his inner struggle to reach the top, his approach to acting and how he put his heart and soul into every project, he becomes much more than just a movie star. His life takes on much more meaning – his movies, the motorcycles, the racing, the aviation, the women, his insecurities, and his hell-bent-for-leather take on life. He was an American original and marched to the beat of his own drummer. How many people can we say that about today? The era of the 1960s and 1970s minted some of the greatest artists of the millennium, and McQueen is definitely in this group.

For the non McQueen fan, what film(s) would you direct them to see?

The Magnificent Seven; The Great Escape; Love with the Proper Stranger; The Cincinnati Kid; The Sand Pebbles; The Thomas Crown Affair; Bullitt; The Reivers; Junior Bonner; The Getaway; Papillon & Tom Horn. This roster of films gives a good sampling of McQueen’s range as an actor & demonstrates why he was so popular with audiences.

What is the most difficult part about undergoing a McQueen project?
(For me personally it’s when to stop. Because I find McQueen so fascinating, I must know everything about him. No stone goes unturned. I originally envisioned Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool as maybe 100 passages…it’s about 215 passages, and I could have kept going. )

The editor of Steve McQueen: The Life & Legend of a Hollywood Icon said he wanted a 300-page book – I turned in a manuscript double that length – and thankfully, he didn’t cut a thing. McQueen’s story is epic and to give an abbreviated version of his life would be to cheat readers. That’s something I can proudly say I’ve never been accused of.

Let’s go back to 1993: Steve McQueen: Portrait Of An American Rebel was your first book. What was that experience like?

It was a wonderfully new & exciting process. Today I have written approximately 15 books, &Portrait was my first. It was a grand adventure as I embarked on a new chapter in my life, & going to Hollywood to meet all my favorite actors & people associated with McQueen’s movies was thrilling beyond belief. At that time, McQueen’s legend was just starting to surface and everyone was willing to talk to me. I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Has Portrait been your most successful book?

“Portrait” is by far the most successful book I’ve written, although I’ve subsequently written two other best-selling books. It was reviewed worldwide, has gone through five printings and was revised in 2005. I’m hoping that Steve McQueen: The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon will be even more successful because it is a much better book than Portrait.

Portrait of an American Rebel was your first bestseller, but what were some of the others?

I co-wrote a biography called Maravich with Wayne Federman on the life of basketball legend “Pistol” Pete Maravich. It was released in 2006. That book took seven years to write; two years were strictly devoted to transcribing 300 interviews.

I also did a book with Elvis Presley’s friend & bodyguard, Sonny West, called Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business. It took me four years to write, and it was released in 2007. At that time, I was also working on Steve McQueen: The Last Mile with Barbara McQueen, so I was holding down a full-time job and working on three different book projects at the same time.

What do you think of “Portrait” today?

It’s my first “baby” and I’ll always be proud of the book, but it lacked in certain areas. For example, it’s skimpy on the details regarding his birth in Beech Grove, Indiana; his upbringing in Slater; his 14-month stint at the Boys Republic; his three years in the Marines and his early acting career in New York City. That is mainly due to the fact that not much was known at the time of McQueen’s background, so we were left with whatever McQueen cared to offer up. Since then, open records laws have enabled me access to find more information about McQueen’s early life, and the new bio is so much more detailed regarding these years. It’s also more analytical and has a more mature perspective about his life. In the years after Portrait, I became a reporter and applied a lot of my skills and logic to the McQueen story. I know Portrait set the bar but Hollywood Icon surpasses my previous effort. I can say that with confidence because I really busted my ass.

Were there some folks you wanted to interview but for one reason or another were unavailable?

The two people I really wanted to interview for both books, and are still alive, are attorney Kenneth Ziffren and business manager Bill Maher. They not only turned me down but never replied. These are two guys who worked diligently behind the scenes and are the brains behind McQueen’s power and fortune. They not only protected him legally, but established incentives in his movie contracts that no one else had at the time. I learned in this new offering that McQueen made far more money than the public suspected, especially on The Getaway, Papillon, The Towering Inferno, & The Hunter.

Ziffren and Maher were also the two men who drew up McQueen’s Last Will & Testament, which shows you how much he respected them. McQueen said at the end of his life, “Hire people smart enough to do the work but let you take the credit.” Well, that’s exactly what these two men did, which is why they lasted for so long.

Who were you especially excited to meet?

James Coburn, who was one of my favorite movie stars, and he was just as cool as you might have suspected, and a very nice man. But the one who I have the most affection for is Lord Richard Attenborough. At the time of Portrait I was a recent college graduate who had never had any contact with Hollywood. We met in Washington D.C. where he was being feted at a film perspective. After our interview, he invited me to the event and introduced me to the audience by name. Now, he didn’t have to do that, but that thoughtful gesture will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I will forever sing his praises.

Can you recall the first movie where you saw McQueen & became hooked?

At that time, Bullitt played continuously on Channel 20 in Washington D.C., where I spent a good portion of my youth. But The Getaway was the first motion picture I saw of McQueen’s. I’m a military brat and so when we moved, and my parents were out looking for a home, they’d drop us kids off at the movies and we’d spend the entire day there.

I must have seen Papillon as a kid at least 10 times. When The Towering Inferno debuted in December 1974, a buddy and me went to a midnight showing the day it came out. But here’s the funny part - the 9 p.m. show was sold out, and it was apparent the midnight showing was also going to be a sell-out.

I told my friend there was no way I was going to miss this movie, and so I simply walked up to the front of the line and cut in front of some lady! She must have sensed my determination and didn’t say a word. But boy did she stare daggers at my back the whole three hours I waited for the next showing…that kind of tells you how much I loved McQueen.

Pick & please discuss some of your favorite McQueen roles.

Papillon & The Getaway are my two favorite McQueen movies. For Papillon, it shows McQueen’s depth as an actor. He should have won the Academy Award for his performance. And for some reason, The Getaway, because I’ve always felt that it captures McQueen’s true intensity and personality. In his performances he was always a bit restrained, but in The Getaway, he lets loose, and you get a sense of who McQueen was in his private life.

On the other hand, was there a McQueen film that you don't care for?

Well, there was the whole slew of B-movies in the fifties – The Blob, Never Love a Stranger, The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery. but that’s simply because he had not defined who he was as an actor. In Never So Few, you catch the first real glimpse of the McQueen persona, which he had defined and perfected in the next decade.

When he became popular, Soldier In the Rain, Baby, The Rain Must Fall, & Nevada Smith were my least favorites. And because I’m not a racing fan, I find Le Mans boring and unwatchable. But Le Mans is a testament to McQueen’s star power at the time – how many other major movie stars can get away with carrying an entire picture with a dozen lines of dialogue? I promise you that would never happen in today’s industry.

Is there a McQueen film that you have re-examined & perhaps changed your mind about his performance?

Yes, and it happened most recently. A buddy of mine burned a copy of The Honeymoon Machine for me, and I watched it on a plane on my personal DVD player. I was astonished to discover that McQueen was actually quite funny in the film. I had only really given him credit for being funny in The Reivers, but he’s excellent in The Honeymoon Machine.

Of all the movies Steve passed on doing, which one(s) do you wish he should have picked?

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid as well as Apocalypse Now. He would have brought great intensity to Butch Cassidy & Apocalypse Now would have stretched him as an actor.

Why did McQueen take such a long sabbatical from films after 1974's The Towering Inferno? Did he think this was a mistake upon reflection?

In the new book I discuss this in great detail. I think it was several things – he was burned out from the film industry, he had surpassed his rival Paul Newman, and he finally had the money to take a long break. Also, once you reach the pinnacle of your career, like he did with The Towering Inferno, how do you even attempt to come back because you know the next thing you do will not measure up? Those were, I believe, all the things going through McQueen’s head at the time.

With that said, I don’t think McQueen ever regretted this decision because it’s what his body and head required (in fact, Steve became a devoted & committed Christian in 1979). When your instincts tell you to take a break, you should listen. The break realistically was only for two years, not five. I’m sure no one counted on An Enemy of the People getting shelved, which added to the length of time the public hadn’t seen him.

Let's talk about An Enemy Of The People in more detail. This film certainly had a convoluted production schedule.

An Enemy of the People was a 33-day shoot, which commenced September 28, 1976. After a long and arduous testing period, the movie saw a limited release in about a dozen cities in March 1978. Warner Brothers didn’t know how to market the film because it was McQueen in an Ibsen play.

He chose to go totally against type and rather than try and misrepresent the film, the studio canned it. My personal belief is that he chose the project to sabotage his First Artists (McQueen's production company; Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, & Sidney Poitier were also partners) deal, but then he fell in love with the picture after its release. McQueen found himself in a real Catch-22. The movie finally came out on DVD in 2009 via Warner Brothers’ website, so if you’re a fan and are curious, you should check it out to see what all the fuss was about.

Off-screen, what was McQueen like as a person?

Let me be clear, I never met Steve McQueen when he was alive, so I can only give you my opinion based on the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted with friends, family, business associates and those who have had encounters with McQueen, which is really the basis of Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool.

McQueen is perhaps the most multi-faceted and complex person I’ve ever researched. He was the epitome of yin and yang – sweet and scary; caring and selfish; cocky and insecure; funny and humorless; generous and thrifty. He was every emotion you could think of, which makes him absolutely fascinating to a biographer.

30 years after McQueen's death [November 7th, 1980], if he were still alive today, what would you see him doing?

I see him as a semi-retired actor, living the good life on a ranch somewhere. McQueen always lived his life out of the spotlight, and I think he would have come out of retirement for a good role (and a hefty paycheck). Look at all of the same people of his era – Newman, Eastwood, Beatty, Redford – they all continued to work, albeit sporadically, and were able to find vehicles to support their ages. McQueen would have easily slid into a leading role or extended cameo. Eastwood is the exception in this group. He doesn't seem to ever want to stop working, and God bless him. He's amazing.

Did McQueen know how many people enjoyed him & his work?

I believe he did, but his vision of his popularity was skewed. He rated his success in terms of box-office receipts. Plus, he lived most of his adult life in Southern California where everyone “loved him.” I think fame scared him to a certain degree, which is why he didn’t hide but mostly ducked the whole Hollywood experience. I think he retained his edge by remaining the Hollywood outsider, which is why he chose to live privately. He said more than once, “To have your obscurity and keep your identity is the ultimate.” For this I completely respect him because it shows he wanted a balance in his life. Living in Hollywood can make any celebrity unbalanced, and McQueen gets major kudos for being his own man.

If you had met McQueen, what would you have said to him?

This is a very interesting question because McQueen didn’t talk much about the art of filmmaking or his movie roles; instead, he preferred talking about his motorcycles and machinery. I know nothing about engines or machinery & have no interest in them whatsoever as long as it gets me from point A to point B. I remember producer David Wolper telling me that he sat in between McQueen and actor Lee Marvin at a benefit dinner, and it was like listening to a pair of mechanics talk shop. He said it was the most boring night of his life! (His passage is in Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool).

I thought that was a fascinating insight into McQueen. So to answer your question, I’m not sure what we could have talked about. I’m of the belief that a biographer probably shouldn’t meet his subject. I’d much rather rely on family, friends, and associates to paint his/her portrait. A biographer should be the proverbial fly on the wall and listen, observe, research, and take in all the information before sitting down to write, and make sure to give the full picture of the person.

What do you enjoy doing when not writing a biography or newspaper article?

Lately, I’ve been into mountain biking. Arizona has some of the most gorgeous terrain in the country, and I try to ride at least an hour a day after work. It’s very peaceful and relaxing, and I usually ride off the beaten path with my iPod blaring. I listen to my favorite tunes while I look at mountains, cactus, parks, lakes and critters of the desert.

My wife and I watch a lot of movies & current tv series such as Entourage, Weeds, True Blood, Mad Men, & Breaking Bad. We're huge fans of reality tv including The Real Housewives of New York City, Celebrity Rehab, Sober House, The Hills, and Seinfeld reruns. I also read a lot of books – biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, history, always non-fiction.

One last question: What other projects are you thinking about, or is McQueen still taking up all your time?

After I finished Steve McQueen: The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon, which is more than 600 pages, I’m thinking of retiring altogether or taking a very long break. Writing is very stressful because of the amount of concentration and because you’re dealing with facts.

In the beginning it was fun and a new adventure. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more of a perfectionist, and I place very high standards on my work, and that can be very emotionally and physically draining. You might think the more you do something the easier it gets, but it doesn’t. It gets harder because there’s more expectation of me, and I also expect more of myself. I’ve heard more than one author say what I’m telling you now, and I don’t feel this is an isolated case. So for now, I want to sit back and enjoy my life as opposed to being chained to a computer for 8 to 10 hours a day, which is what I did for this last McQueen book. For the first time in 20 years, I’m not going to actively pursue a book project, and I’m absolutely at peace with the idea.

For even more McQueen magic, visit www.examiner.com/steve-mcqueen-in-national/jeremy-roberts Jeremy Roberts describes himself as: “a freelance writer who loves reading biographies, watching classic movies, going to concerts, listening to music. Investigating pop culture, including anything from the '30s to the present, is a lifelong passion of mine. Everyone has a story to tell, and if I've been a good listener and asked questions, then I've done my job.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Laurence Juber Q & A


Grammy-Award winning guitar artist Laurence Juber will make a pair of intimate Southern California appearances this month. Juber will play at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, at McCabes Guitar Store, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, at The Fret House, 309 N. Citrus, Covina.

Often considered most famous for playing lead guitar in Wings from 1978 to 1981, Juber, known as ‘LJ’, has since had a distinguished career as a solo finger-style guitarist.


LJ graciously granted me an interview over the phone from Los Angeles to promote his two SoCal appearances.

Q: Do you enjoy playing in your own backyard?

LJ: I spend much of my time performing outside of Southern California, so it’s a pleasure to do what I consider ‘hometown shows’ in very intimate and close-up acoustic venues.

Q: In between shows, you also do guitar workshops. What are those like?

LJ: They’re definitely more on the technical end of the spectrum of what I do. It’s usually a group lesson between eight and 20 people, showing them tips, tricks and ways to improve their playing. I also explain my process for arranging and playing the solo acoustic guitar, how to get sound, resonance and character from the instrument. I pass on my knowledge and experience on how to create a solid musical experience.

Q: You've played at McCabes and The Fret House before. What are those two venues like?

McCabes is a historic place, which opened in 1958. It's also one of the best acoustic venues in the Los Angeles area and it's a delight to play there. It's a guitar shop and venue. At night they clear out the racks of guitars and put out chairs and it holds about 150 people. It's just a great gig. The list of musicians that have played there and hung out in the store is amazing - Ry Cooder, Bonnie Rait, Jackson Browne, Hoyt Axton, Jeff Buckley, Gene Clark, John Densmore, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Roger McGuinn, Mick Taylor - all the greats. I'm working on some new arrangements and whenever I play there I always throw in something new into the repertoire.

The Fret House is an annual show I do and this will be my 20th performance there. I've playing there since 1991 right after my first album, Solo Flight, came out. It's a guitar store but they have a separate performance space and it's a very intimate acoustic venue. I've always enjoyed playing there.

Q: At your concerts, you play all styles of music, including a nice sampling of the Beatles. Why are their songs so magical?

LJ: (laughs) Every time I hear a Beatles record I gain a new appreciation. Above and beyond the analytical part of it and creating the arrangements, when I start deconstructing Beatles songs, I find unexpected things. I can never listen to a Beatles record twice and hear exactly the same thing. There’s always something that I’ve missed, or a new discovery where you say, “Wow, what was that little guitar lick?” Or the way in which the backing vocals come in…there’s always something new to discover in their work.

For more information visit www.laurencejuber.com

What: Laurence Juber 
Where: McCabes Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica 
When: Friday, Nov 18, 8 p.m.
Cost: $20 
Information: 310-828-4497 or http://www.mccabes.com 

What: Laurence Juber 
Where: The Fret House 309 N. Citrus, Covina
When: Saturday, Nov. 19, 8 p.m.
Cost: $20 
Information: 626-339-7020 or http://www.frethouse.com

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ronny Cox headlines at the Cave Creek Coffee Co.


Ronny Cox, musician and noted actor, will be joined by South Carolina-born singer-songwriter-guitarist Jack Williams on stage at Cave Creek Coffee Company in Cave Creek on Saturday, Nov. 19. Ronny and Jack have collaborated musically many times in recent years, touring together on the US folk circuit and recording/producing one of Ronny’s CDs. Each will present his own music and stories in two separate sets, with Jack joining Ronny to accompany him on guitar.

While Ronny started out as a musician and has emphasized that side of his career for the past few years, he is still one of the most respected and sought-after character actors in Hollywood. Since his debut as “Drew” in John Boorman's film "Deliverance" - including playing guitar in the famous "dueling banjos" scene - Ronny has appeared in over 50 films including "Beverly Hills Cop (I & II)", "Bound for Glory", "Robo Cop", "Total Recall,” and has played the president of the U.S. at least four times (including “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”). In his recent recording, “How I Love Them Old Songs: Ronny Cox Sings Mickey Newbury”, produced by Jack Williams, Ronny pays tribute to the music of the legendary Texas songwriter. His additional recordings, “Songs with Repercussions,” "Ronny Cox Live," "Cowboy Savant" and "Acoustic Electricity" showcase Ronny’s home grown style of folk music and the lively story-telling that goes with it. Steadily increasing his following on the U.S. folk music circuit, he has headlined at such venues as the prestigious Old Town School of Folk in Chicago, the New Bedford SummerFest, and the Kerrville Folk Festival, a favorite of Ronny’s held annually in Kerrville, Texas.

Jack Williams is well known in the contemporary U.S. folk community as a Southern singer/ songwriter/storyteller, energetic performer, and unique guitarist. He continues to tour the U.S., as he has for the past 50 years, out of his love of music and performing. Jack books an annual circuit of approximately 100 U.S. festivals, house concerts and major folk venues each year, and has been a featured performer on the stages of the Philadelphia, SummerFest, Kerrville, Boston, and Newport Folk Festivals. In addition to his US audience, Jack has also become a favorite in England, Canada and Europe.

Jack Williams’ music – original Southern-American songwriting and performance at its best - draws deeply from the eclectic well of our musical heritage. Loaded with delightful influences from his career in jazz, classical, rock, blues, country and folk, Jack’s music is an easy, natural fusion of guitar, voice, songs, and stories. His original songs celebrating the characters, attitudes and life in the American South can be found on his DVD and nine CDs released on the Wind River / Folk Era label. His album, “Don’t Let Go”, is a tribute to some of the writers and songs that had the greatest impact on his musical development.

WHAT: RONNY COX and JACK WILLIAMS in Concert

WHEN: Saturday, Nov, 19, 2011, 7:30-10:30pm

WHERE: Cave Creek Coffee Co., 6033 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek

COST: $22 in advance online or $25 at the door

CONTACT: For more information call 480.488.0603 or visit www.cavecreekcoffee.com

Monday, November 7, 2011

Q & A with McQueen author Andrew Antoniades


Interviewer: You have just released a new book called “Steve McQueen: The Actor and his Films”. Why is McQueen so popular even today?



Andrew: In essence it is because what Steve McQueen stood for in his lifetime is still as relevant, if not more so, today. He was a no-nonsense person who was essentially an underdog and that story is always appealing. He was a rebel but he could also act, so his films remain relevant and well-loved today. For example, Bullitt is still influencing modern cinema through its cinematography and its car chase. Aside form the films there is McQueen fashion sense and his love of fast cars and motorbikes. So for every person there is nearly always something they can relate to and admire. In an age where cinema really has no tough guys like McQueen, people have to look back and appreciated him for the maverick he was, since there is no one that comes close these days. He died just over 30 years ago but remains as relevant and as big as ever.
Interviewer: How did you come to write a book on Steve McQueen?

Andrew: I had just edited Marshall Terrill’s latest biography Steve McQueen: The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon. That was a great experience for me as I had read Marshall’s first biography on McQueen from 1993 when I was just in my late teens. Marshall always felt, having written the definitive biography on McQueen that the story of his films needed to be told. Marshall graciously suggested that I be the one to tell this story and put in contact with his publisher. From there I teamed up with Mike Siegel who has one of Europe’s leading film memorabilia archives with so many great images and film posters. We teamed up with the idea being that I did most of the writing and Mike providing most of the images. In a sense, the book now has the best of both worlds and benefits from two very big McQueen fans to ensure that the text and imagery are of the highest caliber. The partnership worked well and, with Marshall and the publisher’s support, the end product exceeded all our hopes.

Interviewer: Why did you focus on Steve McQueen’s films?

Andrew: McQueen’s life was a miracle in its own way. He was born into poverty and managed to somehow work his way from a teenage delinquent to a Hollywood megastar, defying the odds. His life story is completely interwoven with his films. The reason being two-fold. Firstly, being an actor was his way to a better life, a way of achieving success. Without films he could have easily drifted from job to job, just as he had as a young man. Secondly, McQueen used acting as a means of developing himself. He used all his hardships and life experiences to create some of cinema’s richest and most subtle characterizations.

However, McQueen also managed to do the reverse too, in the latter half of his career, his movies became his confessional of sorts. He would invest in scenes to achieve catharsis and to understand his own personal anxieties and fears. For example, in Junior Bonner there is the scene between McQueen’s character and his father, Ace, in which the two have a very strained relationship, but a deep respect. McQueen himself grew up never knowing his father and this scene allowed McQueen to examine his own feelings of abandonment and being denied a conventional father-son relationship. It is an incredibly poignant scene, but really highlights just how important McQueen’s films are.

Interviewer: Which part of the book are you most proud of?

Andrew: It is hard to pick one. The reason being is the book covers so much in text and in words. This was a conscious decision as we wanted to give fans everything we like ourselves. With the text of the book, I guess I’m most proud of the dissection of McQueen’s acting. I wanted to offer a unique and in-depth insight into McQueen’s technique, his subtleties and his motivations, to really get under his skin. This is something that has never been done in such detail.

Interviewer: Visually, what are the books strengths?

Andrew: We were adamant that the book should look impressive and possess great quality. As a collector myself, I always want things that look good and impress. The book is literally huge; at nearly 500 pages I don’t think there is another book on McQueen of this size. It is presented in hardback too with a wonderful gold embossed logo on the cover, underneath the dust jacket. When I got my own copy of the book I had no idea about this and was blown away. My publisher did a great job and I believe that little touches add to the overall presentation.

With the images, even the biggest McQueen fan will be blown away. With over a 1,000 images there are so many never-before-seen photos. So many books on McQueen have been released that simply repeat the same images. Steve McQueen: The Actor and his Films has something for casual and die-hard fans alike. Whether it’s an unseen image of McQueen taking a nap between takes on The Getaway or a rare Italian poster for Bullitt, there is something new and fresh.

Interviewer: What makes your book so different?

Andrew: The word I would use, and I use it with caution, is “definitive”. I do not say this lightly. I own practically every book published on McQueen over the years. I must say that, as an account of McQueen’s films, it really is definitive. Other books that try to cover his films either are outdated, not richly presented or omit key details. With this book every aspect is dealt with in great detail and new angles discovered. I clearly have a bias, but I believe that there is nothing on the market that comes close.

Interviewer: Thank you Andrew, this book sounds great, I wish you every success. Any closing comments?

Andrew: Yes, thank you too, this has been great. To close I’d just like to say that I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to put together a book on a subject that I am so passionate about. It has really been a labor of love. At the end of the day, I am a McQueen fan so I wanted to put something together that would really do him justice. I hope that I have achieved that.

Q: Tell us something you've never revealed to anyone else?

Andrew: I love Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through The Tulips."

Steve McQueen: The Actor and his Films, by Andrew Antoniades and Mike Siegel

Is available from Dalton Watson Fine books www.daltonwatson.com

http://www.daltonwatson.com/78-celebrities/130-steve-mcqueen-the-actor-and-his-films

ISBN 978-1-85443-253-7

Hard cover with dust jacket

Publication Date November 2011

Page Size: 300mm x 230mm. 492 pages.

Illustrations: 1,020 illustrations: 790 photos incl. 44 full page photos. 230 artwork reproductions incl. 48 full page poster reproductions & 10 full page lobby card reproductions

Price: US$69/£39

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Steve McQueen: The Actor and His Films


There are few books available that concentrate solely on the films of Steve McQueen. Steve McQueen: The Actor and his Films, is the definitive account of every film that the iconic actor made. This lavishly illustrated book devotes nearly 500 pages to Steve McQueen’s career and tracks his journey from juvenile delinquent, to Marine, to an aspiring actor breaking into Hollywood, until he became a global superstar and the highest-paid actor of his era. Included are numerous behind the scenes tales of events that occurred leading up to and during filming, and fascinating insights into McQueen’s acting techniques and motivations.

Each film is allocated one chapter. The chapters begin with a précis of the particular movie. Then events surrounding its making are described, uncovering new facts and insights. This is followed by an analysis of its success, and finally a significant scene is discussed in detail. Steve McQueen: The Actor and his Films is extensively illustrated with over 1000 color and black & white images, including posters from around the world, lobby cards, memorabilia, many never-before seen candid stills and rare vintage advertising materials.

Andrew Antoniades is a Chartered Accountant and lifelong Steve McQueen fan and expert. He studied English Literature at Southampton University and edited Marshall Terrill's 2010 biography Steve McQueen: Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon. He has collected Steve McQueen memorabilia for over a decade and his collection includes original vintage film posters and several items personally owned by McQueen. Andrew lives in London.

Mike Siegel is a filmmaker, film historian and the director of more than a dozen documentaries on classic films and directors of the 1960s and 1970s. He is best known for his work regarding American director Sam Peckinpah including his acclaimed film Passion & Poetry – The Ballad of Sam Peckinpah and the accompanying book Passion & Poetry – Sam Peckinpah in Pictures. Over the years he has contributed to countless books and magazines, including the American film magazine Cinema Retro, and produced a number of special-edition DVDs. He started his historical film collection at the age of ten and now owns one of the leading archives in Germany. He resides near Stuttgart, Germany.

For more information, visit www.daltonwatson.com or email info@daltonwatson.com

Saturday, November 5, 2011

LJ to perform pair of SoCal concerts


Two-time Grammy-Award winning guitar artist Laurence Juber will make a pair of intimate Southern California appearances later this month.

Juber will play at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, at McCabes Guitar Store, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, at The Fret House, 309 N. Citrus, Covina.

“I spend much of my time performing outside of Southern California, so it’s a pleasure to do what I consider ‘hometown shows’ in very intimate and close-up acoustic venues,” Juber said.

Known for playing lead guitar in Wings from 1978 to 1981, Juber, known as ‘LJ’, has since had a distinguished career as a solo finger-style guitarist.A world-class guitar virtuoso solo artist, composer and arranger, LJ fuses folk, jazz, and pop styles and creates a dynamic multi-faceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument. 

Laurence has released 19 acclaimed solo albums since Wings folded. Wooden Horses showcases his compositions for solo guitar, while his celebrated arranging skills are featured on two volumes of LJ Plays The Beatles, the first of which was voted among the all-time top ten acoustic guitar records. 

As a studio musician, he can be heard on recent albums from artists as diverse as Barry Manilow, Al Steward and Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks. He is also featured on the soundtracks to hundreds of TV shows and movies including the Academy Award-winning Good Will Hunting and Dirty Dancing, the James Bond thriller The Spy Who Love Me and the upcoming Muppets movie.

For more information visit:
http://laurencejuber.com/

What: Laurence Juber 
Where: McCabes Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica 
When: Friday, Nov 18, 8 p.m.
Cost: $20 
Information: 310-828-4497 or http://www.mccabes.com 

What: Laurence Juber 
Where: The Fret House 309 N. Citrus, Covina
When: Saturday, Nov. 19, 8 p.m.
Cost: $20 
Information: 626-339-7020 or http://www.frethouse.com

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stage 32.com lights up entertainment industry


There is now a highly developed online social platform that gives people involved in the entertainment industry their very own, specialized place to network and collaborate. Stage32.com, founded by Curt Blakeney and Richard “RB” Botto, was designed for aspiring and established actors, directors, screenwriters, producers, crew, agents, technical and production support, and other industry members. It is an all-encompassing social network of like-minded individuals who have joined forces to promote creative growth in the film, television and theater industries.

The site fosters and facilitates collaboration between members using tried-and-true social networking concepts in “real time.” It features individual chat rooms, entertainment industry news, member updates in a status feed, private messaging, instant messaging, project listing, jobs listings, and forums. It gives members the ability to upload photos, videos, and projects, and also “follow” other projects to get updates and potentially turn ideas into production reality.

“On the flight back from the American Film Market (AFM) in Los Angeles, RB and I fleshed out the idea for Stage 32,” said Curt Blakeney, co-founder of Stage32.com. “In the bar of the Loews Santa Monica Hotel, we witnessed so many projects being discussed and so many filmmakers with completed films begging to be heard. We thought it would be great to create a virtual meeting place so that people could discuss film and theater projects and connect year round, anywhere in the world. Stage 32 is a social network uniquely populated with the most creative people on Earth.”

Unofficially launched on July 23, 2011, the site went through a “proof of concept” phase with early adapters. Within weeks, membership quickly grew to 20,000 members globally in more than 120 countries. With Stage 32, industry personnel have an online place to call home.

“Excelling at your craft is only half the battle,” Botto said. “Networking is just as important, and we’re helping to accelerate that process.”

Whether someone is looking to fund a film, cast talent in a project, join classes, find a director, get advice or discuss key industry issues in the chat area, Stage 32 is designed to connect everyone within the industry. Best of all, Stage 32 is free to join and can easily be linked to an individual’s Facebook account, giving the user easy access to their existing contacts and colleagues.

“Stage 32 has allowed me to present my past and current film projects to a diverse and qualified forum of entertainment professionals,” said Writer/Director/Producer Angelo Bell. “As a result of posting my current film project on Stage 32, I've been contacted by numerous people (talent and crew) who appreciate the concept and are interested in helping me bring it to fruition.”

“With Stage 32, I have an all-access pass to television and movie professionals as well as media members,” said publicist Lynette Carrington of Carrington Entertainment. “I can find great places to book my clients for print, radio and podcast interviews and I can also see what films are currently casting. Stage 32 has been an extraordinarily valuable tool in helping me do my job. Plus, it is always great to meet others that understand this challenging industry.”

Stage 32 can be found online at www.Stage32.com. It can also be accessed via Facebook at www.facebook.com/stage32 or twitter at @stage32online. Relevant for both newcomers and seasoned entertainment professionals, Stage 32 is the no-nonsense, professional place to get serious about taking a dream and making it a reality.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Turpin headlines Nov. 5 benefit to honor fallen niece


When Atlanta rocker Will Turpin takes to the stage next week to headline a benefit concert, he'll be playing for someone who can't be there - his recently deceased niece, Kensley Grace Kirby.

The veteran bassist for Collective Soul will top the bill of The KG Music Fest on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, at Southside Steve's, 715 Industrial Blvd., McDonough. The 2 p.m. show also features Collective Soul guitarist Joel Kosche, Abel, Rawls & Hayes, Reluctant Saints and Eleven Standing Still.

Turpin will be using his celebrity status to help to raise funds for the Kensley Grace Aquatic Center. The proposed swimming facility is named after his 5-year-old niece, who died June 8 after she was taken to a McDonough family medical clinic to get treated for a broken arm. She died after a lethal dose of local anesthesia was given to her at the clinic, an Atlanta coroner confirmed.

"Kensley’s death was a big blow to our entire family and it has changed all of our lives. She loved swimming and we're going to use the money we raise to build a nice aquatic facility in Henry County," Turpin said. "The sadness that Kensley's tragic death has exposed will never be repaired but we are trying to put energy towards something that is positive to balance out all of the negative."

Turpin said Kensley enjoyed both soccer and swimming and had expressed an interest in joining the S.M.A.R.T. (Smart Motivated Athletic Respectful and Teammate) swim team. Her eight-year-old sister, Avonlea, is also a member of the team.

A Facebook group called Kensley Grace Aquatic Center has been created and a fund-raising team has been established. Tax-deductible donations may be made to the Kensley Grace Memorial Fund at Ameris Bank, located at 135 North Park Place, Suite 250, Stockbridge.

Turpin said competitive swimmers in Henry County currently don't have a proper sized pool to train and must travel to neighboring counties to compete. He hopes to rectify that situation by raising money through Saturday's benefit.

"A local land owner has approached us about donating land for the aquatic center," Turpin said. "We've turned a major corner and the rest is up to us to come through for these kids."

Fans will be treated to a rare solo appearance by Turpin, who will be playing songs from his new EP, The Lighthouse (Gooey Music, 2011) and a few from Collective Soul. He added that the other musicians on the bill would be joining him for an all-star jam at the end of the evening.

For more information on the Kensley Grace Aquatic Center, visit www.kensleygrace.com

For more information about the KG Music Fest, call Southside Steve's at 678-814-4126 or visit www.southsidesteves.com


What: KG Music Fest benefit featuring Will Turpin
Where: Southside Steve's, 715 Industrial Blvd., McDonough
When: Saturday, Nov. 5, 2 to 8 p.m.
Cost: $10
Information: 678-814-4126 or www.southsidesteves.com

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Turpin's Halloween Show Will Be Sweet


Multi-platinum artist Will Turpin will headline the annual Halloween Rock Review at the French Market, 3840 Highway 42, Locust Grove. The show starts 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Turpin will appear with his three-piece group Will and The Way, which includes Jason Fowler (guitar and vocals) and Scott Davidson (drums). The trio fuses pop and classic rock to create a dynamic sound Turpin describes as “mega sweet rock ‘n’ roll candy.”

He recently gave me an interview regarding the "spooktacular" extravaganza.

Q:You're getting ready to headline the Halloween Rock Review on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the French Market in Locust Grove. It's a place you're quite familiar with having played there a few times before. What do you like about the venue?

WT: It's close to where I live, and my buddy Rick Weaver owns the place. We often get together and dream up events and the Halloween Rock Review is just one of those grand ideas that came to fruition. Rick usually hosts solo artists on weekends, but they're usually smaller setups. But the event we're setting up is a big rock show and it'll be cool. It's a very intimate venue but we're going to pack the place and kill it with some great sounding rock 'n' roll.

Q: I hear you've got some clever things going on for this gig...can you give us a taste of what's to come?

WT: We're fusing Halloween and rock 'n' roll. So we'll open with "Helter Skelter" by the Beatles, perhaps play Ozzy Osborne's "Crazy Train" and I think we're picking up "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr. A couple of musician buddies in costume will join us on stage - Elvis is dropping by for a couple of tunes; Willie Nelson will play a little harmonica and sing "You Were Always On My Mind,"; Angus Young of AC/DC might also stop by to jam on "Highway to Hell." And of course, I'll be doing a few songs from my new EP, The Lighthouse. It's going to be a fun evening.

Q: This is a Will and the Way billed show, which includes Jason Fowler on guitar and vocals and Scott Davidson on drums. You've already played a few shows together. Are you pleased with how the group is coming along?

WT: Real pleased. Jason and Scott are accomplished musicians and guys I've known for a long time. We've actually played and jammed with each other and it's been great fun. The Way has been an evolving thing and we hope to do some more shows and start headlining a few bills. I think we're going to have to add one more member of the group because I just can't play piano and bass. However, the three-piece is a nice solid core and we can easily add another member and fill out the sound as we progress.

Q: You just did a large show in Detroit with Collective Soul. The French Market show is going to be a much more intimate affair. Which do you prefer?

WT: It depends on the evening, but I like having both options available to me. The Detroit show was great and it was a venue I've never playhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifed before, so I liked that a lot and would go back there and play anytime. The French Market gig is going to be more of a big party and I'll be surrounded by a lot of friends. I can promise it will be a great evening.

The Lighthouse is available on iTunes and in physical form through CDBaby.com. For more information visit wwhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifw.willturpin.com.

For more information about the Halloween Rock Review, call the French Market at 770-914-9312 or visit http://www.frenchmarkettavern.com/

What: Halloween Rock Review featuring Will Turpin
Where: The French Market, 3840 Highway 42, Locust Grove
When: Saturday, Oct. 29, 9 p.m. to midnight
Cost: $15
Information: 770-914-9312 or http://www.frenchmarkettavern.com/

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turpin navigates his way in "The Lighthouse"


Will Turpin is quite possibly the most laid back guy in rock ‘n’ roll, ironic considering it’s an industry based on a lot of noise and hype. On his new EP called The Lighthouse, the humble musician has cleared his throat and finally discovered his voice.

Turpin is the bassist for Collective Soul, a super group who charted an astounding seven No. 1 hits in a seven-year period. They received more airtime on the radio than any other band of its era - Nirvana, Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and Oasis weren't even close.

Their hook-laden guitar anthems and powerfully melodic songs propelled them to international stardom, multi-platinum status and were the soundtrack for millions of lives.

Nearly 18 years after the group's formation comes this first solo effort by Turpin, who navigates his way through this this five-song set of catchy and infectious tunes.

In between his duties for Collective Soul and Soccer Dad, Turpin found time to write, record, produce and distribute this work on his indie label, Gooey Music.

The Lighthouse features collaborations with former Collective Soul drummer Ryan Hoyle as well as current band mates Ed Roland (who co-wrote two of the songs), guitarist Joel Kosche, and musician Peter Stroud (electric and 12-string guitar).

Turpin sings as well as plays piano, bass, acoustic guitar and drums. He describes his sound as "mega sweet rock 'n roll candy" and offers listeners a handful of tasty treats as well as some food for thought.

"60 Seconds" - This rollicking and upbeat opener showcases Turpin's piano and bass skills while summoning the spirit of Paul McCartney and Wings. Turpin says the song is about a foolish but life-changing act that takes no more than "60 Seconds." "It's hard to wear a heavy crown. You've gotta keep your head from falling down. But if I were the King of Attributes, then what would I be to you?" cleverly hints that Turpin learned a trick or two over the years from Roland, who is an ace songwriter.

"Sailor" - Co-written with Roland, "Sailor" is a moody and introspective piece about friendships with people who need help but won't accept sound advice. When Turpin sings, "I can't save the sailor from the storm," he admits the line is in reference to Shane Evans, Collective Soul's original drummer, who was ousted from the group in 2004.

"My Star" - Turpin sings his heart out for the entire 4:35, making this The Lighthouse's most emotionally charged track. It's dedicated to his wife Donna, who has been Turpin's better half for 17 years and is “his star.” Turpin also says the song is about him when referring to "the guy who couldn't be stopped, who shoulda been shot."

"Her Name" - Written about a woman who is the constant center of attention and "everyone knows her name." Kosche's classical guitar lends a Spanish aesthetic to the tune and complements Turpin's falsetto. The second of two songs co-written with Roland.

"Sanity" - Epic and ambitious, Turpin's rails about the pitfalls of substance abuse and appeals to lost souls not to give up hope but rather find a solution. "I had a lot to lose, so I had to find another way. I found it easy to choose when I saw there was another way." The song aptly closes out The Lighthouse and promises greater things to come from Turpin.

The Lighthouse is available for download on iTunes.com and in disc form through CDBaby.com. For more information, visit www.willturpin.com

Monday, October 24, 2011

Q & A with Will Turpin on "The Lighthouse"


Q: How does The Lighthouse differ musically from Collective Soul?

WT: Well, all of the melodies and music came out of my head as opposed to Ed Roland's. Obviously Collective Soul works as a band when we make records and this is all me. I play piano, acoustic guitar, bass, vocals and singing harmonies. It's more from one person's brain rather than five who comprise a group called Collective Soul.

Q: Why did you title it The Lighthouse? Does it have any significance?

WT: It does. There's a track on the record called "Sailor" and that song is about the fact that you can't help people unless they want to be helped. "I can't save the sailor from the storm" is the lyric and when talking about a lighthouse, if you don't follow the lighthouse you can't necessarily be saved.

Q: What made you finally decide to do solo project outside of Collective Soul after 18 years?

WT: That's somewhat true; I have produced some stuff here and there, singer Michael Tolcher for one. Collective Soul has pretty much been a full-time job and we've stayed busy over the years, so there hasn't been much of a chance to go out and experiment on our own.

Q: It seems like this is the year that everyone in the group has a solo project going on - Joel Kosche has released Fight Years; Dean Roland partnered with Ryan Potesta on Magnets and Ghosts and Ed Roland is heading up The Sweet Tea Project. Was that a conscious decision the band made or something that just evolved?

WT: We pretty much sat down and decided we're going to take some time off from Collective Soul and recharge our batteries. We did it before in 2001 but this time it's a totally different set of circumstances. This time was a lot more thought out than our first break.

Q: Why an EP of five songs as opposed to say an entire album?

WT: I started off with 14 tunes and as I got into it, I realized how much I wanted to do. I simply didn't have as much time and resources as I wanted, so I picked fives tunes to represent a little bit about what's going on musically with myself and wanted to get it out as soon as possible. That's really the thought process behind it. The songs I chose were the ones that came together the easiest and the best in terms of representation.

Q: How long did it take to produce The Lighthouse?

WT: Eight months but some of the songs have been around for a few years. I know that "60 Seconds" and "Her Name" are at least three to five years old. Some of the songs and lyrics had been written but from the time I whittled the list from 14 to five songs, that process was about eight months.

Q: Let’s talk about the studio where you cut most of these songs – Real 2 Reel Studios – a studio your father founded and where acts like .38 Special and Wet Willie once recorded. It must be a second home for you?

WT: It felt very natural and my father raised a family on that studio. I've recorded there so often throughout the years, I'm now 40, and the last 18 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. I'm glad I did my first solo work at Real 2 Reel because of the comfort level and the crew helped the songs get to be where they needed to be. The room is just beautiful, amazing. When you're there you're hunkered inside and working. It's a very functional place that I just so happen to have a key.

Q: You’re known for your bass playing, but most of songs on The Lighthouse are piano-based. That's going to be a bit of a surprise to your fans.

WT: I started off on the piano and received lessons starting at eight and continued until I was 12. I was also a music major in percussion in college when I went to Florida State University and Georgia State University. I was playing percussion in many different ways between private lessons and hand drums with Jimmy Buffett cover bands to marimbas in symphonies. I was doing that when we got signed to Atlantic Records back in the early 1990s. Music is pretty much all I've ever done and it's always flowed through me. My friends say I can pick up any instrument and make it sound good, so I guess there's something to that.

Q: And that leads to my next question: is melody something you're born with or something you have to work at?

WT: That's sorta like the evolution question...which came first, the chicken or the egg? I think that might an intrinsic quality you're born with. I certainly believe there's an aptitude for it and perhaps it is something in the genes.

Q: Melody seems to flow naturally out of Collective Soul and you on this new EP.

WT: Right. It has always felt natural to me and I hope it feels that way to everybody else. And of course, the Beatles have always been a big influence on me when it comes to melody.

Q: Let’s talk about the five songs on the EP, starting with “60 Seconds.” Tell me what the song's about?

WT: That song is about making a small but very bad decision. The kind of decision that's crucial and yet not affecting the entirety of your life. Maybe more specifically when someone chooses to have random sex with someone they don't know (laughs).

Q: Going back to “Sailor”, it almost sounds as if you were describing a person who needed saving, perhaps a person with substance abuse problem?

WT: There's a tinge of that in the song. I have a very close friend, Shane Evans, our former drummer, and I saw some of that in him. It's about not being able to save someone even if you're showing them the way, they still have to come to that decision on their own.

Q: "My Star," is the real standout track in my opinion. The song is very emotional. Who is it about?

WT: That's about my wife, Donna. She's my star. We've been married 17 years and have three boys. The song is also about me. I'm the guy, who "couldn't be stopped, who shoulda been shot," all that stuff.

Q: "Her Name" is the second song you co-wrote with band mate Ed Roland ("Sailor" was the first). What was that experience like?

WT: They were just songs we wrote when hanging out together. The exception being the songs were my ideas, not Ed's and so he helped me flesh them out. "Her Name" is about someone who's always the center of attention. Everyone knows that someone who walks into a room or party and it becomes lively, thus "everyone knows her name." Then when they get home, they're just the opposite. They're quiet, maybe a little depressed and find it hard to deal with themselves. Joel Kosche plays classical guitar on that and gives it a real Spanish, Julio Iglesias vibe.

Q: You also called upon former Collective Soul drummer Ryan Hoyle to drum on the tracks. You obviously have a lot of musicians in your circle of friends, so why did you go with Ryan?

Q: Ryan's a very musical drummer and that's very hard to find. He's a perfectionist and he takes it to the most finite detail as far as how he approaches drums as an instrument. He's a great player and he's got a helluva studio. He's got every drum you can think of and his studio is like a toy store. Ryan can play it, engineer it, and got all the drums and microphones ready to go. I'd say the songs were about half-way done when Ryan got them and he's so smart he knew exactly where the direction of the songs were going. Some keeper vocals were on there and some he received with scratch vocals, it just depended on the song. But Ryan's drumming just enhanced whatever I did and gave it the full power it needed. The amazing thing was we didn't spend a whole lot of time talking about the arrangement of the song. He just played and he found the most important parts real quickly.

Q: "Sanity"?

WT: "Sanity" is more specifically about substance abuse or getting into any kind of rut and using something as a crutch. It's the most ambitious track on The Lighthouse and bridges the gap to the next batch of songs I'm working on. I wanted to give everyone a taste of where I'm heading. There's one song I'm working on that's pretty epic. In fact, the working title is "The Fall and Epic." I'm trying to find more resources and outlets for my music and continue to put out the songs.

Q: What did you learn about yourself after producing, distributing, starting your own label and now promoting The Lighthouse?

WT: It's kind of daunting when you invest and promote yourself as an artist, so that's the first thing I learned. It's a lot of work, but the experience has been rewarding. Luckily, the reaction has been really good. I've learned I want more for myself and I feel good about finishing the songs and I want to finish more.

Q: Does this mean we might see more Will Turpin songs show up on Collective Soul releases in the future?

WT: Possibly. I'd like that.

The Lighthouse is available for download on iTunes.com and in disc form through CDBaby.com. For more information, visit www.willturpin.com

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Will Turpin on "The Lighthouse"


Cold wind, blowin’ down the street the sun is not out today
All night, thinkin’ bout a way to put things back in their place
I can’t put the fire out alone,
I can't save the sailor from the storm

The Lighthouse
Gooey Music, 2011

Rhythm, harmony and melody’s been a theme in my life as far back as I can remember
—and I’m 40. Having a sense of melody is sorta like the evolution question...which
came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s an intrinsic quality you're born with. I
certainly believe there's an aptitude for it; and, perhaps it’s something in the
genes.

My father, Bill Turpin, had those genes. He was a touring musician before opening
Real 2 Reel Studios back in 1976 in Jonesboro, Georgia. He raised his family there
and that’s definitely where part of my aptitude for music grew. It just felt
natural. I'm glad I did my first solo work at Real 2 Reel because of the comfort
level. The crew helped me get the songs where they needed to be.

I’ve worked hard to make my new stuff on The Lighthouse very personal, textured and rich in melody. They’re songs of love, hope, friendship, vanity, addiction, despair, bad decisions and positive solutions—you know, Tree of Life stuff.

My three boys are very musical and have great rhythm. They’ll learn that Tree of
Life stuff as they get out into the world. Right now we just play a lot of soccer
and spend a lot of quality time together. They think Dad’s being a rock star is
just one of those things you can do in life. I’ve started a little band with them
and we’ve even written a song together. We jam together. If my boys decide they
want a musical career, I’ll support them. My wife, Donna, and I facilitate anything
positive that they want to do and help them learn the tools to accomplish those
things. We’ve been together 17 years now. She’s “My Star.”

In the meantime, I hope that everyone enjoys The Lighthouse. The EP was hard work
and took eight months to whittle 14 songs down to five. It’s highly personal,
representing what’s going on with me musically and personally. When all’s said and
done, I’ll keep doing what I always do, try to be a good dad, put food on the table,
keep making music and count my blessings.

Look around and let the world explain...

Will Turpin
www.willturpin.com

Will Turpin's thoughts on "The Lighthouse"


Cold wind, blowin’ down the street the sun is not out today
All night, thinkin’ bout a way to put things back in their place
I can’t put the fire out alone,
I can't save the sailor from the storm


The Lighthouse
Gooey Music, 2011

Rhythm, harmony and melody’s been a theme in my life as far back as I can remember
—and I’m 40. Having a sense of melody is sorta like the evolution question...which
came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s an intrinsic quality you're born with. I
certainly believe there's an aptitude for it; and, perhaps it’s something in the
genes.

My father, Bill Turpin, had those genes. He was a touring musician before opening
Real 2 Reel Studios back in 1976 in Jonesboro, Georgia. He raised his family there
and that’s definitely where part of my aptitude for music grew. It just felt
natural. I'm glad I did my first solo work at Real 2 Reel because of the comfort
level. The crew helped me get the songs where they needed to be.

I’ve worked hard to make my new stuff on The Lighthouse very personal, textured and
rich in melody. They’re songs of love, hope, friendship, vanity, addiction,
despair, bad decisions and positive solutions—you know, Tree of Life stuff.

My three boys are very musical and have great rhythm. They’ll learn that Tree of
Life stuff as they get out into the world. Right now we just play a lot of soccer
and spend a lot of quality time together. They think Dad’s being a rock star is
just one of those things you can do in life. I’ve started a little band with them
and we’ve even written a song together. We jam together. If my boys decide they
want a musical career, I’ll support them. My wife, Donna, and I facilitate anything
positive that they want to do and help them learn the tools to accomplish those
things. We’ve been together 17 years now. She’s “My Star.”

In the meantime, I hope that everyone enjoys The Lighthouse. The EP was hard work
and took eight months to whittle 14 songs down to five. It’s highly personal,
representing what’s going on with me musically and personally. When all’s said and
done, I’ll keep doing what I always do, try to be a good dad, put food on the table,
keep making music and count my blessings.

Look around and let the world explain...

WT

Friday, October 21, 2011

Will Turpin headlines Halloween Rock Review


Multi-platinum artist Will Turpin will headline the annual Halloween Rock Review at the French Market, 3840 Highway 42, Locust Grove. The show starts 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Best known for playing bass guitar in Collective Soul, Turpin released his first solo work earlier this month, a five-song EP called The Lighthouse (Gooey Music, 2011). Turpin will appear with his three-piece group Will and The Way, which includes Jason Fowler (guitar and vocals) and Scott Davidson (drums). The trio fuses pop and classic rock to create a dynamic sound Turpin describes as “mega sweet rock ‘n’ roll candy.”

Turpin’s other band, Collective Soul, has released eight studio albums, one live album, one greatest hits compilation, one EP, 27 singles and 19 music videos. Their hook-laden guitar anthems and powerfully melodic songs propelled them to international stardom, multi-platinum status (12 million and counting) and were the soundtrack for millions of lives.

The Lighthouse features collaborations with former Collective Soul drummer Ryan Hoyle as well as current band mates Ed Roland (who co-wrote two of the songs), guitarist Joel Kosche, and musician Peter Stroud (electric and 12-string guitar). Turpin sings as well as plays piano, bass, acoustic guitar and drums. Songs include “60 Seconds”, “Sailor”, “My Star”, “Her Name” and “Sanity.”

The Lighthouse is available for download on iTunes.com and in disc form through CDBaby.com. For more information, visit www.willturpin.com
For more information about the Halloween Rock Review, call the French Market at 770-914-9312 or visit http://www.frenchmarkettavern.com/


What: Halloween Rock Review featuring Will Turpin
Where: The French Market, 3840 Highway 42, Locust Grove
When: Saturday, Oct. 29, 9 p.m. to midnight
Cost: $15
Information: 770-914-9312 or http://www.frenchmarkettavern.com/

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Coffee Talk with Laurence Juber


Two-time Grammy-Award winning guitar artist Laurence Juber will make a rare and intimate appearance this weekend at the Cave Creek Coffee Company, 6033 E. Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek, Arizona. The show starts 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15. Often considered most famous for playing lead guitar in Wings from 1978 to 1981, Juber, known as ‘LJ’, has since had a distinguished career as a solo finger-style guitarist.

LJ graciously granted me an interview to promote his upcoming Cave Creek appearance. As always, the virtuoso was in rare form.


Q: You’ve been on a mini-tour of our lovely state. What do you think of Arizona?

LJ: I enjoy Arizona, especially the northern portion. Last year I played in Flagstaff and right now I’m headed to Cottonwood. I like the audiences here, too, because they are not only enthusiastic but actually show up. That’s always a good thing!

Q: In between shows, you also do guitar workshops. What are those like?

LJ: They’re definitely more on the technical end of the spectrum of what I do. It’s usually a group lesson between eight and 20 people, showing them tips, tricks and ways to improve their playing. I also explain my process for arranging and playing the solo acoustic guitar, how to get sound, resonance and character from the instrument. I pass on my knowledge and experience on how to create a solid musical experience.

Q: It’s been a while since you’ve played at the Cave Creek Coffee Co.? How do you like the venue?

LJ: I remember it being a really cool place. When I first played there, it was a smallish coffee house and I played indoors. The last time I played they had moved the stage to the outside and there was a much bigger crowd. It’s a great vibe being outdoors and in the desert. It’s a great evening.

Q: At your concerts, you play all styles of music, including a nice sampling of the Beatles. Why are their songs so magical?

LJ: (laughs) Every time I hear a Beatles record I gain a new appreciation. Above and beyond the analytical part of it and creating the arrangements, when I start deconstructing Beatles songs, I find unexpected things. I can never listen to a Beatles record twice and hear exactly the same thing. There’s always something that I’ve missed, or a new discovery where you say, “Wow, what was that little guitar lick?” Or the way in which the backing vocals come in…there’s always something new to discover in their work.

Q: Did you hear that Cave Creek is hosting a running of the bulls hours before your gig?

LJ: I heard about it…No bull at my show.

For more information, call the Cave Creek Coffee Company at 480-488-0603 or visit www.cavecreekcoffee.com/


What: Laurence Juber
Where: Cave Creek Coffee Company, 6033 E. Cave Creek Road
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15
Cost: $20 advance; $23 at the door
Information: 480-488-0633 or www.cavecreekcoffee.com

Friday, October 14, 2011

Laurence Juber interview Pt. 1


In anticipation of Laurence Juber's concert at the Cave Creek Coffee Co. at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, I dusted off this candid and definitive two-part interview. Juber discusses the influence of the Beatles on his life, his career as a studio musician in London, the making of Back to the Egg and how he earned his musical degree from ‘McCartney University.’

Daytrippin’: I heard a curious story about you that almost seemed too good to be true, and so I have to ask – the first week that “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was released in Britain, it was also the same week you first picked up a guitar…true or false?

Juber: That’s essentially true. I had been wanting to pick up a guitar for some time, but there was a period in the summer of 1963 where Beatlemania came into full force in the UK. As a result, you really couldn’t get away from the fact that everything was all about pop music, especially at such an impressionable age. I really wanted to play the guitar, not specifically because of the Beatles, but because of The Shadows, who were Cliff Richard’s backing group and they performed all of these instrumental hits – that was just wonderful stuff. Then at the same time it was the start of the James Bond films, which had great twangy guitar sounds, which also influenced me.

In England music lessons started in junior high, so that was right around the start of my musical journey. My dad had wanted me to play the saxophone and at the time, I didn’t want to play the sax, so I compromised and said I’d play the clarinet. It turned out there weren’t enough clarinets to go around, so I got a guitar for my 11th birthday, which was in November of 1963. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” came out about a week later. So it wasn’t specifically the Beatles as much as it was the entire pop scene and all the energy that was going around at the time.

The Beatles were a significant part of the whole thing happening in music. It was like jumping into a river and being carried along by the current because it was all going in that direction. I went into my teen years being swept along in this amazing Renaissance that was happening in pop music in England at the time.

Daytrippin’: And so who are the other musical influences you had as a youth?

Juber: It’s an extremely long list, too long to detail here because I was listening to everything. I was not only into rock ‘n’ roll but jazz and folk too. By the time I had turned 13, people were paying me to play. It was then I realized that this was something that I wanted to do for a living, but I also recognized that I had a certain kind of versatility. I was interested in a lot of different styles of music. I learned to how finger-pick Bob Dylan tunes, learned to play the Bossa Nova, taking jazz records and slowing them down from 33 1/3 to 16 so I could figure out what the guitar was doing. There were also a lot of West Coast jazz and studio players like Barney Kessell and Howard Roberts, as well as the Belgian gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, who was very popular in England. There was also the English folk scene with people like Bert Jansch and Martin Carthy, who are still great folk singers, and finger-pickers.

I also had a band with a group of friends, and we’d play every Saturday night. We were always buying the latest Beatles records, the Stones, the Who and we’d learn it, rehearse it, play it and that was our Saturday night thing. Then I got into Clapton, Beck, Page — the English blues-driven players. There was also Radio Luxembourg, which played all the Top 40 tunes before the BBC got hip. I guess they had to because of all the pirate radio stations. They played all the big American hits as well as Motown, which of course, was great. I’d listen at night, focus in on what the bass player was doing, what the drummer was doing, and really deconstruct the music. I also started listening to orchestral music and became very analytical about how I listened to that too. So, a lot of influences, way more than I could repeat.

Daytrippin’: I assume your parents must have been quite encouraging?

Juber: There was some encouragement up to a certain point. Both of my parents grew up in London in World War II during the blitz and the evacuations so they never had much of an education. My dad left school at 14 and my mom at 15. They were encouraging to the point where they thought it was great I kept myself occupied with a hobby but they wanted to make sure that I had something to fall back on. They had visions of me being a doctor or at the very least a pharmacist or accountant or something like that. I told them at a very young age I intended to make my living as a guitar player, so they were supportive to a point. I also didn’t grow up in a very musical household, so that level of nurture really came from inside. I was very self-directed.

[Photo courtesy Laurence Juber]

Daytrippin’: After you graduated from London University with a Bachelor of Music in 1975, how did you start getting booked as a studio musician and where were some sessions/albums you played on pre-Wings?

Juber: My ambition in life was to become a studio musician, so after high school I took a year off, which is what they now call the “gap” year. I was a pioneer of the gap year (laughs). What I did was work professionally for that one year, and I was playing jazz and folk clubs and demo sessions, generally making myself available as a musician and paying dues in London. I also joined the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, which was something of a training ground for studio musicians. I then attended London University but I was still gigging, playing clubs and being the substitute guitarist for the West End production of Jesus Christ Superstar. I was supporting myself with music and learning as much as I could, but more importantly, making those connections to be able to transition full-time into a studio musician when I graduated. My reputation got around and I eventually was introduced to various record producers and arrangers.

One of the albums I played on was Alan Parson’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I had no idea at the time what the session was for. I found out from a magazine interview that Alan did 30 years later. I played on the score for The Spy Who Love Me, which was a James Bond film. I played on a cool record that Rosemary Clooney did in London. I also worked with Shirley Bassey, John Williams and Jimmy Rafferty. One of the first album sessions I did was for Cleo Laine, who is a great English jazz singer and the producer was George Martin. Sessions for European artists too: Charles Aznavour from France, Lucio Battiste from Italy. A lot of stuff that didn’t necessarily make an impression on the US market. I played on a lot of records for a French artist named Cerrone, who was the ‘other’ Euro disco king, sort of like Georgio Moroder. Again, I had no idea how successful the releases were until many years later. I was very busy in that period.

Daytrippin’: Tell us how you got the gig for Wings?

Juber: I was working in the house band for “The David Essex Show” and Denny Laine was as guest on the show. Denny played “Go Now” and liked how I played the solo. We bonded musically and that was it. About six months later I got a call from Paul’s office MPL – ironically I was playing a session at Abbey Road Studios 2. They said, “Denny wants to know if you can come jam on Monday, and, oh by the way Paul and Linda will be there…”

In the period between when I first met Denny and the audition, I actually ran into all of them at Air Studios. I was early for a session and they were in there mixing the soundtrack for “Oriental Nightfish,” Linda’s tune for an animated film. They were running late and invited me in to see what was going on, so I got to meet everybody and hang out. Jimmy McCullough was already out of the band at that point, but it really wasn’t on my radar that they were looking for a guitar player. I do remember that around that time I was working on a TV show in Manchester, which was a weekly pop show and it was the first time that I had seen the video for “With a Little Luck.” It was the first thing where Steve Holly was visible and I remember someone saying, “That’s the new Wings drummer and I hear they’re looking for a guitarist.” Then I got this call from out of the blue.

Daytrippin’: From what I understand, the audition process was very informal, jamming and playing a bunch of rock (“Johnny B. Goode”) and reggae songs, and hanging out.

Juber: Very much so. I really didn’t know much of the Wings’ repertoire and I had to borrow a bunch of albums from my brother the previous weekend. I tend to do well at cold auditions and I was lucky. Really, I was quite busy with my session work and I had a big choice to make: do I continue along with my career, that I had been working on since I was a teenager or do I join Wings? I thought about it for a nanosecond. It seemed like one of those gigs that you shouldn’t turn down and I’m glad I didn’t, because I learned so much from that experience.

Daytrippin’: What was your first official gig for Wings?

Juber: The first official gig was when we recorded a song at RAK Studios in London called “Same Time Next Year” and I believe that was in May 1978. (Editor’s note: Curiously, the song was released on the final credits of the 1985 Ann-Margret film, Twice in a Lifetime) I had another gig playing on a variety show, so I couldn’t be at the session for the string overdubs. Then we went up to Scotland (at McCartney’s farm) getting to know each other. During that period is when we filmed the video for “I’ve Had Enough” (the second single from London Town).

Daytrippin’: I always thought it was strange that you had to mimic a guitar part that Jimmy McCullough recorded. Did it seem strange to you?

Juber: It wasn’t strange at all. That’s kind of par for the course as a musician because you often find yourself playing someone else’s part, especially if it’s a famous song. To be honest, I knew I was stepping into Jimmy McCullough’s shoes and it was a perfectly reasonable transition. I really didn’t give it much thought, but what was interesting was the filming of the video. We shot it all night and it was a one-camera shoot with film that was transferred to video. I had never done a video before because I had only done live TV shows up to that point.

Here’s a funny story: years later I played a guitar part for Eric Carmen on a song called “Make Me Lose Control”, which became a hit. As the record was about to come out, I got a call from a company who wanted me to be in the video. Well, they had no idea I had played on the record and thought I would be mimicking someone else’s performance. So I got to mimic my own.

Daytrippin’: Back to the Egg was a big concept, had a big sound and certainly was an ambitious undertaking (i.e. Rockestra, videos, touring, promotion). Do you think that was tied to the fact that McCartney had just signed a new multi-million dollar contract for Columbia or that he had felt it was time to do something bigger with Wings?

Juber: There was no perception in the doing of it that it was ‘bigger’ than normal. I think what happened with that album, and the title was reflective of the fact, was that Paul had been heading in a softer direction and this was a change. After Wings Over America, he recorded “Mull of Kintyre” and “With A Little Luck” and the London Town sessions. There wasn’t really as much of a rock component to those sessions. “I’ve Had Enough” was about as heavy as things got at that point. Steve Holly was a heavier and more rocking drummer than Joe English, which is not a jab at Joe, it was just a matter of styles. Steve had more of a British backbeat.

Producer Chris Thomas (Pink Floyd, Elton John, Roxy Music, INXS) had already been brought on board to co-produce the record. If you look at Chris’ timeline, he did Back to the Egg between the Sex Pistols and The Pretenders. He tends to raise the concept level of his projects and is a Beatle insider going back to the White Album. Phil McDonald engineered, who was one of the Abbey Road-era people too. We knew from the get-go that it was going to be a more basic vibe. There’s certainly a significant rock element to that album especially in the “Rockestra” bits, and there’s also, which was typical in the 1970s English rock scene, a folk element. I mean, you saw that a lot with Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull, but of course, Paul articulates it in his own way. So yes, it was going to be a rock-flavored album, but it was still just an eclectic bunch of songs.

There was a richness to the Columbia record deal that had given Paul a substantial publishing catalog and the label certainly had ambitions at the time. It was overseen by Walter Yentikoff, Bruce Lundvall, Don Devito, Paul Atkinson and other people who were quite legendary figures in the record business. Certainly there was an expectation that putting Paul McCartney on your record label would have a certain kind of size to it, but by the time it was released in June 1979 the economy was not doing that great and the record business hit the wall. All of the labels had gotten it into their heads that somehow every album that was released should do better than Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors or Saturday Night Fever. That was a phase and sales went back to normal, relatively speaking. Just the ebb and flow of things. Nevertheless, Back to the Egg did quite well and could have done even better had he put “Goodnight Tonight” on the album.

Daytrippin’: Agreed. I’ve always felt that was a major mistake on his part and the difference between going platinum and triple platinum had he included “Goodnight Tonight” (a Top 5 hit in America) and “Daytime Nightime Suffering” on the album.

Juber: Absolutely, it would have made a significant difference. But that goes back to the Beatles and the mentality about singles and albums. The Beatles deal with EMI was two albums a year and and four singles, A and B sides. So, with very few exceptions, in the UK you didn’t get the singles on the albums. But we had talked about it…he said, “They want to do this but I’d rather give more value for money…” So it didn’t get put on the album.

Daytrippin’: And the same thing happened again with “Coming Up,” which Paul was later forced to put on McCartney II as a 7-inch single.

Juber: That was interesting, too, because what happened with Back to the Egg, and continued through the UK tour was that we kind of forged ourselves as a rock band. You can hear it on the Last Flight CD (a bootleg CD from their last live show) from Glasgow, Scotland, and the released live version of “Coming Up” came from that show. There was a dichotomy going on where we were a tight rock band and Paul had just done the solo album McCartney II, which was kind of quirky and a bit left-field. And quite truthfully, Columbia didn’t know how to market Paul’s music like Capitol did. But they did take notice when US rock radio started playing the live B-side of the single and it went to No. 1 for three weeks in the Summer of 1980. Columbia were obliged to add the 7-inch single to the McCartney II album as people were expecting the single to be on there. Paul’s video was cool though.

We did the UK tour with the Japanese tour lined up right behind it, and the intention to tour the US in the summer of 1980. So when you listen to the live stuff, there’s this rock band, a certain kind of heaviness that evolved out of the Back to the Egg sessions. The problem was that where Paul was going in terms of his writing was a different direction, which ultimately turned out to be Tug of War and Pipes of Peace. It was a body of material that wasn’t as well suited to a rock band, and neither of those are rock albums. Tunes like “Ballroom Dancing” and “Average Person” are coming from a different place. It’s more of a mature sound and it’s an artist who is settling down into a true solo career, who has his kids settled in school and has moved out of London. After John Lennon died, which had to play some role in all of this, Paul didn’t tour again until 1989.

Daytrippin’: So Wings had actually rehearsed the material for the Tug of War sessions?

Juber: Yes, but most of those sessions were unproductive because we were working on songs that were more mature and not reflective of Wings. We had evolved a band identity and this was feeling more like a Macca solo project; I would have been happier developing the tunes in the studio rather than rehearsals. It was a step back in a way for me, because, working within the band context, Paul gave me a great deal of latitude on Back to the Egg. There I’d offer up an idea and he’d either nod or he’d kind of raise an eyebrow and then I’d tweak it. I remember very specifically when we were mixing “After the Ball,” I’d played an acoustic slide part and sat there just thinking, “I’d like to get my hand on that fader.” I’d never been an engineer at that point and Paul noticed my discomfort and said, “Laurence, you run that fader.” Not only did he accept my contribution but encouraged me to put it to the forefront.

Daytrippin’: Your personality certainly shows on Back to the Egg, which is interesting given your versatility and adaptability.

Juber: It’s interesting because at the time I was being my chameleon self as a studio player. In the course of time, and this is something you don’t recognize at the time, I can listen back and say with some objectivity, “Hey, I had a sound and style back then.”

Daytrippin’: And it was a nice fit in that particular incarnation of the band – each of you had roles within the band and you not only played them perfectly, but there was room enough for everyone to shine and let your personality show through.

Juber: I think so, certainly in the musical sense. Obviously there were other dynamics going on within the band in terms of where Paul and Linda were at in their lives, what was going on with Denny in his life, the more personality-driven aspects of the band.

Daytrippin’: You’ve stated before that watching Paul in the studio was an eye-opening experience because you were able to see him as a composer and how he fleshed out songs. So with that said, did he come into the studio with the finished song in his head and you just laid down the tracks, or was it a situation that he fleshed them out with your help?

Juber: A lot of the time it was a finished song, but not always. In the case of “Old Siam, Sir,” we were jamming one day and Steve Holly was playing keyboards and had this chord sequence. I’m not sure if Paul was playing drums or if it was Linda because we’d trade off in a jamming situation, but what ended up happening was that ended up in the instrumental section of the song. I always felt that Steve should have received some sort of nod for that. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the process in that you don’t always get full credit for what you contribute as a musician, especially as the song-writing is traditionally words and melody, not chords, licks and grooves. If you could copyright a rhythm, Bo Diddley would have been very happy.

Daytrippin’: But was there a time when you did see Paul flesh out a song that was half-finished or not a full idea?

Juber: Yes, Denny had written two incomplete songs and Paul suggested he merge the two, and that turned out to be “Again and Again and Again.” That was Paul kind of wearing his producer hat at the time, but to the best of my recollection, most of the songs he brought in for Back to the Egg were complete to the extent where there might be a minor change to a lyric, but the song itself was pretty much there.

“Getting Closer” and the unreleased song “Cage” were off of demos, the latter being one that Paul and Denny did together. There were times when there was a demo aspect to the sessions, and in some cases we created demos to see how the tune was shaping up. We did a version of “Love Awake” that wasn’t a final version, as well as a demo of “Rockestra Theme” with just Wings so that everybody else could hear before the big session. Typically the song was there, but in terms of production, getting the sound and arrangements right, that mostly took place in the studio. I remember “Daytime Nightime Suffering”, which he composed over the weekend and came in with that on a Monday morning and we went right to work on it. Paul was always very concise with his writing and was usually complete by the time we came to record it. So the fleshing out was always on the production end of things, and occasionally we’d hear something that he was working on and then the next time he played it you could hear the progression. “Ebony and Ivory” comes to mind.

Daytrippin’: The group recorded “Back to the Egg” in several different places – McCartney’s farm in Scotland; Lympne Castle in Kent and Replica and EMI Studios in London. In your opinion, did your surroundings have any influence on how you played or recorded a song?

Juber: I certainly think the surroundings impacted the sound of the record. For example, we were recording “We’re Open Tonight” at Lympne Castle and I was sitting in the middle of a spiral staircase in a 13th Century castle with a 12-string acoustic guitar. There’s certainly something to be said for the ambient aspect of your surroundings. Being on the farm in Scotland definitely added to the rawness of “Spin It On” “Old Siam, Sir” and “To You”.

Daytrippin’: Wouldn’t it be fair to say that Back to the Egg is a British-sounding album?

Juber: It is very British. Other than the Fender, Gibson and Martin guitars, there’s nothing American about the sound of it and some of that is purely technical. Amplifiers sound different at 50 cycles than they do at 60 cycles. Just the AC power makes a difference to the sound of the equipment, the way the record was produced, the way the drums were miked, was more English than American; the players were English. Look at Ram…it sounds so much like a New York album. It was recorded in there and the players were all from the area, and there’s kind of a New York energy to it. Denny Seiwell shines on that record.

Conversely, we did a lot of stuff at Abbey Road, which is about as English as it gets. We created Replica Studio in the basement of Paul’s office Soho Square primarily for mixing, but we did some recording there too. The track for “Daytime Nightime Suffering” was all recorded there. The drums were placed in a room where the coffee machine was. That’s where I also did the acoustic solo for “Goodnight Tonight.” It’s a different kind of vibe.

Daytrippin’: Back to the Egg was not only a big and powerful album, but it was eclectic. The range of songs from full on rockers (“Rockestra Theme”; “Spin it On”; “So Glad to See You Here; “Old Siam, Sir”) to mid-tempo (“Arrow Through Me”; “Again and Again and Again”) to ballads (“Winter Rose/Love Awake”) to original standards (“Baby’s Request”) to instrumentals (“Reception” and “Rockestra Theme”). I recall seeing a Brian Wilson interview on television saying how much fun and wild Wings were because he never knew what to expect.

Juber: I had no idea he said that…that’s great because, if anyone is equally eclectic to Paul in terms of the production process, it’s Brian Wilson. And, of course, Brian was revered in England. Pet Sounds was not a huge hit in America but it was the Sergeant Pepper precursor in England. I’d have to say Paul was the most eclectic artist I’ve ever worked with. It’s in his nature. This goes back to the Beatles. They were a very eclectic band. How many bands can you look at and say this was an incredible live rock ‘n’ roll band, before they ever made a record! They were also an incredible R & B band…look at their R & B influences, especially John. “All I’ve Got to Do” is proto-Al Green. Take that song and look at it, it’s in that Smokey Robinson kind of area. In fact, it was one of the songs I did for LJ Plays the Beatles Vol. 2. It was so cool to do because it had such an immediate vibe about it. Their version of the Shirelles “Baby, It’s You” is as good, if not better than the original version. Fantastic R & B group, but you add that to the fact they were the most phenomenal pop group and the greatest bunch of studio musicians. What they did in the studio as musicians was amazing, beyond the obvious progression as recording artists and songwriters.

It really hit home when I listened to Let It Be…Naked a few years back and what was going on in terms of the guitar parts. Quite often John and George would really work out these cool two-guitar parts – “And Your Bird Can Sing” for example – sometimes you don’t even realize that it’s two guitars, but they were very much into that. Paul was always eclectic because he was so versatile. I believe Back to the Egg exemplifies a rock album, a folk album, a pop album, and certainly less geared to an American consciousness by comparison let’s say to Venus and Mars. It was also a blessing and a curse. At the time, that eclecticism wasn’t appreciated. It was a two-star album in 1979 and it’s a four-star album in 2010. As time has gone on, I think people have come to re-evaluate it in terms of Paul’s body of work and what was going on at the time in the music scene.

When you deconstruct the music, for example “Arrow Through Me”, harmonically it is almost like Duke Ellington could have had written it. I think “Again and Again and Again” was one of Denny’s more immediate and interesting contributions…

Daytrippin’: And speaking of Denny, I know it’s a rather obvious thing to say, but in doing my research for this interview, including watching a lot of videos, it really hit home for me that Denny was quite visible and a major presence in this band. I know there are reports from him that he felt like a sideman at times, but his face was out there front and center.

Juber: Absolutely. There is no question that Wings as a core group is the Paul, Linda and Denny ensemble. This is where it carries over into getting Wings into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Wings was not just Paul McCartney post-Beatles. Wings was Paul McCartney’s group post Beatles, if that makes sense. If you go see Paul now and when he does a Wings song in his set, it’s great but there is something missing. You’re not hearing Linda’s voice; you’re not hearing Denny’s voice; you’re not getting the qualities that they brought to Paul’s work. It was a tempering. I think Paul recognized that he needed a foil, without John being around. Obviously, no one could fill in for John Lennon but Denny has his own eclecticism with his gypsy/folk sensibilities with an R & B voice and rock guitar prowess. And Linda was kinda the glue. Things just worked better with Linda there in the room because she was Paul’s soulmate and the female balancing part of his creative energy. There was a dynamic that happened and, as much as Paul will perform a Wings song and you tap your foot and sing along with it and think, “What a great song,” it doesn’t sound like Wings. I do appreciate the fact that he plays some of those tunes though.

Daytrippin’: I’ve always felt that he personally never gave Wings enough credit despite the fact they had 14 Top Ten hits in America (six of those going to No. 1) and eight Top Ten albums (five of those at No. 1). Today they’d be considered a supergroup.

Juber: Well, Wings was a supergroup. I remember listening to Kasey Casem’s American Top 40 on the radio and they had the top groups of all-time. The Beatles were No. 1 and Wings was something like No. 3. I had no idea we were quite that big.

Daytrippin’: I guess my point is that I get the feeling that Paul never viewed them as a supergroup…that they were just his little band and they were forced to live in the shadow of the Beatles. Wings’ music was the soundtrack of many young lives in the 1970s, including mine, and I don’t believe he’s ever reconciled that part of his musical career. Look at Wingspan (the CD) – he padded it out with solo material that simply didn’t belong on there.

Juber: Wings were simply above and beyond Paul’s solo career. But I think Paul, in the nature of writing his own legacy, he’s certainly entitled to write his version of history or how he perceived it, but the fact is there are other factors in the scenario and other people have their opinions, too. I too was a little disappointed with Wingspan (the documentary) that so much time was devoted to the breakup of the Beatles and not enough time was spent on Wings and the progression of the band and what it really represented from a musical point of view. But that’s just water under the bridge. For me, Wings was a great experience and anything that happens in the history books is sort of a bonus thing. I got my Master’s degree from McCartney University and that’s good enough for me.

Look for Laurence Juber at the Cave Creek Coffee Co. Saturday, Oct. 15 in Cave Creek, Arizona or visit www.cavecreekcoffee.com