Greg Kihn ReKihndled

Posted July, 2017

GregKihn cropIf you listened to the radio at all in the early eighties, no doubt you heard two songs that seemed to dominate the airwaves: The Breakup Song and Jeopardy – both by The Greg Kihn Band.

Ever since those award-winning days, Kihn has continued to record albums as well as DJing in the San Francisco area and writing novels.

Quite the renaissance man, huh?

It was to that first and original activity that Greg recently contacted me. We chatted about his new CD, “ReKihndled”. He called from his California home and we started with him updating me on what he’s been up to the last few years.

“People say, ‘Hey, Greg, where have ya been, man?’ Actually, where I’ve been for the last eighteen years is I’ve been on the radio, too. I’ve been on the morning show on KFOX radio in San Francisco and did that for eighteen years straight. You know how radio is. One day you’re in. One day you’re out. Actually, at that point in time, I had it with getting up at 4 a.m. You can’t have a life if you get up at 4 a.m.! It took some taken used to. Then, when they say, ‘Hey, do you want to go and play a gig on the weekend?’, I go, ‘Hell no!’ I just wanted to sleep! Whenever I got a couple of days off, I just wanted to sleep!”

Answering my question to verify that ReKihndled was his seventeenth Album, Kihn said:

“Yeah. You know, and I’m proud of this one because, number one, it’s got my son on it – Ry Kihn. And, I think, materially,

it’s a lot better than the other albums. And, you know? You get these song ideas and, if you’re not in songwriting mode, a lot of them just get pushed off to the back burner. At the end of a year, I had a ton of really good album ideas. You, know, writing the songs was, actually, the easy part. Once we got everything in place, I had Robert Berry help me out. He’s the bass player and also the producer. But, it was just me and Robert and we have a new drummer now – a guy by the name of Dave Lauser, who is on loan from the Sammy Hagar band. He’s a friend of mine – Sammy is – and he said, ‘Hey, look, I’ve gotta do Chickenfoot and all this summer. And, after that, I gotta do this reunion tour and this, that, and the other. Why don’t you take Dave for the next year and you can work him out. I got too many gigs. I can’t fit him in.’ So, that’s how Dave really kinda wound up playing in the band. He’s kinda like Keith Moon. He’s a very busy drummer. It’s a lot of excitement. I just love playing with him.”

When I commented that the band sounds like they’ve played with him for years, Greg agreed.

“That’s the way it is in this band. We’re a heritage

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Ruthie Foster

Posted July 2017

RuthieFoster001 cropped 3Rarely does an artist grab one’s attention right out of the musical chute. Sometimes, their music must grow on you. Other times, you’ll love some aspects of their work but other parts turn you off.

In the case of Texas born and bred Ruthie Foster, her voice, musicianship and songwriting mastery will grab you from the git go and won’t let you go. Such is the case with Ruthie Foster. To say that the woman has the voice of an angel my sound a bit hokey but it would, in fact, be an understatement.

Her amazing talent has placed her on stage with the Allman Brothers as well as singing with such greats as Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi.  The accolades and awards she’s received aren’t too shabby, either. She’s received the Living Blues Critic’s Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year, the Grand Prix du Disque award from the Académie Charles-Cros in France, seven Blues Music Awards, and three Austin Music Awards.

Not too shabby.EverythingKnoxvilleLogoEdited

I caught up with Ruthie while she was on tour. She’d literally just stepped off the hotel elevator and walking into her hotel room when I called. After she got settled in and caught her breath, I asked about her church related musical background and influences while growing up in Gause, Texas.

 “Well, it was Baptist – the Missionary Baptist Church. The artists that I did a lot of were Dorothy Norwood on guitar, a lot of

Andre Crouch. So, yeah, that was the stuff that I was listening to growing up. And, of course, the staple songs that come out of the church. We had a youth choir, I guess you could call it, that would take the songs and spin ‘em around, which is really where a lot of that comes from when I do that on my own albums. Just take a song and put a little spin on it so that it doesn’t sound old timey. Try to give it a little something.

“We would take songs like Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Savior and speed it up a little bit and give it a little guitar riff. We’d push the limits as far as we could go with the sisters in the church. They kinda liked it, though. They were glad to see us involved in the church. We made

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Gregg Rolie Discusses Ringo, The Rock Hall, Santana, Journey, and Life

Posted June 2017

Gregg Rolie by Maryanne Bilham 001Photo by Maryanne BilhamOdds are pretty strong that you have heard Gregg Rolie on some of your favorite songs but you probably aren’t familiar with his background and his huge accomplishments.

Let me fill you in.

The first big band that Rolie was involved with – and made his voice and organ work internationally recognizable – was the original Santana band. The opening organ notes and his voice on “Black Magic Woman” is, to this day, instantly recognizable. It took the band to Woodstock and, ultimately, provided Gregg’s first induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The next huge band Rolie helped form was none other than Journey. He was keyboardist and vocalist/co-vocalist on the band’s first six albums. He left the band (“retired”) in 1980. However, Gregg recently re-joined the boys of Journey for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making it his second induction to its sacred halls.

EverythingKnoxvilleLogoEdited the past six years, Gregg has been keyboardist/co-vocalist in Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. How cool is that? I recently called up Gregg to chat about his induction, his work, and what it’s like working with Ringo.

As I did in my recent interview with Rolie’s All-Starr Band mate, Todd Rundgren, I mentioned about meeting him backstage a couple of years ago at a Ringo show in Greenville, North Carolina, and how gracious and friendly each of the band were to their guests.


“You know what? That’s because everybody

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Sonny Landreth

Posted June 2017

SLandreth promo press1Cropped2 byTravisGauthier crop cropPhoto by Travis GauthierI gotta tell you a true story. I first became aware of blues great, Sonny Landreth, when received a review copy of his CD, Elemental Journey, before it was released. I had it in my car when I was picking up Andy Timmons to head out to see Boston in concert. The disc was playing when he got into the car and the first words out of his mouth was, “Great tone!” and he didn’t even know it was Landreth. Even without Andy’s enthusiastic endorsement, I became an immediate fan.

So, when the opportunity recently presented itself to chat with Sonny, a) I immediately and eagerly agreed; and, b) I started our chat by mentioning the story, above, to which he said:

“That’s a great sign. I like that! That’s cool. That’s really cool.”

The main purpose of our chat was to discuss Sonny’s latest live CD entitled, Sonny Landreth Recorded Live In Lafayette. I asked if I had counted correctly that this was his seventeenth album and second live disc, to date.

 “Uh, the first number is kind of a gray area. It’s kind of a tough question. But, yeah, it’s the second live album. There’s been various incarnations of some really old stuff. If you count all those incarnations, it adds up to more than it actually is. Ah, it doesn’t matter. As long as they’re all out there, I’m glad to know that.”

I was curious as to why this album and why Lafayette.

“Well, Lafayette because advantage of proximity and resources here. The venue, first of all, is downtown. It’s a beautiful place. It was designed for performance arts. Real nice theater. I played there with a bunch of other people in other shows. And we’ve played there with our band with some gigs. So, there’s that and it’s set up really well for production.

“My engineer is only a few blocks away. Some of the other players are real close. Some just down the road. So, we would pull all our resources in the way of gear an being able to get back and forth. And, really, there’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed at night and, at least, take the discomfort factor out of it. And it also enabled us to get in and have different nights – more than just one night. We went in on Monday and set up and did sound check and went through the songs with our guest artists. Then we recorded Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the end of January with the idea of getting the best out of all of that. So, that was the deal with the venue.

Sonny Landreth Photography C Marco van Rooijen 002Photo by Marco van Rooijen“And it felt like a good time to do this in terms of a retrospective album with a body of work over the years and different time periods in my career. I’d been thinking about doing the acoustic thing but I didn’t know if I wanted to just to do that or do some of my trio like we typically do. I knew that I wanted to get a couple of my close friends – Sam Broussard and

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Todd Rundgren Discusses White Knight, Music, & Ringo

Posted May 2017

 

ToddRundgren001 cropSometimes when an artist of any stripe is described, the word “genius” is used. I’d go so far as to say that it is often overused. However, one artist who more than deserves such a label is Todd Rundgren.

Rundgren is one of those rare artists who require more than one superlative to describe his creative output. Innovative? That’s a given. Prolific? Just look up his discography and the answer will hit you between the eyes. Timeless? Absolutely. All of those certainly work and are quite applicable. I’d also go so far as to describe Todd as being often on the bleeding edge of musical evolution yet has the uncanny ability to create classics that will endure the ages.

How else would you explain his popularity to sell out his own tour, be asked to join Yes on their Yestival tour and the work with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr band for the past six years?

His fans loyalty are the stuff of folklore. Affectionately referred to as “Toddies,” their passion for all things Todd could be to those of Deadheads and Trekkies combined.

prior to a show with Ringo as he fervently looked for some guests who were apparently no-shows. He was desperately attempting to find them so that they could meet the band. In either case, his stardom could’ve garnered disinterest in either story but he and his team displayed incredible graciousness. That’s what makes me a fan.

Everything Knoxville Logo EditedFrom a statistical standpoint, Rundgren has a musical catalog that has – and will continue to – stand the test of time. SteveI view Rundgren and his team from a slightly different perspective. For one thing, Todd and his management team have tremendous hearts. They didn’t know me from Adam when I contacted them for an unearned favor to cheer up a friend and loyal reader. Without any question, the obliged. I also watched Todd backstage 

Orchard from the radio station, The Frog, in the upper peninsula of Michigan, tells me that Todd’s biggest selling project was his 1972 double album, “Something/Anything,” which included his

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