Wednesday, September 30, 2009
He is perhaps best known for his 1978 hit single "What You Won't Do For Love" and his prolific career has spanned more than 30 years. I would like to call him the King of Cool. Bobby Caldwell's smooth renditions of original and popular music has made him a legend throughout the world and continues today. Not only has he written hits for himself but also for artists like Chicago, Boz Scaggs, Amy Grant and Peter Cetera, Neil Diamond and Al Jarreau. Next week, Bobby brings his Big Band to the world famous jazz club "Birdland" in NYC. I had the honor and pleasure to chat with Bobby yesterday about his life and music...
MICK: What was it like growing up in a show business family? [his parents were stars of an early television variety show]
BOBBY: It was really great. I was always surrounded by theater people, music people and great bands of the era, the great singers. It was really a lovely way to grow up!
MICK: In the beginning, you started out as a rock and roll artist. Did you think your career was going to head in that direction?
BOBBY: Yes I did! That was how everything was geared up at that point of time. I had the right experience, a lot of years before I came full circle.
MICK: How did you feel when your record label wanted to hide the fact that you were a white artist [his early albums only showed his silhouette on the covers}
BOBBY: At that point in time, I was just happy to be getting a product out there. I didn't think if there would be any kind of repercussions or things like that, and there weren't. For the most part, it happened like that because the label I was with basically a R&B disco record company. Their basic target was R&B. R&B didn't take to well at that time to white blue eyed soul artists.
MICK: When you write a song, what comes first...the lyrics or the music?
BOBBY: Definitely the music. I can't think of any instances off hand where the words came first.
MICK: When you wrote "What You Won't Do For Love", did you have any idea that it would become such a huge hit?
BOBBY: Oh no, I had no idea at all that it would have the history that it does. It's still mind boggling to this day!
MICK: I've read that over 100 artists have recorded versions of that song. Do you have a favorite version?
BOBBY: I really like the "Go West" version. That was my favorite.
MICK: Will we ever see your trademark fedora again?
BOBBY: I don't know! My daughters ask me the same question! I still have a lot of those hats. I can't really say. Possibly! We will see!
MICK: Do you still enjoy touring?
BOBBY: Yes, I love it. We stay out about 100 days a year. Not all together! I'm home a lot with my family here.
MICK: I know your popularity in Japan is phenomenal. How often do you go there?
BOBBY: I go once or twice a year. Getting ready to go back there in October again!
MICK: Do you speak Japanese:
BOBBY: A little bit! Enough to get by!
MICK: What are your future plans and projects?
BOBBY: I'm working on a new album right now. It probably won't be out until well after the new year. Focusing on touring. Just launched a bunch of brand new shows with a fantastic female singer Diane Shuur. We are touring exclusively in art theaters and casinos. I wouldn't call it a tour. It's part of a lot of things we are both doing. She does her own shows and I do mine. We have this customized show we do together. I'm about to do Birdland [in NYC Oct 6th-Oct. 10th] with the orchestra and I have some stuff coming up in Japan with the R&B band. We're just doing as much as we can!
MICK: Is there anyone in particular that you would like to work with?
BOBBY: Ah geez a lot of them are dead!! I've always wanted to work with Michael McDonald in any capacity...writing, singing, whatever.
MICK: I know you portrayed Frank Sinatra to rave revues in the Las Vegas revue "The Rat Pack Is Back". Do you have any plans for acting again?
BOBBY: No, not at the moment.
MICK: Have you ever met Sinatra?
BOBBY: No, unfortunately I did not. I saw him perform many times.
MICK: You have a horse farm in New Jersey. Have you always had a love for horses?
BOBBY: Yes, I'm very much into horses. It basicly belongs to my wife and my step daughter.
MICK: How long have you been married?
BOBBY: I've been married for five years now. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me!
MICK: What is a typical day for Bobby Caldwell like?
BOBBY: I guess it's like everybody else. I answer emails, fiddle around the house, try to write a song, work on the next project or the next upcoming show, water the lawn, go to the dry cleaners, pack my suitcase!!
MICK: Who do you enjoy listening to?
BOBBY: It depends. We get into different moods. Sometimes we listen to old Sinatra, Steely Dan, Earth Wind and Fire. We just pull something from the shelf and put it in!
MICK: Do you have any other hobbies besides music?
BOBBY: No, between the music and the traveling there isn't any.
MICK: Do you have any regrets?
BOBBY: I don't know. Check back with me in 25 years!!
MICK: Tell me something about yourself that even your biggest fan would not know about you?
BOBBY: I love to cook! A lot of people would not know that. After I left Miami, basically up to that point I did have a sport that I loved and that was deep sea fishing. I would be out every weekend doing that. But now I"m kind of land locked here in New Jersey. We get to that shore once or twice every summer, it's about two and a half hours away.
You can catch Bobby Caldwell and his Big Band at Birdland in New York City
Tuesday-Saturday, October 6-10 @ 8:30 & 11pm
Music Charges: $35, general seating; $45, premium seating
Read more about Bobby at: http://www.bobbycaldwell.com/
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
WE came to know and love her as "Sabrina the Teenage Witch". Today, Long Island's own Melissa Joan Hart is a beautiful woman who combines career with motherhood and being the wife of a well known musician. On Monday, September 21st on ABC TV at 8:00pm, Melissa begins her quest for a championship on the 9th edition of "Dancing With The Stars". I had a chance to speak with Melissa before she began one of her final rehearsals...
MICK: Congratulations on being chosen to compete in the 2009 edition of "Dancing With the Stars" How did this all come about?
MELISSA: They had asked me the first season to appear and I was not able to do it because of scheduling conflicts. A lot of the following seasons I was pregnant so I couldn't do it in any event. So the timing just finally worked out. It took 9 seasons but now I'm able to do it!
MICK: How long are the rehearsals each day?
MELISSA: Depends on how I'm feeling. My dance partner was feeling well yesterday and I was kind of sick last week. We've been taking it easy now that we've got the routine down, trying to polish it up. We're trying not to exhaust ourselves because once the show begins next week, it's going to be hard core. We do between 2-6 hours each day. We'll probably get 2-4 hours in today.
MICK: Are you nervous?
MELISSA: I'm getting really nervous. I got to do some of my dance for some friends last night so that made me feel a little better!
MICK: Are you happy with your dance partner?
MELISSA: Oh yeah. I've got the best! I got the two time winner (Mark Ballas) whom I think is the best choreographer. As a teacher he is so patient, giving and concerned. A lot of the other dancers were taught by his mother so he's not only got it in his blood, he's got the best teacher in his life. Hopefully, he'll be able to pull me through it!
MICK: You and your mom recently opened a candy store in Sherman Oaks, Ca. called "SweetHarts". How is that going?
MELISSA: It's going great! It's extremely adorable. A wonderful little place. Instantly, when you walk in, it makes you happy!
MICK: Do you plan to expand, open more stores?
MELISSA: We are opening another one in the next few months and hopefully more. Start branching out a bit.
MICK: Possibly a store on Long Island?
MELISSA: Yes, hopefully. I've got a lot of family on Long Island so I can put some of them in charge of it!
MICK: What are your plans for after "Dancing With the Stars"?
MELISSA: After this ends, I'm suppose to be doing a pilot. We'll see how that works out. Possibly to get started on a new TV show. That would be exciting and fun. That's what I really want to be doing. We just recently moved back here to the Northeast to Connecticut. Close enough to my family on Long Island, right over the Sound! I hope to get settled in my new town a little bit, spend some time with my two boys and my husband. This show has taken away of lot of my focus and time away from them. So as soon as I get back I can spend time being a mommy!!
MICK: Do you get back to Long Island a lot"
MELISSA: Yes, we do actually. We took the Bridgeport ferry over recently. Spent some time with my dad and went on his boat. He owns a marina in Sayville. We took his boat over to Fire Island a few weeks ago. I have a brother in Bayport and a sister in Lake Ronkonkoma and my little sister is in Brooklyn; cousins, aunts and uncles everywhere from Oyster Bay to Moriches, all over.
MICK: I've read that you collect Shirley Temple memorabilia. Have you ever met her?
MELISSA: I have! She invited me to her home. I went to her house in Northern California to meet and talk to her about the possibility of doing her life story. She never gave anyone the rights to her story before but she liked me and my mother and trusted us. We did that movie a few years ago, probably 7 years ago, for ABC as a Mother's Day special.
MICK: Do you have any hobbies?
MELISSA: Yes snow boarding. I love snow boarding. I play some golf here and there with my husband. Actually, we came out in June for the U.S. Open. That was exciting and fun but very muddy. It was miserable for the fans and I'm sure the players. I'm really looking forward to going to Belmont. I love watching the ponies run. I've never been to Belmont before so that should be fun.
MICK: Tell me something about yourself that your fans would be surprised to know about you.
MELISSA: A lot of people would assume that I am very goody two shoes but I tend to be more salty and sweet. I tend to have a pretty good sense of humor. I think it runs in my family that we have this sort of attitude where if something happens, we crack a joke even if it's inappropriate. So I do tend to be more inappropriate at times then people tend to think.
MICK: Are you superstitious at all?
MELISSA: I'm a little superstitious. I'm really afraid of flying. I'm terrified of flying even though I do it at like twice a week.
MICK: Are you religious?
MELISSA: Yes I am. I grew up Catholic, going to St. Lawrence in Sayville. I had my Communion and Confirmation there. When I met my husband, we became Presbyterian together.
MICK: Pick one word that would best describe you.
MICK: Which actors and actresses do you most admire?
MELISSA: I'm thinking Sandra Bullach and Harrison Ford
MICK: I know you are married to a well known musician [Mark Wilkerson]. Do you have any plans to do anything musically?
MELISSA: No, I don't sing very well. I'd love to do "Chicago" on Broadway but I'd have to take a lot of lessons for that!
MICK: How are your two boys doing?
MELISSA: They're doing great! Really good! Mason just started preschool in our new little town in CT; Brady is one and a half, he still won't talk but we're working on it. He loves charades but he won't talk!
MICK: What advise would you give to any up and coming actresses?
MELISSA: You've got to have a thick skin and you've got to take the good with the bad. It's a huge uphill struggle. It's not the kind of job where the better you get at it, you move up the ladder. You hit the top and then you hit the bottom all in the same year!
MICK: Ok Melissa, lots of luck on the show!
MELISSA: Thanks Mick. Tell all Long Islanders they have to vote for me!! And vote as many times as they can! I'm also on Twitter now. My name is: MELLYJHART. I've got to get my followers up! I have to beat Demi Moore!!
For more information on Melissa Joan Hart, please see:
And don't forget to watch Melissa on "Dancing With The Stars" beginning Monday, September 21st at 8:00pm on ABC!! And VOTE for her!!!!!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
His name is synonymous with guitar excellence. Often compared to Jimi Hendrix during his illustrious career that has spanned over 40 years, Robin Trower continues his mastery with a style that is truly his own. He achieved early success with Procol Harum and has played with legendary musicians Jack Bruce and Bryan Ferry. Today, Robin is on tour promoting his latest cd "What Lies Beneath". I had the pleasure to chat with Robin this morning...
MICK: First, I'd like to congratulate you on the release of your latest cd "What Lies Beneath". This is your 24th album, right?
ROBIN: Is it really? I'm very happy with this new cd!
MICK: Is there a favorite track on this cd?
ROBIN: Not really although I am very proud of the opening track to be honest, the instrumental at the beginning. Livingston Brown did a fantastic job producing the album [he also played bass and was responsible for the strings arrangement].
MICK: I really love the artwork on the cover. Is Bruer Tidman [the artist] a friend of yours?
ROBIN: No, i actually saw his work in a gallery, or showroom, where he had an exhibition of his paintings and I just fell in love with his work. I asked him, actually my manager asked him, if I could use one of his paintings for the cover of "What Lies Beneath" so that's how it worked.
MICK: Do you still enjoy touring?
ROBIN: Yes, I still enjoy playing live probably more than anything else! We are only on the beginning of the East Coast part of the tour right now.
MICK: Looking back on your career, can you tell me about meeting Jimi Hendrix and his influence he had on you?
ROBIN: I can't say I really met him. I was on the same biill as him when I was with Procol Harum. I wouldn't say that he actually influenced my career but his music has truly been an inspiration to me. As far as being compared, I don't think that is fair to him because he was a genius. But it's nice to be compared to somone so good!
MICK: What do you do in your spare time besides music?
ROBIN: Well, my main sort of relaxation thing is watching soccer. That's something I really enjoy.
MICK: Do you have any future plans to work with Jack Bruce again?
ROBIN: No, not really. We just did a few dates in the summer and that was fun.
MICK: Do you have a large guitar collection:
ROBIN: No no I don't. In the 70's I had a very large collection of vintage Strats and they were stolen. I decided then that it would always be new guitars. For the last few years I've been playing a Strat that is my signature model. There was an anniversary Strat put out for the "Bridge of Sighs" . This signature model is built to my specs.
MICK: Which of today's artists do you admire?
ROBIN: I don't know. You can see that today's popular music has lost it's orginality a bit. There are some very strong commercial stuff. I saw a band called "Baby Shambles" which I thought was quite interesting. A British band. They are the odd thing but mostly popular music has gone very shallow I feel. There's too many guys coming up now that have been influenced by people; they are not the instigators of the music. It's become a bit third hand.
MICK: Tell me something about yourself that your fans would not know.
ROBIN: You should have given me two weeks notice for this question!! They may be surprised to know that I have a great collection of 30's and 40's popular music and that's what I listen to most of the time. It's not so much of an influence on my music but an education. I'm not that keen on the big band stuff. That tends to come a bit later. The 30's popular American music and some of the British stuff as well. There's was this guy called Al Boley who was a big hit singer in Britain whom I'm very fond of. I love stuff like the very early Frank Sinatra. The early stuff of guys like that is what I enjoy. The musicianship, the arrangements, the whole thing is an education for me. I love it. It's a bit on the romantic, sentimental ticket. That's what really appeals to me!
Catch Robin tonight at the Boulton Center for Performing Arts in Bay Shore, NY
Also, catch Robin at BB King's Blues Club in NYC on Friday Sept 18th and Saturday Sept. 19th. Both shows begin at 8:00PM.
Robin Trower official website: http://www.trowerpower.com/