starting to sound the same. You have the same drum licks and the same guitar licks and a different lead vocalist and a different song. It’s a prestige thing.”
The “Bareback” album packaging contains four nude, tasetful black-andwhite photographs of Richard Torrance and a woman (who happens to be his wife. Robyn). “We’ve already gotten a lot of ‘guff,’ so to speak, about the tit on the cover, and male naked body in contact with female naked body. The discount houses and some of the rack jobbers won’t put it out in front because of that.” The album concept was Torrance’s–with the help of photographer Johanna Van Zantwyk and producer Haeny. “I like it a lot for what it was at the time,” says Torrance. “I didn’t have a band. I had no idea that when it turned out that way it would appeal more to males than females. But I have talked to a lot of women who think it’s a gorgeous package. They just like looking at naked skin, I guess.
“I thought I was going to have a hit record with “Bareback.” I really did. I
still think that there are hit records on there. I think that it’s probably not being approached the right way or, like they say (at Capitol), it’s the wrong time for the radio season. I don’t know what it is.”
Rock stardom in Los Angeles is a long way to come from Bismark, North Dakota, as they would mention on the Johnny Carson Show. When asked about his “humble origins,” Torrance wisely replied: “There’s not much to know. When I got out of high school I was just desperate to get out of Bismark and do something with my music.” So he moved to Idaho, staying with an older sister and brother-in-law. We got a little band together and then we went on to Los Angeles. I was switching around playing drums and guitar and singing. It was just a terrible little band we had together then.
“This was way back in ’69 when all the hippie craze was really at its peak. That was the first time I saw L.A. and the panhandle and all of those freaks walking around. And I thought ‘My God, this is for me’.”
There’s a Richard Torrance quote in his bio that says, “When I was young I dreamed about being somebody” (along with a lot of other mush). Every kid has these fantasies, but Torrance, “a stone-cold fan of Ricky Nelson’s,” was acting them out. Instead of the traditional Midwest Cowboys and Injuns, he says, “I’d be playing with my cars in the house, pretending I was going from my house to the recording studio to the job.” At the tender age of eight, this kid was hooked.
“Back there people didn’t understand if you wanted to write your own songs and sing them onstage. They’re a bit backwards back there. So I didn’t really play any of my own songs onstage. The big thing that was hot back in the Midwest at that point was rhythm and blues–James Brown and Otis Redding and Sam and Dave and all those