Gary James' Interview With
The Co-Founder Of Mountain and West, Bruce And Laing
He wrote the song "Mississippi Queen", which became such a huge hit for Mountain that you could almost say it's their theme song. He's recorded with Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Bo Diddley and Ozzy Osbourne. He's performed with Meat Loaf, Gov't Mule, The Allman Brothers, Voivod, Teenage Head and so many others. According to Modern Drummer magazine, he's "done as much as anyone in Western culture to turn the cowbell into a Rock 'n' Roll staple." The man we are talking about is Mr. Corky Laing.
Q - Corky, you recently received this "Legend" award at the John Bonham Bonzo Bash. Now, I never knew such an award existed. Did you ever meet John Bonham?
A - Yes, way back. But when you talk about crossing paths with bands in those days, it was quick. It was prejudiced by certain outstanding medications sometimes, so you don't really know if you're impacting people and vice-versa, you don't know if people are impacting you. He was quite a wild child when I met him during that time Led Zeppelin was really blooming at the same time Mountain was trying to bloom in England and worldwide. So, I never participated in playing cover songs by Led Zeppelin because at the time we were doing our own material. So, being invited to the Bonzo Bash was quite unique for me because although I knew all the Zeppelin songs, I never really played them on the drums. I loved their vocals and their writing and their records were amazing. The reason I mention the Bonzo Bash is basically you choose the song, a favorite, and you play it at the Bonzo Bash. You play one, maybe two songs and they have I guess what you would call a Zeppelin cover band, they're called Moby Dick. They're great! They play it (the music) perfectly. So it's kind of a challenge if you're not used to playing like John Bonham, which I wish I could. He was the guy who set the bar for Heavy Rock drumming. In other words, before the end of the '60s, I never liked Rock 'n' Roll. I liked just to do the Rock. In the early days I played cover songs 'cause I played weddings, bar mitzvahs, Sweet 16s. whatever it took. And you had to play the Pop songs but that was Pop. That's the sound you hear when you put milk in cereal. So, when John Bonham came up, you had Ginger (Baker) and you had Keith Moon. There was no click track. It wasn't Poppy. It was Rock. So you rocked the boat. You rocked whatever it was and he set the bar along with the kind of material he played. Robert Plant and Jimmy (Page) jammed a lot and Mountain was a jam band too. Not withstanding, it was a challenge. It was a wonderful challenge. I've been to about four or five Bonzo bashes. I took it as an honor. There were some great drummers. They had a lot of great drummers showing up from overseas. You come in and you hang out. Maybe fifteen to twenty drummers. They play Led Zeppelin songs and the drummers sit in with the cover band for a song or two. So it's kind of like a tribe of drummers. It's a real honor to be part of the kind of group. I guess getting the Legendary Award, and by the way Gary, it was a huge surprise to me. I had no idea what was going on let alone that Peter Criss from KISS was going to present it to me at the Bonzo Bash. I was sort of going back to my dressing room. I loved playing. I listened. I learned a great deal by the way when I watched these other drummers. It's just an education on different styles. It's not like The Super Bowl of drummers. You just learn new things. Everybody has uniqueness. During the show at the Performing Arts Center, there must have been 1,000 people there. They really draw well. They called me up and said, "By the way, Peter is saying something, you may want to hear it." Just like that. I said, "Great." I'm just standing on the side and they sort of pulled me out and Peter's conversation was how much basically my drumming influenced him. I never knew that. I don't know who I influenced. I just have a great fucking time. Excuse my Shakespeare. But it was quite something. To receive an award like that, which by the way it was a new award. I believe Billy Ward from Black Sabbath got the first one. I take it as you work 150 years on the road, it's nice to get a little accolade. And then I think Carmine (Appice) got a second one. Peter Criss got one. It's an honor to get that award. It was a total surprise. It's one thing if I would've prepared a speech, but I think they realized had I prepared a speech it would've been like the fucking war on peace speech. It would've gone on for hours. So they surprised me and I wasn't ready and I didn't know what to say.
Q - As long as we're on the topic of crossing paths with people, did you ever meet Jimi Hendrix?
A - Yes. Another timely thing. Very lucky that when he came to play Montreal, they had to get visas, these bands. The Who, Cream. All those guys back in the early '60s had to get visas for the U.S. and they came through Montreal. There I was in Montreal in my local band, Energy. We had a rehearsal studio that was open 24 / 7. So then these guys came over from England, literally month after month in the early '60s to get their visas, they wanted to launch their first major tours in the States. So, Jimi came by and he jammed all night at this place. We hung out. This is right after he was just breaking with "Are You Experienced". He had just finished recording "Axis Bold As Love". So, that was the era. I don't know the exact year right now. But yes, it was wonderful. I had a chance to play with him. But again it was before they were gods.
Q - Before it was a big deal?
A - It was a big deal to them just to play. It was all about passion. They had no idea what they were in for, the ride of their lives. This is the dream, to come to America. In this case it was Montreal first. And Eric Clapton came through to do the Festival Express when we went across Canada. Mountain played a lot of shows. In those days we played a lot of packages with those bands. I was very fortunate. For me it was great. I'm a groupie. I've been a groupie my whole life and still am. I always felt, get near the best musicians. Let it rub off. Learn shit. I was very lucky. I don't say that with any kind of ego or conceit. It's just timing, being in a place and time and meeting a lot of these people.
Q - You were fortunate to live in the "Golden Years" of Rock music.
A - That was the explosion and then things started becoming corporate, the '70s and '80s. But Lennon was coming through town. The Stones. We hung out together. We used The Stones' truck. I'm saying that because of these episodes, these kind of stories come from crossing paths in the studio. It was all going on. You just had to be there. I think Bill Buford said it best, "It all comes down to when you were born." (laughs)
Q - He's right.
A - Yeah, it's right. To be a teenager in the '50s was to be a nobody. To be a teenager in the '60s was to be an everybody. To be a Rock musician in the '60s was an honor. If you could rock in the '60s, there was no downside. It wasn't about how much money you made. Yeah, it was about how many times you got laid, but that's another story. That's a different neck of the woods.
Q - It sounds like you have a book full of stories.
A - I do. Good news is I think my memory is okay too. I actually do a show called "Under The Rock". It started off as being "Best Seat In The House". When Steve Knight passed away last year (2013) and of course Felix had been dirt napping for awhile since he had been shot by his wife, and Leslie lost his leg to a medical situation but then was no longer, so to speak. So there I was, the last drummer sort of sitting or standing, so I did take advantage both of these stories and playing. I had an opportunity to lecture at universities about it. It wasn't about music. The lectures had to do about philosophy, the ethical lifestyle of Rock. At the universities the last ten years they've been taking Rock music, Metal, whatever it is, and studying it as a subject matter. I got caught up in it and I really loved it. My brother was a professor at McGill (University) and he asked me to do some guest lecturing. I fell into this lecturing thing and I went to Helsinki and I went over to the U.K. In Europe they take their Rock very, very seriously. It's a subject matter. I had written a book way back in the '90s when I couldn't get arrested called Stick It. Some guy said, "You want to tell some stories?" I was sitting in a pub and I would tell stories. Anything but a serious approach to Rock. They were all after hour stories. It got published in England and that sort of set up the lecture thing. Leslie West came in and said, "Why don't we do a book about now?" So we wrote a book that was published in England called Nantucket Sleighride And Other Rock And Roll Stories and it did very well. As a result, there you go. A lot of rockers are writing books. Everybody's got a book and why shouldn't they? There's a lot to say. A lot of it is redundant. No question with the drugs and all of that, but there is an undercurrent of divinity in some way without being too over the top about it, but the fact that you could survive a lifestyle that never existed. I would equate it to the guys that walked on the moon. They're the only ones that did that at the time. In the late '60s it was all new. It was all the first time for everybody. I originally named the show "The Best Seat In The House", which is the drummer's throne, because from that seat you can travel around the world. You don't have to get up and do anything.
Q - I actually interviewed a group that took their name from Nantucket Sleighride and that was the North Carolina group, Nantucket.
A - I remember them. This goes back to the '70s, right?
Q - Right. Late '70s, '78, '79.
A - They were very cool. Nantucket was a place I went to in the Summer from Montreal to play the beach clubs way before Mountain. But I'm changing the show. I'm doing a show in the Hamptons at the Performing Arts Center. I changed it to "Under The Rock". So, I'm just sort of giving it a new swing. Basically it's some stories of on the road. I play the songs that I co-wrote that had some success and I play a lot of drums 'cause I love playing drums. It's a lot of fun. It's just me on stage basically and there's a bass player and guitar player that join me at the end for an encore. But what I'm saying is, I do use the stories on a professional level. I think people like it. I don't know about a career doing that, but it's fun. I did the Montreal Jazz Festival a couple of years ago which jump-started this whole idea and I've been doing these universities. I did Manchester University. They like it. Nobody will ever know or feel the way it was like for the last 50 years in the music corner. It's never going to be the same. Nothing will ever be the same, but especially that era of music. It's over and it's wonderful to be able to check into it through a catalyst like yourself and ClassicBands.com. It really works because there's a lot of kids out there and they want to know as much as they can. It's good that you're providing that service so to speak and it's good for you. It's kind of redeeming to remember that. With everything going on these days, memories are a very good thing to have, especially if they're good memories.
Q - You've also written a Rock Opera, "Playing God".
A - Yeah, that was something. It came again through the university situation because the two professors, philosophy professors are heavy, heavy Rock fans. I met them when I was doing some shows with Leslie. They have this boat that goes back and forth from Copenhagen to Helsinki and it's called The Rock At Sea. They have some major acts that play on the boat. I met these professors and they said "We've written books." They have these academic books. That's where they're from. They teach at the University Of Helsinki. They said, "Would you be open to helping us do some music for an idea for a Rock opera? The topic is the bio-ethical research of genetic manipulation." I basically couldn't understand any of that. I said, "What would you like from me?" They said, "The topic of this opera is very involved. It's very eclectic. It's pretty heavy." I said, "Sure." We started a few years ago and it developed really nicely 'cause there's some great musicians over in Finland and Scandinavia and they love their Heavy Metal. They love that stuff. There are more Heavy Rock bands in Finland per capita than any other place in the world. They live and breathe that stuff over in Scandinavia, Finland, Norway. So, they're huge Mountain fans. That was helpful. They said since the subject matter called "Playing God", about bio-ethical research was so involved, they wanted to keep the music simple. They didn't want to get involved in what kind of, I guess you would call a Progressive Rock thing which by the way is pretty cool, but they wanted to keep it simple. They knew the songs I had co-written. As a drummer, I keep everything very simple and it worked for the story line. The actual reviews dug in to the fact that it was a lot more than just Rock music. There's a controversial topic, stem cells, the whole thing about being perfect, about genetic manipulating the perfect race. I mean, it's pretty heavy shit and they're already doing that over there. I was delighted that they reviewed it that way because it wasn't meant as a commercial kind of record. The professors were using it and the Rock opera as a catalyst at the different universities around the world for discussion. There's no judgement on it. It's kind of like philosophy. It's a subject matter you have to stay awake for. These professors said, "Wait a second. If we can get an interesting approach to philosophy and ethics with the music then maybe that's kind of cool." They were right. It was a long shot. A real long shot. But we did something called Power Point. We played music in Paris for the University of Philosophy Department. Then we went to Basil, Switzerland last Summer (2013). It's blooming nicely and again I'll say there's no heavy marketing behind it. It's simply meant for academic reasons, to play it at the theatre's in the universities. It's quite something. It's really a sleeper for me. It's been a surprise. Life is great when the surprise feels like new again. It's always great when it feels like the first time.
Q - Speaking of the first time, your first big break came when you were playing with The Ink Spots? That's The Ink Spots that was the vocal group?
A - Yeah. When you say "big break", some people interpret it musically in terms of getting out there. It was a break for me 'cause it was the first time I ever sat behind a drum set. I was 12 years old. As it turned out, I got the real bug when I was asked to play with them because the musicians in Montreal where they were playing were on strike. One of the fellas plays guitar. So they asked me if I'd do some brush work. You can imagine getting up in front of an audience and the reason I was even there was I was cleaning the stage. That was my job. Twelve years old. Cleaning the stage for this Riviera Country Club out in the country. It was a Saturday night and there was a drum set there. One of those things. Your first job in life, right? That's when I realized how much I loved drums.
Q - Had you played the drums before that?
A - No.
Q - In other words, you just sat down at a drum kit or behind a drum kit and you were able to play?
A - Yeah, well, that's pushing the envelope. (laughs) I got the feeling. I had the brushes. I watched a lot of drummers. I played bongos. I used to play to "Runaway" all the time, Del Shannon. So I had the experience of playing along with bongos, but I never, ever played drums. I was just a kid. It's the most beautiful instrument in the world anyway. I don't think you've ever seen a set of drums that wasn't beautiful, old ones, young ones. I remember the feeling. When you go to a show, what do you look at first when you see a band? Unless you have a beautiful lead singer. I used to always look at the drummer. It's kind of like choreography. The guys playin'. It's a beautiful sight. To look at the guitar player is one thing. All you have is a fret board with the fingers going. It's hard to fall in love with that.
Q - You'd look at the drummer because he's usually got the name of the band on his bass drum.
A - That's true.
Q - And when you go to see a band like KISS, you're looking at everybody!
A - That's a production. You're right. I was sort of referring to not so much a production. A good deal of guys I know, and girls as well, were just attracted to the drums. How could you not want to be Keith Moon when you see him? He's having the most fun of anybody on stage. That's what drums are. It's like an amusement park if you use it right. You have your own party. It's great back there. When you say "big break", I would just say that's when my head said, "Wow! This is fun." I got the bug, the performance bug. It's not very often that you find a drummer who doesn't want to perform. There are great Jazz drummers who are low key and inside, but that's why I said I like Rock. That's where I went and that's what I do. I was very fortunate to hook up with Leslie and Felix when we put Mountain together. We didn't use click tracks. I had the freedom. That's when drums were free. That's why John Bonham was free to do whatever he wanted and he knew what to do. He worked inside the envelope and then he worked outside the envelope. I sat behind Keith Moon at Madison Square Garden because we did become friends through a series of events 'cause we were managed by the same people. Mountain was managed by the same people as The Who. I was sitting right behind Keith Moon and I was watching him. I consider myself pretty good at seeing something and being able to understand it. Maybe technically I can't do it, but I know what he's doing. I had no idea what Keith Moon was doing. Nothing. I remember telling him, "Keith, I have no idea what you're doing," and he would say, "Hey mate, you and me both." He just did it. It was the freedom. There was tremendous freedom in that era.
Q - You're saying you were managed by Peter Rudge?
A - That's right, and he had Mary Beth as his assistant. Mary Beth was our Road Manager and Peter Rudge was our Road Manager in England, but he wasn't with The Who. As a result of the success he had with Mountain over in England, The Stones took him on right after that. We were using The Stones' truck to record in England. There was sort of a loop of players and musicians. Peter Rudger was a formidable manager. A great guy. Crazy as a loon, but really good.
Q - As good as he was, he should never, as the manager of Lynyrd Skynyrd, allowed the group to get on board that flying Titanic.
A - I was very close to Peter and Mary Beth and Lynyrd Skynyrd were just starting to break big. Believe me, he paid for that, personally. You're right, it was his thing to say, "Absolutely not. We're not going to get on this plane." But he went along with the band. They were a funky group. They were cutting edge. They wanted to live on the edge on a lot of stuff. We did a lot of touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd. It must've been awful for him to deal with that because ultimately the manager is in charge.
Q - Had they survived they were looking at 62 sold-out concerts. Their career ended before it started.
A - That's happened historically to quite a few Rock acts. It was a brand new life out there. In that era there was no formula for it. We had a Lear jet and we crashed with Mountain. You don't know. You're out there. You're not in control of your travel. That's what you do. You spend your time, 23 hours a day, traveling to get to one hour shows. But the point is, it was like that with a lot of bands. If you're not in charge and you don't quite know what's going on, you're gambling. It's a gamble. I knew Peter years after that. He was going through a lot of changes about the whole thing. My take on Peter is total respect.
Q - Are you the sole writer of "Mississippi Queen"?
A - No. I'm the major writer of "Mississippi Queen". "Mississippi Queen" was written as a Rap song.
Q - How did you write the guitar parts? You're a drummer.
A - I didn't. That's Leslie's part. I would never imply that I had anything to do with the music. I'll say it again, it was a Rap song. The lyrics and the drumming were written in a local band. Then when Mountain came together, Felix said, "Do you have any ideas?" I said, "Well, I've got this lyric" and I had this drum feel. The drum feel is the same as "Cripple Creek". If you listen to it, it's got the same feel. I had it written. Everything. The melody, Mississippi Queen, you know what I mean, melody, pushing the envelope there, but the guitar part is essential, but as a result of doing the melody and words I had the largest part of the song, which by the way I didn't ask for. Felix was the publisher and that's what happened. Keep in mind, when you're doing stuff like that in the late '60s you didn't think about the money. I was just thrilled when Leslie came up and I said, "Leslie, this is it." We were in his room and he said, "Well, let's put a Blues lick to it." I said, "Okay." It really wrote itself. It was one of the easiest songs in the world because the lyric was there, as silly as the lyric is. And Leslie sang the shit out of it. He did a great job.
Q - Did you guys do a lot of road work? I'm talking about both Mountain and West, Bruce And Laing.
A - Yes, we did.
Q - How many days a year would you say?
A - I never really counted it because when you weren't on the road, you were in the studio and sometimes both. But I would say 75% of the year. From 1969 to 1975. I never really thought about it. I don't know why. You play music. It's in the air. You don't really keep track. I actually still have quite a few of my itineraries that I kept for some reason. And when we weren't on the road, we were in the studio on the road. Like if we were in England, we'd be in the studio. But it wasn't work. I don't think we ever got tired. You do get weary from the traveling, but you don't get tired of playing. Dizzy Gillespie says, "I don't get paid to play. I get paid to travel." That's what it comes down to. Of course as the decades went on, traveling became a real pain in the ass, hence Felix would rent the Lear jet. We'd take props. We'd take private planes because we had to be at three festivals in one day. It was Atlantic and then the Cincinnati Pop Festival. So you couldn't take commercial airlines. Of course, keep one thing in mind, we were in our twenties. If you're going to expend yourself, that's a good time to let it rip 'cause your body and mind in most cases can take it.
Q - Besides Skynyrd, you toured with who?
A - You name it, we toured with 'em. Jethro Tull, Traffic, The Stones, Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart. It was the Classic Rock era, from '67, '68 through '75. There was nothing but all these bands on the road. Procol Harum, Van Morrison. We didn't tour with The Monkees because...
Q - Jimi Hendrix beat you to the punch.
A - Yeah. (laughs) He did. That's chaotic. That's when there were no rules. Even packaging sucked. But we did a lot of shows. That was a time when everyone was touring. Mountain itself and West, Bruce And Laing, we either headlined or we were Special Guests. But it was quite cool.
Q - You worked with John Lennon?
A - I actually sang background on "Do You Wanna Dance?" and "Stand By Me". I sang on his records, but so did a lot of other people. That was the Rock 'n' Roll record that John Lennon did. He wasn't in a great mood on that one because he was just completing a contract with Allen Klein. He had people come in and out and do that record. Alice Cooper was there. It was actually a lot of fun, but he was just at The Record Plant knockin' 'em off. Jim Keltner was on drums. It was a lot of fun. I did not play in his (John Lennon's) band.
Q - I take it you spent a few hours in the studio.
A - Yeah. It would be over a period of an afternoon we would hang. That was when John Lennon was with
May Pang. It's hard to discuss when you're talking about some of these celebs. Before they were gods, as I like to say, there was a humbleness about everybody. Once you've reached a certain status, there's a guard between remembering or trying to get familiar with too many people. At that particular time John Lennon wasn't a social animal. He was very nice. As a matter of fact, I had met him in Montreal when he was doing the "Give Peace A Chance" tour. I was in Montreal. I was at the University. I got a fake I.D. as a journalist and I just had to meet him. Somehow I scammed myself up to the room when they were recording "Give Peace A Chance". They just finished recording it. I felt so guilty about bull-shiting that I had to admit to him that I wasn't a journalist. I just wanted to meet him, therefore I will leave, but at the time there was something going on with some French guy before me who was trying to sell John and Yoko a photograph, a poster of them called Hair Peace and he flipped out. This was right before I went to see him. He threw the guy out because he thought he had a lot of nerve and the poster lay on the floor. There I was, walking up and I said, "I'm sorry Mr. Lennon." I think I was 18 years old, "I'm not a journalist. I'll leave." He said, "No, no. Sit down." He explained what this guy had done. And I see the poster on the floor. I don't say anything. So he says to me, "You're in a band?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "What's the band called?" I said, "The band is called Energy. And he went, "Wow!" He sort poked Yoko and said, "Yoko, this guy's got a band called Energy. Isn't that cool?" She said in her squeaky voice, "Yeah, that's really cool." So I picked up the poster and I remember saying to him, "It doesn't look bad. It's kind of cool." It had a picture of their hair. They were in a bag with a white background and a big thing saying Hair Peace. I said, "It looks pretty cool actually." He said, "Yeah, I'm not paying $15,000 for it. Do you want it?" I went, "Yeah. I love it! Thank-you!" I was walking out with it and then he said, "Wait a second Energy, come here!" I thought, oh, he wants it back. He said, "Let me sign it for you." And he signs it "To Energy, Love And Respect, John." And Yoko signed it. John Lennon made a little picture, that little face he puts on his logo. And I still have it. That's what I walked out with. Now that was the first time I crossed paths with him. And he remembered that when I was in the studio. He looked at me and said, "Do I know you?" At the time I thought he knew me from Mountain 'cause Mountain was just breaking. I said, "I'm playing with Felix and Leslie West." He said, "No." And I reminded him. He said, "Oh shit. What a fucking time that was!" I'm not blaze about any of that stuff. You really have to be blessed to do those things and really get them for what they are. They're real people, but there is something divine about those guys who have done what they've done. In those days it looked frivolous. I remember I was hanging with Steven Tyler during his grey days. The band had broken up and we were hangin' and writing songs because we had the same management, Leber - Krebs. I remember a song, "Walkin' In The Sand" and I'm saying to myself, "That's ridiculous." It turned out to be one of my favorite songs. It's kind of like you look at it and say "Why are you doing that?" You're sort of thinking, who knows what you're thinking? But nobody had any idea of what was going to happen. When I say nobody I'm being general about it. People like Elton John knew exactly what was going to happen. He knew exactly how to write a commercial song, but the rockers just rocked and sometimes fell into a loop. They did write their anthems and yes when you sat down you told the drummer "Do it at 122 BPM (beats per minutes) because that's the way people bop their heads. It started to get a little technical, but basically nobody knew what the fuck they were doing. They were just feeling it. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. And as you see, when it worked, it really worked.
Q - I don't see bands like Mountain or West, Bruce And Laing around today. Why do you suppose that is? Has technology ruined creativity?
A - Well, here's the thing, I don't know that I can answer that question. I'm not in that position. There are probably some great bands I haven't heard of. To give you a perfect example of someone that felt that way would be Warren Haynes from Gov't Mule. He was a huge Mountain fan and as a result, he put together Gov't Mule because he wanted to do that kind of band. Now, he did come from the South, Asheville, North Carolina, and he did join up with The Allman Brothers, but he was, the last time I heard of someone who said, "We want to have a band just like Mountain." Warren Haynes is a good friend by the way. That must've been fifteen years ago. That was a great compliment. They invited me to play quite a few times on stage. I played The Beacon Theatre. That was an honor because that band was really a great band. What we did was he took the best of Mountain and made it even better. These days, 2014, there are just different kinds of bands. When I think of West, Bruce And Laing I just think of the rawness of the band and these days the most raw band I've heard in the last ten years would be Nirvana. That was a raw band. David Grohl is instinctively like that. He gravitates towards what I would consider the real feeling of Rock. But that's my feeling. I never was a big Foo Fighter fan at all until I went to see their show. There are bands, I don't know if they're huge or not. I don't know if that generality applies. There are probably bands that love playing stuff. Whether they're successful has a lot to do with the bullshit paradigm that is now the music business. That's the issue right now. There's probably a lot of bands that can't cut through because, I don't know, they're not perfect, they're not a damn band, they don't have the technology. Linkin Park, take that for example. I listen to some of their stuff in there, but I'm not sure I would go see them 'live' for the sake of I don't know what the fuck they're doing up on stage. First, I like to look at the three or four people and know what they're doing on the guitar. That's what I never liked about the keyboards. Organ is one thing. I'm talking about keyboards when you have all the sequencers going. Gary Wright was the band we were on the road with when he did "Dream Weaver" and I remember it was a big deal 'cause he didn't have any drummer. It was just four keyboards. It was the most boring, fucking show I'd ever been to. Now, if you like the music, it was kind of new at the time. But to answer your questions, I'm not quite sure that's an accurate statement because I'm hoping there are kids out there that are just playing their hearts out for the sake of that. I'm not sure that a lot of these guys will ever surface either visually or on YouTube. But it does cut through when someone like Nirvana come out and there's emotional, passionate, reaching for something and people are just changing people's minds in certain ways. They do appear. Those times do come. Again, Nirvana was awhile back. These days I don't know what to say about that. I've heard a lot of really good bands. West, Bruce And Laing had three people that were just peaking in terms of energy. There was so much potency in the fact we had it. I think it was a let down on a creative level 'cause we never gave it enough time to write some great songs. We did write a lot individually and together, but it was so neurotic. It was so temporary, momentary that it was kind of frustrating. I never thought West, Bruce And Laing was a great recording band. I had a great time. It was probably the best time of my life just playing whatever the fuck I wanted to play and people liked it. And vice-versa. It was a time when technique was out the window. Anything with any organizational aspect to it was out the window. It was anything you could do to do anything and it was a lot of fun. I don't know that there's a lot of guys that subscribe to that anymore. Where do you go these days when you're a musician?
Q - You hire someone who specializes in Social Media, the new, fancy term for marketing. Without that, only one in twenty-five thousand bands will succeed.
A - You gotta look at the interpretation, the definition of succeed. I look at succeeding as just sitting down and playing our heart out and feeling really great about it. There's a whole lot more that goes along. It's called survival and paying the rent. Succeeding for me is playing and having the opportunity to play. Of course it's totally embellished when you're playing in front of a crowd because that's what communication is about. It's what creativity is about, to transform someone out there whether it's a photograph or a painting or a drum solo and have somebody say, "Wow! I'm gonna walk out of here being a different person 'cause of that." When I say different person I'm hoping we're talking better. Just different. In other words just shaken up a bit. These days to shake it up is very hard. There's so much shit going on in everybody's head. It's hard to get the attention. So, that being said, I don't know about Twitter and Facebook. I just don't get it. I wish I did. I wish I really got it. Frankly, my time is taken up just doing the best I can to get to play, perform and record. I'm very happy to report that I'm able to do that.