Great to have you with me today for the final episode of our summer series. I hope you’ve been enjoying it. It’s time now for us all to get back into our regular lives. I’m sure you’ve had a lovely break. Lots coming up for you this hour with some fabulous guests to meet, including half of the most popular singing duo in the world. John Oates, we check in with the legendary Gordon Lightfoot and the fabulous Dion DiMucci joins us too. But first I was really excited to catch up with Joan Armatrading she’s always been one of my favourites.
Joan Armatradingfirst off, let me say a very happy 70th Birthday to you. I know that’s coming up. I’m one of those people that whatever age I am, is the age I feel, which is always good. I always feel good. Birthdays are very special. I don’t need I don’t need presents and people reminding me it’s my birthday feels really kind of special just for myself. What a wonderful way to be. Yeah, it’s nice. A really nice feeling. What are you going to be doing on this one? Oh, it’d be the usual very quiet. I don’t. As I say I just need to be here on the planet. You mean on the planet? Absolutely.
The list of accolades and awards that you’ve received is just astounding. How do you feel about all of them? I feel great. I’ve been nominated three times for a Grammy and twice for a Brit Award haven’t won any. But I’m still waiting still young. The academic things is wonderful. My biggest achievement academically is that I actually did a degree. I did a history degree. So that’s great. So all the honoree things feel good, because I have a real one as well. How difficult was it for you? Oh, yeah, it was it was difficult because I was on tour, be doing shows, I’d be doing interviews, I’d be traveling, and then I’d have to make time at night. After the show. To do my my work feels like one of the special things in my career. Because when I write I just write how I feel, you know, I don’t have any restrictions. But with the degree everything is program, there were rules around it. Absolutely. So that was quite different for me. Well, while we’re talking history, if I can take you through a little bit of your own, I read about you that your father had a guitar that was strictly out of bounds, and you pestered your parents so much that they bought one for you. Yes, my father had the guitar that he wouldn’t let me touch and I’m absolutely sure that’s why I wanted to play the guitar. And I saw in a pawn shop, I saw the tower that cost three pounds and I asked my mom, if I could have it and she said, because we didn’t have any money if they would accept these two old prams that she had if they would swap
bid for the guitar and then I can have it and so that’s how I got my first guitar which which is a guitar that I still have you so you taught yourself how to play the guitar. You taught yourself the piano to yes anything I play I’m self taught you have arranged and played on nearly every instrument on your last five albums but to me it’s just a part of the writing the song Did you also have a sense of when you were putting these songs out about which would be the biggest commercial success it’s no I knew I thought people would like love and affection but I didn’t know it would be a song that would ask all these years and when I asked the record company for that to be the single they did say to me remember Joan You asked for it
@hat were you writing about that?
Most of the songs that I write I like to just leave people with what they think it’s about because you don’t really need me to interrupt what they think it is what about drop the pilot is that when you’re keeping your lips sealed about drop the pilot yeah that’s just that’s a song that I wrote to be a hit but that’s amazing that when you want to write a hit you can just call it up and turn it out yeah I should do that more often.
Where do you take the inspiration from from everywhere from gent most of the time
Not from me. I’m not the subject of most of my songs. It’s from looking at people. And you know, I might see something on the television. I might see something in the paper when you go yes, I’ll grab that. Absolutely. Joan Armatrading it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for your time. It’s my pleasure. Thanks a lot. This is a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kaye,
Joey Molland there at front of the British band Badfinger. With day after day, Joey is the band’s sole surviving member, who these days is doing very well with lots of new music. He tells me though that times weren’t always quite so good. They stole all the money. I mean, all, you know, we were I was destitute man, my wife, and two children, and myself. And we had no money, really massive hits out there, but no money. We were on the radio, but we’ve never gotten any royalties, the world says all went to our management office, the common thing, and then we just took a little drawer every week or every month, you know, because we wanted to save the money. Who knows you’re gonna be able to do this.
You know, all he did was kind of go to war, if you like agile was played in a rock band, and you got to wage for it. And that was it. The manager was unbelievable. He spent all the money, all the money, not most of it, but all the money. And I remember standing in a queue in Los Angeles, with my little baby boys shown in me I’m sick, and I couldn’t go go to the doctor didn’t have any money, didn’t have any insurance. And I’m standing outside in the charity line. That’s so bad. He left us off and you telling me that was at the height of your success. But the height of our success is 74 we were broke. completely broke. You know we had for top 10 records I wrote up for the music if that thing I mean half of the songs. Join Lauren wrote them That’s just awful. Thankfully, times have changed. Joey stuck at it and after decades in the industry has never lost his passion for making music. You’ve got this new album out right? Yeah, do tell us a little bit about that one. Be true to yourself. Basically, Mark Hudson and I have gotten to be good friends over the year mark. So record producer is done all over INGOs records and Aerosmith stuff like guys a Grammy winning writer. He asked me did I fancy making a new record? And then did I have any songs if I did, and I told him I had stacks of songs he got into it, listen to them all. And then over the next year or so we worked on them. We started getting in touch with people. Julian Lennon Of course I played the Julian’s dad on the Imagine album leave Holly from you know used to play with Paul McCartney Becky Dolan’s came in from Chicago there’s 10 tracks on this album which one would you pick as your absolute favorite? whoo that’s difficult. I think the favorites and kind of moody still a heaven things are beautiful, too came up great when prior to the album Be true to yourself. Joey got a few friends together to
revisit the heat’s with an album called no matter what I went to Nashville and I was offered a deal by a record label and do a request on some of the bad fender stuff. And I went down recorded them. That was basically I forgot about it. Anyway, the record company presidents, he had an idea to to get some guests sin and kind of remix it and stuff. So he did he got in touch with loads of different guys, you know, from big bands, and they all said yeah, they all came it was just just amazing. If I could name some of them for you, you had a an Anderson from Jethro Tull. Rick Springfield Of course he’s one of ours. You had blues legend Sonny Landreth you have another friend of our show Todd Rundgren play with you Yeah. Not produce the original version of baby blue as well
Joey, it’s been an absolute pleasure to chat with you. I’m so glad that you’re traveling so well and putting out such brilliant music these days.
Thank you very much. Great talking to you, Sandy, lovely Badfingers Joey Molland. And for anyone wondering he’s no longer single following his wife’s death in 2009. Today he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with a new girlfriend and the pair run an antique store when he’s not making music. Stay tuned, won’t you? After the break we catch up with John Oates, Bruce is a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kay.
Thanks for your company. I’m so pleased you’re joining me. Now everyone knows John Oates is one half of the best selling duo of all time, Hall and Oates. Together with Daryl Hall, whom he met while studying Journalism at university. The pair of had six number one hits, recorded 22 albums, and sold more than 80 million records. John also worked solo and was about to perform a live stream concert for his league of fans when I caught up with him. John, thank you so much for joining me today. I heard that your songwriting ability was actually first recognized by a teacher at primary school. Yes, it was. It was an English class where we were assigned to write a poem. And it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Kennedy was about to go to world war three. So I wrote this poem about the Cuban Missile Crisis. And the English teacher knew I played the guitar and thought it was really good. And I said, you know, you should put this to music. And I had never really thought about that. That was my first foray into songwriting. John, you met Darrell in university? What were you studying at the time journalism? Oh, where are you? Well, it was just a means to an end. I’ve always enjoyed writing, I enjoyed writing, whether it be prose or music, or whatever. And it’s always come easy for me. So I took the path of least resistance at university, because really, all I was doing was playing music anyway. And when the two of you first started collaborating, what period did you decide, hey, we’re actually pretty good at this. Not right away. I can tell you that. We tried to write a song when we first got together in this late 60s. And it was it sounds so awful. DeRose voice was so pristine, and my voice was so rough. It just kind of it was like oil and water. And we actually recorded something at the university radio station. And I remember we kind of looked at each other afterwards went oh, this is never going to
work, we should all just hang out and have fun. So there was point in thinking about this. But over the years, you know, we got together and started to really develop this thing and it kind of, you know, he, he came toward me and I came toward him and it was kind of this thing that so I guess once it took off for you, you would have never ever, in your wildest dreams believed that 50 years later, you’d still be doing it doing it so well. I say the same thing I really do. If someone were to have told me in 72, that we would be playing bigger arenas and bigger venues than even in our 80s heyday and that people would still actually care about the music we made that would have been just mind blowing enough. The fact that I’m healthy enough and to enjoy it and still want to be involved with the creative process is just really a blessing that I just don’t take it for granted. What do you think it is about that early music that really caught the public’s attention? Well, you know, it took us three albums before we really connected I mean, we had the song she’s gone on the second album on the event ImageNet and that did fairly well it kind of put us on the map but it
and then it really wasn’t until Sarah smile came in. That was our that was our fourth out. So that was over four years into our career that we really started getting radio play. And then of course we had rich girl and then we had she’s gone rereleased. Then that became a hit after the fact we paid our dues for about three or four years on the road and you know, trying to get better in the studio until it really started to happen. We believe that something was going to happen. We didn’t know what it was going to be. In fact, we had a joke among ourselves between ourselves. We used to call it the invisible carrot. You know the old thing with a carrot on the donkey and the donkey just keeps plodding along. Well that’s that was us we we just said we just keep plodding along. We’re chasing something but we don’t know exactly what it is
I did read somewhere that you totally lost count of the number of women that you slept with. It’s a much more tame John Oates these days than what we saw in the 70s Oh, absolutely. I’m much smarter. I can tell you that garbage, you know, I wouldn’t trade the 70s for anything because it was. So, you know, everyone says, Well, what was they always assume that because we were so popular in the 80s, with our big hits, that that was the greatest time in my life. And you know, on the contrary, it was not, it was really the 70s that were the best time because everything was new. You know, we were on tour for the first time visiting tent cities and towns and places that we had never been meeting people, there was less demands on our time, we weren’t that popular. So we could play a show in a town. And then we could just stay there for a day or so and hang out in party and eat. So it was all new, and everything was an adventure. So that’s why I have I have such great memories of the 70s as opposed to the 80s when time was flew by like it wasn’t there because the demands on our time was were just crazy. And I don’t really remember much of the 80s because it was just a constant whirlwind of work, which were your favorite songs. Well, there’s a number of them it’s really the songs that are connected to the memory or the experience of making them whether it be writing them or recording them that make them my favorites. So I always start with she’s gone because it was the song that really put us on the map and it was I call it the perfect storm of creativity the way Daryl and I wrote it together the way we pulled our energies to write it and then when we took it into the studio to have it nurtured by the great Aretha Martin and the way he surrounded us with the right players for that song and the beautiful string arrangement that he did and and that everything about that song was just a perfect storm of creativity so I just have such great memories of that but then in the 80s when we had our great 80s band we were so well oiled and from touring constantly that we when it when we went into the studio there was a real kinetic energy behind not only the big hits, you know like man eater and out of touch and all that but even the even the album tracks they they were all infused with the energy of this great thing
to see the shades
as the world becomes more and more virtual and digit digitized, is always a desire for authenticity for heart and soul of organic and music that is actually performed and not programmed and not done through a computer or a digital sampler. There’s a whole you know, 1000s and 1000s of fans around the world who love to hear musicians playing their instruments. And that’s what Americana and roots music is all about. That’s fantastic. Well, I really hope that we see you in this country. I hope so too. I love Australia. Anytime I get to come. It’s never it’s never often enough. You’re too far away. But that’s what makes your country great. Fabulous. Look after yourself there. John. Thank you so very much. Okay, Cindy, thank you. Great to talk to you. Bye bye. Take care. This is a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kaye.
Remember the Pointer Sisters? Of course you do. They were most famous for this sensational song. Slow Hand from June Bonnie Ruth and Anita Poynter, who were huge during the 70s and 80s. Unfortunately, both Jun and Bonnie have since passed away when the girls toured Australia back in the early 80s I got the job of taking them clothes shopping. Yes, someone had to do it.
This isn’t me, Sandy. It is Sandy and Anita, thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it. My pleasure. Thanks for taking us shopping, too. I do remember. We did so much shopping in Australia. Oh my god. There was a line called sports girl.
Oh my god, I loved it. That was my favorite things. Sports girl. You guys love coming to Australia, didn’t you? Oh, we loved it. We had such great times there. Oh my goodness and great shows. When was the last time that you all performed on stage together? 2015 was the last time I performed Ruth and her daughter and her granddaughter had been performing Do you miss performing?
Hey, the answer to that should have been Yeah, I love doing.
Sometimes I’d really really do like I just a few minutes ago I was up performing in my room. I still love to sing and I’ve done a couple of shows by myself. Me and Barney did some shows together last year if you had to choose one song that was really your favorite from the whole time you guys have been performing together. What would what was your favorite to perform? I’m so excited that my day.
I couldn’t wait to get to that tryout. Oh my goodness. I love it. I’m proud of that song. What did you like so much about it? I wrote it. That’s one thing I love about it and we have such a fun time in the studio doing it
what were you writing about on that song? Actually, it was kind of a love song. It’s kind of excited about having a love affair. And it also says we’re still playing around. That’s just fine. It was during a time when I wasn’t wanting anything too serious, you know? So these days if we want to hear you sing, we’re going to have to stand outside your bathroom window.
Well, no one of these days we’ll get up to do something out there again. I hope so. I need to thank you so much for talking to me today and a very happy birthday from us to you. Thank you so much. Sandy was my pleasure. I hope a project comes up really soon for you and we get to see you back in this country. I’ll take you shopping again. Oh, okay. Oh, that’s a deal. That’s a great deal. Stay tuned. Up next we talk to the legendary Gordon Lightfoot. This is a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kay it’s
lovely to have you company thanks so much for joining me I’m sure I don’t have to tell you who this is do I
squeezed in St. Louis dream no one should ever
think it to shame when I get better when I’m feeling
shame when I get feeling better when I’m feeling no pay
picture of remove a man
getting lost love is your first mistake.
yep, you guessed it. It is of course the legendary Gordon Lightfoot Gordon’s a Canadian singer songwriter and guitarist who’s achieved huge worldwide success in folk rock and country music. He’s credited with helping to define the folk pop sound of the 60s and 70s and 81 years of age. He’s still pumping out the music today. After several months of trying, I finally managed to get Gordon on the other end of the phone line from his home in Toronto. Gordon Lightfoot yes lovely to chat with you. How are you? I’m good. Yes, I am. Are you still writing songs today? No, I had an album come out in March just after the pandemic started it kind of got got lost a little bit but there’s been a lot of streets on St. Olaf called oh so sweet It’s so
skit to beat
written hearing raindrops
Haley my lovely long side of the
Oh, sweet. Yeah, I wrote down was about 20 years ago that they’re all sidetracks it’s all most of its demos. I discovered it all just by accident while moving offices. Two years ago, half of it was was lost who had ever been seen again and not
How’d it how do you explain how enduring your music is? And how many people just love you? But I actually I’ve often wondered that myself, you know I why they should actually really, if they really got to know me, they
liked me at all.
Do you have any regrets? Yes, I do. Of course, I have no regrets. You know, I’ve, I’ve I’ve shared it. i Let’s just say nobody’s perfect. Okay. I regret the way I have treated other people at times. I regret the way I’ve treated several women I was married to, I regret the way I’ve ignored my children at times. Have you made it up to them now? Right, I repented. I do everything I can to make up for every moment that I stole from people. You’ve had an incredible career and an amazing life. I heard you used to throw the most fabulous parties. We had parties in Toronto that that you would not believe I was really well located to I lived in an old mansion right downtown. That was Party Central. A lot of well known people who came through the city, the bad and Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Roger bigwin. You know, the birds, Glen Campbell. They’ve all been through this through my big house. And sometimes when I reflect on it, it is so vivid that it does. It almost breaks my heart when I think about some of the moments that we enjoyed so much, you know, to say, God, you know, of how could I possibly have had that much fun? You certainly lived life to the max. Oh, yeah. I enjoyed it. I met lots of people. I met lots of girls. You know, I got married three times. You were a shameless flirt, weren’t you? I don’t know. I guess when was the territory? Are you a very different Gordon Lightfoot today than you were in those days? Yeah, I had to give up alcohol in 1982. Fat is a life changing event. You’ve always loved the women. How did you know that? Kim was the right one. The first thing that happened there was I brought her with me. I took her on the road. And she turned out to be one of the best crew members I ever had. There was a best day investigation she does for me, of all the great things she does. She makes sure i get fed every night. It’s 6pm. She makes sure i get fed. And she’s a great person, which is your favorite song from all the songs you’ve written? Which one do you like most? There are many, many songs that I really love to play because they’re easy days. But I would say if you could read my mind, that’s my favorite to you. Good
Deal My phone’s go to
Jews like no time moving out of those FOMO wishing well.
And so dumb,
or a fortress strong. With chains, the postman the
new goose just
as long as
you can see.
What were you writing about that? Well, I was coming to coming to the end. Yeah, was the end of the first marriage. I don’t even know why I wrote it. I didn’t know what I was writing it at the time. I actually never wrote anything about anything specifically. If shabby came into my mind while I was working on a lyric and it found its way in there through some little crack in the doorway. I’d use his poetic license. Gordon Lightfoot, thank you so much for chatting with me. Please stay well and get back out on the road as soon as you can. Okay, Sandy. This is a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kay, it’s abuse.
Now, can you imagine how excited I was to be given the opportunity to chat with Doowop legend. Dion DiMucci. Dion’s career began in the late 50s. And he’s still going very strongly today. He helped pave the way for the British Invasion, moving towards blues, folk and rock territory as his career progressed. He certainly come a very long way since the days of his first massive hit the wanderer Oh, am the type of guy who will never settle down. When pretty girls are well you know that I’m around. I kiss a man who calls me they’re all the same. I hug them and I squeezed they don’t even know my name. They call me The wander
the wonder of from day on, who’s now come full circle back to his blue
his roots. His recent blues with friends album that he did with the help of some very talented musical friends actually picked up the award for the top blues album of 2020. His most recent album called stomping ground, which includes friends like Boz Skaggs, Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen, also look set to do the same for 2021. Dion, thanks so much for your time. It’s terrific to chat with you again. Congratulations on the blues album, number one in America joy to be with you, Sandy. Thank you. I’m just happy that people feel about it the way I did, because I had such a great time recording it. I mean, you can imagine being with all these great artists, just infusing songs that I wrote with their artistry, it was thrilling for me because every time someone came into the studio and and did something like Jeff Beck or Joe Bonamassa, you know, like I was, I was telling you, I’m so limited, I thought I know how to write a song, I know how to make a record. Now I know how to communicate it. But I never experienced anything like this where you just let somebody do what they want on his end. And hey, 14 out of 14 rocked it out of the parks, having given them free rein to do whatever they want on those tracks. I’d imagine you’d be quiet control freak about anything that you put out. So going, Hey, guys, do whatever you want would be something so different. You know, it’s funny that you say that because I never asked for help
of these guys, you know, to be honest with you on a very personal level, I wasn’t open there like to ask for help. And I found personally, it is so fulfilling to see how people want to help and it’s it makes you feel loved and valued and significant on another level for a guy like Paul Simon to go into the studio and just work a couple of days on this song because he liked it. So I just never thought I’d feel like that. But it’s a true gift. And you know, on a very simple level. It just made me feel great. Well, you certainly deserve it. Now you’ve also released a couple of Christmas tracks. I was thinking I gotta write a blue song, or would a blues guy write about okay, you know, now if you’re not singing the blues, you’re bragging, you know, and that’s part of the blues is bread. You know, I’m the Hoochie Coochie Man or whatever, you know, I’m the guy I’m God’s gift to the world
so I thought that’s what I’ll do all right, a break and Christmas. What can I brag about? Okay, I buy my girl a gift and I’m thrilled with and she’s just gonna go crazy and I have no patience. I want her to open the gift. So I wrote this Christmas song called you know it’s Christmas so Joe Bonamassa hears it he says Dion you are so prolific man he says come up with this
catchy cue those standout
one thing is no his Christmas
and all the Jensens on trees
just yesterday as can be
Kevin, do you know is Chris
an all star shining bright
star one shot
Much of Dion’s work these days is blues oriented. I asked him why no for me that’s like at the center of my being and I didn’t know it. You know I grew into that because I was all over the place. When I was a kid I got hooked on hit records. So I just saying you know what? I think runaround. Sue is probably a cleverly disguised blue song. But the Wonder is a blue song Ruby baby is a blue song. They’re all back then if you if you took a blue song and turned it into a major key. You had rock and roll, no bruises. It’s an honest way to go. You could express any emotion noise you love, loneliness triumphs. You’re gonna even brag like I said, it’s a great way to go. How are you handling this current COVID situation, Dion, you’re still traveling. Okay? I’m good. I’ve been Zandi. You and believe it or creative in the last year than I have in the last 30 years. I’m going on Saturday to put a new one together. I’ve written another 12 songs. This is one of them. Take it back with Joe Bonamassa on guitar from Dion’s latest album called stomping ground here good.
Would you have said
you can dry
Check it out
out of my mind
time for me to leave my stomping ground now, but only for another week because I’ll be right back with you to kick off a brand new season of the show. I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorite Canadians, Gordon Lightfoot, who said, I tried to keep it light and positive most of the time. Whereas earlier on, I didn’t always do that. I think that’s a good way to be, isn’t it? Don’t forget, if you’d like to get in touch with me or get behind the scenes of the making of these episodes. Just head to my website, a breath of fresh air.com.au Leave me a comment, send me a request or just say hi. I’d really love to hear from you. I wish you a fun week ahead and I’ll look forward to your company again. Same time next week. Catch you then. Because it’s beautiful.
You’ve been listening to a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kaye.
It’s a beautiful day.