The Paul Leslie Hour Episode #34 – Lloyd Price

Lloyd Price, like so many great musicians is from Louisiana. An inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, he’s one of the absolute legends in popular music. Known for his songs like “Lawdy, Miss Clawdy” “Personality” and “Just Because,” Price’s songs have also been recorded/performed by everyone from The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Paul McCartney, and Joe Cocker.

Never one to rest on laurels, Lloyd Price’s recent album “This is Rock and Roll” features new songs as well as interpretations of rock and roll standards. It’s all here in this fast-paced interview with one of rock and roll’s founders!

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Maya Beiser: Cellist

MAYA BEISER has been called “the queen of contemporary cello” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and The New Yorker magazine has called her a “cello goddess.”  Many people think of the music of Bach and other classical composers when they think of the cello instrument.  Maya Beiser sees so much more.  Her album “Uncovered” is her reimagination of songs recorded by greats in..rock music.  The album features her intrepretations of songs recorded by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and others.

Maya Beiser may make you change the way you view the cello and her interpretations of the songs on “Uncovered” illustrate the connections between rock and much of the music around the world and the classical sounds from our past.

Steve Lukather: Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter, member of Toto

STEVE LUKATHER is an absolute virtuoso of the guitar.  Aside from being a member of the band Toto, he is a solo artist who tours and records his own music.  Lukather is one of the most respected session guitarists, having recorded on countless artists albums through the years.
A very open Steve Lukather talks with Paul Leslie about the changes in his life that resulted in his acclaimed album “All’s Well That Ends Well.”  Lukather is proof that you can have tremendous talent and still be very humble.

Sirius XM DJ Jim Ladd

DJ Jim Ladd strikes a chord with the attuned ear. He has the ability to use songs like a painter uses a palette and the time he is on the air is a canvas. His perception isn’t the product of a commercial routine but a deep and abiding conviction for relaying quality music to his audience. He knows, instinctively, the sound of powerful music.

The times in which we live may be constrained to a commercial setlist but D.J. Jim Ladd will not and never has allowed himself to be narrowed to the sound of convention. He plays music from throughout the rock and roll landscape.  DJ Jim Ladd has inhabited the radio airwaves since 1969, first heard on KNAC and later heard on FM stations like KLOS, KMET and KMPC.  Ladd is one of the last champions of freeform radio and the idea that radio is for the listener. He has slipped the noose of an ever tightening terrestrial radio and is now heard on Sirius XM by those that seek liberated radio, today.

DJ Jim Ladd has interviewed many noteworthy people including John Lennon, Jackson Browne, Roger Waters, Stephen Stills, George Harrison and a great many others including Elliot Minz on several occasions throughout the years. Ladd says he learned the art of interviewing in part from Elliot Mintz.  The filmed interview entitled “Mintz on Mintz” can be found on elliotmintz.com. It was conducted by Ladd in Elliot’s home. It is an in-depth examination of all things Mintz.

Don’t touch that dial, DJ Jim Ladd is up next.

Ladies and gentlemen it is a great pleasure to welcome this man, DJ Jim Ladd. Thank you so much for joining us.
It’s my pleasure, Paul.

I think most stories are best from the beginning. What was the music that you enjoyed the most as a young person?
Well, everything to me is it’s either pre-Beatles of post-Beatles. So pre-Beatles, before the Beatles came out, as a young kid I was listening to early 50s rock and roll on my, that came on the radio when my parents were driving the car. Also, you know, as a little kid you would hear The Sons of the Pioneers if you watch Roy Rogers, that kind of thing. And then as I approached my teenage years, the Beach Boys became very important to me.

Were you ever a Fats Domino fan?
Sure. Sure, again I was very, I wasn’t a teenager yet but I liked Fats Domino and all of those guys because although I wasn’t really that keyed into music yet because I was too young, it was something that I knew was kind of more toward, geared toward to me than the other things I was listening to.

I was hoping you could give us recollections about the first time you leaned in and spoken into a microphone and you were on the radio.
Well that would be in college and it was, you know, I was taking a class in radio and TV communications and you were required to do a show and that was the first time that I did what you would call an actual radio show and I thought this is fascinating and everybody is hearing me on the radio. And then I discovered that at the little school I was going to the radio signal was actually a speaker in the quad. It didn’t actually go anywhere except around the campus but still it was pretty exciting for me.

What in your opinion makes for good radio?
It should be personal, you know, it should be…the best radio, it should be something that connects with people on a personal level whether it’s through the music or the spoken word. And also creativity, the person on the air should be allowed to have the freedom to be as creative as possible because radio at its best is an art form, certainly music radio should be looked at as an art form. And you need to have the freedom to be an artist if you’re going to do good radio.

When someone is listening to you, DJ Jim Ladd, when you’re on the mic, what do you hope that the listener gets out of the experience?
I want them to be connected and engaged, that’s very important. And I hope that it makes them use their imagination, that’s very important. The kind of radio that I do is called free form radio. It means that I can, I pick all the music as I do it. There is no list or format or anything like that. I’m picking this music and I put the songs together in thematic sets and those thematic sets are geared to tell a story and it communicates. So at one moment I might be playing a set of songs about the environment, in the next moment I would play a set of songs about something in the news, what was happening in the news. So, if you listen to my show and you really listen to the lyrics of the songs as they go together, they will make a comment on what I’m trying to say.

Right now you’re heard on Satellite Radio, but the type of radio you’re talking about free form radio, it’s almost non-existent. Do you think that it will survive somehow?
Yes. It certainly exists on Sirius XM where I am working now. They not only allow me to do it, they encourage me to do it which is fantastic. But I fought this battle for a long, long time and but certainly on terrestrial radio, it’s almost non-existent and that’s a shame because there’s a lot of very, very talented people who could do free form in their way and they’re not allowed to do it. And so what you’re hearing and especially if you’re listening to an FM rock station is not what FM rock radio is supposed to sound like nor sounded like when it began. And it just is a really pale, pale ghost of what FM radio used to be. So, that’s why I’m really happy to be on Sirius because Sirius XM allows me not only to do a free form show but allows me to do it nationwide. So, it’s alive and well.

There is this very talented man, very interesting man, he has launched this website, ElliotMintz.com and the flagship interview is this filmed interview that you, DJ Jim Ladd, you did with Elliot Mintz, how did you first come to meet Elliot Mintz?
We were working together at the same radio station here in LA. I was just starting out in my career. It was only the second station I had worked for. Elliot had been in the business a few years longer and he worked at the very first FM station in Los Angeles, KPPC. And then was working at a station the KLOS where I was working and that’s where I met him and he was doing this extraordinary talk show which I would listen to and just was in awe of his, of the way he interviewed people. And so basically I just decided I would just rip him off for everything I could because he, you know, I didn’t know how to interview anybody. And he was so great at it. So I learned a lot from him.

The first time you shook his hands, you had looked in his eyes, what was your first impression of this guy, Elliot Mintz?
First off, extremely intelligent. He just knew and by listening to him and meeting him he is very bright, a very gentle person and also someone who had a kind of a spiritual aura about them. So you felt comfortable, I felt comfortable meeting him and so like this guy knew some things that I didn’t know.

You’ve interviewed Elliot Mintz several times going back to there was the interview you did with him at 1980 and then there was one recently that you did, the 30-year anniversary of John Lennon’s passing and then this “Mintz on Mintz,” what is it like to interview such an extraordinary interviewer?
That’s a very good question. It’s a very good question. You would think and it might be this way with other people that if you’re in a situation and that would be difficult but Elliot makes it really easy because he has done hundreds, probably thousands of interviews in his career. So he knows what makes a good interview from the interviewer’s side. So, when the tables are turned and I’m asking him questions, he is very expertise in knowing how to answer those questions. Plus he is probably the most articulate person I have ever met. You know, he is just, by his nature, he is a very articulate and engaging speaker. So it’s very easy to interview Elliot.

This filmed interview, the “Mintz on Mintz” interview that’s on ElliotMintz.com, can you tell us your recollections of those evenings? What are the memories and how did it play out?
Well it was certainly enjoyable and fascinating. I went to his house and he was kind enough to invite me to do the interview and there’s a good deal of preparation because Elliot was very meticulous in preparing the film crew and making sure everything looked just right. And so when we finally sat down to do the interview, I was comfortable and then once we got into the interview, it was, I just tried to speak to him as if we were having a conversation without the cameras. So we could just go anywhere we wanted and explore all these different areas well keeping in mind that I was there to elicit information about his extraordinary career, but it was a great evening. I really enjoyed it. It went on for quite some time but it was a lot of fun and fascinating. And the more it went on, the more I got into it.

 Having checked out the website, I’m sure what do you think about Elliot’s website now that it’s live?
I think it’s one of the most extraordinary websites I’ve ever seen. It has more information packed in to that thing than probably most websites you would go and I certainly don’t know of any other website quite like that where you can go and get all of this extraordinary radio, TV and music history In one place that’s all generated by this one person. And the way that it’s set up using the jukebox as the menu. It makes it really easy to navigate, extremely easy. And once you start playing around with it, you’re just hooked.  You better bring a sandwich and coffee because you’re going to be there a while.

It’s a lot of content.
Oh my gosh. Extraordinary that one person could generate that much content but thank God Elliot saved all this stuff over the years, you know, not a lot of people do that. I certainly didn’t. I wasn’t that meticulous in my career but Elliot, just thank God he did that because it’s like this Smithsonian of radio and TV here through the eyes of one man.

Well, what is something about Elliot Mintz we would be surprised to know?
He is Batman. He is actually Batman, yeah.

You know, I’ve asked Elliot who he is and he said, you know, I really don’t know. Now you’re saying he is Batman. Who would you say he is?
He tries to keep his identity secret but I’m here to tell you he’s Batman.

 I wanted to ask you about the Tom Petty song The Last DJ. How did you feel and what did you think the first time you heard that track?
Well, I went to interview Tom and when we got done with the interview, he said, you know, I’m working on a demo of a song, would you like to hear it? And being the wise ass that I am, I said “no Tom, you know, I’m really too busy now” but I said “of course I would like to hear it.” So we went back into his studio and he played The Last DJ for me. And I did not connect that was about me. I thought it was about a character and Tom’s obvious love for radio and his kind of plea to let this character do what he wanted to do and be what he wanted to be and I said, man, thanks for not effing it up and again, being a wise ass and I said could you play it again and he did.

And I just loved it. I just thought it was great but it was on driving home with my producer and engineer. My producer turned to me and he goes, you know, that song is about you, don’t you? And I went no. You know, it’s like I didn’t jump to that conclusion. And he said, “oh yeah,” God bless him. It turned out to be that’s what it’s about and he wrote a very nice thing in the liner notes a very nice piece of the liner notes of the album. So, I’m obviously honored and overwhelmed by that that he would. Now that’s not, that’s not like a biographical piece, but it’s the, if it’s in anyway inspired by what I did. I am very, very pleased with that and very honored. In fact I have the poster hanging over my, for that album, hanging over on my wall right now over my head, so, something that gives me a lot of pride.

Very cool. What is the responsibility of a good DJ? You said that ideally you have to have creativity. What about responsibility?
Well, I think responsibility is to, I think that you have to be grateful for the opportunity of doing that for a living because it’s a real…you’re not digging ditches, you’re not flipping burgers of, you know, you’re doing something that has a potential to reach thousands, if not millions of people and I think that you have to take not yourself seriously, but the job really seriously. The way I approach it is every moment that I’m on the air of every show, I’m trying to do the very best I can. I’m trying to pick exactly the right song to further the thematic set that I’m playing, I try to make sure that I’m saying something appropriate especially if I’m making a social commentary of any kind. You know, I want to research what I’m saying. I want to do it not only from the heart but from the head. And just be good at it because I don’t want to waste the time I have on the air and I think that the responsibility to be as absolutely as good as you can every moment that you’re on the air.

What is the best thing about being Jim Ladd?
That’s a hard one. I looked and it’s a hard one. I am blessed, you know, I’m very, very blessed I have a wonderful wife and I have two great dogs and I live in the Hollywood Hills in a house I’ve been in for a long, long time. And I do, I have somehow been able to make a living at what I love doing. That’s really huge. Joseph Campbell, famously said, “Follow your bliss” and I’ve often always agree with that that if someone can find something that they would do if you take money out of the equation. Say, you were independently wealthy or something and you didn’t have to, the money wasn’t a factor. What would you do with your time on the planet, what would make you happy? And I’ve often felt that if you got really good at that, whatever it was, if you got really good at it, someone would pay you to do that and that’s kind of what I’ve done is I’ve found something I really love doing and fortunately got competent enough that people will pay me to do it.

You just mentioned the planet, one of the things about the World Wide Web, you never know who is going to hear something.
Right.

So, for anyone who hears this, wherever they are, what do you want to say to them?
“Peace” should be the first word that comes to mind. The planet is going through pretty some rough times right now. In the Middle East and here at home, the environment is under siege and although we’re getting better at that, we seem to be getting more aware about the environment. So this is kind of a cliché but think globally, act locally, do what you can to make this a better place and a more peaceful planet. Take a deep breath, take a deep breath before you just violently react to whatever dogma is being put in front of you on social media. And remember that your actions affect other people.

Well spoken. My last question, who is DJ Jim Ladd?
I would be Bruce Wayne in that case.

I thought you’re going to say Robin.
Yeah, no. No, I’m not good in tights, I don’t look good in tights so, if Elliot is Batman, I’d be Bruce Wayne without the money.

Well Mr. Ladd, thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure.
Paul, it’s been my pleasure, great questions. You know, you’re a good interviewer yourself and thanks for asking some smart questions and I hope this worked out for you.

 All right, keep on rocking.
The last thing I want to say is tune in to or go to ElliotMintz.com and check it out, check out ElliotMintz.com because you will be absolutely be fascinated and engaged and there is so much there. I mean, if you got a guy that is going to bring you an interview with John Lennon and then you can click on an interview of Jack Nicholson or click on an interview of Mick Jagger and then click on an interview with John Wayne, you’re in for a hell of a ride.

It’s really something.
Yeah.

Again, thank you very much. Have a good one.
My pleasure, thanks Paul.

Bruce Kapler: Saxophonist

The extremely talented saxophonist Bruce Kapler joins us to talk about his musical life.

He was a member of Paul Shaffer’s CBS Orchestra starting in 1993. He left the show in 2012. Bruce Kapler also sings and plays several instruments including soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass saxophone, flute, clarinet, recorder, keyboards and percussion.
The list of musicians Bruce Kapler has performed with sounds like a who’s who of popular music, including Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick, Jr., George Benson, Buckwheat Zydeco, Glen Campbell, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Ray Charles, the Dave Matthews Band, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Randy Newman, Brian Wilson and the list goes on and on!

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Bruce Kapler of the CBS Orchestra. So, first of all, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview with us.

Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for asking.

My first question: who is Bruce Kapler?

Uh, how far back do you want to go? (Laughs) I could tell you that the current and for the last 16 years, I’ve been the, um, saxophonist, vocalist, um, flautist, sort of utility infielder, uh, in the horn section on, uh, The Late Show with David Letterman. We’re going into our 16th year at this point and I sort of startedas a, um, an added musician back in, uh, 1988 on the old Late Night Show on NBC. I did about 30 shows for them over there, uh, as well as arranging, um, the last, uh, Letterman big, uh, Radio City 10th Anniversary special.

So where were you born?

I was born in Long Island, on the north shore of Long Island, in a town called Huntington.

And what music did you hear growing up?

Oh god, you know, I heard all sorts of music. My parents – we had the, uh, victrola, as it was called – they would play everything from Mario Lanza to, um, honky-tonk piano players to Jerry Lewis Sings to the, uh, sound track from Camelot. It was just a real wide variety of stuff.

Did you have a favorite?

No. It was just – I, my earliest recollections were just, um, sitting there, uh, enthralled with the sound that was coming out of this, uh, this hi-fi. I mean, I started studying music at a really early age so it sort of went hand-in-hand. I mean, my, you know, conscious recollection – I mean, I started studying music when I was five – and so it’s hard to sort of separate the two.

When did you realize you were going to be a musician?

It was pretty early on. I had a wonderful teacher when I was in elementary school. His name was Jack Carmen. He was a great guy with a great laugh and he was really a quite proficient musician. He was a trombone player and he also played an amazing clarinet. He was really into Dixieland music. He was also into gigging all the time, as well as being, you know, head of the music department. So it was kind of exciting because he would come in and, you know, we would sit and he would tell me about his gig last night, you know, and he’d be all excited about it. And I thought ‘This is great. This is what I want to do.’

Can you remember your first public performance?

I would imagine my first public performance was an elementary school band concert, very much as they are today. I guess I was in, uh, the 4th grade? Yes, nine years old. Don’t ask me what we played. And I can only imagine how we sounded. I had had an advantage going into, into elementary school having, again, studied music privately for three or four years. There was a fella in town, uh, his name was Jerry Petrie, and he was also on staff at Julliard. And he had a little, uh, garage studio behind his house and he would give lessons. And I started studying the recorder with him um, when I was five. You know what? I still have those lesson books today and it’s amazing to see that he had a five-year-old or a six-year-old doing sight-transposition, uh, and all the stuff that he had going on. It was a big step-up advantage for me going into elementary school where kids mostly are seeing instruments for the first time and, uh, getting to handle them and play.

So tell us about when you were touring with the Vegas Style Show Band.

A friend of mine from high school, in my high school band, rock band, called me up and said ‘I’m doing this band and we’re supposed to travel and it’s going to be playing hotels and it’s going to be playing a little of this and that, and why don’t you come down and do it?’ I had always been a vocalist, you know, in high school and all throughout. And so, it was just that sort of thing. We had a big green truck. We would load it to the gills with our personal gear and our, our equipment, and we would follow behind in our cars, and we travelled the entire country for about three years and – no, maybe 2½ years. It was the kind of thing where you would go, we would go to a hotel in, uh, in New Orleans and stay in the French Quarter in a hotel for three or four weeks and play their, um, their lounge you know? And we had and act, um, and we had outfits, and we had steps and we, you know, it was that sort of thing. We actually did play in Vegas at the old Stardust. But it was fun and it was my first road experience. And it was a little rough, uh, I mean just the travelling part of it. The rest of it was pretty, pretty comfortable. And making money playing music – that was, uh, that was the big deal.

You mentioned you born in Long Island. What got you, uh, interested in living in New York City? I think you, you mentioned it was the lower East side.

When I had finished that 2½ years, sort of touring with that Vegas Show band, some friends had, um, found a loft on the lower East side and they were moving in. And they said ‘We think you ought to come in and it would probably be a great thing for the three of us to live here and share it all and, you know, get our careers happening.’ Uh, it was a bit of a culture shock, again having been, at that time – when I was a teenager uh, really, and, uh, making pretty decent money and having no expenses whatsoever – to go into the “starving artist” lifestyle that ensued after moving to the lower East side, but it was just an amazing, amazing experience. I have to add that when I moved to the lower East side it was, uh, in 1976, right at the, uh, Bicentennial. I think folks who know the lower East side now, it’s a quite different, um, animal. It’s full of clubs and, and chic restaurants and stuff. And it was still really pretty dangerous to live down there when we, when we moved down there.

I understand that in addition to being a musician, for a time, you were also a record producer?

Uh, yes. Did do a stint as a record producer. And I had been asked by a publishing company to produce a single for, um, one of their artists. It just happen to come out really well. I was able to, uh, sell it to Mercury Records and it was released. And, as with most things in those days, it was about the amount of promotion money that’s put around it. But through that, I met some people at a company who were really making a lot of money putting out records. And, uh, I was sort of the guy who did the pet projects of, you know, the principals of the company. They were guys that I would’ve never chosen to record in particular (laughs) but, uh, it was a great experience to do that. And I got to work in fantastic studios with some guys who became quite famous as engineers and producers.

Tell us about meeting Mr. Paul Shaffer.

My first meeting with him, it was a phone meeting. I’d been playing in New York with a trumpet player, Al Chez, who is also – who plays on the, uh, on the show with us – and, uh, Will Lee, the bass player on the show, um, would sub for our bass player once in a while. And I guess a that time, uh, Paul had, uh, recorded an album and was about to go out on, uh, on the show’s dark weeks and stuff and weekends, and promote and do concerts. And their original plan was to just hire horns wherever, uh, wherever they were. And, uh, Will prevailed upon him and said ‘Listen, you know, I’ve play with these two guys – a sax and trumpet player – and these guys sound like four horns together. You gotta hear them. You gotta hear them.’ And I didn’t even know this happened. Uh, interesting sidelight – this band that, uh, this Latin funk band that we were playing in – Al and I – um, we were hired by La Toya Jackson to, um, be her back-up and for a, uh, world premier at one of the Trump casinos in Atlantic City. So we were rehearsing with her in one room and, unbeknownst to me, Paul and his band were rehearsing in another room. And they sort of – I guess they stuck their heads in and took a listen and liked what they heard because, um, a couple of days later, I got a call from, um, his road manager and said ‘Well, uh, Paul would like you to do this. Uh, we’re going to start rehearsing in a couple of weeks’ And he gave me details and all this other stuff. And before I ever got, we ever started those rehearsals, Paul called me up at home and said, um, ‘We have an artist coming on the show. Her record has horns on it and so I’d love you to, uh, write out the horn parts, and you’ll now come in and back her up with us. And also, pick five tunes that you’d, uh, you guys would like to play, you know, that we’d all know and sit in all night. That was the first experience. I met him when I walked in to Studio 6A at the Rockefeller Center.

What was going through your mind when you were officially were told that you got the gig of being a part of the CBS Orchestra?
As I said, I had done some 30 shows, and a lot of work for the show, and was really familiar with everybody around it. And when they were moving to CBS, I had sort of made a pitch to Paul about going over with them and being a utility infielder because I can play some guitar, I play keyboards, I can – I sing, I play percussion and my point being with that was I wouldn’t necessarily be always a saxophone all the time. Again, more like a utility infielder. So in the meeting, I thought the meeting wentwell, and he called me a week or so later, and said ‘You know, I think I’m going to go in a different direction. I want to try getting a second guitarist and another keyboard player.’ I thought that would sort of be the, uh, extent of my career on the Letterman show at that point. Paul and I were both nominated for Emmys for that 10th anniversary special so I, I did sort of think, well, I guess that was my highlight of my Letterman career. And I just happened to, uh, you know, in those days we had beepers and, you know, no one had hand-held cell phones. Uh, I had a phone in the car. And I was out somewhere and my beeper went off and I had this – you know, ‘This number looks very familiar to me. I better go call.’ So I went in and called and it was Paul. This was about, maybe the 40th show, or so, that they had done for CBS. And he said to me ‘We’re going to have Natalie Cole on the show. We’re going to add, uh, a few horns and, uh, I’d love to have you come in and do it.’ And I said ‘Great!’ So I figured, well there we go, I’ll be sort of called in occasion to do this again. And we talked for a little while longer and he said to me ‘You know, and the band just, you know, it’s just not working out the way I really wanted it to.’ At that point I sort of was frozen stiff in my seat and he had mentioned ‘Well, maybe – I don’t know what we’ll do. Maybe we’ll have you come in and play a regular night once a week or every other week or however it’s going to work but let’s see what happens.’ And, uh, we went in and did that Natalie Cole show – and, um, Tom Malone and I were involved in that, the trombone player on the show. He said ‘Well, why don’t you come back the next night?’ And the next night and the next night. And I guess it was also that Dave liked the horns and the way the band sounded with the horns. So, it wasn’t just like ‘You’ve got the gig. Here’s the contract, dude.’ I sort of, like, eased into it over a period of four months or so. But it was just, it just kept, every Friday you know, they would say ‘Well, come back Monday.’ And then we knew we had another week, so it went along that way.

Playing on the Dave Letterman show, there have been so many great acts that I’ve seen perform on there. Was there one in particular that made you flip out when you found out they were going to be there?

Oh, there are so many. There’s so many. Uh, you know, getting to play with, um, just you know, the icons of the industry. I mean, one of the ones that comes to mind – because I think I might have mentioned to you earlier that past weekend, uh, Levon Helm had invited me to go up and play with his band at one of his Midnight Rambles at his barn-studio home in Woodstock, and that was a fantastic experience. I’ve always been a huge fan from the time I was in high school of the band and of him. So I guess one of, one of the great times was the first time that they appeared on the show and I got to meet them and, and play with them and, uh, meet Garth Hudson and have Garth Hudson explain to me how he liked the horns to be. That was really great. It’s really impossible to sort of name one in particular. I mean, you could just go through the whole roster of people who have appeared on the show. It’s all been amazing.

Well, tell us about what the experience is like being the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame house band.

That’s correct. We’re doing two spectacular anniversary shows – 25th anniversary shows – at Madison Square Garden at the end of October, which will include all the obligatory superstars from, from Clapton to – you name it. And what, uh, we will be doing as the, um, sort of the house band that we’ve been for, since the beginning of the Hall of Fame, we’ll be backing up a sort of a soul review – I think it’s about a 40-minute set – a lot of people. And the, uh – headlined one night by Aretha Franklin, which will be amazing. And I’ve gotten to play with her before and that was amazing to play the saxophone solo on Respect, with having Aretha turn around to stare at you while you’re playing. It was a really wonderful experience. And on the other night the review will be headlined by Stevie Wonder. And that’s another amazing experience that we – he was part of the, uh, closing ceremonies for the Olympics in Atlanta a number of years ago and, uh, so we were sort of the house band for that as well and got to play with Stevie. Those two acts are just going to be amazing, amazing musical experiences.

Let me ask you – and I hope you don’t mind me asking this question. Is there someone in the band that feel closer to than the others?

Well, we’re a pretty tight-knit group and I would, I would say there’s a certain bond between Al Chez and myself because we’ve been together playing as like, uh, a unit for over 25 years starting in, you know, playing in the Jersey shore bands. And it’s funny because the guys that are in, uh, in Conan’s band, in the, um, now the Tonight Show band, we all played together. Mark Pender and Richie “La Bamba” Rosenberg – we had a band called La Bamba and the Hubcaps and we played all the big beach bars along the New Jersey shore for years together. So Al. And Will – you know Will is the guy who got me on this gig, you know, and there’s always, uh, a special place – and he’s, he’s an amazing person, an amazing musician. And the kind of musician you meet in life that you barely ever see having to break a sweat no matter what is called for – no matter what technical prowess is called for – in the music that you’re that you’re performing. That, coupled with the deepest groove that, you know, you can imagine. I remember seeing him one of the first times, years and years ago, in the 24th Street Band which is with Hiram Bullock, and just going ‘Wow. I know why this guy is one of the highest paid musicians in New York.’ Because he puts down a groove so deep that you’d need a ladder to climb out of it. There have been a couple of times Anton was, um, maybe playing with a feature band in the center of the stage, and wouldn’t have time to come back and play drums, where I sat down and play drums. And man, having Will playing bass while I played drums – it was just so easy. It was amazing. So I, I feel close to those guys. I feel close to all of them really. I mean Sid McGinnis, the guitarist, I mean he and I have, you know, been friends for a really, really long time. And, uh, well, all of them. Anton and I play golf together all the time. It’s hard tosay but I would still say Al because, I mean I, we’ve been friends the longest.

What is in the future of Bruce Kapler?

In the immediate future it’s, um, another three years, um, happily, uh, with the CBS Orchestra on the show with David Letterman. That’s what we’re looking at now. And, as you can well imagine, I mean it’s, it’s fun to go out and play and do other things but it’s impossible to really plan a future beyond that because, you know, who knows what will be going on at that point. You know, who do you talk to to say ‘Well, you know I would love to go on tour with you but, you know – and I’ll be available in three years.’ You know? (Laughs) So it’s a little, it’s a little far in advance to make those kind of plans.

When Dave calls it quits, I swear I’ll cry. (Laughs)

We all will. And not just for the final curtain of, uh, what has been an amazing run and the absolute best job that any musician could ever have but also because of just Dave himself. He would really shy from the accolades but he is the voice of a generation. And he is sort of like America’s conscience. And people look to him and his opinion when forming their own opinions about certain events that happen in the world. You know, he’s sort of the, the talk show standard-bearer – which has nothing to do with ratings. It has to do with the mettle of the man.

Wow. Very well put. I have two final questions that I ask all of the guests. Uh, this one sounds kind of light-hearted but I always find it reveals something about the person. What is your all-time favorite meal?

Well, see now, I’m a cook. I won’t say that I’m a cook – let’s make it a verb. I cook. I enjoy cooking. I’d have to say I make a really mean osso bucco. It is one of my favorites. I make it on the holidays for my family and they’re always looking forward to it. It is, uh, slow-cooked veal shanks in a sauce that, uh, is comprised of, um, some vegetables and, uh, tomato sauce. And it’s usually served with, um, risotto, which is an, you know, an Italian rice dish. I’m not at all Italian but I just happen to love that particular meal.

Well, my one final question for you. This broadcast is going out all over the world, thanks to the powers of technology, so what would you like to say to all the people that are listening in?

I would like to have them spend more time listening and enjoying music, and less time at some of the more destructive things that are going on in the world.

Very sound advice. Alright. Well, thanks so much Bruce. It’sbeen a pleasure.

It’s been mine as well. Thank you, Paul.

TRANSCRIBED BY GAYLE BRAZDA.

Brian Ray: Guitarist, Singer-Songwriter, Recording Artist

We are proud to welcome a guitarist, singer-songwriter and session musician from Southern California. Brian Ray may be most known for his work as the lead and rhythm guitarist and sometime bassist for Paul McCartney, but he has also released two solo albums. “Mondo Magneto” was released in 2006 and most recently in 2010, he has released his sophomore album “This Way Up.”

Rusty Anderson: Songwriter, Guitarist for Paul McCartney

RUSTY ANDERSON is most known as the guitarist for Paul McCartney, which he has done for more than a decade.  In addition to appearing on several of Paul McCartney’s studio and live albums, he has toured the world with McCartney.

Impressive as that may be, this interview focuses mostly on Rusty Anderson’s incredible gifts as a songwriter and creator of his own studio albums.  Rusty Anderson’s first studio album Undressing Underwater was released to critical acclaim.  This interview took place shortly after the release of his second album Born on Earth.

Rusty Anderson’s songs are unique and at times unusual, but always very interesting and a pleasure to listen to.  This interview covers a lot of ground and we hope you enjoy Anderson’s unique perspectives.

 

Our special guest is Rusty Anderson. In addition to being the lead guitarist for Paul McCartney, he’s also a singer-songwriter and recording artist. I’m going to share this quote from Rusty Anderson and then we’re going to bring him out for our exclusive interview.
“When I was a kid, I was like seven or eight, I had dreams that the Beatles would come to my door with their guitars and stuff and say ‘Hi! You wanna play?’ And I’m like ‘Yeah!’ And I’d wake up and be sad because it was only a dream. And then we’re in the studio recording and towards the end of that Paul says ‘Hey man, I had a dream about you last night.’ ”

 It is with great pleasure we welcome guitarist, singer-songwriter Rusty Anderson. In addition to being the lead guitarist with Sir Paul McCartney, he’s also a recording artist. He joins us to talk about his new album, Born on Earth. So first of all, thanks so much for joining us here.
How are you, Paul?

I’m doing great. How about yourself?
I’m good, man.

I think most stories are best from the beginning so tell us a little bit about your early life.
I guess, musically, I sort of flipped out on the Beatles when I was five ‘cause my older sister was playing Beatle records. Coincidentally, right around that time, my – I’m the youngest in my family – and my oldest brother, Mike, died of a kidney thing. And I was five and he was 19, and I think it messed with the family. And I think my parents sort of numbed out and no one really talked about it, and I just went into music land and started exploring all sorts of different artists. And I got a guitar when I was eight – finally. It was, um, an electric guitar and amp – a little cheap pawn-shop thing, that I was just really into it. And I think I just sort of really hyper-focused on the guitar, you know, ever since (laughs). So I’ve been doing the same thing since I was five, basically.

Can you give us your recollections of the first public music performance you ever had?
I was maybe nine years old, uh, we did like two gigs at the school, different classrooms, playing with my little band and, uh, the drummer, my friend Ronnie and, uh, another guy, I think it was Ken, playing fake bass on the guitar. That was the first gig I can recall but that was, uh, quite a while ago (laughs).

Well, tell us about the band, Eulogy.
Eulogy was, uh, the first actual band that stayed together that I was in because I was always forming bands and it was sort of a prerequisite to being my friend if you played an instrument and we could be in a band because I was a little bit OCD, I guess, about it. So yeah, Eulogy was together maybe five or six years and, yeah, it had a lot of great experiences. We played, you know, all over Orange County. We played like 85 high schools in one year, I think, and then, you know, really got into playing, through like, uh, this – it was through a radio station in Orange County, and then we played, uh, you know, a bunch of clubs in Hollywood and started doing gigs, you know, opening up for like, you know, The Police or Van Halen and things like that. Yeah, it was a fun band. Good music.

Tell us a little bit about your influences on the guitar and also as a songwriter.
You know, I have my guitar favorites like I really always loved Mick Ronson, just for his melodic sense and his arrangement sense, and his tone was so special. And I loved Jimi Hendrix and Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page. I think, musically, I really, really have always loved Debussy and Rachmaninov and Gershwin. Sort of my three favorite classical composers and they sort of got into jazz a little bit, the early forms. I mean, they definitely have influenced jazz and they’re just beyond, you know, another world. I definitely had a lot of influences, I guess as all musicians do. Songwriting wise, you know how it is, everybody’s busy these days rolling through so many different styles of music. I mean, everybody I ask they say ‘Oh, I like a bit of everything.’ Very strange world in that respect. Yeah, there’s so many genres. I mean, I’m influenced songwriting-wise from everyone from Bob Dylan to David Bowie. You know, I love a lot of new the music – MGMT and The White Stripes and Band of Horses and The Shins and Death Cab for Cutie and, you know, on and on. There’s somebody I love, Captain Beefheart, and I love Cream and I love Todd Rundgren, and so many influences. I think ultimately, when I’m writing a song, I just have some ideas. Usually, I’ll come up with a lyrical thing. Maybe I’ll jot it down. Like, for instance, there’s a song on the record called Julia Roberts which was a dream. I wrote it down when I woke up because I thought it was really odd ‘cause I, you know – she popped into my head for no reason, and then I forgot about it. And later, I returned and saw the lyrics and thought, oh that would be cool to turn into a song. So I, actually I co-wrote that with a friend of mine named Jord Lawhead and we, uh, turned that into a musical, finished song. It happens a lot of different ways.

There’s another song on the new album called Funky Birthday Cake and I was hoping you could tell all the listeners about that song.
Well that song – actually, it’s funny ‘cause you brought up Eulogy – my friend, Myles, when he was a singer in Eulogy and we were, you know, maybe 13 or something and we had just started hanging out, and having fun and making music, and we wrote that song together when we were 13 or 14 or something. When I was working with Peter Smith who co-produced some of the songs on my record, who also plays drums in my band live – I had a demo of that song and he heard it and he said ‘Yeah, we should record this.” and I said ‘OK.’ It was just sort of an impulsive thing and it ended up on the record.

I was hoping you could tell all the listeners out there a little bit about meeting David Kahne.
I was in a band called The Living Daylights and, uh, we had a single. It got over to David Kahne, he really liked the band, he was working at a major label – I think, uh, Columbia or something at the time – and we didn’t end up signing with him but he was a producer that worked on a lot of major, different acts at the label. So I started working with him in the studio playing guitar and, uh, that was the beginning of a long relationship because then, eventually, he started working with Paul for Driving Rain. They had talked and he said ‘Hey man, I’m going to be, uh, doing this record in a few months – so this was, like, maybe two months before Driving Rain happened which was, I guess, 2001 – and he said ‘Yeah, I think, uh, we’ll be needing some guitar work’ and I said ‘Well, man, cut me in. I’ll be really exited to do that.’ And then I sort of didn’t tell anyone about it – I didn’t want to do the Hollywood jinx – and then, sure enough, two months later I was in the studio with Paul and David and, uh, you know, that was, uh, the beginning of, of working with Paul.

 You had an album before this one called Undressing Underwater. My two favorite songs on that album are Catbox Beach and Everybody Deserves an A in This Country.
That was my first solo record. Catbox Beach, which Stew Copeland played drums on incidentally. We were in a band together called Animal Logic a few years ago. That song started off – the concept was a classical sort of song rocked up – and then, I’m thinking to myself ‘this sounds suspiciously like a surf song.’ I kinda got that vibe. So I named it Catbox Beach and when Stew played on it, I thought it would be really a shame not to have his amazing reggae feel so we sort of put a reggae bit in there, which I thought was cool because I had never really heard a surf song-reggae song combo before. So that definitely had to stick.
[Recording concludes] From Rusty Anderson’s debut album, Undressing Underwater, that was Catbox Beach.
Everybody Deserves an A in This Country was a song that, I guess, I was hanging out with some friends and suddenly enough we had this plan to take mushrooms and record music. Not that I’m a big drug person or anything, but that day that’s what we did. I don’t know if you’ve tried to do anything (laughs) when you take mushrooms – it’s pretty, it’s pretty tough, especially singing. So we didn’t get a whole lot of music done that day but the, sort of the birth of the concept of Everybody Deserves an A was, to be frank, motivated by brain mindset.
Well, it managed to score a really cool song, as far as I’m concerned.
Ahh, thanks.

You’ve done a lot of things in your musical career. You’ve done session works for people like Little Richard, Neil Diamond, Carole King. You have two records, you perform on your own and, of course, you also perform with Sir Paul McCartney. When you look at your musical history, is there something that you’re most proud of?
I’m really glad to be making a living playing music. I feel very, very lucky. Especially – I just finished reading that book Grapes of Wrath, and I feel extra, extra lucky because in these crazy days you never know what you get. I mean, it’s been amazing working with Paul for the last eight-plus years. I’ve seen all sorts of things, you know, gone all over the world. And, you know, musically I just try to make music I’m proud of and I can stand behind, and trying to just contribute to making melodies or some lyrical idea or something that maybe will inspire somebody. Basically, to communicate. I think that’s what it’s about for everybody, you know? They say that, uh, the most important thing for people is to communicate with others and to feel understood and I would definitely concur with that.

 When someone listens to a recording you performed on or they see you in concert, either by yourself or with someone else, what is it that you hope that the audience gets out of the experience of the music?
Oh man, you know, people get what they get. I mean, it’s exciting to get responses back from people, to hear the different things that people interpret from music, whether it’s playing with Paul – out there doing shows or doing, you know, the records with Paul – or doing my own live shows. You know, I just got the record Born on Earth out so I’m starting to get a few responses and it’s been incredibly positive. And it was the same with, uh, Undressing Underwater. And people have their interpretations, you know, their favorite songs. Everybody’s got their favorite song that they relate to. I think that the cool thing about music is that it’s untouchable and, therefore, it makes it very, uh, very individual. The impressions people get from the music is very individual. I guess with any art, you know, you’re going to get a million different opinions whether your dealing with, uh, contemporary art or classic art or whatever.

You’re listening to our interview with Rusty Anderson, who’s here joining us to talk about his new album, Born on Earth. I was hoping you could everyone out there about the title track.
It’s, basically, sort of about the infinitesimal chance that we would be alive in this crazy era of technology bum and the way the world has changed so much and, you know, we could have been alive a few million years ago or now, or – it’s a crazy time I would say, and I think you’d probably concur. And the songs are sort of a reflection of that and I think – it’s an epic sort of piece. I would just say you have to listen to it to kind of understand what I’m talking about, maybe (laughs).

What song, from the songs that you recorded that you wrote, means the most to you?
Where Would We Go? Private Moon Flower. They’re sort of, uh, personal songs. You know, the new record – I think every song has some personal aspect and it has some global aspect to them. And so I felt like the title Born on Earth sort of fit the record and the song. And, in fact, I was up in Alaska hanging out a few years ago. Some friends of mine were getting married. Actually, I was kayaking out on the edge of this, um, sort of bay of the ocean and in the grass there was this mannequin sitting there, sort of out of the blue. And I took a picture of it because I thought it was so odd and then I ended up using that for the record cover. And it sort of summed up, to me, the sort of incongruency of life these days – the randomness of it.

Having recorded your own music and gotten the chance to play music all over the world, you could honestly say that music has done some things for you that most people will never get a chance to experience. Having said that, are there any dreams that you have that you have not yet experienced, that you’re working on making happen?
That’s a very good question. I think there’s certainly a part of me that feels drawn towards getting more involved in, uh, philanthropic types of things, um, you know, charities. There’s so many good causes these days to be involved with, whether it’s, uh you know, helping  people out in Africa – I feel very strongly about that. I also feel strongly about the environment and global warming, and I’m sort of trying to find a good place for my energies in that realm. Certainly, I think I’ll always be making music and creating new, uh, themes, whatever medium it’s in. whether it’s, you know, new CDs or, you know mp3s or whatever the new media is at the moment. Certainly, playing more gigs with Paul, and it’s a good ride that I’m on and I just want to keep it expanding and communicate with more and more people. That’s pretty much it.

Through the eyes of Rusty Anderson, when you’re on stage performing in front of just thousands and thousands of people, where everyone’s looking at you, and there’s definitely this energy and this positivity coming from everyone – tell us, through your eyes, what is that experience like?
You know, it’s a weird loop. You can’t think about it too much. I mean I sort of just vibe off the audience – you know, look for friendly faces and people that are into it. And I guess, in a certain way, I feel more at home on stage than I do anywhere else just ‘cause I’ve been doing it a long time. And it’s – it’s always, like, an engaging challenge to try to really connect in that zen way, you know playing guitar and singing and being up there and grooving with everybody and, uh – it’s a pretty astounding feeling. I think the biggest gig we did was, uh, in Rome for 500,000 people. In a way, the smaller the audience the harder, the more intimidating it can be, like playing for one person is almost the most intimidating thing there is, as opposed to playing for huge audiences. On the other hand, playing that gig in Rome, there was 500,000 people and it was this super-buzz – like you felt this extra kick of energy – thrill – I can’t explain it but, you know like, we were doing I think Let It Be and there’s a bunch of people holding up lighters. And it was at night and this was in front of the Coliseum, and you look down the Apian Way and it was like a river of fireflies going off the edge of the planet, and it was – you couldn’t even see the end of it. It was pretty, uh, heavy and, and sort of monumental. It’s like you can’t really remember it either. It’s sort of like eating chocolate or something – it’s an experience that you can’t have unless you are engaged in the middle of it and then you can remember what it’s like.

Working our way back to your album, could you tell us about some of the musicians who played on that album?
The latest one is primarily Peter, the drummer, and I and the other guys on my band played on some of the tunes, too, and did a lot of background vocals. I wanted to keep it a little bit more – on that level – more sort of band-centric. There was another guy, Bunk Gardner, a good friend of mine who played in The Mothers of Invention, who was a huge influence on me when I was, uh, a kid growing up. And I always loved their music. That was Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. And I liked that sort of incarnation the best because it had this really organic, out-of-control kind of feeling, And, uh, Bunk plays woodwinds and sax and flute, and I think he played sax and, uh, bass clarinet on Funky Birthday Cake. That was a lot of fun. The last record, Paul McCartney played on a track and Stew Copeland played on a track, and it was a little more kind of, um, fun, bringing all these outside musicians in. Like I said, this one was more sort of about the band. Oh, another friend of mine, Gabby Marino, sang background vocals on a few songs, and I think that’s about it.

Tell us about the song, Timed Exposure, on the album Born on Earth.
Timed Exposure – I’m not sure exactly what the song is about to tell you the truth. It just came about organically and I think the music came first. It seemed to somehow, uh, connect the global, sort of macro perspective on the world and what we all go through – that personal experience. One verse is written from, I think from a fortune cookie –combination fortune cookie and personal ads that are in the newspaper.
Oh, interesting (laughs).
Yeah. So, you know, different things will inspire lyrics.

Can you tell the listeners out there how they can find out more about not only the new album but also more about you?
Well, there’s RustyAnderson.com. There is my MySpace. I started doing this Twitter thing so look for that. I’m doing Guitar Center in-store CD signings.

This broadcast is going out all over the world. My final question for you, Mr. Rusty Anderson: What would you like to say to all those people that are listening in?
Oh, just say ‘hello and, uh, happy to e-meet you or vibe with you’(laughs). Hope to see you at some show soon. I’m always into connecting with people.

Rusty, thank you so much for doing this interview. It means a lot.
You’re welcome, Paul. It was my pleasure.

Chubby Checker: Singer & Recording Artist

 CHUBBY CHECKER is one of the greatest singers in all of music.  In 1960, he recorded and released the Hank Ballard R&B song “The Twist” which resulted in a dance craze also known as “The Twist.”

The Twist has not gone away.  Nor has Chubby Checker.  He’s still Twisting!  What a thrill to talk with one of the absolute greatest in rock ‘n roll.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that we welcome our special guest, the legendary rock-n-roller, Chubby Checker.  Thanks so much for joining us.
Thank you so much.  Good to be talking with you.

It’s a great pleasure.  So tell everyone out there…people know your songs…but whose the real Chubby Checker?

You don’t want to know him.  He’s a very quiet guy.

Really?

He’s more like Clark Kent.  Nobody cares about him.  He’s very quiet, you know.  Someone whose the other guy…he’s always promoting Chubby Checker…the other guy, he’s always promoting Chubby and everything Chubby does.  It’s like I’m a person within a person.  I promote…I promote Chubby Checker and the quiet guy doesn’t really do very much.  He’s very laid back.  He’s a whole different kind of person and very quiet and…and…you know, just very normal.  In fact, I try to keep out of the way…keep out of the lights and, um, go to quiet places to be entertained.  Nothing exciting because the life of Chubby Checker is always in the spotlight so the other person tries not to be in the spotlight. 

Interesting.  Where do you come from originally?  What was life like growing up?

Spring  Gully, South Carolina and it’s Williamsburg County and Georgetown County.  Williamsburg from Spring Gully, South Carolina and Andrews, South Carolina, this is my home and when you come through Andrews, South Carolina on Highway 521, in every section of town they will say “Welcome to Andrews, birthplace of or the home of Chubby Checker.”

Wow!  Very cool.

I have to behave myself because I, I always tell the people in Andrews and Spring Gully that please forgive me because every time you come through town my name is always there so it’s a burden for them so please forgive me.  I’m going to behave myself and be a good by so that you won’t be ashamed of me (laughs). 

I was reading a really interesting story about you…and there’s lots of interesting stuff also I want to direct all the listeners to ChubbyChecker.com….there’s a real interesting story about you and how you got your name.

When I was a kid, I worked in a produce market for Tony Anastasi and Tony Anastasi gave me the name Chubby.  I later discovered that he gave me his son’s name, which I considered a great honor and a few years later I was working in the poultry market for Henry Colt and he took me to the record company.  I was doing a project for Dick Clark.  The lady there…this lady said…she said, “That’s Chubby.  Chubby like Fatts,” and then she added, “Checker, like Domino,” and Chubby became Chubby Checker and the lady’s name was Mrs. Dick Clark.

So tell me, how did you get interested in music?

My mom took me to concert when we were living in Georgetown County in Georgetown, South Carolina and I was looking at Ernest Tubb, the country singer, and then she later took me to a show in Andrews, South Carolina where I saw a singer named Sugar Charles Robinson  and after I saw those two people, I decided I’d have to be in show business.  I was about four or five years old. 

Wow.  Can you remember favorite artists and favorite records growing up?

I remember people from the 40’s like, um, Hank Williams and Grandpa Jones…those people were around when I was a kid because all I ever heard was country music because I was born before rock-n-roll and people like Hank Williams…people like that….and then when I gained consciousness, about 1951…I must have been about ten years old, then I started exploring rock-n-roll because people like Billy Ward and the Dominos and people like that and…Perry Como and Milton Berle and then came along people like Sammy Davis Jr. and Harry Belafonte and, um, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin…people like that…but my favorite of all times was Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis.  These are the people that really mean something in the rock-n-roll business.  We…we are part of all these people.

I had to agree with you there on the Fatman there.  He was one of my favorite people to interview.  Just an amazing artist.

But these five people, to me, are…a statue should be carved of them in some mountain somewhere and call it the ‘Rock-n-Roll Mountain of Rushmore.’  Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis… these are the guys who really made it…that made rock-n-roll come alive with great fire. 

Before ‘The Twist,’ you had a song called ‘The Class.’  Tell us about that song.

I did impressions of Fats Domino and Elvis Presley and Cozy Cole and the Chipmunks and things like that and I still do a good Elvis impression and Ricky Nelson and Fabian and people like that and it was a novelty record.  It wasn’t my favorite but it was my first hit but it wasn’t my favorite record because I thought that, at the time, I was much cooler than ‘The Class.’  (Laughs)

Well tell us about the first time you heard your own music on the radio.  What did that feel like?

I really never listened to my music and I very rarely look at any films of me on TV or videos.  I never really watch that and the reason why I don’t listen to myself is because I might hear something that I don’t like and I might change it…I might change it…and that might be the reason why people are listening to me and when I watch myself on TV and I see something and I change it, that might be the reason why they like me so I never really watch myself and I don’t listen to my records but I do know that when they’re not played…I have a thing called ‘Media Base.’  I find out where all my music is being played and how many times it’s being played and the great heartbreak about my career is that they don’t really play my music like they play the other great people in the music industry.  I would like to hear Chubby’s music even more.  My music is responsible for the way we dance on the dance floor because after we did ‘The Class,’ and I did ‘The Twist,’ the world changed forever.  It’s almost as if we’re talking on the telephone right now…when the telephone came to the public, it became a permanent fixture in the world.  When…when Edison gave us the light bulb, it became a permanent fixture in the world.  When Chubby Checker did ‘The Twist,’ the ‘Pony,’ the “Fly,’ the ‘Shake,’ the ‘Hucklebuck,’ dancing on the floor the way we dance became a permanent fixture on the dance floor for everybody’s music and all I want out of it all is for everyone to play my music like they play Elton John;  like they play Elvis;  like they play all the rest of the guys out there….Bob Seger…I want to hear my music the way they play their music and I deserve to have it because in September 11th, 2008, ‘The Twist’ was named the number one song on the planet.  I want to hear the number one song on the planet on the radio.  I want to hear every radio station play the number one song on the planet. 

Well tell us a little bit about that song.  It is amazing, you know.  I can’t believe that it wouldn’t be more wide-spread.  Everybody knows ‘The Twist’ and it’s…

Everybody knows ‘The Twist,’ but I want the radio stations to play what’s responsible for the way we dance on the dance floor  24/7 since Chubby Checker went on ‘American Bandstand’ around 1959 and the world changed forever.  I mean, the way we do the boogie… the way we dance to Lady Gaga… the way kids dance that are nine or ten years old…that’s Chubby Checker.  You turn on the light in your house, it’s Thomas Edison.  When you get on the phone, it’s Alexander Graham Bell.  When you get on the dance floor, that’s Chubby Checker.  The music has a beat and you can dance to it, like they use to say, that’s Chubby Checker. 

Well, tell us about that song, ‘The Twist.’

We’re celebrating fifty years of dancing by ourselves on the dance floor.  Billy Idol said it last…said it best.  He says, that song “dancing by myself… and I’ll be dancing by myself.”  That’s what we’ve been doing.  When Chubby Checker did ‘The Twist,’ we been dancing by ourself on the dance floor, in front of someone, exploiting their sexuality, which is the most exciting thing on the planet!  That’s why we’re still doing it. 

Yeah, I heard you say that on the, on the television.  Uh, you mentioned that…you said that we’re exploiting one another’s sexuality.  What exactly do you mean by that?

It means that I’m actually standing in front of that woman and she’s standing in front of me and we’re fully dressed and we’re doing it.  What are we doing?  We’re doing it.  I’m looking at that girl and I’m saying, “Watch me…check my moves,” and she’s saying, “Watch me…check my moves,” and I’m looking at her and she’s looking at me.  My goodness!  You can’t get any closer to a strip tease than that.


(Laughs)  Yeah…

And that’s why…that’s why the way we dance on the dance floor before Chubby Checker wasn’t here…in fact, aerobic exercise did not emerge until someone says, “Hey, ‘The Twist’ is great exercise.  Let’s get some music and exercise to music,” and before Chubby Checker, that wasn’t even here.

That’s amazing.  When you look back at all the songs you recorded, is there one to you personally…you mentioned that you didn’t listen to your own records…but is there one to you that is a favorite?

‘The Twist’ is a great song.  ‘The Twist’ is my favorite song and reason for that is is because, you know, it changed the world.  When Walt Disney brought Mickey Mouse to our attention animated cartoons was established and invented right there and everyone that does animated cartoons…now when you go to Disney World or Disneyland you see Mickey Mouse but what about Snow White and the rest of the characters that he has?  Well my Mickey Mouse is ‘The Twist,’ and then my Snow White is ‘The Colonnade,’ and my Goofy is ‘The Fly, and another one is ‘The Shake’ and another one’s ‘The Hucklebuck.’  Those are my characters but they all represent, like Walt Disney’s characters all represent animated cartoons because before he came along it wasn’t here, and all my dances represent the way we dance on the dance floor.  We call it the ‘Dancing Keyboards’ to the way we do the boogie and it’s been going on 24/7 since Chubby Checker, that in two minutes and forty-two seconds the world, the world changed…the dip, dip beat(?)…the length of ‘The Twist’ is two minutes, forty-two seconds and two minutes and forty-two seconds changed the dance floor forever and it’s still going on as we speak.  ‘The Twist’ and the way we dance to the beat is the biggest event in the music industry…the day that it happened…and it still is the biggest event in the music industry.  I just want to catch up with myself and I’m hoping that all the radio stations in the world will play Chubby Checker’s music.  When I’m dead, I’m not going to be able to hear it.  I want to hear it while I’m alive and well.

It was not too I was doing an interview with Clarence “Frogman” Henry in New Orleans and he was, he was talking about you and he said that you were one of the people that he opened for that he was the most proud and the most excited to sing along with.  So I wanted to ask you: Who have you sang along with or opened for or had open for you that you were especially excited about?

It was way back in the day.  There was show in Philadelphia.  I was still in high school and I was the MC.  I…the first tour I went on, I was the MC and I was…I opened for The Quest.  I opened for Paul Williams and the Big Band.  I opened for Clyde McPhatter  and I opened for Bo Diddley.  The show was called ‘Hot Five,’ and I was on that show.  After that, basically most of the time, I’m on the road by myself all the time.  I loved playing with Chuck Barry.  I loved Fatts Domingo, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.  I mean, I’ve played with all these people.  I was in the company of Elvis once in my career.  I’ve met Paul McCartney twice and that’s…that’s about it.  I mean, other than that, it’s the music and Chubby and the audience.  That’s what we’ve been doing, you know, since 1959.  I graduated in 1960.  I was touring before I even graduated high school.  Go to I-Tunes and Amazon.com and look for ‘Knock Down the Walls.’  Look for ‘All the Best.’  Look for that.  Look for ‘Limbo Remix.’  Look for ‘The Texas Twist.’  These are things that I’ve done over the last ten years and you need to listen to those cause it’s…the music is very exciting.  Uh, ‘Knock Down the Walls,’ very exciting song and ‘Texas Twist’ is a country album and it’s all country music on it and it’s something that you need to get in to.  It’s very exciting…

Yeah..

..and, and, and….and go to…go to The Last Twist.com and, you know…we have candy bars and hot dogs and steak and all kinds of junk on there and I’m sure it’d be very interesting.

I’ve got two final questions.

Uh-huh…

When somebody goes to hear you play, cause I wanted all the listeners out there again…check out ChubbyChecker.com…he’s got shows everywhere…uh, what do you hope that they get out of the experience of coming to a Chubby Checker show or listening to one of the records?

They are the centerpiece of the performance.  I am just a good excuse for the party.  It’s all about them.  It’s not about me.  I’m glad they’re coming to see me but I’m also coming to see them and I’m going to give them something.  I’m going to personally get involved with them.  That’s what I do.  You know, the show is about them and you have to see it in order to know it but the thing is, most shows you go to you sit, you clap and you’re an observer and you go home.  You sit down, you clap, you’re an observer and you go home.

Right.

And that’s all you get.  With Chubby Checker, you get more.  You get other things.  Come to town.  Come to see me so that you can see what the other thing is all about.  What’s the next question?

The last question for the legendary Chubby Checker:  This broadcast goes out all over the world.  What would you like to say to all the people out there that are listening?

Whenever you go on the dance floor, I’m there.  In fact, out of all the dances that you do, when you go on the dance floor more than anyone else, you might be dancing to the Beatles but the dance that you do to the Beatles is Chubby Checker.  You might be dancing to Lady Gaga, but Chubby’s there.  You might be at your office on the telephone but Graham Bell’s there.  You might be in your house with the lights on but Edison is there.  Everybody out there, have a good time and most of all is my last message to you:  “Behave!”

(Laughs)  Alright, ladies and gentlemen, the one and only Chubby Checker.

TRANSCRIBED BY LORI DOMINGO