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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dick Dodd/The Standells

During the mid-'80s garage revival, The Standells were one of my favorite '60s groups.  Dick Dodd was the drummer and singer for The Standells, and I interviewed him in 1998 for my ill-fated, unfinished history of Nuggets and the '60s garage/punk sound.  Dick Dodd had been a Mouseketeer on TV's The Micky Mouse Club before joining The Standells.  The group (then consisting of Dodd, keyboardist Larry Tamblyn, guitarist Tony Valentino, and bassist Gary Lane) signed with Tower Records in 1965, and had one big hit in 1966:  "Dirty Water," an acknowledged rock 'n' roll classic that will outlive us all.  But Dodd himself passed away in 2013.  This interview is previously unpublished.


Let's start with the basics:  how does one get from being a Mousketeer to singing and drumming for one of the definitive punk bands of the '60s?

(laughs)  Well, that was a pretty hard transition.  When I was a Mouseketeer, I learned how to play drums from Cubby's dad.  I don't know if you remember that; Cubby used to play drums on the show all the time, Cubby O'Brien.  And I really didn't pick up the drums or anything until I was in high school, and then I started playing around in a couple of surf bands.  We had local hits and stuff.  One was called The Belairs; we had a song called "Mr. Moto."  The other group was Eddie and the Showmen.  We were just local, South Bay beach area surf bands and stuff.  And we backed up Jackie DeShannon.  We used to back up people at these hops, they used to have these hops, where every Friday or Saturday night they'd have a special guest and stuff, and we'd back up people.  And this one time, we backed up Jackie DeShannon a couple of times of times during the summer, and she asked me if I wanted to be her drummer.  And I said, "Of course!"  And from there, I did a lot of sessions and was becoming like a studio musician, and going the straight and narrow and everything.  And I'm going--although I should've listened to people around me--but I'm going, "Oh, I wanna be in a band, I wanna do this, I wanna do that."  And she goes, "Okay, well I got you this."  At that time I was her conductor and drummer.  So she said, "I got you an audition with this group.  They're playin' at PJ's, they're called The Standells."  They had a local hit out called "The Shake" or something...yeah, "The Shake."  It was like "Shout," you know, the "You make me wanna shout!" thing.  And they were workin' at this club five nights a week, and they needed a drummer 'cause their drummer was supposedly getting drafted, but he was really going to join The Walker Brothers in England.  And so I set up my stuff like she told me to, and they showed up and I auditioned, and I started the next night.  And it was like, you know, I'm just 18 years old, workin' in nightclubs and stuff, so at that time I had to get a false ID.  It said I was 26!  Every time I handed it to a bartender, they'd go, "Yeah, right!"  'Cause I wasn't even shavin' yet!  And they were playing pop clubs at that time, you know, pop or Top 40 or Top 10 or whatever was goin' on.  And Larry was doin' all the singing.  And Jackie was going, "Well, take this record.  You'd sound good singing this.  Pick out some stuff, you know, you've gotta be aggressive," and all that stuff.  So I'd start bringing in more and more records every week and stuff, and singin' more, and sooner or later I was doin' all the singin'.  We did an album at PJ's live.

That's the only Standells album that I've never heard.

Really.  Well, it's pretty....

Based on what I've gathered, I'd guess it's probably similar to The Knickerbockers' Jerk And Twine album.

Yeah, it was during that time when everybody was twisting and doing all the jerking. 

The Standells seemed to start out more clean-cut than we ultimately remember them as being.

Oh yeah, we wore suits all the time, the same matching suits, and on Tuesdays we'd wear a certain thing, Wednesdays, we had a change of outfit almost every other night.  And always white shirts and ties, real sharp, real clean.  And then the whole movement was starting, and I was the youngest one, so I jumped on it faster than anybody else.  And it was really great, though.  The times were really changing at that time, with music.  Because [of] the kinds of groups that you'd go hear in  L.A. and stuff, and there was always places to play.  And there hardly is anymore, I think, anywhere.  So we went out listening to bands, not in a concert environment, but in a different venue, kind of a smaller, club atmosphere.  There was a place called the Condor, Ciro's became a spot, and Whiskey stayed the same.  But you'd always hear really good groups there, then next door like Iron Butterfly would be playing.  I think there was the Galaxy or the Condor or something.  And God, Love, and Stephen Stills, Buffalo Springfield....they had the Aquarius Theater, which was on Sunset Strip too, it used to be the old Moulin Rouge.  It was a real big, classy place with a revolving stage.  And they'd start havin' bands there.  A real local station, KHJ, was promoting bands there and stuff.  And there was always, like I said, the Springfield, either there or at the Whiskey, The Association, and Love, I mean it really varied from real straight to acid rock.  But everybody was always workin'.  It was great!

What kind of influence did the British Invasion have?  From the PJ's album and your first single, "The Boy Next Door," to the Tower stuff, or even to your second single, "Big Boss Man"--that seems like a pretty big leap.

Oh yeah, "The Boy Next Door" and "Big Boss Man," they were produced by Sonny Bono.  Yeah, it kind of got to...I don't know how exactly it happened, when Ed Cobb and I and the rest of the band got together, and we were like running through record labels and producers and kind of still being local but not really having a big hit.  And, like I said, the times were a-changin', the clothes and the music and the British Invasion was really happenin', and people had a different attitude about the music.  I still liked the R & B stuff, but we were tryin' to be...not tryin' to be, but--what's the word I'm searching for--more rebellious about stuff that we were doin'.  That's how we blended so good when we went on the road with the Stones and everything, because we both had a fierce attitude (laughs), kind of struttin' our stuff and not caring about who thought what.

Hence punk rock.

I guess so!  Some people call us, which I don't know if I like, the grandfathers of punk or garage. 

How did you wind up working with Ed Cobb?

He entered the picture through our management company, which was Bert Jacobs at the time, [which] became B. J. Enterprises.  And he hired, I guess you'd call him a P.R. guy, Ray Harras, who was a friend of Ed Cobb and wanted us to try a new producer and a new way of all collaborating on the songs and giving our feelings and helping write things, which sooner or later really got screwed up [laughs].

Yeah, I see a lot of Ed Cobb songwriting credits on your records.

Oh yeah, yeah, and a lot of it was more than just Ed a lot of times.

Tony Valentino came up with the riff for "Dirty Water?"

Oh yeah!  Yeah, and then Ed came up with, because he was mugged in Boston when he was performing there with The Four Preps or something.  And he just kind of brought up an idea, and I'm goin', "Well, you want us to tell 'em a story?  What are we gonna tell 'em a story about?  About a town, about Boston, Boston, is that gonna be...?"  And we just kept rappin', and he goes, "Yeah, Boston, tell 'em a story about your town!"  And we all really wrote the song together, but, being as young and naive or ignorant as we were, we just kinda, as long as we had some bucks in our pocket and were in a studio and hearing our song on the radio,  I guess we thought we were okay.  But now it's all changed.  Bands got their hands into marketing, and it's kind of like the band is incorporated before they even go.  They're choosing their own labels, they're investing in them.  Along with a lot of other groups at the time, I think we broke a little ground, as "This is the book on how not to do it," you know?

It was always hit and miss.  And you know, we were at that age--or I was, anyways--that they were all going, "Yeah, yeah, you're doing really good" and this and that, and "You okay?  You need some money?" and blah blah blah, "Yeah, we got some gigs comin' up and they'll be payin' good, and here's a grand, or "how's your mom," and, you know, they were acting like they just embracing us and everything, but at the same time they were taking advantage of the whole situation.   And they were the ones with property in the Valley and driving a Mercedes and all that stuff. 

1966's Dirty Water album was recorded very quickly.  According to the liner notes of the Sundazed reissue, "Dirty Water" and its B-side, "Rari," were both recorded in a single day, and the rest of the album was recorded over just two days a month later.

We did "Dirty Water" in  Universal Recorders.   It was above a garage.  And they used to do a lot of Motown there, it was like an old Motown machine and they did a lot of overdubbing and handclaps and snare drums and backbeats of basses and stuff  like that.  And that was the cheapest way to go for us at the time, so we did it.  And then we did "Dirty Water" and it was like, "Okay, yeah."  And then, like you said, months later, then all of a sudden we get...we're playin' in Seattle, y'know, still doing the gigs, and there's girls dancin' in cages with leopard-skin things on, it's like the Tiger-au-Go-Go, and then our manager calls us up and says, "Hey, "Dirty Water"'s goin'."  And we're goin', "What?"  Y'know, we'd done it almost [two months before], we were forgetting about it.  And then we had to record an album right away.  And that's when we did "Good Guys."

"Good Guys Don't Wear White" strikes me as the definitive Standells track, because it's all swagger and attitude.

(laughs) Yeah, it did have a 'tude to it.  I guess that's why  Ed liked the way I, I guess, expressed the lyrics and stuff.  'Cause he could really get it outta me.  He'd go, "C'mon, get madder!  You can do it better, you can do it better, you ain't goin' nowhere with this.  Get in there and really get pissed!"  You know?  And that cocky, kind of--not whiny, but you know, "if you don't like this, get yourself a crew cut" kind of thing (laughs).  It was, you know, got out of me.  (laughs)  I guess I had a lot of it in me.  Then! 

I'm sure you're far more sedate now--as are we all!

Yeah, I think I am!  (laughs)  I've eaten a lot of humble pie.

That first album contained a lot of seminal garage/punk tunes:  "Dirty Water," "Rari," "Medication," and (repeating myself) the definitive Standells track, "Good Guys Don't Wear White."

Yeah, I liked "Medication."  I really liked "There's A Storm Comin'"--kinda had like a R & B, kind of  a Sam and Dave kind of a bass lick and a real hard backbeat to it.  "Medication" was really neat.

For years, I always remember preferring The Chocolate Watchband's version of "Medication."  But then I just listened to The Standells' version again, and thought, "Man!  This cuts the Watchband's version!

(laughs)  Well, same producer, you know.  We did some stuff for Ed, and sometimes he'd go, "Dick, I want you put drums when the Watchband are playing, you know, see how we slow 'em down here, follow it and put your lick on there," stuff like that.  Sometimes we wouldn't even know what we were playing.  There are songs that I don't even remember what the titles were.  Just go in and do the tracks and, "Thanks very much, see you later!"

How did the two acts get along personally?  I recall reading some unkind comments about The Standells from one of the Watchband guys.

I thought we got along pretty well. We didn't really see that much of each other.  You know, they had their thing going and we did.  I never thought...

I don't remember the exact quote or even the source, but he was saying something to the effect that The Standells weren't enough like The Rolling Stones, that the Watchband was more authentic.

(laughs)  Well, I guess everybody's got their own opinion!  Well, if he said that, I think we were better!  (laughs)  I thought we had a little more seasoning in us.

"Dirty Water" was The Standells' only big hit, but "Good Guys" and "Why Pick On Me" seem to be more highly regarded today as emblematic of the garage sound.

Now, yeah.

Tell us a bit about the tours, and appearances on TV shows like Where The Action Is!

Oh yeah.  Especially locally and on Where The Action Is!, we were almost on TV every other week, or every week.  And a lot of Dick Clark stuff--he was really nice to us.  Because, you know, home town band makes good or whatever.  We went on tour with the Raiders, which was a great tour, real professional.  At the time, it wasn't like everybody was goin' out and gettin' snockered or wiped out.  Anything like that [tour] was really organized, you know, that's one thing about Dick.  If Dick Clark's got his name on it, it's gonna be good, it's gonna be squeaky-clean and it's gonna be, you know, all-American, apple pie and Dick Clark [laughs].  But it really showed me, there was people makin' some money out there.  How to merchandize yourself and stuff.  I wish I would have been smart enough then and not girl-crazy [laughs] and other things.

And stuff.

Yeah [laughs].  You know, I'm just, "Darn it!  I could have picked up on something early."  But it was good, it was a lot of fun.  It was a bus tour, and it a month and I think we did 40 shows in 31 days or something.  And we'd be sleepin', and the bus would just be goin', on to the next gig, into the Holiday Inn.  I'd get home from the road, and people would go, "God, that must be really neat to go all those places and see and do."  I'm goin', "God, we'd pull in, we'd go to sleep.  All the rooms looked the same, you'd get your hamburger or whatever you're gonna eat for dinner, you'd do your gig, and you'd come back, you'd come back to the same room and go to sleep and get on the bus and go.  Sometimes we had time to go downtown to whatever city we were in, and maybe catch a movie or buy some clothes or get some equipment, you know, drumsticks, heads, something like that, just to get out of the room (laughs).  We went stir crazy.

Were you often recognized when you went out like that?

Yeah, because the shows were publicized so much on the radio and stuff, and they knew we were in town.  It was fun; it was kind of neat being recognized sometimes.  And sometimes you're going, "Oh my God--okay already!"  Let me eat my dinner, or I just wanna walk down the street or something.  But it was great.  What else can you say about that time, with that kind of music and that kind of stuff?

"Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" was used again for your second album, Why Pick On Me, also released in 1966Whose idea was it to reprise that track from the first album?

That was Ed's. 

That album contains a few more of my favorites:  the title track, "Mr. Nobody," and "Have You Ever Spent The Night In Jail."  The album seems even more overtly influenced by The Rolling Stones.

Most of all our albums were a lot of fun to do at the time.  We thought we were doing a lot of variety of different things.  Larry would always write like the one you just said, and "Mr. Nobody."  He had one song on every album that he wrote and sang himself--had to be fair to the leader of the band anyway! 

But next, an all-covers album in 1967.
I thought it was a bad idea, but the selling point was that everybody was doing everybody else's material.  Everybody was doing compilations of everybody's hits at that time.  I don't know why (laughs).

It was fairly common, but it still seems like it wasn't the best way to sell a band.
No, it wasn't.  I was really against that--(laughs) like I had a lot to say about it!  There was a lot of the songs that we liked:  that we heard, that we liked, that we liked hearing.  But then all of a sudden it was Ed goin', "Oh yeah, we're gonna do that one," and "Do you like that Lovin' Spoonful song, 'Summer In The City?'"  I go, "Yeah, that's cool," and he goes, "Okay, we'll do that one."  And "Little Red Book" and...I don't know about "Little Red Riding Hood!" (laughs)

So I was for it, but still I was against it.  I liked a lot of the material, but I didn't like the idea of us doing [it].  I didn't think we were big enough or well-known enough yet to do one of those albums. 

The Beau Brummels got the very same bad career advice right about that same time.

(laughs) Like I said, it was kind of a fad then or something.  I think a lot of bands were doing [it], a lot of individual people too. 

It's hard to comprehend now what a short time frame in which this all happened.  It'd be inconceivable nowadays for an act to record and release four albums in...what?  Two Years?  Not even?

Oh yeah.  We were always in the studio.  We were either in the studio, or writing, or on the road and writing, or doin' a show.  Or in the studio.  I mean, we were constantly in the studio.  I'd give my left arm to be able to do that now.  We should have taken better advantage of that time.  You know, we were just guided into what to do, and what they thought we should do.  
I really love the Try It album

Yeah, Try It seemed to be a return to form.


Tell us about the controversy that seems to have doomed this record.

Oh, a guy named [Gordon] McLendon, who used to own a big chain of radio stations, I guess he was going to take it upon himself to clean up rock 'n' roll, all on his own.  And he was going to pick the songs that should be on the radio and shouldn't.  And boy, he really had a fit about "Try It" (laughs).  He thought that was the worst.  And the Stones had records out at the time, and a lot of people were sayin' things--I mean, not like they do now--but I thought "Try It" was kind of a cool song. 

It's certainly suggestive, but no more so than "Let's Spend The Night Together" or "Satisfaction."

Well, yeah!  You got that right.  But nobody would take on the Stones.  Well, Ed Sullivan did, about "Let's Spend Some Time Together" and all that kinda stuff.  But I thought,"let's go out and try it" didn't really mean one thing, it meant a whole bunch of things.  And he just really had a real bad time with that.  And we even had a debate on a Art Linkletter show out here.  And he was like, "You boys with that long hair and tellin' kids to try that."  And we're goin, "What about that song 'Bees do it, birds do it, let's fall in love?'  What's 'do it,' if you're arguing about what's 'try it?'"  You know, give me a break.

I was surprised to look the single up in Billboard and discover that it never even charted nationally.

We thought that with all the publicity that it was really gonna help.  But I don't know what happened.  It scared a lot of...like I said, he was a pretty powerful radio station owner.  So a lot of 'em didn't play it.  So we were still thinkin', you know, good publicity, bad publicity, you know, they'll still talk about [it] and somebody will play it.  We thought it was gonna help, but it didn't until the album was already gone, and then people wanted it because of that song. 

Joey Levine once told me that some DJs around the country would play the song and bleep parts of it.

(laughs)  I never heard that!

I can't imagine what they would bleep.  You know, "Bleep It" makes it sound worse! 

Maybe they bleeped out "action" and "satisfaction."  I don't know what they'd bleep out.  That's weird! 

The Ohio Express covered it, and had a very minor hit (# 83).

Right, and I think it was pretty close.  I don't remember.  I remember hearing it a long time ago, but I think it was pretty close to what we did. 

Tell us about Riot On The Sunset Strip, both the movie and the single.  This was the first Standells A-side written by the band.
Yeah, Tony wrote it.

How did you get involved with the film to begin with?

God, how did we?  You're comin' up with some pretty hard questions (laughs).  I know we we were gonna be in the movie, and I think then somebody said, "Can you guys write the title track?"  And I think Tony volunteered, and we kinda went, "What?  You're gonna...?"  And he did a real good job (laughs)!  With the idea, and the little riff.  And I was doin' the siren, we did it with our voices in the background and a lot of echo--there was no siren.  We couldn't afford sound affects (laughs).  But the movie was fun to make and everything.  We never were on the Strip or anything, you know, like it wasn't a real club or anything, it was all done on a set.  And all our stuff was done to make it look like it was from a club and stuff.  But it was neat.  It was another notch in our gun, so to speak, and it became a real big cult [hit].   Every time they have showings of it now and then up in Hollywood or Santa Monica or Venice and stuff, and people know all the songs.  It's like The Rocky Horror Picture Show--they all dress up like the people in the movie during those times, with the bell bottoms and the Beatle haircut and the Beatle boots and they all sing and talk along.  They all know the dialogue and everything.  It's kinda funny.

I confess I've never seen the movie.

It's not a real exciting movie (laughs).  It's like an old beach movie, you know, the "Beach Blanket" movies kind of thing.  It just happened at that time it was released that stuff was really happening on the Strip. 

The Try It albums seems kind of split in styles.  Side Two sure smokes with familiar Standells punk swagger, but the album starts off very soulful.

Right.  That was Ed.  Ed wanted to remain tried and true, and I was trying to change it into...I was really hooked on Otis Redding and the soul thing, with the horns and stuff, and I was trying to go in that direction.  But I didn't think that it was time for us to do that, but I really had some material and knew guys that had written, like, "Can't Help But Love You Baby" and all that, some of the other songs on the album that were real soulful.  And I thought, "We could really, you know...my voice is changing, I think it's getting a little deeper," and I wanted to try some soul stuff.  'Cause that's where my roots were.  I thought it was our best album, as far as being close to the original Standells  but yet going into almost like a psychedelic soul rendition. 

Well, anybody doing a credible Otis Redding is okay by me.

(laughs)  Now, I could probably better.  I didn't like the "Ninety-Nine And A Half Won't Do."  I wasn't happy with the vocal.  But again, I was kind of like out-voted.  They were just goin', "Oh, it's okay, it's okay!" 

"Just put it out--we're on the clock!"

Yeah!  You know, that's kinda stupid.  You would think it would be the opposite if you wanted to make it really good, and really spend time on it and really be happy with the outcome and all of you walk out of the studio going, "That was it!  That was the one!"  Instead, they're like, "Well, let's hurry up and go to the next one."

You recorded a solo album in 1968, The First Evolution Of Dick Dodd.  Was the band still together by this time?

No, I was already out of the band.

What happened?

There was...I guess I'll be really blunt with you.  It was happening from the inside--they were pulling the band apart.  At that time, Bert Jacobs wanted [us]--we were gonna go with ABC-Dunhill, 'cause he managed Steppenwolf and Three Dog Night, and we were gonna be a part of that package.  Ed Cobb and Ray Harris didn't want us to do that.  So, at the same time they're goin, "You know, Dick, you're the voice.  You don't need [them]--we could get three other guys."  And so, I guess I went for it (laughs).  They pumped me up so much in believing that, I didn't know it was gonna be such a hard job all by myself.  But I got to go on tour with Roy Orbison, which was really neat.  I mean, talk about professional!  That was the only person I went on tour with.  Because we were doing everything in Georgia.  We did that whole album in Georgia.

Tell me a bit about the album.

Okay.  It was done by Buddy Buie, who did all the Classics IV, "Spooky" and all that.  It was done by the same guy, and in the same studio, and he and Ed collaborated on songs I guess that they had recorded that he thought I could do a good job at it.  I don't know if all of them were cover songs from some of their albums.  Billy Joe Royal was part of this whole Atlanta Peachtree studio sound that they had.  They had Billy Joe, and they had the Classics, they had Tommy Roe.  The band that backed me up was Dennis St. John, Emery Gordy, J. R. Cobb, all those guys became The Atlanta Rhythm Section after a while.  But they backed up Orbison, they used to back up...Dennis St, John, after movin' out here he became conductor and drummer with Neil Diamond.  There was a lot of heavyweight people on that thing.  But it just didn't...the songs were big, a few singles were decent hits in the South, but it wasn't anywhere near...it made peanuts out here.  It had strings, and it had, you know, a lot of background.  It had that Southern sound to it, you know.  Not the Muscle Shoals sound, but more of the Classics kind of a sound.  And it was rough, 'cause I knew, you know, I'm goin', "God!"  I wasn't on the road, I didn't have a lot of income comin' in, and I didn't know what was gonna happen, I had just got married and here we are in Atlanta for a month and a half doing an album.  And I'm goin', "Oh man!"  Just could not believe it.  Oh, B.J. Thomas was another person that was there and recorded there too.

Did you do any more recording after that?

Yeah.  I had a band out here in Orange County, and we were called Joshua.  And we did a song called "Willie And The Hand Jive."  And I don't know where you could [find that].  I got it on vinyl, but I've never seen it on tape or any kind of...  It was on Green Grass Productions, it was an Ed Cobb thing.

When was this?

This was in...'75?  But it had a song called "Hand Jive."  We were like a--God, what would you call it?--a Santana.  God it was a blend of all kinds of bands that were goin' on.  Grand Funk, Santana.  Emerson, Lake and Palmer, we did a lot of their stuff.  And we were the first band in Orange County to have like, we would play in clubs but we would use concert P.A. stuff, I mean like huge P.A.s.  Our guitar player had three stacks of Marshalls inside a club that held like 200 people, and it was like, "Oh yeah!"  We had to put a sign out by the front door saying that we weren't responsible for anybody's loss of hearing.  'Cause it was really loud (laughs).  The bartenders would, you know, they couldn't hear the orders.  But it was an attraction.  It was like something different--nobody was really doing that with lights and sound and everything in a club yet.  Especially out here--we weren't a Top 40 band, that's for sure.  We were kickin' ass (laughs), we really were.  It was a really good band.  It was real powerful.

Prior to the release of Lenny Kaye's Nuggets compilation in 1972, how did it seem to you that rock history would remember The Standells?

Oh, God--I don't know.  It has changed so much since then.  I wasn't even thinkin' about anyone remembering us. 

Well, maybe from your often-rerun TV appearance on The Munsters?

Oh yeah [sarcastic tone], that was a great show.  When they recorded us for that, it was like.... You know, we thought we were gonna record the soundtrack or somethin' like we did in the studio, you know, lay down the rhythm track, you put down the vocals, you put down the background vocals.  And they had this old guy from MGM Studios who hangs a mike in the middle of the room and says, "Okay now, sing real loud!"  And we're just goin', "What?!"  I'm embarrassed everytime somebody says, "Hey turn it on, Dick!  You're on!"  I'm goin', "Oh man, how horrible!"  I mean, the harmonies were bad, the sound was bad, but it's one of those unforgettable moments.  Everybody always remembers it.

Still, that's my favorite rock 'n' roll moment in TV history.  It's not The Standells at their best--you weren't even The Standells as we came to know you yet--but it doesn't matter.

Yeah, we were still a club band. 

So, when did you realize there was renewed interest in The Standells?

I was managing a club or something out here.  And for some, I don't know how they did it, but they got in touch with me through the restaurant that I was helpin' run, and Harold Bronson [of Rhino Records] was talkin' about releasing The Standells, now that everybody was interested in the band again.  And it was like a second chance.  And I'm thinking, well, that's cool, you know, let's give it a shot.  'Cause Rhino at that time was pickin' up all the different stuff that nobody had held on to.  He really put out an effort.  Without that, the other bands wouldn't have had a chance to go out on these tours, or the groups got back together again to go out on the road.  Because, all of a sudden, they were popular again. 

When did you first become aware of newer bands acknowledging The Standells as an influence?

Yeah, it wasn't until, I guess maybe the '80s or something.

I think The Ramones acknowledged you early on.  They were certainly compared to The Standells frequently.

Yeah, that's what I heard.  I never really read anything [about it].  I heard that they referred to us a lot.

I'm trying to think if Gene Simmons ever specifically mentioned The Standells as an influence on KISS.  I know he mentioned The Music Machine as an influence, with the black gloves and all.

Oh yeah--they were cool.

And when Creem magazine reviewed the third KISS album in 1976 or so, Richard Riegel spent the bulk of the review comparing and contrasting KISS and The Standells--mid-'70s punk and 1966 punk--and meaning it as a compliment.

Oh, you're kidding!  Wow!  

What was your reaction to '70s punk?  How much of a link do you see between what The Standells did in the mid-'60s and what The Ramones and The Sex Pistols were doing ten years later?

Oh God! I donĂ­t know.  I really can't compare it, because [by then] I was doin' something else, and I was really into....  After that Joshua thing, I started a group called The Blitz Brothers.  But we were like a power trio, we were doin' Zeppelin and Robin Trower and ZZ Top.  Before ZZ was even popular we were doing all the Tres Hombres album.  I was going more in that direction than I was really listening to what was happening with some of the groups and stuff. 

What did you think of the garage/punk revival stuff in the '80s?

Oh yeah (laughs).  I don't know how that "garage" term got started.

Well, think of where "Dirty Water" was recorded....
(laughs) Okay, okay, on top of a garage.  But it was a nice studio.  No, it was very hot!  (laughs)  I thought it was gonna head up pretty well.  But it almost seemed to do it, and then it just petered out.  Right now, there's nothin'.  

The Sex Pistols and stuff, the bands of that type in that era, they really had an opportunity, and they burned themselves out really fast.  It was a shame, because I think a lot of them could have still been doing something.  And right now, there's really no, except for Tom Petty or Huey Lewis or some kind of, the re-release of The Eagles--I mean, there's nothing really rock 'n' roll out there anymore.  Because nobody plays it and there's no stations.  You wanna listen to rock 'n' roll, all you hear is the same old crap all the time.  I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but programmers from different stations, they've all got that format.  You hear the same songs every three hours, because it's just those same songs over and over again.  And I really like 'em, but I can only take so much of 'em.  Right now, I like The Mavericks.  There's a lot of country stuff that's almost rock 'n' roll, or rockabilly, or it's got that Little Richard feel.  Clapton does a lot--Clapton's unbelievable.  I don't think he can do anything wrong (laughs).  But there's a lot of real hard, the old traditional country and western performers goin', "That's not country!  That's just old rock 'n' roll stuff!"  Well, maybe, but God--at least it's got a niche somewhere.
My catalog really varies from Dwight Yoakum to Harry Connick to Sinatra to The Mavericks. 

The Standells reformed circa 1986, but the only new recording that came out was that one 45, "60's Band" backed by a remake of "Try It."  What happened?  And were there any other tracks finished?

Yeah.  We went to Reno and we were gonna record a new album.  And we went in the studio, and the backer just backed up.  We played Harrah's in Reno for a couple of weeks, but that was really strange.  You know, you're off of your set and all of a sudden a magician and a dancing girl and the lion and tiger and stuff are coming out.

What are you up to lately?

Some good friends of mine are The Righteous Brothers.  When The Righteous Brothers aren't performing, their band and I get together and we're called The Dodd Squad.  And we do R & B stuff. 

What else?

Nothin'.  Just, if people need a drummer and they know I know all the old stuff, whatever.  Somebody's in town, or somebody's doin' a casual gig or if their drummer drops out, they call me up, and I get there.  'Cause they know that all they gotta do is mention the name of the song, and I'll count it off and we'll do it.

Have you felt any temptation to do the oldies circuit?

Yeah, I have.  But I've really settled in, and I'd really like to stay home if I can.  I'd like to go on the road if it was worth it and real organized, but you always hear really bad stories. 

How involved were you or the other Standells in the CD reissues of your albums on the Sundazed label?

No, we weren't involved at all. 

Are you familiar with them?

Yes, now I am! (laughs)

Last question:  have you seen the film That Thing You Do! yet?

No, I never saw it, but I've heard people talk about.