Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Peverett Phile Interviews: Jeff Cameron

Hello, welcome to the most updated blog on the internet. Today's interview is with the legendary Jeff Cameron. Ladies and gents, here's Jeff. 

Jeff: First off Jason if this is to talk about spaghetti in a can I try and avoid that kind of controversy. But I will say I don't think its invention is a direct result of the Maori hunting the Moa to extinction. Now about Yer pops live great! Anybody who would let Black Oak Arkansas open for them live is brave indeed! Hillbillies in long underwear prancing around hard to follow but Lonesome Dave did it! I do not have a tattoo that says Pete Townshend Rules. I do not have Angelina Jolies phone number quit asking. Though I must say I saw her father eat a sandwich in a deli once. I like the double wham of "Slow Ride" followed by the "Fool for the City" album (which even had keyboards) strong back to back punch--I believe that was there fourth and fifth studio albums? Yes? Yes you can come surfing with us but only if you bring chips and pretty girls. I'm not speaking to Gary and Dave of the Jeff Cameron band because Gary and I had a big blow up over my vocal sound on the reunion song CHOCOLATE AND TEARS---Dave Sutton just keeps saying I play with Lucinda Williams and I'm above all this! And Gary just says can I have another slice of pizza its delicious. I contacted the original producer of the WHO for a follow up to CHOCOLATE AND TEARS but even though he isn't burning up the charts for the last forty years he wants big bucko's! Will they read this interview in Germany I have been looking for a strong German girl who knows how to take charge. Submarines ahoy ! Dr licorice pump and rise, pump and rise! We must lift the balloon above the time conundrum before Moriarty's minions gain our trail! Quickly man Quickly! Or British Cordroy and the lost Lennon demo's may be lost for ever! Your questions please? 

Me: Hello, Jeff, yes, The questions... So how are you?

Jeff: Fine who are you again. No! LOL I'm fine Jason say may I borrow your tie the polkadots are esquisite! How are you doing!

Me: I won't talk about Spaghetti in a can, but have you heard of an omlette on stick ?

Jeff: No take me please it sounds mouthwatering do they make double cheese with peppers

Me: Jeff, tell the readers of the Phile who you are. A little history lesson, so to speak.

Jeff: I was born in LA in the sixties in a suburban area it was a glorius time for Southern Cal! My friend Jim Podolor my neighbor his Uncle was the record producer for Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf and Iron Butterfly, Black Oak Arkansas and Alice Cooper and some others. He did some big surf hits before that Let there be drums and Teen beat. SO the studio was just a few blocks from our houses and the neighborhood kids including me got interested hanging around the biggest groups of the day. We even sang on some of those songs featuring kids in the chorus! I decided this is for me! At first Jim and I had a band playing sockhops at the high school and what not then when I was about seventeen I started writing with Mike Curtis he wrote "Southern Cross" for Crosby Stills and Nash and "Blue Letter" for Fleetwood Mac... we started writing and recording together and Thom Mooney a great drummer who had been in the Nazz with Todd Rundgren was recruited to play drums! I made my first record "BE SOMEBODY" a big flop!" After a while that fizzled out and I kept at it a few years later I got a call from Richie Podolor the Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf producer! We assembled the Jeff Cameron band cut some singles and albums I went over to MCA Records for a time and I was on my way! The Album "OUT OF THE BLUE" partially produced by Podolor is still available and some MCA singles as well.

Me: So, Jeff, tell me about your band who is in it and what name do you go by.

Jeff: I go by Jeff Cameron, Jason. Lets see the Jeff Cameron band formed at Richie Podolors suggestion was me vocals, songwriting and some guitar, bass keyboards. Gary Cambra backround vocals Lead Guitar, Keyboards. Dave Sutton bass, sometime backround vocals, Steve Klong Drums and sometime in the beginning Paul Mirkovich Keyboards. TODAY ON THE REUNION SINGLE - First Steve Klong died after a long battle with cancer just before we cut the tracks and he had been very ill for quite a while, I had hoped to involve him but there was no way. So it was Me Gary and Dave and we used a combination of drum machines and a session drummer in Gary's living room in San Francisco and Dave was on the road with the great LUCINDA WILLIAMS so he emailed his bass parts from his motel room on the road!

Me: You haven't done anything musically in twelve years, right? What did you do in that time?

Jeff: I chilled out raised my son for a couple years before he went back to his mom, I traveled the road like Jack Kerouac! I lived in the Mountains of Colorado and worked in a tea factory! I lived on the beach in San Diego I lived by the casinos in Las Vegas I may have had one or two torrid affairs with hot women who called me baby or daddy or something! You know I did three albums back to back that I was proud of and they didn't do that well so I ya know I quit to drink booze and screw chicks. Surely you understand? But here I am! Do you have any more pretzels?

Me: Where in California do you live? I hope the fires weren't near you.

Jeff: My childhood home is one block off Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks near Woodman. Right in the cool zone that straddles Studio City/Sherman Oaks. 

Me: Do you live by Topanga ? I was just there in November visiting a friend ate in a small cafe and went shopping at this place with a big dinosaur on the roof that sold antiue crap.

Jeff: Pump and Rise Dr Licorice the terra cotta dinosaur has been spotted! Inflate and rise! Quickly man before the gateway to the alternate Universe is closed forever! Helmsman three quarters ahead quickly Moriaty's minons are snapping at our heels! Oh sorry ! I grew up about eight to ten miles east of Topanga. I used to ride horses there in the sixties with my cousins. I lived at the beach side on the bottom for two years when my dad took an apartment there in 1966 and I was very small. The recording studio where we cut a lot of Jeff Cameron is located there and in fact it snowed one night and we built snowmen at five am after a session for WELCOME TO THE PERFECT WORLD. Last time I was up there I had to go by Richie Podolors studio and borrow fifty bucks and sleep in my car up there by that scary country store.

Me: Let's talk about your CD... when will I be able to download it on iTunes and what can you tell us about it?

Jeff: Well, Jason, the new album was supposed to be a whole album but I haven't recieved any funding besides the two new songs and one more bonus track... so unless somebody comes across with a little recording money it will be the two (or three) new tracks as bonus tracks. Along with two old albums which will be rereleased "OUT OF THE BLUE" and "WELCOME TO THE PERFECT WORLD" the new songs are CHOCOLATE AND TEARS, FEELS LIKE VAN GOGH AND I may use one I did called "GETTING IN GEAR" If we get funding I will go ahead and quickly record six or eight more for a full album. Gary and I had a big row over CHOCOLATE AND TEARS because I didn't like the vocal sound and he wouldn't give me the masters to remix them! And I wanted to flesh out the track with more vocals and keyboards, I thought it was too stripped down and he liked it the way it was. Sutton doesn't even wanna talk about it! I asked Chuck Negron from Three Dog Night to add a high vocal harmony but he is avoiding me! So within a year two old albums, three new bonus tracks and maybe more!

Me: Tell me about your new songs Jeff, the new single is called "CHOCOLATE AND TEARS". What is the inspiration behind that song?

Jeff: Um well on the surface its about a broken relationship, but its about images of my life
really. When I sing say Jeremiahs friend sang incredibly high times were changin but I didin't know why thats remembering Chuck Negron singing JEREMIAH WAS A BULLFROG in that high key he chose to sing the song in , and the fan mania around the studio at that time. Also about how Chuck had his terrible substance abuse problem at that time so you know a double entendre about Chuck just my memories of things I witnessed. When I sing Standing in a doorway of black and white Johhny L strolls the blvd still in the fight... The black and white doorway was movie star Burt Lancaster and he had this white beard and he would stand in this doorway at the beacg smoking and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys would take his morning walk one way and I would walk the other and Burt Lancaster stood there watching these two wounded rock warriors from another generation while he smoked! And Johhny L strolls the Blvd still in the fight is a memory of John Lennon during his lost weekend of 74 when we would often see him strolling Ventura Blvd window shopping. So the song you know is about snapshots of rocknroll and then snapshots of this girl I later lost therefore later I say Chocolate and tears is all that I gave her I'm just a dude with a misspent life. So you know its my autobiographcal travelogue song! Not great lyrics neccesarily but truthful real and full of imagry! I didin't like the EQ on the mix thats what I argued with Gary about needed to roll off the bass on my voice and boost it around four kilohertz and add a few colorful overdubs to accent the story more. Van Gogh was just a richie Podolor style riff and groove I liked. I liked the imagry of that too um if I send you an ear will you take a look in my direction! Anything to get her attention! You know ?

Me: Okay please tell me about the Papa Harry dialogues. Is that a true story? LOL!

Jeff: Say chum have you a back scratcher and some hard candy! What was that did you hear that? Is that the german girl you promised where is she! Oh sorry, Papa Harry is just a fictional detective serial I have started and post on my blog, done in that Humphrey Bogart forties style. Case of The flaming SHISKEBAB! That came about because my oldest boyhood chum Randy his father was this overbearing sometimes crude old bowery NEW YORK detective novelist named Jerome Gollard. His award winning book was called "THE GREAT CHASM" and this guy really talked like the dialogue in that story I wrote. So it was just fun and a hommage to this detective novelist that was my friends dad in Sherman Oaks thats all. Now my Dr Licorice stories about the inflatable blimp in an alternate universe trying to keep Moriarty from stealing the Lost Lennon demos! Now I love that and would love to turn it into a SGT PEPPER YELLOW SUBMARINE kind of movie and soundtrack!

Me: Have you heard of Graham Parker, the singer? When he writes its very similar to your style.

Jeff: Yes it was a lot of work teaching him what I know LOL--no actually around 1980 he had an album with something escalator in the album title! Loved it. I went and saw him live at the WHISKEY when that album was out excellent craftsman! At that time Joe Jackson had Sunday Papers and Look Sharp out and John Hiatt of course! They were vying for the Elvis Costello audience I think! I'm somewhat like Parker and Hiatt or those type of guys but I go a little more for the poppy overdubs and three minute jangle! Or I used to say did you just shove a thermometer up my bum what is that? Hey! Let go of me let go! Hey.

Me: Congrats on your art exhibition, Jeff, it was in Ohio right? How did it go? Was that the Four Hundred Cans of Tuna? How did you get that name? Well the name was inspired by something Gary Cambra did one day. We were rehearsing for a show at the Roxy and the five of us were coming back from break these freakish rock band people and we were stopped at a red light in this fire red old panel truck, IN BURBANK which is very conservative and these two old
ladies with print dresses looked with disgust at us with our earrings and long hair and Gary leaned out the passenger side and said to the ladies and I quote "ITS ONLY AN INCH LONG BUT ITS FAT AS A CAN OF TUNA" And then the light turned green and we zoomed off in our hippie red truck leaving the women aghast at the intersection in their Dodge Dart! The substance was just you know exhibition art inspired by Yoko Ono with her Nail in the Apple on top of a ladder sort of thing thats all.

Me: You have Roger McGuinn as a friend on Myspace. He lives not far from here in Florida. I am trying to get an interview with him. If I do what is the one question I must ask him.

Jeff: I think the thermometer broke its not glass is it. Oh sorry um ask him if he, Hillman and Crosby will cut a few more reunion tracks before they get to old. Or um if thats rude just ask him something stupid like what is chestnut mare about... Or ask him why he changed his name to Roger----just ask him about more reunion tracks!

Me: So, Jeff do you have any famous friends? If so who? And can you hook me up with any interviews?

Jeff: Yes and I wont say and probably. Check your emails my son!

Me: So, what is your favorite Foghat song, Jeff?

Jeff: Oh um I have more than one, "Slow Ride", "Fool For The City", "I Just Want To Make Love to You", "Third Time Lucky". How can I pick just one, JASON. Classics Jason yer pops did classics lots of em! Say do you know how to play three card monty let uncle Jeff teach you now pick a card wait wait wait you wanna win twenty dollars dont you ! OK OK OK OK so just pick the right card and you get twenty for ten the money plays make room for that German girl Jason ok ok ok cigarettes! Mr Demille we're ready for our close up now ok ok ok ok the money plays.

Me: What do you think of the interview so far? Is it better or worse than you expected.

Jeff: Well I dunno really are you gonna finish that? I dunno about the thermometer Jason is the German girl about to get it ? You did promise you know you did. Its better than I expected Jason .

Me: Are you planning on touring Florida? If so we have to get together!

Jeff: Take your hand off my knee lad! No I don't think we are planning to tour Florida but you know if you could start a movement to make us popular there and find a risque German girl perhaps I will change my mind! Generally I am more popular on the west coast upper East and UK. Perhaps you could help me write one they would like in Florida oh wait I know... Well I lost my gator and pappys gonna beat me cause now we aint got no supper! But thats okay cause I love my Mother so pappy spends time beatin my brother God bless General Lee and some Gator taters aint nothin bettern seein your waiter comin to your table with some piping hot gator Its a good life oh yeah its a good life in Dixie Its a good life for somebodys ramblin boy its a good life in Dixie Ok gotta second verse! okay okay okay LICORICE QUICKLY BRING THE PRINCESS ABOVE DECKS FOR INTERROGATION QUICKLY MAN BEFORE THE THREAD TO THE ALTERNATE UNIVERSE IS LOST AND WE ARE TRAPPED IN THESE GODFORSAKEN ICE FIELDS FOREVER QUICKLY MAN QUICKLY

Me: Jeff, I ran out of questions my friend. So you sure you don't have Angelina's phone number?

Jeff: That depends is she German ? I kept calling but some irratated man kept cursing and saying who is this!

Me: Do you have any advice you can give about the music business?

Jeff: Um tell them you are part of Rod Stewarts advance team and you want the best room in the house! UM Do it because you love music and any money you might make is a bonus. Occasionally I have had the pleasure to say on playback oh thats nice I like that one. Thats why I did it and thats a good reason. If its just for money or glamour then thats part of the problem then, isn't it!

Me: Jeff take care, and thanks for doing this. When your CD comes out, if you want, I'll interview you again.

Jeff: Is the German girl wearing a uniform of any kind? Ok Jason its been a pleasure but the chips are rather stale do you have any herbal iced tea and a hawaiin shirt I might borrow ?
lets get some flipflops and trudge up the sand looking for German girls what say you brother! Talley ho ! Onward. Please tell everyone to demand CHOCOLATE AND TEARS BY JEFF CAMERON. Bye Jason, its been a pleasure.

Oh, boy. What a crazy interview. My head is spinning. To listen to Jeff's great music go to his site http://www.myspace.com/jeffcameronsingsagain. Come back tomorrow for the interview with Tish Meeks from 3 Kisses, then have a good Christmas. Remember, spread the word, not the turd.

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