Sunday
Feb172013

DEAWN UNDAH

Well, how's it going everyone? Goodeye to you from deawn undah!
We are about half way through this tour of New Zealand, Australia and Japan and having a great time. I haven't been here since the Mr's played in 1986, I think. Maybe 87', oh well, it's been a while.

Australia reminds me a lot of California, especially S. California, the way it probably was fifty years ago. Similar geography and climate, except Australia is much cleaner and less populated then where I live. Unless I'm not seeing the more run down areas (which is likely since we stay in very ritzy hotels), Sydney and Melbourne both seem very nicely kept. The people are extremely friendly. Not always the case where I live...

Last night we played at Festival Hall where The Beatles played in 1964. The stage hasn't been replaced since then. Great crowd, but it's hot as hell down here right now. It's summer and Melbourne is having an unusual heat wave. It was close to 90 degrees at show time and there is no air conditioning in this very old venue. We all sweated together, audience and band. The up side is that we all lost a pound or two in the two hours we played. I could use it. All I've been doing is eating since I've been here it seems. Great food too. One more show here tonight and then off to Adelaide and Perth. Then we're in Japan for five shows.
Take care,
RP

Thursday
Oct252012

WRITING AGAIN

For those of you who've been wondering if I'd ever blog again.......well, here I am. I'm sure it's become obvious to most of you that I'm not much of a 'social media' kind of guy. It's not that I don't care about keeping you informed about what I'm up to, it's just that what I'm up to doesn't seem that interesting to me to write about most of the time. Oh sure, I'm having a delicious breakfast tea latte this morning at the Bristol Farms market while our Honda Pilot is getting serviced (actually it also is being recalled for a faulty headlight switch). Interesting, huh? Mmm.....no.

My brother Rob, bless him, has nearly given up trying to convince me that this is the new paradigm for what's left of the music business. "Blog, tweet, blog. Blog, tweet, blog" is the mantra. This is how you keep your fans engaged. He's right. It is how it's done these days. It's just that I'm such a private person, and always have been, that I don't naturally think this way. You either love it or you don't. I can't pretend to love it, even if my livelihood depends on it. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that you all love what I do musically. That humbles me deeply. But writing everyday about what's happening in my personal life and finding new ways to "hype" my career just doesn't feel right and never has. I'm at peace with that.

So after two plus years of this experiment in "direct marketing" (God, I hate that term), I've decided that this site will play an even smaller role in my life, for a while at least. This isn't just about my being at odds with social media, it's also about a need I have to slink back into writing.

The reason so many of you follow my music, I think, is that I have in the past sequestered myself for long periods of time to search for meaningful things to write about. Every writer is different. Some spend regular business hours working at it. Others are always writing. My method is different in that I'll go for months without a single idea. Not out of laziness but because I'm just not feeling it. Writing is a strange and illusive thing for me. Some of the songs I've written that I really like I have no idea how they happened, where they came from. Almost as if I had nothing to do with their creation. Weird right?

So the good news is, I'm starting to feel it again. I'm getting antsy to strap myself into my pilot seat at my studio console. I will, of course, pop in from time to time with various things to share or report on. I've got some a capella songs from my dads era that I plan on releasing in honor of his passing last month. Ringo somehow hasn't tired of my participation in his magical world so I'll be touring some with him next year. And who knows what might pop up. That's what makes this life interesting, that you just never know how things are going to change. For now, at least, I feel responsible to voice my intentions to all who follow my career. I'm not signing off, just letting you know that I'll see you from time to time and when something really special happens, you'll be the first to know about it. All my good wishes for everyone.

RP

Saturday
Jul072012

Alabama

Just finished two concerts in Alabama. One in Tuscaloosa, home of the Crimson Tide (University of Alabama football.....for those who don't know), and the other in Orange Beach down on the gulf. Some may know that I spent my early childhood in Montgomery during the most turbulent time of the civil rights struggle, from 1955-1963. Amazing that I haven't been back there until now. Not by choice, but because I had no reason. Mr. Mister didn't tour there and I have never gone there for work. My parents were from Iowa so we have no family there and the childhood friends I played and went to school with don't stay in touch. I can't remember them anyway, except for one, George Wallace Jr., who I played Pop Warner football against when I was 8 or 9 (football is like a religion in Alabama........The University of Alabama has won 14 national titles.......Roll Tide!).

I have to say that my memories of growing up there during that time are dominated by the segregation and inequality African Americans experienced. Of course I have other memories; just memories of my family and being a kid and trying to have fun like every other child. But maybe because my parents never really fit in there or perhaps because they weren't born in the south, I recall a feeling that something was not right. We were "Yankees", and if you were a Yankee, at least in those days, you were an outsider. My dad once attended a funeral for the brother of a wonderful black man named Calvin, who was the custodian of the Methodist Church where my parents ran the music program. Dad was the only non African American in attendance in a church way on the other side of town. They honored him by seating him right down front with the family and was asked to eulogized Calvin's brother when the reverend said, "Now let's hear from our white brother." My dad was so moved by the respect he received that day. He would tell that story many times and well up thinking about it. Later, he was admonished by some whites at our church for going to the funeral saying something like, "We don't do that kind of thing around here."

Glad to be able to visit Alabama all these years later. I think in a way it provided some closure for me, seeing with my own eyes how things have progressed.

Saturday
Jun302012

Road Report

Don't know if any of you have been watching some of the YouTube vids of the Ringo show, but there is definitely something special going on here. I'm amazed each night at the level of musicianship coming from this band. I've always been a Todd Rundgren fan ever since I first heard "Hello It's Me" back in the early 70's and I knew he had produced some incredible albums, not just of his own music, but Hall and Oats and Meatloaf to name a couple.

Funny how after so many years of playing your hit songs show after show you burn out on them. Of course you're grateful that you're able to have such a timeless connection with your audience, but every artist feels like this sometimes, whether they'll admit it or not. Many times we wish we could just play songs that are newer, or are less known personal favorites, but that's not what people pay to hear. Its a great problem to have believe me and Ringo has been kind enough to allow me to play "You Are Mine" from the Peculiar Life album (which is sounding great by the way). So Todd, who has experienced this a lot, decided he wanted to replace "Hello It's Me" with the less known, but equally great "Love is The Answer", another favorite of mine. Ringo was very accommodating and gave the OK to start working it into the set. A few sound checks later and we played it that night (I think about 4 shows ago......I lose track of time out here). It sounds great and audiences seem to love it. It always gets a huge response. Todd's happy.

Steve Lukather is playing really well these days. He's such a deep musician. Many people probably don't know that he plays many styles, including jazz, which is of course the most difficult. Gregg Rolie is Mr Soulful over there on the Hammond B3. Such a recognizable voice. Love playing "Black Magic Woman". Mark Rivera is our multi-tasker, playing saxes, percussion, keyboards, acoustic guitar and singing. Major talent. Gregg Bissonette is just an incredible drummer, making my job so much easier. And what can you say about the most well know drummer ever? The legend, Ringo. So grateful we've become friends. What a cool guy.

Enjoying a nice stay on the beach here in S. Florida. Hope everyone's enjoying their summer.
Cheers,
R

Thursday
Jun142012

All-Starrs II

So I'm back in the saddle with Ringo and the gang with a new line-up. My old buddy Steve Lukather, Todd Rundren and keyboardist Greg Rolle (from Santana). Gregg Bissonette is back on drums again and of course the legendary one. Ringo is in great spirits, playing his ass off as usual. Not bad for a 71 year old.

This 10 days of rehearsal is so important, not just to learn and refine the music, but to get to know each other. Playing music together, to me, has to have a communal feeling to it or it will sound disconnected. There can't be any weird trips going on between players. From my experience, musicians who have the ability to communicate well and have a somewhat calm disposition usually have the most to give musically. I have been in so many situations, especially in the studio, where everyone's attitude is just as important as the notes they're playing.

Fortunately, all of the guys in this band have a great attitude. We've already bonded as friends and so the music should just keep getting better and better. I have to say all of this starts from the top down. Mr. Starr, his management, and all of his team are so great to work with. There's such a good vibe always around him. Hope some of you can get out and see this version. It's going to be quite spectacular.

By the way, the old/new album is coming shortly.

More to come......