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What was the biggest fun during the making of Keepin’ the Dream Alive? Can you still remember how the songs came together?

Every day was an adventure. Unlike our previous albums we booked studio time and secured a great producer (Mark Doyle) before we even had songs written. We walked into the studio with pretty much a blank sheet of paper and started writing. The fun was in the unbridled work of creation.

Sadly, I died near the end of these sessions. Mark and Doug Moncrief wrapped it up. True story, it was a tumultuous year. Keepin’ the Dream Alive took on a whole new meaning for us. Good doctors brought me back from the land of the lost and I was able to rejoin the band.

I can’t listen to this album without reliving some of the pain of that year. But, the songs have endured and the trauma we lived through was worth the pain of birthing this album.

 If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

Let It Roll. Somewhere deep inside all of us who play rock lives a little Elvis. His swagger, his cool, his reverence to the blues and gospel, as well as his boyish charm and quest for fun have influenced everything that came after him.

This song is homage to my roots. You can hear the influence of Elvis, the Jordanaires, Jerry Lee Lewis, and even the Big Bopper in this track.

Somewhere between that song and Tonight, I Wanna Be Lonely is who I am.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

I’m lucky. I survive by doing my art. And when I’m not doing my art, I’m helping others with theirs. We own all the masters to our music, and the publishing as well. We also own our own studio. So for us, the changes in technology and the internet have helped us reach our fans.

On the down side, all of us have noticed that there is a lot of inferior music out there. Anybody can release anything they want. Touring is harder with a lot of wannabees willing to play for nothing. If we dumb down the art, the audience gets dumber and expects free music that they don’t really care about. Music becomes background music. Young musicians should aspire to greatness, not just acceptance.

Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet? And why will this change very soon?

I teach a college course in the History of Rock n Roll. Every year I make a prediction about who will be the next big break out artist. In past years I’ve chosen, Mumford and Sons, Adele, and Zac Brown. Last year my pick was Tori Kelly. In just about every case, when I introduced these artists to my classes not one of the students had ever heard of them.

This year, I am totally baffled.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixt tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

I Love You Just the Way You Are – by Billy Joel, The Nearness of You – Sinatra’s version, We Found Love – Ed Sheeran, (I’d insert the next song I write right here. It would be titled with “Her Name”), Bolero – Ravel. If that don’t score a second date, I’d move on.

I am an old, hopeless romantic. I love my wife like crazy. I think I’ll write that next song right now. I’ll call it “Joann”.

What’s up for the next couple of months?

I am recovering from vocal strain. I haven’t performed since November. SO, what’s next is my vocal rehab tour. The first date is with my songwriting partner and bandmate, Doug Moncrief – May 6th at the Ontario Performing Arts Center. I’m going to ease back into the full band concert dates by doing a few solo and duo shows. By July, we’ll take the monster back out on the road. I’m lucky enough to play in one of the best rock bands in the world… going on 42 years with the same guys.

New songs are in the pipeline.

Buy the re-issue of Keepin’ the Dream Alive here.

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