Transcript: Transcript Dr Hook’s Dennis Locorriere on the journey

[00:13 – 00:17] Welcome to A Breath of Fresh Air with Sandy Kaye.
[00:36 – 00:43] Hi, how are you? Enjoying your break? Thank you so much for joining me today for holiday episode
[00:43 – 00:49] number four, as I feature one of my favorite interviews of the past year. This week on my
[00:49 – 00:57] top five countdown, you get to meet one of the nicest guys in rock and roll. I had no idea that
[00:57 – 01:05] Dr. Hook’s Dennis Locorieri was such a sweet down-to-earth person, and the longer I chatted with him, the more enamored of him I became.
[01:05 – 01:18] I still can’t seem to pronounce his name right though, but Dennis wasn’t fussed by it at all. He was far more interested in sharing stories about Dr. Hook and his wonderful relationship
[01:18 – 01:28] with the late Ray Sawyer. Joining me on this interview is one of our listeners from Sydney, who had written in and requested that we get Dennis onto the show. You can do the same,
[01:28 – 01:39] you know, too, by contacting me through the website, I really hope you enjoy this interview. I hope you enjoy our chat. Dennis, how do you pronounce your surname?
[01:39 – 01:51] It’s Locorieri. If you pronounce it in Italian, it’s Locorieri, and it means the courier, but it takes two hands to pronounce, and a lot of the times I’m playing guitar.
[01:51 – 02:03] When I was a kid, it was pronounced every which way. I mean, in school, as soon as they paused, Mr. Uh, I’d get up because I knew it was me. And so sooner or later, when I had cause to
[02:04 – 02:16] have a last name. I asked by somebody in my family what it meant. And they said, well, it means the courier, you know, the messenger, the man. So I just kind of Americanized it into
[02:17 – 02:29] Locorieri. And people still can’t say it. So you can call me Dennis. I should have shortened it, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t because anybody who knows how to say it must really like me.
[02:30 – 02:35] Dennis, if it’s all right with you, can we just take a little walk down memory lane and let the audience know?
[02:35 – 02:45] I grew up in a place called Union City, New Jersey, which is a bus ride across a bridge or
[02:45 – 02:56] through a tunnel to New York City. And I spent a lot of time there. But there was an area of town in Union City that they called the transfer station, because at one point, everybody used
[02:56 – 03:05] to meet there to take different buses, different coaches to other places in New Jersey and New York. After a while, all those little restaurants started to open up. And I was like, oh, I’m going through this metal company. And I was like, oh, I don’t like being out of the bus station.
[03:05 – 03:16] A lot of the places that were there to accommodate the travelers closed down, and all these places became bars and they became places where bands could play. And so I used to sit in. I used to
[03:16 – 03:23] just go into these places and sit in, play drums, play harmonica with anybody that was up on the
[03:23 – 03:36] bandstand. And one night I went in here and George and Ray, the two guys that I, you know, started the band with. they were there they’d come up from Alabama and Mississippi and they were gigging in this town
[03:36 – 03:47] this little town that I lived in and I could have started playing with them I think I was an oddity to them and they certainly they were older than me and southerners and so they were
[03:47 – 03:56] curio to me but I met Ray a year after he had the car accident that gave him his iconic eye patch
[03:56 – 04:07] you know talk about taking something and making something brilliant out of it you know we merged I sang the Beatles songs Ray sang the country songs George did the blues numbers we
[04:07 – 04:12] seemed to have it together and plus we were playing to people that didn’t remember it the next day
[04:12 – 04:22] there was a wild colonial boy Jack Doolin was his name
[04:24 – 04:26] of poor but ungrateful
[04:26 – 04:40] his parents he was born the castle name he was his father’s only son and his mother’s pride and
[04:40 – 04:50] so dearly did his parents love their wild colonial boy
[04:54 – 05:05] barely six two In years of age, he first began to roam. When did you formalise the band arrangement?
[05:06 – 05:16] Oh, God, I don’t think we ever formalised it, Sandy. You know, we were playing in these bars and somebody came in and liked the band. And, you know, every couple of nights,
[05:17 – 05:29] somebody would come in, have a few drinks and say, you know, I think I could really make you guys something, you know, and then we’d never see them again or they’d pass out. And one night, one night, some guy said, you know,
[05:29 – 05:40] if we could record some things on you guys. And we had nothing yet. We were playing in the bar, so we went over during that day. We recorded, I think it was a Mr Tambourine Man
[05:40 – 05:51] and something George wrote and a country song, Big in Vegas by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos. Things we were playing in the bars as to not be killed.
[05:52 – 05:58] When I was young, we left my home And we were playing in the bars And we went away to Vegas
[06:02 – 06:09] With my guitar and my dreams I had to try to play and sing in Vegas
[06:12 – 06:36] We put them on tape and the tape just went off.
[06:36 – 06:48] And whoever heard it, heard it. But the last person who heard it was someone who was the musical director on a film that Dustin Hoffman, who was in called Who is Harry Kellerman?
[06:48 – 07:00] And why is he saying those terrible things about me? And it’s a little-known Dustin Hoffman film. He played a songwriter in it, a very paranoid character who was about the inner workings of the music business.
[07:00 – 07:11] And the general public didn’t even know. It was very psychedelic. They didn’t know what the hell was going on with it. But we were in this film. And for me, the best thing about it was that
[07:11 – 07:21] Shel Silverstein, brilliant writer that I was a fan of, he wrote the songs anyway. And when they came in with the tape to our little rehearsal hall and said,
[07:21 – 07:34] here, put this cassette on, learn these two songs, but don’t worry about the guy’s voice. He can’t sing. And they put the tape in and it was Shel and that exquisitely raspy voice singing these two songs.
[07:34 – 07:46] And I freaked out. The other guys didn’t really know who he was because he was a very urban kind of character and they were very country guys. And when I found out, we were going to be doing something
[07:46 – 07:56] and I was going to be working with Shel, I was in. So that was the beginning of it for me. While we were recording that movie, every day we would be there hanging around
[07:56 – 08:06] because Dustin Hoffman wasn’t really used to acting like someone in the music business and used to like to just be around us and pick up things we would say and everything.
[08:07 – 08:18] So they’d want us there at six or seven in the morning every day. We just played in the bar till 3 a.m. And we’d hang out all day with Dustin while he shot his scenes. And then we’d go back in the plate to the bar and say,
[08:18 – 08:29] here’s a little song we recorded for a Dustin Hoffman movie. And his drums would go up the hell up. You don’t know Dustin Hoffman. So we led a dual life for a long time. Wow.
[08:30 – 08:42] This is the last morning that I wake up in this dirty city looking for the sunshine as the buildings block the sky.
[08:44 – 08:56] Looking for the sunshine as the buildings block the sky. Looking for the sunshine as the buildings block the sky. This is the last morning that I watch in the rush to water trying to shave a face that I don’t even recognize.
[09:01 – 09:13] Down the hallways, ruts of skidging. I can smell the garbage rotting. Hear the children crying in apartments down below.
[09:13 – 09:25] Down below. This is the last morning that I’m gonna have to listen to it. I’m going home.
[09:27 – 09:37] Dennis, Shel Silverstein, for people who haven’t heard of him, wrote a lot for Johnny Cash. He’d written for everybody. He wrote A Boy Named Sue for Johnny Cash.
[09:37 – 09:44] He wrote Ones on the Way and a few other ones for Loretta Lynn. He wrote a few things that Chris Christopherson, recorded.
[09:45 – 09:58] He wrote, what, The Unicorn for the Irish Rovers. And people thought that was a 200 year old folk song. Shel wrote that too. He wrote everything.
[09:58 – 10:11] And I was so pleased to be able to interpret his material because the lyrics are so rich and so colorful that it’s almost like acting. To sing something like Sylvia’s Mother
[10:11 – 10:23] or the Ballad of Lucy Jordan, that’s not a song, that’s a story, you know? I’m not playing saxophone here. I’m telling you a story. And it’s all down to Shel’s words. And he was brilliant, brilliant.
[10:23 – 10:36] He ended up writing all the songs for the Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show’s self-titled debut album, didn’t he? That was 1971. Yes. Our first two albums and about half of our third album. And that was because, you know,
[10:36 – 10:47] we were loving recording Shel’s songs and hanging out with him. But he said one day, you know, you guys have some nice things going on. I hear you writing. Why don’t you start recording your own songs
[10:47 – 10:59] so everybody doesn’t think you’re just a mouthpiece for me? Which was pretty giving because we’d just done two albums that he’d gotten royalties for, you know, all the songs and all our first singles.
[10:59 – 11:09] But he was the guy that went, no, no, no, become writers, become writers. He was a good guy to work with. Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s busy,
[11:10 – 11:13] too busy to come to the front door.
[11:17 – 11:25] Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s trying to start a new life of her own.
[11:28 – 11:37] Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s happy. So why don’t you leave her alone?
[11:38 – 11:50] And the operator says, 40 cents, and she says, 40 cents more for the next three minutes, please.
[11:51 – 12:00] Mrs. Avery, I just got to talk to her. I’ll only keep her a while.
[12:02 – 12:08] Please, Mrs. Avery, I just want to tell her goodbye.
[12:14 – 12:22] Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s packing. She’s going to be leaving today.
[12:25 – 12:34] Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s marrying a fella down Galveston Way.
[12:37 – 12:45] Sylvia’s mother says please don’t say nothing to make her stop. She has to stop crying and stay.
[12:46 – 12:58] And the operator says, 40 cents more for the next three minutes, please.
[12:59 – 13:08] Mrs. Avery, I just got to talk to her. I’ll only keep her a while.
[13:10 – 13:13] Please, Mrs. Avery, I just want to tell her goodbye.
[13:19 – 13:28] The classic Sylvia’s Mother written by Shel Silverstein. Dennis says the experience of meeting the real Sylvia one night in London
[13:28 – 13:39] was rather weird and he describes Shel himself as being a little strange. Shel told us when we recorded that song that it was a song about someone he used to know.
[13:40 – 13:51] And, you know, when I had dinner with her, she was calling him Shelly because she knew him when they were kids, when they, you know, were much younger. And she was filling me in on that part of his life
[13:51 – 14:03] and it was very, very interesting. Tell us the story. Strange guy. Strange guy, was he? Yeah, yeah. Yes. Yeah, well, strange in as much as that, you know, you’d see Shel, he’d be around for a day,
[14:03 – 14:14] maybe a couple of weeks in and out of the studio and then he’d just disappear. And then you’d see… Or you could be at a party with him and he might say, I’ll be right back. I’m going to the toilet and he would disappear.
[14:15 – 14:27] But weeks later, he’d roll into the studio and say, you want to hear a couple of songs? And we always wanted to hear a couple of songs. And he’d take a little chair, comfortable chair out in the studio and set up a microphone and get his guitar
[14:27 – 14:39] and sing about 35 songs. He was just… They used to drip. And every one of those songs were better than the last one. And I’m not exaggerating. Maybe I was a big fanboy.
[14:39 – 14:51] But I didn’t exaggerate that. The guy was absolutely… Lyrically, he was just brilliant in what he would say. And I was always very flattered that he trusted me because I was a kid.
[14:51 – 15:02] I was much younger than he was. And he trusted me with songs like Sylvia’s Mother and Carry Me Carrie or the Ballad of Lucy Jordan. These songs that were great stories.
[15:02 – 15:14] The morning sun touched lightly on The eyes of Lucy Jordan The eyes of Lucy Jordan In her white suburban bedroom
[15:16 – 15:28] In her white suburban town As she lay there, beneath the covers Dreaming of a thousand lovers
[15:29 – 15:42] Till the world turned to orange And the room went spinning round Yeah! At the age of 37
[15:43 – 15:56] She realized She’d never arrived Through Paris In her sports car With the warm wind in her hair
[15:58 – 16:10] And she left the phone key ringin’ And she sat there softly singin’ Pretty nursery rhymes
[16:10 – 16:23] She’d memorized In her daddy’s easy chair Her husband, he was off to work
[16:23 – 16:33] And the kids were off to school And there were oh so many ways
[16:33 – 16:42] For her to spend the day She could clean the house for hours
[16:42 – 16:52] Or rearrange the flowers Or run naked down the shady street
[16:52 – 17:03] Screaming all the way At the age of 37 She realized
[17:03 – 17:14] She’d never ride Through Paris In a sports car With the warm wind in her hair
[17:17 – 17:29] And she’d let that phone keep ringing As she sat there softly singing Her dear nursery rhymes
[17:29 – 17:41] She’d memorized In her daddy’s easy chair Her daddy’s easy chair We met Marianne at a Top of the Pops once
[17:41 – 17:51] When she had a hit with that And I said to her How did you know that song? And she said to me Well, I bought your record, silly She told me that one night Her and Mick Jagger came to see
[17:51 – 18:03] Dr. Hook at the Rainbow Theatre in London It was nice to hear that 20 years later More from Dennis LaCouria in just a sec This is A Breath of Fresh Air With Sirius XM Sandy Kay
[18:03 – 18:16] It’s a beautiful day Welcome back Lots more coming up From the irrepressible Dennis LaCouria Lead vocalist and guitarist From the soft rock group Dr. Hook
[18:16 – 18:28] Did you know that the band was originally named Dr. Hook and the medicine show Tonic for the Soul? It was inspired by Ray Sawyer’s eye patch Coupled with a reference to Captain Hook
[18:28 – 18:41] Of Peter Pan fame Ray lost his right eye In a car crash in 1997 The band itself achieved 60 gold and platinum singles And gained number one chart status
[18:41 – 18:53] In more than 42 countries Dennis is also a songwriter Whose songs have been recorded By artists like Bob Dylan Crystal Gale B.J. Thomas Helen Reddy Willie Nelson
[18:53 – 19:06] Olivia Newton-John And Jerry Lee Lewis Tell us a story behind cover of a Rolling Stone That was Shell again being generous We were on the road Sylvia’s mother had been a big hit And we were on the road in America
[19:06 – 19:17] Where we lived We mostly, you know We’d done some European stuff We did pretty well But it was expensive Expensive for us to travel over there We had seven guys in a road crew So we tried to concentrate on America
[19:17 – 19:30] And even with a big hit like Sylvia’s mother You know, one hit wonder kind of thing We needed something else We needed some kind of kick in the butt And Shell called us one day in a hotel room And said, look, I’ve been thinking, you know
[19:30 – 19:42] I wrote this song And I said, well, I don’t know And it was cover of a Rolling Stone And he said, why don’t you write this down And see, play it tonight And see if people like it And so we did
[19:42 – 19:54] But, you know, I played one guitar And we gathered around the microphone And we sang cover of a Rolling Stone And people loved it Because usually we were supporting If you remember the song in depth
[19:54 – 20:05] We were really taking the piss Out of an awful lot of rock stars And how they lived About having limousines We’re supporting these people And going on stage
[20:05 – 20:18] And sort of making fun of them a little bit You know, in a kind way And the audiences loved it Well, we’re big rock singers We got golden fingers And we’re loved everywhere we go That sounds like us
[20:18 – 20:30] We sing about beauty And we sing about truth At $10,000 a show Right We take all kind of pills To give us all kind of thrills But the thrill we never know
[20:31 – 20:42] Is the thrill we never know Is the thrill that’ll get you When you get your picture On the cover of the Rolling Stone Rolling Stone Wanna see my picture on the cover Rolling Stone
[20:42 – 20:55] Wanna buy five copies for my mother Rolling Stone Wanna see my smiling face On the cover of the Rolling Stone That’s a very, very good idea
[20:55 – 21:06] I got a freaky old lady Named a cocaine kitty Who been brought to his own My jeans My jeans My jeans Got my poor old gray-haired daddy
[21:07 – 21:19] Driving my limousine Now it’s all designed To blow our minds But our minds won’t really be blown Like the blow that’ll get you
[21:19 – 21:31] When you get your picture On the cover of the Rolling Stone Rolling Stone Wanna see our pictures on the cover Rolling Stone Wanna buy five copies for our mother Rolling Stone
[21:31 – 21:42] Wanna see my smiling face Rolling Stone Rolling Stone Rolling Stone Rolling Stone Rolling Stone We loved our reverence Or our cheek Or our courage
[21:42 – 21:55] And it became a big hit But they couldn’t play it in the UK They couldn’t play it on the radio Because Rolling Stone is a trademark It’s like just when the Kinks put out Lola
[21:55 – 22:07] And they said just like Coca-Cola They had to change that to Cherry Cola BBC wouldn’t play it So But there was a lot of people who said at CBS, there was a phone number. I never did it, but there was
[22:07 – 22:19] a phone number that you could call clandestinely and hear Cover of Rolling Stone. And I thought that was great because it was like rock and roll porn. You know what I mean? It’s like,
[22:19 – 22:31] oh my God, we’re on a sex line. You know what I mean? You have to pay 75p to hear this. It did put you on the cover of Rolling Stone, didn’t it? Yes, and then we went bankrupt.
[22:32 – 22:45] How come? We did, because now we were getting bigger gigs and supporting bigger acts that were traveling further afield, and we couldn’t afford it. Literally could not afford it.
[22:45 – 22:56] You know, we played with Alice Cooper in Miami, Florida one night, and he was on his way to Dallas, Texas the next day on his Learjet asleep, and we were in a rent-a-car
[22:56 – 23:08] trying to drive 2,100 miles, and if we had to fly, we couldn’t, because we couldn’t afford it, and we just had to stop and reassess, and bankruptcy is
[23:09 – 23:21] congressional relief. You know, you say to the government, look, I have a business, but I’m stalled out here, and what they did for us is they let us keep our guitars and said, okay, give us everything else, keep your guitars, good luck to you.
[23:21 – 23:33] And we had the gumption to stay together and roll on. How did that feel for you? I mean, it must have been really difficult on your massive rise up to just have to pull up stumps and go, we can’t do this.
[23:33 – 23:45] We can’t do this anymore, guys. Yeah, you know, I think that’s good for you. I think we never became like that academic money rolls in so fast that we’re, okay, that’s it forever, boys.
[23:45 – 23:57] We never got that way, because, again, we traveled internationally. It was expensive in a time when we didn’t have computers. There was no FaceTime. There was nothing. You had to call home.
[23:57 – 24:09] Your phone bill was $6,000 when you got home. I remember those days. Yeah. So, I mean, you know, but it just, I don’t know. I think the band just had, there was a
[24:09 – 24:22] spirit to it, and we wanted to kind of roll on with it after that. And we borrowed money and recorded our bankrupt album, called it Bankrupt because we were trying to be funny and honest.
[24:23 – 24:35] And it had a couple of songs on it that did pretty well. One was The Millionaire, that people still like that. I think they like really the fact that we had an album called Bankrupt, and the single was called The Millionaire.
[24:35 – 24:45] I’m not a bad person. I don’t drink, and I don’t kill. I got no evil habits, and I probably never will.
[24:46 – 24:56] I don’t sing like Elvis Presley. I can’t dance like Fred Astaire. But there’s one thing in my favor. I’m a billionaire.
[24:59 – 25:10] That’s beautiful. And I got more money! And a horse has hair of a rich old uncle’s eye and answered all my prayers
[25:10 – 25:23] for having all this money that’s gonna bring me down if you ain’t with me honey, to help me spread it around
[25:24 – 25:37] And also Only 16 Only 16, our Sam Cooke cover was on that, and that became a big hit in the States and other places in China, rolled us back on the road. So Bankrupt’s a favorite album of mine
[25:37 – 25:48] because of what it did for us. Not that it made us much richer, but it kind of opened the doors to a lot of things. Why had you decided to do that cover of Sam Cooke’s Only 16?
[25:49 – 26:00] Well, I was always a Sam Cooke fan because when I was a kid, he used to be on the radio. And my mom also was a fan.
[26:00 – 26:11] My mom was 19 years old when I was born. So, you know, when I was five, six years old, she was still a young girl. She had friends. She liked music and and she liked singers.
[26:11 – 26:23] And Sam Cooke, I remember one day, one night he was on the Ed Sullivan show. That’s where America saw the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and everything on Sunday night. And he was on there singing and it was
[26:23 – 26:34] blowing me away. And my mother said, I, I know him. And I said, no, you don’t. And she said, no, I do. Me and my friends met him. And when he and his brother used to
[26:34 – 26:46] sing in clubs and he’s a very nice guy. And I kind of, you know, walked away with that wondering, you know, I’m not a woman. I, you know, wanted it to be true.
[26:46 – 26:58] Didn’t want my mother to be cool at the same time. Very mixed feelings. I have no one to blame for anything. But it turned out that we went to make a long story short.
[26:58 – 27:10] We went to an amusement park some months later. And I was a kid. It might have been two or three years ago. Two weeks, two days later. But we went to this amusement park. I went with my mom. She took me. She didn’t say why we were going. But they used to have
[27:10 – 27:22] entertainment at this park. And we sat in these bleachers and the lights went down and Sam Cooke came out and in this green suit, he was singing all these songs. And I must have been 11 and blowing me away.
[27:22 – 27:34] And when it was all over, he just knelt down on the stage instead of leaving and started signing autographs because it was like an outdoor thing. And people came up to the stage. And my mom and I were pretty far in
[27:34 – 27:47] the back. And she said to me, she nudged me and she said, watch this. And she looked up and she put her arm up and she yelled, Sam, hey, Sam. And he stopped and looked and he
[27:47 – 27:58] said, Ruth, it’s great to see you again. And that was like all he said. And thank goodness that was all he said. Because I was my mom, you know,
[27:58 – 28:09] my mother, my mother was like beaming and I was my mouth was hanging off. I don’t know what else he could have said, you know, to surprise me. And I’m your father. You know, I don’t I don’t
[28:09 – 28:21] know. I don’t know what else he could have possibly thrown in there. But just, hey, Ruth, nice to see you. And so this I’m really answering your question. This stays on my mind
[28:21 – 28:34] like a hamster, you know, when they put stuff in their cheeks and they only swallow it when they need it. That’s what stuff does in my head. And there used to be a Doctor Hook section of the show in the old days where the band would
[28:34 – 28:46] wander off the stage and I would sing a song or two by myself and talk to the audience. And one night I had Sam Cooke on the brain and I sang that song and people really liked it.
[28:46 – 28:59] And so I did that for a while in my solo section. And when we went into the studio, borrowed that money after the bankruptcy, that was one of the songs that we kind of did.
[28:59 – 29:08] She would say, I was only 16, only 16. But I loved her so.
[29:10 – 29:22] She was too young to fall in love. And I was too young to know. We’d laugh and we’d sing and do
[29:22 – 29:33] funny things. And it made our hearts glow. But she was too young. To fall in love.
[29:33 – 29:45] And I was too young to know. So why did I give my heart so fast? It never will happen again.
[29:47 – 30:00] But I was a mere child of 16. I’ve aged a year since then. It kind of was organic for me. And the nice thing for me, because I love full circle things,
[30:00 – 30:13] is eventually there was a gold record that had my mom’s name on it and Sam Cooke’s name on it. And, you know, and not in my name really, but Dr. Hook. And I like that when things come full circle like that.
[30:13 – 30:25] So I really answered your question. You did. It was a real answer. Yeah. Why did you do that song? I’ll tell you why. When I was 10 years old, you know, it started. I took it back.
[30:25 – 30:36] I’m so glad I asked. What a lovely story. Well, you could be edited out. I’m editing this. No, no, no. That’s definitely in. Don’t you worry about that. Apart from Shel Silverstein,
[30:36 – 30:48] Dr. Hook owes a great deal of its success to writer Even Stevens. He was a writer in Nashville. And he wrote so many things for a lot of people. He wrote things with Eddie Rabbit
[30:48 – 30:58] like I Love a Rainy Night. Well, I love a rainy night. I love a rainy night. I love to hear the thunder. Watch the lightning when it lights up the sky.
[31:00 – 31:13] I know it makes me feel good. I love a rainy night. It’s such a beautiful sight. I love to feel the rain on my face. I taste the rain on my lips.
[31:14 – 31:26] In the moonlight shadows. Shadows wash all my cares away. I wake up to a sunny day.
[31:26 – 31:39] Because I love a rainy night. Yeah, I love a rainy night. Well, I love a rainy night. But I love a rainy night.
[31:39 – 31:50] We met Even. He was just, you know, having country hits. I think he liked us because we had one of the really big international pop hits with one of his songs.
[31:51 – 32:04] That song was When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman. Even Stevens tells the story
[32:04 – 32:17] about he was crazy about this good-looking woman who was the singer in a band. And one night he went along to her gig hoping to talk to her. He sat waiting patiently for her to come and chat with him during
[32:17 – 32:29] a break, but she never did. She was too busy with all her other admirers and he was totally forlorn. Apparently, it only took him a few minutes in the car after that to write the song.
[32:29 – 32:40] You know, the interesting thing about that for me always has been the way we did it. It was very dancey. It had that groove, that rock your boat groove. And, you know, it would be one of those songs that when it came on,
[32:40 – 32:52] it would flock people to the dance floor. But if you listen to the lyrics, I mean, that guy’s in hell. I mean, he can’t pick up his phone. You know what I mean? It’s really interesting that everybody’s dancing to this
[32:52 – 33:01] schmuck’s pain. When you’re in love with a beautiful woman, it’s hard.
[33:04 – 33:16] When you’re in love with a beautiful woman, you know it’s hard. It’s hard, you know it’s hard. Everybody wants her, everybody
[33:16 – 33:28] loves her. Everybody wants to take your baby home. When you’re in love with a beautiful woman, you want your friends.
[33:28 – 33:41] When you’re in love with a beautiful woman, it never ends. And you know it’s hard. You know that it’s crazy
[33:41 – 33:53] You wanna trust her Then somebody hangs up when you answer the phone When you’re in love with a beautiful woman You’re going along
[33:58 – 34:10] Maybe it’s just an ego problem Problem is I’ve been fooled before My fair-weathered friends and faithful lovers
[34:10 – 34:23] And every time it happens It just convinces me more When you’re in love with a beautiful woman
[34:23 – 34:35] You watch her eyes When you’re in love with a beautiful woman You look for love You look for love Baby look at the eyes
[34:35 – 34:46] Baby look at the eyes Everybody tempts her Everybody tells her She’s the most beautiful woman they know
[34:46 – 34:58] When you’re in love with a beautiful woman You’re going along When you’re in love with a beautiful woman
[34:59 – 35:12] You watch your friends You better watch your friends You better look out When Ethan wrote along with the song I think he may have played that for Shell And Shell said, you know, play it for the guys
[35:12 – 35:23] And I think that’s how it got to us through Shell Shell was like that, you know He either wrote a great song for you Or he pointed towards one It’s nice now, but I’m at a certain age
[35:23 – 35:35] Where I can look back at this stuff And you know, we all beat ourselves up in our lives We beat ourselves up I know I do, my whole life You beat yourself up for things you didn’t do Oh, I could have done that better I could have done that right
[35:35 – 35:47] Maybe I shouldn’t have done that at all And we make these mistakes But as I look back on this now Apparently, Dr. Hook was something I did right I want to celebrate this right now
[35:47 – 35:59] And it’s a good thing to celebrate Because there’s a lot of different kinds of music That we could be proud of Dr. Hook’s Dennis LaCourier We’ll be back in a flash To finally give Shane the opportunity To have a chat with Dennis
[36:00 – 36:11] This is A Breath of Fresh Air With Sandy Kay It’s a beautiful day So glad you’re still here A real treat now for Shane in Sydney
[36:11 – 36:23] Shane asked me if I could track down Dr. Hook But really didn’t expect me to include her in the call Thankfully, she allowed me to twist her arm Although she did say she was rather nervous To meet her idol
[36:23 – 36:35] Dennis, however, was pretty cool about the request And loved the chance to say hi To one of his biggest fans Hello, how are you? I mean, yeah, this is a real This is like a game show now
[36:35 – 36:47] This is fun Okay I had somebody I could spring on you now, Sandy Here’s my hand But I have nobody here Shane, you’ve been a long-time fan? Yes, I have
[36:47 – 37:00] I’ve loved your music for a long time I’m not very good at history or anything But I did know about Shel Silverstone But what I would like to know is I’ve seen some clips of you in concert
[37:00 – 37:10] I haven’t seen you live No But was Rachel I saw you as cheeky in real life As he was on the stage You two had such a chemistry
[37:10 – 37:21] And you would sing your little lovely, beautiful love songs And then next minute we’d have Up on the Mountain And Ray was just this cheeky fellow Sal from the valley Look out from the alley
[37:21 – 37:34] And they lived in harmony Sally played acoustic And Al, he played electric And they both took turns on lead They sang for their friends again and again Of the places they had been
[37:34 – 37:45] But their favorite song of all was called Up on the Mountain Was he really like that? Well, we were both like that I mean, when we were playing in those bars in the early days
[37:45 – 37:58] Like I said, I would sing I started a joke or Let It Be Or Bee Gees and the Beatles And Ray had sang something by Hank Williams You know what I mean? So that’s who we were And the good thing about Shel
[37:58 – 38:10] Just to add to that Is his material Kind of Because he wrote so many different kinds of songs His material gave us an original way To express those same characters
[38:10 – 38:23] You know, because before that We would have to do dirty versions of Proud Mary To show how cheap we were We were just playing covers, you know Ray was a great guy Ray left the band years before we stopped
[38:23 – 38:35] Because he’d been on the road years Before he’d even met me He was like 30 when I met him 33 And I was like, oh my God Just turning 20
[38:35 – 38:48] By the time he was ready to get the hell out of here I was just turning the age he was When I met him So our timing didn’t work out great at the end But he was a really good guy People thought we hated each other
[38:48 – 38:59] Because we had this falling out But if you really want to know It was the attorneys that were behind the rock Shooting at each other Ray and I never had a crossword in our lives But there was paperwork
[38:59 – 39:11] When you have a corporation You don’t just walk away whistling There’s business you gotta do I’m not gonna do it And Ray’s not gonna do it So you call in the attorneys Because you have to
[39:11 – 39:23] And the attorneys, you know Call in the housekeepers, okay Depending on how much they are for an hour Is how dirty they’ll think your house is We got into a legal wrangle
[39:23 – 39:35] And people to this day go Oh, it’s a shame, Dennis and Ray Dennis and Ray were fine We knew exactly what we meant to each other And how we What assets to each other You know, we really did
[39:35 – 39:45] You’re looking kind of lonely, girl Would you like someone new to talk to? Oh yeah, alright
[39:47 – 39:58] I’m feeling kind of lonely too If you don’t mind Can I sit down here beside you? Oh yeah, alright
[40:00 – 40:13] If I seem to come on too strong I hope that you will understand I say these things Cause I’d like to know If you’re as lonely as I am And if you’d mind
[40:13 – 40:26] Sharing the night together Oh yeah You ended up friendly after you parted ways Yeah, I hadn’t spoken to him for a while But you know, it’s a hard thing
[40:26 – 40:38] When, you know, I see so many pictures of the band It’s me and Ray together Head on one mic And it was a hard thing to do It was great It was great And we, you know, we did radio together We did TV It was just me and Ray
[40:38 – 40:50] We were like a two-headed monster But after a while It’s hard to keep that going Especially like Ray I could see his mind wanting to be somewhere else And, you know, and it’s hard then
[40:50 – 41:02] To be going, you know We were just in different mental spaces at the end But we were friends But we didn’t get to speak a lot You know, when he passed away It was on New Year’s Eve And I was actually getting ill
[41:02 – 41:13] I was ill for a little while Had to cancel a whole trip to Australia And New Zealand too Which pained me But we can talk about that But I was home Not feeling so well on New Year’s Eve And Ray passed away
[41:13 – 41:25] And Rolling Stone magazine contacted me And asked me for a quote And I said something, you know In my fever Said something, you know
[41:25 – 41:36] Ray and I haven’t seen each other for a long time But I think we both know What we did together That we did something important together And I hope that we do And I hope his family’s fine And just said something like that
[41:36 – 41:49] And I got a lot of people going Is that all you’re going to say? What do you want me to do, a seance? There’s nothing else I can do And I’m out now keeping the Doctor Who thing going On the 50th anniversary tour and everything
[41:49 – 42:02] And there’s people who want to say Oh sure, Ray passed away And now Dennis put No, no, I’ve always done this I’ve been doing Doctor Who as long as Ray’s been doing Doctor Who Or as long as he had been doing Doctor Who
[42:02 – 42:12] It’s just a thing It’s just a thing It’s a good body of work And I hate to see it pissed away Yeah, it’s a great body of work Do you have a favourite amongst all those terrific songs? They change per song
[42:12 – 42:25] But my favourite type of song Is down Michelle Silverstein again And it’s story songs Like I’ve already said The Ballad of Lucy Jordan Sylvia Where there’s a story
[42:25 – 42:35] Where you tell a story and it goes somewhere And it’s emotive, you know Rather than Michelle said it a long time ago She said, you know, when you write a song You don’t want the first verse to say I love you
[42:35 – 42:47] And the second verse to say I love you And the chorus to say I love you He said, make the first verse say I love you And then the second verse say why you love her And then the second, third verse say how you’ll kill yourself
[42:47 – 43:00] You know, but change Give it a little more dynamic That’s why I loved his material But story songs We had a lot of radio hits like Sexy Odds And it was a big hit for us
[43:00 – 43:10] But I never met a girl On a dance floor In my life I was sitting all alone Watching people getting off With each other
[43:13 – 43:26] Turning moving Only night for me
[43:27 – 43:39] I looked up What did I see Sexy eyes Pulling across the floor Got me wanting more Sexy eyes
[43:40 – 43:52] Sexy eyes Sexy eyes Getting down with you I wanna move with you Sexy eyes I’m chatting with Ray LaCourierie Hard name to say
[43:52 – 44:04] From Dr. Hook Well, you are Dr. Hook now, aren’t you? Now that you’re partners in crime I think if you have a headache I probably gave it to you I’m not a doctor
[44:04 – 44:15] Oh, you’re the best type of doctor Dennis, we’ll stick with you You’re enjoying a terrific solo career simultaneously Yes, I am, yes, I am As going out as Dr. Hook Three albums down
[44:15 – 44:25] And your music that you’re doing on your own Your solo work is just stunning Can you tell us a little bit about that? Yeah, you know, I started doing the solo work
[44:25 – 44:38] When after the Dr. Hook farewell tour I was around for a while in Nashville I was writing songs Some were getting recorded by other people But I was just sitting around And my friend Rod Smarr
[44:38 – 44:49] Who was in Dr. Hook The last six or seven years of the band He said to me Why don’t we start recording some of your stuff? And he had a little studio down in the basement And so we did We started recording these songs
[44:49 – 45:01] And they became albums But, you know, they’re only independent albums And so to promote them I had to promote them myself But once I decided
[45:01 – 45:13] All these albums that I did Before this Hook thing I’m doing Three solo albums A couple of live albums And I wrote a book of poetry and cartoons Because I had all these albums And then once I said
[45:13 – 45:25] My manager and I said Why don’t we do the 50th anniversary tour? And then that got to be like And then there was no time to do anything else Including even make much note
[45:25 – 45:37] Of the fact that I had three solo albums out But now that this 50th anniversary thing Is rolling to a close I’m thinking about that Hey, I have this book I have these albums
[45:37 – 45:49] Because I love those albums I didn’t do it as a hobby I love those albums And I’m thinking about that But anything you do That has a lot of promotion And money behind it It’s going to get more attention I’d like to just point out
[45:49 – 46:01] A couple of tracks to my audience Because they probably haven’t heard them The one I like out of the Dark album Is a track called The Right to Walk Away Did you write that one? Yeah, I wrote that with my friend Leroy Preston
[46:01 – 46:13] And also John Lyons Southside Johnny From Southside New Jersey Bruce Springsteen’s friend It’s exactly what it says That sometimes when you feel like You have nothing to do with it You have nothing else left You do have the light
[46:13 – 46:22] I know you’ve been hurt Burned by the fire
[46:24 – 46:36] But still you held on Right down to the wire If it was so wrong
[46:38 – 46:50] Then why did you stay When you’ve always had The right to walk away
[46:50 – 47:00] I understand That you have your doubts
[47:02 – 47:15] Cause when you fall in love too deep It’s hard to climb out But now you know Have your freedom
[47:17 – 47:29] There’s no more to pay You’ve earned the right The right to walk away
[47:30 – 47:43] It’s like I always say You don’t have to be around certain people You might not be able to change them But you can change your proximity to them That much you can do And that’s kind of what that song says You know, if it’s not good here
[47:43 – 47:55] You can do it again You can pick it up and roll on Yeah, that’s an important message And still following the path Where it’s a story song too Well, you know It’s not like I’m a pneumonia-breathing alien I’m going to say something
[47:55 – 48:07] No one’s ever heard before I think if I express my own feelings Hopefully there’s a faction of people That’ll say me too Cause I think that’s what You want them to do You want people to go
[48:07 – 48:19] Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel Cause you know Everybody’s not a dentist Everybody’s not a writer If you are a writer And you can say something That a lot of people say
[48:19 – 48:31] You know, I’ve been wondering How I say that Then you can borrow this And when I’m in the studio I’m just hoping this sounds good Later on when people go Oh, it means so much to me That’s the perk of it, really
[48:31 – 48:43] The other one I really like Is from the album One of the Lucky Ones And that’s Misty Blue That’s obviously not a song that you wrote No But your rendition of it Is just beautiful Thank you And it’s one of my favorite songs ever
[48:43 – 48:56] The one recorded by Dorothy Moore And the fellow who wrote the song He produced the Dorothy Moore version And I didn’t know both those things At the same time I knew she recorded it
[48:56 – 49:08] And I knew he wrote it But I didn’t know he produced her record And when I sent him my recording He got in touch with me And he said, man I’ve had that song recorded 200 times And I’ve produced some of them
[49:08 – 49:21] And this is one of my favorite If not my favorite version And that’s a lot to hear Baby Just the mention of your name Turns a flicker
[49:21 – 49:31] To a flame Listen to me, baby Oh, when I think of things we used to do
[49:33 – 49:45] My whole world turns misty blue Oh Honey, I can’t forget you
[49:48 – 50:00] Heaven knows I’ll travel again Jane, have you got another quick question for Dennis or anything you’d like to leave us with? Jane, it’s all on you. It is all on me.
[50:01 – 50:13] Jungle to the zoo. Yes. What is all that about? I love it. Yeah, but you know what it means. If you’re a big shot, they’ll put you down. Yeah, they’ll put you down. They’ll put you down. Yeah. It’s one step from the jungle to the zoo
[50:13 – 50:23] no matter who you are. Yeah. Shell. Shell Silverstein. Shell Silverstein. Shell Silverstein. You know, he says something you want to say and he says it so regularly that, you know, it should be a T-shirt.
[50:24 – 50:32] Shane, thanks so much for joining us and for asking us to get Dennis onto the program. What a joy to talk to you, Dennis. We certainly hope to see you fit well and healthy.
[50:33 – 50:45] I’m just running in place, waiting for somebody to go, sing, go. And that wears you out more than going, you know, waiting to go. We’ll wait for you. We will wait, won’t we, Shane? They’ll be back.
[50:46 – 50:58] They love Australia. I just turned 73, them big words, lady. They’re going to be waiting for me. That gives me an excuse to stay fit. Yeah. Thanks a million for joining us, Dennis. Bye-bye. Bye-bye. Thank you, Sandy.
[50:59 – 51:11] Bye, Shane. What fun. Dr. Hook’s Dennis Locarieri. I’m still no better at pronouncing it, I’m afraid. Dennis has enjoyed number one chart status in more than 42 countries.
[51:11 – 51:24] The world loves him, it seems, with or without Dr. Hook. In fact, you really ought to check out some of his solo albums. There are three currently on offer, and we need to give him a little nudge to provide us with a fourth.
[51:25 – 51:37] Want to know who’s coming up next week? Well, in third position of my top five countdown, it’s Chicago’s Lee Locknane. I hope you’ll join me then. Have fun till we meet again, won’t you?
[51:37 – 51:47] Bye now. Because it’s a beautiful day. You’ve been listening to A Breath of Fresh Air with Sandy Kaye. It’s a beautiful day.
[51:48 – 51:54] Oh, baby, any day that you’re gone away. It’s a beautiful day.