Robert Berry - Version 3.2

Written by Randy Patterson

Posted November 2018

robert berry piano 001 cropped“I’m the luckiest guy you’ve never heard of.”

 

That’s how master musician, Robert Berry, describes himself. That may be true when it comes to the bulk of music fans but not for those who get into the nuts and bolts of music and how it’s made.

 

Having established himself as a bit of a child prodigy, musically, Berry established the reputation of being a great musician as well as knowing his way around the recording studio. Today, he’s a well-respected performer, songwriter, and producer.

 

He’s arguably most known as the bassist/vocalist for 3, the Emerson, Lake and Palmer spinoff that consisted of Berry, Carl Palmer and Keith Emerson.

 

Additionally, he was vocalist and guitarist for Ambrosia (from 2000 – 2010) as well as working with Alliance, December People, and the Greg Kihn Band. If being a studio wiz and band member wasn’t enough, Robert has also released five solo projects and has pitched in on an impressive number of tribute albums.

 

It’s about his latest project under the title, “3.2 – The Rules Have Changed”. It’s an album that was

EverythingKnoxvilleLogoEdited to be the follow up to 3’s debut album and would’ve had featured Keith Emerson. However, as music fans know, Keith left us far too soon in March 2016. It’s about 3.2 that I caught up with Berry by phone at his Silicon Valley home recently. 

 

So, first, tell me the background on the album.

“I had a Top Ten hit in 1988. From there, I played with Sammy Hagar and Ambrosia. But nothing clicked. I wrote songs for all those people. I wanted to do new albums. Nobody was really going for it until I met Greg Kihn and did his last album.

 

“But it kept the ideas flowing. I’m sort of prolific and I always have ideas. So, it keeps me, I guess, fresh and the creative side of my brain is still moving at a 110%.

 

“A lot of guys put out albums that aren’t worthy of why us fans like them. That doesn’t mean they’re not good albums but they’re different. Like I say about Greg Kihn. He could’ve put out an album like the Foo Fighters, let’s say, or Linkin Park. His fans would’ve gone, ‘Wow. That’s not why I like Greg. I like his simple, almost garage band kind of rock and roll stuff. I like that!’ They like the song and the energy of it and they would’ve been disappointed. Whereas, we put out a little Greg Kihn album of what he does, and people loved it. Great reviews everywhere. 

The Rules Have Changed 3.2 cover11“I’ll use my friends in Boston (the band). Boston puts out an album that is not like those first two or three albums. It’s just not. You don’t even know they have albums out. You never hear of them. If the bands would just do what they do best and give us those little pieces that we like – as we did in the 3.2 album with Keith and I. We gave them some Emerson stuff. His playing. His sound. His style. I’ve been very fortunate. The reviews have been so good. I hate to even say that. I’m, like, ‘I’m going to jinx it!’ There hasn’t been one bad review. People are really getting it! They listen to it and they go, ‘This is what we were hoping for.’ Even more than the album that Keith, Carl, and I did back in 1988, they’re saying that this album is more of what they were hoping for. It thrills me to death – to be involved in that and helping, I hope, make Keith’s last work – the last thing he worked on with me – something that people really cherish. That they say, ‘This is good! This is done the right way.’

 

“A lot of bands aren’t doing that! I want to hear Foreigner with Lou Gramm singing and giving me some of that rock that they were so good at. One of my favorite singers, too! Foreigner is now basically a tribute band. There’s no one even in the band (who is original) unless the guitar player decides to show up. That’s forced the tribute band mentality for our fan base. They’ll go see a tribute to AC/DC, a tribute to Journey, and ask them for their autograph. Cover band guys, you know? The bands aren’t doing what Greg and I did or what Keith and I did. They’re not giving them what they like about us. We need to step up and we need to create that scene. 

 

Bringing the conversation back around to the new CD, Robert shared:

 

“People are buying the record. They’re liking it. Amazon sold out in every country buy noon on the first day. The record company didn’t anticipate that response. It’s just being delivered back to them next week! It came out August 10th. It’s been out a couple of months. It takes them that long to press quite a few CDs. I think they were surprised, and they think, ‘Well, even though it sold out, maybe it’s not going to sell any more’ and the orders kept coming in. 

 

“I got an e-mail a couple of weeks ago that said, ‘We have a very large order from the U.S. We’re 

robert berry piano 001sorry we can’t send you any more promo copies. We just don’t have them.’ Me! I can’t get one!"

 

The background to the album.

 

“As you know, Keith, Carl, and I had a band called 3. In 1987 we got together. In 1988, it came out. We toured. We had a Top Ten hit. We had a very successful tour. I don’t like to put it in terms of money, but we made a lot of money. I mean, it was really a good year, especially for me. Keith and Carl always treated me like an equal. They always said, ‘We don’t want you to be Greg Lake. We’ve been a band with him. We want you to be you. We’re trying to do something new.’ So, we did. 

 

“I was being groomed by Geffen Records back then as a solo artist. Kind of a Sting meets Bryan Adams kind of guy. Like a Bryan Adams/Straight Rock but a little more creative like Sting.

 

“Well, they had us put some of those songs on the 3 album and the fan backlash to Keith was really, really harsh. They (the songs) weren’t super right for the album. They were more straight rock songs that Keith put his arrangements into. I could see why the fans weren’t ready for Keith to switch over to playing songs. On the other hand, Carl had been in Asia. He didn’t get any criticism for 3, at all. His fans were fine with it and Asia did songs. 

 

“It was so hard on Keith, he didn’t want to continue doing it. He had one fan write him and tell him, ‘I can’t believe you have female background singers – scantily clad female background singers on the tour and playing these songs. You’re ruining your legacy.’ He left his phone number on it and Keith called him because Keith was always worried about what the fans thought. This guy read Keith the riot act and was one of the reasons that the band broke up. 

 

“Keith said, ‘Yeah, you know, I’m getting a lot of fan criticism.’ Without the internet in those days, you get three fan letters that are bad, and you don’t know how to judge it. He thought that everybody was down on it. So, we broke up. 

“I did a lot of work with Keith over the years. He played on a Tempest album with me which is a Celtic rock band. He did one of my songs. We did a few little commercials for a local music store here. We always did something. 

robert berry guitar 001“Twenty-seven years after that album came out, a record company decided that they wanted to put out a live album of 3 in Boston in a concert. So, we all said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ Keith said, ‘If there’s an advance, a paycheck, money in the bank, yeah, put it out.’  Didn’t think twice about it. We all got a copy of it in the mail once it came out, of course. They wanted us to have one. Keith decided to sit down and listen to it. One of his favorite things to do was listen to all kinds of music. Have a glass of white wine, put on the music, sit and listen to it. He was all about music. It defined him. 

 

“Well, he heard this live 3 in Boston. He immediately called me. He was so excited. I still get excited thinking about it. He goes, ‘Robert! Robert!’ ‘Yeah, Keith, what’s up?’ ‘We were really a good band!’ I said, ‘What? We broke up the band, but I always thought so.’ ‘The fire in our playing – we were playing so good. And the energy! Your voice sounded great! We were really good and the crowd’s going nuts!’

 

“I couldn’t believe my ears because one thing we really hadn’t spoke about in twenty-seven years was doing a follow-up album even though I had been contacted by a couple of the record companies that really wanted one. Here was my open door. 

 

“I like to say – you know when you’re going to ask a girl out in high school on a date. You know she really doesn’t like you, but you like her. She cracks the door and you stick your foot in it, so she can’t slam it on you, you know? 

 

“I stuck my foot in that door and I said, ‘Keith, how would you feel about doing a follow-up?’ He very calmly said, ‘Maybe.’ I said, ‘Well, you know what? Let me call Frontiers Records. The president of that company has been bugging me for ten years to do a new 3 album.’ He goes, ‘Okay. Let me know what they say.’

 

“I called up. They jumped on it. ‘When can you start?’ I said, ‘Well, let me talk to Keith and get 

robert berry drums 001back to you.’ I talked to Keith. ‘They’re ready. What do we want?” He said, ‘Well, I’m doing a lot of orchestra stuff now. I want to orchestrate it. I want to take some time. I’d like a year to finish it and complete artistic freedom.’

 

“I said, ‘That sounds good for me’ and we talked about the money. He goes, ‘No, record companies don’t have a lot of money, now’ so he gave kind of a low figure, I thought.

 

“So, I called them back – the record company – and I said, ‘Okay. Complete artistic freedom. A year to do it. We want this much money.’ They said, ‘Fine.’ I had asked for quite a bit of money. They said, ‘We want this album.’ I called Keith back. I said, ‘Okay, here we go.’ He goes, ‘How did you get that kind of money?’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ It was kind of sad. He goes, ‘Nobody cares, anymore. No one offers that kind of money.’ I said, ‘Serafino (Perugino, Frontiers Records founder) over at Frontiers cares. He wants this out. He wants this new, hot Keith Emerson/3 album and he wants us to do our best work.’ 

 

“He goes, ‘Okay. Well, you should be my manager.’ I go, ‘You’re Keith Emerson! What are you talking about? You’re one of a kind.’ I felt like I was his cheerleader. His big fan besides just a bandmate. 

 

“So, I called Serafino back and said, ‘Keith’s up for it but, we need another ten thousand for Keith on top of this.’ He goes, ‘You got it.’

 

“Here I am, trying to sell Keith Emerson on the fact that he’s Keith Emerson and he is valuable, and he is sought after. When I got on that phone, I didn’t plan to do that with Serafino but when I got on that phone, it came out because, well, he was Keith Emerson. There’s a few one-of-a-kind musicians in this world and he’s one of them. No one’s ever going to be like him. No one’s going to blaze that trail, putting the classics into the rock and roll. Performing. Sticking the knives in the organ. What keyboard player does that? None.

 

“So, I got him really good money. They were going to pay me to produce it. Record at my studio like the Greg Kihn album that I was working on at the time we’re talking about doing it. 

 

“We started in, we worked about three months and he said, ‘Look, I have these shows in Japan.’ Booked five nights in a row. I think he was seventy-two, then, if I remember right. He goes, ‘It’s really hard on me. My arms are hurting. Really, I’m dreading these shows.’ And, again, I said, ‘You’re Keith Emerson! Cancel them.’ He goes, ‘I can’t do that. They’re my biggest fans. I’ll never play there again if I don’t do these shows. I can’t cancel.’ 

robert berry guitar 002“I said, ‘What’s the contract say?’ He said, ‘There’s not any contract.’ What?! I couldn’t believe this. He was dreading doing it. Then he called and said, ‘They added a second show because it sold out so fast. I have to do two shows a night.’ 

“I thought this is kind of weird. It doesn’t seem right at all. He said, ‘Let me get past this. I’m really not happy about it but all I want to do at the end of this is I want to go see my grandkids in the UK. After that, I’ll come in, we’ll ship the big Moog down to the studio and we’ll finish the album.’

 

“I said, ‘Okay.’ We had four songs written with ideas and another one in concept. I had all kinds of files from him – digital things of pieces where he had recorded the keyboard parts. I had a cassette tape from 1988 with a song we didn’t use that I thought now was really great. I was going to work on it. Then, over those three months, we’d talk on the phone and Keith had this hammer-action Casio digital piano that he was always raving about. He goes, ‘It’s the closest thing to a real piano. It’s fantastic!’ He had that in his house. In my studio, right in front of my ProTools system, I have a little Casio piano that I use to tell singers/songwriters, ‘You need to hit this note or what about this chord here?’

 

“We would jam back and forth on the phone. He would play something like an Emerson thing (Berry verbally simulates lots of intricate trills) all over the place. I’ve had lots of piano lessons. I’m no Keith Emerson but I go (Berry, again, verbally simulates Emerson’s riffs but a bit slower). He’d go, ‘No, no, no! There’s an F in there.’

 

“I kind of learned what he was coming up with in an outline kind of form and I’d put them on the ProTools. My deal was to write the song around them. So, I had these Emerson parts and the song grew around it and we’d glue it all together and when he was in, we’d dub his playing. 

 

“In three months, I get a call from his ex-wife, Eleanor, who I knew well when I lived in England when we were working on the first album. She says, ‘Keith’s gone.’ I’m, like, ‘What?’ ‘Yeah, he’s gone.’

 

“I hung up that phone. It really hit me hard. This is the only time I had a Top Ten record was with 

robert berry keys 001Keith Emerson and he was the sound of it. We’d stayed friends for twenty-seven years. Done all kinds of things. He was my highest profile friend. The guy who’s always going to be in the history books. He was a funny guy. Of course, I had always had that dream of a second 3 album because, for me, that was the best thing and greatest success that I had ever had as a musician. 

 

“Here it was, coming around again and, all of a sudden, boom! All of that was gone. One phone call: gone. It was really tough on me. It’s hard for me to explain because I’d last my dad and I’d lost some friends to cancer and it’s always very sad for me. But that loss hasn’t also impacted my career and how I kind of defined myself and my goals, you know? So, this one was a triple whammy – a quadruple whammy. I lost so much in so many ways. But, of course, mostly, a really sweet, funny friend that I just loved the phone calls and talking to him and he always made me feel like a viable part of the music community because Keith Emerson was my friend. It was really amazing!

 

“I wasn’t going to finish the album. I didn’t want to. The record company says, ‘Hey, you ought to come up with a way. Get Geoff Downs. Get another famous keyboard player.’ I thought, ‘You know what? I don’t feel there’s any honest way for me to do this. This was a follow-up 3 album. Keith was the sound of the 3 band. I was the voice and songwriter. There’s no honest way to do it. I can’t do it.

 

“Six months into it, I felt a little bit stronger on just a personal level about the music and the loss. ‘Wouldn’t it be great if Keith’s song, Aaron, would finish this with me?’ He’s a keyboard player. That would give me an honest reason to do it. 

 

“So, I call him up. Aaron said, ‘I’d love to do it!’ He’s having a really tough time with this because, the last time he talked to his dad, there was no indication, of course, that he’s going to be gone a few days later. It was just tough on him and he goes, ‘It would be really great. Send me a song.’

 

“I made the mistake of sending him a really hard song that Keith and I put together with Keith playing on it. He called me up and goes, ‘Oh my god! I don’t play like that! That’s my dad! That’s not my style. I’m not that good.’

 

“I thought, “Ah! I should have sent him one of the simpler ones and sort of eased him into it.’ But, even though he declined because it was so hard to play, he did get me to re-visit the music before I sent it to him. It re-kindled my excitement. I had twenty-percent of Keith’s keyboard parts already done and we had four songs written. One in a concept form and I had been working on a couple of my own that I was going to send Keith. One called, ‘The Letter,’ that I sent him – it would’ve been a couple of days after he died that he would’ve got that and would’ve started working on it.

 

“I thought, ‘Wow! There’s a body of work here. I don’t know that I could finish this to put it out but I sure’d like to finish these songs.’

 

“I always say this when I talk to people, ‘I’m capable. I play a lot of instruments and I’m capable.’ I’m not saying I’m Keith Emerson or Carl Palmer or Sammy Hagar or Gary Pihl from Boston. These are all guys I work with. I’m not them but I’m capable of playing instruments and doing it. So, I thought, ‘I’m just going to finish this by myself exactly the way Keith and I had laid out. Our outline form. Our conversations. The knowledge from 1988 that I still carried with me. What we had talked about. What we had learned over the twenty-seven years since then. I’m the only guy that knows all this. How can I put somebody else in here – at least to finish it.’ It took me a year to finish it.

 

“One of the funny things – one of the odd things – there’s a Keith – his idea was to call the album ‘1’. He would always say, ‘Not O-N-E but ‘1’.’ I never asked him why because I was trying to get away from that. Where would the record store file that? They don’t have numbers. They have headings. Band names. But I thought let’s not discuss that now. When we get closer to the end, we can talk about calling the album ‘Not 1’. 

 

“It haunted me that he wants 1. I’m thinking, ‘I’m just going to do it as 1 and we’ll see where it heads.’ A year later, it’s done. I sent Serafino a copy – the rough mixes. He said, ‘This is genius! We’ve got to put this out!’ I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’

 

“Serafino has always wanted this and he wanted a Keith Emerson album to add to his record label. I’m not sure that’s the right judge of this thing. I’m feeling all I’m going to get is criticism for doing this. I don’t want to put it out. I did it for me. I did it for my memory of Keith and mine’s friendship. 

robert berry mixboard

“I decided to send it to Rolf Remlinger who is runs the 3 Facebook page. I’m thinking here’s a guy who knows what 3’s about. I sent him a couple of songs and he gets back to me. He goes, ‘This is really, really good. You’ve got to put this out.’ 

 

“Then, I know this girl in Scotland who worked with Keith at one time on a Christmas record and is a great keyboard player and knows everything Keith has done and would be nothing but negative about something not worthy of Keith. She’s a really good musician and has a good opinion. So, I track her down and said, ‘I need to check something with you.’ ‘Oh! I’d love to check it out!’

 

“I send her a song. I got an e-mail back from her. Her first line was something like, ‘How did you do this? I can’t believe that I can feel Keith in this album and I hear my favorite parts of what he does.’ She knew that I did the solos and that it wasn’t Keith on the solos because he wasn’t around to do the solos. She goes, ‘How did you do those solos?’

 

“This was a year of me sitting alone in my studio in the dark saying, ‘What would Keith do here? 

What would I do if he did that?’ Sort of taking on both sides of the conversation. 

 

“I thought that was a pretty good response (from her). I thought, so far, there’s three super good positives. I thought I’d get some negatives. I’m not getting negatives. So, I called Serafino and said, ‘Okay, I’m going to let you put this out.’ He was so excited.

 

“Of course, about a week before the release, I’m having a lot of self-doubt. I literally sat alone in the dark for a year finishing this exactly the way we had planned. No other consideration except for making that album that Keith and I were going to do. If you’ve seen the reviews, I guess I did the right thing. People feel the love that I put into it. They hear in the lyrics some of the struggles that I had after losing Keith. They honestly like the playing and the stuff that went on. 

 

“One person in Japan – the only bad negative thing he said was, ‘I can’t hear if that’s a Hammond B3 organ or if that’s a digital sample of it.’ I’m thinking, ‘Wow! That’s the one negative I’ve gotten. That’s pretty good!’ That’s how deep the Emerson fans was going to dissect this album. He was right. It was a digital sample because there’s a very clean organ sound that Keith has with his B3 that he actually did some special stuff – not through the Leslie speaker, if you know what that is. It’s really dry and it’s really piercing. I have all the keyboards like Keith would use. I have the Moog. I have everything. But my B3 doesn’t have that direct out. For me to get that sound I really wanted, I had to use a digital sample and he caught me! Ha! Ha!”

 

And what has the response been from Keith’s family and friends to the album?

 

“They put out a pre-release song – ‘Somebody’s Watching’ – two months before. I thought that was a lot of pre-release time to put ‘Somebody’s Watching’. I got the nicest post from Aaron Emerson, his son. I can’t remember exactly what he wrote but it was something like, ‘I know it was a labor of love. You did a great job. We’re proud of the album.’ Gave it his stamp of approval. 

 

“Keith’s girlfriend of fourteen or fifteen years, Mari (Kawaguchi), said that she’d help me get the rights from the Emerson estate, which was being very sticky about letting me release it. She said, ‘All our work was worth it. You did a great job. It’s a great album.’ Something like that. That’s the family! That meant more to me. Of course, Eleanor Emerson, Keith’s ex-wife, she was supportive of it. She liked it. Everybody involved on Keith’s side was very supportive. The tough thing for me, of course, at the first, the Emerson estate wasn’t going to let me put it out. After I told Serafino at Frontiers, ‘Okay, let’s do it’, I found out that I didn’t have the right to put this album out even though Keith had done this work on it and wanted to do it. Once the estate got hold of it, they tried to put a stop to everything. 

 

“Very strange. This is a nameless, faceless estate. I can’t even tell you the lady’s name that first responded. They said, ‘We want Keith Emerson remembered as a composer, not a rock keyboard player.’ I sent back an email and said, ‘You’re kidding me, right? This was the Jimi Hendrix of keyboards. The only guy who could perform like that AND was not only that kind of acting out on stage performance but playing the classics with a rock band on stage – his fingers were like little canons and you want him to be remembered as a composer?’ ‘That’s what we want.’

 

“It took four or five months. I finally told them, ‘You’re not giving me the right to do this. I can do one of two things. I’m capable of playing Keith’s parts. I had eight years of classical piano. A few years of jazz lessons. I actually played keyboards with Keith on stage in a band and spent a lot of time with him. I know his style. I’m not a Keith Emerson but I already have his stuff on there. I can recreate that to where you won’t be able to tell that it’s not him. It will be like a snapshot. If you don’t give me the rights to do this, I’m going to do that. When I do that, I’m not going to give you any idea of what Keith wrote with me and there’ll be no royalties for his estate. Or, you can let me release it and all the stuff we wrote together, it will be 50/50 as writers. There’ll be income, whatever that means these days. 

robert berry guitar 001

“They didn’t like being threatened. They said, ‘Okay. We’re going to let you put it out, but you can’t use any of Keith’s playing on it.’ I asked why not. It’s done. ‘Because we want him remembered as a composer, not a rock and roll keyboard player’, they reiterated.

 

“I did what I said though Keith has credit for all the things he wrote. But they at least gave me the right to put it out.”

 

Which song would he use as a calling card for the whole album?

 

“I have to say that there’s two phases to the album and I’d have to give you two songs. If you’re an ELP fan and you want to hear them, where Keith and I felt that we went wrong of the first album was there’s too many pop songs – rock songs – on it. We both didn’t care for the word, ‘progressive.’ We like to call it ‘musical’ or symphonic rock. We wanted to do more of that. So, the first song on the album is called, One by One. That encompasses everything progressive that we wanted to accomplish. 

 

“People will hear the great classical influences; the powerful influences; the cool solos. There’s jazz in there. They’ll hear all that. 

 

“But, if you’re into more of the song things, there are couple of songs that we did that were more how we felt a song should’ve been on the first album, which was ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout’, which went to #9 on the Billboard charts. So, there’s a song called ‘Powerful Man’. It’s not as progressive but it’s got that sound and, honestly, it’s a tribute to all the dads I played with like Sammy Hagar, Keith Emerson, and Greg Kihn, that their sons have followed in their footsteps. That’s what the song’s about. How these little kids – probably in the baby carrier under the stage during an ELP soundcheck. And Sammy Hagar and Van Halen: Aaron Hagar at side stage as his dads with Van Halen, controlling the whole arena. It’s a powerful man because they influence their kids. 

 

“My son, now, wants to be a musician. He has a little studio and doing things. The song is about 

that. If they can find a song with all of the Emerson stuff in it, Powerful Man is also a video that has a lot of little things you’ll find that is on YouTube.”

 

As for tour plans in support of the album, Berry said:

 

“Right now, I’m doing tons of interviews thanks to the PR geniuses I’m working with. That’s why I get to talk to guys like you and I like it because I talk to guys that care – that cares about music. It’s not about some reviewer and some magazine that’s trying to make a name for itself by being a jerk. I’m talking to a lot of really good people. 

 

“I hadn’t planned on touring. Then the album came out and the manager called me and said, ‘We need to put you on a world tour. South America to Russia and everything in between.’ I said, ‘You’re kidding me.’ He goes, ‘Well, yeah.’ I said, ‘Ten years ago that would’ve sounded great. ‘Yeah, okay, I’m in.’

 

“First of all, they wanted it to be my thirty years in progressive rock. So, the tour’s going to be ‘Robert Berry’s 30 Years of Prog Music’ because it starts with Keith and Carl and 3 but it goes to Magna Carta – which I did a bunch of tributes for Yes – their thing with Roundabout which Steve Howe had played on it. It’s critically acclaimed. I have a Jethro Tull thing on their album that Ian Anderson sent me a letter saying that it was his favorite on the album. 

 

“So, I have all these little marks in the history of progressive music that mean something. Their whole point is what I put out after 3 broke up that included my efforts for the second 3 album then and my time in GTR with Steve Howe. That’s more music. Then, I had two years with Ambrosia, touring with them. I had an album called ‘Dividing Line’ and, then, 3.2. 

 

“So, if I take just a couple of songs from everything, it’s an hour and a half show. The bad news is that it’s really going to be hard to play it all. It’s going to take a lot of work and I’m going to have to find a keyboard player that is not only insane because he’s going to say yes when I ask him if he wants to learn all this stuff, but he has to be technically proficient but also, he can’t just be some wild, genius keyboard player. He has to be down to earth; be able to play what’s already there.

 

“You take that snapshot and do Keith and his sounds. Pay tribute to that. And, another thing, on another album called ‘Pilgrimage to a Point’, there’s songs from the second 3 album that I had written that were never used. He’s going to need to absorb that and become that guy so that when this six albums worth of touring goes out, people hear what they heard before.

 

“Like I was saying about a band that puts out the kind of album that we want to hear from them, this kind of tour has people that have never this stuff live. It’s never been played live. They’re going to hear Roundabout done my way like it is on the album and the guys will have to absorb that and then put that out. The fans are hearing what they want to hear, basically, I guess is what I’m saying.”

 

Nearing the end of our chat, Robert shifted gears and shared his views of the current music scene.

 

“I gotta say that the music scene – by streaming – everything has been ruined so much for artists to make a living at the upper level. It’s hard for them to make a living at the club level. People aren’t supporting music as much as they used to. Honestly, the church has become a really good gig for serious musicians. They can play good music there and there’s some great musicians there. It’s kinda cool.

 

“Just like around here, between churches we have some great musicians as well as in the winery circuit because there’s so many wineries here in California that has entertainment. That has become a really good gig!”

 

Then, talking about how artists get to be known and make their work more profitably available, Berry added:

The Rules Have Changed 3.2 cover11“But it’s also guys like you. I find that if you just do social media, you can’t make your career happen. You have to have guys like you with a following of readers. Somebody has a blog, or they have a podcast. It has to entail everything. And, unfortunately – or, maybe fortunately – that’s where the playing field isn’t quite as level because the bad thing about the internet is that it’s made the playing field level IF you know how to use it and you have the ideas to get on the podcasts and get in print, still. 

 

“Everybody has their smaller following but there’s so many more people with a following that you can do it all. You can make it happen.”

 

As for plans for the next year?

 

“I hope that the 3.2 tour is set up. Greg already have dates for next year. Unfortunately, Greg’s music is easier to perform, and I’ve been doing it for a lot of years. It’s not like I couldn’t be on tour with the 3.2 stuff, doing something really, really difficult and very planned out and virtuosic – maybe is a name – with more complex playing in it. The next night, I could do a Greg Kihn gig if it happened in the same city or town, whatever, and it wouldn’t be hard for me to adjust. Greg’s stuff is just fun. It’s really rockin’ stuff. 

 

“So, Greg Kihn gigs are already planned. My plan is – starting maybe in March or April – to get on the road with 3.2.”

 

So, with that said, keep track of Robert Berry’s developing touring plans and other musical developments at his website, RobertBerry.com.