Interview with Robin Krasny, Eddy Fischer and Denny Doherty – Part Two
By Leon & Sheryl Olguin - 03/19/2003 - 12:26 AM EST
Leon: Ok, now here’s a question for all 3 of you: Can you remember the first song you ever wrote?
Eddy: I remember it. It was called, ‘Things’. Yep. We even play it once and awhile because it was so good that it still holds value in life.
Robin: It actually is a beautiful song. He’s not just bragging.
Eddy: But, I didn’t go out and make a CD after I wrote that song. I lived another 30 or 40 years before I decided to record it.
Leon: Aah. It’s amazing how many artists we’ve talked to that still know and still sing and sometimes still use their very first song.
Eddy: It could’ve been your best song.
Denny: Yeah. You could spend the rest of your life trying to top that.
Robin: My girlfriend, Lori Broadway, and I use to ride our bikes home from school and we used to sing songs and we started singing, ‘ I always thought there’d be a rainbow’ (singing). It was all happy stuff-you know we were like, 8 or 9 years old. Now, she’s a bass player, trombone teacher. She’s a band director and singing now, too. It’s really funny; we even opened the same concert together. It’s neat.
Eddy: Yes. Music is very nice. It’s a great thing to be able to play music because when things do get dreary or you’re by yourself, you always have your guitar or your piano. You always have a friend, even if you don’t have any friends. It’s a real nice relief. Any kids that want to play music, anything like that, because you can go away, because you have something to do. So, that’s the best thing about music.
Robin: You may not always have sports. You could break knees, football and stuff like that. You may not always have football. What – you can only play that until you’re like 25?
But, you’ll always have music.
Eddy: Yeah. You may not have all those guys with the towels and the shirts they can tear off.
Eddy: And the beer. Think of the beer.
Leon: I have very little to do with football as a whole.
Eddy: So, music is very solitary.
Robin: Okeydokey. Back to Leon…
Leon: Ok, we’re going to get back to this music ‘thing’, instead of talking about football of which I have no interest in.
Eddy: Well, it’s fun on Sundays.
Denny: (with an accent) Foot – a – ball?
Leon: Let’s get back to songwriting. Would you say there is an overall message that you’re trying to present in your songs?
Robin: I know there is for me. I believe in healing and love. Love is the message to me. If you love what you’re doing and that energy infuses in your music, than other people could possibly be inspired to love and feel that themselves. My message is ‘healing’.
Eddy: I have to concur with that. That’s a good word, isn’t it?
Denny: Whatever hits my fancy. Love, hate, life, death, dogs, cats, it doesn’t matter.
Robin: Not just love in the romantic sense of the word…
Denny: Earthquakes? You see, back in the old days, singing was a way of communicating, you see? (singing) ‘A lion is eating my foot off. Somebody call…..’.
Leon: I don’t remember that one.
Denny: Well, it was a big hit back in the cave man days. Did you ever hear the ‘2000 Year Old Man’?
Leon: I’ve heard that.
Denny: Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks?
Leon: Well, we haven’t had them on yet.
Denny: Well, then you should have them on here. They’re hilarious.
Robin: They’re very funny. We hear they’re hilarious.
Leon: But, it’s not song writing. It’s a comedy routine.
Denny: Oh yeah, Mel Brooks is a great songwriter.
Leon: He wrote “Springtime for Hitler.”
Denny: Yes! (singing) ‘Deutschland was happy on the gay…’
Leon: Ok, we’re going back in time to the early 70’s. Tell us about the album, ‘Whatcha Gonna Do?’
Denny: Oh, boy. Well, what Ed and I and my late wife; my first wife who just passed away last week, poor Linda, far too soon. 900 is too soon, but 53 is ridiculous. We were all living together out in East L.A. I had just come home from Nova Scotia, back to L.A., and Linda was waiting at the airport. It could have been anybody waiting at the airport. It happened to be Linda, I went home with her, (laughter), and that’s the truth. She happened to be living over in the Barrio. I happened to be over in Beverly Hills. You know if somebody over in Beverly Hills picked me up, I’d be over in Beverly Hills.
She lived in East L.A. I’m like that. Whoever picks me up first; I’ll go with them.
Leon: We’ve got to explain to our Florida viewers what a ‘Barrio’ is. It’s the place you don’t want to go.
Denny: But, the place you have to go sometimes if you are a Mexican living in south California or East L.A.
Leon: Right. East L.A.
Denny: The whole of East L.A. is the slums. The poor section.
Eddy: The area for musicians short on cash.
Denny: (Talking loudly) the deprived shall rise up!! Oh, I’m sorry. So, we were living there, the 3 of us, with nothing to do. I had just come back from burying my mother back in 1971. Ed calls from Florida and says, “What are you doing?” We talked and I told him to come on out. (To Eddy) What did you do? Did you fly out?
Eddy: No, I had a van. The last time I saw it, it was on blocks on La Cieniga Ave. (sp?)
Denny: He used to call it the ‘Heinz’. (laughs)
Eddy: Yeah. We just left it. I walked away from it. We drove by a couple of days later and it kept getting smaller and smaller. And that was it (laughter).
Robin: It just disappeared.
Leon: That’s East L.A., folks.
Denny: He showed up in that. He came and lived in the Barrio with Linda and I, we wrote these songs. Then, I was contacted by the real world. John [Phillips] called and said, “We’ve got to make another album.” I was like, “What are you talking about?” He said, “Well, it’s in the contract. We have to make two albums a year. We owe them an album or they’re going to sue us for a million dollars.” I said, “ I think we should let them sue us, I don’t know how they’re going to get it. You go find the money, I’ll follow you, cause you got it!”
John was always the businessman. He said to the record company, “ Well, we’re going to make an album for you, the last album. Then, I want to make a single album, but you’re going to pay for it. Then, we’re all going to make a single album and you’re going to pay for it or we’re all going to fight you like hell on this last album.” So, they (the record co.) said, “Go ahead.” Then, after ‘People Like Us’, we (The Mamas and Papas) went up into the ozone and were never heard from again.
Then, John made his own album, Cass made an album, Michelle made an album and I made an album.
Eddy: He made his single albums first, and then ‘People Like Us’.
Denny: We had all these single albums to do, so let’s get up a contract party. We had these songs that we had been stuck together writing, so let’s go down to the studio and record. Dunhill’s paying so we had this big party and recorded a whole lot of songs we had built up.
Denny: So, we went in there and recorded. That’s where the album came from. That’s where we wrote the songs that are on the album. It was just by way of getting out of contract. There wasn’t anything we could follow through with. There was no band.
Eddy: Well, Russell Kunkel wanted to play drums. Brian was playing bass. But, who wanted to go on the road? Who wanted to go to work?
Denny: It was a good album. It’s just been re-released in Japan, by the way.
Leon: How did that come about?
Denny: MCA. MCA bought up all of ABC Dunhill’s assets and liabilities. The album was on Dunhill. It was just on their catalog of things they had bought. Originally, it went to #7 in Japan; the title song, ‘Whatcha Gonna Do?’
Eddy: We’re hoping to go to Japan.
Robin: Eat some sushi, man. Can’t wait.
Denny: Mind you, I was still an active alcoholic at the time, so anything was possible. We could wind up anywhere, so we just stayed at home rather than take any chances.
Leon: Did you ever wonder why the Japanese took to the album so much?
Denny: Well, they were asking, “What are you going to do with the air and the water and the fighting and dying and killing each other?” What are we going to do?
Eddy: There is that one little part where you say something and it turns out it means, “Come over here, I need you now,” in Japanese.
Robin: Oh, you’re full of it.
Denny: Get out of here! He does this straight faced, too. He’ll say something like this and you’ll say, “Really?”
Leon: Japanese masking we’ll call that.
Eddy: We didn’t know it was Japanese when we were doing it.
Denny: I think it was something backwards in the tape loop, wasn’t it? You’re kidding me, right?
Eddy: We’ll have to listen to it.
Denny: Of course he is [kidding]. Leon, don’t listen.
Robin: Well, I was like 8 years old when they were doing all this stuff. I was just a little child working on my skills.
Eddy: In 1970-1971 the earthquake came. We went to safer ground up in San Francisco.
Robin: Oh yeah, that’s real safe.
Leon: You went to San Francisco to get away from the earthquakes?
Eddy: You know I never watched the news, and I didn’t read much. I didn’t know.
Leon: It was the early ‘70’s.
Denny: Well, we had to get out of Los Angeles. It was just going right down the pit. We had to get out of there so we went up to Northern California where people were a little more mellow, not so pressured.
Leon: As long as the ground is not shaking.
Eddy: And the organic thing was just beginning, and we were tired of Burritos and wine.
Denny: We were looking for that microbial thing. I’m very fond of yogurt.
Leon: Ok. We’re starting to come close to the end of the program, believe it or not. We have the 5 famous questions for songwriters and performers that we ask. It’s like “Inside the Actor’s Studio” with James Lipton. These are fun and revealing questions that we ask performers. First one, and this is for all of you, if you could be the songwriting police, what rhyme would you have songwriter’s be fined for using?
Denny: Anything that is obvious: moon, June, spoon.
Leon: Those are good.
Denny: apple, dapple, scrapple. Mipple, dipple, bipple.
Eddy: Liddle, widdle, daddle
Denny: Oh heck. Fiddle. Diddle.
Eddy: Ooh bop.
Denny: Ooh wah?
Eddy: ooh wah, boom bah.
Denny: bah dah, bah dah, bah dah….. I hate that.
Leon: Ok, I was going to put my vote for “love” and “above.” That one tends to get used a lot in beginning songs.
Robin: I write a lot of poetry and there are not a lot of things that rhyme with love.
Leon: The second question is: what cliché would you like to see writer’s have to pay a fine for using? Something along the lines of, ‘til the end of time.’
Eddy: I’m tired of [songs about] loneliness. There are so many people. Why is it that anyone should be lonely? You know? You just got to open up a little bit. There are people there.
Robin: That’s the nicest thing you’ve said in a long time.
Denny: I thought you meant like, ‘I wrote the whole thing about myself’ (laughter)
Leon: It could be a cliché in a song or in a song introduction. Like, ‘ this is a song I wrote when I was feeling down’.
Eddy: Or, ‘this is a song I wrote because I love you so much’. People write songs for people, “I’m writing this song for you.” Or, “I write the songs…”
Robin: (sings) that make the whole world sing…
Denny: Do you know who wrote the song “I Write The Songs That Make The Whole World Sing”? That Barry Manilow hit?
Leon: Bruce Johnston.
Denny: Yes! Bruce Johnston, of the Beach Boys.
Robin: Ding! Ding! Ding! You win the prize!
Leon: What do I win?
Robin: I don’t know.
Leon: I get to host the show one more week?
Robin: A Robin and Eddy CD! You win the Robin and Eddy CD! Here you go.
Leon: Question number 3. What’s your favorite band name, because you’ve probably all seen and heard a lot. It can be a real band or make believe band.
Denny: Oh! I’ve got a real band name. Mine is from Newfoundland, up in my neck of the woods. “Buddy What’s His Name and the Other Fellers.” I swear to God.
Leon: That’s the real name?
Denny: They play all these taverns up in St. John’s, Newfoundland. They’d ask, “Who’s playing tonight?” “Oh, Buddy what’s his name and the other fellers!” “Oh, they’re good, ay?” They’d say, “Buddy what’s his name and the other fellers”, so they started calling themselves, and “Buddy what’s his name and the other fellers.” It stuck.
Eddy and Robin: That’s a good name.
Eddy: We always liked “The Secrets.” Our band was going to be called the “Secrets” if we ever have a band that plays with us.
Robin: We used to be “Earth to Eddy, Robin Here.” Because we couldn’t figure out what to call ourselves and he was always, “Whoop!” Gone somewhere.
Leon: Earth to Eddy, Robin Here?
Robin: We just thought, ‘Oh, cute name’. What was that one band from Texas?
Eddy: Oh! “Kinky Freedmen and the Texas Jew Boys.”
Robin: Don’t even say anything.
Leon: Kinky Freedmen?
Denny: You haven’t heard of them?
Leon: I’m sorry. I’ve not heard of them. I’ll never forget them now, though.
Eddy: Oh! And you know what’s so cool about George W.? People stay at the Lincoln bedroom, all this stuff going on. George W. had a few guests and one of them was Kinky Freedmen. He’s from Texas. He wrote, “I don’t care if it rains or freezes as long as I’ve got my plastic Jesus.”
Denny: And, “Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goal Post Of Life.”
Eddy: I was writing a book called, “Bands With Clever Names.” It’s about these bands that just have clever names.
Robin: During the time that you had [the band] “Fast Eddy’s Home For Wayward Girls?”
Eddy: Well, my band was “Ever ready Eddy.” A little new wave band.
Denny: What was the band from Yugoslavia that you were producing?
Eddy: “Atomic Shelter.”
Leon: Oh, I thought you said, “Tom McShelter”. An Irish fellow.
Eddy: A bagpipe duo. (laughter)
Denny: A Yugoslavia and Celtic band, or something.
Leon: The next question is: If you could be a musical instrument, which would you be?
Robin: The voice.
Leon: Well, let’s say a non-voice musical instrument.
Denny: Something inhuman.
Eddy: I like violins. I would be a red violin.
Robin: The oboe. It’s a very temperamental, difficult instrument. It needs to be tweaked and adjusted and massaged quite often. So, I think I’d like to be an oboe.
Eddy: Kind of like Robin.
Robin: Yeah, exactly.
Denny: I’d be a tuba.
Leon: Why a tuba?
Denny: Because my father played tuba in the marching bands all over Halifax, and if I didn’t say tuba he’d probably hit me with a bolt of lightening right now.
Leon: This is Florida. Lightening capital of the world. So, we’ve got to be careful.
Denny: I like the tuba. Anything bass. I like the bass-y instruments.
Leon: The last question is: Somebody’s just heard you play. If they were to pay you the perfect compliment, what would it be?
Robin: Pay you? Aah. For me, it would be, that they were inspired to do what they love. That would be the best compliment to me. That they were inspired to be a better person or do what they love to do because they saw me doing what I love to do.
Eddy: That’s probably more the real answer. I was being…
Leon: You were trying to make a joke.
Robin: No. He’s trying to pay off his credit cards!
Denny: I don’t know about perfect, but the one [compliment] that has meant the most to me has been when the guys came back from Vietnam and would just come up and say, “Thank you for being there when I thought I was going to lose my life.” “When I was holding someone’s life in my hands it helped me get through.” If you can help people get through any kind of crisis, any kind of trouble, if it helps in any kind of way, it’s good.
Leon: I was going to ask you to tell the audience about your Website. How they can contact you. How they can get a hold of your CD?
Denny: Oh. I found out today that I have a Website! Did you know I have a Website?
Eddy: Yeah! You just do a search, put in ‘Denny Doherty’ and it’ll come up.
Robin: You go to “Google.com” and put in Denny Doherty.
Eddy: Do the same thing with ‘Robin and Eddy’ and you’ll find out more information than you’ll want.
Robin: Go to www.robinandeddy.com.
Eddy: I have to say that I think computers are the most unique things that have happened to communication.
Denny: We have become far too dependent on electricity.
Denny: Try doing without it.
Leon: We’d all be sitting in the dark.
Robin: You can get on our mailing list. You can email us and you can go to our Website and get our CD.
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