Rock Around The World • July 1977
(I. to r.) Roxy sound, system notwithstanding. Les Dudek, Dickey Betts. and Dan Toler had fun back-
month—rehearsals booker Desi reports everybody behaved themselves. Also, Kiki Dee is prepping for her first headlining tour of the States with Dee Murray, Mouth Johnson, Joey Carbone, Jerry Aiello, and Donny Dacus. Their first set will be in Berkeley June 24, and the tour winds up six weeks later in Central Park. There’s more: Alice Cooper, gearing for his tour between serpentine scenes … Andy Gold getting ready for series of dates as Eagles opener .,.. Jennifer Warnes auditioning slide guitarists … Roger McGuinn, the Jonathon Cain Band, Dave Mason, and Herbie Hancock have been working on various projects. Take heed, neophytes: the Mills Brothers still rehearse, and they’ve only been performing for fifty-one years. Speaking of neophytes (and it takes one to know one), a couple new aggregations rehearsing at SIR should be watched: Lion (sporting a couple former Heavymetal Kids), and Randy Pie (sporting a couple former Automatic Roosters).
1, Robot is the new production from the Alan Parsons Project, and as the title might suggest, the album is an expression of alienation and dehumanization created by technology, the opression that arises when machines take over from their creatures. Man, who else?
The album was conceived and written by Eric Woolfson and translated to sound by engineer Alan Parsons with talent like Alan Clarke, Steve Harley, David Paton, Stuart Tosh, two choirs, and a symphony at Abbey Road Studios. Musically, it’s an ambitious but well-realized project which reflects technological allienation; lyrically, the basic question—whether man’s domination by its own technological fascinations is a spectre of the future or a reality of today—remains open.
“Alan and I sort of disagree about certain interpretations of the I, Robot concept,” Woolfson says. “He sees it as a sort of 1984-styled futuristic nightmare, and I see it happening now. People as robots. I see it as a realization that we’re under control and we are actually being programmed.”
Parsons described I, Robot in basically the same terms, but the difference in interpretation can be distilled to hope. “The machine could eventually take over. I, Robot offers a view of the future, but I think that even now machines are be- coming very much part of our lives. Computers control bank statements, traffic signals, credit. Computers know more about us than we know about ourselves, almost.
“I’ve always in a way associated what we’ve done musically with a visual, a picture,” Parsons continues. “Films naturally come to mina; in I, Robot, 1984 was one of them, and Metropolis was the other. People just milling around. humans and machines all being controlled by each other.”
Whether you think technomania is now or later, this album is the kind of statement that needs to be made until humans are back in control.
SESSION NOTES: Cheap Trick just finished its second Cheap Trick at Kendum, with Tom Werman (Ted Nugent) producing; one of the tunes is “Southern Girls,” an ode to Dixie Chickens. The album has Britrock overtones and not as much manic jamming around as the first. Werman swears Cheap Trick is “the horniest band I’ve ever worked with. Nugent is a vegetarian compared to these guys.” Sources say the band’s lead singer was a gigolo before becoming a Trick.
Meanwhile, at Brother Studios in Santa Monica, Earle Mankey got on the line with us. “What am I doing? Getting ready to cut Brian Wilson doing ‘Shortnin’ Bread.’ ” You don’t mean … “Yep, that’s the one.” But Brian’s prolific again, and writing stuff like “It’s Trying To Say To You,” “Everybody Wants To Live,” “It’s Over Now,” and “Lines” for the next Beach Boys album. There won’t be any shortage of material to choose for said album, tentatively titled “No Working Title.”
Carl Wilson just finished producing an album by Ricky Martin, Dean’s kid and the one that was too young to join Dino,
Desi and Billy back in ’65. Carl hasn’t been around for a couple of weeks, but Ricky and his band—which includes Ed Carter, Bobby Figueroa, and an old jamming partner of mine named Steve Ross—are rehearsing at Carl’s waiting for Carl to come home. Martin and band will be opening for the Beach Boys on a two-week European tour scheduled to begin at the end of August.
And what’s Mankey up to? “I just built a 16-track studio at my house, and I’ve been spending a lot of time up there,” he says. “It’s for my own stuff, which is noisy edgy-type stuff.” Such as? “Well, there’s ‘Mau Mau,’ with kind of a jungle-beat fuzz guitar, and ‘Crazy,’ which sounds fast and nervous.– Sounds like Earle is trying to recover from Ear Candy sessions with Helen Reddy. What’s your part-time partner Kim Fowley up to? “1 dunno, why don’t you call him?” Thanks, Earle, I will.
Fade to Larrabee Studios in West Hollywood. near the Orange Julius: Hello, Kim? What are you up to? “I’m auditioning new bass players for the Runaways and …” he drops the phone and fades away forever. Harvey Kubernik picks up the phone. “He’s crazy, I tell you.” Where did he go? “Who knows?” Well, can you tell me what Kim’s up to? “Yeah, he’s producing Steven T.. who was in Venus and the Razor Blades.” Hold it Harvetwo months ago Fowley told me that he’d forsaken the Runaways and punk productions forever. What the hell, huh? “Steven T. is not punk. It’s beyond punk. It’s real rock and roll from L.A.” No more “Punkorama” from T.? “Nope. Kim’s looking for creditibility. Rick Henn, lead singer and founder of the Sunrays and Daryl Dragon’s brother-in-law, is arranging the sessions. Players will include Leland Sklar, Jeff and Mike Porcaro, Lee Rittenauer, Joe Sample, Hal Blaine, and Mike Baird. Al Stewart’s supposed to come down tonight.” Songs? “They’ve got surreal street sensibility with a flair for melody. Kim calls it ‘melting pot rock.’ Some titles are ‘Blood In Sand,’ ‘Sweet Delight,”L.A. Blues.’ and some others.” Thanks, Harve, you know more about what Kim’s doing than he does, or so it seems!
Back at Cherokee, perfectionist Art Garfunkle has finished his next; all but one
tune are new Jimmy Webb songs, and last overdubs were done by David Crosby. Billy Payne, Leah Kunkel. and Paul Desmond. It was one of Desmond’s very last sessions: last month, at 52, Desmond joined Freddie King and Errol Garner in the Universal Anti-Matter Jazz Band.
Here’s a Little Feat studio story for y’all—Once upon a drunken evening, during the Feats Don’t Fail Me Now sessions, Featist Paul Barerre affixed a mike to each foot and shuffled around the studio. reciting something wild into another handheld mike. Producer Ted Templeman and Featist Billy Payne told Barerre to get serious: “Write some music for the damn thing!” So he did. “Old Folks’ Boogie” is the title: that’s the tune carrying the line “you know you’re over the hill/ when your mind makes promises/ that your body can’t fill,” which Barerre stole from his dear old Vaudevillian dad. Well, not exactly—the elder Barerre got half credit.
STUDIO NOTES: Roderick. Falconer has finished Victory in Rock City at Cherokee, and is now making film shorts to illustrate some of the tunes. Falconer’s shorts will be shown on European television with later release to U.S. theaters a possibility .. Denny Cordell and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are finishing the album they started before Petty’s very successful European tour . . . Jeff Baxter has played on the Dusty Springfield sessions in progress at Cherokee, with Ray Thomas Baker and Dee Robbs producing and engineering … Tim Weisberg overdubbed some flute parts on the now-finished Inner Circle Band album, produced by Robert Margouliffe at the Record Plant . Doobies are finishing at Sunset Sound with Ted Templeman co-producing … Hall & Oates almost done at Sound Labs, with Chris Bond producing … David Kershenbaum, after finishing Joan Baez’ latest, produced the new Rick Nelson album … Angel is at Cherokee, with Kenny Kerner and Ritchie Wise producing
Hope you’re enjoying your summer vacations, and if summertime has set in, Seger’s got the cure. He tells all about it in “Night Moves!” We’ve been waiting for a summertime followup called “Beach Moves,” but evidently nobody’s going to record it this year. AMF!
(I. to r.) Kim Fowley, in need of a new tailor, Shucks with Jesse Winchester and Steven T after Winchester’s memorable “return” to L.A.
Photo by Lester Cohen