David Steven Simon [Interview]

 

Oh man, do we have a damn good interview for you fine folks today! We have showcased some pretty amazing people from the world of television over the years, and today is absolutely no exception and very well be one of the finest we have had the pleasure of showcasing to date. His name is David Steven Simon, and he is very likely a creative force behind one of your favorite television series.

For me personally, I did not realize that I was a huge fan of David’s work when I was watching two of my favorite sitcoms, The Wayans Brothers and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, yet there he was! I was also no stranger to one some of his other projects that we all know and love like My Two Dads and Mad About You. And those last two coincidently happen to feature a man who David is currently teaming up with again to create some new television magic, the great Paul Reiser. You all know that guy, I’m sure of it.

David’s latest project, There’s Johnny, is already proving to be one of the most stellar television series to come out in these most recent golden years of television. The show not only chronicles the days behind the legendary days when the Tonight Show ran supreme, but gives a very clear and somewhat disturbing view of America in the 1970’s. I dare say that this project is unlike anything Mr. Simon and Reiser have worked on in the past. It’s something new, and it’s something brilliant.

So ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant producer, writer, and more, Mr. David Steven Simon!

How did you find yourself in the world of television as a writer and producer? Was the world of television always something you aspired to get into?

I was in acting class at 4. I went to the “Fame” school, the High School of the Performing Arts. I had a four-year drama scholarship to college and then I became a publicist for United Artists (who were still based in NY) where I worked on three Oscar winners (Rocky, Network, Cuckoo’s Nest), the Bond films, Woody Allen films, Carrie and on and on. During those years is when I realized the effect that my writing could have. Moved to LA with no plan. Partnered up with another writer and right out the gate we had great luck. I wound up being under contract to the studios for years: Disney, Universal and Columbia. While I was at Universal that’s when I started meeting all the TV people there and little by little I started to gravitate towards their shows: Steve Martin’s The George Burns Comedy Week, Charles In Charge, and I wrote on shows like Knightrider (giving them comedy stuff) and I was everyone’s back up if they had a pilot. I wrote pilots too.

When was the first time you can remember seeing your name appear on screen in the credits? Do you remember where you were when first saw it, and did you feel a certain way about it?

First credit I think was for the movie In The Mood which Bob Kosberg and I got a story by credit (we wrote the first draft).I saw the film at screening in Westwood and I was floored. Wait. That’s me! First TV credit was actually Fernwood Tonight for Norman Lear. Everyone who owned a hand wrote on that so the credits went on forever: but there I was! First sitcom was Charles in Charge. My son had just been born so I put his name in the show.


I have to say, I absolutely adored The Wayans Brothers during its reign. I know that the Wayans family was already well-established in the world of film and television, so it could have been a factor, but besides that, what inspired you make that show happen?

We got a call from Warren Littlefield who was then the president of NBC. He said he wanted us to create a blue collar Fresh Prince with them. Marlon was off the charts hilarious. Sean was more smooth and relaxed. To me they were a black Martin and Lewis. But their casting especially of John Witherspoon did not go over well there. They felt John was too much of a cartoon. So from there: The WB! We had three shows in a row: Fresh Prince, Sister, Sister, The Wayans.

We were fortunate enough to speak with Karyn Parsons about her love for The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but what was your experience like in creating this fine program? And in your opinion, what made Fresh Prince unique in its own right?

I didn’t create it. The Borowitz team did: Susan and Andy. I came on after being on what was about to be that season’s hottest new comedy: The Royal Family with Redd Foxx…until Redd suddenly died on the set! Overnight we were cooked. Over. The show went on but by then we were on Fresh Prince. The show was a delight because everyone was so full of gratitude and appreciation. Will was a young genius. I had never seen anything like it. He was barely 19 when we came on. A kid. His mind was on fire. Karen was a willing clown. SWEET. They all were. Other than the original mom: and she got wished into the Cornfield because life was too short and she was making eveyrone but mostly Will VERY unhappy.

You have recently joined back up with your old My Two Dads and Mad About You pal, Paul Reiser with There’s… Johnny. How has it been to get back into writing with Paul? Is it like old times for you?

I met Paul 32 years ago and we have been laughing ever since. I have worked with two people who were exactly the way you hoped they’d be like: Paul and John Ritter (I did Hearts Afire with him). Paul is a genius and working with him on this, some 19 years after Mad About You was a revelation. I always felt that Paul was underappreciated. Helen got all the awards and attention, but behind the scenes it all began with Paul. I mean they were equal in weight and “ran” the ship together….but the world needs to know how great Paul is and this show is going to blow people away. It is NOT what people expect. It’s not a comedy. It’s not That 70’s Show with whacky Tonight Show clips. It’s about the seventies which were very powerful and VERY dark times. Jane Levy’s performance is breathtaking and Ian Nelson, the star, is going to melt a lot of hearts. We use the Tonight Show clips as a kind of Greek Chorus which shows how American felt…and acted at the time. No one plays Johnny, Ed or Doc. Or anyone famous. The illusion, like Larry Sanders, that it’s happening right then and there. David Gordon Green, another genius in my opinion, KILLED on this. It looks like a movie—and we had a barely one million an ep budget!

When you look back on your very successful career in the world of television writing and producing, what would you say you are most proud of?

That my kids are proud of me. That means the most. I am writing more now than I have in my entire life. I shoot comedy shorts every year for film festivals. Looking back every show was a life lesson: great people. I have a new play that is getting a full production in 2018. I’ve roped in Tony Danza who blew my mind in our show. What a talent and what a sweetheart! I tend to look back at my career and think: Wow: I got a weekly paycheck in Hollywood for 21 years! That’s a miracle.

What else does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Like I said: next up: my play Grave Doubts: A new Comedy full of Plot Holes. Stay tuned for that. We have plans for casting that are really exciting. The TV director/wizard/theater director Assad Kelada is the guru behind the scenes.

HULU premiered our new show, There’s Johnny on November 14th. Seven episodes. It is going to shock people. It’s not a light, fluffy look back at the era. It comes packed with a genuine emotional wallop. Plus you get to see George Carlin, Don Rickles, Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Albert Brooks and on and on and on.

I also write every day on Huffington Post. Search David S. Simon and you can read my scathing pieces on Trump.

What was the last thing to make you smile?

Groundhog Day, the musical. Landing back in New York after being in LA for 8 months. Watching the Yankees without having to pay for MLB. Seeing my peeps. Every dog that I pass on the street. Thought: why don’t women come with tails? Then we’d know what they really feel about everything.

Check out the teaser trailer for There’s Johnny, available now on Hulu:

Sunday Matinee: The Problem With Apu [Film]

I have to be completely honesty and upfront here, right from the very beginning. I am claiming ignorance. I honestly did not know that this was an issue, or that there could be a problem with Apu. I always had an inkling that the idea of every 7/11 in the 90’s was owned or operator by a turban wearing man from India or the middle east was a little bit racist, but I had honestly always attributed this to being a “city thing” that I just wasn’t aware of. And above it all, I was too naive and a bit dimwitted to not realize that Apu was a seriously overdramatized version of a whole group of people, which is indeed problematic, and yes, racist. But hey, at least it was voiced by an Indian actor, right!? Right? Well……

This documentary is an absolutely brilliant take on a subject that is almost too sensitive to touch. And I’m not even talking about race. I’m talking about the mother-loving Simpsons! The Simpsons have been the golden standard for long-lasting comedy for the last 30 years, and it is obviously a very touchy subject to “attack” (parenthesis because it’s not actually happening, keep reading). But what comedian Hari Kondabolu has brought us with The Problem With Apu is a very unique and positive take on the possibility of change in a complicit industry that has left its stain on even the holiest of holy products like The Simpsons.

Again, I do not feel in the slightest that Kondabolu is attacking The Simpsons. He is simply stating the facts about his and other’s experience as an Indian person growing up in America during a time where the only representation of his people was an over dramatized typecast in animated form. He praises the show for its originality and deserved acclaim, but he simply recommends something that might make the show better for society. Which, in my opinion, is an extremely humbling god damned thing to do! I will admit, if I grew up being called Apu on a daily basis, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as kind on a subject matter. There are many reasons why Hari Kondabolu is a better person than I, but this is a big one!

And even looking beyond the potential impact and changes that a film like The Problem with Apu could bring, I feel as though it is important to note that this film is extremely well made! It is a documentary that hits all of the appropriate highs and lows and examines all applicable frustrations in a brilliant manner. Kondabolu has shown as much promise in the world of documentary filmmaking as he has in his work as a comic, and he has created something brilliant with The Problem with Apu that sends a very strong message, and should rightfully be enjoyed by all.

But, let’s be honest, this is America we are talking about, so rather than trying to be understanding, people are going to shit all over it before, or without even, seeing it for themselves. But, for those of you who can make the effort to both learn from and enjoy something, this is the perfect film for you.

The Problem with Apu premieres tonight on truTV at 10 p.m. ET. Check out the trailer here:

Saturday Special: Mr. Roosevelt [Film]

“In her feature directorial debut, Noël Wells portrays Emily, a talented but hard-to-classify comedic performer who left behind her home and boyfriend to pursue career opportunities in L.A. When a loved one falls ill, Emily rushes back to Austin where she’s forced to stay with her ex-boyfriend (Nick Thune) and his new-and-improved girlfriend (Britt Lower), a totally together woman with a five-year plan. Though Emily is the same, everything else is different: her house has been smartly redecorated, her rocker boyfriend is training to be a real estate agent, and her old haunts show serious signs of gentrification. Holed up in her own guest room, Emily–who has no idea what she’ll be doing five days from now, let alone five years–is forced to question everyone’s values: are they sell-outs or have they just figured out what makes them happy? And is she following her dreams or is she just a self-absorbed loser?” – Big Time PR

I feel compelled to start this out by saying that Mr. Roosevelt was one of my most anticipated films of the year. One platform that I tend to learn about some of the amazing artists and happenings in the world of film and television actually comes from a podcast. A little movie trivia game show podcast known as Doug Loves Movies, hosted by none other than legendary comedian Doug Benson (who has a nice, brief cameo in this film as well!). Throughout 2017, I heard episodes either featuring Noël Wells in support of Mr. Roosevelt, or several episodes in which the film was mentioned without her even being present. Needless to say, I was dying to see it. And when the opportunity presented itself to finally check it out, I had to jump on it. And might I dare say, I was definitely not let down. Mr. Roosevelt is one of the finest films of 2017, and one of the best indie projects of the last ten years.

Depending on where you live, work, and/or breath, it is likely that you know somebody like Noël Wells’s character Emily. At her heart, she is a very wonderful person, with a big heart and a tremendous talent. But if the world of adulthood has taught most of us anything, it is that none of that shit matters in the real world. The real world can be a very disturbing place where good things don’t always come to good people. And it is within this knowledge that we may find a turn with ourselves, and proverbially walk the line between kind and self-obsessed. And I feel like this is exactly where our heroine of Mr. Roosevelt is at in her life. She moved away from the fun-loving and stereotypically hip area of Austin, Texas to pursue her dream as a comedian(?), or something of that nature, to America’s dirty playground known as Los Angeles. And along this journey, she broke some hearts and left a dear friend, Mr. Roosevelt, behind who would unexpectedly perish while she was away. Mr. Roosevelt is a cat, by the way. But for some of us, that matters not.

At its core, Mr. Roosevelt is a film that explores the acceptance of one’s self whilst trying to find their place in the world. Even the most grounded of characters in this film seem to have demons hiding within themselves. You will either sympathize with Celeste (brilliantly portrayed by Britt Lower) or you are going to hate her right off the bat, which you will likely find to be a completely unreasonable emotion. One of my favorite characters of the film, Jen (Daniella Pineda), comes off as a character who is perfectly grounded in insanity, but is as emotionally complex as the rest of them. But, she seems to take this world in strides.

In the end, Mr. Roosevelt is a beautiful tale of love, loss, confusion, and attempting to find one’s self (whatever the hell that means?) in the modern world. Noël Wells has officially made a debut in the world of film that is an absolute hit, and I am so excited to see what the future holds for this brilliant artist. If this film is an indication of everything she is capable, it is extremely likely that we have a new strong female working behind the camera as well as in front of it, which is something we desperately need right now. This is a film that proves that women, while only making up less than 6% of world film behind the screen, are not only capable of doing great work, but are exceptional at it in most cases. And I truly believe that Mr. Roosevelt is nothing short of direct evidence to this case. You’re going to love it. I guarantee it.

Mr. Roosevelt is currently enjoying a run at the Arena CineLounge in Los Angeles, November 17th – 23rd. 

The film will also have its NYC premiere at the legendary Landmark Theatre’s Sunshine Cinema, November 22nd – 28th. 

Stay tuned for further announcements of the films release across digital platforms and in physical form as well. And check out the lovely trailer for Mr. Roosevelt, right here:

Nick Hexum [Interview]


So, this is another very special interview. It has a lot of personal meaning for this former 90’s kid, but it really doesn’t have to be that specific. Nick Hexum is a founding member of a band that has truly stood the time, who came from a time when it was almost never expected of a band to truly make it that long to begin with. The 90’s was a tried and true time for the “one hit wonders” of the world. But, Mr. Hexum and his band 311 have tirelessly proven that they are as far removed from that sort of title as possible.

In fact, 311 has arguably developed one of the most devoted fanbases of the modern ages. They have been the same band (literally, the same people!) for 25 years, and have been creating some of the same magic that everyone has come to know and love over the years. Nick and the gang have found a formula for success that has worked, and continue to amaze audiences across the land (and sea!) to this very day. He is a truly impressive artist, and a damn fine human being at that. And we are so happy that he was able to take a few moments out of his busy touring schedule to share a few words with us here today. So ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy so absolutely lovely words from the great Nick Hexum!

When did you first discover your passion for music? Was there an “Aha!” moment when you realized you wanted to be a performer for a living? Or did it evolve naturally? 

My parents tell me I was already set on a career in rock’n roll by the time I was in first grade. My first musical love was 50’s rock’n roll. Elvis, Chuck Berry, etc. I used to put on little performances for the family and jumped at any chance I got to be on a stage.

With an abundance of brilliant tracks in the 311 arsenal, I am curious to know what are your favorite tracks to perform live? What songs really get the crowd moving?

There’s a certain magic about playing an oldie for a crowd. We have all lived with every note for so long, it really gets the crowd moving. I find an extra thrill in getting the crowd moving to the same extent but when it’s a new song.

You have one of the most admirably loyal fan followings I have ever heard of, and that is being modest. So, to allow you to toot your own horn a bit…why do you think that is? What do you believe 311 does differently that keeps your fans so very loyal?

I guess we just struck a chord with our music and message.  It was something that was missing in our culture. It’s an honor to be a part of. People now see 311 as a way of looking at the world and the community that has developed is truly special.

I have heard some wonderful tales from the 311 Cruise, which seems like a very unique and exciting experience. Where did this idea stem from? What made you decide to take 311 to the open seas? And how has the experience been thus far?

Well after 311 Day involved into an event that people travelled from all over to be a part of, having a travel experience like the cruise was an obvious fit.  We work really hard with the cruise company to make it the ultimate vacation for 311 fans.  It’s a total blast.

After all of these years in the game, and 311 being the 4th longest running group with all original members, what is it that keeps your drive going? What compels you to continue to perform for audiences around the globe?

We still feel a hunger to explore music and spread our message further.  Music is a never ending journey.  There’s always new styles to be influenced by and new people to reach.  We still have lots of energy.

When you are out on your massive and consistently occurring tours, what does a tour diet consist of? Is it simply an endless cycling of late night diners and truck stop buffets?

We used to eat junk food in the early days.  Now we know where all the good sushi is.  Mercury be damned!

What does the future hold for you and 311? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I think we’ve discovered some new styles on Mosaic and we plan to get back into the studio soon and take those styles further.  Stay tuned for 311 Uplifter CBD vape products coming soon!

What  was the last thing that made you smile?

Soulcycle class today on our day off in Chicago was a lot of fun.  Nothing like a good sweat with loud pounding music.

Luz Mendoza [Interview]


Today’s interviewee is a person who I have long admired, and have been wanting to have featured on the site since the inception of Trainwreck’d Society. Luz Mendoza is an absolute genius in the world of indie folk that I have held to such a high accord for so long, and have been covering since my early days as a lowly music blogger, all the way up until now during my days as a lowly music and film blogger. She has a perfectly apt and brilliant ability to sincerely write the fuck out of a song. That is without a doubt her strongest trait. Throw on top of that a brilliant set of vocals and a being a powerhouse musician, she is the real deal people.

As I said before, I have been watching this amazing musician grow so much over the years, and have been lucky enough to indulge in every amazing Y La Bamba project she has given to the world. Each and every completed work that Luz has consistently been the best work of that given year. The singular track “Fasting In San Francisco”, now several years old at this point, is still registered as a classic in my personal listening songbook. I seriously cannot say enough great things about this amazing artist.

So, I will simply just shut up, and let you enjoy some amazing words from the great Luz Mendoza! Enjoy!

When did you decide you wanted to join the world of artistic expression? And has music always been your focus when it comes to creating your art?

My expression has never felt like a desicion I made, but rather a decision to embrace the fact that I have been in the world of artistic expression, aka sharing vulnerability. Music has been a large focus on how I create and move energy, as well as other things that extend from that such as my visual and performance art projects and social activism.

And when did Y La Bamba come into play? If you are so kind, can you give us a little background on this amazing band/project that you have been curating for all of these years?

The band started as myself in 2006. I brought a band together and since then its been a on going colaboration with friends and other talented musicians that I have had the honor of playing with as I keep growing in my expression.

As a mastermind behind the craft of beautiful songwriting, I am curious to know some things about your process. Mainly: how do you know when you a song is complete? Is there an exact moment or feeling you are looking to experience to know that a song is complete?

Songs are conversations that change and evolve as we go that or nor complete or limited. I like to encourage creative freedom with others.
I expierence that feeling of freedom when I let go of the pre conceived pressure around finishing a song.

Speaking of beautiful songs, you wrote a song that has remained at the top of my hypothetical “single’s list” since I first heard it, entitled “Fasting In San Francisco”. I still have it in rotation to this day. Would you be able to give us a little insight into this track? Where did the idea for this lovely track come from?

What a flash back! that song was written when I was so sick  10 years ago in my room learning how to record myself for the first time as I was listening to Laura Gibson, and Coco Rosie and Violeta Parra.

I was in a place of surrender, and that song is the documentation of my growth. That reflection is so important to me. It was about love and war the innocence behind my healing.

You have been working with our old friends at Tender Loving Empire for quite some time as well, releasing 5 wonderful records, including your latest entitled Ojos del Sol. So how did you manage to team up with Jared & Co. to create such amazing art together? And what keeps you working with TLE after all of these years?

Tender Loving Empire have been my Rock through out the years.
I love them dearly and support them.

Y La Bamba live @ Picakthon 2012, photographed terribly by yours truly, this is Luz and my OG blogging inspiration Ben Meyercord, a.k.a. half of Y La Bamba in 2012.

It has been 5 years since I last saw Y La Bamba, live at Pickathon in Happy Valley, Oregon. I understand you were just there again this last summer? So how did it go? And what is it about Pickathon that keeps you coming back?

I have always loved Picathon they are good to there people and the environment. I love going back and sharing those moments with friends. We played a couple of shows. There were definitely some moments where i felt ex seen and heard in my cultural identity as a latina female in this day in age then before it was however still a reminder of how out numbered women of color are in the music industry over all and often mis interpreted or un heard. It was nice to have productive conversations about things that have made me feel marginalized for years.

Pickathon tends to be a large scale event.  But, you have also done some more low key and intimate shows. Do you enjoy the large scale with packed audiences, or the intimate showings? 

I am sensitive to any crowd.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers? 

My future as an artist is using my medium to connect and grow and heal because we really really really need eahother right now and not get into the petty overly self righteous culture that isolates us from compassion and understading.

I will hopefully record a new something something soon.

I am on a journey this year to also tour with Hijos De La Montaña in Europe.

I anticipate a lot more un expected but predictable social changes and I am trying to stay strong for myself and my community. I recorded an EP on cassettes called Red Earth in which all proceeds go to Adelante Mujeres a non profit that provides holistic education and empowerment oppurtunities to low income latina women. Below are some links and would love to encourage everyone in donating to this organization! Its so key to reach out to your community and arriving with support because help is needed.

http://adelantemujeres.org

https://tenderlovingempire.com/pages/generous

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Awe I smiled at this amazing white fluffy dog this morning! that looked like  it came from another planet. As it was crossing the street it seemed like it was floating right by. Like that moment in that movie where everything slows down when the most beautiful angelic thing you have ever seen is passing right by you.

It reminded me of life.

New Music Tuesday: Grayson Capps: Scarlett Roses [Album]

I have long since considered myself a Grayson Capps fan. We had an amazing interview with him a few years ago that absolutely filled my heart with pride to have featured here at Trainwreck’d Society. But, I will admit, I sort of lost touch with what this mastermind has been up to. But then I saw his name appear in my inbox with some sort of subject announcing he was back after 6 years, and I was beyond intrigued, to say the least.

Grayson Capps has been a staple in my life for quite sometimes. His father penned the novel for film in which he would contribute some amazing tracks to, that would eventually be A Love Song For Bobby Long, a film that I would consider one of the greatest of all time. So let’s just get that out there.

To learn that Grayson hasn’t put out an album in 6 years almost made me sad to realize that I hadn’t been involved enough to notice. But, to learn that it was his own choice to let the material for a full length album just come to him was absolutely enlightening, and down right inspiring. And if it takes six years for a brilliant album like Scarlett Roses, well fucking so be it!

Scarlett Roses is a brilliant combination of Grayson’s amazing attributions towards the world of folk music and country rock. One of the most obviously lovable tracks, and the one I tend to go back to, is the amazing “Bag of Weed”. It is a simply melody that seems to poke fun at the bullshit world of modern country that is absolutely disgusting and intolerable. It is a playful, fun, and catchy track that manages to still toy with our emotions, all the while having a bit of fun. Which is a concept that many modern country artists simply can not seem to understand.

And then there is a song like “Hold Me Darlin” that is like a blast from the past to the Bobby Long days, that I will absolutely never turn down. But, the song that truly needs to be showcased is the absolutely brilliant “New Again”, which is unlike anything I have heard from Grayson before, and almost unlike anything I have heard before in the world of music in general. I truly can not say enough how much I truly love this track. It mixes so many different elements of country, folk, soul, love, loss, and miracles, that you really have to hear it for yourself to truly understand. So do yourself a favor, and do that. Listen. Don’t just hear, truly fucking listen. Now.

Are you one of our many fine Italian readers? Well, I will be god damned if you aren’t in luck! Check out these dates with Grayson all across your amazing country:

November 16Cantu, Italy – All’Una E Trentacinque Circa
November 17Milano, Italy – Spazio Teatro 89
November 18 – Ravenna, Italy – Marlin
November 19Verona, Italy – Le Cantine dell’Arena
November 22Correzzola, Italy – Cockney London Pub
November 24 Dozza, Italy – Teatro Comunale
November 26Fiorenzuola, Italy – Teatro Verdi

And don’t forget to pick up your own copy of Scarlett Roses when it is release on December 1st, 2o17. Until then, check out this YouTube lyrical preview for “Hold Me Darlin”, right here:

Tony Stevens [Interview]


When I think about what has now been deemed as “classic rock”, a lot of different feelings and images are conjured up. But the number one imagine is always going to be that of a few burn out dudes riding around in a cool car in Richard Linklater’s legendary film Dazed and Confused. For myself, and I’m sure a lot of other kids growning up in the 90’s, this was how we learned about what “classic rock” music real was. I know I’m not the only guy who would watch this film with their father and ask a zillion questions about the music we were hearing. This film alone introduced me to so much of the amazing work that came around in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This is also when I learned that some of the best music in America at that time, was actually coming from across the pond from a country that I had no idea as a nine year old kid that I would eventually call home. I am of course talking about the nation of Great Britain. England. You know.

And when you think about “classic rock”, or Dazed and Confused, or the “British invasion”….one brilliant band really fits into all of these sectors, and I don’t know how you couldn’t have already figured out who I am talking about. I am talking about Foghat. This is a band that holds not only a special place in my heart, but a special place in Dazed & Confused, with their single “Slow Ride” being a stand out feature of the film. No matter what happens in life, I know that Foghat is always going to be one of those pure, original, and absolutely amazing bands that will continue to stand the test of time. And ladies and gentlemen, we are fortunate enough to have one of their founding members with us here today at Trainwreck’d Society.

Tony Stevens was there from the very beginning of Foghat. He spent years in their earliest renditions of the band, would eventually leave only to return a couple of decades later, and leave again to form a different and far more complex version of the band under a new name. But, we will obviously discuss all of that in the conversation below. Just let it be known that Tony Stevens very much IS rock and roll. He has been on the road for over 50 years, delighting audiences across the globe. When it comes to the world of rock and roll, there is very little this man hasn’t already conquered and lived to tell about.

So with that, how about I stop rambling, and share these amazing words from the brilliant musician, Mr. Tony Stevens!

What were those early days of Savoy Brown and Foghat blowing up to be the legend that it has become today? I am always fascinated about the times prior to gaining such success. So how was that?

Long and arduous. Travelling up and down the motorways with Savoy playing small clubs and blues bars. We did festivals in Germany with the Moody Blues and  The Nice, then over to the States for our first American tour playing small clubs and blues bars De ja vu.
It culminated with three of us leaving Savoy at the end of 1970 and formed Foghat. For a year and a half the three of us funded the band with our new guitarist, Rod Price, being paid a wage. When we got our record deal with Bearsville Records it was manner from heaven.

I’ve heard through biographies and stories about the explosion and love for American blues that occurred in England during the 1960’s, and the ways you were able to collect certain sounds in those pre-internet times. But, I’v never had the chance to ask about it directly to someone. So how about it? How did you become interested in not only listening to American blues music, but wanting to perform it as well?

Well I was playing the Blues, albeit on lead guitar, when I was 13. I had a band called the Down and Outs and the singer/ harmonica player had an amazing record collection We were playing stuff by Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters,Joe Turner and Josh white to name but a minimal few of our repertoire.

I think I can say that the Americans boycott of great Black artists drove their sound to England, on the radio, to the likes of John Mayall, Alexis Corner,The Stones and Beatles and Long John Baldry and many, many more of Blues Rock bands..ala..Savoy Brown. We took the American sound and turned it round, gave it power and sent it back to you through the Stones and Beatles. All of a sudden, America was listening and wanted to know the roots of those groups music. It still was a hard task for the black artists to be accepted but England seemed to pave a way. Chuck berry being the most copied of his music by us Brits.

I understand you also worked on the legendary project from The Who known as Tommy. This production still remains as a classic in my heart, as well as with the millions who watched and heard it. I am wondering if you wouldn’t mind telling us a bit about this project? What were some specific details you put into it, and what makes you most proud to have been a part of it?

Tommy. Just to clarify, it was the film Tommy soundtrack that I played on, not the original opus by Pete. It was great fun. Three days in the Who’s studio, Ramport, with an open bar with the likes of Ronny Wood, Kenny Jones, the Who’s new drummer, Chris Stainton, Eric Clapton, and Ken Russell, the films director. The soundtrack was produced by a friend of mine, Ronny Nevison Of Course, all the Who were there plus different guitarists and bass players. It was great
Also, I was involved with Andrew Lloyd Weber on the original album( Cast and Stage show )of Evita. Julie Covington and David Essex to name but a few of the star studded cast. Great Fun and Lord Weber, as he is known now, was a true gentleman.

After all the time that has past, what compelled you to return to the Foghat world by forming your latest band, Slow Ride? And what has it been like to get back into this world?

You might have heard many stories of what happened between me going from Foghat in 1975 and then rejoining the band in 1993 and leaving again in 2005 to form Slow Ride. Phone me Ron and I will give you the undiluted facts. In basic: Trust and Ego were the biggest problems.

In your obviously professional opinion after decades in this business, what would you say is the most pivotal moment in a live performance? Is there a single element that is absolutely necessary to exist when you are performing? Or a collection of several different smaller elements perhaps? Basically, what makes for a perfect live show for you?

Really Ron, I think it is not the size of the gig or stadium ( we played to 250,000 fans in Evansville Indiana in the early 70s ) For me, after 50 years of touring this year, has to be the fun you have with you fellow musicians on stage. Slow Ride is my pinnacle of musicianship mixed with high jinks. It really was not their for the latter part of my stint in 1974/5. It was there, always, with Dave Peverett. He was a gem but, after he died in 2000, the band lost it’s sparkle and Egos took over. One of many reasons to form Slow Ride.

Recently you performed in my hometown of Longview, Washington at their highly anticipated annual event known as Squirrel Fest. Was there anything exceptional about this event, or was it simply another gig?

Ron, The weekend that we spent in Longview was great, great great. From the time we got off the plane and Don, our man of the moment, took us to Saltys’ for dinner. Then to the Montecello hotel. A great 30s/40s hotel that is being revamped back to its former glory. Then, with no more that a 100 yards to walk to the stage for a sound check Then, off to a pot farm and shop…the rest is censored. Lunch, and back for the old men to take a nap before treating the 7,000 fans to some ” Gut ole Rock n Blues. Next day, breakfast then a fantastic trip to Mount St. Helens. What a trip. Back to the airport and waving bye bye to Washington State.

Again, I must thank Don and Peter for their time and unending kindliness. I loved the Squirrel Bridges.

What does the future hold for you? Anything coming up that you would like to plug to our readers?

Always with Slow Ride it is a ” Watch this Space “situation. Unfortunately, our agent was diagnosed with Lukemia and had to undergo Chemo. Our heart is with him.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Okay. Last year I had a major operation on my Prostate. I was told that after the Op my libido would wane and erections would be few and far between. Two weeks ago I woke up from a naughty dream and found that I had a boner. I laughed all day. In the words of Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange: ” I was cured my Droogies “