Bruce Johnston has had an incredible career in music. In the early days of rock and roll, he played shows as part of the backing band for Ritchie Valens, and he did one performance in the backing band for Eddie Cochran. Then, after a stint as a young producer for Columbia Records, he was asked to fill in for a few concerts with The Beach Boys, which turned into membership in the band for thousands of concerts and the recordings of some of their best-known albums including Pet Sounds, Smile, Friends, Sunflower, and Surf’s Up. Along the way, he also did vocal arrangements and sang background vocals for Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and wrote “I Write the Songs”, which was a Grammy Award winning Number 1 hit for Barry Manilow.
This interview was for the 1/30/16 concert by The Beach Boys at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA. It was done by phone on 1/8/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Three Dog Night had an amazing string of hit songs from 1969-1975 – count ’em, 21 straight Top 40 Hit Singles including three – “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”, “Joy to the World”, and “Black and White” – which reached Number One.
The original line-up for Three Dog Night was notable for having three lead vocalists, Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells, each bringing their own unique flair to the material, which usually came from outside writers. Negron left the fold in the 1980’s, but Hutton and Wells have carried on with the Three Dog Night name.
This interview was for a preview article for the Three Dog Night concert on 8/20/15. It was done by phone on 8/4/15.
Al Jardine was a founding member of The Beach Boys, and apart from a year off in the early days, he was a key member of the band up until 1998. He was also part of the 50th anniversary reunion tour that visited the Santa Barbara Bowl in the summer of 2012.
You can hear Jardine’s harmonies and/or playing on many classic Beach Boys recordings including “Surfin’ Safari”, “I Get Around”, “California Girls”, “Barbara Ann”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “Good Vibrations”, and many more. His best-known lead vocal is on the Number One hit “Help Me Rhonda”. He also brought the song “Sloop John B” with Brian Wilson’s attention, and helped to arrange The Beach Boys’ version. His songwriting credits include “California Saga: California” and “Susie Cincinnati”.
This interview was for the performance by musical genius Brian Wilson and Al Jardine on 9/27/14 at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles. It was done by phone on 9/16/14, and has been edited slightly for continuity.
Mike Love has been a Beach Boy since the band began way back in 1961, and wrote the lyrics to some of their best-known songs including “Fun, Fun, Fun”, “California Girls”, “I Get Around”, and “Good Vibrations”. And that’s him singing lead vocals on the recordings of the first three of these, plus “Surfin’ U.S.A”, “Little Deuce Coupe”, “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”, and more. Overall, The Beach Boys have had three dozen Top 40 hits, and they were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
This interview was for a preview article for The Beach Boys concert at the Ventura County Fair on 7/31/14. It was done by phone on 7/28/14.
Photos of The Beach Boys, Chumash Casino, 6/6/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
The punk rock band The Dwarves has taken the “Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll” mantra to heart, with nearly three decades of decadence under their belts.
Formed in Chicago and now based in San Francisco, The Dwarves gained early notoriety for ferocious 15-minute shows that often degraded into violent brawls, and at times included onstage sex-acts. They also raised eyebrows with controversial song and album titles and artwork, including the 1990 album Blood Guts & Pussy which shows nude women (and a midget) drenched in animal blood.
The core of the band is singer Blag Dahlia and guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed, the latter the subject of a death hoax which got the band dropped from their record label Sub Pop. Dahlia was himself in the news when he was assaulted in 2004 by Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Josh Homme.
Blag Dahlia answered the following questions by email, with answers received on 5/29/13. This was for a preview article for the show by The Dwarves on 6/6/13 at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara.
Review of The Beach Boys at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 5/28/12.
Justin Roberts was in the Minneapolis-based indie rock band Pimentos for Gus before becoming an award-winning children’s musician who writes clever, thoughtful songs with a well-crafted power pop sound. His latest CD is 2008’s Pop Fly.
This interview was conducted in person in Evanston, IL on 6/25/08.
Review of Brian Wilson concert 9/10/09 at Lobero Theatre. Also, review of documentary about Brian Wilson called “Going Home,” world premiere showing on 1/30/09 at Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara International Film Festival