Transcript - The Walter Egan Interview Album: Side Two

The Walter Egan Interview Album
Side Two
Recorded in Los Angeles in September '78 with Chuck Marshall of KWST
(My personal comments are italicized and in parentheses.)

(Egan)    So we had the contract in hand and, uh, we had to find a producer, and so it came down to ‘Okay well, we’re going to get Brian Wilson’ (laughs) No. ‘Paul McCartney?’ No. ‘Todd Rundgren?’ Well, no. ‘Jimmy Miller?’ No.

(Interviewer)    They’d all like to but…

(Egan)    Well, yeah, they were all busy.

(Interviewer)    At that time.

(Egan)    The, uh, I wasn’t quite the “magnetic” drawing power at that time, if you’ll excuse the allusion. Anway, so, it came down to well, let’s get somebody realistic. Who are we going to find that can, you know, do something. We wanted to get someone who was somewhat experienced, somewhat known and also since I had always worked in bands I felt somewhat insecure about sort of just coming out solo like this, ‘cause you know, I sang songs well enough to teach to people but I’d never looked at it like, you know, I was going to be the solo. So what I wanted to do was assemble a band-esque group in the studio rather than going for like all the heavy studio cats and try to get some kind of organic band sounding thing that would have kind of…

(Interviewer)    A much better idea.

(Egan)    Well, you know, I think so. So, when the idea of having Stevie and Lindsey produce it came up. First of all, I honestly wasn’t that aware that Fleetwood Mac had made the switch over from being the band that they were with Bob Welch and doing “Bermuda Triangle” and stuff to what they were with Stevie and Lindsey and so when they said ‘Well these people from Fleetwood Mac’ and I said ‘Well I want to have a California sounding album. I came to California to do a record, not England, you know?’ They said ‘No, no, no. You have to…’ So anyway, the put the record on and said ‘Listen.’ I said ‘Oh, oh.’ You know, this is sort of really what I’m trying to do which was kind of radio song oriented music it wasn’t… it’s sort of drawn out of the music that I loved when I was sixteen years old or something, you know. And when Top 40 radio was really the only thing you could hear good music on at the time, I mean mixed in with everything else. You know, you’d hear The Beatles or The Stones or The Beach Boys and that was really hot stuff. So, anyway, so the thing was the engineer who did our demo sessions, a guy named Duane Scott, knew Stevie and Lindsey from working at Sound City where they did the Fleetwood Mac album and did the Buckingham Nicks album. So it was just an amazing stroke of luck that we happened to be working in that studio, I think. And so… Decided to approach them with the demo tape that I had done over the past year, which were my songs but I really wasn’t singing. And so they went up and gave this tape to them and this was just when they were starting Rumours in February of ’76 or maybe it was March, anyways they were up in Sausalito and they thought they would be finished rather swiftly with the record since the white Fleetwood Mac album took something like two weeks to do, you know, so they figured ‘Well a month or two maybe.’ So they wanted, I guess they wanted to do some producing work which would maybe maintain the Buckingham Nicks thing more. I don’t know exactly why they wanted to do it (laughs) but I’m glad they did and, uh, so they agreed to do it. And so the plans went in to motion for that, which we did at Sound City, the same studio. But we didn’t get it started ‘til about June, then we did maybe half of the album in the first session. Did some rough mixes of ‘em, and with that acquired the uh domestic deal, the American deal, with Columbia Records during that time. And so that was, uh, you know, it was a whole lot of shifting around of trying to figure out whose fingers are in what pies and how things are going to be worked out.

(Interviewer)    You didn’t want to get in on the, uh, production on this first one? ‘Cause the follow up, of course, you did.

(Egan)    Well, actually, I was involved in production on both of them. It’s uh… The first one lists Stevie and Lindsey, Duane and myself as producers and it was pretty much a, uh, joint thing where we sat around and bounced ideas off each other. At that time we didn’t know one another that well and so we kind of were more polite, I think, in sort of saying ‘Well yeah, let’s do that’ It’s not that we were impolite on the second album, but we knew each other and we knew where we were going more so and we felt like… more free to work out new ideas and maybe zanier ideas and things, you know.

(“The Blonde in the Blue T-Bird” plays)

(Egan)    We had a lot of influences in common and we liked a lot of the same kind of music and we just seemed to get along real well. We remembered a lot of the same things, myself and Lindsey, and uh Stevie too. It was really a lucky thing, finding them and being able to kind of be involved with them before their own success sort of took them away from having the time to do anything like this. Both of the albums took a long time because of their schedules anyway. They both took about six months to do, total time, but even in that maybe six or seven or eight weeks maybe at the most.

(“The Blonde in the Blue T-Bird” continues)

(Interviewer)    So let’s talk about the, uh, the band members, now. You’re going to be playing here in just a little bit, um…

(Egan)    Okay. (Laughs)

(Interviewer)    Tell me about them, who’s in the band?

(Egan)    Yeah, I’ll tell you all about them. The oldest member of the band in so far as being with the band, um, from the beginning is a guy named John Selk who played bass on both albums and played in Wheels and sort of was one of the first bass players I played with in California. He’s from Oklahoma and, uh, he played with Johnny Tilletson (spelling?) and a few other people. He, uh, um, old friends with a guy named John Ware who is a drummer for Emmylou Harris and, uh, played on my first album, too. “King of the Country Shuffle” as he likes to be known and, uh, both Oklahoma guys. And, uh, let’s see who else do we have? We have on drums Mike Huey, who played on the Not Shy album, has been known as a ‘moist thumper’ to his friends and his non-friends as well, and he’s from Atlanta, Georgia. He’s a Pisces. (laughs) I don’t know what he is, um, that’s his own business. And um, let’s see, on guitar we have, uh, the inimitable Monte X who, uh, is attracting a large cult following wherever we go these days.

(Interviewer)    In this room today.

(Egan)    Yeah, well, you can see them. Yes, there they are. Monte, uh, did some service, he’s an old friend of Lindsey and Stevie’s also played in the Buckingham Nicks aggregation under another a.k.a. He’s sort of trying to ditch his former identity so I can’t reveal that, but, you know, he’s our newest waver. And then, let’s see, we have a keyboard player named Skip Edwards who, uh, is the blondest person in the group and, uh, he wasn’t on either of the albums but he joined the band for this tour this year. And, uh, doing the female vocals we have none other than Annie McLoone who uh, has, uh, a following in her own right. She’s a good writer and she’s a good singer and, uh, she did an album on RCA in 1976 which was lost immediately by someone there. Wasn’t really promoted too well and so it’s consequently become a collector’s item. (laughs) Fetching high prices in small markets. And then there’s me. That’s the band, right there. And uh, it’s pretty true to the album. I think that my whole approach to the music is to do it as a rock… rock and roll approach which means doing it within a band rather than trying to augment it with too much sweetening or production or whatever and uh, it carries over into the… I think some people see that the live show’s a little bit more hard, hard edged maybe than the records come out, but you know it’s basically the same so…

(Interviewer)    Well, you’ve been out there banging ‘em out hard. And Ted Nugent and Foreigner, uh, playing in front of tens of thousands of people a time…

(Egan)    Right. Countless. (laughs)

(Interviewer)    You must have, uh, then you must certainly have some in depth thought about that.

(Egan)    Well, in so far as, uh…

(Interviewer)    I mean, does it make a difference if there are fifty-seven thousand or two thousand?

(Egan)    Well I think there’s an ideal medium in the middle actually of having an audience that’s just about big enough that there’s a whole lot of energy there and not too big that you can’t reach people in the back row, which is kind of what you do at these really large things. We played the Texas Jam where there were like eighty thousand people in the Cotton Bowl and it’s almost like playing in front of a rear projection almost, you know it’s like there’s this screen of little dots out there of all these people and you can only… you know you have to look down in the front row to really be able to… I like to see people when I’m playing. I sort of try to relate to them in that way and sort of, you know, make eyes at them. (laughs) I think I had some sound checks the day before but, uh, most of them it’s a baptism of fire you just sort of run out there and hope that the first song is together enough that it can get through the sound check that they’re doing on you. You know, it’s crazy but that’s sort of the dues you pay as an opening act as a, you know, fighting to get sound checks and fighting to get room on stage which I guess, uh, carries over to when you’re headliner. You want to take it out on whoever… No, I hope that isn’t true.

(Interviewer)     Well those… Are those folks putting the screws on you to, uh?

(Egan)    Well I don’t know how much of it is consciously that.

(Interviewer)    No.

(Egan)    I don’t really think a lot of people are that conscious of that but I think that you tend to get really lax when you’re a headliner and you sort of, you know, you want to take the time to get things right and there’s always things slowing things down and then by the time… It’s like you have to rush things along in order to try and make space for the other band, you know, and some people do that and some people don’t. So you just sort of have to bear with it to whatever degree you can. Hopefully get the people around you get it together enough they can, you know, get you sounding right or looking right.

(“When I Get My Wheels” plays)

(Egan)    The songs, uh, tend to come in various ways. Some of them, like “Tunnel O’Love” I wrote in about ten minutes and it was just kind of a crazy concept song but…

(Interviewer)    I was thinking about “Finally Find a Girlfriend” born out of some great frustration,

(Egan)    Oh, of course.

(Interviewer)    Uh, jubilation…

(Egan)    Well actually it was more of a vision of something that had to be happening soon. (laughs) It was a lot of frustration and a lot of uh, ‘God,” you know, ‘When am I going to find somebody?’ and just, you know, being dissatisfied with the various social congress that I was having, um, (laughs) uh…

(Interviewer)    Kind of a simple song, huh?

(Egan)    I wrote that right after we came off the road, yeah, in 1977 and it was one of the first, I don’t know, one of the first songs that I wrote that I really wanted to have a 4/4 beat in that was really the vehicle there. That was the inspiration along with, uh, Richard Dashut, yeah, who was the engineer on Not Shy. ‘I’ve got to have a 4/4 song for this album!’ So, there it was, and uh, there wasn’t too much profundity in that song. I think it’s more of a, uh, you know, a riff kind of song.

(“Finally Find a Girlfriend” plays)

(Interviewer)    Hot Summer Nights?

(Egan)     “Hot Summer Nights” was interesting because it came down to July 31, the night before our first session for basic tracks and I wanted to have all of the tracks together and ready and I had this one particular song in mind as the closing song for the album which was a song called “Sister of the Moon” which was written by Stevie and I had it from a little demo tape that she had made and we worked it up in Indianapolis that day, not that day, that tour. Anyway, I just loved that song. I think it’s a great song; it’s a very dynamic and powerful song and uh, we were all set to do it and it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do what with uh, you know, trying to establish myself as myself rather than someone who was trying to cash in on Fleetwood Mac or whatever, which really isn’t the case, you know. So it was kind of scrapped in the last couple of days before our basic tracks and I went to work trying to write a song which I felt would be a good closer and uh and had been riding in a car with my friend John Zambetti, who is now out here as a doctor, no longer a lead guitarist…

(Interviewer)    Playing the part of a doctor.

(Egan)    Writing songs, yes, he wrote “Surfin’ and Drivin’” on my first album. And, uh, I was driving along and he… it was a very hot night in July and he was going, ‘You know, boy this night really reminds me of when we played at, you know, this garage in Rosland, New York, like ten years ago or something.’ And I said ‘Yeah, it really is like that.’ And it’s kind of tying in just the feeling of playing in the whole early energy of being in bands with the summertime idea, I guess, I relate the two, somehow. There’s not too much snow rock these days. Well, anyway, uh, (laughs) we, uh, we talked about it for awhile and discussed some of the old days and I went home and I started writing this song that just kind of tied those two together and that’s what basically what’s it about, you know, getting together and how my life must have been changed by hearing this music because when I started getting into rock and roll, I couldn’t believe these sounds. I was wondering where they were coming from and it was just a very mysterious, magical specialness about it and I sort of carried that with me and the way I approach the music all through my life. I’ve never really taken formal lessons in any guitar or in writing or anything and it’s something I feel needs that specialness or else it becomes kind of mundane or boring, at least to me, doing my own thing. So I have to maintain that now. So that’s what the whole first part is about, being changed by the music and talking about being in a car so maybe that you know is just… I used to dream about the day that I’d get my license and be able to go and drive around and listen to the radio, you know, this is one of my early dreams. Anyway, so, you know, it ties all of those things together and when we went into the studio to cut it, um, the idea of having someone sing it from each portion of my life as the bands progressed which is sort of what the story in the song is about. And so I have John Zambetti singing on the first verse, he’s got the harmony in there, and then… he was in the Malibooz, and then Sageworth, I had Annie McLoone sing the second one, and then from Wheels I had Earl Shackleford singing on the third so I guess it’s kind of an ‘in’ thing. I guess nobody really picks up on that, I suppose.

(“Hot Summer Nights” plays)

(Interviewer)    Do you look far into the future? On a more serious note here.

(Egan)    No, No, I don’t. I think that… I feel like I’m capable of doing a few things in life. You know, I gave up a great baseball career to play music. You know, I really thought I was going to be a baseball player for a long time and, uh, I did it pretty well. But I, I really enjoy music now and I’m sort of following through that thing which started maybe when I was sixteen or so or before and I’m sort of following out that dream. And I’m doing it more or less thinking of myself as a writer and so I feel maybe I’ll get into other writing, or maybe I’ll do producing or I’d like to, uh, you know, retire. I don’t know. (laughs)

(Interviewer)    Thank you, Walter.

(Egan)    Well thank you, Chuck.

(“Hot Summer Nights” continues)


Go To:

Transcript of Side One
The Walter Egan Interview Album