Friday, April 7, 2017

Episode 299: My British Invasion

Episode 299: My British Invasion
Pat and Kyle welcome Rhino Records Co-Founder Harold Bronson to the show to discuss his new book... "My British Invasion."
From April 6, 2017

With your host:

Pat Francis

00:00:00 Pat and Kyle welcome us to the show. Today their special guest is co-founder of Rhino Records and the author of the book My British Invasion, it's Harold Bronson! Rhino was created out of a love of music and Harold still loves music and concerts to this day. He recently saw The Zombies perform Odessey and Oracle live on the 50th anniversary show. Pat just listened to the album for the first time the other day and he loves it.
00:05:00 Pat and Harold chat a bit more on Odessey and Oracle. Harold's book talks about The Zombies and a bunch of other groups; the purpose of the book is to showcase these older bands to audiences that haven't discovered them yet. Pat plays a song from Odessey and Oracle called "Care of Cell 44". The story is about someone waiting for their partner to get out of prison; Pat's daughter figured that out before him.
00:10:00 With album reissues, Pat likes when the original album elements are there with lyrics and some new stuff; Pat compliments Rhino Records for doing that. When Harold was still part of Rhino Records, he made sure that the reissues were given care and attention, as opposed to just shoving it out to make a quick buck. The real root of the book is that without the British Invasion, there would be no Rhino Records. Harold lists some favorite BI bands like The Zombies and The Kinks.
00:15:00 Harold remembers dealing a little bit with Ray Davies, who was "difficult." Two people who great to work with were Flo & Eddie. They were very smart and also record fans. Harold tells how when they were in The Turtles, they would concoct these fun plans to capitalize on the British Invasion. Pat and Harold also talk about the paradigm shift in band names where it was just the band name (i.e. The Beatles) and not something like "Paul McCartney and the Beatles."
00:20:00 Pat reads an excerpt from Harold's book about Herman's Hermits. He plays "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" off the album Herman's Hermits on Tour. When Harold first interviewed Peter Noone, he revealed that the Hermits was originally a comedic band, but when they came to the States and all the girls were screaming at them, they couldn't do any of the comedy. Harold tells a bit more about the backstory of Herman's Hermits.
00:25:00 The two talk about artists putting on a show with their concerts rather than just playing the songs like Herman's Hermits and Alice Cooper. Harold wrote the book because he associated with these British Invasion bands so often during his time at Rhino or from his days as a journalist. And he wanted to focus on some of the lesser known BI bands like The Troggs. Pat plays "With a Girl Like You" off the album From Nowhere. Pat's a convert to The Troggs because of Harold's book.
00:30:00 Harold says that The Troggs were popular in England, but they were criticized for being "simple." "But the Ramones were simple," says Harold. "Black Sabbath was simple." There was a time in England when The Troggs had more hits than The Beatles, the Stones, Herman's Hermits, etc. They were true to themselves and their sound. Some other chats about the Ramones and Queen. When Queen first came to LA and Harold was working at the record store, three people told him that he looked like Freddie Mercury. Harold was amused (mostly because he doesn't have Freddie's protruding teeth).
00:35:00 Pat brings up The Dave Clark Five and how difficult it is to find their music in CD form nowadays. Dave wasn't so smart with his catalogue, to put it lightly. On Harold's last day at Rhino, Dave called him and wished him luck. Pat plays "Can't You See That She's Mine" off the album 25 Thumping Great Hits.
  • The conversation turn to The Spencer Davis Group, another band that was very big in England. Spencer was the namesake of the group, but Steve Winwood was the phenomenon of the band. He was only 14 when he joined the band with his older brother Muff, who himself found a career behind the scenes in music. We hear "Keep on Running" off the album The Second Album
  • Pat reads an excerpt on the Allan Clark-Graham Nash friendship origins of The Hollies.
00:45:00 Harold talks about the reservedness of the Brits, like when Graham left The Hollies and formed CSN and didn't tell Allan about it. Same with Roy Wood leaving ELO and forming his own band. Roy is going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with ELO, which confuses Pat. Harold used to be on the nominating committee and says it's a confusing process. Pat brings up Bob Welch not getting in with Fleetwood Mac for the umpteenth time. Harold says that the difficulty is "Who are the more important members, what're the more important line ups, what about original members, etc. etc."
  • Pat and Harold talk a bit about Yes. The most charismatic person that Harold ever hung out with was Marc Bolan, who talked with Harold about underground bands, two of which were Tomorrow (which featured Steve Howe) and Flash (which featured Peter Banks). How many concerts has Harold been to? He estimates 500. 
  • Pat brings up The Knack reissues; Harold brought them in. The first album they did with Rhino was Zoom, which Pat praises as their best album.
00:55:00 Harold says it was such a dispiriting time because radio didn't care about the album and the sales were disappointing. Harold recalls working on an abandoned film with Doug Fieger about the band before Doug passed away. Pat praises Zoom again. Does Harold have a favorite album? He lists a couple like Odessey and Oracle, Forever Changes, Revolver.
01:00:00 The two talk about the act of listening to music and discovering things in music when you really focus on it. Thy also chat about vinyl. Pat plays a Hollies song, "I'm Alive", off the album Hear! Here!.
01:05:00 Pat found a lot of the songs on this episode from the soundtrack to the film Pirate Radio. Harold has a whole chapter in his book dedicated to the real story. The topic shifts to Manfred Mann. Harold thinks they were the best musically of all the BI bands. They were stellar at arrangements and had a deep jazz and classical music background.
01:10:00 After graduating from UCLA in 1972, Harold moved to London for three weeks because of his love for the British Invasion. Even though the era had passed, he still enjoyed his brief time there. Harold details the ways in which he scrimped his funds to last as long as three weeks. Pat is amazed that Harold would just get on a plane and go to London. Luckily Harold had enough cache as a young rock journalist that he could get into shows.
  • We hear a song from Manfred Mann, "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" off of The Best of Manfred Mann. The song was inspired by another nonsense song, "Da Doo Run Run." 
  • We also hear a song by Paul Jones, the lead singer of Manfred Mann. It's "I've Been a Bad, Bad Boy off the album The Paul Jones Collection Vol. 1: My Way.
01:20:00 Pat brings up the band The Creation. Harold says they were very creative and had very good songs. They were produced by Shel Talmy, who also worked with The Kinks and The Who. They also did the "play the guitar with a violin bow" gimmick long before Jimmy Page. Pat plays "Painter Man" off the album Action Painting.
  • Speaking of Jimmy Page, The Yardbirds. Harold goes through all the various incarnations of the band, which included Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck. You know, those guys. We hear "For Your Love" off the album For Your Love
  • Harold remembers seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. The problem was A) He didn't know them and B) The sound wasn't the best quality. Harold describes the joy of seeing A Hard Day's Night.
01:30:00 Harold's book is coming out on April 11. You can order it on Amazon HERE. Pat asks Harold if anyone wanted to make his life story based on his first book. There were rumblings a little while ago, but nothing came of it. Harold remembers rumblings of a Keith Moon movie with Mike Myers playing him, but nothing came of that either.
  • Pat plays a song by his band The Kinks. It's "Big Black Smoke" off of Face to Face. Pat and Harold talk about The Kinks not being as prolific as The Beatles and the Stones. 
  • Pat thanks Harold for coming on and talking about his book and the era of the British Invasion. Harold hopes that the people who read the book go and listen to the music; that's the ultimate goal. Pat takes us out with "All My Loving" by The Beatles off the album With the Beatles.
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:05:00 Care of Cell 44 Odessey and Oracle The Zombies Pat
00:20:00 Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat Herman’s Hermits on Tour Herman’s Hermits Pat
00:25:00 With a Girl Like You From Nowhere The Troggs Pat
00:35:00 Can’t You See That She’s Mine 25 Thumping Great Hits The Dave Clark Five Pat
00:40:00 Keep on Running The Second Album The Spencer Davis Group Pat
01:00:00 I’m Alive Hear! Here! The Hollies Pat
01:15:00 Do Wah Diddy Diddy The Best of Manfred Mann Manfred Mann Pat
01:15:00 I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Boy The Paul Jones Collection Vol. 1: My Way Paul Jones Pat
01:20:00 Painter Man Action Painting The Creation Pat
01:25:00 For Your Love For Your Love The Yardbirds Pat
01:35:00 Big Black Smoke Face to Face The Kinks Pat
01:35:00 All My Loving With the Beatles The Beatles Pat

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