With “Please Forget Her”
still #1 on the charts.
My baby girl
grabbed hold of my heart.
Time to grow up
and be a man
But I still kinda miss
being a kid in a rock&roll band.
Not long after hearing Hal Ross say, “Hell, I’ll release that,” a box of our first release, “Until You Do” shows up as I was about to leave for an out of town gig.
Seeing as we had to drive right by CKY on our way out of town, we dropped off a few for Jimmy Darin and the rest of the KY Good Guys. Then as we were leaving Winnipeg behind, we hear Jim say, “Ladies and gentleman, a CKY exclusive, Until You Do by the Jury.”
There is no way to describe the feeling you get when you hear your record on the radio for the first time, and the closest I can come is to say that it’s better than sex.
I would venture to say that even the most prominent recording artists can tell you what they were doing and exactly where they were when they heard their first record on the radio.
I used to sit in my basement bedroom practicing my guitar and dream about releasing a record and then hearing on the radio like I just did. I believed that when you became a recording artist, you also became a member of an exclusive club, and figuring out what to buy next was your only problem.
Unfortunately, though, dreams and reality have very little in common.The first hint I got about how it all worked showed up when I was doing a short tour with Ral Donner, but I, of course, wasn’t listening. We were all sitting around Ral’s room having a beer after our last show, and Ral was excitedly telling us that he was going to see Bobby Darin at the Copa the next night.
What I didn’t pick up on was that Ral knew that he wasn’t in Bobby Darin’s league just as Bobby knew that he wasn’t in Sinatra’s.
It took me having a few of my own records released before I came to realize that most recording artists are not even close to being equal. I’ve been thinking about it for a few years now, and I may have how it works figured it out.
Imagine if you will, a pyramid-like structure that’s seven stories high. On the top floor, you have all the legends like Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, Michael Jackson, Elton John, The Eagles, Neil Young, etc.
One level down on six is the Hall of Famers. Rod Stewart, Johnny Cash, Dion, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Beach Boys, the Everlys, Chicago, The Moody Blues, Bobby Darin, Tom Petty, and others.
Hanging out on level five are, The Guess Who, BTO, Freddy Cannon, Tommy Roe, Bobby Vee, Bruno Mars, Ral Donner, Del Shannon, Maroon 5, and all those who have had several top 10 hits.
On level four is where you’ll find the Winnipeg groups who’ve released a few records but haven’t gone national yet. The Devrons, The Galaxies, The Jury, The Eternals The Quid, The Shondells, Sugar & Spice, The 5th, Brother, and several others.
Level three contains the hopefuls, you know, the acts who deserve to be signed but for whatever reason aren’t.
Level two is the place where the folks who have just learned to play Louie Louie or whatever the entry-level tune is now that gets you thinking about starting a band.
On the bottom floor, you have all your dreamers. You know, the kids who are thinking about buying a guitar just as I did when I first saw Elvis on TV.
The reality of the situation is that you better be making music because you love it, the money doesn’t even begin to show up until you reach the fifth level.After we released our first record, “Until You Do,” we knew that it would probably be a while before checks would begin to show up. Surely though Dick Clark would be calling soon to ask us to appear on American Bandstand, right?
While waiting patiently for big things to happen, we went back into the studio and cut our second release, “I Tried To Tell Her,” hoping that it would move us a little closer to stardom.
Unfortunately, the only thing rising faster than our records on the charts were the expenses, and oh yeah, where the f**k was the call from Dick Clark?
When “I Tried To Tell Her” slipped off the charts, back into the studio, we went again and recorded “Back In My World.” However, nothing changed, so we decided to give it one last big push. Not only did we book Kay-Bank studios in Minneapolis to record, but we also changed record companies hoping a smaller label may have more time to promote us.
Out of the Kay-Bank session came “Please Forget Her,” which became the #1 Canadian record in Canada. (see above)On the flip of it was, “Who Dat?” which ended up becoming a cult favorite and was covered by a few Grunge acts. It also was recently listed in a music publication as being 50 years ahead of its time.
I even saw it listed on E-Bay the other day for $125.00 and wondered what the hell I did with the box of them that I used to have? Would you like the Canadian or American version of it, sir?
While watching the Ken Burns Country Music documentary, I loved the segment that they did about the Carter Family, which like the movie about Johnny, portrayed June Carter as a rather saintly person.
However, after opening for the Johnny Cash Review one night, I was standing with the Statler Brothers backstage watching Mother Maybell Carter and the Carter Family.
The Statlers were very pissed at Miss June because somewhere on that tour after moving into Johnny’s suite, she had appointed herself the leader of the band. I guess the Statlers didn’t appreciate being told by a backup singer how and what to sing and used the “C” word to describe her.