Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Speaking with JAZZ LEGEND BOBBY CALDWELL
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/