Comments, Interviews, DL Meets His Fans & More.....
© Dennis Locorriere 2004
|Hot Press - DL's pre Dublin gig Interview - April 2013|
|Mark Powlett on BBC Radio - DL's Radio Interview on 25.03.12 - Click Here|
|Cragg Live - DL's Radio Interview on Cult Radio 19.01.03|
|Cragg Live - The entire show - including DJ comments, pre and post interview, as well as many wonderful tracks from DL's entire career, Hook and solo.|
|Open Mic - DL's Interview In R2 Rock'n'Reel Magazine Nov/Dec 2012 Issue|
|DL On Radio Wirral 4/11|
|DL On Radio Teeside 4/11|
|DL On Brooklands Radio|
|DL Face to Face with Rick Wakeman - Aired on Sky 378|
|DL Talks to Debbie Rial for the International Songwriters Association magazine|
|DL Talks to Sean P. Feeny at the Donegal Life - Adobe reader required to view|
|DL Live on TalkSport with Mike Mendoza Oct 07 - Includes live performance of the much talked about new track 'I'm Impressed with Myself'|
|DL talks to aspiring young writer, Jack Gibson|
|Rock'n'Reel Xtra - Maurice Hope talks to DL|
|DL Live on LBC 97.3 with Iain Lee (Sept'06)|
|Audio version of the DVD Interview with Johnny Black that accompanies the 'Live in Liverpool' CD|
|A 'candid' interview with John Moore|
|What DL Listens to While You Listen to DL! & What He Reads When He's Not Listening (and sometimes while he is!)|
|Messages From Dennis|
|DL's Favourite Songs|
|DL's Tribute to Shel Silverstein|
|Dennis Meets His Fans - Your Photos|
Interview player - Double Click on title to play
|In this recent interview with Debbie Rial for the International Songwriters Association magazine, The Songwriter, DL opens up about his songwriting and songwriters.|
As front man with Dr Hook, Dennis Locorriere enjoyed huge international success with over 60 gold and platinum albums, sell out tours and no 1 hits in over 42 countries with the likes of “Sylvia‘s Mother” and “When You‘re In Love With A Beautiful Woman“. Famous for their long gruelling tours, performing up to 300 shows a year, Dr Hook is undoubtedly one of America’s most successful acts of the 1970’s and early 80’s . Dennis has gone on to have highly acclaimed solo success and continues to wow audiences with his spine-tingling, sexy vocals. A notable songwriter, he has had songs recorded by Bob Dylan, Southside Johnny and Willie Nelson, to name but three. Still hook-ed on performing, Dennis has just come off tour and found time to answer a few questions for us.
At what age did you first realise that music was important to you?
I can't remember a time in my life when music wasn't there in a big way. My mother was very young, 19 years old, when I was born and she liked her music. Mostly great singers like Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughn and later, Sam Cooke. It probably helped that I grew up across the river from New York City, home of some of the coolest, most powerful radio stations in the country, playing all the hippest records. My little transistor radio was always glued to my ear. Even in bed, I'd have it on really low, under my pillow, so only I could hear it. I always figured I'd be a music 'fan' for life. It wasn't until I was 14 years old and The Beatles came to America that I started banging and plonking on things, trying to make a similar noise. It felt good to me. Natural. Right. I never really thought about music as a career. It just sort of happened. Probably a good thing. I didn't have anything else in mind at that point...or at this one either.
Who were your early influences?
My mom and her records were what peaked my interest. All her favorite singers had such unique voices. Unmistakable from the first word. Sam Cooke was a major influence on so many vocalists, including me. But, The Beatles will always stand as my single biggest motivator because they were the ones that made me wanna do it and not just listen to it.
How old were you when you wrote your first song?
It was sometime shortly after the British Invasion started, so 14-15. I can't remember exactly what it sounded like, or what it was about, but I do recall the deflating moment that I realized it was pretty much Tommy Roe's “Sheila“, almost note for note. But, hey! I'll bet a lot of the great artists began with a touch of plagerism. You have to start somewhere. The trick is to move into your own thing.
Do you write all the time, do you set time apart for writing, what’s your process?
I have absolutely no process, technique or method that I could tell you about. I write when an idea hits me. The best ones are the ones that hit me hard enough to sit down right then, pick up my guitar and try and find my way into it a little. Of course, that's not always possible, so I do carry a notebook and a pen (usually!), but that's about it. I'm not methodical. I probably forget more ideas than I'll ever follow thru on. I tried co-writing in the past and some nice songs have come of it. But, I've also had a few of what I thought were good ideas taken in the wrong direction by someone else and I, in the spirit of collaboration, just let it happen. I don't do that anymore. I mostly write alone these days.
It’s a great accolade to have had songs recorded by two of the greatest songwriters in the world, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. How did they come to record one of your songs?
Both of those artists recorded the same song, 'A Couple More Years'. That song is down in the books as a co-write between me and my late, great friend, Shel Silverstein, and, I supposed, technically, that's true. The real story is that when I was in the studio, recording the vocal on Hook's version of the song, it was sounding strangely familiar to me. One of my bandmates pointed out to me that the melody was very reminiscent of a song I had written called 'Moon Tune'. I don't think Shel was too happy to hear that and who could blame him?
Which of your many hits are you most proud of?
It was never about 'the hits', to tell you the truth. There are some far better songs on the albums. Don't get me wrong, without the radio records Hook might not have had the opportunity to show so many people, all over the
You’ve always spent so much time on the road, including almost year long tours during your time with Dr Hook. What is it about live gigs that appeals to you?
The worst part of this business to me is having to solicit the opinions of other professional people and then wait for their responses. Sometimes you can wait forever. You write a song, you wonder if it's any good. You record it, present to the label and wait for their opinion...and the song plugger's opinion...and radio's opinion. And, these opinions are usually based on a whole lot more than whether they liked your song or not. You walk out on a stage and play that song for the people and, immediately, you know what you have...or not. It's right there, right then. 'Live' performance is really the only thing that makes me feel like I'm still viable in this business.
Was a busy touring schedule behind the long gap between the release of your first solo album “Out of the Dark” in 2000 and its follow up “One of the Lucky Ones” in 2005?
The long gap - four years or more - between albums had more to do with trying to define myself between albums than anything else. “Out Of The Dark” was recorded bit by bit, song by song, just to be doing something with all the songs I was writing. They weren't intended for an album. I hadn't looked for a label before that. Most of the tracks on OOTD were released a couple years prior as “Running With Scissors“, on a small Norwegian dance label. It soon folded and so did the album. When the opportunity arose to rework it a bit and get it out as a proper release I jumped at it and “Out Of The Dark” saw daylight. “One Of The Lucky Ones” was actually recorded and scheduled to be released on a UK label that got weird and dodgy just as I was finishing it. They, without any warning to me, went bust and left me with a bunch of studio bills that I couldn't pay, including several musicians who were friends of mine. Needless to say I felt like a fucking deadbeat!
The album remained in the studio vaults for quite awhile until I could work and raise the money to pay them all, players and studio, what I owed them. But, even tho I had possession of the master tapes again, they still sat in the drawer next to my bed for a year or so until we could find a home for it. Turned out we went back to Track Records, who had put out OOTD.
Your musical career has successfully spanned the decades and you’ve worked or guested with many stars including your recent stint with Bill Wyman and The Rhythm Kings. Is there anyone you would like to guest on one of your tours?
Now, there's a question I've never been asked and something I've never really thought about. Not who I'd like to guest with but who I'd like to have guest with me. Well, off the top of my head, Billy Preston would have upped the soul factor of anybody's band. He played an organ solo on “Isn't It A Pity” at the Concert for George (Harrison) that makes my eyes well up every time I hear it.
Anyone who appreciates song writing can’t help but be a Beatles fan. In your list of ten all time fave songs there are three Beatles songs. What is it about their song writing that makes them so special to you?
The only reason there aren't 10 Beatle songs on the list is because I didn't wanna seem too monotone about it all. But, then, again, you could pick 10 of their songs and hit on as many different styles of music, couldn't you? The Beatles had and did it all and changed the landscape forever. The way artists think, sing, write, dress, look, sound, and on and on. I'm so glad I was 14 when they arrived. It was the perfect age to take it all in. To really 'get it'.
What song do you wish you’d written?
Any and every Paul Simon song. The man is an artistic treasure.
What’s your connection with McFly?
I love the success he and the band are having. He deserves it and his family are some of the nicest people I've ever met. McFly is only the beginning for young Tom. Watch out for Carrie Fletcher next. Tom's little sister. Another extremely talented young person.
I'm going thru the opening stages of preparing to record my next album. The first step was to play songs for my co-producer. I had specific things I wanted to show him, but, after awhile, I started playing songs that I'd never shown anyone. Songs that were written over the last 25 years of my life. It turned out that he really liked a lot of the ones I hadn't intended to play and it took my head and the album in a totally different direction. The next step will be to decide on a cohesive sound for it all. Then, to find the musicians we think can help us get that sound and rehearse with them for a few days. After that, it's studio time! If I know me, I will want to do a bit of 'live' playing before too long. Maybe a few smaller venues, here and there. I'm not a big fan of doing clubs as part of a tour, but they're useful to break in new material and, generally, keep my hand in, between tours. I don't like to leave it too long without some 'live' activity. The nice thing these days is that I'm never quite sure what will come up.
|Prescribed Listening - Maurice Hope talks to ex-Dr Hook frontman turned solo artist, Dennis Locorriere|
interested to see that on One Of The Lucky Ones there are a couple
of co-writes with Michael Snow, a writer I'm quite familiar with due
to him co-writing with, among others, Strawbs' lead guitarist Brian
Talking to Locorriere, there's no hiding his great love affair with music. It doesn't seem to be a money thing with him. That's something that goes back years, such is his passion for both music and songs.
"I tour with an acoustic guitar these days. Just a guitar and me. Once in a while I might have a band, but generally a steady diet of just me, a guitar and lots and lots of great songs. Whether they're old Shel Silverstein songs, or the Hook catalogue or what I've just written. I protect what I do," he states. "I like it. I've told my manager I could have found a job along the way that I hated, but have been lucky enough to do one that I love. The reason I like touring is because there is an immediate connection. Anything else you do, like when you record, you sit around to see what the label think ... what is going to be a single ... who likes this and who likes that. It's like a committee, but when I am on the road there is no committee," he explains. "There is me and the audience. I sing ... they respond. I talk and they talk back and I like that. It makes me feel like I'm still in this business."
Recording albums for him is like a side project. Where he gets the biggest buzz and greatest pleasure is on stage. Up there it's all about entertaining an audience.
"It is for me. I keep it kinda loose so anything can happen. I have a structure to my show. I'm not a fool but it's not so tightly structured that if it veered off somewhere I couldn't let it go there. I like that and the audience knows that. Recording is important because you get a record on the radio and a lot more people get the opportunity to know who you are, but it's not the thing that jazzes me up the most."
Not only the fans have been good to him, but radio (BBC Radio 2) over here has been kind, too, giving him some great airplay.
"Whether it's the old Hook stuff or the new stuff, it's great. To tell you the truth, in today's game folk don't have to go out to be wildly entertained, since you have DVDs ... you have music, and all kinds of stuff. The fact that people will go home after work, shower and put on their nice clothes and then go sit in a different building is a nice thing these days and very flattering for me. It's not like back in the 1970s when Dr Hook were starting. It was a far different scene then ... you had lots of people hungry for music and to get out and sample what was going on out there. It was a vibrant scene; lots of different genres were reaching out.
"Today, kids sit at computers and download an act - there doesn't seem to be that impetus to go find out about an act. Kids like songs, not artists. It's like, they'll listen to a minute of a song and put it on their iPod. With things like Pop Idol and X Factor they throw these things at you. Like Paul Simon said years ago, they throw these pop stars up the charts and leave them up there with no way to get off. You see them on X Factor, like on day one, week one, and see them walk in with t-shirt and jeans and they get through and, 14 weeks later, they win and leave in a big-money suit and Porsche. A week later it's like nobody cares, it's like they've already seen his - or her - career on that show."
Which beggars the question as to where the outstanding musicians of tomorrow are going to come from.
"One of the things that irks me is that you have all these vocal groups calling themselves bands. I believe The Spice Girls started it, talking about themselves as a band. They are not bands. No more than pilots are sky angels; they are up there but are not exactly doing it on their own. Words get changed, though. Times change, but it is a different game, today. Everybody I know who is any age will tell you that when they were a kid people would say, 'The world isn't what it used to be', and now when I've become that age I'm saying the same thing. Like those around today will, in 30 years' time, be saying it too. When you look back it always seems simpler when you're younger."
Talking about the past neatly brings us around to the people who influenced him, growing up back in New Jersey.
"My biggest influence as a music fan was my mom. Her name was Ruth and when I was born she was only 19. A kid. So, when I was four and five years old, she was still a young girl in her early 20s and had lots of young friends, and listened to a lot of music. She liked voices ... people like Chet Baker, Sam Cooke, Dina Washington, Johnny Matthis, Nat King Cole. She loved these great interpretive voices; she wasn't a singer but just loved that stuff. I was raised by her ... and by my grandmother and my mother's two sisters. So I was mostly raised by women and did not have that male aesthetic of sports, fast cars and of drinking beer. I had that aesthetic of ... where I had my mom and two sisters coming home after being to New York City to see a play, and who would come with the soundtrack or the brochure from Camelot or Westside Story and I would see how those live performances affected them.
"I guess it stayed with me. It was my mom who made me realise how music was so entertaining, but The Beatles who made me want to do it. I am still, to this day, a huge Beatles fan. If you came to my place right now and looked at what I am looking at now, you would think that I was in The Beatles! I've a lot of Beatles stuff and probably listen to a lot more of Beatles-related music than anything else, because it centres me," he explains. "It's where I came from. They got to America in 1964. February, 1964, and we had just had the President of the United States have his head unceremoniously blown off only a few months before. Just before Christmas, and the world was in turmoil and America was in shock, and youth didn't know where to go. I was 14 years old and didn't know what the hell that meant. I guess we were looking for something and it didn't hurt that they came from another country.
"It was like they'd landed from another planet, these four little aliens with moptop haircuts landed at Kennedy Airport. [It wasn't Kennedy then, but Idlewild]. Their arrival, strangely, gave everybody some kind of hope. Initially, I think it was because they were from somewhere else, with their strange little accents and good looks. But they wouldn't have lasted as long and grabbed everybody's attention if it wasn't for the music, which was great. The harmonies, the enthusiasm, exuberance and playing their own guitars. There just wasn't anything like that then. They were the first band, ever, who wrote a whole album. Rubber Soul - it was the first album, ever, that was written and conceived by the artists themselves. Nobody, including The Beatles themselves, had ever done it before. They broke things wide open. I just love that. You hear so many things today, musically, that would not have happened if were not for The Beatles."
Guitar-makers must have been rubbing their hands once The Beatles, all the other Liverpool bands, and others, broke onto the music scene.
"Apparently, the old story in the UK was that The Beatles were told that guitar bands were out, because of groups like The Shadows. When people talked about guitar bands, they thought of instrumentals and guys doing dance steps together. They never dreamed that it could be your weapon of choice. The songs, harmonies and enthusiasm of it - all that was heard on the radio and was something people found hard to ignore. Love it or hate it. Fortunately, I embraced it, 200 per cent!"
He initially started playing in bands as a teenager.
"A couple of little bands, where you would rehearse on weekends at somebody's garage, or something. Never anything professionally. There was nowhere for us to play. We were too young for that; maybe the odd high school dance. I started off as a drummer but I hated all the equipment. Then one day a girl came up to me and said I looked like John Lennon, because I was strumming somebody's guitar, so I said 'To hell with the drums'."
So how did he go from that to meeting Ray [Sawyer] and founding the legendary Dr Hook & The Medicine Show, as they were first known.
"Ray, George and Dave (Jay David) were from the deep south, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. Dave came up to New Jersey where I was from, and living. It was near Manhattan ... to the lights of New York; there were a lot of nightclubs up there. They were playing in a little club in my home town. When I got old enough and grew a little facial hair I would sneak in and sit in with a lot of people," he recalls. "Everybody was older than me, including George, and one night I sat in with them, played some bass and guitar and we got talking. They knew all the old country songs and I knew The Beatles and The BeeGees. I guess we were an education to one another and it wasn't long before we got one or two lucky breaks and were recording ourselves, and went out on the road."
One of those lucky breaks, of course, was to record a Shel Silverstein song that would end up used in a movie.
"That has to be the biggest turning point of my life. Meeting Shel Silverstein afforded me some of the biggest things I have done. Like the hits with Dr Hook and then, a few years back, I did a one-man play that Shel wrote, at the Lincoln Centre, New York. It was great to do that and be involved with Shel again. After that I went out on the road. Then, just last year, even though Shel had already passed away, they posthumously released a new children's book, Runny Babbitt, and I read the audio book version. If he had been still alive, Shel would of course have read it himself. It was nice that his family, his estate, came back to me to do it. My involvement with Shel has been life long," he adds. "Like a wave, it keeps coming back on the shore every once in a while. He was a very good lyricist, very good stories that made a point in a big way. When you listened to a Shel song and got it, you'd feel smarter and more worldly, because he always said things in such a clever and an encouraging way. Everybody gets it ... not because he panders, it's just ... plain spoken. Just out now is a new album by Jerry Lee Lewis called Last Man Standing, an album of duets on which he does 'A Couple More Years' with Willie Nelson - a song that Shel and I wrote. That's what I mean, my relationship with Shel just keeps coming around in one form or another."
At their peak, Dr Hook were a regular fixture in the charts at home and abroad with hits like 'Sylvia's Mother', 'The Cover Of The Rolling Stone' and 'Only Sixteen', prior to their slicker cuts - 'Sharing The Night Together', 'When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman' and 'Sexy Eyes'
"We were an international success in the days before there were videos, so if people wanted to see us we packed our bags and went out on the road. Today, you don't go out on the road until you are famous. It's flip-flopped a little bit, to where you do it the other way round. When you're having as much international success as that, it's all forward motion. You don't stop to congratulate yourself much. It's only now, years later, that I have had time to take a deliberate look at how well Dr Hook actually did and how the music affected people."
Apparently the first few Dr Hook albums didn't take a lot of time to record.
"In the earlier days we had a little more of a sloppier sound. A little more slapdash [their 1972 album was called Sloppy Seconds; their second, on Columbia, was entirely written by Shel] because that was the image of the band. Then, later on, to be competitive for radio airplay, we had to get a little slicker ... songs like 'When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman'. They always took a lot longer, especially bringing studio players in to play on the albums. But today you hear of people taking years to make a record; there was nothing like that! Maybe a month. But after our first album we were making records in between tour dates, or we would have to block out time and come off the road. It became a different consideration, totally."
Via Silverstein and the band's deep south roots, they'll forever be associated with country music.
"Again, that was all down to Shel. He persuaded us to come to Nashville. He was coming from those heady times when it was him and [Kris] Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings, and it was very much a music community. People would sleep on each other's floors, and write songs together. Nashville isn't like that anymore. Today, people are coming from all across America and the world. It was very much a songwriting community, then, and I would venture that it may still be so. But also I think it is just as much a producer's environment today. Back then it was more a songwriter's town. Shel suggested we should go down there - and it worked out for us. I'm pretty sure I would never have had an inroad into country music if it had not been for Shel. The country music I listened to as a kid was George Jones, the real hard-core, and it's the stuff that I still listen to. Today, it has all become blurred, but my kind of country is Jones, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, who I am still listening to, right now."
|In this candid interview with John Moore, Dennis tells how he REALLY feels about where he’s been, where he is today and where’s he’s going.|
When you know Dennis Locorriere, you realise he’s the kind of person who has been through enough to not let his ego be bruised by such trivialities as transient stardom. He greets it all with a wonderful, playful sense of knowing amusement - the same jovial characteristic that is endearing him to audiences all around the world once again. Well, that coupled with a killer back catalogue of his own material, a host of Shel Silverstein tracks…and two LPs worth of solo material – including the endearing new LP,
As you would expect from a man who toured bars, clubs, theatres and then arenas with Dr Hook over the course of 17 years – it is on stage where he truly shines. He was one of the undoubted stars of last year Glastonbury, given the unenviable task of a solo set on the enormous main pyramid stage immediately after the bravura histrionics of the English National Opera. In a slot that went up against the lure of Sunday lunch he triumphed winning the hearts and minds of the main stage crowd – leaving to a rapturous ovation, and converting many new fans…My significant other included.
So Glastonbury last year was a bit of a big thing for you yeah?
“It was cool…You know what? The most relaxed I was for the whole weekend was when I was on stage – ‘cause then I knew what I was doing. You cant just sit around thinking about fighting the bull, you gotta f**king get out there and see which way it’s gonna charge. But you know, what was nice was that originally they had me on The Other Stage…and if you see who was on that stage…y’know, bands like The Libertines, The Zutons. Great bands, but is was gonna be ‘here’s the Zutons…and now here’s their Dad…”
Have you done any of the big UK festivals before?
“No, not really…We’ve done some but Glastonbury was intimidating, just because of what it is, y’know? It’s almost more valuable to be associated with it and to tell people you’re playing it than the actual performance. ‘Cause there’s so much going on…But if you’re Oasis people have expectations; ‘oh, it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be…’, but if I do a good job, they’re like; f**k, we didn’t expect anything from this asshole…”
Is the skill of going out and performing to a crowd alone something that developed over time, or have you always been good at it?
“All I can say is that I’ve been doing this for a long time, so anything I am good at is because I’ve been doing it for a long time…I like performing alone, and I’m so glad that the audiences appreciate it. I almost hate to say it, but I prefer it…I don’t wanna sound like the Howard Hughes of Rock’n’roll, but I prefer it. I think it’s because that with ‘Hook’ I was the sharp end of something, and responsible for it in some way. Y’know, while we were lurching about on stage spilling beer on each other, it was Dr Hook Incorporated back home. There were families and children and an office staff – 40 people were eating on us, it was a business and I felt like the sharp end of that. I knew there was no morning where I was gonna wake up and go; ‘OK, I’d like to leave now…’Cause that wasn’t possible. Ray did…But we went on…”
Yeah, you went on without Ray for what, about 2-3 years? How was that?
“…Yeah about that…And we did pretty well, but I think what happened with that, where we hit the impasse, was that I thought we were starting to tread water – just easing into that;’oh, I remember them’ status. So, that meant securing another record deal, committing to another two or three years of promoting and touring…and didn’t want it…
Oh man I joined that band, that band in a bar – it was a bar band – when I was 35. Ray left in ’82…Ray had a different concern. He had the concern of being a logo, the face of Dr Hook and I think he was looking for something other than that. When he left we were really sorry to lose him – ‘cause Ray and I worked very closely together, and nothing is harder than to do a double act when on of them doesn’t want to be there. Dr Hook had a good run, but – of course – what happens now is that everything gets measured in my life, creatively, against that.”
And is it hard to measure up against a 17 year career?
Y’know, funnily enough, if I just relax a little and don’t focus on what other people see, I more than match up to who I was then, I’m so much better at what I do, I was a kid when I was in Dr Hook…If I don’t do that again…Well, some people don’t do that once…I always wanted to be doing what I’m doing now. I never wanted to be in a band. I met those guys ‘cause I was travelling around Union City – where I was from – playing different bars with different bands. I met those guys that way – they were from down south – and they were making their way to, I guess what they thought was The Big Apple but settled there in New Jersey. And we became good friends; I sang all of the Beatles songs, Ray sang all the country and R&B stuff that I didn’t know. It was cool. And we really complemented each other well…”
You list The Beatles amongst your favourite artists, but it’s not something I’d instantly associate with you, or Dr Hook.
“For me, if you’re influenced by something, that’s not emulating it, but passing it on. For instance, I was watching an interview with Paul McCartney recently, and he was talking about Buddy Holly…He was talking and it sound like me talking about him. He was saying ‘when I saw Buddy Holly, boy I knew what I wanted to do…’ and I was saying ‘YES! Yes…that like me with you’…and then I thought,, if I’ve done that for someone else wouldn’t that be cool. Not that I can have the same influence as Buddy Holly or The Beatles…but anybody, anybody. I just wanna give someone the feeling. Not through the sound – I’m not going to try and sing with a British accent of anything like that (he breathily laughs)…I don’t even know how to play a Beatles song, ‘cause I always thought why? I don’t know any of that stuff. I don’t know Chuck Berry licks or any of that stuff I never sat and learned licks from records ‘cause I thought why? There it is – it doesn’t need me to play it too. So I always tried to do whatever came from me.”
It took a while for you to begin writing for ‘Hook – you only have a single co-credit on the first LP. Was that something that you were still learning, or did you make a decision to defer to the established songwriters?
“Well, you said it poetically, but what really happens is – when you start having hits – you come back off the road, and gotta box of songs from all these great songwriters, and they’re pitching’ you stuff. So, what happens is you start mining for the good stuff rather than writing one better. Also when you’re making a decision for the good of everyone, what do you do? Do you say; ‘Hmmm, I think all you folks, and all your kids, should gamble on one of my songs’? Or do you go with the common denominator. ‘oh, this is a good songwriter, he’s had some hits, maybe we should do one of his?’ The decisions aren’t creative decisions anymore – when it becomes Dr Hook Inc, instead of Dr Hook the bar band. The night they landed on the moon y’know – ‘cause we used to play six forty-five minute sets a night from 9 – 3am, every night – we had a break and we went to this diner over the road and had some food and watched them land on the moon and then went back to the bar, and the next 45 minutes set was us just f***ing around. We called it A Tribute To The Moon (begins making weird feedback noises and squeaks then laughs). We were getting request for that for months ‘play A Tribute To The Moon!’ You don’t do that when you become Dr Hook Inc. You don’t say ‘Let’s do Tribute To the Moon at Hammersmith’. You do the hits…and I just felt like the only way to not have to feel that pressure was to not have to lead everybody else down the garden path with me. If I get an album out now and I wanna tour, there’s nobody going; ‘Oh well, I don’t know…The bass player’s kid’s not feeling well.”
new LP has one cover – Misty Blue, the old Dorothy Moore number
that always used to kill me.
There’s a lot of soul influence across all of the album…
“ Yeah, and there always will be. But that doesn’t mean I wanna do a whole album of that stuff – like I’m gonna slip on the Shark-skin suit and all of that…That’s one thing I did like about ‘Hook – It’s pretty eclectic if you listen to the albums. If we needed or wanted a steel guitar on one track – for the emotion – we’d do it and they weren’t like, ‘aaahhh country’ It would be now. There’s a steel guitar on the new album and it’s the same guy that played on the ‘Hook stuff – Doyle Grisham, and I like that, because if you use it right, a steel guitar is a great instrument…Don’t tell me I shouldn’t use that, or that I should wear a hat whilst I’m doing it. And music is sooo much like that now; ‘it has to sound a certain way and you’ve got to wear that jacket on the album cover, and that’s the jacket for the interviews on TV because there are a million things and we have to focus…I’m pretty sure I am never gonna be a major success because I don’t think I would care to do half the shit you have to do. But that’s cool…knowing that, it’s fine…I don’t have anyone else to blame. Not that there’s anyone trying to drag me up and I’m bucking it every step of the way!
For years, I stayed home, there was one thing I found out – nobody comes lookin’ for you. They were crying when I left, on the farewell tour, but once you’ve left, nobody comes looking for you.”
There’s a big gap – 10 years – between the farewell tour and your solo material, what happened?
“Well, it’s actually a bigger gap than that…well Running With Scissors came out in ’96 on a little Norwegian label that went broke after about three months. I guess it was the great ‘lost album’ – and three Norwegians bought it. So I fleshed it out a little bit, and it came out as Out Of The Dark. So there’s like, three pissed off Norwegians going, ‘hey I have that already!’
In ’99 I did a tour for the Love Songs Dr Hook compilation – to which I contributed a couple of new songs as Dennis Locorriere – The Voice of Dr Hook …which sounds like a ventriloquist act. It was cool I had a band and we did the gigs and there was a record label support and I did 2 and a half hours of all Hook stuff, apart from one song, Shine Son – from Out Of The Dark, and the new tracks. But then at the end of it I was kinda wondering ‘so I really just wanna do this now?’ Y’know the ‘please remember me’gigs? It was fine to just remind everyone that I still had a pulse but I didn’t know so…
But then the one song, Shine Son, got me this record deal, and people were emailing me and saying ‘aaah, new songs – does that mean?’ and that’s what I wanted to hear. It’s nice to hear I used to love you…but I want the next thing to be ‘what are you doing now?’ I love having the history, but it’s those glimmers of ‘Oh does that mean there’s something new?’ that made me wanna come back again. And if this album is successful…well I don’t know what it’ll do…It’s like I told the audience last night; ‘it’s like a blank page…’ You don’t have to tell me something’s gonna happen, just that it could, that it might, if this album goes through the roof, ideal…if it gets me another album…that’s cool”
|What DL Listens to While You Listen to DL! & What He Reads When He's Not Listening (and sometimes while he is!)|
December 2005 ~
wasn't gonna do this. I was going to talk about some of the great
new music I've found over the past months, by artists like Clem Snide,
Supergrass and Joseph Arthur, to name a few, but what can a guy my
age say but 'Hallelujah!' AND 'Amen!' when a bunch of 'the originals'
- the artists who made it possible for anything/anyone else to happen
- release great albums, do sellout business and are recognized, once
again, as the most influential artists our time.
Martin Scorcese directed Bob Dylan documentary, 'No Direction Home',
is absolutely wonderful. It chronicles the early years of Dylan's
unbelievably rapid and dramatic rise, from a dusty interpreter of
the great American folksong to the most enigmatic spokesman of his
generation, a role he never wanted and actively tried to discourage.
The film takes you from his acoustic beginnings to his later electrified
concerts that some purists called a shocking betrayal of his folk
Rolling Stones new CD, 'A Bigger Bang' is a true return to form.
Loose, nasty and still driven by those great 'Keef' licks and the
Wonder's album 'A Time 2 Love' was initially rejected by the record
label, deemed as not competitive enough for today's market. Imagine
and Creation in the Backyard' is Paul McCartney's latest. I'm
not gonna go on and on about the man. I will say that anyone who underrates
this guy has no concept of why music is as big an influence on society
as it is today.
Wind' - Neil Young
One book tip:
'Blink - The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking' - Malcolm Caldwell
have a gut feeling? A first impression? Did you know that there is
no less validity in acting on that hunch than there is in stewing
it from me for now.
Ray LaMontagne - "Trouble"
once in awhile an artist just shows up, out of, seemingly, nowhere,
and you immediately can't imagine how your record collection evvvver
felt complete without him...like he'd been around forever!
"(The Secret Life of) The Milk and Honey Band"
guys are from Brighton and I would loooove to catch them 'live'. Ringing
guitars, great harmonies, lovely, memorable melodies...
Rufus Wainwright - "Want Two"
John recently said he thought the Rufus Wainwright was the best songwriter
in the world right now. That, as he was picking up
Candy Staton (eponymous)
her beginnings in family church groups and gospel music, like so many
soulful R&B singers of the day, Candi Staton is that singer that
'should have been' a household name, mentioned in the same circles
and conversations as Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight,
but, fate, bad breaks, motherhood at a young age and whatever else
life can throw at you, conspired to make sure that would not be the
Beatles - "The Capitol Albums, Volume I"
"The Librarian" - Larry Beinhart
hate giving a book synopsis. It's bound to sound more contrived and
uninteresting than the wonderful book I'm trying to 'explain'.
"Very Naughty Boys" - Robert Sellers
incredible true story of HandMade Films, the successful independent
film company that produced some of the best British films of the 80s
('Withnail & I', 'A Private Function', 'Time Bandits', 'Mona Lisa'
and, of course, Monty Python's 'Life Of Brian', to name only a few).
1st September 2004
THE EARLIES - 'THESE WERE THE EARLIES'
JOHN MARTYN - 'ON THE COBBLES'
J.J. CALE - 'ANYWAY THE WIND BLOWS' - THE ANTHOLOGY
FEBRUARY 29TH 2004
I listen to everything!
If you don't mind I'd like to share/suggest some of the music I have come across in the last 6 months
JOSH RITTER -'HELLO STARLING' - Young singer/songwriter in the Dylan 'Troubador' style (without
JOHN WESLEY HARDING - 'ADAM'S APPLE' - Wonderful singer/songwriter. Been doing it for a while but
SAM PHILLIPS - 'A BOOT AND A SHOE' - Sam is a 'she' (just like 'our' Sam). This is her 6-7th (?) album.
AGNETHA FALTSKOG - 'MY COLOURING BOOK' - Yes...from Abba!
THE BEES - 'SUNSHINE HIT ME' and 'FREE THE BEES' - Just 'discovered' this band a couple of days ago.
JOLIE HOLLAND - 'CATALPA' - Rootsy, swingy, cool. She sounds years older than she must be.
EDIE BRICKELL - 'VOLCANO' - Originally had a couple of US hits as Edie Brickell and 'New Bohemians' a few
OK, that's all for me
|Messages From Dennis|
Went to see Young Tom and 'McFly' play at Guildhall in Portsmouth
on October 8th. All I can say is - the 'girls' looooooooooooove those
|DL's Favourite Songs|
|DL's Tribute to Shel Siverstein|
A PERSONAL NOTE OF THANKS FOR THE Real Gone story on Shel Silverstein
|DL Meets His Fans|
Here are a few photos to help you put faces to some of the names on the Guest Book! (Thanks to Val, Catherine and everyone for supplying their photos)
... and if you wanna see yourself on this page, click here send us your photos!! (please do not alter the email subject text!)
More Images can be found on Ray Pooles site - Click Here