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Tom Petty drummer Steve Ferrone talks groove

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4 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Did you ever go to a show with Steve on the drums? If so, was it any better in person?

Well this will sound bad, but no.  I didn't go in 1995, because I'd recently seen them in '89 and ]92, and I didn't like the Wildflowers album.  That had nothing to do with Steve on the drums.  After that I lost interest in attending their live shows, especially when I saw how "greatest hits" heavy it had become.  And on their final tour, they were doing stadiums, not a great way to see or hear a show (unless you are in a prime seat).  In hindsight, I regret not seeing any shows over their final 25 years of touring.  At least we've got the live audio and video recordings, some in high quality, though it's not the same as live.  

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1 hour ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Well this will sound bad, but no.  I didn't go in 1995, because I'd recently seen them in '89 and ]92, and I didn't like the Wildflowers album.  That had nothing to do with Steve on the drums.

I don't think it sounds bad, if you didn't want to go or wouldn't enjoy it, why bother? Makes sense to me. 

1 hour ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

After that I lost interest in attending their live shows, especially when I saw how "greatest hits" heavy it had become. 

I stopped after seeing them multiple times in '06. First (and last) time I did that and it was bad; made exponentially worse when my favorite band, Pearl Jam opened for them, offering a different set each time. My last show went on a high though, since I knew it would be the last time I'd see them I decided to just embrace all of it, even YDKHIF; and I got Melinda which was amazing! And Eddie guesting on The Waiting and American Girl. 

I realize how this sort of concert would've been torture for you ha ha.

1 hour ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

In hindsight, I regret not seeing any shows over their final 25 years of touring. 

That stinks but at least you got to see them with what you consider their best drummer and material. What was the first TPATH show you saw?

cheers

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20 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

What was the first TPATH show you saw?

1983 which was the best, and the only other TPATH show I attended.  I didn't do multiple shows per tour or even feel compelled to do every tour.  Seeing them in 1992 was a bit of a fluke but I'm glad I did.  I actually wasn't that impressed with the ITGWO album when I first heard it, but they really did it well live, and performed a lot of the songs from that.  After the WF tour they didn't cover the albums as well as that album and all the prior ones.  

20 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

And Eddie guesting on The Waiting and American Girl. 

I realize how this sort of concert would've been torture for you ha ha.

I'm glad you enjoyed Pearl Jam, and the 2006 tour appears to have been a good one, in support of Highway Companion and with (what I view as) Steve's improved drumming.  I'm glad they shot an excellent quality video of the 2006 Gainesville concert.  I'm someone who didn't mind that the TPATH setlists and performances weren't so varied within the tour, my thought was that a typical fan would try to see one show from each tour.  However, in terms of collecting live recordings, it's always great when they played a rare song.    The funny thing is, at some shows they specifically seemed to play rare songs, with the idea of making it an official release.  If they knew the fans liked those, well... but that's ok.

You are right, I would have skipped the Pearl Jam show and just gone for the TPATH.  And if Eddie Vedder showed up on stage to sing with TPATH, I would be very tempted to ask for a partial refund.   I just don't get that guy.  But I have to give him credit for performing with the guys he idolized when he was a teen, all of them (and it's many, many bands he's done that with).   I can understand bands bringing in the performers that THEY idolized themselves, but the other way 'round seems, well.. you know my thoughts on that.  But again I'm glad it was an awesome concert for you (and that you enjoyed each PJ performance that year).    

 

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36 minutes ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

1992 was a bit of a fluke but I'm glad I did. 

Glad you go to see them then too.

37 minutes ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

But again I'm glad it was an awesome concert for you (and that you enjoyed each PJ performance that year).    

Thanks. A definite highpoint out of all my TPATH shows (7 I think) was Melinda. I love guitar soloing, improvisations, the way Mike and Tom's guitars sound together but it's special to see a pianist of Benmont's caliber stand out amid all that joyful noise. For that chunk of time whatever he was doing on the 88 keys were magic and I think the crowd knew it; I hope so. Regardless, it's good to hear what he does within each song, or times within YWM where he gets to solo but this was all his. Getting to see it live, especially when I decided this would be it for my live TPATH was a nice treat.

I still have my souvenir hoodie from that tour as well, good for going to the gym, biking and such. Over the years I"d been fortunate to see some really good TPATH shows, spread out from tour to tour largely, so each time was a different experience. 

cheers

 

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19 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

A definite highpoint out of all my TPATH shows (7 I think) was Melinda. I love guitar soloing, improvisations, the way Mike and Tom's guitars sound together but it's special to see a pianist of Benmont's caliber stand out amid all that joyful noise. For that chunk of time whatever he was doing on the 88 keys were magic and I think the crowd knew it; I hope so. Regardless, it's good to hear what he does within each song, or times within YWM where he gets to solo but this was all his.

I remember reading many years ago that Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers had a "secret weapon", and that was Mike Campbell.  And there's no doubt that Mike is a huge part of the band's success, he's incredible and as Tom has said, a lot of people don't realize how good Mike is, because he doesn't play to show off - he plays for the song.  However, Mike has gotten so much well-deserved recognition, and he was right out front with the band, that he was hardly a secret weapon.  The real secret weapon may have been Benmont, though the whole band deserved credit at all times for "team player" musicianship and humility. 

Benmont always played tastefully, creatively, and fit his keyboards perfectly within each song.  That was true whether his skills were being showcased (which was fairly rare), or if he was just contributing to a song.  He managed to add keyboards to songs like Free Fallin', which were already great as studio tracks, yet he made them even better in concert, without intruding on the song.   He seems like an awesome and thoughtful guy in person too; I've enjoyed the comments he's made over the years, and I'm very glad for him to be so happy with his wife and child at this point in his life.  It's been very nice for cooped-up TPATH fans that he's shared a few home videos online, as I think he realizes how much the fans enjoy connecting with him and the music.  

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14 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Benmont always played tastefully, creatively, and fit his keyboards perfectly within each song. 

Benmont, a fiercely intelligent musician, understood the role of the keyboardist in a guitar band. He knew what, how, and where to add. And as befits the subject of this thread, Benmont was all about the groove. 

 

15 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

A definite highpoint out of all my TPATH shows (7 I think) was Melinda.

It is truly one of my biggest life regrets that I never got to hear this performed live, and so I console myself with the live recordings. I'm partial to the New Orleans recording from TLA, and although I also like the Soundstage rendition I prefer this one:

Does a studio version exist (even if not yet publicly available)?

 

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9 hours ago, Arete411 said:

It is truly one of my biggest life regrets that I never got to hear this performed live, and so I console myself with the live recordings

Sorry you never got to hear it live. Thanks for sharing this! Man, that playing from 2:43 to 3:32 is fabulous. So inspired. Melodic, moody, energetic, man that Benmont sure can play the piano. And that's just the warm-up for what follows! Ron enjoys it so much he stops playing and just takes it in. You know, listening to it now, this solo segment recalls the "chamber music" approach the way the instruments all do something different but support each other; any easy thing to overlook (I have till this moment). It's a deceptively simple song and improvisation.

cheers

 

 

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On May 2, 2020 at 5:51 PM, TheSameOldDrew said:

Benmont always played tastefully, creatively, and fit his keyboards perfectly within each song.  That was true whether his skills were being showcased (which was fairly rare), or if he was just contributing to a song.  He managed to add keyboards to songs like Free Fallin', which were already great as studio tracks, yet he made them even better in concert, without intruding on the song. 

I agree. I guess you could sum up the whole band as "tasteful". Both he and Mike knew exactly when to enter a song and how long to play, supplying key moments that elevated the tune, catchy, memorable, simple and fitting in perfectly. Then every so often they could go wild on stage and the audience got a whole 'nother side to their playing!

cheers

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Since this thread is, or at least was, about groove, taking its main cue from one of the key players of the rhythm section, namely the drummer, wouldn't it be interesting to ponder another key, namely the bass. You know, it's all about the bass.. (no treble.)

This has been touched upon before, in various other discussions. But still there are unexplored aspects in it, I'd say. So, given the rather big shift in the drumming department, and the quite different drum ideals TP implemented gradually, from the Lynne era on*, what do people here make of what all that meant for the bass inside the TPATH sound? How do you all see that side of the rhythm section changing with Steve entering the stage?

What do you figure the new approach meant for Howie, how he played and how he came out, musically, before and after? And the Ron 1.0 vs Ron 2.0? Ron did give some clues to some of this in interviews, but what's the insight among Farmers?

And Tom himself originally a bass player - and one with very special style and swagger, may I add - what do you make of his early playing with Mudcrutch vs how he played during the reunion years? 

Just opening some doors here.. Feel free to throw in some stuff. Rumble on!

 

 

-----

*That I think many of us agree on (if not always on the nature or scope of the effects it supposedly had on various aspects of the TPATH enterprise.)

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2 hours ago, Shelter said:

what do people here make of what all that meant for the bass inside the TPATH sound?

The bass was originally very important in TPATH.  As you note, Tom was the bass player for Mudcrutch, and still obviously had an interest in the bass sound when TPATH was formed.  Breakdown was the first single, and it has a very slinky, significant bass sound - in fact the bass guitar is the lead instrument for much of the song.  I remember that song getting a lot of play thanks to being on a movie soundtrack called "FM".  I don't think a lot of people saw the movie, but the soundtrack spotlighted TPATH as an upcoming band with Breakdown.  Many other early songs also had significant bass portions, including American Girl.    

My take is that Ron was a terrific bass player in TPATH 1.0, and that Howie was amazing at picking up right where Ron left off.  Both Ron and Howie worked very well with Stan's drumming.  In comparing the two bass players as they worked with Stan, I thought Ron's bass playing was slightly more forceful sounding than Howie's, and Howie's might have been a touch more musical than Ron's.  But they were both awesome and virtually interchangeable on bass.   Howie could sing really well too, with the high harmonies, although who knew that Ron is actually quite a good singer - as we've heard with his version of Down South.  

Howie's bass guitar playing seemed to decline a bit in the 1990's (at least to my ears), and I was surprised that Scott Thurston actually took the bass on some song's, such as King's Highway in the ITGWO tour.  So Scott could be the 3rd live bass player, and he played quite well off of Stan too.  Or maybe he's the 4th live bass player, since Tom himself played some bass when Bob Dylan was fronting the band.  

 

2 hours ago, Shelter said:

How do you all see that side of the rhythm section changing with Steve entering the stage?

What do you figure the new approach meant for Howie, how he played and how he came out, musically, before and after? And the Ron 1.0 vs Ron 2.0?

I've mentioned this before, so I'll try to keep it short, but I feel that Steve's heavy bass drum use and on-the-beat timing (vs. Stan's somewhat off the beat drumming) diminished the bass guitar sound of the band, both for Howie and then later when Ron rejoined.  Ron even said in an interview that he missed Stan's drumming, though it wasn't a dig at Steve personally, whom Ron seemed to enjoy hanging out.  Just noting that Stan had a different sound and different interaction with the band (maybe someone else can pinpoint the interview where Ron said he missed Stan's drumming).  Though I'll also repeat that I think Steve's drumming improved and worked better with the band after 2005, and I could hear Ron's bass guitar better after that.  It still wasn't sounding the same as TPATH 1.0, but there was more room for it.

So, yes I think there was a big change in the bass sound over the years.  Much of it had to do with the change in drummers IMO, some of it may have been due to Tom de-emphasizing the bass (I don't know if he actually did this, but it's possible), and some may have been due to Howie losing some of the skills he exhibited in the 80's, and/or Ron may not have been playing quite the same as in the 70's, when he returned in the 21st century.  Did I like the change?  No, I preferred the early bass sound, pre-1995.   But it is what is it, better than not having anything.    

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^ Thank you for expanding a bit on all that. Good insight, I think. Since the bass-drum relation is so integral to the groove and overall sound, I'm glad you saw what my post was aimed at. As you probably know, I do agree with your general take on the "drum issue", and to me the bass aspect really goes with it. To an extent I would even suggest that the groove, stemming from a change in drummers - especially a shift of the magnitude that happened here - is even more accentuated in the bass. It's where the tail end of the swagger is destined to live, so to speak. The heart in heartbeat.

 

16 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

It still wasn't sounding the same as TPATH 1.0, but there was more room for it.

Interesting observation. And I much agree. Given how much Ron had to learn and re-learn upon his return - new material, new drummer, new arrangements, new Scott too and the new approach to the rhythm section in general - it's no big surprise that he comes across quite differently the second time around. The contrast between what he left and what he came back to, must have been very stark. In all kinds of ways. Still, to live through it, the way Howie did, he didn't have to deal with. In fact, if I may take a wild guess here, maybe the straighter, boom-smack backdrop approach (as I've once called it) was a bit of help for him coming right back into the action, the way he was, even if it may sound slightly less dynamic and interesting in some ways. 

Either way.. I agree, Ron found (was given?) a bit more room sonically, towards the latter years*. This, in combination with slightly fuller and grittier guitar sounds (and perhaps better sound systems?) made for much heavier and more dynamic live sound in the last few tours, as I view it. To an extent this is all in the fine print, so to speak, but with strenghtened dynamics, some of the real "roll" was certainly back in place towards the end, if in a totally other way than in the Stan and/or Howie era, certainly. 

 

16 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Howie's might have been a touch more musical than Ron's

I like to think so, yes. Howie was the perfect musical match for TP, as I see it. Not only did their voices blend in a rarely heard fashion of perfect, his very groove seemed to be very much tailor made to fit with TP. Almost uncanny at times, the way he built TP up.

 

16 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

some may have been due to Howie losing some of the skills he exhibited in the 80's

Him folding or him being essentially squeezed and shrinked, musically, under the new "regime", is the ultimate chicken or egg, isn't it? I vote egg. I would suggest Howie kept on delivering on a level he felt he was asked to, straight to the end. How much he thrived from it, though, may be another matter entirely.

 

 

-----

* It should perhaps be said, though, that some of the most interesting and prominent bass work on HE, for example, is really TP. Showing - much like he was with the Re-Mudcrutch - that either Tom didn't quite practiced what he preached with respect to his post-Lynne rhythm ideas, or he just couldn't help himself.. He did deliver some typically mean, lose-yet-driving and ultra cool bass himself, all the way to the end. --> And here, at the very end.. voila.. Yet another door opens: TP's bass in Mudcrutch 2.0.. doesn't it, at least a little bit, contradict the common knowledge we all share about how he tried to get Randall to "heel" his drums, to speak dog (like we tend to do at times around here). What's that all about..? Maybe the two don't go quite hand in hand all the time after all..    

 

 

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3 hours ago, Shelter said:

I would suggest Howie kept on delivering on a level he felt he was asked to, straight to the end.

Hard to tell.  I do feel - and I think most of us feel - that Howie's bass playing was more significant to the band's sound with Stan on drums than with Sreve.  But I think he even was showing a diminished role by the FMF and ITGWO tours, which could be due to Jeff Lynne's influence on Tom, or it could be something else.   By the late 90's into 2001, Howie's sound seemed even less noticable; this could be due to Steve's drumming not leaving him room to be heard, it could be due to Tom de-emphasizing the bass, or it could have been the effects of drug addiction on Howie which eventually caused his death.   When I listen to Howie's bass playing with the band in the mid 1980's, it's just incredible, really great and a great fit with the band. 

I also agree with you that Ron's bass seemed to re-emerge after he'd been back with the band for several years.  Which may have also happened for various reasons, possibly including his re-learning the bass while with the band, Steve changing his drumming style somewhat to allow more bass guitar to be heard, a move by TP to include more bass (possibly coinciding with his return to Mudcrutch as their bass player), etc.  

I'm pretty sure most of us recall the quote from Benmont saying that he often would play his keyboards off of Ron's bass, in TPATH 1.0.  I believe that's in the Playback booklet.  Which shows the early role of the bass & drums foundation in the band, with the bass being more the timekeeper and the drums more independent.  Or at least that's how Ben seemed to hear it, at that time.   

 

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On May 4, 2020 at 12:02 PM, Shelter said:

You know, it's all about the bass.. (no treble.)

Never thought I'd see that reference here! Ha ha!

On May 4, 2020 at 12:02 PM, Shelter said:

what do people here make of what all that meant for the bass inside the TPATH sound?

I gotta say, sometimes the bass has had the least of my attention; while with other bands I can focus in on it, for whatever reason, perhaps because the parts have been so well formulated as to not stand out or just I've not listened on the highest quality sound system but it's not what I usually think of when I consider TPATH. That said, I enjoy Ron's playing on that first album it stands out to me, and I'm fond of how he broke down the bass playing here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOw2CgVdDWQ

I think he's a potential great interview, with his p.o.v. inside, then outside, then back in with the band.

People rave about the sound of DTT but sometimes I think I prefer the simpler, different take of that first record, maybe the second too.

He's pretty humble too, if Benmont says Steve leads the band, Ron definitely found a way to work along with that as he said, behind or under what Ferrone did, which of course loops back to your point, about the differences and how Stan was part of the ensemble. 

I guess I don't have much to add so for now I'll just step back and follow along other than to say, for anyone who may not know, (doubtful here but ya never know) Dog on the Run from the 70s had Ron take a dramatic spotlight, not to be repeated till Two Men Talking in 2012, where he got to actually lead and solo; quite powerful too.

As for Howie, the difference in drummers, let alone the very interesting topic of Tom as bass player in Mudcrutch and that drummer's response and songwriting contributions, well, I'll just follow along unless something of merit occurs to me, though that hasn't stopped me before...!

cheers

 

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I gotta ad, the bass just sounds so fine on Rockin' Around With You. It's quite the discipline to keep to that simplicity yet it holds the whole song up, in this case it feels like Stan is racing straight ahead while Ron keeps things back, develops that tension. It's not the best TPATH song, not even my favorites but it's such a fun little number; nothing against Steve, I just think this song captured a purity of its time, no...more like an innocence that the 2017 version couldn't recreate though I get why they opened with it.

I also like how he emerges into focus on Here Comes My Girl, leading into the "...watch her walk part..." Again, just very tasteful; they could be the most tasteful band ever; Tom Petty and the Tastefuls.

There you go.

Peace!

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18 hours ago, Shelter said:

maybe the straighter, boom-smack backdrop approach (as I've once called it) was a bit of help for him coming right back into the action, the way he was, even if it may sound slightly less dynamic and interesting in some ways. 

----I could see why you'd suggest that, makes sense on the surface but the interview link above leads me in another direction.

 Aside from Ron complimenting Steve it seems his playing exists underneath Steve's; again, Ferrone leading the band, Ron following along which sounds easier on the surface but seems at odds with perhaps his natural playing with the Stan and the 1.0 version of the band. I don't know if anyone asked but I'm sure he slid right back into the familiar pocket with Stan at the Rock Hall induction. So while the "boom-smack" may seem easier to work with, I figure it took some measure of adjustment to.

cheers

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6 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Never thought I'd see that reference here! Ha ha!

All the right junk in all the right places!

 

6 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

People rave about the sound of DTT but sometimes I think I prefer the simpler, different take of that first record, maybe the second too.

Yeah, there is something to that, I think. I really like the mysterious "air" that seem to loom in those sounds. Of course I love the Iovine era TPATH, but I think perhaps that what most people find to be the big moment, where they really hit it off with the sound on DTT, feels a wee bit.. crammed?.. for my taste sometimes. Although there are many great moments. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing stuff.. just disecting ants here.. To me, I feel a bit more stuff happening in my ears on HP, they seem to have relaxed a little bit and taken the "million-miles-away" method to a slightly more productive and interesting place. These things are obviously complex and hard to pin down, but maybe part of it was that by then they - perhaps especially Stan - had found a better level to work with Iovine, than the catharsis type experience that was DTT sessions, the hundred takes of Refugee and all that. Then, even the much underrated (among the general public) LAD, with it's somewhat darker and at times almost menacing sound, amounts to a type claustrophopia of sorts (I think I mentioned elsewhere), that really ties in well with the material and elevates the whole experience that little extra notch. Not that Ron was ever anything but great through all of it, but it strikes me that perhaps Howie, just entering, happened to have this natural understanding, both for Stan and for what Jimmy wanted. He seems to hit the ground flying.. so to speak.

7 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I gotta ad, the bass just sounds so fine on Rockin' Around With You.

Yeah, very good point with regards to these things! Very good and interesting example of the early interplay. They kinda flounder and pull the thing, in what may seem like opposite directions and, as if by accident (surely not) they land it just perfectly, with that weird feverish energy and that sweet little echo on the vocals. And.. it's not even a good song. Yet it's perfect. What an interesting way to launch a 40 years recording career, really.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

----I could see why you'd suggest that, makes sense on the surface but the interview link above leads me in another direction.

Well. Change is always difficult. And surely, another way at looking at it would - like you say - be that it was "odd" for him with the new approach, making the return more difficult. But for one thing I really just meant "help" during the initial getting-back-in-the-saddle phase, learning-the-new-stuff phase. He seems to have kept it rather simple to begin with. At least that's how I hear most of it. (It may be imagination.) For another thing, he had been gone a loong time from this gig, and while I don't know this for certain I don't think he played that much professional bass during his absence either. In other words, I think his return was a restart in most ways - it's not that he had to change his ways and find a new approach more or less midstream the way Howie did, (and being part of the process, of course, also has pros and cons.) In more ways than one Ron was starting over, was the perhaps overly obvious point I wanted to make. But yeah.. I am fairly certain that Ron knows these things better than most.. haha.. so.. yeah.. I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. I've seen that interview and I love to hear him (all of them) talk about the music, obviously. But while it's always interesting, they don't always address all the aspect you'd love to hear more about, do they.. they leave some room for speculation, which is fun too.

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7 hours ago, Shelter said:

Yeah, there is something to that, I think. I really like the mysterious "air" that seem to loom in those sounds.

"Air" you say? Interesting. Hmmm....I think you are onto something with such wording and concept...perhaps worthy of a topic all its own....

7 hours ago, Shelter said:

just disecting ants here..

Disturbing but unique phrasing I like it.

7 hours ago, Shelter said:

perhaps especially Stan - had found a better level to work with Iovine, than the catharsis type experience that was DTT sessions, the hundred takes of Refugee and all that. Then, even the much underrated (among the general public) LAD, with it's somewhat darker and at times almost menacing sound, amounts to a type claustrophopia of sorts (I think I mentioned elsewhere), that really ties in well with the material

That makes sense. Maybe too Iovine accepted this is TPATH's drummer.

7 hours ago, Shelter said:

as if by accident (surely not) they land it just perfectly, with that weird feverish energy and that sweet little echo on the vocals.

Ha ha, exactly.

7 hours ago, Shelter said:

And.. it's not even a good song. Yet it's perfect.

That's it. Though I think the vocals are unique during the verses, it's interesting phrashing, adding to the tension released during the chorus. And it's such a short song, a quick burst of energy that even if it isn't a classic it still makes a good impact, a nice beginning. An interesting side note, to me at least, let's not harm any more ants or kick the hill over, is how they arguably kept the record's best song for the end unlike later where  if not put the best one first, at least the potential single (Learing to Fly, Refugee, Room at the Top, Free Fallin', The Waiting, etc.) It makes for a different or interesting conclusion. I don't know if they ever go into track listing in an interview...

7 hours ago, Shelter said:

But for one thing I really just meant "help" during the initial getting-back-in-the-saddle phase,

Oh.

7 hours ago, Shelter said:

For another thing, he had been gone a loong time from this gig, and while I don't know this for certain I don't think he played that much professional bass during his absence either. In other words, I think his return was a restart in most ways

I see where you're coming from. I guess it depends on how often he played with Mike during this period, it seems like maintaining that connection was the gateway back to the band. So maybe he wasn't that rusty to begin with and it was more a matter of adjusting to steve, whom might have been a aprt of some jams with Mike (and the dirty knobs, didn't he drum for them here and there?) I don't know. Muddying the issue perhaps. Mudcrutching the issue.

7 hours ago, Shelter said:

But while it's always interesting, they don't always address all the aspect you'd love to hear more about, do they.. they leave some room for speculation, which is fun too.

I agree. It feels like there are vast...wait for it...great wide open areas for interview questions that aren't asked while the same points more or less get made. Ha ha, yes speculation, of course. You make good points, perhaps you are correct, as you say, short of speaking with Ron or Mike or whomever on the phone, (and manages to stammer out a hello) or some more intrepid interviewer, it's all guesswork and ants.

cheers

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16 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I gotta ad, the bass just sounds so fine on Rockin' Around With You.

It sure does.  From the first notes of the first song of the first album, we were hearing that prominent bass.   It was a signature of the band in TPATH 1.0.

2 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:
9 hours ago, Shelter said:

For another thing, he had been gone a loong time from this gig, and while I don't know this for certain I don't think he played that much professional bass during his absence either. In other words, I think his return was a restart in most ways

I see where you're coming from. I guess it depends on how often he played with Mike during this period, it seems like maintaining that connection was the gateway back to the band.

According to Tom via the Playback booklet, which was issued in the mid 1990's, Ron had quit the music business altogether after leaving the band after the 1981 tour.  But by the late 1990's he was back playing with Mike on the Blue Stingrays album (I don't think they did any live shows, they also had Randall Marsh on drums), and maybe the Dirty Knobs too, prior to TPATH? 

Ron had to re-learn his bass parts, plus he had to learn a bunch of new songs (including songs from the LAD, SA, LMU, FMF, ITGWO, WF, STO, Echo, and Last DJ albums).  There was also his learning to play against Steve's drums rather than Stan's.  It might have been somewhat lucky for him early upon re-joining TPATH that Steve's drums made the bass less consequential.  Over time he seemed to get more room for the bass, though still not as much as he had with Stan in the early years.      

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4 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

But by the late 1990's he was back playing with Mike on the Blue Stingrays album (I don't think they did any live shows, they also had Randall Marsh on drums), and maybe the Dirty Knobs too, prior to TPATH? 

Yes, good points. 

4 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

of new songs (including songs from the LAD, SA, LMU, FMF, ITGWO, WF, STO, Echo, and Last DJ albums)

Eh, well...I don't know. Two points:

1) My impression is Tom's songwriting is deceptively simple, I read an interview where he said he plays the Am7 during MJLD and people will miss that among other details of his guitar work, etc. And I think it's amazing how he basically took four chords and crafted Learning To Fly, etc. etc. But on a base level, their music for an average guitar player is not challenging to learn. That isn't a criticism, I love simplicity in rock music. So I don't think it was that difficult for Ron to relearn songs, especially ones he'd had a hand in creating.

2) He may have relearned all that on principle I don't know. But I could just as easily see him not having to relearn all of that since a lot of it was never performed.

4 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

It might have been somewhat lucky for him early upon re-joining TPATH that Steve's drums made the bass less consequential.  Over time he seemed to get more room for the bass, though still not as much as he had with Stan in the early years.      

I think Fault Lines is interesting in that it kinda gives the bass prominence; adds to the song's power and unique nature in their discography. I was disappointed Ron didn't get to play the bass on U Get Me High but am glad he was able to on stage.

cheers

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21 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

1) My impression is Tom's songwriting is deceptively simple

Yeah, anyone can do it.  Sorry but I don't agree with that.

But I'll admit I was amused the way some guy (not sure who he is) wandered onto the TPATH stage and tried to re-write American Girl on the fly.  I guess he thought it would be simple.  I happen to prefer Tom's original version:

 

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20 minutes ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Yeah, anyone can do it.  Sorry but I don't agree with that.

But that's not what I said.

A bit of a miscommunication.

I didn't say anyone could do it, I said that most average guitar players could learn the songs; and even then I pointed out that many (myself included) would miss the nuances of Tom's approach on guitar. Even further, I would never say anyone can do it, that is, not anyone could write songs just because so many only use a few chords. Are you kidding? Tom had a songwriting gift, not anyone could do it, most can't...! 

As for Ron, I"m sure he could re-learn the songs just fine, they're not Rush nor Dream Theater compositions. 

cheers

 

 

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