SOUND & VISION
Edition #2- March 3, 2016
There has been a lot of attention paid to amazing singer/ songwriter Carole King lately. She was honored by The Recording Academy as the MusiCares Person of the Year in 2013; that same year she won a Grammy for her musical and was honored at the White House with the Gershwin Prize. And last year she was a recipient of Kennedy Center Honors. Her legendary 1971 album Tapestry remains one of the most popular rock albums of all time, and currently her hit Broadway play, Beautiful- The Carole King Musical remains an in-demand ticket both on the Great White Way and on the road, with its touring cast.
Beautiful- The Carole King Musical, comes to Rochester beginning Tuesday, March 8th with a run at the Auditorium Theatre. I highly recommend it. If for nothing else, to hear all those great songs she wrote or co-wrote. I was lucky enough to interview Carole King a few times, and once recently we had an extensive chat. Here are some highlights of my interview with this iconic songsmith:
Bruce Pilato: How much desire is still there for you to make new records, and to stay current, which you obviously did with this record. You’re one of the most successful songwriters of all time, so it’s not like you have to work to make a living. How much of that desire is still there to the point where you get up in the morning and say: “I really want to make music today….”?
Carole King: I love songwriting. I’ve always loved songwriting and for me it’s less about staying in the business or staying current or being “out there,” than it is about the pros. I love the process of songwriting.
BP: Is songwriting for you a way of life, in the same way that people have to run every day or they have read the paper in the morning as part of daily routine…. Is songwriting something you NEED to do everyday?
CK: I can go months without doing it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love doing it. There are many things that I love to do that I can’t do every day. That is probably why I don’t write songs every day because there are so many other things that I also love to do.
BP: Was there any direction when you made your last studio album that you wanted to follow? Do your songs usually address love and relationships, or did you feel a need to focus on any other direction or theme?
CK: One of the things that I started to do, when I feel a new group of songs come together with the potential of being an album is to focus on writing songs about love and relationships. I won’t say human, I will just say relationships, because people can love their dogs too. (Laughs).
BP: You’ve always loved your animals….
CK: Yes, I have.
BP: Obviously you’ve written many other songs about that because it is the most common theme in music. Is this a theme that you feel the most comfortable writing about and do you still have a lot to say in this area?
CK: The theme of human relationships?
CK: You know, it’s funny. One part of me thinks what can you possibly say that hasn’t been said before about relationships and about people with each other, and what not. And then, the other part of me is saying there is always some little new twist and always some new way of saying something that resonates with people. Plus, a song is more than just lyrics. It is melody and lyrics and the marriage of these two, come together in new ways every time you write a song.
BP: You had Slash from Guns N Roses perform with you on stage that was captured in a home video. I always wondered how that association came about?
CK: One of the keyboard players in my band had worked with Guns N Roses and Slash’s Snakepit. He plays with Alice Cooper now; his name is Ted Andreatis. He introduced me to Slash and I love the way that Slash plays guitar, it is a very distinctive style. For that particular song it was perfect, because it was a really rockin’ and thematic song.
BP: Do you have a particular style of music that you listen to at home, or say on a long car ride?
CK: It would be a variety. My taste is very eclectic.
BP When I was in high school in 1971, I saw the tour you did with James Taylor, Jo Mama and yourself. It was the tour to promote Tapestry. What an amazing evening of music that was for me….
CK: It was my first major tour, and was an amazing tour. It was like traveling with family. (Which it was, because I was involved with Charles Sharkey from Jo Mama), so it actually was touring with your family.
BP: You had been in the band The City with Danny Kortchmar and Charles Sharkey, who became Jo Mama
CK: Yeah, that’s what happened and they were on the tour. We all stayed together.
BP: Are you amazed that all the great songs from the Brill Building and the earlier part of your career still hold up today? Some of those songs sound just as vibrant today as they did back then.
CK: Yeah, I am. A good song is a good song.
BP: Your writing style is so universal for both men and women. When you write a song, do you think about how you can make it more personal?
CK: I do both. Actually, when you ask, “Do I make it personal?”, there are times will literally write out of my own experiences or my own feelings. A lot of times, I am just trying to write a good song. Then, by definition, because I am the one writing or co-writing, they’re going to come out of my own experience anyway; or that of my co-writer’s experiences. There is a definite awareness of trying to make it universal; to make it so somebody can identify with it. This is, no matter whether they are an 18 year-old young man or an older woman of my generation. And whatever ethnicity should transcend all those conditional boundaries.
BP: Do you find it difficult to write songs that relate more to fans from your own generation, as opposed to writing always about adolescent or younger love scenario?
CK: That’s not a problem for me. I think that there are things that are universal no matter what age you are, and that’s where I try to stay focused. That’s where what I have to say is universal.
BP: I know that you occasionally go back to write with your former husband and partner, Gerry Goffin (Goffin died in 2014 after this interview). How is the experience of writing him with him now, some 40 years later? Is it still a pleasant experience for you to write with him?
CK: It’s always great I still love the experience of writing with him.
Fresh from his triumphant 70th Birthday Concert at Madison Square Garden, Eric Clapton returns with I STILL DO, his 33rd studio album. The disc will be available May 20th on Bushbranch Records/Surfdog Records, and reunites Clapton with famed UK producer Glyn Johns, who also produced the legendary EC disc, Slowhand.
“This was a long and overdue opportunity to work with Glyn Johns again, and also, incidentally, the fortieth anniversary of ‘Slowhand’!” said Eric Clapton. Among the guests on the album are Paul Carrack (former lead singer for both Squeeze and Mike & The Mechanics) and Sir Elton John. Another guest is the Angelo Mysterioso, who many of you know, was actually the late Beatle George Harrison. His contribution was done many years ago now, but is being released now for the first time on this record.
The cover of I STILL DO is a poignant oil painting portrayal of Clapton done by Peter Blake, best known as the artist who created The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.
I STILL DO ALBUM TRACK LISTING
- Alabama Woman Blues
- Can’t Let You Do It
- I Will Be There
- Catch The Blues
- Cypress Grove
- Little Man, You’ve Had a Busy Day
- Stones In My Passway
- I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
- I’ll Be Alright
- Somebody’s Knockin’
- I’ll Be Seeing You
Eric Clapton: Guitars, Tambourine & Vocals
Henry Spinetti: Drums & Percussion
Dave Bronze: Double Bass & Electric Bass
Andy Fairweather Low: Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Paul Carrack: Hammond Organ & Backing Vocals
Chris Stainton: Keyboards
Simon Climie: Keyboards, Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Dirk Powell – Accordion, Mandolin & Backing Vocals
Walt Richmond – Keyboards
Ethan Johns – Percussion
Michelle John – Background Vocals
Sharon White – Background Vocals
Angelo Mysterioso – Acoustic Guitar & Vocals on “I Will Be There”
WHAT’S UP IN OTHER NEWS?: Look for a tell-all biography from former Eurhythmic Dave Stewart entitled including a foreword by friend and collaborator Mick Jagger. Those media titans behind the book call it : “ An atmospheric portrait of a golden age in music that lays bare all the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll-is packed with unforgettable never-before-told stories featuring the likes of Bob Dylan, Elton John, Stevie Nicks and Daryl Hall. “ Hmmm- sounds like a fun read to me.
Photo:©2016 Pilato Entertainment. All Rights Reserved
For those of you looking for something different to throw in your DVD player, you might want to try viewing one of Film Noir’s defining movies, Kansas City Confidential. Now available on Blu-ray – transferred from 35mm archival film elements – on The Film Detective , it chronicles the story of an ex-con trying to go straight after being framed for a million dollar armored car robbery. He must go to Mexico in order to find the real culprits and meets up with some deadly surprises. This is a classic from Film Noir’s golden era. Kansas City Confidential (1952) is a taught and gritty melodrama and reportedly an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.
That’s it for this time. Don’t forget to rock on.
Bruce Pilato’s Sound & Vision, including the photo of Carole King, is ©2016 Pilato Entertainment Marketing & Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.