Jim Gold and his band Gallery are best known for the songs "Nice To Be With You" (which Jim wrote) and "I Believe In Music". In 1972 Gallery was voted Best New Singles Group of '72 by Cash Box magazine and The Best Vocal Group by Record World magazine. During 1972 and 1973, Gallery toured with Jose Feliciano, B.J. Thomas, Billy Preston and Charlie Daniels to name just a few. "Nice To Be With You" recently reached the one million mark in radio plays, meaning radio stations in The United States have broadcast the song one million times, some 50,000 hours of air time. B.M.I. presented Jim with an award for this milestone.
Jim Gold talked with us about his career in music and the music of today.
Q - You're concentrating on writing songs these days, aren't you, and there really is no Gallery?
A - There is as far as occasional shows. I still do something from time to time, but it's not always with my people. It's with another group backing me up. It depends on the situation. A lot of these shows are package shows and they've got three or four acts. It's just much easier to have one band. The acts come out one after another and do this thing and get off. So usually when I go out like that, it's Jim Gold of Gallery. If I use my own people, I'll leave it the way it is. But there's not a recording group Gallery.
Q - Are there any original members in Gallery besides you?
A - No, because I don't really have any contact with them anymore. They don't live around here anymore.
Q - You started writing songs and playing guitar when you were fourteen?
A - Somewhere in there, yeah.
Q - Living in Detroit, with Motown Records going strong, that must have been a big influence?
A - Not so much for me. Most people are influenced by things at an earlier stage that have a lasting impression. If I had to add up five people that maybe I think influenced me in some way and my sound in some way, it would be Rick Nelson, Elvis, Buddy Holly,
Gene Pitney, who never gets mentioned very much for anything and should actually. I went through a
Trini Lopez phase at one time too. When I was first playing clubs, I had a trio and liked the fact that he could do all those songs and add that little Latin beat to it and they all seemed to work. It seemed to be enough sound, so I was doing that for awhile as far as covers. Probably as far as I know from playing around town, I don't think anybody was doing any more original songs than I was doing at a 'live' gig in a club and getting away with it. I would throw a lot of 'em in. Some of 'em I would write the same week I would try them out. So, I was always throwing things at the guys all the time. People after a while started requesting those things. I wouldn't say anything like "Here's a new song I wrote." To me, if you want a more honest reaction, you just play it and see what kind of a reaction you get or if anybody asks you about it. We did a mix of covers, but they were a very eclectic group of covers. We didn't do Top 40. We were kind of like all over the map doing all kinds of different people and then a mix of a lot of originals and that's pretty much what made up our 'live' thing back then when we were younger.
Q - At least you were living in a city with a record company in your backyard. How many people can say that?
A - Well, there was more than one, actually. There was a lot of smaller labels that had hits. There was Fortune Records, which had Nolan Strong, "Village Of Love", hits that were pretty big, not just here but went out nationally too. ? And The Mysterians started out here in Michigan. Well, he still lives here. A lot of these were tiny little labels who actually had one, two, three shots at something that worked out. The Reflections recorded here. I forget the name of some of the other little labels around here, but there was three or four of them that had success. Of course Motown was just so big out there as far as covering everything, you couldn't help but run into that. As a matter of fact, in some of my early jobs I had when I was a kid, I used to work down in that area in one of the department stores. I would run into people like The Supremes when they were just starting out. They were just hanging out at the soda fountain. You met people and it became an everyday thing to run into somebody like that. Then when it all started getting big, you realized how huge that whole Motown thing was and what he (Berry Gordy) had accomplished from nothing. It was pretty phenomenal. It would never happen again.
Q - What was your job at this store?
A - I was working in the Sporting Goods Department. When we would take breaks, we'd hang out in the Record Department. To be honest with you, all the records he had down there, I never heard of half those people. I didn't know who James Brown was. I'd be looking at all these albums and I'd say "who are all these people?" It was more Black clientele than White. So all the records in there reflected that. So I didn't know who these people were. I would talk to people down there and they would say "Oh, yeah. You should listen to this." As I got older and these people started coming out and being on the Dick Clark shows and Where The Action Is, I realized who they were.
Q - Would you have talked to Diana Ross or Marvin Gaye?
A - I didn't talk to them. I seen a few of them because it wasn't too far from the Motown Records house. It was East Grand Blvd. or wherever it was. I can't remember what kind of store it was. I don't even think it's in existence anymore. It was typical department store kind of thing. They had a soda fountain and all the usual departments you would have. I don't remember how I ended up getting a job down there. I remember I was pretty young. I was first driving. I went down there and worked for just a little while. It was interesting. At one point, I think we auditioned for Gordy's sister or somebody had a little label down there. I don't know how that even happened. But I remember seeing people rehearse down there. It could've been somebody at the time who later made it big. I don't remember now 'cause we were so young. But we used to get on all, and when I say we I mean the one or two kids I played with, local TV shows, local dance party shows. That's another thing they don't have anymore. You could go on and play 'live'. It gave you a chance to learn and fail and make your mistakes and get some experience. There's a lot of that, that doesn't exist anymore. Now, these people have these records right out of the box and they're thrown out there with no background really in performing and all the club background that everybody did. I was getting on these shows when I was twelve, thirteen years old. I would go down and audition for them. It wasn't because I was ballsey, because I wasn't. I was horribly shy. So how I did some of that, I don't even know. There's probably five or six of those things we did in town. It was good experience. It was a good thing to do. It was fun and it gave you a little idea of how things worked. But there's none of that now. It's a totally different world.
Q - On these TV shows, you would sing and play guitar?
A - Yeah.
Q - You weren't part of a group?
A - No. Not at all.
Q - While you were playing clubs, you also had a day job as a welder.
A - Yes.
Q - You were playing clubs with a friend. What happened to that friend?
A - I started playing by myself for a little while and I got bored with that. My childhood friend who lived kitty-corner across the street, his name was Bill Nova. He was the only one from those days that ended up in Gallery with me. As a matter of fact, I talked his parents into letting him take guitar lessons so I had somebody to practice with. Now everybody takes instrument lessons. Back then you had to look far and wide for somebody else who played. So we had a lot of fun learning together. After awhile I called him up and said "Why don't we just do a duo? We can both just sing and play and we'll make a little extra money." He was working a day job and so was I and we got together and did that for a few years and it worked out really well. Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey ended up coming into one of the places we were playing at and that's how it kind of started with them.
Q - One of the clubs you performed in was called The Poison Apple. What kind of place was that?
A - It actually was a fun place. No dancing. It started out as a Folk club. They'd have Folk singers in there. They'd have groups with two guys, two gals, stand-up bass, banjo, acoustic guitar. It was like a sing-a-long place. It was a real cool place. It was a lot of fun. It was in the basement of a hotel. They had all these antiques hanging from the ceiling. Baby carriages, tiffany lamps. Just a fun, sing-a-long, clap along kind of place. Bill and I were playing in a little bar called The Blue Door. This other guy approached me and said "I've been watching you guys for a couple of weeks. Would you consider letting me join in with you?" I said "I don't know why not." He said "I could get you an audition at this Poison Apple place." I'd never heard of it at the time. I said "OK, why don't you come over and we'll see if it adds anything to what we're doing." He had a lot of personality, so that worked out well. We went down there and tried it out and I didn't know that it was basically a Folk place, basically non-electric type of instruments. We never played loud anyway. We usually played pretty soft. So we went in there with no electric guitars. We weren't' really singing that many Folk songs. We were doing all kinds of things from Gary Puckett songs to al kinds of stuff. It was just the three of us. No drums. No bass. So we did that for awhile. We would do a set and this New Christy Minstrels type group would do a set. We'd go back and forth like that all night long. It was a lot of fun. That's kind of where those guys came in at this point.
Q - How many sets were you doing in a night?
A - Normally I was used to doing five sets a night. Five forties. I was singing lead on everything, so there was a lot of toll on me. After four or so nights of that, by the weekend I couldn't even talk. I sat down with them guys one time and I said "Man, how many songs you think we're singing in a night?" And it was like fifty to sixty songs. Just one after another. The kind of places we played, they didn't want to hear you doin' a bunch of talking. They just wanted song after song after song. You ended one, you started another one. So you didn't really even have a chance to take a breath. It was just constant. But you're young and you can take that. I mean it was rough when I think back now. The job I had was very physical and I'd get to bed maybe if I was lucky at 2:30 A.M. and I was up again at 7 A.M. and then work pretty hard all day long. The hardest part was probably doing that and then recording and writing in between. So for a couple of months my day consisted of waking up at 7 A.M., working 'til 4 P.M., coming home, eating, going to the studio 'til 8:30 P.M., going to the club at 9 P.M. and playing 'til 2 A.M. When I think back to that first album and how it was made and put together, I can't even believe I pulled it off. It was just amazing because I just didn't have time. On the four albums I ended up doing, I tried to write as much as I could because I thought that was important. To me, if you're gonna record, you should have your own style and your own songs or else what was the point really. I tried to do 80% of each one of the albums, which is normally about what I did and I always left something open to do a cover or a new song somebody had sent us that maybe was a little different from what I would do. When we did covers, we didn't do them like the originals because that was another thing. We always said if we're gonna do a cover, we're gonna add our own little stamp on it. I've heard a lot of covers where it's note for note from the originals and you go what was the point of this? It doesn't make any sense at all. We did things like "He Will Break Your Heart" totally different. "I Believe In Music" was totally different than all the other versions that were out. On my solo album I even did a Gene Pitney song, "Looking Through The Eyes Of Love". That came out as a ballad by him and we sped it up and made it like a dance tune. So, we tried to change everything we did and that was part of the fun of doing that stuff.
Q - When Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey discovered you, for lack of a better term, what does that mean? Did they offer you a record deal?
A - They met in college. Dennis was, of course, a musician. Mike really didn't play an instrument per se. He was an arranger. They decided to get together as a team. They worked for a couple of little studios around town and learned their craft. Mike arranged "Oh How Happy" by The Shades Of Blue, which was a local record here, but it was also a national record. Of course Dennis played on a lot of Motown stuff. So they started working as producers, or trying to. They were "discovering" talent for Clarence's label, Sussex. They had come into a really small bar that seated about ninety people when me and Bill and this other guy were playing together. They saw us the first time because there were so many cars in the parking lot. Their curiosity was peaked about that. When they went in and found it was just three guys, not even a band, they were kind of surprised by that and decided to stay awhile. They didn't approach me at the time. When we went to The Poison Apple, they came back two times, first time by themselves, second time with their wives. They finally told me who they were. They told me they were talent finders and producers for this little label out of California. I said I had heard a lot of this stuff before. I actually almost didn't come out to talk to them. You always run into people - "My Aunt knows Ed Sullivan" or that kind of thing. (laughs) After awhile you don't want to hear it anymore. I finally did go out because I recognized them back again to one of the dance parties that were on TV. The had a 'live' band on one of the dance parties. Mike was conducting the band and Dennis was the guitar player in the band. So, when I saw their faces I thought, well, OK. There's some credibility here. I do know they're doing things in town. So, they asked me and Bill to come to their office. "We have a song. We've been looking for someone to sing a song that we have in our possession. We'll play it for you. You can take it home and see what you think. In the meantime, do you write?" I said "Oh, yeah, for my own amusement." They said "Bring in an acoustic guitar, come to our office and we'll just sit around, talk, and tell you what we have in mind, what we've done, and what we'd like to do. Anything you have, even pieces of songs that you've started and you want to sing a little bit for us, as far as your writing, then do that." I said "OK." So we went and did that. The song they played for me was "Big City Miss Ruth Ann". I listened to the demo. They said "Do you think you could do that?" I said "I think so." I went home and practiced it. The guy who wrote it and his brother practiced with me and sang with me. So we said "OK, that'll work. We'd like to do a four song demo. Can you come up with three other songs?" So I did. "Nice To Be With You" was one of 'em and I forget what the other two were. We did those four and they paid for it. They sent it in and at first it really wasn't accepted. Then Dennis hit with "Scorpio" and he sent it back in and told the guy "I think you should listen to this again." So the guy listened to it a second time and he said "you know what? I do like this. Let's do a single deal on 'em. If any of the songs do anything, we'll do an album." So that's kind of how it started. Like a million other people, you go in and do these things and you really don't think anything's going to happen. You just do it. It wasn't my first time in the studio. We'd paid for studio time when we were kids and did a couple of things. When I was about sixteen we did a little instrumental. Actually RCA almost bought (it). It was at a time when you had "Pipeline" going on. I did a song called "Dynamite" and it was actually pretty good. It was just me, Bill and this drummer I had, Gary Lewis. Not the Gary Lewis. And some guy who just agreed to play stand-up bass on the thing as a favor. So, we almost had something going on with that song at that time because instrumentals were really big. But I'm glad nothing happened back then. I don't think it would've been a good idea.
Q - You wrote "Nice To Be With You".
A - Yes.
Q - I'm going to guess the inspiration for that song is somebody saying to you "nice to see you" or something to that effect.
A - You know what? I'm not really sure. To tell you the truth, it was one of them things. It came to me during the day when I was working. My mind was always kind of wandering 'cause my job was really boring. I don't really remember if the melody came first. Maybe it did. Maybe the chorus. I can't say for sure. It was really so long ago. My wife was probably the inspiration for a lot of things I did. When I first played it for them guys, they thought well yeah, it's OK. They kind of brushed over it. When we actually got in to record it and when it was coming together and Mike put the bells and different things, we really didn't know what the Gallery sound was going to be. We were kind of forced into having a group name because that's what was happening at the time. So we thought, well OK. I came up with the name. We figured it was generic enough it could be anything. When they said "what do you want this to sound like?" and here we are in the suburbs of Detroit and the sounds around here are Motown, Bob Seger. Industrial Rock and R&B. I said "no, nothing like that." I said "you going to think I'm crazy but I would like to hear a steel guitar on here." They said "A what?" And I said "A steel guitar." And this really wasn't going on. Remember The Eagles first record was "Witchy Woman" and that really wasn't what their sound was gonna be as time went on. The whole County / Rock thing hadn't exploded yet. So, for us to do something like that in the Detroit area, out of the blue, was pretty bizarre.
Q - That's what Rock 'n' Roll music is supposed to be - bizarre.
A - Yeah. It wasn't something you would expect. If I was living in California you'd say Oh, yeah. I can see how that happened. You got the whole Western influence. For some strange reason, when was a kid, I had a friend that played steel guitar. I never knew anyone that played one. He would play like Santo And Johnny stuff. I just loved that and I thought if I could ever find a way to use a steel guitar on a Pop record so that it wasn't really Country, man that would be a great combination. So he had a father who played guitar and I'd go over there and listen to these two playing. They were great. They could play anything, but it didn't sound Country. It didn't have that real whiny sound to it. So I think that stayed in the back of my mind. I'm glad Mike and Dennis went along with it. Normally they would say "we've done some records and that's not gonna fly. You'll have to try something else." But they gave me the benefit of the doubt because what I was writing was a combination of Pop songs, love ballads, story songs, which they really liked. They were always pushing me to do the story songs. So, you had this combination of things going and we felt that the Country / Pop sound was really the only way we could go and fit all that in. So, that's what we tried and it worked. We kind of kept with that through the two albums. It was always kind of the underlining thing that was holding things together.
Q - How long did it take you to write "Nice To Be With You"?
A - Oh, no time at all. By the time I home it was already formulated in my head. I ran in the door, picked up my acoustic guitar, wrote it down and that was it. I'd say fifteen minutes, twenty minutes.
Q - So, who was Gallery?
A - The only ones that had the record contract was myself and Bill Nova. That was it. I probably messed up in some ways because at the time, Mike Theodore came over to my place and we talked and said "Jim, I want you to think about this. You're gonna sign a record contract and you wanna sign half and half with this guy. I know he's your best friend, but the reality of it is you're writing the songs, it's your voice, it's your style and Bill is not doing that much. He's playing a little acoustic guitar and that's about it." To tell you the truth, in that situation, I didn't think anything was going to happen. I wanted to go through it with somebody else that I could trust. Gallery at the beginning was basically two of us. Then they brought in different musicians to play on the record and some of those guys ended up staying. We just offered them the gig because they already knew the tunes and they were interested. So when "Nice To Be With You" first came out, there really wasn't a formed total band yet. There was probably four of us. We found another guy to play steel (guitar) because the kid who played on that turned out to be one of the best Country sessions there is. He's played on tons of really big Country records. When he played on our record, it was probably the first big hit he ever played on. Paul Franklin his name was. He was about sixteen years old when he played on that. He was phenomenal. We had to look all over to find a steel player. We couldn't find one. Then, his father brings him in. He listens a couple of times and knocks it out. He played on three or four songs, "Louisiana Line", "Nice To Be With You", "Big City". There might have been four, but those three for sure. We kind of offered him the gig at the time in case it happened, but I think it was a smart move on his Dad's part. He said "he's too young. I don't want him traveling around the country. I kind of have other plans for him."
Q - So, how hard was Gallery working in 1972 1973? How many gigs were you doing?
A - We were limited in some aspects for two reasons: Number One, the people who were booking us, they had a lot of "oldies" acts. They were booking
Gary U.S. Bonds.
Q - Would that have been Mars Talent Agency?
A - No. Apostle Enterprises their name was. I did a few gigs for the daughter, Wendy, later on. They were formed around '72. John Apostle has passed away. They really tried hard to sign me totally, which I didn't really want to do. We would end up playing bars. I thought this is not what we should be doing. This isn't where our audience is. It wasn't a mad house like some of these guys do. We didn't go out and burn the candle and play two hundred dates. It was nowhere near that. We naturally did one of the first K-Tel commercials when they used a group in it. They came to the studio when we cut here. They said "Oh, you guys are gonna be talking and saying what other songs are on this K-Tel album." Doing things like that, we ended up getting way more publicity from that and the Bandstand shows than actually playing live. I don't know how many places we did play and someone would come up and say "Man, I saw that K-Tel commercial you did." We actually hit more people doing that than we did playing live.
Q - Did you go out and headline?
A - No. We did some package things. We did smaller things. School auditoriums. Parks. Nothing really major. We seemed to fall between the cracks for some reason with a lot of things. There's a lot of television shows that I always thought that maybe we could do, but never did, like Mike Douglas. I can't remember the guy's name. He was kind of the Dick Clark of that area of the country. I actually see excerpts of that once in awhile pop up on TV. My situation was different. I was married. I had a couple of kids. I was really afraid of that whole thing in a way.
Q - Afraid?
A - Yeah. I was afraid to just let the fame beast take me over. I had limitations as to what I would do. I seen too many people end up with nothing. I saw too many people end up getting into drugs. None of their lives were really improved by it. That kind of sent out a signal to me. At one point I had some really good people over at my house trying to sign me. I mean came right to my house. There were three guys named Katz, Gallin and Leffler. Sandy Gallin went on to work with Dolly Parton. For awhile he even handled Michael Jackson. Him and Dolly did films together. But he was a very young guy back then. Ed Leffler managed The Osmonds and Van Halen. They were also handling Mac Davis and that was kind of their connection to me. We had done "I Believe In Music" and had a hit with it. Nobody else ever had a hit with it, including Mac. So they came out to the house. We went to the recording studio and played 'live' for them. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. I think I busted about eighty-five strings in an hour. I was so pissed off. I said "well that's it, we just blew it." They said "Can we come back to your house?" I said yes. And so the three of them came back to the house. They were a team then, the three of them. They said "Look, we still want to handle you. We think we can mold you into something like what's happening with Mac Davis and The Osmonds. We think you have that across-the-board appeal in your music. You can move on and play for adults as time goes by. Adults like you and very young kids like you. That's kind of your demographic."
Q - They used that word, demographic, back then did they?
A - Yeah, yeah. (laughs) When everybody else left, I said "I don't want to talk in front of the band 'cause I'm not really getting along with those guys. We're not really cut from the same cloth. I don't know if I want to continue down this road too far." They said "OK." I came out and I said "Look guys, I'm really, really flattered that you're here, that you took the time to come out here. I know you had to fly out here. I appreciate that you're interested, but I also have to be honest with you and say I'm not going to go out and work myself to death. I know how this game works. I know when someone's starting out you want to throw those guys out there three hundred shows a year, visiting every radio station and when you're not doing that, you're doing interviews and when you're not doing interviews you're doing something else." I said "Look, I'm a married man. I got two kids. I'm not ever going to jeopardize that for this. You need to know this upfront." They just looked at each other in disbelief. I forget which one said to me "You know what Jim? That's the most honest thing I've ever heard from anybody in this business." I said "What do you mean?" They said "Well, somebody gets a shot, believe me, most of 'em would kill their own mother given the chance." "I don't feel that way. I know this is a short-lived profession. If I'm lucky, I'm gonna get tops five years out it, if I'm real lucky. What happens if I lose everything I have that's important to me in that five years and when it's over, where am I? I'm back to square one with less than I had in the beginning. That's the way I feel. If you guys can deal with that, I'll go along with you up to a certain point. But if you feel that you're really stretching me a little too thin, then I'll have to say no." So they said "You know what? That's pretty cool. One of us is gonna stay in town for a week. If you have any questions, anything you want to ask us, talk to your lawyer. Show him the proposal. If you have any questions, we'll be here." So I said "OK, fine." They left. Two days later Glen Campbell's manager calls me, out of the blue. This is what I'm dealing with all at one time. "I hear such and such is talking to you." How they know this stuff, I don't know. (laughs) I said "Yes. I've already talked to them." "Did you sign with them?" I said "No, I didn't sign anything yet. Why?" He said "I'm interested in you also. But I would like a chance to come down and talk to you too. Glenn is coming to play in Canada. We'd like you and whoever you want to invite to come down there and see the show and I'd like to come back there and talk to you." I said "Wow! OK." Now, this is really getting scary. I'm in my early twenties. This is all happening kind of fast. So my wife and I and Mike Theodore and a couple of people went down there with our wives and saw the show and enjoyed it. I said "What do you have in mind? What do you see happening with me? What's your vision?" Glen was very hot at that time. He said "We could put you on a lot of things with Glen, do a lot of shows with him. Get you on The Tonight Show. I'm going "Hmmm." And he said "Here's the thing. I won't ask you to sign anything with me." I thought that was kind of interesting. I said "You won't? How come?" They said "We want to show you what we can do first. If we can't do anything or you're not satisfied, then you're not hooked." I thought that was a pretty cool thing actually. So I said "OK, but I have to talk to these other guys too and kind of make up my mind." This went on for a couple of weeks. Finally, Katz, Gallin and Leffler called me and said "What do you think you want to do?" I said I had this other offer and I thought I might take a chance on that one. They said "OK. That's fine. We already set up a gig for you at Disneyland. So we're gonna give you the gig and let you have it. What we're gonna do is bring you out here and kind of groom you guys and that was gonna be kind of the showcase. But it's OK. You can have that gig." I thought that was extremely cool of these guys. So in retrospect, the right move would probably have been them because they were younger.
Q - What happened with your record label, Sussex. Why did they fold?
A - Sussex started getting into trouble. There was a lot of shit going on I didn't know about because I didn't have any management, which is what these guys (Katz, Gallin and Leffler) were. Had they been there, they would've seen what was going on and gotten me off the label before it folded. I found out after the label was defunct that it was defunct. I didn't even know anything was going on. I think what happened there was maybe Glen Campbell's manager kind of looked at the situation, at that time he was maybe in 50s, and thought this is gonna be a lot of work. I'm gonna have to get him going from scratch again. We're loosing all this momentum. So, he didn't really do much of anything. By then the ball had been dropped. I'd already told the other guys no. I didn't want to go back to them and say "You know what? This didn't work out. Is your offer still there?" I felt too weird about doing that. So I didn't. To tell you the truth, when all is said and done, I really don't have any regrets. I really believe that things are supposed to happen the way they're supposed to happen. Who knows what would have happened to me? Maybe I would have gone down some wrong roads. I don't know. I just know that in the final outcome I'm happy with the way my life is. My wife and I are still together after forty-five years. Out kids are grown. Our house is paid off. We enjoy our life. We're both retired. It's a very nice, comfortable life. She's still my best friend after all these years. I'd rather do things with her than anybody. Whenever I do gigs, I make sure she goes. If she don't go, I don't go. That's just the way it is. She almost died on me ten years ago. There's no way I'm leaving her alone. I made friends with a lot of guys I ended up feeling sorry for. Dennis Yost (The Classics IV) was a good friend of mine. Probably the closest. He just couldn't give it up. Things were just goin' down and down and down. I finally looked at it and said "I'm not going down with the ship. I'm gonna get a regular job and do this on the side, if there's anything to do. I can't make a living doing this." So, I did that. You have to throw away your ego. Once you get out of that business and you go back into the regular world, that don't mean shit to anybody. You go down there and you do your thing and you're fixing toilets. Sing your song now buddy. (laughs) I could deal with that. My ego wasn't that blown out of proportion. I know guys that just lived to get onstage. They can't possibly imagine doing anything else. Not that they couldn't. It's like what I said to Dennis: We'd meet down in Tennessee where he was living for awhile with his wife. We'd go out to dinner and he'd say "You know, Jim, I really admire the fact that you were just able to change your life and say; "well, this is the way it is. I gotta make some changes. I'm not losing everything. I'm holdin' on to what I got." He said "I could never do that." I said "Well you know Dennis, the fact is you could, but you don't want to. You like being Dennis Yost. There's nothing wrong with that. You should be proud of what you did. You made some great music and it's gonna live on forever. That's true for all of us. It doesn't take anything way from that. The point is, the older you get, the gigs are gonna go down and down in money and you're gonna have to keep doing more and more and more of 'em to make the same amount of money you were used to making. Now you're sixty years old. You're gonna do two hundred and fifty dates a year at this stage of your life? Is that what I want?" He said "Yeah, I know it." He did try to do some other things. Then he got sick. He lost his voice. He had other problems. Then two years ago (2008) before Christmas, he died. His wife called me the day he died and told me he passed away. I felt really bad. Those guys are always looking for that come back thing. I was sitting in a room one time with Gary Lewis, Sonny Geraci from The Outsiders, Jimy Sohns from The Shadows Of Knight. These guys are all goin' on about make new music. So, I hadn't said anything. I was just sitting there listening. They said "Gold, you're not commenting. What's going on?" I said "I'll be honest with you guys. Are you not listening to the radio?" They said "What do you mean?" "Hey guys, times have changed!" There really isn't a Top 40 anymore. They're not playing your kind of music except on oldies stations. There is no come back for any of us. If that sounds harsh, that's the way it is. Unless you can come up with a different sound and really change your whole persona and make it work, it ain't gonna happen. But you guys are so identified with a certain kind of sound that you can't change." They just kind of looked at me, because they're all talkin' about goin' back into the studio. I said "what does that mean exactly?" I know that I could always write and I could always write for other people. It didn't have to be just me. As long as you wrote a good song it was possible to get someone interested. It's not always easy because you still have all those politics biting at your ass, which is the hard part. But unlike most of the contemporaries I had at the time, none of those guys were writers. I was the only one writing my own stuff. So it was different for me. They had to depend on other people comin' up with tunes. Dennis never wrote, Sonny never wrote. Gary wrote a little bit in conjunction with Leon Russell, so who's actually doing the writing, I don't know. None of these guys wrote anything. They were just the singer on the record. They had a certain style. I felt for awhile I could have switched over and got into the Country market in an earlier part when that was still feasible. But once again, I knew it wasn't a good time. I made a couple of trips to Nashville. Dickey Lee ("Patches") became a staff writer for Polygram. I would go see him once in awhile. My wife and I would sit in an office with him over there. I let him listen to some stuff I was working on. I said "Dickie, you're around this stuff all the time. What do you think?" He said "I like personally. But you have to understand how this town works, Jim. They don't accept new people. It's the same guys writing everybody's hits. And you're from the North. If you moved down here, maybe in ten or twelve years of brushing elbows with these guys, they might accept you." At that time I might have been fifty or little under that. I said "we both know at this stage of my life, I'm not moving down here and spending ten years kissing ass with these guys." He laughed and said "I know. Anytime I can help you I would because you're genuine. I like who you are. You don't put on airs. There's not too many people who are doin' that."